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Undermining Political Liberty with Groupthink Mentality

The recent victories of a few Democrats in Hamilton County have evidently shaken the local Republican party to its core. As the blame game begins, the Fiscal Conservatives of Hamilton County have come under fire. From the 2018 Primary to last week’s General Election, FCoHC has endorsed 16 Republicans (8 wins and 8 losses), 1 Democrat (1 win), and 1 Libertarian (1 loss). Yet four members of our group, most of whom support the Republican platform (and typically do so ardently), now find themselves at the center of a controversy. Formal complaints have been filed against Republican Precinct committeemen: Gregg Feigh of Carmel (Elected PC-Holaday 1 since defeating Christine Altman in the 2016 party primary), Lee Clark of Noblesville (Elected PC since 2012) and David Giffel of Fishers (Elected PC-Delaware 19 since 2016). A complaint has also been filed against our Founder, Vice-Precinct Committeeman of Fall Creek 8, Bill Smythe of Fishers.

We consider ourselves a group of diverse individuals, self-described pundits of our own municipalities, who hope to offer a voice of goodwill when it comes to the idea of fiscal conservatism locally. The independent complaints filed by the County Chairwoman’s Executive Assistant, Adrienne Rogers, is akin to retribution for the decisions of our Board. Citing Rule 1-25 defining a “Republican in Good Standing,” the complaints seek to remove these gentlemen from their party positions which they won in their respective primaries.

Apparently, the rules are applied differently to the Fiscal Conservatives as no complaints were filed against others for sins of the past or this election cycle. Undermining individual liberties seems to be the modus operandi behind this complaint as Mr. Feigh and Mr. Clark weren’t even in attendance at the FCoHC October 9th Board meeting when our group voted to endorse two Republicans, one Democrat and one Libertarian for the Nov 7th general election. The misguided effort to quell FCoHC will culminate in a hearing on November 26th.

Interestingly, phone calls were recently fielded from the County Vice-Chairman, Bill Clifford, offering congratulations for our election successes and a proverbial olive branch was extended to help rebuild the divided local party. It is an opinion to say the Republican party has become divided simply by behaving less like the fiscally conservative Republicans the FCoHC would choose to endorse, and more like people involved in groupthink. Groupthink occurs when groups feel threatened. In the interest of furthering a group cause, members may ignore the ethical and moral consequences of their decisions.

FCoHC absolutely encourages dissent. This is an important issue for our organization as we acknowledge our own cognitive and confirmation biases and consider ourselves diverse both in demographics and affiliation. Our bottom line comes down to fiscal responsibility. No more. No less. You see, we believe in who we are individually, but have come together to represent one point of view on fiscal conservatism. That idea, which could be applicable to more than one political group, has been lost in the delivery of someone else’s groupthink message. If individuals in our group didn’t vote (because they weren’t there) to endorse certain candidates, are they responsible for the group decision? Clearly, someone thinks so. Are the lone objections and abstentions of one member enough to prove him worthy of his own political party? No. Does the fact that he endorsed a Republican candidate, campaigned for only Republicans and stumped for his Republican candidate daughter on Election Day sound like the kind of Republican that succumbs to groupthink mentality? Obviously not.

What caused the reason for the endorsement of non-Republican candidates, well that answer has been years in the making. The evolution of the Fiscal Conservatives of Hamilton County has been brought about by a group of free-thinking, non-establishment, politic-loving folks who think representative government should spend less, tax less and intrude less in our everyday thoughts and lives. So much for that idea, I guess. Just kidding. We'll continue to keep you informed about how these complaints progress.

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