For those of you not familiar with the intricacies of the battle between the “establishment” and the “insurgents” in the Republican Party of Virginia, here’s a brief summary…
The 2013 campaign for the Republican nomination for Governor was short-circuited when Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling chose not to run. He was preparing for a primary, but in 2012 the Republican State Central Committee chose to make the nomination process a convention (reversing a previous decision). Bolling’s decision to drop out handed the nomination to Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who went on to lose to Democrat Terry McAuliffe.
Bolling supporters and most moderates in the party are convinced that the switch to the convention was dirty pool on the part of Cuccinelli’s supporters. They are also convinced that Bolling could have defeated McAuliffe. They have responded by taking revenge on the “insurgents” or “Tea Party folks” by using the rules of convention calls to exclude those who they do not know or trust from the conventions (the process is known as “slating” – in effect, voting for only their “slate” of delegates to be allowed). It is within the rules, but considered very bad form, and the victims are furious at the “establishment.”
Folks in the party are taking sides, but I am not. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a pox on both houses.
Why I have no sympathy for the “establishment”: Given the actual events of 2013, I can’t help thinking that the entire Bolling campaign for Governor was just a cover for the tax hike (Plan ’13 From Outer Space). I’ll admit that probably isn’t entirely fair, but as just about every single Bolling supporter I know is arrogantly defending that piece of legislative drek, it’s more fair than the alternative. Moreover, the notion that Bolling could have done any better against Cuccinelli in a primary than in a convention completely baffles me. Had Bolling shown half the energy in 2013 that his backers are showing this year, he’d have won the nomination. Still, that’s not as important as the tax-hiking nonsense.
Why I have no sympathy for the “Tea Party folks”: They have spent far too much time flying their causes and issues into a mountain. To challenge Eric Cantor (whose support for the bank bailout is enough to open my mind to supporting a replacement), they endorsed an aide to Walter Stosch, tax-hiker extraordinaire, and then hurl invective at anyone who criticizes the move. In the 10th district, they have decided to throw everything including the kitchen sink at Barbara Comstock, who opposed Plan ’13 From Outer Space. Last year, they insisted that Ken Cuccinelli was the real deal, completely ignoring his appalling squishiness on the aforementioned Plan ’13. They have turned a revolt against higher taxes and spending into a conspiracy of personal vendettas that have done nothing to advance their cause.
In short, I’m being asked to take a side in “a Republican civil war” or “a battle for the soul of the party”…between a group of tax-hiking, big-government politicos on the one hand and a group of vengeful, incompetent fools on the other.
Sorry, but no dice. I will choose my endorsees based on the issues. As for the rest, I’m sitting it out until both sides begin to act like they deserve the power to govern. At this point, neither side does.