Saturday, January 28, 2006

Heidi Stirrup for Tenth District GOP Chairman

The boys over at Too Conservative managed to get themselves all in a dither over Heidi Stirrup's candidacy for Tenth District Republican Chairman. She is running against long-time incumbent Jim Rich, who has the support of Republican Congressman Frank Wolf, who represents the District in Congress.

It's been an amazing series of posts, comments, charges, countercharges, and rumor-mongering.

TC (Vince Thoms) himself said, on 6 January, that "Word has come to me from someone close to the 10th District Committee that a secret coup d'etat is being planned, to oust Chairman Rich and install Heidi Stirrup instead."

"Secret coup d'etat." Gee. Can we use any more loaded disparagements?

Noting that Mrs. Stirrup is married to Gainesville Supervisor John Stirrup, TC also alleged that "Supervisor Stirrup ... has long been rumored to want to eventually run for Congress after Wolf's retirement." A bunch of commenters complained about power-mongering, and then there was one who said that Heidi's candidacy is the "first step in a planned challenge of Frank Wolf by John Stirrup and the right-wing.... Mark these words: if Heidi Stirrup wins the 10th District Chairmanship, John Stirrup will challenge Frank Wolf in two years." A number also pegged Frank Wolf as a "moderate to liberal."

Two days later (8 January), TC opined that "The only reasons I can imagine for this are that Rich is not 'conservative' or the more plausible one..that John Stirrup might primary Frank Wolf from the right."

Where do these people get this stuff?

As I said in my post, there are a few good, non-ideological reasons why Heidi would be a better Chairman than Rich (who, as far as I know, is not what some would call a "RINO"; to the best of my knowledge, Rich has never done anything ideological; he's just always done things to advance Jim Rich, first and foremost).

For example, for a long time, the entire HoD delegation in the Tenth was Republican; no more.

And I still hold Rich in contempt for his effort to remove duly-elected State Chairman Pat McSweeney with misrepresentations and distortions (TC was about five at the time). Probably only those of us who were present in the upstairs conference room at the Obenshain Center remember (you know, the fruits of having "labored in the vineyard"), but Rich attempted to present as "facts" obvious falsehoods.

Perhaps the best reason of all is in the fact that Rich consistently writes the Call for the Tenth District Convention to set an early filing deadline for Chairman (at least once, just ten days after the call was issued, but not yet published), in the hope that he can avoid any challenge at all. I've since learned that he did the same thing this year (the link is here, though not direct: hit "more details" in the center panel to download the Call). Uhh, all you Tenth District Republicans out there? If you wanted to run for Chairman, you can't. The deadline to file passed on 9 January. Rather odd that those who make pretensions to support for an "open" GOP so strongly support someone who works so hard to avoid any challenge to his authority. Like big-government advocates who fear free citizens with guns, I suspect that Jim Rich has good reasons to fear an open process. His behavior is nothing less than fixing the system to protect his own posterior.

And I can't imagine that John Stirrup would want to run against Frank Wolf, and I think he would be a fool to do so. Succeed him? Perhaps. I haven't spoken to John about this, but running his wife for Tenth District Chairman strikes me as a rather ineffective step toward such a goal, even if she were to win.

As for TC's implicit condemnation of "power hungry people ... try[ing] to hijack the system" is rather bold talk from a supporter of Chairman Sean. It wasn't too long ago (May 2004) that he tried to pack a PWC GOP Committee meeting with supporters --- many known Democrats who never showed up again --- in response to his loss of a straw poll at the County Convention that he, and/or his strategists, was too stupid or lazy to pack, i.e., trying to do illegitimately what he could have done legitimately just a few weeks earlier.

I support Heidi for Chairman. She is an accomplished woman who will run an open, honest, and fair process. She won't write the rules to protect her own posterior. That alone makes here eminently preferable to the likes of Jim Rich.

With that having been said, though, I find TC's disparagement of her candidacy despicable. A "secret coup d'etat"? The only "secret" was Jim Rich's early filing deadline, a clear effort to avoid any challenge whatsoever. Nevertheless, TC (and some of his commenters, perhaps more of them) attempt to smear her efforts as somehow illegitimate.

Everything might be fine in the Tenth with Jim Rich as Chairman. Frank Wolf obviously thinks so --- he's already endorsed Rich --- but it might not be unreasonable to assume that Congressman Wolf's main concern is a GOP that gets him reelected.

'Fact is, while the Tenth used to have an entirely GOP delegation in the House of Delegates, it doesn't any more. And I've never known the Tenth District Committee to make any substantial efforts to advance the GOP in the State Senate. So far as I know, and I'd be happy to be corrected on this, the Tenth District Committee has never made substantial efforts to support a Republican challenger to at least one Democrat State Senator that I can identify from the District: Chuck Colgan, from Prince William.

One wonders whether those who are attacking Heidi's candidacy are doing so out of a failure to recognize some deficiencies in District operations, or because they don't think they are deficiencies, i.e., because the Republicans who have been defeated --- Dick Black: Bob FitzSimmonds; Dave Mabie --- are not the "right" kind of Republicans.

Whether you like Heidi Stirrup or not, there are obviously reasons why Republicans could hope to do better in the Tenth Congressional District. And one cannot help but wonder whether the position of her attackers grows more out of their hatred for intra-party rivals than out of their concern for the continued prosperity of the GOP.

Certainly, their bile makes it clear that "hatred" is not too strong a word.

1 comment:

f mcdonald said...

Whew! I feel like I've been swimming against a riptide since discovering the "conservative" blog scene in Virginia.

Reading yours (and a few others I've come across) are like finally feeling the shore under my feet.

Bless you friend.