The WaPo’s Robert McCartney has a piece on the travails facing, and self-inflicted wounds affecting, Virginia Republicans. It covers little new ground, though McCartney adds Mark Obenshain’s concession in the AG race to the list of horribles.
But then McCartney begins to quote former Rep. Tom Davis:
Republican Tom Davis, a former U.S. congressman from Fairfax, said the 2013 election “should be a wake-up call” for his party. He blamed its right wing for insisting on a convention that nominated candidates who couldn’t appeal to moderates.
“It was a rebuke of the Republicans,” Davis said. “They lost it because they have a very exclusionary process for recruiting candidates. They do not understand the changing demographics of the state, and they’re not talking about issues that people care about.”
Davis has said this before, with slight variations in tone, for some time. But let’s just peel back the onion a bit on Mr. Davis, shall we?
Recall, if you will, the amazement that swept the Republican convention last spring when then-lieutenant governor candidate Jeannemarie Davis, eliminated in the first round of voting for the nomination, threw her support behind E.W. Jackson. For those of us there to observer and report, that was astounding.
At the time, someone told me this was classic Jeannemarie. If she couldn’t have the nomination, she would make sure the eventual nominee would fall in November. I dismissed this at the time as being too bloody-minded.
After the election, Mr. Davis and a few others decided it was time to pick a fight with the tea party. Davis tried to walk back his statements, though our own Shaun Kenney poured boiling oil all over the attempt:
Shaun Kenney, a member of the board of directors at Bearing Drift, the leading Virginia blog on conservative politics, told Breitbart News that Davis’s claims that his efforts are not anti-Tea Party should be taken with a grain of salt. “The rumor here is that between Lieutenant Governor Bolling and former Congressman Davis, there’s one million dollars being collected to knock off Republican Party of Virginia Congressional District chairmen,” he said. “That’s not an anti-Tea Party effort, that’s an anti-conservative effort.”
According to Kenney, such an effort “is very much addition by subtraction. If they subtract the conservatives, they believe they will have the latitude to expand the base.”
Now there’s a story for Mr. McCartney.
But here’s another one…
Last month, a reader told me that Tom Davis had told him — and others — that the reason he and Mrs. Davis got behind Jackson had nothing to do with party unity. Rather, “it was our way of giving the finger to the party.”
Davis has every right to criticize the GOP. He has every right to put his time, talent and resources to work in seeking to change how it operates and in advocating for the candidates he believes can win.
But now you have a little more context for his actions.