Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Banana Republic?

I haven't commented here on the Jeff Frederick imbroglio, but a post by my friend Leslie Carbone provokes the desire to agree publicly: Jeff Frederick should stay.

And agree I do, with virtually every point Leslie makes. Jeff is my Delegate, and a friend. I voted for him to be RPV Chairman. I did so having gone to Richmond intending to vote for John Hager, whom I have known (and liked) far longer than I have known and supported Jeff. Indeed, I had some serious reservations about some of the criticisms raised by Jeff's campaign. But the Convention run by John Hager's staff changed my mind.

And, like Leslie, I am deeply concerned about the bitterness of this fight, which has caused deep divisions among good friends. Fortunately, at least among the Jeffersoniad, I don't see the personal animosities arising out of differences of opinions that I see elsewhere. Those who think that Jeff should step aside, or be removed, seem to believe that this is the best course for entirely practical reasons, and I would be a fool to suggest that such an argument lacks merit. The very fact that it is made by serious people without a particular axe to grind makes it worthy of respect. That is, of course, as opposed to the reflexive rantings of fatuous dilletantes who hide behind pseudonyms and whose nihilistic actions make them unworthy of serious consideration.

And it is difficult indeed to take some of the latter seriously. They have joined in the far Left's efforts to demonize Frederick. And since they frequently suggest that the best way for the GOP to succeed is to be more like Democrats, I have to reject them ab initio. As Ronald Reagan demonstrated (see also 2006 and 2008 election results; Bush 43 Administration), "slower socialism" as a politically-motivating concept is both the road to serfdom and a recipe for electoral disaster.

But I am stubborn enough to believe that more harm would be done by Frederick's departure for bad reasons than would be done by his retention of his position even given his flaws.

Has Virginia's GOP really fallen upon such hard times that we're going to allow Virginia's far-Left moonbatosphere and its spineless cousins among so-called "moderate" Republican bloggers to not only dictate who is an "acceptable" Republican, but also to overturn the results of a lawful vote?

'Fact is, it has been some time since an RPV State Chairman has completed a term to which he or she has been elected. The last one may well have been Pat McSweeney (1992-96). And then-Governor George Allen tried to orchestrate his removal, as well. Like now, I opposed that removal effort, which seems to have been as contrived as this one.

All that Governor Allen achieved, given the super-majority requirements of the State Party Plan, was to weaken McSweeney and RPV for the remainer of McSweeney's term. And one wonders whether that effort didn't come around to bite Allen on the posterior, whether a strong RPV could have made the difference in Allen's unsuccessful run for a second term to the United States Senate in 2006.

I actually attended the State Central Committee at which McSweeney's removal was considered. Among other things, Tenth Congressional District Chairman (then, and sadly, now) Jim Rich earned my everlasting emnity for his role in that contrived controversy. My impression at the time --- and confirmed at subsequent meetings, where I frequently carried proxies for others --- was that the SCC was largely not so much the voice of the various units from which its members were elected as it was a "gold watch" for good and faithful service. I vividly remember one member standing up at the meeting during a subsequent convention to complain about the fact that the Party was providing child care for young children, so that their parents could attend and vote at the convention. I remember thinking --- and may have said in response at the time --- that this older gentlemen probably didn't have to suffer exposure to the little urchins at the country club, but that the Party's future was in young parents, and their children, and that his complaint was both silly and counterproductive.

Sadly, it seems that certain elements of the SCC have gotten no more serious in the interim. As Leslie notes, the charges against Jeff are by and large "silly," even among those that are not maddeningly vague (Charge 3 is that Jeff made "Unauthorized expenditures of RPV funds for unbudgeted activities without either State Central Committee or Executive Committee consent," and fails to specify even a single such "Unauthorized expenditure"; how does one respond to that?), and/or contrived, and/or false (Charge 2: failure to comply with a directive to disclose vendor contracts; Charge 10: failure to notify the Executive Committee of a non-existent security breach).

Indeed, some have the stench of bitter irony. Charges 4, 5, and 6 essentially complain about Frederick's conduct of SCC meetings. I'd bet a dollar that 10th Congressional District Chairman Jim Rich has signed up for this lynch mob, which makes these bold words from a man who has disregarded the "minimal rights" of those opposing him in similar circumstances.

Jeff has responded more than adequately. Not that his response will matter much to those sizing up Jeff's neck for a noose.

I have no illusions that the merits will make much difference to many among those on the SCC who never supported Jeff. In the memorable phrase of a friend regarding a particularly odious honor proceeding of which we were both aware in my law school days, it may well be that the "kangaroos [will be] a-hoppin'" at the 4 April SCC meeting.

But nevertheless, Jeff Frederick should stay.


bob said...

Something we can agree on. I think Mr. Frederick should stay, too!

Bob Griendling

Leslie Carbone said...

Thanks, Jim! It's good to see some thoughtful commentary on this mess.

Kurt said...

The state party's governing central committee voted 57-18 to remove Frederick. That's about 75% to 25% against Mr. Frederick. Yes James, apparently it is indeed so that Virginia's GOP has really fallen upon such hard times that they allowed Virginia's far-Left moonbatosphere and its spineless cousins among so-called "moderate" Republican bloggers to not only dictate who is an "acceptable" Republican, but also to overturn the results of a lawful vote - by a 3:1 margin at that! Isn't democracy wonderful?


James Young said...

That about sums it up, Kurt.