Friday, December 05, 2008

Virginia Republican Party At The Crossroads-- Lunatic Fringe Or Mainstream Americans?


Virginia Democrats' best year in over 2 generations

2008 will be remembered as a spectacular year for Virginia Democrats, the year Virginia went blue. Obama beat McCain 53-47%. Virginians handed former Democratic governor Mark Warner a mammoth landslide victory over former Republican governor James Gillmore, 65-34%. And freshmen Democratic Congressmen Nye, Perriello, and Connolly have replaced 3 Republican congressmen, giving Virginia's congressional delegation a decidedly blue tinge-- 8-5, including both U.S. Senators.

Virginia Republicans are starting to sift through the ashes and trying to figure out why. The far right base is still in total denial, of course, but pragmatists whose actual job is dealing with getting real people elected to real positions seem certain of one thing: making radical right, lunatic fringe state legislator Jeffrey Frederick state party chairman six months ago was a major mistake. Today's Washington Post points out that many prominent GOP activists want to turn a new page asap-- starting with firing Frederick before he can do any more damage.
The state party's governing body might try to remove Frederick at its meeting at the Homestead Resort in Hot Springs, Va., on Friday or at an unscheduled emergency meeting in the next couple of months, several party sources said.

"He's not the right face for our party," said James Rich, chairman of the 10th Congressional District Republican Committee and a member of the State Central Committee. "There's no credibility there. He's a joke, like something you would see on Jay Leno."

...Longtime Northern Virginia GOP strategist J. Kenneth Klinge, who has been helping elect Republicans in Virginia for more than four decades, sent an e-mail to thousands of activists blaming Frederick for the outcome and calling on him to resign.

"I know a bad chairman when I see one," wrote Klinge, who has also donated to Democrats. "Frederick ranks as the worst state chairman in the history of the Republican Party of Virginia."

Most of the 86 members of the Republican State Central Committee seem inclined to replace Frederick, whose image redo of the Virginia state party made it look like some kind of a backward, racist, homophobic chapter of the KKK. Although some members are more concerned that Frederick was a dismal failure as a fundraiser or that he ignored new technology, most are just embarrassed at his consistent blatant appeals to the hatred and bigotry segment of the base. At one point Frederick compared Obama to bin Laden, saying "both have friends that bombed the Pentagon," a remark he still defends-- and a remark that lost McCain enough support from independents and moderates to guarantee Virginia's 13 electoral votes would go to Obama, the first time a Republican didn't get them in 44 years.

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At 11:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a Virginia Democrat, I think you are far too harsh on Mr. Frederick. He has done so much for the Democratic Party. I only hope he manages to remain as head of the Virginia Republican Party and runs for reelection to his seat in the House of Delegates.


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