05.14.2014 0

Tea Party leaders need not apply in Republican Party of the future


By Robert Romano

“While the voice of every Republican should be heard, our challenge is to figure out how to be a conservative party, without allowing the most extreme voices of the day to control our party and determine its future direction.”

That was former Virginia Lt. Governor Bill Bolling in the pages of the Washington Post responding to the election of Fred Gruber to head up Virginia’s 7th Congressional District Republican Committee. Bolling called the result “extremely disappointing.”

So, what was it about Gruber that compelled Bolling to refer to him as one of the “most extreme voices” in the Republican Party?

Judging from Gruber’s rather mundane campaign website, it is somewhat hard to say. His biography does state that “Fred believes our Party is on the wrong track, and has been an outspoken advocate for the need to reform.”

Okay, so he’s not an establishment guy, and is not supportive of the current Republican majority in the House, thinks we’re spending too much, and the like.

But so what? Isn’t there room in the Virginia Republican Party for activists like Gruber, who heads the Louisa, Virginia Tea Party and otherwise has spent his career as a financial analyst?

Otherwise, Gruber ran on a rather innocuous platform “to bring in new activists from the Tea Party, the Liberty movement, and pro-Family movement, and unite them with traditional Republicans to build a stronger GOP toward winning elections in our state and nationally.”

Frankly, that’s all pretty standard boilerplate as far as Republican politics goes.

Then again, Bolling’s frustration may have had nothing to do with Gruber’s political beliefs, and everything to do with Gruber’s support of Dave Brat to oppose House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) in the upcoming June 10 primary.

Adding insult to injury, Gruber had just defeated Cantor loyalist Linwood Cobb to win the local party election.

That is apparently enough to get smeared by the former Virginia Lt. Governor as one of the GOP’s “most extreme voices” in one of the nation’s most widely read newspapers, rather than congratulating him on a hard-fought victory.

Gruber can probably take the abuse, and it’s often said that politics ain’t bean bag, but that’s not the really the point.

Bolling’s remarks are over the top by design. There need not be any substance to what he said.

The message Bolling is sending is that as far as a place in the future Republican Party is concerned, the tea party need not apply. Not even nominal opposition can apparently be allowed against entrenched party leaders like Cantor or his followers.

If you speak up, they’ll take you down. They will smear you and make an example of you.

What? Isn’t that the kind of party you’d want to join?

Robert Romano is the senior editor of Americans for Limited Government.

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