May 12, 2008
Responding to Dr. Larry Roller's column explaining the reasons for his appeal to RPV, Kurt Michael had a brief column in Sunday's News Leader. I was struck by his reference to "Larry Roller's unsuccessful appeal" (to the Sixth District), because in fact, there was no such appeal. (See below.) "The only purpose a series of appeals serves is to continue the division that exists within our party. This must stop."
And this from the man who defied the party's own higher-level leaders, circumvented internal procedures, and took the issue to court! Is it any wonder that two-thirds of the members of the Staunton Republican Committee petitioned the chair last summer, requesting among other things that Kurt not interfere in our meetings?
In magnanimous tones, Kurt also repeated his pledge to resign after the state convention, but did not specify when he will do so. (June? July? November?) In some of his comments to reporters, he has hedged just a bit, hinting that he might not resign if there was an overwhelming show of support for him. Translation: His commitment to step aside for the good of the party is shaky at best. (Cue Larry Craig!)
Meanwhile, SWAC Girl keeps up the drumbeat, repeating her red herring accusation that Sen. Emmett Hanger is out to "purge" those in the party who opposed him last year. She also makes an unusual claim:
In Augusta County an appeal was filed by Larry Roller after the Augusta County Mass Meeting held on April 10, 2008. The appeal was signed by every Republican elected in Augusta County including three who were not even at the mass meeting, a clear violation of the 6th District Bylaws.
FACT CHECK: That letter from the elected officials was NOT an "appeal," it was a joint declaration of support and recognition. By definition, until the Sixth District Committee voted on that matter, no one could have filed an "appeal" in this case, because the matter was still up in the air. Prior to May 3, no higher-level Republican party [official] recognized Kurt Michael as chairman. Ergo, there was nothing to be appealed, and therefore quite obviously, there could be no "violation" of the rules, as she charges. SWAC Girl should be more careful about making accusations toward public officials, and at least get her facts straight. (The preceding is an attempted comment on her blog.) Then she continues,
The grassroots need to run the Party ... and the electeds [sic*] need to run their elected positions. That is the checks-and-balances put in place to prevent Party bosses from running it all. That is not what Augusta County electeds want ... because they want to run it all.
Under ordinary circumstances, it would indeed be proper for elected officials to take a low profile with regard to internal party politics. But when you have a faction of self-appointed "grassroots" who set out to intimidate, ostracize, or defame anyone who deviates one iota from their narrow path, the Party will inevitably start to crack apart. In such a situation, it is only natural that those who hold elective offices in the government would step in to repair the damage before their own political careers become endangered. The notion that those friendly, mild-mannered folks with offices in Verona are on some kind of power trip is outrageously funny, and it's supremely ironic when you consider who is making the accusation.
* In my Webster's dictionary, the word elected does not appear as a noun; evidently, that is insider / "grassroots" jargon.
I was also disappointed that Yankee Phil maintained the absurd "David vs. Goliath" pretense, one of the standard "SWAC Job" talking points. He seems to think that folks on his side are the innocent "little guys," when in fact they are the very same people who have been running the party * for the last few (disastrous) years. Talk about alternate reality! (Last year, when there were at one point 15 "Bloggers 4 Sayre" against little ol' me, our side was supposedly the "Goliath"!) I'm sorry, but anyone who claims that Kurt wields no power because he is (or was) merely a party official is either disingenuous or incredibly naive. The first step toward party unity is facing up to the truth, and from what some of those folks have been writing about Larry Roller's [supposed "appeal" to the Sixth Distict], I'm afraid they have a long way to go in that regard...
* or should I say, "running the party into the ground"?
For reasonable people on the outside, or at least for those who have the stomach to read this daily saga of juvenile silliness in the local paper, it is fairly easy to discern which side in this dispute is most truthful, even-tempered, and committed to party unity.
FOOTNOTE: I wonder how many contested races for local party leadership there have been in which both candidates had doctoral degrees? Well, at least the people who reside in Augusta County can take pride in the high educational quality of its contending GOP leaders, if not in the party's ability to function.