A reminder about “Warner Republicans.”

Last October I forecast open rebellion in the Republican Party if they nominated Gilmore to run against Warner. Between now and November, let’s see how accurate that proves to be. I think it will be even more pronounced than I’d predicted. Hager, having served in Warner’s cabinet, would be understanding of Republicans who choose to endorse Warner. I’ll bet that Frederick will show zero tolerance for it, driving Republicans out of the party and into the DPVA’s waiting arms.

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

6 replies on “A reminder about “Warner Republicans.””

  1. Woah there, I think you’re making a huge leap of logic on Hager and a Warner endorsement. Choosing to work with someone doesn’t mean it’s an endorsement of their policies or politics. John Hager working with Warner or any Republican or Democrat working with someone across the aisle in a professional capacity does not mean that they’re a supporter of whomever they’re helping.

    I think that anyone on the Republican side will be disappointed in Republicans that support Warner given the issues, no matter what they think of him as a person or whether or not they have worked with him in the past.

  2. Well, I think there’s a reasonable distinction here, though perhaps I should spell it out in greater detail.

    Hager, having served in Warner’s cabinet, has served in a bipartisan fashion and thus must believe that working with a Democrat is not treasonous. Surely you’ll agree that’s part of why he just lost — he was seen as too moderate, too willing to give in to Democrats. Frederick, on the other hand, has spent his career being strident in his opposition to cooperation with Democrats. That, likewise, is part of why he just won — he’s seen as a guy who won’t give an inch, ideologically speaking. To offer an extreme pair of contrasting examples, Frederick may attempt to browbeat the entire senate caucus into issuing endorsements for Gilmore (and publicly humiliate those who refuse to do so), while Hager would give a pass to Republicans in districts where they just can’t afford a Gilmore endorsement. I suspect we can agree that Frederick’s treatment of Republicans who support Warner (or fail to support Gilmore sufficiently) will be harsher than Hager’s would have been; our disagreement, I imagine, is really about how significant that difference would have been, and how it would have been manifested.

    FWIW, I think it’s not unreasonable for a party chair to take a position like that. But I do think that this is not exactly the time for the RPV to be shrinking their tent, but I think that’ll be the effect here.

  3. Your initial statement looked like it was feeding into the fears Frederick tapped that Hager is weak when it comes to fighting Dems come election time. But your clarification, OK, I get it.

    I don’t know about your Frederick assessment, though. Everyone’s in a wait and see here, but bringing the party back to its roots may very well have a positive impact on the party’s outlook across the state. Kilgore lost because the base wasn’t represented. When Republicans ran as Conservatives last year they won, when they ran as RINOs they lost. Gilmore almost lost because he didn’t appeal to the Conservative base.

    When Conservative issues and candidates are on the ballot, they win.

    So maybe Frederick is just what the party needs right now.

  4. Kilgore lost because the base wasn’t represented.

    I see people say this, and it may well be true, but I’ve never seen any data supporting this (or, for that matter, refuting it). Was turnout unexpectedly low on the conservative end of the spectrum?

    When Republicans ran as Conservatives last year they won, when they ran as RINOs they lost.

    Well, Tricia Stall primaried Marty Williams, winning as the more conservative candidate. But she lost the general election to John Miller. Nick Rerras, who has no reputation as a RINO that I know about, was defeated by Ralph Northam. So I’m not sure how much that there is to that line of thinking.

    OTOH, you have Emmett Hanger, a guy widely (and bizarrely, IMHO) accused of being a “RINO,” and he won with 65% of the vote. The counter example to that being Devolites Davis’ loss to Peterson. That shows that district democrats are a far more useful predictor of outcome than a candidate’s position within their own party spectrum.

    Gilmore almost lost because he didn’t appeal to the Conservative base.

    Well, he almost lost the convention because he didn’t appeal to the base — there’s nothing unusual about that. Candidates hew close to the base to get the nomination, and swing towards the center for the general election. So it goes.

  5. I realized I may need to clarify:

    The RPV does need to be a big tent. But what the folks in that tent need is a long pole to rally around: lower taxes, fiscal responsibility, smaller government. When that long pole is highlighted, you have people screaming “far right extremists!” or that people are trying to shrink the party when that isn’t the case. I think that Frederick understands that and I wouldn’t expect a witch hunt so much as a reinforcement of what being a Republican is supposed to mean.

  6. The problem with republicans trying to see themselves as the party of “fiscal responsibility” is simple history.

    When republicans hold power, the no-tax zealots scream until they receive compliance and massive deficits result. Then Democrats come in and fix things by actually acting responsibly.

    This seems to be the cycle that repeats itself at the local and federal level dating back to Reconstruction; maybe back to the founding of the Democratic party and Andrew Jackson.

    Perhaps the reason that Republicans scream so loudly about “Responsible Government” is that they yearn for is so badly, yet they’ve never been able to achieve it.

    Much the same could be said about being the party of “family values”.

Comments are closed.