The York/Stockman Result Proves My Point About Conventions

By Lloyd the Idiot

As I’ve said at every opportunity, conventions are a pitifully poor means of selecting a party’s nominee.  There’s the inherently undemocratic nature of it to begin with, then compound that with inane loyalty pledges and timing that allows the loser to run as an independent, and you have a receipt for failure.  Now, I didn’t attend yesterday’s convention, partly because I so strongly disagree with them in general (and so I  would have been fairly painted as hypocritical if I had) and partly because I have something of a life outside the drama of local politics.   I’m glad the candidates I supported won, but like at least a few others, I was quite surprised to see Steve Stockman give Scott York a run for his money.  In fact, if Stockman only had about another 25 votes from the Dulles district, he would have won the nomination.

The closeness of the race is due to nothing other than the method of selection.  Stockman received a total of 466 votes at the convention despite 63,000 Republican voters in Loudoun County.  Frankly, I doubt he would have had many more had the selection process been a county-wide primary: York would have demolished Stockman had the vote been put to the electorate at large.  He’s better known and better liked than Stockman, and it’s that popularity that virtually ensures he will roll over Democrat Tom Bellanca in the general election, too.  Why, then, would we take the risk of putting forward the less electable candidate through a convention?   Indeed, had those few Dulles delegates shown up we’d be opening the door, if not setting out the welcome mat, for Chairman Bellanca.

The Republicans dodged a bullet.  Give credit to Stockman for getting a few rabid supporters to spend a Saturday cooped up in a high school auditorium.  But it takes a lot more than that to win a general election.  Primaries, as I’ve said many times, are the best test of potential success in a general election.  A closed convention process that risks getting something less than the most electable Republican simply defies common sense.


  • BlackOut says:

    I want to add one more observation.

    Biggest loser was Cuccinelli. So much for his influence. Glad to see folks looked the other way when he stuck his nose under the Loudoun tent.

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    Great post, Lloyd. And while this was a very well run convention, it still took half a day on a summer Saturday to go through registration, sit through speeches, vote, and await results. Absolutely not an efficient way to choose a candidate.

  • I’m suspending my departure from TC in order to tell you , Lloyd. This post is spot-on. You have defined the EXACT bullet that we dodged, and you’re entirely right…no one had the right to steer us this close to the loss…if they truly care about the outcome.

  • FedUp says:

    “Give credit to Stockman for getting a few rabid supporters…”

    That’s just laughable, Lloyd. Steve Stockman would have made a great chairman and would have easily beaten Tom Bellanca with widespread support from whose who demand fiscal responsibility, without the polarization effect that rumor has it may lead to a tea party candidate running in the Sterling district.

  • Barbara Munsey says:

    FedUp, there are too many “ifs” in your coulda-woulda.

    The campaign consisted of a few anonymous (and sometimes rabid-seeming) supporters speaking FOR the candidate, with no recent record to refer to.

    What might have happened is that, having leveraged the result they wanted (crippling the local party, while attaching the party logo to their candidate for its usefulness), it would be up to the rest of the party structure to get their candidate elected.

    The only reason Eugene or any other supe candidate who didn’t do what they were told (oh really? who died and made the no-fingerprints crowd God?) would be challenged after the fact is to punish them for their disobedience, and if it takes a district or a whole county suffering under a Dem-logo moonbat or an anti-right to work apparatchik, well, then they coulda-shoulda-woulda done what they were told, and next time maybe they will! That’ll learn ’em!


    Just another bomb throwing party, with the main desired result being the explosions.

    If they want to run their own candidates, no one is preventing them.

    Please do it openly, honestly, with a candidate who does most of the campaigning on a tangible and current record.

    That would seem to fit better, at least to me, with platitudes about integrity and courage.

    Gee, and they signed pledges too!

    But it’s just Operation Chaos Redux, maybe? Well, that’s all okay then.

  • Loudoun Outsider says:

    Does anybody else think Stockman stepped on a landmine when he voiced support for Speakman?

  • RWN says:

    Fedup – with all due respect, I think it’s going to be a bit of a challenge for the Tea Party to run to the right of Supervisor Delgaudio on fiscal issues or even social issues for that matter. I would encourage Stockman supporters to exhibit the grace and class Stockman exhibited when he nominated Chairman York by acclimation.

  • BlackOut says:

    LO, that definitely surprised me. Strategic mistake if you ask me.

    RWN, I think the Tea party is up to the challenge. They definately should challenge Delgaudio, he’s very vulnerable. Sure he’s conservative but his baggage makes it impossible for him to really do anything other than vote. They could use someone who actually can be a leader.

  • Barbara Munsey says:

    Guys, is there one and only one Tea PARTY?

    That was one of the issues with the campaigning for the convention, at least IMO.

    There are a lot of people with whom the fundamental tea party principles resonate (and I’m one of them), and perhaps it may be my imperfect understanding but I have a hard time swallowing “John Doe’s Official Virginia Tea Party” vs. “Virginia Official Tea party XXXXXXX” vs. you get the picture, some warring with one another, and so on.

    Joe nailed it in his farewell that anyone who comes forward using the mantle should be checked out.

    I’ve no doubt that some of the people pushing Stockman’s candidacy were as happy to use the tea party label as they were to attempt to gain the R logo, while having their own personal desires in politics served by the fact that people RESPOND to both of those things, and placing the labels there brings a statistically useful return.

    That was why the anonymity so annoyed me.

    It isn’t fair to the people who respond because they’re responding to their own desire to participate in tea party principled action, or their desire to promote Republican party success, or even fair to the candidate: had Stockman won, there would surely come a day when he’d have a different idea than that decreed by the masterminds, and then what? Does he then get attacked by the people who promoted him? Not just disagreed with, but vciously attacked and punished?

    I’d say it’s a possibility.

    I hope the candidates don’t have to waste resources on people who will be masquerading as principled independents for the benefit of garnmering votes that may be sought as nothing more than punishment stripes for the “disobedient” Republicans.

    And I really don’t want some of the Dems who might get elected as a result, to punish us all for not getting on the designated bus when told to do so.

  • BlackOut says:

    Barbara, it doesn’t matter; someone with motivation to call themselves a Tea Party and would like to put up a candidate against Eugene would be effect to say the least. I think they would have a decent chance at taking out Delgaudio. Delgaudio is vulnerable because although conservative his buffoonery gets him laughed at and leads to an in ability to do anything but vote, not lead. He was laughed at during the convention. I was surprised at that. A lot of people were more vocal with grunts and snide comments than I expected. Encouraging actually.

  • Barbara Munsey says:

    Colleague, there may be lots of candidates targeted to be punished for not doing what they were told. Split votes for the sake of splitting could do a lot of damage from coast to coast.

  • BlackOut says:


    In an effort to pull together this discussion in one place…

    You mentioned below, “this little group hasn’t the resources to pull off a campaign. They have the ability to prey on people’s instinctual response to ideals and principles, while displaying little to none themselves (and I’m not talking about the candidate).”

    I’d disagree as it was evident they pulled together a formidable challenge to York to include bringing in big guns from Lind and Cuccinelli. I’d say this group could easily handle a small district race. I’d say they have a good chance. They were extremely close to winning the big prize but maybe it will be a better strategy for them to go after the smaller fish first and then move up the food chain.

    And to my main point Eugene is ineffective. He’s a vote not a game changer. He’s a sideshow not an agenda maker. Conservatives would do well to have a different personality in that seat.

  • Barbara Munsey says:

    Colleague, the big prize in a very small arena, which still was not acheived. 900 participants was impressive, but there are over 300K in the county.

    The honest thing to do (you know, HONESTY, COURAGE, INTEGRITY, those words that actually have meanings?) would have been to primary Eugene and come out of the convention with their person as official nominee. They got 30 people in Sterling for their one candidate.

    The idea (as it nearly always is) is for OTHER people to devote their resources to the mission. Eugene chose to honor his endorsement of York (and the HONEST thing to do would have been to have their major hissy when York sought to file as a Republican), and thus they didn’t have his resources to spend.

    Matter of fact, the LCRC paid for the convention.

    An honest effort would have organized his own (and again, not talking about the candidate).

    But words are important to be able to spend (as opposed to their meanings), and having that R to stamp on someone is useful, even if one’s only connection to the party is to burn it down and rebuild it in one’s own image (not talking about the candidate here, either).

    For the small group of fairly anonymous people that orchestrated this, they “won”. They threw bombs and have the resources to throw some more. Recall, the object is not to necessarily accomplish anything positive, but to manipulate a personal end.

    In the ongoing case, that end is little more than punishment, and the same good words will be used on people who respond to them, for very personal payback ends.

    The time to challenge the individual candidates was going into the convention, as York was challenged. They did not have the resources to do so, as they were counting on the resources of others who didn’t respond.

  • FedUp says:

    RWN – I concur with you 100% and with Wolverine in a previous thread that a conservative (not necessarily from the tea party) challenger would probably hand the dem. a victory. It would be a really bad idea and I hope it does not happen. Eugene has an exemplary fiscal conservative record in his 12 years and we need him for another 4 years.

  • LloydTheIdiot says:

    It’s truly shocking that ED would be considered not “conservative” enough in any circles. A buffoon, yes. Anything less than ultra-right wing, no.

    Aside from ED’s endorsement of York, the only thing potentially distinguishing a Tea Party candidate would be that ED’s hat is orange and the Tea Partier’s is tinfoil.

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