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Conservatives Opine on Susan Stimpson (and yes Virginia, she’s an establishment conservative)

Willie Deutsch is an avid pro-lifer and longtime anti-establishment warrior.  Staunch supporter of conservative stalwarts such as Delegate Bob Marshall.

So when he speaks his mind… conservatives ought to listen [1].

How does an anti-establishment person campaign throughout 2012 for George Allen, side-by-side with Bill Howell? Allen and Howell are two of the people that embody the VA political establishment!  Which one of Stimpson’s strong supporters would dream of supporting Allen, let alone doing it alongside Howell?

Now, maybe supporting Allen was a fluke in an otherwise impeccable anti-establishment record.  However, besides supporting Bolling and Cuccinelli, which practically everyone did, the only other party issue where I can find Stimpson on record is publicly supporting the removal of Jeff Frederick as party chairman in 2009.  Electing Jeff Frederick as party chairman was a major victory of the grassroots over the establishment.  Defending him from the instantaneous assault by the establishment was something the grassroots worked hard to do.  The fact that Stimpson publicly stood with the establishment as they ousted Frederick continues to fly in the face of what an anti-establishment activist would do.

While I can’t find public statements from Stimpson at the time, I have also heard from people involved in the 2008 U.S. Senate nomination contest that Stimpson described Bob Marshall as a “loon” who “wasn’t her brand of politics.”

This is Stimpson’s track record of whom she chooses to support or oppose within the party over the last five years.  While none of these positions need to be a  litmus test in and of themselves, this is not the track record of an anti-establishment candidate.  Instead it reflects the values of someone who supports the safe picks and does what is necessary to curry favor with party leaders.


The offending flyer?


Now this might not be such an incredible deal if not for several massive fielding errors: attacking Scott Lingamfelter for taking money from Bill Howell (Lingamfelter took money from the House Republican Caucus as a delegate), claiming that other candidates were the tool of Speaker Bill Howell, casting Stimpson as an “anti-establishment” dyed-in-the-wool conservative, and touting the “Stafford Miracle” that had more to do with federal government spending along the I-95 corridor lifting the local economy rather than any single supervisor on the Stafford BOS.

Then came the e-mails… source docs and all.

I won’t bore you with the details of those e-mails.  Stimpson deserves a great deal of credit for opposing the establishment of abortion clinics within Stafford County — rumors were wild about the potential location of one near the Stafford Courthouse area for some time, and Susan did indeed lead the charge to kill it.  Though pro-lifers may not immediately recognize Stimpson, she is definitely one of us.


Susan Stimpson at the pro-life rally at Capitol Square earlier this year

For those who know Susan, she is a consummate grassroots campaigner.  Her demeanor is calm; her 2009 campaigning style more like a steamroller rather than flight-of-fancy.

…which is what makes the 2013 lieutenant governor bid with it’s hypersensitivity, odd attacks against erstwhile allies such as Lingamfelter, Martin, JMDD, and others compounded by some baffling mistakes on the ground game just seem so much more amateurish than the polish folks in Stafford remember from her days as GOP chair.

So what gives?  I dunno… comparisons between Susan Stimpson and Jamie Radtke are in vogue, and given the reaction to critique the Radtke primary staff had back in 2012, the parallels are eerie indeed.  The long form response to the anonymous e-mails [4] was bush league campaigning at best, a total failure at Communications 101.

Charges that Stafford supervisor Cord Sterling was the author?  Have not only been vigorously denied, but in convincing fashion via e-mail to unlisted subscribers by Supervisor Sterling himself:

Although, as I stated before, I did not draft the document–If you think that I did draft it, and if as Russ (Moulton) indicates you would like to debate the author, then we can certainly have a debate–I am certainly not afraid to debate the issues.
So, as i see it, we have three options:
1) you retract the accusation that i drafted this document and apologize
2) you bring this up at the Board meeting on tuesday and put forward a motion to censure me for attacking you and we debate the provenance and accuracy of this document, or
3) i publicly defend myself (not knowing who you have also made these accusations to) in order to correct any misperceptions of my character
Please let me know which option you would like to pursue
I am including members of our board since the accusations against me were made to a member of another board and I have no idea who else.

This is sadly typical of campaigns attached to Ron Paul supporters who are more emotion than intelligence.  The smart ones shake their heads; the newbies double down on the invective.  As I’m sure they will (see comments section below).

Of course, since our Founding Fathers are only saints insofar as they agree with Ron Paul, let me leave you with a quote the Founders would have recognized: Aquila non captat muscas — or in English, “the eagle does not swat at flies” — good advice for politicians, statesmen, campaign staffers, and volunteers.

* * *

I’ll end with this.  I consider Susan Stimpson to be one of the finer candidates in the race.  Certainly I have very good friends supporting her.  I am not convinced that recasting Susan Stimpson as an anti-establishment Ron Paul crusader was or is wise, much less in Susan’s character.  Stimpson is much more of a bridge builder than certain folks are allowing her to be.

So if there is criticism implied here, it is with those who are staffing her campaign and them alone.

As for Susan Stimpon’s record and past, it’s all true — every inch of it.  Stimpson is an entrenched supporter of Speaker Bill Howell, a fine conservative, a good pro-lifer, and yes — an establishment conservative with a record that backs it up.  Susan is not cast in the mold of the Ron Paul liberty movement.  Susan is a bridge builder who worked very well with my former boss, Ed Gillespie.  Like most supervisors in a down economy, Susan has had to take some tough votes… but given the hand she was dealt, she has done well working in coalition with other supervisors not as conservative as herself.  Did she lead the Stafford BOS to this record?  Probably not… but would it have happened without her?  Probably not.  Does she have the legislative experience of say, Lingamfelter or Martin or even PWC Chairman Corey Stewart or JMDD?  Probably not.  Does she have the executive experience in the private sector that Pete Snyder or E.W. Jackson have?  Probably not.  But is she a conservative?  Unequivocally.

Why others cannot accept this record whole?   Boggles.  My.  Mind.

It’s not what Ron Paul supporters want to hear.  It’s not what her campaign staff want to portray her as.  But this is the Susan Stimpson I know… and folks should make up their mind accordingly.  Good on Willie Deutsch for opening up the conversation.

DISCLAIMER:  For the record, I happen to like Speaker Bill Howell too.   Sue me.