I’ll admit it.
I haven’t exactly been the biggest cheerleader of Jeff Frederick for many months. His style and manner are about as abrasive and direct as can be. When he swept out the old staff at RPV, I knew it to be a shortsighted and bone-crushing move.
When the infrastructure painstakingly built over the previous 18 months shared the fate of staff, that was a pretty clear sign that things were going to implode quickly.
And it did.
The verbal miscues from Chairman Frederick were enough to make a communications guy roll his eyes. The mistreatment of RPV staff was another. But RPV State Central doesn’t exactly mesh in the same way. You can’t fire them, and frankly some of the folks there are a treasure trove of old names and ideas. Distance them, and you ultimately gut the institutional memory of a relatively young institution.
That’s why this behavior just shocks me to the core. Today was a tough day for Camp Frederick to be sure, but when RPV’s Executive Committee asks for a meeting… do you do this?
At approximately 7:00 p.m. on the evening of March 13, 2009, the ECM
showed up at RPV Hdq. to convene the scheduled meeting. Upon arrival, they found the doors locked and the lights off. Sources inside ofRPV indicate that Chairman Jeff Frederick ordered the requested Officers not to take part in the meeting and to not be physically present at RPV Hdq. at 7:00 p.m. on the evening of Friday 13, 2009. Further, sources inside of RPV indicate that Chairman Jeff Frederick ordered that the entrance doors to be locked so that the ECM would be unable to meet to discuss the financial improprieties as outlined in the Bill of Particulars which serves as the source instrument for the removal of a sitting RPV Chairman pursuant to their governing Plan of Organization.
Readers here will notice that I haven’t said much on this other to report facts. Delegate Bob Marshall and Virginia AG candidate and current Senator Ken Cuccinelli have both adroitly navigated the shoals in calling for an open airing of the charges leveled by State Central Committee.
What’s baffling me is how the battle lines are being drawn up.
On one side, you have the entire Virginia Congressional delegation, the Virginia Senate GOP leadership, virtually the entire House of Delegates, and 75% of the State Central Committee lined up against Frederick.
On the other side, you have House Majority Leader Morgan Griffith practically alone and fanatic in helping Jeff Frederick — to the point of lending Griffith aide Jeff Ryer as an RPV Political Director — you have a host of Northern Virginia conservatives (most of whom I count as friends), an RPV staff being either muffled or fired in quick succession, and a flurry of online activity at RPV Network banning anti-Frederick supporters.
At first, the battle cry from Frederick supporters was “show us the charges!” Well… those are out now, and practically by request. So much for an internal party squabble.
Second, Frederick supporters asked for incontravertable proof. Got that.
Next, Frederick boosters asked for the charges to be fairly assessed. That’s fair… but how can that be done when Executive Committee can’t meet?
We all know what happened later tonight. Executive Committee simply took their meeting to the nearest restaurant in an air of bewilderment and disbelief. Nothing was resolved, nothing was fixed.
Now the national blogosphere is sitting up and taking notice. RedState just released this pretty hard-hitting piece, and didn’t spare the feelings either:
The GOP will be successful, but not if Jeff Frederick, the Republican Party of Virginia’s Chairman, has his way. Frederick, an overly ambitious “me first” politician, who wooed conservatives with such smaltzy stunts as proposing to his wife at a super secret Council for National Policy meeting, has done what no one thought possible — he has driven the Republican Party of Virginia further off the road. This is, mind you, the same Jeff Frederick who blew up the GOP’s chance to make a deal taking control of the legislature by Twittering about it before the deal was done . His talent for bad press
doesn’t end there.
He claims he is giving up his seat in the legislature to better focus on building the GOP up in Virginia, but is leading an effort to draft his wife to take his spot. Likewise, and more to the point, he has launched a series of automated phone calls to Republicans in Virginia attacking the only Republican running for Governor — Bob McDonnell.
We have a copy of the call, which you can listen to here. In the call, a Frederick supporter blasts both Bob McDonnell and his own First Vice Chairman, Mike Thomas, for launching a coup against him. Frederick calls them “elites,” when in fact Frederick has placed himself into a personally elite status of running the Jeff Frederick Party of Virginia, putting his own ambitions ahead of every one else in the party. We should note that, unsurprisingly, Frederick denies any knowledge of the call. In other news, the James River Bridge is for sale.
Now when RedState takes aim, someone is gonna get hit.
I have long held the position that while Jeff Frederick’s politics are spot-on, he and I strongly disagree with the direction of the Republican Party of Virginia and where it should be headed.
So strongly did I disagree, I hammered out a battle plan for its recovery. Many folks raved about it at the RPV Advance. I’ve shared quite a bit of insight on the memo, and have helped a series of unit committees, campaigns, and organizations execute on some of the details.
But one of the requirements for its execution is trust.
At this point, Frederick is going to have to do something Herculean to restore trust with the State Central Committee, not to mention the elected officials and grassroots volunteers of every philosophical persuasion — moderate, conservative, libertarian — who have several strong reservations about Frederick’s ability to lead and maintain.
Will he? Can he? An opportunity passed by tonight to do so. The longer this saga prolongs, the more damage is done to the idea that conservatives can lead the Virgina Republican Party.
One last thought, and it is the thought with which I concluded my memo:
If we cannot right our own ship, the voters of the Commonwealth of Virginia have no business entrusting Virginia Republicans with public office.
I’ll stand by the commentary above.
Mutinies are one thing; insurrections are an entirely different matter. Even if it were true that these actions were a “palace coup” designed to drive out conservatives (I firmly disagree with that analysis), at some point in time the French Army can’t hold Dien Bein Phu, much less Algeirs.
At some point, Jeff Frederick is going to realize that he can’t bring the ship home in something half made up. At which point, Frederick has some decisions to make.
Hopefully he’ll do so with grace.