I Don’t Want Any Part of “The Club”: If Butler County Republicans aren’t serving the taxpayers, then they are serving corruption

Since the very corrupt prosecution of Roger Reynolds in Butler County, I have had more than a few people trying to rationalize it to me, “that the club likes musical chairs,” meaning they want a change in blood. And the sleight of hand that is going on with assigning Joe Statzer to the auditor role as a “temporary” assignment with a wink and a nod indication that after a short time, the Butler County Commissioners will just make that appointment permanent, is the kind of behavior that people have grown sick of. The media reporting on the matter made it quite obvious what was going on. The establishment types, I would go as far as to call them RINOs, lost now that Trump isn’t in the White House, are fighting for power and control. They don’t want people like Roger Reynolds looking through their books, and they have old scores to settle that go back to the David Kern days. It’s the kind of disgusting power people are afraid of in Congress presently, with the debate to not vote for Kevin McCarthy for Speaker of the House. People don’t trust these establishment politicians; in this case, I know most of them personally. They don’t see themselves as dangerous; they think of themselves as good people. But like the kind of horrible things we have seen come from abuse of power on the national level, we have certainly seen it applied to Roger Reynolds and to prevent Nancy Nix from being appointed that job by the Butler County Republican Party to keep the continuity of some very good work done at the auditor level, and rearranging the chairs that fit the party, not the voters who are supposed to be in charge. And people keep talking to me about this “club” idea as if it should matter to me. So let me just say I don’t work with politics to be part of the Club, to be invited to all the VIP events. I do it because I want to see good government in my town and for people to get what they expect for their taxpayer dollars. I personally like Joe, and I like the people around Joe, but he’s Sheriff Jones’ direct guy. It was Jones who wanted to push Roger Reynolds from his auditor’s office for all kinds of reasons, so this notion that two commissioners voted to appoint Joe Statzer as auditor of Butler County with a wink and a nod of making it a permanent position is not a good thing. 

Out of the three Butler County Commissioners who voted for Joe to step into that auditor role, two of them are what I’d consider hard Democrats, just as I consider Sheriff Jones a Democrat, a big union slug that is too expensive, and love to use power and force to intimidate political rivals into submission. And that kind of stuff works for people who want to be in the Republican Party “Club.” I am aware that people are only nice to me at social events because they’d like to invite me into the Club to have some control over my behavior. They certainly aren’t nice to me because they like me. I’ve been in business for many decades now and have dealt with a lot sharper tacks in the box than local politicians. Even national politicians. There are smart people out in the world, and these guys are not among them. I have sometimes played along because that’s what you do in all business meetings. You look for common ground and focus on that to build relationships. It’s my hope that those relationships end up working out well for the taxpayers, so it’s worth doing. But sucking up just to be in some stupid club, no thanks. I don’t need or want more friends, and I certainly would never put myself in a position to get a call late at night telling me how to think or feel so I could remain a member of a “club.” And it’s the “club” mentality that the commissioners were clearly protecting with the appointment of Joe Statzer to the auditor job. Only TC Rogers voted against Joe’s appointment; he understands what’s happening. The other two, Cindy Carpenter, might as well be the belt holding up Sheriff Jones’ pants, voted to protect the “club.” Take that belt away, and the Sheriff’s pants fall right off. And Don Dixon was the other one. Everyone keeps telling me what a great guy Don is as if I didn’t know him. As I say all the time, I love all Republicans until they aren’t. And for those who decide they are Republican all of a sudden, I welcome them. But it must be remembered that Democrats who become Republicans always have some Democrat still in them, and that is certainly the case with Don Dixon, who was a Democrat until 2000 when he switched parties during a time when it was obvious how things were going in Butler County, Ohio politically. 

I’ve known the Dixon family for a very long time. I see Don here and there, and I think he’s a pretty good guy. I don’t rush over to shake his hand for many reasons. I’ll always think of him as the guy who cost me the championship in the Soap Box Derby race in Hamilton, Ohio, in 1979, when I was around 10 or 11 years old. I was racing for the championship against Brent Dixon, Don’s son and the races were so close over three tries to determine a winner that the event judges just gave the win to the Dixons because of their political influence. That was told to my parents and me unofficially because that’s how the “club” works. That’s why many of these people want political power, so they can tilt the table in their favor when needed. In that Soap Box Derby race, we should have continued racing until a winner could be determined. But the judges were tired in the June sun and wanted to go home. So instead of another race, they just decided that the Dixon kid won. And I developed a hatred for “club” politics that would last the rest of my life. That next year Ronald Reagan ran for president, and I was the campaign spokesman in the 7th grade for our school and have been involved in politics ever since. My hatred for “club” politics likely started that day and still persists over 40 years later and will likely continue for another 40 years. (CLICK HERE to read more of this story.)

And that is what’s wrong with politics in general and why all the fuss over Kevin McCarthy. I live in a town where I have a lot of mutual friends who know John Boehner personally. I did not like John Boehner when he was the third most powerful person in the world, and I don’t like him now as a pot spokesman. It wasn’t personal, but I hated the “Club” as it was back then. And now, with Trump out of the White House, the bottom feeders have lost focus and are resuming their desire for corruption, to tilt the tables of power in their favor and with any means necessary, and they think that people will just put up with it. And I’d warn them otherwise. I have been watching this stuff for a long time, and people are much smarter about these things than they used to be. They don’t like corruption; this is why they voted for Trump because they want someone to stand up to this kind of behavior instead of just putting up with it. And on the local level, politics was never, and should never be, membership into a “club.” The only thing good about politics is what it can do for the people. The golf games, the fundraisers, and the “club” activity are all bad things in politics, and for my part, I have much better things to do with my life than to get my picture taken next to Sheriff Jones so that I can show people that I’m in “the club.” Butler County Republicans can keep their Club. They need to be worried about whether what they do serves the taxpayers. And if it doesn’t, such as this whole business of destroying lives just to protect “the club,” then they are doing the wrong things willingly.

And regarding that soap box derby race, even though I didn’t win the championship that day, I’d say because my family wasn’t in the “club,” I was very proud of what I did. I still have that car hanging in my garage, and I see it every day. My parents were proud of me; it was a fun day. My mom, who isn’t doing so well these days, brought it up as she was traveling down memory lane, and it was one of her good memories. And the lesson about the whole thing is that the Club might do everything to win. But people know who wins in life, and I’d rather live like that than be beholden to a bunch of corrupt people just to get the trophy. There are many kinds of winning in the world, and I view winning without the help of “the club” to be much more valuable than anything else in the world. Only weak losers need a “club” to help them along, which is precisely what we are seeing emerge in the Butler County Republican Party. And when those people are no longer with us, and the hearse goes by with their bodies headed to the graveyard, people won’t say, “look, there goes a great person who lived a great life.” They’ll say instead, “there goes a member of the “club” and one less corrupt person in the world who looked to politics to save their lazy selves from the scrutiny of public opinion.” Membership in the “club” disguises that reality from their minds, but when it is known what people really think, that is the reality that tyrants and the corrupt are hiding from with the illusion of social protocol. 

Rich Hoffman

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