The Republican Party of Delaware is in the midst of a war.
On one side are successful business leaders, socially conscious politicos, and concerned centrist conservatives. On the other are fringe activists whose collective ideology would find a welcome home in the John Birch Society, social authoritarians, and all-around angry people. The objective of this conflict is control of the GOP’s executive committee, with the former group’s bulk of support coming from the First State’s northern edge, which is the socioeconomic powerhouse of metro Wilmington, and the latter’s from the numerous rural precincts of down-home Sussex County at the opposite end of Delaware.
The Sussex clan claims that the Wilmingtonians, who have dominated virtually all of the committee’s leadership posts for several decades, are unresponsive to the more reactionary of their whims regarding social policy. The Wilmingtonians, meanwhile, respond by issuing a statement of fact; since Delaware is a state which trends Democratic, but is nonetheless fiercely supportive of its private sector, focusing on fiscal issues is the path to take in order to win elections. Despite seeing this approach prove to be smashingly successful a little over a month ago with Republican Tom Kovach’s come-from-behind victory in the New Castle County Council presidential election, giving the local GOP its first substantial victory in decades, the hardliners remain adamant about having the party their way — or no way at all.
This resentment boiled over into a mid-February meeting of the Sussex County Republicans. When state chairman Tom Ross, who received a graphic death threat last year for his support of moderate congressman Mike Castle in his failed U.S. senatorial bid against not-quite-a-witch Christine O’Donnell, rose to speak, he faced a volley of questions from an irate, easily excitable audience. Responding to them in a good natured manner, he eventually lost his cool when one particularly aggravated woman demanded to know why Ross declared that O’Donnell was unfit to be elected dog catcher shortly before the date of the primary election. The answer he gave, “Because it’s true!“ was simple, accurate, and served as a sorely needed dose of reality, not only for his questioner, but for her fellow travelers as well.
As soon as Ross told it like was, a great deal of the audience left the meeting, shouting angrily as they did so. One particularly incensed lady began chanting of the Republican Party’s imminent demise, no doubt due to the strong injection of logic and reason her ilk had just received. A few observers clapped, proving that there is indeed still hope for we sane Republicans, who fear that our party is in grave danger of being taken over by an ultimately small, but resiliently vocal band of wingnuts. Putting this aside, Ross’s actions proved two things: the first being that the far right must be dealt with quickly and decisively in order to be prevented from attaining undue power, and the second that these people are not true Republicans whatsoever, despite often claiming to be. This can be easily deduced from watching the manner in which they quite literally packed up their marbles and rushed home as soon as an opinion, and a factual one at that, contrary to theirs was presented. These ideologues care not for the stability of the GOP and are clearly using it only as a vessel to promote their warped, highly unpopular ideas.
It is for the sake of the mainstream American center-right that they immediately be stopped from seriously influencing its political process more than they already have. During times such as these, we all should remember that, regardless of our personal differences, radicalism in government can, and undoubtedly will, unite us all in defeat.
This, needless to say, is a war which the good guys simply cannot lose, for the price would be far too high if they did.