Willie Deutsch.com

Religion and Politics from a Young Christian in Northern Virginia

A Call for Unity and Coalition Building in the Republican Party

April 22nd, 2013

I can definitely be a firebrand at times, and someone who aggressively holds politicians accountable.  However, I also believe just as strongly in the importance of building bridges.  As a party we need 50%+1 statewide to win.  If we are not building coalitions to accomplish that, we are keeping ourselves from accomplishing our primary goal as a party.

Principles matter because they define what we stand for as a party, but ultimately the Republican Party is an organization created to ELECT Republicans.  For those who would argue that there is no difference between the Republican and Democrat parties, imagine the gun control bill that would have passed if Democrats controlled 90% of Congress.  Would we have been able to audit VDOT, pass necessary health regulations on abortion clinics, or other common sense legislation of the last four years if Democrats controlled the General Assembly and Governor’s Mansion?  We tried to pass many of those same pieces of legislation before, and were stopped.  Have we been burned by Republicans on the state and federal level at times?  Of course.  However, 90% of Republicans are better than 90% of Democrats.

Over the last five years, I have seen some interesting pendulum swings in terms of who controlled the Republican Party.  From 2008-2011, the McDonnell/Bolling forces largely controlled the Republican Party, an systematically worked to remove those who disagreed with them.  You saw the election of Jeff Frederick as Party Chairman and his removal within one year by State Central at the insistence of Bob McDonnell.  The story of the 6th District at that time is also important to remember.  At the 2008 Republican Advance, Bill Bolling met with a number of conservative party leaders from the 6th District.  He told them to support him for LG, or he would work to remove them from their positions.  They refused to be bullied, and he followed through.  In the Spring of 2010, conservatives were systematically removed from the 6th District Committee at unit meetings, and the district committee.  In what was a fairly balanced committee, conservatives were left with a couple unit chairs, and one vice chairman by the end.  The two bright spots in 2010 occurred when Northern Virginians united to defeat one of the most corrupt and heavy handed District Chairs in the state with the election of Howie Lind as 10th District Chair, and the election of Bill Stanley as 5th District Chair.  In a move that made little to no sense since everyone knew Stanley would win overwhelmingly, Bolling tried opposing Bill Stanley’s election as District Chair.

In an effort to pass the Governor’s Mansion from McDonnell to Bolling, the vote on the nominating method for 2013 was held incredibly early, in 2011, and a primary was selected.

In the Spring of 2012, State Central and many of the District Committees were transformed.  This enabled a reversal of the 2013 nominating process on June 15th to a convention.

While many conservatives came to power in this wave, what we saw was a systematic effort by Ron Paulers, or self described “Liberty Activists,” to win every State Central and RNC Delegate position available.  In the middle of the process, Chris Stearns, the head of the Ron Paul movement in Virginia, made the movements intentions crystal clear.

“We want to change the Republican Party,” said Chris Stearns, the Virginia state director for the Ron Paul campaign. “We are making sure our people get in positions of leadership — in the nation, in their state, in their county and city, all the way down to the grass roots level.”

Should Ron Paulers have a seat at the table in the Republican Party of Virginia? Of course.  But it makes very little sense that the Ron Paulers should win 15 of 24 RNC Delegate positions through the first 8 District Conventions in 2012, and finish with a disproportionately large percentage of the final delegate count.  Honestly that looks more like taking over the table, than having a seat at it.

Now there is talk of amending the party plan to either eliminate conventions or only allow conventions at the May state convention.  Either move would have incredible blowback if pushed through.

Here’s the thing.  We need to be growing the party, not driving people out of it.  Driving social conservatives, tea partiers, Ron Paulers, establishment types, the business community, etc out of the party is stupid.  We need to be thinking strategically about what it takes to win in November.  Nominate the most conservative person who can win a race, and actually build the coalitions necessary to elect them in November.  Statewide in Virginia, that winning coalition is challenging to create when the business community and Richmond establishment are not part of the equation, just like it is challenging when social conservatives are essentially told they are unneeded.

Should grassroots activists of different stripes fight to make sure we have a seat at the table?  Definitely.  But when it reaches the point of driving those we disagree with completely out of the party, we have to make sure we really are in the business of actually getting Republicans elected in November.

Republican Party of Virginia: The Party of Higher Spending and Higher Taxes

February 21st, 2013

Over the past month, I’ve been watching the Republican Party of Virginia release tweets attacking Democrats for not supporting incredible spending packages while going after Democrat obstructionism.  One would think supporters of limited government would be the ones opposing a 3+billion dollar project that only keeps increasing in cost, and required revenue.  One would  expect the the Democrat Party to attack Republicans for opposing reckless spending.

Not only does RPV support higher spending, they support higher taxes to pay for the higher spending.

This session the Governor and the Republicans in the legislature decided passing a transportation plan had to happen.  The Governor offered a plan that slightly increased taxes, the Senate Dems pushed a plan that drastically increased taxes.  What has come out of the conference committee is a McDonnell/Bolling/McAuliffe endorsed plan that raises taxes on gas, cars, and the sales tax among other things.  Interestingly this plan may cause gas shortages over the summer.

What is particularly troubling is that the RPV has been supporting these plans.  Multiple sources relayed to me that on a recent call with the RPV Executive committee, Chairman Pat Mullins told the members that the transportation was crucial to the Governor and they needed to get their unit committees to support the package.  Multiple District Chairs who are normally not rabble rousers were very upset that Chairman Mullins was asking them to support a tax hike which they knew their members opposed.  This is a far cry from five years ago when Chairman Jeff Frederick made it clear that the RPV strongly opposed tax increases.

Thankfully many statewide candidates including E.W. Jackson, Pete Snyder, and Susan Stimpson oppose the transportation tax package.  However, this package looks like it will be passed tomorrow.  (It may also already be hurting Ken Cuccinelli electorally.)  If it does pass, the Republican Party of Virginia can no longer claim to be the party of limited spending and lower taxes. If this hurts them at the ballot boxes, they have no one to blame but themselves.

Susan Stimpson: Anti-Establishment Since…?

February 18th, 2013

Some pictures are worth a thousand words…

Susan Stimpson has been running for Lieutenant Governor as the anti-establishment candidate with the principled record.  She regularly paints the rest of the field either as “establishment” or as “lacking a record.”  In a recent email from a campaign surrogate, she was described as someone the establishment is afraid of and out to get.  This rhetoric has been very persuasive, and much of the Ron Paul movement in the state joined her campaign almost as soon as she announced her candidacy.

As someone who has been involved in many anti-establishment efforts over the last five years in Virginia, I was astonished that the lead anti-establishment candidate in the race was someone I had never heard of.  I started asking some questions. If she is the anti-establishment candidate, when has she stood strong under fire while fighting for what she believes?  Where has she been taking on the establishment as they have consolidated power, or ignored our principles?  Also, whom are the anti-establishment candidates she has supported in tight and difficult races?

What I keep finding is that, prior to deciding to run for statewide office, Susan Stimpson showed few of the qualities one would expect of an anti-establishment candidate.  This is particularly true in regards to whom she has chosen to support or oppose within the Republican Party.

How does an anti-establishment person campaign throughout 2012 for George Allen, side-by-side with Bill Howell? Allen and Howell are two of the people that embody the VA political establishment!  Which one of Stimpson’s strong supporters would dream of supporting Allen, let alone doing it alongside Howell?

Now, maybe supporting Allen was a fluke in an otherwise impeccable anti-establishment record.  However, besides supporting Bolling and Cuccinelli, which practically everyone did, the only other party issue where I can find Stimpson on record is publicly supporting the removal of Jeff Frederick as party chairman in 2009.  Electing Jeff Frederick as party chairman was a major victory of the grassroots over the establishment.  Defending him from the instantaneous assault by the establishment was something the grassroots worked hard to do.  The fact that Stimpson publicly stood with the establishment as they ousted Frederick continues to fly in the face of what an anti-establishment activist would do.

While I can’t find public statements from Stimpson at the time, I have also heard from people involved in the 2008 U.S. Senate nomination contest that Stimpson described Bob Marshall as a “loon” who “wasn’t her brand of politics.”

This is Stimpson’s track record of whom she chooses to support or oppose within the party over the last five years.  While none of these positions need to be a  litmus test in and of themselves, this is not the track record of an anti-establishment candidate.  Instead it reflects the values of someone who supports the safe picks and does what is necessary to curry favor with party leaders.

Stimpson’s brief record has enabled Stimpson to transform herself from someone who regularly supported the establishment into the anti-establishment candidate the Ron Paul movement sees her as.

Ron Paulers and others who are new to the anti-establishment fight in Virginia should listen to Jeff Frederick, someone who is unquestionably anti-establishment and who has worked with Stimpson and lives in close proximity to her.

 I got to know Susan Stimpson (who is running for LG) during my time as RPV Chairman and in the period prior when I was seeking that job. I considered her a friend. Yet, she was a strong ally of Bill Howell (she owes her current elective office to his blessing in her seeking it). When she announced her candidacy for LG and in the subsequent time since, her rhetoric has reflected the exact opposite of the person I knew. Of course, she sounds great now (convenient as she pursues statewide office), but my experience is that she is a top-down establishment Republican who is more interested in position and power rather than her recent claims to be about people and principle. It is only because her public record is so brief that she has been so effective at leading others to believe she’s something she is not.

Then they should ask themselves, if Susan Stimpson is an anti-establishment warrior, when did she become that? Did she decide to stand for principles against power when it could cost her, or when it was politically expedient?

Willie Deutsch.com

Religion and Politics from a Young Christian in Northern Virginia