Sunday, December 12, 2004

Watauga GOP's Reversal of Fortune

The pain of devastating electoral losses can warp your perspective and cause you to do crazy things. Witness Democratic Party Chair Terry McAuliffe telling the Democrat gathering in Orlando Friday that we need to ... well, the lead paragraph from the WashPost’s coverage tells it all: "Outgoing Democratic National Committee Chairman Terence R. McAuliffe said Friday that President Bush won reelection last month by skillfully leveraging terrorism and cultural issues to attract swing voters and even core Democrats, and he argued that his party must learn from Republican successes to become competitive." Maybe he didn't actually say "become more like Republicans," but that's how it sounds.

The stress of catastrophic loss in electoral politics will sometimes, evidently, make you go bonkers. Locally, the Watauga Republican Party is still going through the upheaval of having their entire slate of three Republican County Commissioner candidates rejected on November 2nd, including the thousand-year incumbent chairman of the board James Coffey. They still blame ASU students, natch. In fact, according to observers on the inside who have started worrying that the party is dangerously off-track, James Coffey is angling to get himself appointed to the Watauga County Board of Elections with the high-minded goal of "doing something" about the participation of ASU students in county elections. Sounds like a hell of a plan! We always enjoy the spectacle of defeated politicians declaring war on the U.S. Constitution.

Otherwise, our local Republicans appear to be chalking their loss up to not being nasty enough in their advertizing. Their local media guru, whose track record of nastiness against Dave Robertson in the 2002 cycle is well remembered, had apparently prepared a media attack against Jim Deal, tying him to Heavenly Mountain. We recognize the M.O. But Republican patriarchs could not talk Deal's opponent in the election into running the spots, which speaks volumes about the decency of the man. But the decency of that defeated candidate is now being fingered by GOP leaders as a failure of nerve. So much for Christian values.

What do we have to look forward to from the Watauga GOP in 2006? (1) More concentrated "voter suppression" aimed at ASU students; and (2) more nastiness in the form of negative campaigning.

Instead of blaming ASU students for their devastating loss, Mr. Coffey might more productively ask himself why, while George W. Bush and Virginia Foxx were easily carrying Watauga County, why did he & his fellow commissioner candidates lose so badly? The answer has nothing to do with paying tuition at ASU.

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