photo credit- Warner Brothers
I have a confession to make. I just don’t understand the Washington Post. In this day and age, you can about count on getting the Washington Post to talk about the infighting in the Republican Party of Virginia  once a week. But there is a flaw I continue to keep seeing.
Basically to summarize the article, Russ Moulton sent out an email to his fellow members of the Conservative Fellowship of the State Central Committee at RPV, basically saying they need to raise $30,000 to keep the doors open at RPV. In his opinion, RPV has to raise this much money so that we can continue to operate without the “consultant class.”
“We must urgently raise $30k by end of March to keep our new, leaner RPV running,” Moulton wrote of the party….. “If we want a truly financially-independent, grass roots, principled RPV — free from the usual consultant-style bullying, threats, manipulation and control by elected officials — we MUST step up and raise this bare minimum cash flow.”
The article continues to talk about how after Eric Cantor was defeated last year, and that the money has evaporated from RPV. Now, it’s a fact that a lot of the money RPV received in the past came from Eric, but that’s not the issue. It’s easy to fill column inches with blaming everything on Eric Cantor leaving the party (which is funny, Eric hasn’t left . But that’s not the problem WAPO. The problem within is not Eric Cantor, nor is it John Whitbeck, it’s State Central.
I definitely agree with my friend Linwood Cobb, former 7th District Chair, who had this to say:
“The state party has moved well to the right of where most Republicans are,” …..“A lot of Republicans still donate to individual candidates, but they’re certainly not going to support a party that’s going in a direction they don’t agree with.”
If RPV wants to find out where its problem lies, it’s not in Eric Cantor, the problem is ROI. When I was at Ferrum College I studied Business Management, and I had a professor there that taught Business Retail Management. He was a country salesman with an MBA and he had the thickest Appalachian accent in the world. When he was teaching us how to write Business Plans he made sure to beat into our heads: “Now yall, EVERYTHING is about your Return on Investment for your Investors.”
What the business community currently sees is party disarray, and I don’t blame them for keeping their money. The party is $200,000 in debt and only has $252 in the bank, according to the aforementioned Washington Post article. To be honest, writing RPV a check right now would be like writing Clark Griswold a check so he can gamble at Caesar’s Palace in the movie Vegas Vacation. Simply put, I have ZERO faith in the leadership of the State Central Committee right now to spend money wisely. Donors are likely saying: “All RPV seems to be doing is eating their young, why would we waste our money?” I would much rather write a check to the people/candidates/PACs I know will spend my money wisely.
Businesses, Donors, and Activists look for a Return on Investment for giving money to political causes. Donors are a lot like investors to a political cause or a candidate. I occasionally donate to a candidate, so you could consider myself an investor. I want to see that my money is spent advancing the policy ideas that I agree with. I want a candidate who supports the coal industry, believes in the 2nd Amendment, and has a Free-Market economic worldview. I don’t want you to spend my money dividing people, or bad mouthing every single person who doesn’t agree with you. I just want the candidate or political cause to advocate for my beliefs, no need in demonizing others in the process.
The Donor class looks at it the EXACT same way, but on a much larger view. They want to see Return on Investment, not infighting. If all we can do is fight each other, while our candidates go to lose elections because the spend primary (or convention) season running to see who can get to the right of each other, I don’t blame donors for not investing. We not only have to win elections, but we have to have the ability to govern. And right now, it doesn’t matter if the candidate is “Establishment” or “Grassroots,” we are having a lot of issues with winning.
John Whitbeck and State Central Committee can turn the tide if they do a couple of things. The first thing that can be done is pick a great Finance Chair who has close ties to the NOVA business community and speaks the “Love Language” of Political Donors. CHECK! This goal is now complete, State Central can pat themselves on the back for this one. Pete Snyder knows exactly what he’s talking about when it comes to the business community. Long before he ever ran for office, he knew how to run a business, and how to look for Return on Investment to his customers.
Second, Calm down the infighting. Look, I get it, we are gonna fight, and families fight each other. As my Baptist Deacon Father says it best: “Son, no matter what organization you are in, there will be people who you disagree with.” And that’s okay, but we are in trouble here people. It’s high time we stop looking for ways to disagree and time we start looking to agree. Donors see the infighting going on, and they want no part of it. Trust me, they don’t want to be anywhere near this infighting, it looks bad for business. I like the fact that John Whitbeck campaigned for State Party Chairman on the campaign slogan “#RepublicanFirst ,” and RPV definitely needs the #RepublicanFirst motto right now.
Lastly, work together. Lets stop name calling and start solving the problem. I’m guilty as the rest of us to name call, but let’s work together. We don’t have to always agree but let’s work together to elect our fellow Republicans. Because trust me, if you have a Glenn Beck moment and stay home during 2016 because the nominee is not “conservative enough for you;” trust me, President Hillary Rodham Clinton (oh God, now I’m nauseous at the thought of that) will make sure that NONE of our common shared conservative beliefs will be fought for.
I live in Roanoke County, and my Magisterial District Chair (who is also in the Conservative Fellowship of the State Central Committee) is Gene Rose. Now Gene and I disagree on about everything when it comes to the Republican Party. He liked E.W, Jackson in 2013, I was all in on Team Pete Snyder. He supported Shak Hill, and I supported Ed Gillespie. We disagree on a lot.
But, we both put aside various disagreements to help out Republicans no matter the situation. Gene and I both put a lot of man hours into Gillespie’s campaign last year because we believed deep down if Mark Warner got re-elected, Mark wouldn’t have listened to either of our points of view.
The best thing to do is end by saying this. It’s hard to keep a political party afloat in an electoral environment where outside groups exist and the GOP has serious infighting issues. But trust me, I would much rather work with the Conservative Fellowship folks and elect Conservative Republicans than have liberal Democrats. Let’s work together to solve the problems necessary and give donors the ROI they need to invest in the party.