Monday, December 09, 2013

The Virginia GOP - Still Drink the Kool-Aid

While Ken Cuccinelli said that he would not be running for office at the just passed "Republican Advance," indication are that the Republican Party of Virginia remains lost in fantasy land and unable to grasp that the world - and areas outside of the redneck, Bible beating hinterland of Virginia - is moving into the future.  Meanwhile, the Virginia GOP remains mired in the past, longing for the days of Jim Crow and when gays remained closeted.  A piece in Politico looks at the denial that continues to reign among the Kool-Aid drinkers who see the Virginia GOP's problems as only "cosmetic."  Here are excerpts:

Virginia Republicans suffered a drubbing last month, losing all three statewide races (though a recount is impending in one). A year earlier, it was pretty much the same story as Mitt Romney got swamped and the party unexpectedly lost ground in the Senate.

But to hear GOP leaders in this once reliably red state tell it, this is no time to panic. No hint of discouragement is betrayed. Just as many party activists insisted after Romney’s loss, key figures here said that their shortcomings are cosmetic — that the problem is largely about campaign mechanics and how the conservative message is being delivered, not the message itself.

So if the Commonwealth, sure to again be a top battleground in 2016, is a microcosm for the broader Republican Party, the GOP faithful here weren’t showing much interest in the kind of soul-searching many in the GOP believe is necessary if they want to win big elections again.
They blamed the loss on a failure and inability to more aggressively push back against Democratic Gov.-elect Terry McAuliffe’s avalanche of negative ads. They argued that more money, not having a third-party candidate in the race and a scandal-free governor would have made the difference.
For the first time since 1969, the GOP probably won’t control any of the five statewide offices. For the first time since 1973, the party that won the presidential election the year before also won the governorship.

Several conservative loyalists expressed contempt for moderate Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, who dropped out of the Republican race for governor after Cuccinelli maneuvered to change the way the nominee would be picked from a primary to a convention. Bolling stayed officially neutral but maneuvered behind the scenes to help McAuliffe.

Bolling, who did not attend the gathering, wrote an op-ed for the Richmond Times-Dispatch last week that laid out five steps to revitalize the GOP. One of them was to stop selecting nominees at party conventions, which tend to settle on more conservative candidates.

“While such conventions might empower a few thousand of the most strident voices within our party, they effectively lock out other voices that should be heard,” he wrote. “They too often result in the nomination of candidates who simply can’t get elected when judged by a broader Virginia electorate.”
Many from the Bolling wing of the party cite the 10-point loss of E.W. Jackson, who came out of nowhere to win the nomination for lieutenant governor at a May convention despite a history of controversial remarks, as reason to return to a primary system for picking nominees. But there is not currently the support for such a move on the state central committee.

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