Thank you for your prompt response and your forthright answers to my questions. I read with interest your email notification explaining your vote to remove Chairman Frederick. I had previously reviewed the list of "charges" leveled at him and his response to them. Personally, I found nothing in the charges that seemed "substantive" as you describe it. I found Mr. Frederick's answers to the matters both full and totally legitimate.
Your email says that the dispute with Mr. Frederick had nothing to do with ideology, and that you will match your conservative credential against anyone. Since I do not know you personally, I can not make any judgment regarding your "conservative pedigree" as you described it in your email (in reference to your consideration of a future RPV chairman). As a lifelong conservative, I have seen a host of people represent themselves as conservatives. The previous GOP candidate for President is primary among them. Many Republican members of the Virginia legislature likewise make that claim. I have had both personal and professional associations with many of these people on both the local and state level. While Virginia has held a plurality of party in the legislature for a number of years, it is my firm belief that we have never had a conservative majority.
As I give thought to the claim you make of being a conservative, I weigh your words against your actions. I became involved with Jeff Frederic's campaign early in his effort to secure the party chair. I got to know him not by his words, but by his actions. Conservatism is more than words. Conservatives tend to have a clear field of principle from which they can not deviate. I endeavor to maintain that approach in my personal, professional, and political life. It is my conviction that people should not have to wonder what position I will take on any issue. I make clear the principles that anchor me, and anyone can look at those principles and see what position I will take.
That kind of clarity and conviction is the kind of principled leadership I expect from those charged with what I consider a sacred responsibility to represent me in any appointed or elected capacity. Over the past several months, I have identified a clear statement of principles that very closely expresses my own convictions. That statement may be found at www.the912project.com and I invite your attention to that site if you want to know more about how I will respond to any candidate for office.
The fight over Jeff Frederick's leadership was never about substantive charges. It was from the very beginning a move by party elitists in the Virginia Senate to remove what they saw as an obstacle to their own power base. Of all the GOP Senators who signed that petition, I don't know of more than 1 or 2 who have anything resembling a conservative voting record. The fact is, there have never been more than 10, and in most cases less members of the VA Senate who are willing to hold to principle over political expediency. I hope your claim to conservative credentials will not rest in an association with the members who originated the letter that added fuel to the effort to put down constituent sentiment and remove a duly elected leader who truly wanted substantive change in our state party apparatus.
There is a a deafening cry going on in response to what many consider the removal of a man who had the support of the grassroots GOP electorate in Virginia. There are angry words and electoral threats being thrown about by people who may have little will or ability to carry them out. I will not be a part of that riotous chorus. I will however stand by my principles and live up to my word. I can not support the leadership of anyone who can be moved by political pressure to do that which is clearly contrary to undeniable and widely held conservative principles.
At present, I find it difficult to reconcile your words (conservative pedigree) with your actions (voting to remove a duly elected leader on bogus charges for political gain). If there is anything you can offer that will help me understand your position more clearly, I am ready and willing to discuss it either by email or in person. Barring any corrective or clarifying evidence, I may have no choice but to fully oppose any future effort of your leadership or election.
You ask about my own local membership. I am a member of the Chesterfield County Republican Committee. I am registered as a delegate to the State Convention. I have never given a dime directly to the RPV for precisely the kind of leadership and actions they took on Saturday. I will always vote when I have the opportunity. I will support candidates whom I believe further the principles to which I have united my heart and soul. I have not been as active in local committee meetings as I would have liked due to a heavy work load and personal responsibilities. It seems now though that I must find more time to devote to those efforts and take a stand for principled leadership from the bottom up. It is clear that our party suffers from a dearth of that kind of leadership from the top down.
I will be asking some specific questions of this year's candidates for statewide office. I believe with all my heart that a vast majority of Virginians identify with clearly stated and consistently lived conservative principles. I have seen it for many years. I have traveled the Commonwealth and spoken on behalf of conservative principles to a wide variety of audiences. Whether they call themselves Democrats, Republicans, Independents, or Other, most people understand what it means to get up every day and go to work. They know what it is like to try to balance increased taxes with decreased income. They see all too clearly state leaders who say one thing and do another. Real people have trouble understanding how conservatives continue to overspend and misappropriate their hard earned dollars. Any candidate who will dare to take a clear principled stand backed up by consistent example of living by those same principles will have the enthusiastic support of a majority of Virginians. Unfortunately, that candidate may not be able to garner support from those elected officials who have proclaimed themselves to have such impeccable "conservative credentials." That reality was brought painfully home to us this past Saturday.
Phillip L. Whitaker