Kenney’s honeymoon ends amid squawking from the nattering nabobs of nativism
Knowing Shaun Kenney as well as I do, I was surprised that his honeymoon as the new RPV Executive Director even lasted more than a few hours. Never one to shy away from fights that need fighting, Kenney hit the ground running on April 2 and hasn’t looked back. In addition to announcing a $25,000 donation from Ken Cuccinelli to RPV (one that I hope is followed by checks from other former statewide candidates), Shaun has demonstrated that one of his best attributes hasn’t left him as he’s transitioned back to RPV – a willingness to listen.
So when a group of hard left liberals came to RPV’s doorstep promoting their “Fast for Families” campaign, Shaun didn’t do what I would expect from many other statewide Republican or Democratic Party operations when confronted with a group of people hostile to your stance on their issue. Instead of turning them away, calling the police or having them meet with an intern, he did what he does best – he sat down with them and he listened.
One thing that I’ve learned in my decade plus in politics, especially since I often find myself working as the lone Republican in overwhelmingly Democratic circles, is the power of just being a willing listener. Even when you can’t, won’t or shouldn’t agree with someone’s views on an issue, simply demonstrating the willingness to sit down and have a dialogue can work wonders. I applaud Shaun for not turning these folks away and actually sitting down with them.
Of course, by actually doing that, he sent the nativists in the party into high orbit.
Enter first, our old favorite race baiter and Bearing Drift defamer Greg Letiecq. After taking time out of his busy schedule working for Bob Marshall and others, he wrote his first blog post in almost a month accusing Kenney of being part of some kind of conspiracy with Ed Gillespie to support blanket amnesty for illegal immigration. Despite the fact that this is clearly insane, Greg seems to believe it. It’s nothing unexpected – in fact, it’s typical from those in the nativist community. Kenney sits down with people who disagree with Republicans and treats them with respect, and we’re mere moments from the end of the world as we know it.
To paraphrase Sigmund Freud – sometimes a meeting is just a meeting.
And, of course, since Pete wrote on the issue, you can guarantee Repeat will follow him. The Bull Elephant, in another of their soon-to-be-Pulitzer-prize winning pieces, decided to graft all of Shaun Kenney’s writings and political stances onto RPV as a result of this meeting. You know, because when somebody is hired somewhere, the organization takes on all of that employee’s stances, rather than the other way around. Despite the fact that anybody who has even remote passing knowledge of RPV realizes that State Central, not the party’s Executive Director, set policies for RPV, that didn’t stop the Bull Elephant crew from spewing out more random hate supported by nothing more than very thin, poorly reasoned air. And, of course, we also got our dose of the Texas view on Virginia politics from Sara James, who at least was kind enough to credit Bearing Drift when she ripped off our photo.
Clearly, based on the caliber of the people criticizing Shaun, he’s done the right thing here. Regardless of where they stand on the immigration issue, there is no reason why Republicans can’t sit down and listen to either side in this debate. I would expect Shaun to sit down with Greg and Jeanine and the rest of their klan if they decide to show up at RPV and want to meet with him. That’s part of his job, after all.
There is nothing wrong with sitting down and listening to people, even if you disagree with them. For somebody in Shaun’s position, it’s the least he could do.
Keep up the good work, Mr. Kenney.