I hate when I have good friends on opposing sides of a bitter fight. But I’ve been around long enough to know that’s part of the price.
Since I first learned from my friend Jim Hoeft at Bearing Drift that some members of the State Central Committee had formally asked Jeff Frederick to step down as Chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia, I have thought long and deeply about where to side, asking questions of friends on both sides of the issue.
After considering the charges against Mr. Frederick, his responses, and the comments of my friends and acquaintances, I have decided to support Mr. Frederick. He is a pro-life, anti-tax, non-establishment conservative, and I do not find the charges against him compelling. Mr. Frederick has responded in detail to each of them, and called them “false and without merit”.
Silly seems more like it to me. Consider #9: “Damage to the reputation and effectiveness of the Republican Party of Virginia through refusal to coordinate activities, including campaign messages, with Republican nominees for public office”.
Are they joking? “Damage to the reputation and effectiveness of the Republican Party of Virginia”? RPV has been a disaster for years. To cite just a couple of examples from my own experience: In the fall of 2006, I contacted RPV to volunteer for the Allen campaign, and never heard back. Last year, RPV’s convention was such a logistical disaster that they were about 100 seats short for my (Fairfax County) delegation, and ours was not alone. Mr. Frederick has had less than a year to clean up this mess. Any organization that’s either well-managed or has any class gives someone in a complicated position at least a year before showing him the door.
More to the point, do they really think that the Republicans had their heads handed to them in November because of Jeff Frederick’s failures? This would be the Republican Party that nominated John McCain, that pushed through the unpopular bank bail-out weeks before the election, that had betrayed conservative principles for 19 years.
This isn’t to say that Mr. Frederick hasn’t made notable missteps. Responding to criticism of RPV’s social-media efforts, for example, Mr. Frederick commented, “As you may know, I rarely read blogs,” thus lending credence to every suspicion that he’s arrogant and out of touch.
But the movement against him, what my friend and SCC member Jim Bowden calls a “political lynching“, has all the hallmarks of an insider cabal against an elected leader. Consider Mr. Bowden’s assessment of the Soviet-style secrecy under which he was asked to join the lynching party:
If there were a real crisis – I would have been allowed to see the charges as a member of SCC. Instead, I was told I couldn’t have a copy unless I agreed to sign in advance. I would have been told who will replace Jeff. Instead, I was told a male and female “are being looked at.”
And that leads to another concern regarding the effort against Mr. Frederick: Who will replace him? A conservative populist or an establishment RINO? Well, gee, who are insiders likely to pick?
The Republican Party desperately needs to return to its conservative roots. An insider-led political lynching of an elected conservative isn’t the way to do it.
This is not an eternal endorsement. It is still possible that something compelling will emerge to change my mind. But for now:
Jeff Frederick should remain as Chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia.