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Saxman: The ‘R’ Word

Virginia FREE Friday at Noon – this week’s Zoom guest is Glenn Youngkin. Join us by clicking on this link! [1]

Back in the 2008 General Assembly Session, Delegate Chuck Caputo put in a bill (HB760) to replace the term “mentally retarded” with “intellectually disabled” in the Code of Virginia. [2] That means that every time the Code read “mentally retarded” that would be changed to read “intellectually disabled.”

It was a legal definition change and it passed with only one negative vote.

This week the Republican Party of Virginia displayed, once again, their complete intellectual disability to do their primary (see what I did there?) job which is to set up the process to nominate their candidates for office. In this case, or cases, the three statewide offices of Governor, Lt. Governor, and Attorney General.

Just about every state House GOP nomination this year is being decided by primaries. But I digress….

Final resolution was to be determined during Tuesday night’s State Central Committee meeting. Again, it took RPV several hours to eventually decide that they would, in fact, have a convention to nominate their candidates to face the Democrats in the November elections.

In order to be a convention delegate, one has to attend a local Republican committee meeting and be voted on by that local committee. One actually has to register to be able to ask permission and then be approved to attend the convention. Heaven help one if someone raises an objection or challenges one on the grounds of being insufficiently Republican.

Sure, you can cite their Creed [3] verbatim but you better be prepared for an inquisition nonetheless.

Monty Python captures the process pretty well in their movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail:

THEN if one happens to be approved to be a delegate for the 2021 Republican Party of Virginia Convention, one gets to drive, presumably, to Lynchburg (probably) and spend the entire day sitting in a parking lot in order to cast one’s vote via Ranked Choice Voting.

With me so far?

One has to attend a meeting where one is approved to be allowed to attend another meeting which takes place in the middle of the Commonwealth where one is then given an actual ballot on which one RANKS one’s preferences for the three statewide offices.

Oh so one ballot and then go home? Umm….

The Convention shall nominate one candidate each for Governor of Virginia, Lieutenant Governor of Virginia and Attorney General of Virginia by majority vote determined, in the case of nominations sought by more than two candidates, otherwise qualified and properly filed, by ranked choice voting.

Majority vote via Ranked Choice Voting? Anyone know how to square that circle?

Not on one ballot with six candidates you don’t.

Shaun Kenney, former Executive Director of RPV, recently conducted a Ranked Choice Vote online poll.

Click here for results [4].

But wait! There’s more.

At that convention, one will be allowed to hear speeches from all the candidates. From the Call:

Convention proceedings shall be broadcast in such a manner or manners as to allow delegates and the public to observe them by radio and/or over the Internet.

Currently, there are fourteen declared candidates for the three statewide offices. At ten minutes per speech, that’s 140 minutes without breaks or transitions.

HOWEVER, one is also subject to being verified as a Republican by the Credentials Committee which is made up of people one will have likely never met. These guardians of the realm, mainly campaign operatives, sift through your voting history to make sure you have never voted in anything but a Republican nominating election in the past.

See, that’s why one registers at the local meeting. One goes on a special list to have one’s voting record scoured for potential reasons to challenge one’s desirability to participate in the convention vote(s).

What these people are preventing is someone from going to one meeting, spending several hours there to be approved to drive to another meeting several more hours away then spending several more hours there to then maybe be allowed to vote and then spend several more hours driving home.

BUT just to make sure, RPV placed in their Official Call of the Convention:

All legal and qualified voters under the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia, regardless of race, religion, national origin or sex, who are in accord with the principles of the Republican Party and who, if requested, express in open meeting either orally or in writing as may be required, their intent to support all of its nominees for public office in the ensuing election, may participate as members of the Republican Party of Virginia in its mass meetings, party canvasses, conventions or primaries encompassing their respective election districts.

Yes, a loyalty oath! (And don’t get me started on what Republicans consider to be their principles these days.)

Meaning no matter who the candidate the Republicans nominate, one is duty bound to support that candidate regardless of intellectual ability or medication level.

Why? Because they need to make sure one is not just a Republican In Name Only, one has to show commitment and dedication to being Republican.

Meaning that if one has only recently voted for a Republican because one likes Donald Trump or saw something in other parties that one finds objectionable, one is still open to being refused a ballot after having gone through this entire process up to now.

(I don’t think RPV is quite aware that Republicans currently place third at 25% self identification in a two party state far behind Democrats (38%) and Independents at 34%. Think about that – Independents are second and have neither candidates nor a party.)

While all of this is going on, various committees will be meeting to create the Rules of the Convention and write up resolutions from the Resolutions Committee on all manner of policy. The Rules and Resolutions are then – presumably – voted on by the Convention delegates who have been approved by the Credentials Committee.

All of this takes HOURS to pull off inside a building in which everyone is organized geographically and sitting next to each other.

Have I mentioned that the Republican Party of Virginia knows that they are doing this during a pandemic?

Sorry, I’m being presumptuous. I cannot verify that they know this collectively.

To make it easy on everyone involved, they decided to hold this convention on a weekend so that folks would have enough time to drive to Lynchburg to participate in this all day event.

Wait, why Lynchburg?

Sorry again.

They decided to have the convention at Liberty University because they can use the University parking lots for the convention since they can’t actually rent a building due to the “pandemic” and it’s related public health restrictions.

AH. Good plan. Find a big parking lot and book it!

BUT the State Central Committee forgot to get Liberty’s actual permission to have thousands of people in their cars show up on May 8th.

Richmond Times Dispatch reports [5] that one RPV State Central member said:

“We do have approval from Liberty,” he said in the meeting. “We certainly would not have proposed it if we did not have their authorization to do so.”

But ya did. Which puts the Official Call in legal jeopardy.

Here’s why it’s important to get the terminology right.

Is RPV :

A) “intellectually disabled”

B) flat out lying

C) both A and B.

Well, Liberty released a statement saying it

has not agreed to any particular plan or contract

but that

excess parking lots in retail centers controlled by Liberty University have been leased for years to carnivals, circuses, car dealerships, and the like.

Well, let’s break that down.

Republicans are probably not going to sell automobiles or are they going to have a carnival given it’s approximation to the two week bacchanalia that precedes Lent. Not on Liberty’s campus! Carnival is WAY too Catholic.

Wait a minute…did Liberty University just rebrand the Republican Party of Virginia to the Republican Circus of Virginia?

Well played, Liberty. Well played indeed.

William Shakespeare wrote in Romeo and Juliet:

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose/By any other name would smell as sweet.

Circus. Raging dumpster fire. Charlie Foxtrot.

Names and words really don’t matter when the definition is universally known and shared.

And this one stinks to high heaven.

Is it any wonder why fewer and fewer people don’t want to be associated with the “R” word and prefer to be just I?

P.S. Former Congressman Denver Riggleman called me after Tuesday’s vote. He was down in Orlando at Disney enjoying some family time. He’s still very much interested in running for Governor as an Independent. Oh by the way…

Chris Saxman represented the 20th District in the Virginia House of Delegates from 2002-10. A businessman and active member of the community, he is Executive Director of Virginia FREE, a non-partisan, non-profit that informs the business community in order to advance free enterprise and responsible, pro-business government. Join Virginia FREE by clicking here [6]. Chris and his wife Michele live in Richmond.