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Augusta County Republican “leaders” are leaving a sad legacy

Posted by Stephen on May 1, 2008

There’s not much to say to add to the tabloid coverage of the spectacle that is the Augusta County Republican Committee. Most of us just want the ugliness to end, and most importantly, to simply go away. What is lost, however, is the damage their display is inflicting on the image of local Republican politics and the ability to get every day citizens involved.

The bottom line is Kurt Michael will eventually be ousted. It’s his own doing and it has nothing to do with the fact that he supported Scott Sayre. The beauty of civics in our country is that we have the right to support anyone we choose. The question is what happens after the inevitable contest ends and the winners and losers have to look at one another and decide what’s next?

Unfortunately Augusta County Party participants have yet to answer that question or move on from a campaign that ended many moons ago.

Michael is an intelligent man. He has done some wonderful things for the Republican Party. Yet, like any challenge of this sort that we are confronted with, at some point the good can be out-weighed by the bad. Once that reality comes into focus there is little recourse left.

Ultimately Michael’s role was to build the party to support good candidates that would support and promote sound Republican values. Building the party requires the ability to reach out and inspire people. At this point, Michael alienates the masses. Other than those close to him, he rallies few, and if you are seen as someone who lacks “loyalty,” than you are seen as a personal enemy. Sadly, his definition of loyalty has more to do with his ability to control the person than it does to move them to action.

There are a lot of exciting things happening with the Republican Party in Virginia. There are important seats up for grabs within the upper ranks of the RPV’s leadership positions.

Jeff Frederick, for example, is attempting to become the Chair for the RPV. He is a solid leader whose motivation is to return the Republican Party to its roots and to remember the principles the party once stood for. He can’t do that alone. He needs a united party that is determined to put the message voters sent when Democrats took over the legislature to work in the form of lessons.

The party lost because it lost its way. Frederick has the passion and ability to remind people of what the Republican Party once represented and what it can once again stand for; family, faith, and strong leadership that believes in empowering people while holding government accountable for its actions and in-actions.

To do that he needs people that are committed to uniting and not division. This is the simple premise that Michael doesn’t get. Threats, intimidation, exploitation of people, and paranoia are not tools conducive to uniting others.

Regrettably, instead of Michael leaving a legacy that matches his wealth of political knowledge with his known accomplishments, he will leave behind a tattered party where the enemies of the party have been empowered, and friends of the party that should represent the backbone of the region, have been hurt and scorned.

What a shame….

Stephen Winslow is the executive editor of Conservative Viewpoints.

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2 Responses to “Augusta County Republican “leaders” are leaving a sad legacy”

  1. I can, like many in the local Republican party, identify with your comments and observations of the Augusta County Republican party over the last year or so. Many do want to see the ugliness go away and begin the healing and uniting of a stronger and growing party. I agree that Kurt Michael will be “ousted” and I had hoped that the tally of votes at the mass meeting would have shown the very impressive turnout of voters and the clear choice made for new leadership. The meeting did go awry and may not have been closed properly by some set of rules or procedures, but before any closing protocol was violated, the overwhelming percentage of the voters chose to elect new leadership to the party.

    It was not a Sayre\Hanger continuation as some think and like to promote on blogs, in newspapers, and comments at every opportunity. Sayre ran a good race and for a first time candidate came very close to unseating an established veteran of the Virginia party. With several years of consistent support of Conservative ideas and efforts I see Sayre making another strong race in the same race if not another. Many people who supported Sayre, like myself, then supported Hanger after the primary to a winning election for republicans. Each voter, republican, person, and individual supported either Sayre or Hanger in their own way and in different degrees and that is the actual beauty of the system. We can agree on many things but with a civil and open relationship with our candidates we can discuss that which we disagree on and thus make the party stronger. When we lose this “environment” for discussion is when we are in danger of splitting and harming the party as a whole.

    “ At this point, Michael alienates the masses. Other than those close to him, he rallies few, and if you are seen as someone who lacks “loyalty,” than you are seen as a personal enemy. Sadly, his definition of loyalty has more to do with his ability to control the person than it does to move them to action.”

    The question of “Loyalty” has come up several times in the past and I have experienced this as well as seeing many others receive the same treatment. Meetings are meant to bring like minded conservatives together to discuss issues, events, policies, ideas, and problems. Once it gets to a point where people stand up thumping their chest claiming to be more conservative or republican then others, true damage to the party and relationships starts to occur. We have many fine conservative republicans in the valley who have done many things to create and maintain the community we have and enjoy and have done this in their own unique ways. This is also happening on the statewide level as you have discussed and changes for the better are on their way. One of these local conservative republicans phrased it best with “each person must take possession of what they have done and said before the party can unite and become stronger” to do otherwise only perpetuates the division within the party and stalls growth.

    Not just on a local level but also on the national level I have heard that “Republicans operate best when they are in the minority and hungry”. We are probably looking at being the minority once again on some levels but with the right leadership and cohesion within the party we can, and will do, the impressive things we have done in the past. We have a very strong team in Bolling\McDonnell in 2009 and finding a strong candidate for the Attorney General spot should be top priority.

    I believe we can make strong strides in the 2009 Virginia state race both in Richmond and our local elections with strong leadership that utilizes and benefits from our conservative base.

    “Threats, intimidation, exploitation of people, and paranoia are not tools conducive to uniting others.” This was evident in the large amount of republican voters who came out during the mass meeting looking for new leadership and direction for the local party…

    Steve Kijak
    “RightsideVA”

  2. Very well put. It is sad indeed that such talent and energy was used in such a destructive way.

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