There’s a debate supposedly within the Republican party over whether it should remain steadfast to Republican principles or be “pragmatic” about them in order to appeal to independents and Democrats. Another concurrent debate has started about Jeff Frederick as RPV Chairman. If you really want to understand why these debates are happening, look no farther than the folks who are interjecting themselves into it. A fascinating letter to the editor in the News & Messenger recently appeared advocating for Republicans to reach out to independents, arguing that “coming to the center” is the key to electoral success, and it’s a wonderful example of how goofy this has become.
The author? William Westhoff, who has been the treasurer of the Prince William County Democratic Committee. How nice.
RPV Chairman Jeff Frederick, a strong advocate for the Republican Party staying true to principle is under fire lately from a cast of characters that include such “conservative luminaries” as Russ Potts, and has taken a lot of sniping of late. We had a presidential candidate in 2008 who didn’t understand the Virginia battleground, ran an utterly incompetent ground game, and bypassed successful elected officials in order to tap ideologically compatible “mavericks” like Marty Nohe* to organize operations in Prince William County. Jim Gilmore, the candidate who can only win when drafting behind a Republican wave ran another uninspiring campaign. With that headwind, we lost some Congressional seats. What that has to do with an RPV Chairman who has been on the job for four months, I can’t fathom.
William Westhoff would doubtless be really happy if the Republican Party engaged in a circular firing squad of internal bickering right as the 2009 House of Delegates races are starting to gear up. If Russ Potts and John Chichester, both whom endorsed Mark Warner as a demonstration of their devotion to Republican principles, and a few who think as they do want to gut the party in the aftermath of the 2008 national elections, that’s fine. I don’t care to join them, however.
When Jeff Frederick took over RPV I offered to do whatever I could to help him succeed. I believed in his vision then, and I still believe in that vision now. Jeff decided he needed to deploy resources elsewhere, and that’s fine. I’m not going to bash him because I might not feel that I’m not getting an adequate degree of recognition, or that I’m not getting sufficiently rewarded for supporting his candidacy. In the meantime I do what I can to help, because that feels like a more constructive approach than to think that somehow every problem can somehow be fixed if someone else was in that position.
My gauge for future success is whether it’s possible to contact the RPV Chairman directly if I have an idea I think is good, and Jeff is dramatically more accessable to the grass roots than prior chairmen were. Maybe the chairman will think my idea is great and run with it, or maybe he’ll think it’s not or that it just can’t be done and it’ll go nowhere, but I know I can reach out and contact Jeff Frederick. His predecessors were utterly unapparoachable, and would even use staff to run interference from pesky grass roots activists who wanted to do something for Republicans in Virginia. Having someone who will simply listen, and even come to activists on his own when he thinks it’s useful is a huge, positive change. Just being interested in what the grass roots have to say is a huge shift. Let’s help make that lead to success by trying to be helpful rather than provide an object lesson on how worthless it is for an RPV Chairman to pay attention to them.
Or we can take William Westhoff’s advice. I’d rather not, though. I’ll stick with Jeff Frederick, thanks.
* One hilarious story making the rounds is that Marty Nohe was tapped to be in charge of one of John McCain’s events in Prince William County and managed to get in control over who was seated in the VIP section at the event. Instead of a dozen or so local elected officials, about a hundred of Marty’s friends and family got passes, which drove the Secret Service absolutely nuts since this section was inside the secure perimiter and they were hardly equipped to manage the security risk that was introduced.
The opinions expressed here are solely the views of the author, and not representative of the position of any organization, political party, doughnut shop, knitting guild, or waste recycling facility, but may be correctly attributed to the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy. If anything in the above article has offended you, please click here to receive an immediate apology.