June 26, 2008 [LINK / comment]

Unity in Augusta County GOP?

Sunday's News Leader reported that the Augusta County Republican Committee will meet Thursday evening to elect a new Chairman, after Kurt Michael resigned, purportedly for the sake of "party unity." Oddly, however, the only people who are now considered members of the Committee are loyal supporters of Kurt, as pleas by those who had been members in good standing until recently have been ignored. In strictly procedural terms, the faction that was deemed the legitimate winners* has the right to structure the committee as they wish, but how they can claim to be unifying the party with such exclusionary practices is beyond me. Who do they think they are fooling?

* On May 3, the Sixth District Republican Committee voted to recognize Kurt Michael as Chairman, and on May 30 the RPV Central Committee ruled against Dr. Larry Roller's appeal of that decision. Kurt Michael then began the process of handing over power to his chosen successor, much like how former Russian President Vladimir Putin arranged to have his protege Dmitry Medvedev follow him as president; see my June 5 post. Everyone knows that Putin is still the one in control.

Likewise, in terms of formal titles, Bill Shirley is the designated successor to Kurt Michael, but in practical terms nothing will change. Just about any reasonable outside observer would see what is going on for what it is: a blatant, underhanded maneuver aimed at clinging to power. As Carl "JusticeLeaguer81" declares,

Those who would cling to power don't deserve it.

So how is it that the Republican Party hierarchy sided with the faction that has brought such bitter acrimony, divisiveness, and notoriety upon the party over the past two years? Is it really all about "heeding party rules," as some claim? If so, then why was there nothing done about the multiple, serious violations of party rules that have been committed by that faction? Don't the party leaders realize that they are alienating majority sentiment??

In this regard, it is worth remembering what state Sen. Emmett Hanger said back in May 2006, as the opposing Republican factions in the Virginia General Assembly were struggling to put together a budget package:

Republicans are in control, and this battle in leadership is within the Republican Party. The Democrats, even though they may see some political opportunity in it, are basically bystanders, onlookers. It's something we need to sort out as Republicans. Ultimately, if we don't sort it out in a timely manner, we won't remain the majority party. (SOURCE: Washington Post.)

For a thorough, very thoughtful discussion of this situation from an insider's perspective, read what As Steve Kijak has to say.

For a more satirical and pugnacious perspective on the Kurt Michael / SWAC fiasco, see the new 141 Majority blog. (That number refers to the number of votes for Larry Roller at the April 10 mass meeting; Kurt Michael received 103 votes.)

And for my own wry take on that "Meeting of Mass Destruction," and what it means for the Republican Party statewide, see the YouTube video that I posted on May 30.