A few hundred Prince William County Republicans gathered today at Woodbridge High School for a convention which ended up being a lot more interesting than I think most delegates expected. Since the PWCRC Chairmanship wasn’t contested, few expected this to be anything other than a pretty mundane coronation of Lyle Beefelt, but there are a few other things going on.
The headline here is definitely an unprecedented wave of support for Delegate Bob Marshall for U.S. Senate. While Jim Gilmore was well received as everyone expected, there was an absolutely stunning wave of support for Bob’s proxy who held the stage for Marshall which crescendoed into a full-blown pep rally once Bob Marshall entered the auditorium after returning from the Fairfax GOP Convention. Delegates had been receptive to Jim Gilmore’s clear support for widely-held Republican principles, but Bob Marshall’s determined and relentless battles on behalf of those principles that in the end end up looking a lot like modern-day repeats of Davis vs. Goliath clearly has captured the imagination of the PWCRC. If Marshall has failed to capture at least 80% of the Prince William County delegation to the state convention, I would be rather surprised.
What really makes this fascinating is that this wave of support appears to have very little to do with the widely-reported back-and-forth battle about who defends the sanctity of life the most. Although it’s clear that issue does motivate some, what is really at play here has much more to do with Bob Marshall’s clear demonstration that in an age of poll-driven, see-which-way-the-wind-blows political maneuvering, he is a dedicated public official who cares nothing for what political advantage a policy position may create, but is deeply concerned with what is right, and guided by an unerring moral compass that is utterly resilient to corruption. Not only are his positions the product of absolute moral and ethical conviction, but his record of success tends to be pretty impressive, even when he’s taking the battle to Mark Warner.
The current level of utter contempt in the U.S. Senate held by many Americans is the key factor here. Few, if any trust the Senate to do the right thing, and most interactions the electorate seem to have with the Senators are expressions of outrage and disgust over whatever this body is attempting to do. When was the last time you heard of someone thanking a U.S. Senator for anything? Convention delegates certainly seem to have been doing little but sending angry emails to their Senators, and have utterly lost any degree of confidence they may have in this institution. Given that mindset, the appeal of a combative firebrand warrior over a statesmanlike politician who sounds not terribly unlike some of the current U.S. Senators (albeit those displaying some degree of responsibility) is undeniable and compelling. The press has utterly missed this one, which has them downplaying the strength of Bob Marshall’s insurgent campaign, and setting the stage for another dismantling of mainstream-media driven conventional wisdom.
Jeff Frederick didn’t quite muster this level of fanatic devotion, but seemed more than competitive with John Hager in seeking the RPV Chairman’s slot. Jeff is going to pull a lot of support out of Prince William County, and his energy and enthusiasm are rather infectious.
The other major surprise here was an attempted play by some who still can’t seem to get over the result of the debacle in the 51st District, and attempted to deny me credentials for the 10th District and RPV conventions. It didn’t go so well, and after a few delegates gave some rather impassioned floor speeches on the subject, that effort was batted back with only two votes supporting the attempt to shut me out. Faisal Gill’s son did a good job of rebuilding some bridges by saying that neither he nor his father supported this effort, which was a welcome display of class. In the end, county Republicans clearly want to move beyond those events, and this ham-handed ploy ultimately resulted in closing the book on the 51st District Convention of 2007.
Sometimes “uneventful” conventions can get awfully interesting.
UPDATE: “Citizen Tom”, who initiated the denial of my credentials has written a post about his rationale for doing so. It would seem that some folks just don’t want to let this go, even though the convention soundly rejected this argument and there’s virtually no support for it whatsoever.
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