Wednesday, January 18, 2006

From the Horse's Mouth - On the NY Observer

As is my practice, I tend to enter debates at the last minute, to give a Montel Williams-like summary, or, some would say, Jerry's Final Word. Rather than doing so to get the last word, I feel it best to enter after passions have subsided and after all views have been aired. It helps me make better sense of things,

First, I would like to thank Jessica Bruder and the Observer for contacting me regarding the story that everyone seems to be commenting so much about. I can say that I was not misquoted and, considering the allegations of "dwarf-bowling" and the like, I guess I came out as a pretty reasonable person.

I guess the biggest complaint was that their could have been more research done on the article and, I do agree with that point. I think there are a number of people that could have been interviewed about what we do as an organization and given a positive impression. That said, I won't kill Jessica for this, as this was her last day on the job and deadlines are deadlines. To that end, I wish her well and good luck with the book she's writing.

Of course, I would prefer an article that, if it had to discuss the two clubs as factions, would have been titled "Two Young Republican Clubs, Working Separately to the Same Goal" and focused on the positive aspects of the clubs. I would rather have an article mention that we won the award for Best Large Club of 2004-2005 from the Young Republican National Federation, provided members with opportunities to meet Senator Brownback, Congressman Reynolds, Ari Fleischer, Governor Pataki and Mayor Bloomberg, and that we helped multiple campaigns this year and that we keep growing (membership and fundraising are up for the fourth consecutive year). I would have been pleased to see the other club's accomplishments in print as well. It would have set the right mood for the article - albeit one of sadness.

Instead, the article focused on the bizarre -- and more interesting for readers I'm sure -- details about the split. I don't blame anyone for this, although as a party leader and Republican I just want to shake my head. Not about the Observer article, but that this situation exists for the Observer to write about.

I do wish to note for the record that Ms. Bruder asked me for details about the split that occurred in 1991 and that I declined the invitation to discuss it. Of course, my understanding of the facts differs from that reported in the Observer -- which I assume was provided by Mr. Thomas Stevens. In any event, even if I knew that the account of Mr. Stevens would be reported, I still would refuse to air such laundry for the public. We are Republicans and I do not see any gain in publicly disparaging my friends or proclaiming to the world our internal differences.

For the record, though, there is no feud because, at minimum, I have laid down my arms for quite some time. The story is only interesting because of the salacious history from a decade ago. It is now a quirk. Paul Rodriguez and I have resolved our disputes through phone calls not law suits.

I also wish to thank Paul for not ratcheting up the rhetoric. He and I have had a very nice relationship, despite the odd situation we are in, and I look at it as a display of friendship that he chose not to take the easy road and get his name in the paper with a quote disparaging me or this club. I've called him today to tell him that and look forward to conveying the message when he gets back in.

In all, my biggest concern about the piece was the implication from one quote that we are not an activist club. I dispute that, and am willing to put the facts before judge and jury to prove otherwise. Thankfully, I have spoken to the author of the quote and he has graciously agreed to come to our club in the future. I am sure we will be vindicated on this point and that we will win a new friend in the process.

I wish to thank you all for your kind words about how I looked in print (the chair - you look much better on radio!). I don't give interviews much and I guess it pays to be honest and speak what you believe.

Now let's go out there and win some special elections this February!

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