Friday’s State Central Committee vote to change the 2013 primary to a convention was contentious, closely-watched and ended in a lop-sided vote. Knowing beforehand that it would be lopsided, one would have been tempted to make a politically-expedient vote, one that would have been ill-remembered.
I chose not to.
But make no mistake, it was not an abdication of duty or an act of indecision. It was a principled act of protest.
Protest of what? A protest of the way this debate and issue unfolded.
Allow me to explain. I wanted to be on State Central, not to be a pawn in some interminable war between different factions of the party, but to strengthen the party.
My local party in Spotsy used to be rife with unhealthy conflict and division. I was able to unite them and focus on the important thing: beating the big-government liberals that were hijacking my county. And beat them we did: we planted a flag for our beliefs, aggressively fought for them, and won: a 15-3 record over two years (with two of those losses coming by a combined 82 votes).
Along the way, it wasn’t easy. The liberal special interests poured close to $3 million into Spotsy, by far a record for an off-year election. The FLS was brutal to us, endorsing only our opponents and calling us “government-hating nutzies” along the way. I personally got anonymous threats by the liberals, causing me and my family to take precautionary safety measures.
We stood on principle in the face of heated opposition and won. And I am NOT opposed to standing for freedom when the going is tough- that description defined my last two years.
But in this SCC debate, I could not have been more frustrated and disappointed, with both sides. Now to be clear, I am a big supporter of everyone in that room- I would run through a wall for any of them. To me, it is NOT personal.
But between the sides, it was personal. The turning point to me was when one side, in lobbying me, called the other an “enemy” and said that I would be too if I didn’t join them.
Me. The guy who led turning Spotsy red, who took threats for standing up for our principles. Apparently I was the enemy?
This was emblematic of how the whole debate divided us, distracted us and cast a black eye on the party. If we are supposed to be stewards of the party, not a faction, I have to say we did not do a good job collectively over the last month.
As I stated before, both options have serious structural deficiences that need to be addressed. I will propose these in a series of reforms over the coming weeks. I do not want to see this same destructive, circular argument again- we can improve both options to make them less unpalatable.
Then there was the fact that the whole thing took our eye off the ball. Barack Obama is the most existential threat to the American Republic since the British army wore red. He is on the ballot this November, along with his hand-puppet, Tim Kaine. And for the last month, the 80 biggest activists in the Commonwealth were not working to beat them. Instead, they were beating on each other.
We cannot beat an organized and united left (they outnumber us in field offices right now, 16-9, and both Obama and Kaine lead in the polls) by taking our eye off the ball like this.
So, in protest, I refused to join a battle I did not start. This is not a decision on the merits of the question- I have my preferences there. But what happened spurred mocking media attention and divided the party for weeks. Instead of focusing on beating the forces of Socialism, we beat up on each other.
I hope we can be united going forward, and appreciated the comments of several SCC members after. But on the vote, I voted my conscience. At the end of the day, that’s all anyone can ask, and I am content with it.