Virginia 10th District Convention report, pt 6 (final)

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UPDATE: Video of a portion of this part of the convention is now available!

Virginia 10th District Convention Smackdown on Vimeo

This point in the agenda is where things really got interesting.

During the earlier "vote" for Chair and Secretary, Jim Rich had refused to heed requests from members for a division of the question - technically, I understand, you just can't do that if you are acting Chair and purporting to follow Roberts Rules of Order.

As the morning progressed, however, it became clear that the rulebook in place was less "Roberts" than "Marquis of Queensbury."

A motion was made, and the motion carried, to allow reading of the names of Convention delegates who had donated to Democratic opponents of Republican candidates in the past year. Eve Barner was given the floor to commence reading the names.


What happened next was ... Darn, I keep losing my concentration, sorry. It's just that I've got this song going through my head for some unknown reason and I can't get it to stop:

"Woke up this morning, got yourself a gun…"

(Continued below the fold)

(there's a few pictures on the page, so give it time to load, eh?)


What happened was, as Eve was reading, acting Chair Jim Fisher, Jim Rich and Parliamentarian Warren Geurin huddled apparently to discern a legal way to get her to stop (her list of Democratic supporters was running pretty darn long). A parliamentary solution being unavailable, Jim Fisher simply stepped back on the stage, stated "The motion is overruled," took back the floor from Eve (now THAT was a first for me) and took the microphone from Eve in mid-sentence.

Following this, the stage perimeter was well-defended.


(Next Convention, the first thing I'm doing is shaking hands with the Sergeants and slipping them each a twenty-spot. Just in case. I appreciate raw power as much as the next guy.)

Following the reading of the portion of that list, I saw the Happy Warrior preparing the RINO hunter: "You have never experienced a more target-rich environment, my son."


The next major kerfluffle took place during the candidates' speeches. Each was allotted eight minutes.

Jim Rich addressed the members first. He gave a portion of his time to Rep. Frank Wolf, who had endorsed him. Then Jim spoke, made a decent speech except for one portion where he read off a "to-do" list of new initiatives for turning the Party's fortunes around, and the list struck me as a bunch of stuff that should have already been done by someone who has held the post for 14 years. But be that as it may, he got the job done in eight minutes.

Next it was Heidi Stirrups' turn, and she was quickly hamstrung by the fact she had two speakers recommending her, and both took WAY too much time. By the time Heidi ascended the platform, her eight minutes was about up.

Now, my take on this was that technically she had forfeited her right to speak because of such horrific clock management - according to Roberts Rules. But it was already established that Roberts Rules were only being treated as a set of polite suggestions for this meeting, guidelines really. So as a matter of simple courtesy, why NOT bend them again here and give the poor woman a couple minutes? It's been done at many, many political Conventions.


But the raw power party would have none of it, and before Heidi had said 15 words the Chair was back on the stage and the bell lady was banging that penalty ringer for all she was worth.


(This lady manning the bell was RUTHLESS to Heidi; I guess she was just following the rules but man oh man she banged on that bell like she was sounding a five-station alarm. Let me tell you: If I'm driving down a desolate country road and THAT lady shows up in my rearview mirror, I pull over to the shoulder and Let. Her. Drive. Past. And I make no eye contact.)

I guess you know the drill: Once again, Very Large Man is called to stage to grab the microphone from Petite Conservative Woman.


If you're keeping score, that's Burly Guys: 2; Conservative women: Zippo.

Anyway, in case you haven't heard, Jim Rich was re-elected Chairman of Virginia's 10th District. I think he got about 60% of the vote to Heidi's 40%.

I haven't followed the campaign until the past couple months, but I'm told by people who do that Jim Rich was much better organized - and this was sort of symbolically confirmed by his opponent's clock management snafu. Heidi gave an extremely gracious concession speech and pledged to support Jim as Chairman and said she was proud to have him at the head of the 10th District.

None of the Stirrup supporters I spoke with said Jim Rich did not win fair and square, and most conceded Rich would have been a tough incumbent for any challenger to beat. Some said they hoped the fact that 40% of the delegates opposed him would serve as an eye-opener and perhaps spur more active leadership in the future.


(Full disclosure: I realize now I don't have any cheery photos of Jim Rich. What I posted is the best I got. I'm sorry about that. I might have been able to make a more concerted effort in front of the podium to catch him smiling during the meeting, but I guess I didn't try hard enough. I also don't think he smiled all that much...but I could be wrong. As noted in a previous report, I also tried to get a sunshine and daisies photo of him outside before the meeting but did not manage to find him. Maybe he's not a big smiley-face guy, which would put him in the same class as me so I would not hold it against him. Anyway, sorry for no gleaming Jim Rich photos.)

I do think, because Jim Rich obviously had a solid base of support, there was no justification for conducting the Convention in such a heavy-handed manner. THAT part did leave a bad taste for the 40%. An extraordinarily dumb quote in the Leesburg2Day newspaper, supposedly by Jim Rich, was circulated in a flyer prior to the Convention - because I don't know for a fact that Rich said it, I'm not going to repeat it here.

But the Republican establishment in the 10th District better pay attention to what occurred yesterday. Several of the speakers evoked a boogeyman that is becoming a little tiresome to some of us: "Imagine a 'Speaker of the House Pelosi'…Imagine a 'Judiciary Committee Chair Conyers'."

The message to the conservative base: "We don't have to pay attention to you, but you darn well better go along with us or the Democrats will take over and where will you be then?"

Well, I have some news for the establishment: There's another boogeyman lurking out there, and this one's as certain as the chair you're sitting in. And this one doesn't give a rat's patootie about a 'Speaker Pelosi.' It's a big chunk of former Republican voters who no longer have one whit of allegiance to the Party. Strip out this energized, growing segment from the solid-GOP demographic in the 10th District and you should see the future will be even more of an uphill climb for getting Republicans elected than the recent past has been.

Let me put it more directly: Any candidate who supports immigration reform that does not follow the U.S. House of Representatives' "Enforcement first" priority will not get these peoples' votes, even if the candidate is marginally tougher on the immigration issue than the opponent.

We're not only talking about Herndon here, either, friends. These folks are busy - I know it firsthand. What happened in Herndon is being held up as a model for upcoming elections throughout the country.

Bottom line: You need this 40%, so be careful how you treat them.

Closing out the meeting, during the voting we heard a great speech from our great Congressman Frank Wolf, who said the right things about every issue, including immigration.


Ditto for the man I hope to help elect as President in 2008, assuming we can help him keep his Senate seat in 2006. If George Allen holds firm to the enforcement-first policy against the will of his open borders colleagues, he will help himself immensely this fall.


Rewarding illegal behavior will only get us more illegal behavior, and a country that cannot secure its borders cannot secure its own destiny.

Rep. Wolf spent much time talking with his constituents, who I hope urged him to hold firm on immigration.


Ditto for the man I hope to help elect as President in 2008.


It was a richly rewarding experience to participate as a delegate to the Convention, and I hope to have the opportunity to do so again in the future. We might only be 40% now, but I think the Party, like the country, is nearing a tipping point.

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No Relation said:

Well done, Joe.

Gracias, compadre. You should attend next year just for the entertainment value.

Robert Cosgrove said:

I was really disappointed to hear Ms. Barner's list of delegates she disliked. Why didn't she bring these concerns to the attention of the Rules Committee is advance of the Convention?

Regrettably, Ms. Barner exemplifies one reason why the Republicans are losing in Loudoun these days; The County's Far Right enjoys "RINO hunting" and cleansing the local GOP of "undesirable" Republicans rather than using its ammo to go against Democrats.

It makes me sick.

Sophrosyne said:

Isn't keeping Democrats out of the GOP nominating/committee aparatus going "against Democrats"?

Bingo! Eve was doing precisely that: Going against the Democrats who have insinuated themselves into the Republican Party.

Robert, this is what many conservatives see as THE main problem in the NOVA GOP - the Democrats who have donned the Republican label to affect the process.

Eve's list was not a catalogue of "youthful indiscretions" - it was a list of people who worked for Democrats against Republicans in the past year.

I for one was grateful and very interested to hear what a long list it was. I had no idea. Just hearing the portion of the list she was permitted to read was a major eye-opener for me. I think I understand the state of the 10th District much better now.

It was probably an eye-opener for many others as well.

As to whether it should have been brought to the Rules Committee first, I can't say because I don't know the process. If that really would have been a more effective route, I'd agree with you and urge that course of action in the future.

But as a first timer, I'm glad I got to hear what Eve said from the podium before they manhandled her off the stage.

fmcdonald said:

Eve Barner is an honest, courteous, soft-spoken woman.

I have no doubt that the facts she read were just that: facts.

And those facts sure got some folks rattled up there.

Great report!

That's exactly what happened, UCV; thanks.

A Voter said:

Great posting, Joe!

I was there. They used Roberts Rules only when Conservatives could be hindered by them. They completely ignored the rules when it served their purposes.

Keep up the good work!

suburbanite said:

I was there, and the thing that should disturb everyone is that a tiny group of people got together in the middle of wealthy nowhere to keep district headquarters in the middle of wealthy nowhere.

Frank Wolf's speech was 50% Hallowed Ground--an NGO land-grab. I know of two people who came away from that speech determined not only to forego donating to him, but voting for him as well.

I realize the money is in the estate country of Fauquier, but the bulk of the votes are in the suburbs. Everyone in my neck of the woods is sick of lip-service on services while wealthy special interests get handed grants out the wazoo.

I was appalled by several things that day, not the least of which was the naked pandering to the elite (whose checkbooks do write to both sides).

Jan Schar said:

Mine was the first name Eve Barner read. Because her information concerning me was totally incorrect, it causes me to wonder about the other names she read with such gusto! I have never donated to a Democrat candidate. Jan Schar
p.s. Just a point of information, the Convention Credentials Committee handles questions concerning delegate certification, not the Rules Committee.

Suburbanite: I'm new to the county so I guess I missed the significance of the points you're referring to from Frank Wolf's speech. That and the fact they had him deliver it while the voting was taking place so I definitely had to tune out about half of what he said. Someone did explain to me how the Fauquier contingent exercises a great amount of control.

Jan: I spoke with Eve just a few hours ago and as far as I can tell she believes her information is correct. It's interesting you apparently were listed in one of the databases of contributors. I hope we can find out what the deal is.

Jan: The mystery is solved. I now actually remember this from Eve's address but the fact escaped me when I read your comment.

Eve reported your contribution to a candidate opposing the Republican candidate - in this case it was the Independent, Russ Potts.

See the links here, and here.

It shows 3 donations totalling $1,500.

Your apparent work to oppose the Republican candidate in the last election was the rationale for arguing you should not be a voting delegate at the 10th District Republican Convention. That seems pretty straightforward, does it not?

But your side won in that it physically controlled the microphone. I imagine if our side had sent a linebacker to do the reading instead of a normal female, things might have been different.

Jan Schar said:

Joe, I reiterate, her information is incorrect. I have in the past donated to Potts for Senate as my cancelled checks display, not Potts for Governor. I have been active in Virginia Republican politics for 32 years and have donated to many many Republican candidates and to the Republican Party at all levels. I have never written to a blogger before this, I think this is an excellent way to communicate. Thank you for your time, Jan Schar

suburbanite said:

Joe, the JTHG (Journey Through Hallowed Ground) is an adjunct of the Park Service (you know, that agency that can't maintain or manage the land they have, yet needs more and more and more land?), which in this case seeks to designate a 175-mile long and 10-mile wide tristate "corridor" as a "heritage area".

It is being sold as recognition for the "cradle of American history". Well, if something has history in the title, it has to be good, right? As always, the devil is in the details.

Many of the sites used to pump the feel-good are not within 20 miles of the road it is centered on (US 15). One is in a neighboring state (Harper's Ferry). The deliberately vague language sounds fine, until one realizes that an appointed body (NGO) which is not accountable to the electorate will be overseeing all activity within the corridor. Including road improvements, land use, you name it.

The same group that is pumping this also opposes any alternative to offload the traffic that is killing route 15.

This is a top-down land lockdown and nothing more, to keep horse country safe for the wealthy.

It is similar to the "Route 50 Traffic Calming Project", on whose board Mr. Rich sits. That began as a simple project to deal with the through traffic in the small towns and villages on route 50 in western Loudoun County. Sensible in-town measures for safety, like entry features, raised crosswalks etc were promoted to signal through traffic that there was a town here so slow down.

It would have worked if two things had happened: if it had been planned in conjunction with a bypass (heartily opposed by the estate crowd), and if it had not suffered massive mission-creep.

It has grown to a set of three interlocking roundabouts at the intersection of 50 and 15 (miles east of its original study area) that the most current VDOT traffic counts indicate have already been surpassed in terms of engineering and design, as well as a fourth roundabout several miles east of 15 on 50.

The most ridiculous part of all is that money has been earmarked to REMOVE lanes from the 4-lane portion of 50 in western Loudoun (which was four-laned for safety reasons after several fatal accidents). You heard me right: tax dollars to be spent in traffic clogged northern VA to REMOVE lanes from a US highway.

The Mosby Heritage Area is driving that bus, and uses re-imaged history to justify their agenda. Cavalry skirmishes on route 50 and environs (a major thoroughfare to actual battles in the Civil War) have been totaled together to be advertized as "the largest cavalry battle of the Civil War!" and now, "the precursor to Gettysburg".

Add to this that the Piedmont Environmental Council needed their pound of flesh for campaigning for Kaine in NVA (remember those brave words about transportation in the last two weeks of the election?) and you have a director of the PEC on the CTB now, who is busily touring Loudoun stopping road improvements on route 15.

Remember Frank Wolf stopping the Techway STUDY? Funny how he turned around and two weeks later gave the village of Waterford (a "vernacular" historic site--i.e., absolutely nothing happened there, but it looks old) over $900K to bury their power lines so they'd look appropriately old. Waterford is the home of the President of JTHG, a former Wilder associate who married Texas oil money in a family that makes Enron look like the cub scouts.

Waterford and other wealthy villages get a lot of perks while roads go begging up here.

Every dollar that is written off for these political lobbying groups masquerading as nonprofits, manufatured historic resources, and supposed rural "economy" are made up by the people who can't get to work because the roads are neglected on behalf of the special interests.

And we just had a convention to keep power in the horse country estate district, and Mr. Wolf payed homage to the day by supporting their newest scam.

God help the inholders on the "hallowed ground" corridor when the attendant NGO and the NPS start regulating them out of existense, until they become "willing sellers". Kelo has much greater implications on behalf of greedy government and greedy "nonprofits" than it ever will for "greedy developers".

Jan, thanks for taking the time to write back. The Web site is definitely doing you no favors if it credits you with donations you did not make! The thought never crossed my mind their database could be wrong. I apologize sincerely for perpetuating the error if that is the case. I will pass this information along.

Suburbanite: Thank you, I'm going to make this a separate post if you don't mind; this is a very helpful explanation.

Jan Schar said:

Thank you Joe. Jan Schar

Dean Settle said:

convienant to overlook Mr. Cosgrove's and my problems with not doing this thru the proper credentials committee? We all have seen one name that the Cred. Comm. would have cleared up, and enough to make me suspicious of the rest.

I don't know about that, but would love to know if the entire list was problematic. I do not think it was, based on the fact there is just the one protest and that was an odd one considering the person was listed in a non-partisan database as having made the contribution in question. Certainly I give Jan the benefit of the doubt.

Moreso, I give Eve the benefit of the doubt, and am willing to grant most of her list was accurate. In addition, if she had been given the floor to read her shopping list, I'd be defending her right not to be manhandled off the stage. I'm a big Eve Barner fan.

I am new to the process, however, so can't comment on the question about not bringing the objections to the Credentials Committee beforehand. I'll grant it's a valid question and would be interested in hearing why it was not done.

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