On Saturday morning, while watching the snow continue to fall in the central Shenandoah Valley, I read something on the internet that caught my attention. My state senator, Mark Obenshain, wrote a Facebook post in support of his wife. For those who don’t know, Suzanne Obenshain is running to be Virginia’s next Republican Party National Committeewoman. There is another candidate running too, Cynthia Dunbar.
Anyway, as a way to bolster support for Suzanne, Senator Obenshain listed what he thought were some of her important qualifications:
Sounds reasonable, doesn’t it? After all the idea of electing a Virginian who has been active in conservative politics for decades is appealing, right? However, are these points really important to Senator Obenshain?
If we rewind the clock to the 2014 Harrisonburg City Council elections, although all of the candidates had ties to Virginia, to the best of my knowledge only one (or perhaps two) could have been considered a conservative grassroots leader. Only one of the candidates had been involved in over a dozen campaigns for conservative (or at least Republican) candidates in Virginia and only one had attended the 2008, 2009, and 2013 state Republican conventions along with the 2012 6th district convention. And, to top it off, this candidate was active in politics for the past 19 years.
If the qualifications Senator Obenshain listed on Saturday morning were so important, one would assume that he would support all candidates who meet them. However, that is not the case as he ended up endorsing two candidates for Harrisonburg City Council, neither of which had nearly the same level of involvement as his wife, Suzanne Obenshain. How can I know these things? Well, it is because I was the “only candidate with these qualifications” listed above in the 2014 city council elections.
Yes, it is exceedingly important to have standards and principles, but shouldn’t a person, especially an elected official, be consistent in their application? If Senator Obenshain values a steadfast principled activist who has been toiling in the Virginia trenches for years, including one who regularly volunteered for his campaigns, as both Suzanne Obenshain and I have, wouldn’t logic dictate he would stand behind both of us?
Therefore, you have to wonder if any of the points listed in the Facebook post truly matter or are they merely talking points to rile up an “us against them” mentality against someone like Cynthia Dunbar who moved to Virginia about half a dozen years ago? I could be wrong, but being “one of us” is more an issue of unashamedly fighting for causes we believe in rather than what city, state, or country one happens to call home. Being a good and true Virginian is less about transitory things, like geography, and has more to do with a person’s code of conduct, honor, and morals.
I don’t plan on voting at the 2016 RPV convention, but, as is the case in any election, I think principles ought to be of utmost importance and being dedicated to them ought to matter. To do otherwise seems darned hypocritical to me.