Ron Paul Fan Causes Headache for Local GOP

July 6th, 2011 at 1:03 am | 45 Comments |

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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.

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45 Comments so far ↓

  • digital82711

    How about let’s differentiate between isolationism and non-interventionism?

  • dmnolan

    We’re all normal and we want our freedom.

    • Rich T Bikkies

      “We are normal and we dig Bert Weedon.”

      I didn’t know there were any fans of the Bonzo Dog Doo-dah Band in the Ewessovay.

  • hisgirlfriday

    And that’s the difference between Ron Paul Republicans and other Republicans.

    Ron Paul Republicans mistrust the government no matter who is running it. Other Republicans only mistrust the government when Democrats are in charge.

  • ottovbvs

    The crazies continue the takeover of the GOP.

    • Larz99

      There’s nothing crazy about being disturbed by the increased militarization of American police forces.

      Don’t SWAT teams look an awful lot like the paramilitary forces of some South American countries?

      • ottovbvs

        There’s nothing crazy about being disturbed by the increased militarization of American police forces.

        Yes, on reflection I’d withdraw that comment as it relates to this particular set of circumstances. It does expose a contradiction however that lies at the center of the relationship between libertarians and the GOP which is essentially authoritarian in outlook.

  • SteveT

    If the government can’t lawful investigate a homicide….

    Hmmm… Well, then they’re right. Just get rid of it!

  • Mannie Davis

    It appears that the Neocon effort to purge Paul is proceeding apace.

    These Trotskyite acorns do not fall far from the tree.

  • Dangates

    Yes us crazies want to replace the war mongering Neo Cons.

  • JimBob

    Oath Keepers Rally to Honor Jose Guerena and Oppose SWAT Searches

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S6NOx5Cx8Ws&feature=youtu.be

  • JimBob

    Sheriffs: Slain Jose Guerena Linked to “Home-Invasion Crew”

    http://reason.com/blog/2011/05/20/sheriffs-slain-jose-guerena-li

    Jose Guerena’s Wife Had Relatives Killed in Home Invasion Year Prior to SWAT Raid

    http://blogs.forbes.com/erikkain/2011/05/27/jose-guerenas-wife-had-relatives-killed-in-home-invasion-year-prior-to-swat-raid/

  • dmnolan

    Anthropophagy.

  • Graychin

    There is no place in the party for a Republican who has read the Bill of Rights beyond the Second and Tenth Amendments.

    • shinnok

      The author reflects a sad and hypocritical state of Conservatives – mainly that distrust of Government stops with law enforcement. So a man who wants to start a discussion on Civil Rights and how our 4th Amendment rights are disappearing – based largely on decisions made by a Conservative Court – is not wanted in the party? I bet if he wanted to start a chapter of the National Rifle Association and gun rights “it’s all good.” Unfortunately, the Guerena case proves that your gun rights are pretty ineffective when it comes to facing armored, well armed government agents. The GOP’s focus on gun rights is merely a placebo for its hard-core members. Fact of the matter is the 4th Amendment, not the Second, is or was the most effective of our rights against government intrusion – not the type that wants chooses your Health Care but the nasty type that puts you in a prison cell. This dichotomy in the GOP is one that encourages the notion that the party is controlled by special interests, like the NRA, the Commerce folks and military manufacturers.
      We just celebrated Independence Day….think about your basic rights and how the Republican dominated Supreme Court is taking them from you and giving it to Corporations and Policemen.

      • LauraNo

        “So a man who wants to start a discussion on Civil Rights and how our 4th Amendment rights are disappearing – based largely on decisions made by a Conservative Court – is not wanted in the party?”

        Yea I don’t get it either. It’s almost as if the party does not actually stand for anything anymore but corps. The establishment pols use pretty words about freedom and liberty to get elected then vote for and support martial law and storm-troopers invading men’s castles, promote policies that result in a goodly percentage of our population being behind bars (but it’s okay because they are mostly minorities anyway), wildly oppose trials in our country of our attackers (afraid to face the enemy) and willingly allow the government to spy on innocent civilians and physically and sexually molest travelers. Whatever this party is, it ain’t republican.

  • Frumplestiltskin

    If it is a case of a party chairman making sure government law enforcement agencies don’t exceed their lawful mandate, I am in favor of this regardless of their party affiliation or ideology. If he is stating that law enforcement doesn’t possess what most consider their lawful mandate, then I part company with him. As I really don’t know all the particulars of this case I can’t speak to it. It is good that someone is questioning law enforcement though, and it is better when it comes from the so called law and order party.

  • Libdem

    There are far too many of these tragedies, the the police are never held accountable. It seems that when doing these home invasions there are many plausible scenarios where the people in the home might not recognize that the invaders are police, and in any such situation loss of life is likely. So these invasions should only be used as a last resort, which unfortunately does not seem to be the case.

  • David Granton

    I’m no expert, but shooting someone 60 times seems a tad unreasonable to me. The word unreasonable, I realize could be open to interpretation. (Is that word in the Constitution by the way?) So please allow me to ask you, in order to subdue someone – what is a reasonable number of bullets to fire into a soul’s body? I’m comfortable with 10. Anything beyond 10, I think is unreasonable. What say you? Maybe you are comfortable with a higher number, like 19, or 32. Anyone think 40 is the reasonable number? Let’s ask those in the back — – 45 bullets required? 50? Anyone agree that 60 bullets are required to be inside a person flesh in order to subdue them?

    While all of the wonky GOP types continue to be uncomfortable with the issues Ron Paul pursues, here in the real world we are asking ourselves what sort of country executes a search warrant backed up by 71 shots. Now, maybe these SWAT guys aren’t trained very well so they just tell them, keep shooting you’re bound to hit your target sooner or later.

    Yes – 71 shots — hard to imagine that 11 shots missed Guerena as he was being slowed down by 60 bullets inside his body. But no matter, that’s what the SWAT team is currently reporting. The details may change again, we’ll have to check back.

    Of course we know that the “fog” of issuing a search warrant can get thick. And that the officers themselves were never fired upon, although it was initially reported that they were, is just one of the foggy facts. The Constitution is irrelevant. Worse than that, it’s just so darn inconvenient sometimes, especially when you are all suited up with 12 other team members, guns loaded, ready to issue a search warrant when you’ve got all of that Kevlar and equipment on.

    The fact Miller is bringing some sunlight to this issue shouldn’t make you scared. Sorry to bring up the Constitution twice. I know the C word also makes you scared.
    But I wonder why it does.

    • busboy33

      I’m not disagreeing that they filled him with lead, and not passing judgment on the actual facts of the confrontation, but I will say that in general most law enforcement are trained that when they are in a life-threatening situation, you shoot to kill, not to wound or incapacitate.

      I certainly understand and appreciate the idea of “just fire a couple of shots then see where we all stand”, but it is the sort of thing that sounds good on paper but is difficult to implement in practice. I was involved in a case once were the suspect pulled a pistol on 3 officers. The officers each fired a few shots into him (7 total), and the suspect went down. When the officers moved in, he raised his gun at them again, triggering another volley (8 more shots). With the suspect still, the officers moved in again . . . and the suspect got off 3 shots at the officers about 10 feet away before the officers could react with a third volley (7 more shots), finally incapacitating the suspect. The entire incident was captured by dashboard cam, and the suspect survived despite 17 gunshot wounds.

      Trust me when I say there are few people more supportive of citizen’s rights to be free from police harassment than me. I’m also intensely suspicious of police shootings, and believe that there are a plethora of outrageous injustices that occur when they happen (Mr. Diallo and his cell phone say hello from beyond the grave, and I’m sure wonder where the Far Right outrage was when he got brutally slaughtered). However, if the officers are tasked with serving a warrant on a suspect when there is credible reason to suspect violence, I don’t know how I can expect them to not proceed with steps designed to protect them. Sending in the SWAT team isn’t intended to kill targets — its designed to present a potential violent target with the threat of overwhelming force, hopefully averting a fight.

      If the suspect did pull an AR15 on the team, I don’t see any other option but to open fire, and to do so with the intent to kill or cripple him. In the split-second heat of the situation, winging a gunman or shooting the weapon out of their hand might make for great cinema . . . but its just not realistic or fair to the officers.

  • JimBob

    Where is the evidence he was involved in a home invasion crew?? But his wife did have two family members killed by home invaders last year. Time for the Sheriff ‘s department to come clean because it is looking more like the police got the wrong home and killed a decorated Marine in front of his wife and kid.

  • dugfromthearth

    I am amazed that the GOP revealed its goals so openly “The role of the Republican Party is clear: to elect candidates and support those candidates once elected. ”

    Normally they try and claim that they want to help America, defend the constitution or have some other principle. But it is nice to see them openly declare that their only goal is gaining power.

  • Danny_K

    There is no place in the party for a Republican who has read the Bill of Rights beyond the Second and Tenth Amendments.

    I was going to post but Graychin said it all.

  • Texas Chris

    If “The role of the Republican Party is clear: to elect candidates and support those candidates once elected…” is true, and the GOP is not supporting an actual platform, then they’ve already lost.

    Mr. Miller is right to question the killing/murder of a civilian. He is right to point out the violation of the 4th amendment. This SWAT team had NO warrant for this house, they were just doing a neighborhood sweep. That is illegal, no matter how much is threatens Frum’s prescious police state.

    And, for the record, Ron Paul 2012.

    • busboy33

      Where on Earth did you get the “no warrant” and “just a random neighborhood sweep” bit from? Every news organization I’ve seen on this case has reported a search warrant . . . and SWAT teams don’t randomly target a residence for insertion, as the helmet cam JimBob linked to above clearly shows.

      Do you honestly believe that an entire SWAT team, in full kit, just rolled up to a completely random house? That’s possibly the silliest thing I’ve ever heard.

      I’m sure Mr. Paul appreciates being associated with baseless paranoid conspiracy theories.

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  • Churl

    May I ask what is wrong with a “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”?

    Are we so sure that “heavily armed and militarized local police invading private homes” is such a good thing that we don’t need to discuss the implications of it?

    • busboy33

      The problem is the context.

      Is it a good idea to have a discussion on the appropriateness of law enforcement deception? Sure — discussion and debate is always a good thing.

      Should we suggest having that discussion when an officer posing as a 12-year old child uncovers a child pornography and white slavery ring? This will apparently surprise you, but most people don’t think that’s the best time to bring up the topic. Crazy, I know.

  • dubmod

    Hmm… this is the lead story? How about Murdoch causes headache for Cameron?

  • Raskolnik

    “Unfortunately, the Guerena case proves that your gun rights are pretty ineffective when it comes to facing armored, well armed government agents. The GOP’s focus on gun rights is merely a placebo for its hard-core members. Fact of the matter is the 4th Amendment, not the Second, is or was the most effective of our rights against government intrusion – not the type that wants chooses your Health Care but the nasty type that puts you in a prison cell. This dichotomy in the GOP is one that encourages the notion that the party is controlled by special interests, like the NRA, the Commerce folks and military manufacturers.”

    shinnok +1.

    Frankly I don’t see what all the hand-wringing over Paul is about. Or, to be a little more precise, I think it mostly comes from anxiety within those special interests. Ron Paul may not be a perfect man, but he is asking the right questions.

  • lysander6

    Both political parties practice egregious cop fetishism and hold the thin blue line in such high esteem that they refuse to see the massive corruption and abuse in the government monopolized “criminal justice” system. But then again, it speaks to the inherent worship of big government by both the Dems and the Grand Old Politburo. I have patience for neither but understand the reasons for their coddling of the Praetorian guard; without it, no one would be there to enforce the tens of thousands of silly and intrusive laws that gum up our everyday lives and strangle the economy.

    The Pima County GOP is performing lap dances on Sheriff Dupnik for the same reason the Dems rush to his defense: he is the tip of the spear for the enforcement mechanism that allows government to coerce and cajole all of us through the threat of fining, caging, maiming and killing. Unfortunately, Jose got the raw end from these armed clowns and BTW, ONLY 22 of the 71 rounds hit him. The rest bounced around the house and neighborhood. I went to the house afterwards and saw the ten rounds in the neighbor’s home next door. This means that 30% of all rounds fired by the elite SWAT element missed their target and God only knows how the mother and four year old son weren’t hit by the Barney Fife Brigade.

    As long as cops remain the protected, unionized and bullying thugocracy they are, things will only get worse. But then again, they are creatures of government and that certainly accounts for both the brutality and incompetence.

    I know Brian and he is as principled as they come. The GOP in Pima County is not concerned with principle but only electoral success, therefore they are part and parcel of the kakocracy that is America’s political leadership. They need the police state otherwise no one would volunteer to sign on or comply with their government supremacists ideals.

    Neo-conservatism and the inherent jingoism that always accompanies it is not so much an ideology as a sordid shotgun wedding between National Socialism at home and eternal war on the world abroad.

    • frumpy mom

      Lysander nailed it and let’s all remember that this whole 40 year trend of militarization of police is justified in the minds of both Dem & Republican establishments by the federal government’s war on some drugs. A make-work program for all the Barney Fifes in the country if ever there was one!

  • TAZ

    Supporting (government) law enforcement officials use of such methods, including torture, while believing in the right to take up arms to protect yourself from those very gov officials seems like a pretty clear plank to have in the Republican party these days…………..

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  • Nanotek

    but then again, on the flip side of that same coin…

    http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/article_ec169697-a19e-525f-a532-81b3df229697.html

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    In a 3-2 decision, Justice Steven David writing for the court said if a police officer wants to enter a home for any reason or no reason at all, a homeowner cannot do anything to block the officer’s entry.

    “We believe … a right to resist an unlawful police entry into a home is against public policy and is incompatible with modern Fourth Amendment jurisprudence,” David said.”

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  • Scooter

    Reasonable people can be concerned with the limits of police authority, but Brian Miller may have waded in too far before all the facts were known. Perhaps embarrassing, but the goal of keeping policing activity within the legal bounds of their authority is not wrong.

    On the other hand here in Florida our establishment backed state chairman resigned in disgrace and was arrested last year for stealing over $100,000 from donations.

    Odd how we see so little coverage on Frum Forum of real crimes by high ranking Republican party officials, but you will jump all over a little local guy who wants the police to be more careful.

    Jim Greer is real disgrace, Brian Miller maybe a little flaky. I’ll take a flake over a crook any day.

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