It’s been quite a couple of years for Virginia Republicans. We were euphoric in early 2017 when President Trump was inaugurated, together with holding good majorities in both the U.S. House and Senate. In the Commonwealth, Republicans held nearly a veto-proof majority in the House of Delegates, coupled with a majority in the state Senate and there was plenty of enthusiasm with the upcoming gubernatorial race.
Fast forward to February of 2018: we just experienced the largest loss for a single party in 400 years of legislating in the Virginia House of Delegates. Tolls on I-66 routinely top $30 to drive less than 15 miles. Democrat Senator Mark Warner—you remember him, right? You know, the main guy who made sure the car tax stuck around, while traffic got worse, and our quality of life went down—was caught colluding with the Russians and being dumb enough to leave a text trail reminiscent of a man cheating on his wife.
With all that going on, this was quite a time for the entire Virginia Republican establishment to lose their minds. I find it interesting that so much ink (or rather electrons) continues to be spilled over Fredy Burgos’ Facebook post, which simply quoted founding father John Jay and expressed his interest in voting for Christian candidates. This entire phony controversy makes me question if his antagonists actually want to elect Republicans to anything other than party offices.
So, let’s start with Fredy: when he ran for the State Central Committee in 2016, I was proud to vote for him. I did so because he worked hard, had a passion for our ideas, and took the process seriously. All of those qualities still apply and he should be commended—particularly for stepping up when many of his antagonists lack interest in any sort of grassroots work. I do not regret my vote by any means.
But he should resign. Why? First, because I fear he will be removed by the Committee and while that might not appear to be a big indignity now, it will start to feel that way after it happens. Someone who is as dedicated as he is shouldn’t be trashed like this. The second reason is that when he initially mentioned the subject, he was warned what the outcome would be. It was quite predictable because he has made a number of controversial posts in the past and developed a “following” of Republican insiders who are gunning for him and his seat on the State Central Committee. What’s more, social media is a terrible place to express yourself because much of the nuances of our personalities and our true feelings are tough to communicate through the limited forum.
What’s unfortunate is that his attackers—including the coward who wrote the Bearing Drift piece and won’t sign his name—know full well that Fredy is not an anti-Semite and they should be ashamed for acting like the Snowflakes they otherwise laugh at. Fredy is a man of faith and why is it wrong to be proud of his faith? What’s more, if the writer of the Bearing Drift piece truly believed Fredy to be a danger to the party, why wouldn’t he sign his name? Those who have taken issue with previous postings were willing to openly express their displeasure. Why not now?
As I penned this, the tolls on I-66 rose above $30 while the ‘fix’ being touted by VA House Republicans would do nothing to stop the increases or the impact of people clogging other routes to avoid the confiscatory levy. No Special Counsel is being proposed for Mark Warner’s Russian collusion. Nobody is talking state-level tax relief. These are all issues that we as Republicans can use to turn votes in our favor. And we need those votes. We have a great candidate in Jeff Dove running to unseat Gerry Connolly in the 11th District, while we will have a fight on our hands to make sure that Barbara Comstock continues to represent the 10th District.
Let’s also not forget that in the General Assembly, our team must be using every legislative day to force Ralph Northam to take action on bills to cap the I-66 tolls, to bring private dollars for new highways, buses, and rail to make it so commutes don’t take hours; and to eliminate all the taxes we promised to cut over the years like the car and BPOL taxes.
Those items should be the focus of every party leader. Not a desire to use Democrat Party talking points to hand someone a seat on the State Committee…by painting each and every one of us as religious bigots. While I don’t defend Fredy’s behavior, the treatment is much, much worse than the injury.