Friday, March 5, 2010

Lawson Steps Down; Tea Party Takes Henry County GOP

It seems that Southside is a bit of a microcosm these days. First came the breakdown of the manufacturing sector and complete overhaul of the economy; now it's the rise of the Tea Party to positions of power within the GOP. In today's Martinsville Bulletin, longtime Republican Committee Chair Don Lawson announced that he is stepping down in advance of Monday's GOP committee meeting. That makes his only opponent for the chairmanship, staunch Tea Critter Jeff Evans, the winner by default.

Now, you may remember Jeff Evans as Roscoe Reynolds's opponent in the 2007 Virginia Senate election. He was handily dispatched, winning only 38% of the vote. But here's an interesting clip from the article:
Evans, who won 38 percent of the vote in 2007, said he “has not ruled out” a second bid against Reynolds.

Lawson said he “advised him I could not support him for that.” Evans then decided to seek the chairman post, Lawson said.

Evans said that was not the case. He said he and Lawson have “different views” and have barely spoken since last spring. “I quit going to committee meetings so there would be no trouble between us,” Evans added.

Evans said he told Lawson last year that he thought change was needed on the committee. When he did not see anyone else stepping up to run for the chairmanship, Evans said he decided to run about three weeks ago.

When Evans took delegates’ applications for Monday’s mass meeting to Lawson before the deadline, a television crew was there, Evans said. He added that he does not know who called the crew, but he said he thought it was a good thing it was there.

That was done to sensationalize the event and make it appear “that somehow the party is being harmed by my being involved” in the process, Lawson said. “He had no clue I was not even a candidate.”
Step 1: Get owned in an election against a popular, entrenched incumbent.

Step 2: Make overtures about running again and demand changes to your party.

Step 3: When you don't get your way and the party doesn't want to run a losing candidate again, take over the party. Voila.

And that, in a nutshell, is why the Republicans remain in deep trouble. Despite the media narrative about 2010 being a GOP surge year, this is a perfect example of the fundamental problems that are still eating away at the Republicans. I'm not saying they won't pick up seats this year, but it doesn't change the fact that a large chunk of their base has gone off the deep end. Here you have open, public hostility between an established party leader and an insurgent Teabagger. What's worse, the level of discourse leaves no room for discussion and will only divide the party. All indications so far have been that ideological absolutism is the order of the day in the Tea Party, and there's no reason to think it will go away anytime soon.

As a moderate friend said to me when he heard this news, "I guess I'll be voting Democrat for a long time."

1 comment:

SouthsideCentral said...

It seems that Lawson has banned All Things Star News from his property now.