The Republican Party of Virginia’s State Central Committee is meeting on Saturday for its last regularly scheduled meeting prior to the November 4 election. Unfortunately for a lot of Republicans in Virginia, there is one major thing missing from the agenda at that meeting, and a couple of things on it that shouldn’t be.
As I noted earlier last week, Bob FitzSimmonds’ cynical attempt to cling to power should have been stopped tomorrow by State Central by firing and replacing him. That isn’t going to happen, unfortunately. But what is an even bigger issue is that State Central is going to spend a lot of time arguing over three different appeals of Mass Meetings/Conventions from earlier this year.
That’s right, folks. In the middle of a major federal Senate campaign, and where we have two major open seat races for our Congressional delegation, RPV’s State Central Committee will be taking their eye off the ball – electing Republicans – and continuing the circular firing squad we’ve seen throughout this year. Instead of addressing legitimate concerns, lack the like of a coordinated Victory operation in Virginia this year, SCC is going to be deciding who gets to be Second District Chairman and the results of the mass meeting in Fauquier and Campbell County’s canvass.
Welcome to the era of Virginia’s new political establishment – it’s not about electing Republicans, it’s about internal power struggles and glorified arguments over parliamentary procedure.
Despite what you may have read on the new establishment’s propaganda organ, there is no reason why the drama around slating couldn’t have been postponed until after the real business of the party is over. It was and still is well within State Central’s authority to ask that these appeals be postponed until after the November election.
A postponement of the unrelenting internecine nonsense isn’t unprecedented, either. In 2006, appeals from the 10th District as well as from the 3rd District were delayed until after the election to keep attention focused on the Senate race.
Yet despite the fact that we have competitive races in a variety of places and two open seat races that we need to win to maintain the existing balance of power in our Congressional delegation, we see constant attempts like this one and this one to whip the grassroots into high dudgeon about these internal power struggles. There’s no good reason for it.
You may have noticed that Bearing Drift hasn’t run a lot of stories on slating since the end of the convention season. You may also have noticed that other blogs have run a steady drip of stories (there’s even one this morning discussing yet another conspiracy theory) on these internal issues, as well. This isn’t a coincidence. Despite the fact that we’ve got the best connections to RPV in the Virginia blogosphere, we haven’t been pushing these stories for a reason – they take the focus of the party and the grassroots off where it should be and put it where it shouldn’t be – manufactured internal drama devoid of any real consequence.
If the SCC is committed to supporting our candidates and winning elections, they will do the right thing and ask that all of these appeals be postponed until after the November election. If they don’t do that, they’re going to be essentially telling Ed Gillespie, Barbara Comstock, Dave Brat and the rest of our federal candidates that internal politics matters more to them than winning elections.
I am tired of the constant internal party bickering. Not only is it unseemly to watch grown men and women running around screaming “he’s a Democrat!” at everybody in a meeting they don’t recognize, it’s no way to grow a party that is in desperate need of bringing in new members and persuading those in the center who agree with us on many issues to cast their ballots for our candidates. Nor is the middle of an election season the proper time to be dealing with these types of issues. We can start these discussions in December, and give the party and the grassroots time to win a big victory that will (hopefully) help heal some of the self-inflicted wounds from 2014.
State Central has a choice – they can be statesmen and women and do the right thing, or they can continue playing games and making 2014 stick out as one of the most farcical years in Virginia Republican political history.
I wish I was more confident that they’d get it right.