Gruber’s win shows that status quo conservatives are sitting on the sidelines

Interesting news out of the 7th Congressional District today: Fred Gruber is now the party chairman, defeating Linwood Cobb.

Steve Albertson has the blow-by-blow.

But what does it mean?

As far as GOP politics goes, this is a pretty significant refutation of the status quo. Gruber, who has a propensity to speak first before thinking, by all counts, should have never defeated the well-respected Cobb.

Cobb had built the 7th into somewhat of a juggernaut. And, it’s obviously the home-base for Majority Leader Eric Cantor. So, today’s results have to leave some scratching (or hanging) their heads.

But is it really any surprise?

This has been at least two years in the making (if not longer).

Those tired of the status quo won seats on the GOP’s state committee two years ago, with a lot of help from then Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. They then changed the rules to have a convention instead of a primary to nominate state candidates in 2013. That convention gave us Cuccinelli/Jackson/ Obenshain – a truly conservative ticket. Then, in 2014, Curtis Colgate was elected chairman of the 2CD (this is still to be determined), Chris Stearns was re-elected in the 3CD, and Gruber in the 7CD – all facing strong headwinds from Young Guns Virginia PAC.

Why the success? Because what we’ve seen is an enthusiasm gap.

Except for early in the process in Virginia Beach and Richmond, liberty-minded conservatives in the 2nd, 3rd, and 7th, stood up to resist parliamentary maneuvering that was meant to limit their success.

After initially being caught napping, in each district, loyal and motivated supporters showed up when it mattered to hold Republican elected leadership accountable for straying from core Republican principles, such as fiscal responsibility and limited government.

However, there remains a schism among conservatives as to the best approach to advancing the cause: is it more effective and electorally successful to nominate candidates who prefer a steady and gradual change in our governance or is the GOP destined to have a more radical party where the nominees are prepared to overhaul government on behalf of those who can’t wait any longer?

If the past two years, and especially the last few weeks, are any indication, those with a revolutionary spirit remain alive and well within Virginia. And, if today’s win doesn’t get the attention of conservatives who want their party to move forward yard-by-yard instead of with a “Hail Mary” pass, nothing will.

The bottom-line: money and parliamentary procedures are not enough to win the heart and soul of the party. It takes heart and soul too.

  • David McKissack

    “…conservatives who want their party to move forward yard-by-yard instead of with a “Hail Mary” pass…”

    At this point, I’d settle for a quarterback who can call the plays in a loud, uncertain voice, and a defense that can blitz fearlessly when needed.

    • Warmac9999

      Yard by yard has led the Republican Party backward. Ronald Reagan painted in bold colors because he understood that you cannot inspire by constantly nibbling at the margins.

      • Reagan was a yard-by-yard guy.

        • Samuel E Morrison

          Those who don’t want to go yard by yard are just too ignorant and/or stupid to realize that with an organization as large as our government, yard by yard is the only way to actually succeed instead of make things worse.

          The law of unintended consequences is real and most Tea Partiers and Ron Paul supporters seem to think they are capable of pulling off Obamacare level transformations successfully in spite of their contention that the government is too incompetent to find its way out of a paper bag. Epic logic fail on all counts.

          • Britt Howard

            Guys….there is nothing wrong with steady improvement. The we have been LOSING ground at a continual rate. Enthusiasm gap? The Establishment is creating our enthusiasm and creating NEW members for us just by continuing in their big government ways and screwing things up. This is backlash for bad behavior and our enthusiasm and the apathy of traditional establishment is born of that. Our side is growing and I urge the elitist establishment swallow their steroid driven pride and work with us rather than declare war on your own party factions. Spend this much effort against the Democrats!
            Do your job….or somebody will come along and do your job for you.

          • It’s hard to work with you all when you have unreasonable expectations for progress, zero tolerance for anything short of what you want to hear, and a hypocritical reaction to folks fighting back against you.

            I would like to win some races against Democrats and stop the ridiculous fighting against good Republicans.

          • kelley

            Brian, the title says it all. status quo conservatives sitting on sidelines. The folks over at The Bull Elephant are cheering. they love their conventions because everyone can voice an opinion (????). they love their constitutional conservatives, but don’t respect the courts when the court upholds the law or interprets the law which is a constitutional power. they love their “limited govt” representatives who want more govt intrusion into one’s bedroom.
            Kudos to you for continuing to dabble in Republican politics. Its no longer enough to fight the Dems, now we must wage war with each other.

          • Tyler Pieron

            Those who voted for Tea Party control of the 7th CD have no interest in actually
            electing Republicans. They would much rather be ‘right’ than in power. Personally, I would rather elect someone I agree with 80% of the time instead of someone I disagree with 95% of the time, which is the exact problem with have in VA today following the November
            election, which is a direct result of the convention process.

            But since there is a primary, the David Brat campaign, or his surrogates, have been inviting
            Democrats to come vote in the Republican Primary. It would appear the Tea Party
            is more interested in working against Republicans and the Republican Party, and
            by extension, perhaps unwittingly, with Obama and his allies, than ensuring victory in the general election.

          • Warmac9999

            It appears that the democrats are pulling off major transformations of America. And they are bold enough to ignore the Constitution and Rule of Law to do it.

          • Samuel E Morrison

            No, the Democrats are botching major transformations of America. Had Obamacare been successfully implemented and amnesty passed through Congress, then I would say they are pulling off something. As it stands now, they are just wildly meandering from one half-witted “fix” to the other. I’d very much prefer to avoid the Republicans trying to do the same things in reverse if they take power again. Undoing Obamacare without causing even more damage will likely be a more monumental task than what it would have taken to successfully implement it in the first place, at least in so far as successful implementation means according to the specifications in the law as opposed to actually helping our healthcare system.

          • Warmac9999

            You are assuming that tactical failures are not part of strategic intentions.

          • Samuel E Morrison

            It’s not an assumption. The ACA was based on Ezekiel Emanuel’s book, Health Care Guaranteed. These people seriously thought they could pull this off. And if you look at Obamacare purely as a set of mathematical equations meant to push key statistics and measures in a desirable definition, it is quite the perfect theoretical machine. But of course looking at it as such would be to completely divorce oneself from reality…IE the Democratic Party.

        • Warmac9999

          Reagan inspired by being a bold advocate for Republican principles. He had to govern by negotiation because he never had a majority of representatives to back him. However, his boldness caused the collapse of the Soviet Union, a major advance in the world of technology, the end of the Carter malaise, and much more. If this is yard-by-yard then give me more of it.

          • It is yard-by-yard. He was willing to compromise and get some of what he wanted, even if he couldn’t get it all. That’s why he was such a good president.

          • Turbocohen

            “Compromise for principle without compromising on principles.”

        • Richmond Republican

          Reagan was not a yard by yard guy. He was a transformative voice and candidate that also reflected and arose from a deep, deep belief that Washington had lost its way. Establishment types of all parties resisted his message and ultimately were overwhelmed when the people rose up. The same is happening now.

          • This is just not an accurate portrayal of his administration. There were no major, sea-changing policies enacted during his Administration. Yes, he was a transformative voice, but that was due to who he was and how he could inspire people.

            Ron Paul really didn’t like Reagan.

          • Is it really asking too much for folks to read a little Edmund Burke or John Adams?

            I’m not saying there should not be transformative conservative policies…but it has to be done with a strong popular wind at our back after an effective conversation to convince people that liberty, limited government, and personal responsibility in lieu of massive debt, being beholden to the state, and having every move regulated is the right course of action.

            Right now, that conversation is not making nearly enough headway…so it has to be done with tact and persuasion…not soaring and unattainable rhetoric with scant policy fixes.

          • Turbocohen

            THAT ^, JR, is a future BD post.

          • Richmond Republican

            This is certainly right in part. But the popular winds don’t just happen. They are created by those who can articulate compelling messages, but do so in way that build coalitions and ultimately a majority. Right now, it is very hard to identify anyone who is articulating powerful, coherent, convincing advocacy on behalf of liberty, limited government and personal responsibility.

          • I do not disagree with that at all. I don’t know…maybe the time really is coming to get off the blog and into the arena.

          • Downstater

            We had somebody that fit that description, Ken Cuccinelli, and we almost got him in, too. True, he didn’t win, but he was a serious candidate.

          • David McKissack

            “Right now, that conversation is not making nearly enough headway.”

            And that’s puzzling. Ed, Johnnie and Alma might not know Burke and the Adams, but after 5 years of being hurt by Democrat policies, wouldn’t they be interested in an “effective conversation” on those policies? Or is their alleged suffering just spin from conservative talking heads?

            I’m asking seriously, because I’m hearing little from our side about it, though it seems like a great opportunity. Is our side waiting until summer to open this conversation and nationalize the 2014 elections? Or do we deem it a loser?

          • Richmond Republican

            Reagan’s campaigns of ’76 and ’80 were not about trying to pick up a yard or two here or there. He was a bold, articulate campaigner who sought major changes in policies and who fundamentally mocked and disdained the role of the federal government. And to say he did not enact sea-changing policies is not accurate. Now, it may be that his policies would not satisfy many in the tea party today, but that is a different issue. Also, he was an embracing, encompassing, inclusive politician, mostly, and that, too, distinguishes him from many today.

          • Reagan was a coalition builder, but also a shrewd politician. He spoke of bold strokes and bright pastels, but his policy was still rather pragmatic. I have no issue with talking the big game and motivating people to big wins, but living in reality is important too.

          • Jim McGuire

            Reagan talked like a transformative president, but he governed in a more nuanced fashion. Look at his choices for White House Chief of Staff – James Baker, Donald Regan, Howard Baker, Ken Duberstein. Not a right wing guy in the bunch. Reagan was much more of a pragmatist than some on the right today think he was.

          • Richmond Republican

            A lot of this is true, especially on social issues where there was a lot of concern expressed on the right that he was not moving social issues quickly enough. On economic policies, at least until ’86, he fundamentally changed the equation with his great tax policies that he got enacted; he was likewise bold in his defense and foreign policies. On the legal front, Ed Meese (and Smith) was as conservative as they come and he unleashed a generation of conservative lawyers and judges that truly shaped a lot of things for more than a decade. Same on environmental issues with Watt. The second term was much more nuanced but a lot of the bold policies had been implemented, and he was burdened then by Iran Contra. But, on one critical point we agree, Reagan recognized he had to persuade and build coalitions and majorities to be successful, and he did. Better than any Republican leader in the past half century.

        • By necessity. Since 1994 the GOP has had a far better position then they ever did under Reagan. When you control the House, Senate, and Presidency ( and have a good chance to do so again in the future) people expect results, not the same old excuses of several decades ago.

          • And had we not had 9/11 and two wars, they would have gotten more results. They got plenty of results as it was.

            That’s the problem. The Democrats have done such a good job of attacking Bush and the Republican Majorities that our own side has bought their arguments hook, line and sinker.

          • The, “our side is too stupid to know what’s good for them”, argument doesn’t tend to win you many votes.

          • It’s not a question of our side being too stupid, it’s that our side has bought the arguments from the other side. That’s not a question of stupidity, just a question of repetition. We’ve had it thrown at us for a decade now that George W. Bush and his Administration and the Republican majorities in that time period were awful. I can’t fault people for believing it’s true when they rarely heard the opposite in that time period.

          • Oh, I don’t think they were awful, I just think they spent a bunch of money they didn’t have to on domestic projects unconnected with the War on Terror.
            Democrats no doubt would’ve spent more, and indeed in Obama’s first two years they proved they can.
            But since the GOP campaigns on cutting spending ( atleast fairly often) it is expected they actually cut spending *somewhere*
            But I’ll give Bush this, he did try to reform social security which likely would’ve actually reduced spending to a degree, cowards in the party ran away though.

          • I don’t recall Bush running on cutting spending. He ran on cutting taxes. The spending cut demands didn’t become a big deal until 2008-2009.

          • Jim McGuire

            There were Republican majorities, but with the exception of 1995-1996 (and since 2011 in the House) not socially and fiscally conservative majorities. Plus, George W. Bush wasn’t all that fiscally conservative. I still think you can make a good case that John McCain was the fiscal conservative choice in 2000. Bush fans don’t want to hear it, but it’s true.

  • Turbocohen

    Liberty bells be ringin..

  • Lady_Penguin

    The “move the party forward yard-by-yard” isn’t working out too well if this country is to actually have a distinct and separate political party representing almost everything that seems to be an anathema to the Democrat party.

    • Patrick Murphy

      Wait. Are you saying the entire point of the Republican Party is to be opposite of the Democrat Party?

      • Lady_Penguin

        The Republican Creed is absolutely different from the Democrats. Maybe there are a few similar so-called principles which is lip service on the Dems part, but in principle and platform they should be different.
        Last I heard, Democrats deleted all references to God at their 2012 presidential platform and I can’t name one thing they do that is seeded from a moral approach.

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  • louexis

    The best example of Liberty seeking Conservatives is Cliven Bundy. The only difference between Bundy and the “Tea Party” is the intensity. At the extreme it would lead to anarchy or totalatism.

    • Patrick Murphy

      You’re going to uphold a guy who decided to pocket millions of dollars in profit because he didn’t want to pay legal grazing fees and ignored legitimate court decisions as a paragon of “Liberty-seeking” conservatism?

      • louexis

        I think Bundy is a piece of crap. Did you feel he was a hero for defying the government before you found out he also was a racist?

        • Patrick Murphy

          Okay, I completely agree and was just trying to understand your perspective.

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  • Downstater

    The establishment Republican party has hardly done anything about stopping Mark Herring’s initiatives in ignoring the Gen. Assembly and the VA Constitution both in siding with the plaintiff in the Gay marriage case AGAINST HIS OWN CLIENT, the Commonwealth of VA, and then again a few weeks ago, with the edict allowing illegal aliens to get in-state tuition, defying the state legislature. I think there was a fund raising letter once. That was it. No plans to put a stop to his unconstitutional actions.

    7th District Rep. Party rocks. I chose a party that represents my values. I do not chose a party and then change my values to fit its agenda.

  • BrianKirwin

    I just wonder which cause these certain conservative will work harder at – against Republicans in the House or against Democrats in the Senate.

  • F.R. Newbrough

    I don’t think this argument is being cast correctly. It isn’t an fight between a party mode that makes progress by the mile versus yard by yard but a party that consistently incrementally loses ground and behaves as if it is ashamed of traditional rock ribbed America values that built this nation. Its a battle against people who see Terry McAulliffe as more acceptable than Ken Cuccinelli. That see Hillary Clinton as more acceptable than Ted Cruz. While I don’t hate Eric Cantor(I’ve met him several times) and I’ve never met Linnwood Cobb we must not ignore the fact that Cantor and the GOP leadership have been provoking and thumbing their noses at conservatives in their posturing on amnesty, in their moves on the debt ceiling, and their mixed language on Obamacare and in their language suggesting that some how making the conservative limited government case is some how extreme. Yes the Tea Party has some unwashed impolite common men but the status quo GOP has plenty of whitewashed types raising the white flag who ask the left for permission and acceptance and even parrot their attacks to prop up their own vainity. It would be amusing if it wasn’t so sad to see individuals like those in the Cobb camp behaving as if they were just innocent victims when THEY gave power to the insurgents with their inability to keep a clear message on things like Immigration.

    Most in the Tea Party don’t oppose Immigration reform but they want border security and reform of legal immigration first before any talk about changing the status of illegal aliens and when the status quo GOP call that completely reasonable position racist what do they expect the grassroots to think? I’m sorry but its Cantor’s and Bolling’s who have created this mess. Both are good men who I’ve voted for in the past but they appear to have a problem identifying the enemy and it isn’t the Tea Party or conservatives who have given the GOP the biggest wins in its political history. It was conservatives that drove the Reagan revolution, it was conservatives that won the day in 1994, 2010, and hopefully again this year. No we don’t always get it right but when we are firing on all cylinders we win big and we actually gain ground against the progressive beast that is destroying what it means to be America. We don’t want to emulate the governments of Europe. We want a real fight for the heart and soul of America. We don’t want a world where we are called heartless simply because we believe in limited government and fiscal restraint. We don’t want a world where traditional families values are labeled bigotry and a politburo of political correctness silences speech and religion with abandon. We don’t want a world where a government body determines what size car we can drive, how much fuel we can use, how big our families can be, and how rich we can get. We don’t want a world where the only healthcare plan is the uncle sam free abortions for everyone plan. I’m sorry if some in the status quo just can’t get the idea of limited constitutional government but until they do they are going to find increasing angst and opposition from the heart and soul of the GOP which is the grassroots.

    • I wish anything in this post were accurate. If so, things would make sense. But, unfortunately, most of this is simply wrong.

      • Nick Bukowski

        What a refutation, Brian. Not a single word of substance…just “most of this is simply wrong”. Come on man. I think everything he said made a lot of sense and instead of at least providing evidence as to why you think anything he said is inaccurate, you just leave it at this 3rd grade argument? I’m actually embarrassed for you.

        • I have refuted this nonsense a couple thousand times. But hey, if you demand repetition, fine.

          1.) The GOP is not incrementally losing ground. We gained significant ground during the 2000-2006 time frame.

          2.) Nobody in the GOP is ashamed of American values, but I think there’s a wide variety of opinion as to what those values are.

          3.) The GOP leadership hasn’t been thumbing their noses at conservatives – they are conservatives. The debt ceiling fight the last time got us sequestration and the Budget Control Act. We didn’t fight on the debt ceiling this time because the GOP leadership didn’t want to risk any more damage to the economy, and it was clear the Democrats would be willing to let us go off the cliff to make a political point.

          4.) Nobody is proposing amnesty. There has been zero progress on immigration reform in the House. There isn’t even a drafted bill out there. It’s all just high level talking points.

          5.) There is no mixed language on Obamacare. The GOP leadership in the House has put up over 50 repeal Obamacare votes. How much more do we expect them to do?

          6.) Nobody is arguing that limited government is extreme. Some of the language from the far right and the libertarian wing about how limited they want government to be has been extreme. It’s a question of rhetoric, not philosophy.

          7.) Nobody is asking permission from the left for anything, and frankly I see as many attacks mirroring Alinsky tactics from the Tea Party as I do from anybody else.

          8.) Cobb didn’t lose because of lack of clear messaging.

          9.) Nobody, including Shaun or I, have called reform that includes strengthen border security and reform of legal immigration racist. We’ve said that those who refuse to do anything except deport every illegal are nativists.

          10.) Cantor and Bolling haven’t created anything. I think it’s clear that both men recognize threats when they see them, and both their biggest threats were internal, not external. They should simply ignore people who are gunning for them and their jobs just because those people happen to be Republicans? Why?

          11.) There were plenty of folks, including Democrats, who were responsible for the Reagan revolution. But that was also 30 years ago, and a lot of people’s memories don’t seem to be working very well about what exactly happened during Reagan’s yuears.

          12.) Nobody is destroying what it means to be America. The idea that Democrats or anybody else can destroy America is just ridiculous nonsense. Nobody can destroy this country, internally or externally.

          13.) You can believe in limited government fiscal restraint without being heartless, but there are a lot of folks who are heartless and happen to believe in both. They, unfortunately, give the rest of us a bad name.

          14.) Some of the things that are labeled “traditional family values” are, well, bigoted. That’s just the downside to the fact that not all of our traditions are good things.

          15.) Nobody in the GOP wants a government that can interfere in the day-to-day lives of the citizenry beyond what is absolutely necessary. That’s one area where we can agree, and Cantor and others have been fighting there.

          Finally, and most importantly, nobody is in favor of the status quo in the GOP. We want change. The question is how do we get that change. The first step is actually electing people to office who can effect that change. We don’t get that by throwing out folks like Linwood Cobb, who has long been the most effective district Chairman in Virginia. And you don’t get that by throwing out folks like Eric Cantor, who have been fighting for all the things you guys say you want because you’re having the wool pulled over your eyes by people playing backroom political games and wire pulling.

          • Downstater

            1. We are certainly losing ground now, we just lost our state to a carpetbagging governor bought and paid for by left-wing out of state elements, and now we have an AG who advocates for the OPPOSITE SIDE in a legal case against his client, the Commonwealth, and then embolded, turns around and decides that he is going to pass a law regarding illegal immigrants that the G.A. just decided not to pass, and the result is NO action out of the established Rep. party to counter it.

            2. Gay so-called marriage was never considered an Amerian Value until Biden shot his mouth off and Obama followed, and then most Dems. suddently “evolved”. Now, anyone who opposes is ridiculed, not just as being “uncool”, but as being a “hater” and all the other names.

            3. GOP leadership was with us, certainly Romney and Cuccinelli were, so not arguing on this one.

            4. Why do we even need comprehensive immigration reform at all? It is bad enough that our laws aren’t enforced, but okay, we now owe the illegals a “path to citizenship” Why? We were told that “it was essential to pass comprehensive immigration reform in 2013”, it didn’t pass, and the world didn’t collapse.

            (more responses later – you get the drift)

          • Elections are won and lost. We win some, we lose some. It’s not just the party, but it’s also about the candidates we nominate. As for the AG, there’s not much we can do to stop him other than ensure he doesn’t get reelected.

            We need comprehensive immigration reform because the system right now doesn’t work, it encourages more illegal immigration, and it undermines the rule of law when we have laws being broken that aren’t being enforced. The longer it hangs out there, the more damage it causes.

    • Downstater

      Well said, Cantor/Bolling, etc, are vilifying those of us who actually were niave enough to believe that our elected representatives were supposed to uphold the state constitution. Today, I received an email from Pat Mullins asking me to sign something to stop Mark Herring and with it a request for funds, but no mention of what specific action was being considered. This was actually the first communication from the PPV since Herring decided that the Gen. Assembly didn’t matter and he was just going to pass his own laws.

  • Arlingtonvirginia
    • Arlingtonvirginia

      Not apparently not enough abortion in va for mcawful. Must lower safety standards .. Because abortions should be as close to back alley as possible

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