The Columbia County Democratic Party's entry in Sunday's Merchants Association Christmas Parade consisted of two people riding in a Smart FourTwo.
In case you don't know what that is, it's one of the tiniest cars currently available in the U.S. market. Manufactured by Mercedes, the car is less than 9 feet long - 4 feet shorter than the VW Beetle.
For a party often referred to as small enough to meet in a phone booth, parading in a tiny car is either hilariously self-deprecating or obliviously ironic.
But it also is symbolic for why the much-larger Columbia County Republican Party can afford the absurd luxury of fighting so much among themselves.
At least the Democrats could enter the parade. The county's Republicans couldn't agree on how to open a box of cereal.
Further cementing its legacy of ready-fire-aim, circular firing squad politics, Columbia County's GOP held an executive board meeting Friday to consider complaints against party Chairman Lawrence Hammond.
First Vice Chairman Pat Goodwin says the board voted to remove Hammond from office, putting her in charge until a new chairman can be elected Jan. 25.
Hammond contends Friday's meeting - which he couldn't attend - was invalid. He says he'll be happy to face those complaints at a session planned for Jan. 11.
Though the current fight is instigated by board members pushing - and strangling - the candidacy of Brett McGuire for county commission chairman, it's still the same recycled grade-school grudges that are plaguing the party.
In a perpetual version of Lord of the Flies, the county GOP lives on its own little island. With no real enemy to fight, they inevitably create one from their own ranks.
The only thing missing is a spear with both ends sharpened. Figuratively speaking, that's what the anti-Hammond faction is whittling.
It would be far easier to defend Hammond than sympathize with petty complaints filed against him, but I won't argue on behalf of either side in this juvenile feud.
Instead, what the county's Republican Party needs is defeat. Old-fashioned, humbling, butt-whipping defeat, complete with tears, like Florida's flogging by Alabama in the SEC Championship.
But this would mean a Democrat getting elected in Columbia County, you say with alarm. (Or perhaps with glee, if you're one of the people riding in that little car.)
Here's a jolt of reality for those in partisan denial: There already are Democrats in office in Columbia County. They just don't call themselves Democrats - either because they know they wouldn't get elected, or because they serve in non-partisan positions.
And therein lies the dagger hovering over the dysfunctional heart of the Republican Party. With just a few moves in the state Legislature, Columbia County's local elections could all be non-partisan.
School board and city elections already lack party affiliation. The county's Democrats long have wanted non-partisan elections; they know without the boat-anchor of their party label, more Democrats might get elected.
And now some fed-up Republicans also are floating the idea of taking party affiliation out of local races.
If that happened, the party's bureaucrats could stay busy welcoming state officials to town or building play-forts in their backyards. They'd also have more time to throw spitballs at delegation members, who get enough grief from them already.
About 10 years ago, to the chagrin of some of the same people stirring this pot, I wrote that the county's Republican Party was irrelevant. They did little to help Republicans get elected, and after elections party bureaucrats acted like those officials owed them subservient allegiance.
The elected officials just ignored them, and politically it didn't hurt them one bit.
A decade later, it is obvious nothing has changed. It's time to euthanize Columbia County's Republican Party with defeat, purge it with a revolution or neuter it with non-partisanship.
Just clear the wreckage of this car wreck and let the parade move on.
Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail barry.paschal@newstimes online.com.
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