As a former member of and activist in the Republican Party of Virginia ("RPV") in the days before it became largely an arm of James Dobson's affiliate in Virginia, The Family Foundation, I continue to watch in dismay as the party degenerates into religious based lunacy. The Family Foundation's position on gays for example, reads in part:
Homosexual advocates are working through school curricula and student groups such as "Gay-Straight Alliances" to bring their message to children in Virginia. Legislation is needed to bar these groups from promoting risky sexual behavior in our public schools.
Jeffery Frederick, the current Virginia GOP chair, is an anti-evolution religious fruit loop in the mold of his puppeteers at The Family Foundation. In many ways Fredrick personifies the extreme aspects of the Republican Party rejected by Virginians as evidenced by Barack Obama's win in Virginia last November. As a result, it is interesting to see the growing efforts to drive Frederick from the RVP chairmanship. Whether or not it signals an effort to shift the party from the control of the lunatic far right remains to be seen.
Likewise, Bob "Taliban Bob" McDonnell's entry into the political fray is somewhat out of character since McDonnell has long been a darling of the Kool-Aid drinker set. I've previously posted about what I see as Bob McDonnell's dishonest efforts to portray himself as a moderate and and my sincere hope that he loses his bid to be Virginia's next governor. I guess that he would be a moderate when compared to, I don't know, maybe Attila the Hun.
Three stories in the Washington Post - here and here and here - look at the growing drama in the RPV and the intra-party conflicts which I hope will leave the party highly fractured and significantly less competitive in the November 2009 elections.
Here are some story highlights:
With the three Democratic candidates for governor battling for their party's nomination, GOP candidate Robert F. McDonnell was in a posture that many statewide candidates can only dream about. McDonnell is running unopposed for his party's nomination and has all spring to prepare for the general election as the Democrats attack one another. . . Despite all this, the McDonnell campaign apparently couldn't resist wading into an ugly, internal party battle over Del. Jeffrey M. Frederick's fitness to serve as chairman of the Virginia Republican Party.
The looming battle could set up the kind of split that McDonnell and GOP leaders worked so hard to avoid. It's a curious strategy that poses huge risks for McDonnell. . . . GOP insiders say McDonnell's campaign staff played a key role in lining up signatures to call the special election.
By challenging Frederick, McDonnell has picked a fight with some of his party's most loyal supporters. Frederick, a social and economic conservative, was elected chairman at last year's GOP state convention after he waged a campaign to unseat John H. Hager, a moderate, from the position. Frederick cobbled together a coalition of several thousand antiabortion and anti-tax activists as well as home-schoolers, many of the same delegates who supported Del. Robert G. Marshall (Prince William) over former governor James S. Gilmore III in the Senate race.
The Washington Post also reports the following:
The dispute is fast becoming a generational and ideological clash that threatens to destabilize the party when it can least afford it. Republicans, both in Virginia and nationally, are struggling to find an identity and a unifying leader to counteract President Obama and Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, the new chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
The latest WP story goes on to report how Frederick seems intent on fanning the flames of the dispute even more and is attempting to incite a revolt by the far right Christianist base of RPV:
Frederick's refusal to acquiesce has set up what threatens to become one of the state's nastiest leadership fights in recent memory. The Prince William County resident is counting on rank-and-file conservatives to join his revolt against the party's elected leadership, setting the stage for an election-year drama that highlights the turmoil within the party in Virginia and nationally.
From a gay rights prospective, I hope that Frederick continues to refuse to go quietly and truly ignites an intra-party war. Nothing can be better for Democrats and progressives than to have an RPV tearing itself apart in a feud that could cause the most insane of the party's base to stay home this coming November.
Not only would that result help to insure another Democrat for governor, but it might assist in the defeat of some of the most anti-gay GOP members of the General Assembly - a true win-win situation.
I hope the RPV civil war continues and becomes incredibly nasty.