Monday, February 25, 2008

"New Summit Republicans" smelling blood in the water

I had a chance to listen in on tonight's rally-in-the-valley with the "New Summit Republicans."

I observed from the back of the packed room as this group of political pirates shared attack strategies to sink the schooner of long-time GOP boss Alex Arshinkoff. OK, well .. maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration .. but you get the point. This group smells blood in the local waters .. and are trying to see if they have enough sharks in the tank to reform their party to include a new pirate ship captain.

The NSR are led by State Senator Kevin Coughlin, whose staking a big chunk of local political muscle on this coup de ta. If he succeeds, he'll help reshape the party with a new leader and tremendous local party influence.

If Coughlin fails, AA will likely never forgive KC for going "against the family" .. much the way Michael had Fredo taken out into the boat at the end of Godfather II.

If anything, I was impressed that tonight's rally didn't become a mob scene of pitch forks and torches. Those who were there seemed genuinely interested in what Coughlin and others were preaching .. trying to determine if taking sides is the right move at the right time.

I noticed Bryan Williams in the crowd. The Director of the Board of Elections is often seen as an AA supporter within political circles so seeing him at a NSR gathering wasn't what I expected.

I also saw respected local attorney Don Varian close by as Coughlin was speaking to the crowd of 100+. A few political pundits have told me that Coughlin sees Varian as the candidate to succeed AA as party chair .. but I didn't see DV take any kind of role in the rally, at least while I was there.

There's still a long way to go as the local GOP looks to reshape itself .. but regardless of whether or not there's change at the top of the local leadership, the positive energy from tonight's meeting should provide some positive wind in the sails of a group of swimmers that's for several years have often been fed to the sharks.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Eric: I'm glad your viewpoint was that tonight's gathering was positive and upbeat -- I agree, and I was there to hear all the speakers. The GOP locally has made news lately about its atrocious financial records, the bad behavior of the chairman, the political wrangling over petitions, and internecine disagreements. What you heard tonight was the fact that we, as a party of core principles, have so much more to offer the good citizens of Summit County than that type of news indicates.

Fish rots from the head. When the GOP's leadership is refreshed, we can get back to pro-actively and positively contrasting our philosophy with that of the Democrats who have been a monopoly power in Summit County for way too long. Then the message points won't be about the chairman -- they'll be about the good candidates who have solid ideas for rejuvenating this great county.