January 27, 2009
Almost anyone who has been involved in politics for a while has come across someone like Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich: young, charismatic, slick, ambitious, and without an ethical bone in his (or her) body. As the Illinois Senate begins the impeachment trial of Gov. Rod Blagojevich, the main question is, How far will he go to hang on to his job in the governor's mansion? Can he still redeem the bright and shining future that until recently lay before him, or is it too late?
So far, it seems that Blagojevich is pulling out all the stops, going on a PR offensive and pretending to be the one true champion of the hard-working little guy, standing up against the Evil Establishment. (If Barack Obama had that much "audacity," he could rescue the American economy by noon tomorrow! ) "Blago" is simply too much to be parodied. His decision to go on the TV talk show circuit rather than appearing at his own State Senate trial may create such a circus atmosphere that his conviction and removal from office may be held up for a few days, but it won't change the outcome. Blagojevich's deluded state of mind -- comparing himself to Gandhi and other martyrs -- elicited widespread ridicule, and Chicago Mayor Daley simply said "Cuck-oo!" Blago's lawyer, Edward Genson, has resigned in exasperation over his client's refusal to listen. See Washington Post and the Chicago Sun-Times, which has the taped conversations between Gov. Blagojevich and some of the prospective (?) U.S. senators.
And, speaking of "young, charismatic, slick, ambitious, and without an ethical bone in his body," it was learned that a church in Colorado paid hush money a 20-year-old man who apparently had a sexual relationship with Rev. Ted Haggard, the moralizing Christian Conservative pastor whose sinful proclivities were exposed just before the 2006 election. (The timing of that news leak was as obvious as the hypocrisy of the perpetrator himself.) See CNN.com.
No, not Kurt with a K, but Curt, as in Walter Curt, the major financial supporter of the Scott Sayre campaign against incumbent State Sen. Emmett Hanger in 2007. Mr. Curt has resigned as Treasurer of the Republican Party of Virginia, calling it "dysfunctional," another indication that the recently-ascendant "youth movement" is failing to get anything done in the party. (Perhaps all the threats to quit the GOP by right-wing fringe activists such as Richard Viguerie are having an effect.) In his letter to embattled RPV Chair Jeff Frederick, who -- at the age of 32 -- won control of the state party organization at the convention on May 31, Curt cited "interpersonal difficulties, years of internal malaise, Luddite attitudes," and other factors that make future electoral success for the Republicans very unlikely. See the Richmond Times Dispatch; hat tip to Waldo, who predicts that Curt will be branded a "RINO" and ignored.
Personally, I think "dysfunctional" is far too mild a word to describe a once-proud political organization that has been, for the most part, taken over by a bunch of nuts. After years of infighting and dirty smear tactics waged by the right-wing "grassroots rebels" against
RINOs their fellow Republicans, I'm afraid it will take the Virginia GOP several long, hard years of reflection and rebuilding before it can start to compete effectively once again. As things presently stand, any reasonable conservative-leaning person who tries to work within the party's formal organization is simply wasting his or her time. Luckily, other, more friendly venues exist...