The commentary about Ron Paul’s influence on the GOP tends to focus on the big national issues, such as his efforts to end the Federal Reserve or the growing isolationism among Republicans. What gets under-reported are the consequences of Ron Paul having supporters get involved in politics at the local level.
Currently, the Republican Party of Pima County in Arizona is dealing with a situation created by its Ron Paul-inspired Chairman. Chairman Brian Miller has used a recently conducted SWAT operation to try and start a discussion about why citizens need to remain vigilant about “routine” invasions of private property by the government.
The SWAT operation in that began this operation took place on on May 5th when a SWAT team entered the home of former marine Jose Guerena to follow through on a search warrant. The sheriff of Pima County has said that Guerena was a subject in a 20 month long drug and homicide investigation.
According to the police report, Guerena responded to the raid by pointing an AR-15 assault rifle in the direction of the SWAT members, who responded with deadly force. The Pima County Chief Criminal Deputy Attorney David Berkman has cleared the SWAT team of any wrongdoing. Since his death, Guerena has also been linked to a home invasion crew. However, the operation has also been the subject of strong criticism.
Whatever the facts of the case, what has caused a problem for the Pima County GOP is the way in which its Chairman, Brian Miller, used GOP letterhead to start a discussion about how this event showed why citizens must remain vigilant about the Bill of Rights, and warned of “routine” invasions of private homes by the government.
Near the end of May (likely on the 29th) Miller sent out an email from the Pima County GOP email account to announce that a memorial service was being held for Guerena. Miller hoped the services would lead to “a renewed discussion of the policies that routinely lead to heavily armed and militarized local police invading private homes and a renewed interest in the civil liberties codified in our Bill of Rights.”
Miller’s full email can be read posted on an Ars Technica message board. The email was titled “We are all Jose Guerena.” Here is a part of it:
On May 5th, Jose Guerena, an American Marine, Iraq War veteran and fellow Tucsonan was killed in his home by armed government agents sworn to uphold the Constitution and whose declared mission is to protect and to serve the people of Pima County.
While an investigation is still underway to determine the facts immediately surrounding the killing, it is my hope that this tragic event will lead to a renewed discussion of the policies that routinely lead to heavily armed and militarized local police invading private homes and a renewed interest in the civil liberties codified in our Bill of Rights.
The Pima County GOP has been actively working to remove Miler from the Party leadership since he sent the email. The Pima County GOP has stripped Miller of his authority as Chairman and have criticized him for causing “division and chaos” within the Party.
In addition to the email, Miller also referred to the death of Guerena as a “murder” by the government while on a radio talk show. The local GOP asked him to retract that comment as well.
So who is Brian Miller, and why is he concerned about “armed government agents” and “militarized local police”?
Brian Miller is a part of Ron Paul’s ‘revolution’. He got endorsed by Ron Paul when he ran in the Republican Primary for the 8th Congressional district. (The district that Gabrielle Giffords currently represents.) He also made sure to get his photo taken with Ron Paul at CPAC.
He has also made time for the news show most friendly to Ron Paul on Fox News, FreedomWatch with Judge Napolitano. During his interview, Judge Napolitano gushed over Miller’s fealty to the constitution in the context of withdrawing from Afghanistan:
The Pima GOP said in a statement that Miller’s comments were ultimately dividing the party and harming it:
The role of the Republican Party is clear: to elect candidates and support those candidates once elected. The recent statements and actions of Chairman Brian Miller have not served to further those goals, but rather the opposite. Mr. Miller’s statements regarding the SWAT raid have created serious problems for our elected officials, money raising efforts and have divided the Party. Mr. Miller was given repeated opportunities to either mend these fences or resign his position, and has chosen to do neither.
Miller might lose his position over this, but Ron Paul’s efforts have probably already lead to many other like-minded people getting elected to positions of authority similar to Miller’s. These individuals can now take positions that put the local Republican parties in new and uncomfortable territory, and which they may not necessarily agree to.