In today’s Washington Post there’s a long piece on the divide among Virginia Republicans and how national campaigns are looking at the state with some concern:
Kevin Madden, a Republican strategist who was an adviser to Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign, said the GOP has “little room for error” in a “crucial” state such as Virginia.
“The last thing any presidential candidate needs is to drop into a battleground state and have the state party folks going at it like the Hatfields and McCoys,” Madden said. “Every ounce of energy used fighting internally distracts the party from the real opponent.”
If Republicans in Virginia cannot unify, strategists say, national party leaders will have to intervene.
“They’re like feudal lords fighting among themselves instead of a common enemy,” said Brendan Quinn, a Republican consultant and former executive director of the New York state GOP. “At some point, you’re going to have to have the national party step in. You’re going to have adult supervision and someone saying, ‘You’ll have to get along.’ ”
Of course the Post buried the best bit from Mary Matalin:
Mary Matalin, a GOP consultant who advised President George W. Bush and his father, President George H.W. Bush, said Virginia Republicans, along with Republicans across the country, are going through a “necessary and cathartic reform-oriented transition, which might look like strife contemporaneously but ends productively.”
“The contentious issues and factions will be vetted in what promises to be a full-throated rock ’em, sock ’em primary season,” she said in an e-mail. “Whatever divides us pales in comparison to our unity in opposition to liberal, left incompetence.”
You have to take a step back and ask whether or not the divide among Republicans is as bad as the Washington Post makes it out to be because this is coming from the Washington Post, which has done more to elect Democrats in Virginia than the Democratic Party of Virginia itself.
But a divide is there. And both sides need to figure out how to work together and quit fighting, suing, slating, and out “Conservativing” each other, or the Republican Party in Virginia is going to be in the statewide wilderness for a generation at least.
Ronald Reagan said it best: My 80-percent friend is not my 20-percent enemy. Reagan didn’t demand unity, he wanted diversity. The Republican message resonates with most rational people at least 80% of the time. Let’s work to find those people, not drive people out over the 20%.