There are a few questions that I have for those who are basking in the holy glow of “party unity” after Saturday’s convention. But first, some congratulations are in order:
First, my congratulations to all of those who won nominations from the Republican Party in Loudoun. Hopefully the general election is just as, or maybe more, educational.
Second, I want to say in particular, sincerest thanks and congratulations to Suzanne Volpe, who despite all the pressures for “unity” held her ground and made sure that Scott York knew that he is not worthy of being labeled “Conservative.”
So now that there is “party unity” (almost)…what now?
For those of us who know good well what political expediency looks like, but wish to advocate for ACTUAL limited and accountable government in Loudoun County, what do we do? We’re not going to be toting the Republican line for the next four years, especially as we quickly discover that there is no real intention to limit government. As the LCRC “rides to victory” in November (assuming it does) I hope that it understands what little credibility it has left.
But there’s little that many of us can do anymore about the LCRC. There are a lot of wonderful people there. There are many who are principled and believe in actual limited Government, and there are those who only believe in power and influence and wouldn’t recognize a policy position if it bit them in that ass.
I sincerely believe that the former members outweigh the latter, but unfortunately a good chunk of the former will STILL be knocking doors and making phone calls for candidates for the General Assembly who are more than comfortable raising taxes to pay for transportation instead of getting tough on other sections of the budget; candidates who will continue to make “conservation easements” one of their top priorities in Richmond.
And next year, they will begin to run around touting the Conservative credentials of their Congressman (while saying something like, “he’s not perfect…but…he IS pro-life and supports the Second Amendment, so that’s good”). While some might continue to stay involved in “Tea Party”-type (ish) activities where they are supposed to “ask the tough questions” of Senatorial candidates, and maybe pretending to care about who gets the nomination for President, all the while droning, “As long as they can beat Barack Obama!”
In the end though, over the next 18 months…one of the worst “RINO’s” (whatever THAT means) in Congress, three VA Delegate candidates, a couple of VA Senate Candidates, along with George Allen, and (likely) Mitt Romney will get the unabashed support of many many people who claim to be “Conservatives” in the LCRC…falling in line lock-step around a machine that DEMANDS they stop thinking as soon the nominations are over (or not even START thinking if they have an incumbent in the office).
In the end there is no check on the powers that be…the ones with the most “name recognition,” money, and “electability” will win out, and we’ll gnash teeth for another 2, 4, and 6 years.
Or, is there an alternative? Can we stop this game? Can we just say something along the lines of:
“I’m going to support the person that I feel the most confident will fight for Limited-Government, Transparency, and Property Rights. Yes, I want them to be ‘electable’ but integrity and commitment to the ideals I hold dear are just as–and really more–important.”
Can we also hold them accountable on a daily, weekly, monthly, and annual basis…not by patting ourselves on the back (“Unity is such a sweet fuzzy feeling!”), but by calling them out when they do the wrong thing, and punishing them at the ballot box by firing them the next time around.
Mr. Falknor (Blue Ridge Forum) had it half right yesterday when he said,
We would suggest that Loudoun conservatives, building on Mr. Stockman’s substantial support shown yesterday, set up a kind of local equivalent of Heritage Action to provide the voting public with timely free-market analyses and alternatives to the Loudoun County government’s business as usual…
…An independent Loudoun Conservative Action organization could examine:
- what the supervisors are voting on before they do so;
- what they should be looking into;
- what the taxpayer-supported schools are teaching;
- how well they are teaching; and
- the effectiveness and the preparedness of the County’s public-safety operations.
These tasks are just for starters.
To borrow from another Republican of another era, Carl Schurz, the overall mission of Loudoun Conservative Action for the County government might be:
When right, to keep them right; when wrong, to put them right.
I would only add (he did say this was only “for starters”) that we need to reserve the right to:
- sit on our hands in the next election when it comes to candidates that have not earned the right to garner Conservatives’ support, and even…
- run an independent candidate against them if the right candidate emerges.
If we do not have these options available to us, we might as well not waste our time, because otherwise people like Scott York, Frank Wolf, George Allen, Joe May, Tom Rust…etc, etc…will STILL be able to say, “well…at least I’m better than that other guy, and after all you signed that oath, didn’t you?”
The truth is, the Loudoun County budget has been under a lot of scrutiny by the Loudoun Taxpayers for Accountable Government for years. They do a fantastic job of pointing out fiscal insanity. There have been property rights groups, educational freedom groups…but in the end, they find their way back to the Republican fold, because the “other side” is just that bad.
Now for my friends that wish to remain in the “change from within” camp, I applaud you. You are indeed noble and brave and patient. Your fortitude and perseverance is required to continue to try to drive the GOP to the right.
But without sincere, principled, outside pressure, I fear that your efforts will be fruitless. Competition breeds excellence, and the current oligopoly has done irreparable and lasting damage to our Republic, the Commonwealth, and our County.
We’re all about “unity” here; it’s just that we believe in unity around a core set of principles. Principles that apply specifically to Loudoun County; not National talking points that make good sound bites. Principles that we will hold dear and expect our elected officials to hold dear–a more specific, tailored set of “non-negotiables” that they have to answer to. The current list (pro-life, pro-gun, against gay marriage, and anti-tax), although admirable, just is not enough anymore, especially at the County level.
Are there many Republicans who have been and/or will be worthy of support? Sure. Will there be times that we have to support someone who has pissed us off for endorsing someone we didn’t like or voting for a budget we thought was too big? Sure. But we won’t have to put up with strong-arming…with blatant hypocrisy, and political expediency.
Loudoun Conservatives should be free to fight for freedom. Well…they are, and they always have been. None of that has changed. We’re just making it official.