Karen Kwiatkowski: What Super Tuesday in Virginia really tells us
While losing the state, Ron Paul won in the counties of Warren, Buckingham, Alleghany, Craig, Montgomery, Pulaski, Floyd, Patrick, Surry, and the cities of Lynchburg, Charles City, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and the little town of Norton in the southwest corner. Where you have retired veterans, active duty military, honest conservatives, farmers and young people, Ron Paul did well even though he had — and has — no support from the GOP itself.
Republican leaders throughout the Commonwealth, from Governor McDonnell on down, supported Mitt Romney. Lt Gov Bill Boling was Romney’s state campaign chairman, for goodness sake!
The results on March 6th reveal some dark – if otherwise well-known – secrets:
1) The state GOP has forgotten the Republican creed, a creed that Ron Paul’s 2012 campaign lives and breathes. Instead of solid conservatism, party leadership endorsed well-funded statist Mitt Romney, who has zero chance of defeating well-funded statist Barack Obama in eight months.
2) The Republican Party of Virginia can no longer count on Republicans to do the party’s bidding on demand. RPV messaging, the governor’s blessing, and Bill Boling’s advocacy for Romney all failed to resonate.
3) The biggest challenge the Republican Party faces to day isn’t excessive spending and borrowing. Most of our elected Republicans, including the 6th District incumbent, are dedicated to a spend-and-borrow mindset, and have been for decades. Instead, the fundamental challenge facing the GOP is how to bring Tea Party rebels, constitutional conservatives and the civil liberty wing of the old Republican Party back into the fold.
Four more years of burning Obama effigies in Washington might be enough reunite real conservatives with establishment Republicans.
Or not. The GOP also has a huge problem in attracting younger members. Ron Paul is the most popular Republican among the under-35-year-olds, by far. But the sclerotic GOP can’t see the forest for the trees, and continues to eat its young.
Virginia’s Republican primary in the grand scheme of 2012 politics will be quickly forgotten. But if the GOP is wise, it will study the real lessons of March 6th, and start paying attention to what is working, and what is not.
Karen Kwiatkowski, a conservative Mount Jackson cattle farmer and veteran, is challenging Bob Goodlatte in the Sixth District GOP primary on June 12.