With news that freshman Republican Feki Pouha has revoked his support for incumbent Minority Leader Aaron Johanson, a stand off has been forced in the now divided minority caucus to determine the future House leadership of the eight representatives.
The division in the caucus can be seen as a referendum on Aaron Johanson’s ability to make the caucus relevant. During the previous legislative session, Johanson traded the caucus’s conservative ideals for three vice-chairmanships and the promise of CIP (Capital Improvement Projects) for the districts of minority representatives. In return, House Republicans put up only a half-hearted challenge to the liberal agenda that was being railroaded through the Legislature by the liberal Democrats they were allied with. Christians and conservatives turned to moderate and conservative Democrats on those issues since the Republican caucus (once staunch defenders of conservative ideals) could not be motivated to act on behalf of their constituency.
Two years later, the support of minority Republicans was discarded like last fall’s fashions, and the thirty-gold pieces they received for their fealty vanished. Deemed ‘no-longer necessary’, the illusion of money and power failed to yield House Republicans any significant gains. The disappointing leadership of Johanson through the 2014 elections net a gain of a single seat, where most experts expected House Republicans to gain at least four. With no money, no power, and conservative ideals that they sold for momentary fame, minority caucus leaders (Johanson and Fukumoto-Chang) face frustration and dissent within their ranks.
In private circles, the lackluster leadership of Johanson has been one of the attributing reasons for sound Republican defeats across the ballot. With rampant voter apathy, the failure of House Republicans to be a viable opposition party to liberal House Democrats had frustrated and shamed Republican voters to not show up to the polls or to even consider Democrat or third-party nominees instead.
Johanson’s lieutenant, Beth Fukumoto-Chang has taken to social media to divert attention from the real issue. Beth, wife of party chair-emeritus David Chang, insists that people of faith not ‘attack’ Feki Pouha for his initial selection of the Johanson/Fukumoto-Chang ticket to lead the minority caucus. It seems that Fukumoto-Chang has taken a tactic from the playbook of her liberal Democrat overlords in an attempt to distract Christian conservatives from the real issue: her lackluster leadership.
With instincts of self-preservation kicking into hyperdrive, it is no wonder that Fukumoto-Chang and Johanson would resort to whatever tactics are necessary to remain in their position. Inside sources have reported that Feki’s support was initially secured at the first Republican caucus, soon after the election. Curiously missing from this caucus were Gene Ward and Bob McDermott. The same reliable sources have reported that both representatives were never invited to the caucus meeting – though this could not yet be directly confirmed by either representative’s office.
It is time that Johanson and Fukumoto-Chang have answered for their lack of leadership, and a failure to energize a Republican base this past election. It almost seemed as if both are pleased with the status quo, and being relegated into obsolescence – if only to please their liberal Democrat overlords. Some have suggested that’d perhaps it is their youth, or their naïveté – but conservatives, Christians and other people of faith continue to suffer for their lack of leadership. Will REAL change happen – or will we be dealt more smoke and mirrors as the dynamic duo attempt to justify their inaction?