The Commonwealth of Virginia's Ultimate Blog

Friday, December 09, 2005

In Defense of Kate Griffin

In the wake of Jerry Kilgore's loss at the polls last month, as well as the loss of a couple seats in the House of Delegates, there has been some understandable finger-pointing going on within the GOP about who is to blame for these setbacks. Some have suggested that our party chairman, Kate Obenshain Griffin, is responsible and have gone so far as to call for her ouster. I feel that these calls are grossly misguided for a number of reasons.

First of all, Kate has performed admirably under an extremely difficult set of circumstances. Kate was brought in to run the party in the wake of the eavesdropping scandal that cost Gary Thomson, Ed Matracardi and others their jobs and cost RPV $950,000 in a settlement that doesn't include legal fees, court costs and the like. Since that time, Kate has rallied the party faithful, brought major donors back to the table and allowed us to remain competitive despite the type of setback that would kill a weaker organization. Thus, we need to remember what a precarious situation she was brought into.

Secondly, Kate has the support of our party leaders. You'll remember it was George Allen and Jerry Kilgore who turned to Kate in the first place and asked her to serve. No one would have blamed Kate for saying "no thanks" and staying in Winchester with her family. Fortunately for us, Kate cares about our party too much to stand by watching the GOP marginalize itself. Those who have worked with her know her to be hard-working, knowledgable, and committed to the shared principles of our Party and Commonwealth.

Finally, Kate is a powerful voice for the Virginia Republican Party. Not only does her name resonate with Virginians, but she has also been a forceful advocate for the VA GOP. In 2004 Kate served on the platform committee at the National Convention and she also was one of the GOP's most outspoken critics of Mark Warner's proposed tax increase at a time when many Republicans were unwilling to do so. There is no doubt that the budget debate put a tremendous strain on our Party, but thanks in part to Kate's strong leadership, we maintain control in the General Assembly and will likely hold two of the three statewide offices. For those who wish to claim that Kate was not hardline enough against those in our party who supported the tax raise, you are not in possession of the facts. She was outspokenly against those tax hikes at the risk of losing support of members of her party who were of not as strong a conviction.

Certainly the Chair of the Party organization takes some responsibility for our losses, and I believe Kate has accepted that. However, I also feel that replacing her at this time would be foolish and premature. Frankly, our Party fared pretty well in a very difficult political atmosphere this year. If we continue to lose ground in '06 and '07 then a change may be necessary, but as of now I am very proud to have Kate Obenshain Griffin representing our Party and I firmly believe she is the best person to continue to do so for the forseeable future.


Blogger Sam McCord said...

Hear, hear, Harry! KOG bashing is even more pointless than Kilgore bashing. There's no denying she brings an energy to the office that nobody else could replace. As for her not being tough enough on Republicans who supported Warner's tax increase, just remember that up here in occupied territory she gets flak for being too tough on them. Guess what everyone? All of the great figures of stature in our party will have people coming at them from both sides (Gilmore, Allen, Davis) in a Commonwealth as diverse as VA. As long as the rest of us don't use pointless KOG bashing as salve for our election wounds, that criticism can remain constructive. Harry's right, she's the best person to take the party forward.

1:41 PM

Blogger GOPHokie said...

I have actually been surprised at how little talk there has been, both on blogs and at the advance, about removing Kate.
I do agree that she is the right person for the job right now. If she loses in '06 and/or '07, that will be the time to look for another chair, not now.

3:37 PM

Blogger James Atticus Bowden said...

I'd like to have the nametags of whoever is saying KOG should leave as Chairlady of the RPV.

She was apppointed, as much as elected, by the de facto heads of the RPV Jerry Kigore and George Allen - which indicates the top-down nature of power. Yet, once in office her efforts and successes for the RPV have been no less than heroic.

KOG didn't lose the elections. She won't lose any elections in 06 or 07, even if some GOP seats are lost.

I'd really like to know who wants to cast any blame on KOG. Fools and knaves, indeed.

2:18 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here here. And let's not forget the other reason we all can like KOG... she's a true conservative.

6:38 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's hear it for the Northern Virginia Task Force -- which not a single elected Republican from NOVA had heard of let alone any party official.

8:58 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

any familial bias in this post?

1:00 PM

Anonymous Waldo Jaquith said...

any familial bias in this post?

Ah, that bugbear of anonymity.

You know, as a Democrat, I wasn't aware of any widespread interest in removing Griffin from her post. But then, after the election, I had dinner with one of the state's most prominent elected Republicans. This individual expressed great unhappiness with Griffin, and made clear that her removal would be widely welcomed (to his estimation). I asked some Republican activist friends about this, and was surprised to find that many of them agreed.

I don't know about collecting name tags, but suffice it to say this isn't a problem that's limited to a few disgruntled hacks.

3:59 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not saying that I dislike her... I'm just saying that I can't name a single thing she's ever done other that give speeches and hob-knob with electeds.
I could be entirely wrong here, but I thought that State Party Chairmen were supposed to have a hands-on approach to helping Republicans win. She did not. Therefore, she deserves neither the credit not the blame.
Please give me your thoughts on this. I could be completely off-base.

7:17 PM

Blogger James Atticus Bowden said...

C'mon Waldo, tell this happy hack the name of one of Virginia's most prominent elected Republicans. 50:50 chance he is a RINO:Conservative. If he is a RINO, he is sure to be disgruntled.

Anon: Kate and the RPV's roughly $1m for 3 state wide and 100 HD races and a slew of commonwealth officials doesn't go far compared to the $23m Jerry Kilgore had alone. One buck doesn't modify or carry 23 very much.

KOG has worked diligently to get the RPV past scandal, legal jeopardy and financial peril. She has made great progress.

11:25 PM

Anonymous NoVA Scout said...

I doubt it matters much whether she stays or goes, at least in the near term. But is there any reason that any Republican (by the way, I don't believe in the existence of RINOs, but for purposes of this comment we can assume that anyone who doesn't see things exactly as I see them is a RINO. I've noticed there are a few of those and I'm taking names, mind you)) can be happy with the state party organization and structure? I find it largely on the sidelines, more of a club of somewhat like-minded people (although even that could be questioned), than a hard-hitting political mechanism.

The low point had to be the wire-tapping, but the climb out of that abyss hasn't been dramatic. Sometimes you need to change personnel just to shake things up to get to a better place. After this past election, I could see one of those sorts of shake-ups possibly doing some good. It couldn't do any harm.

12:50 PM


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