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Conservatives &Virginia politics Richard Falknor on 24 Jul 2011 10:31 am

The Loudoun Political Class Just Won– But For How Long?

(For the convenience of our readers, this is a separate version of our “update” yesterday to Friday’s Tomorrow’s GOP Convention vs. Loudoun’s Political Class)

The Loudoun County GOP, in its convention yesterday morning, nominated Scott York as its candidate to be chairman at large (foregoing link from Leesburg Today.)

York is a long-serving, big-government chairman at large who previously held that office as an Independent, and in 2007 endorsed five Democrat challengers to his Board of Supervisors colleagues.

By nominating York yesterday, the County’s Political Directorate also got a vote of confidence from Republican rank and file. In a further tribute to Mr. York’s skill, he was able to attach the GOP brand to his own political organization.

York challenger Steve Stockman had articulated a pro-market, right-sizing-government approach to all who would listen, while casting doubt on northern Virginia’s Dulles Rail scheme– in the advancement of which Mr. York was heavily invested politically.

Stockman also underscored property-rights protections, and the need to sever the County’s connection with the “ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability” organization (which implements the UN environmental program, Agenda 21).

Independent businessman Stockman (who had some time ago held office as a Loudoun County supervisor) told the convention that the morning’s selection would determine the shape of Loudoun County for the next forty years. In short, it was a turning point.

In this, he may have been wrong.

One commenter we read on a blog in another part of the forest indignantly noted how close the chairman election was.

Yes, indeed. The closeness of the election is the key.

For the first time that we can remember, a coherent alternative vision of government was presented to the rank and file of Loudoun Republicans assembled in convention, and elsewhere through Stockman’s campaign, and roughly 47 percent (by weighted vote) bought the alternative vision.

And this 47 percent bought it — in spite of the obvious resources available to the Loudoun Political Class and the megaphone of Mr. York’s incumbency.

But the Loudoun Government Machine nonetheless garnered 53 percent of the GOP rank and file.

And they did so in spite of Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s endorsement of Stockman.

(Apparently the Loudoun GOP sees Mr. Cuccinelli’s conservative principles as fine and dandy for Richmond and Washington. They are not, however, to interfere with business as usual in Leesburg, the Loudoun County seat.)

But it is unreasonable to expect that a Stockman campaign revealed on April 11 would quickly turn around a Loudoun GOP culture long oriented more to incumbency than to conservative policy reform.

One of our Maryland colleagues recently visited Lech Walesa in Poland.  The Polish anti-communist patriot told our Maryland friend that Americans were too concerned with the next election, thinking only in four-year increments, not with the longer reach as the Poles had learned to do.

On the national level, the Other Team, for example, risked (and lost) their control of the U.S. House of Representatives last year in order to move America into a planned, and more redistributive economy.

The Other Team bet (and the results are still not yet in) that the GOP would be more interested in making all that a winning campaign issue than, after the election, undertaking the contentious labor of repealing key Obama legislation and dismantling his bureaucracy.

But in their longer reach, we believe Loudoun County Republicans can move in a more hopeful direction.

How About A Loudoun Conservative Action?

We would suggest that Loudoun conservatives, building on Mr. Stockman’s substantial support shown yesterday, set up a kind of local equivalent of Heritage Action to provide the voting public with timely free-market analyses and alternatives to the Loudoun County government’s business as usual.

We cite Heritage Action as our example because it is not some tame research arm of the GOP.

Rather it  – – and its parent the Heritage Foundation – – keep their conservative policy and intellectual independence and set their own agenda.  The Heritage Foundation, for example, through its fiscal research played an indispensable role in stopping the Bush-Kennedy amnesty initiative.

After all, Loudoun County is nearly the wealthiest in the United States with a very substantial budget. Consequently the County government needs all the conservative oversight possible.

An independent Loudoun Conservative Action organization could examine –


  • what the supervisors are voting on before they do so;
  • what they should be looking into;
  • what the taxpayer-supported schools are teaching;
  • how well they are teaching; and
  • the effectiveness and the preparedness of the County’s public-safety operations.

These tasks are just for starters.

To borrow from another Republican of another era, Carl Schurz, the overall mission of Loudoun Conservative Action for the County government might be:

When right, to keep them right; when wrong, to put them right.


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