One of the biggest problem facing those in the Republican Party who would like to see the party return to sanity and some semblance of moderation is how to purge the Christofacists and other extremists who have captured the grassroots and central committees of the party like a metastasizing cancer. Until these people - most of whom deny science and embrace religious extremism and intolerance for those they deem "other" - the insanity of the last few years will continue. And recent events surrounding the need to select a candidate to succeed retiring GOP Congressman Frank Wolf demonstrate that the swamp fever is still raging. The Washington Post condemns the Republican plan to once again utilize a convention instead of a primary, thus insuring that the asylum patients will select Wolf's proposed successor. Here are editorial excerpts:
THE 17 people who control the Republican Party in Northern Virginia’s 10th Congressional District are a cabal of insiders; they make the rules by which the party nominates congressional candidates. In that role, their guiding light appears to be Boss Tweed, Tammany Hall’s major-domo, who said, “As long as I count the votes, what are you going to do about it?”
At the moment, according to GOP sources, the strong likelihood is that the Gang of 17, dominated by conservatives, will opt for a convention next spring, not a primary, to choose a candidate to succeed Rep. Frank R. Wolf, the Republican incumbent who is retiring. A convention would be insular, exclusive and sparsely attended; at a stretch, it might draw 5,000 party activists, mostly hard-core conservatives, who don’t mind sitting through six hours of speeches on a Saturday before casting their votes. A primary, open to all, could attract a more mainstream pool of 25,000 or 30,000 voters.
Despite their limited attendance and poor record of picking winning candidates, conventions have been the nominating method of choice in recent years for Virginia’s GOP. (Democrats have stuck with primaries.) To the conservative clique that has captured the party’s ruling councils, the fact that conventions tend to produce losers — just look at the Republican slate for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general that was swept in November — seems beside the point. Only ideological purity matters; moderates need not apply.
Evenly divided among Republicans, Democrats and independents, the 10th District seems a particularly bad place to engineer the selection of a hard-line conservative candidate. Yet that’s exactly what the local party bosses have in mind, sources tell us.
Conventions, which systematically exclude thousands of otherwise willing voters, are un-democratic. . . . . . In Virginia’s modern Republican Party, the deck is stacked against moderates.