Rockbridge mass meeting: ‘I heard you used to be a conservative’

Republican elephantBy Lynn R. Mitchell

While at the Rockbridge Area Republican Committee mass meeting Saturday morning, I set up my laptop in the lighting/press box area in the back of the auditorium overlooking the seats and stage. As I busied myself getting ready to begin live-blogging the event, a gentleman stepped up to the window and looked in at me.

“Someone told me you are Lynn Mitchell,” he said.

Looking up, I smiled and said, “I am Lynn Mitchell!”

Reaching his hand through the window to shake mine, he said, “I’m Ken Adams. Nice to meet you.”

“Oh! Nice to meet you, too,” I said as my brain raced. Ken Adams. Ken Adams. Ken Adams. It took about 0.5 second and then I realized he was the controversial Waynesboro GOP chairman who had brought the lawsuit against the 24th Senate District to prevent incumbent elected officials the choice of nomination and requiring it to be only conventions.

“But,” I added, “I don’t agree with everything you have done within the Republican Party.”

“Oh?” he asked. “Like what?”

Knowing such a conversation could last hours, I laughed and told him we would need to discuss it at a later time because I was getting set up for the meeting that was set to begin in a few minutes.

Looking at me, he then said, “I heard you used to be a conservative. What happened?”

I looked at him, puzzled. “I am a conservative. What makes you think I’m not?”

As he kind of grinned, I added, “Whose definition of ‘conservative’ should we use? Yours? Mine? Someone in this room?”

He stood looking at me and I could almost see the wheels turning in his head. “Interesting,” he said. His response almost had a question mark at the end as if he could not quite comprehend someone being a conservative who did not walk lockstep with him.

Turning to go, he added, “It was a pleasure,” and walked back to his seat.

As he left, I couldn’t help but think that’s part of what is wrong with the Republican Party as the civil war continues. There is far too little tolerance of others’ beliefs, way too much purging of those who don’t walk lockstep, and too much power-grabbing without results, i.e. recruiting and electing public officials. Last time I looked, politics was all about addition, not subtraction.

(For background on Ken Adams see 24th Senate District: Court upholds laws of Commonwealth, Hanger gets primary.)

8 thoughts on “Rockbridge mass meeting: ‘I heard you used to be a conservative’

  1. Mike Lowry says:

    The Sayer Hit Squad endorsed candidate lost the race in an extremely close election for Rockbridge Area Republican Chairman. Charles Kraut in very statesman concession speech called for a unanimous ballot to be cast for Roger Jarrell and for party unity. Cher McCoy, author of an attack containing insults and false information and an equally sleasy newspaper letter to the editor was the lone voice voting shouting no. Later, as Jarrell and his elderly mother were leaving the event, outside Cher loudly continue to make rude comments about Jarrell. It is easy to see why unlike Charles Kraut who lost in a close race, she was so overwhelmingly rejected two years ago as County Chairman 96 to her 34 votes!

  2. […] * Rockbridge mass meeting: ‘I heard you used to be a conservative’ […]

  3. […] * Rockbridge mass meeting: ‘I heard you used to be a conservative’ […]

  4. Calvin Lucy says:

    Very good question you put to him!! Almost like “you used to be a Christian”. There are beaucoup definitions of that too. He had no quick answer, did he !! Hang in there !! YLSF – a traditional conservative.

  5. virginiaconservative says:

    I’ve gotten similar questions, but it has come from the other side. It seems fairly obvious that the old coalition is falling apart or has already splintered.

  6. Liberalism is forcing conservatives into their respective corners to ‘dig in’ against the onslaught. Sometimes my corner might not look like your corner, but the reason is the same: left wing attacks on traditional America are causing entrenchment..we must learn to adapt to each other’s corners of conservatism and not burn down the whole village in the process.

  7. Charlie Judd says:

    …And we wonder why we lose general elections…

  8. Steven Richards says:

    The divide over ‘convention’ vs. ‘primary’ seems to me to be a false narrative when considering what is best for the party and winning elections, and, winning elections is what the candidates themselves are all about, of course. Let’s examine the discussion. A convention has benefits of energizing the base and controlling who gets the nomination within the party without outside undue influences. A primary has the benefits of getting all sorts of voters marking the candidate–undecided voters often determine the outcomes in the end. The downsides of a convention are that a vigorous fringe element could possibly ‘highjack’ a convention with a plan of stacking up delegates ahead of time, and get their pick nominated, even if that candidate were a real loser in the general election. The downsides of a primary are that democrats could vote on a weaker republican candidate to skew the general election results in their favor. So, in summary, which is better? The answer lies in the particular environment of any specific election. Sometimes the convention, sometimes the primary. I believe the incumbent would be the best one to determine which is the better for his or her cause–they have the most to lose or gain.

    We have been using the opinion of ‘convention’ or ‘primary’ as held by a candidate as an acid test of whether the candidate is conservative or not. ‘Convention’ seems to be the ‘mark’ of a conservative, but in fact, depending upon the political environment at the time; a conservative opinion could be a primary. I propose that we use another touchstone to evaluate a candidate’s politics rather than the convention/primary dichotomy. Does a candidate believe in and support the Republican Creed of free enterprise, equal rights, individual responsibility, budgetary restraint, constitutional limitation of government, strong defense, and faith in God? The Creed represents a much better notion of a candidate’s conservativism.

    This division among Republicans is not real, but it appears to be a split to those looking in at party mechanics. The issues are the ‘tea party’ (i.e. grass roots) vs. the ‘establishment’. The angst promoted by the tea party is understandable because they see a failure of the voting population continuing with ‘traditional America’, and the ‘establishment’ fails to counter the liberal leanings. Yet, when you look into it, you see political forces that prevent the conservative agenda from being exacted. For example, many of the conservative bills passed by the General Assembly this year, 2016, have been vetoed by Governor McAuliffe, and the Senate does not have the force of a veto override–they don’t have enough numbers to do it. So, do we blame the Democrats for failure of a conservative agenda? No, we blame the Republicans–the ‘establishment’ for such failure. This is nonsense. If we want a conservative result, we must add more conservatives to the State House and not necessarily ‘throw the bums out’ because they have been falsely evaluated as being soft on liberalism.

    This comment is a call for Republican Party unity. We have a hard enough journey to victory as it is. We cannot afford this false narrative any longer, and it is to our peril if we continue in it.

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