Well, my head went "RCA dog" when I attended the Mike Kelly meet-and-greet at Beans on Broad in Grove City, PA. Kelly is one of many GOPers who want to unseat Kathy Dahlkemper in PA-3. When I showed up, many of the party insiders were there. I briefly spoke to Kelly before he was about to give his speech - seemed like a nice guy.
Mercer County GOP Chairman David King stood in front of the group to introduce Kelly. And that's when it happened - King called Kelly "our" candidate. Really.
I asked him about it afterward, wondering if I missed an announcement about an endorsement. King quickly got defensive and said he must have misspoke since the MerCo GOP has an open primary. Fine. I'm not naive, but people do make mistakes. Explanation accepted.
I then asked him if he was going to the Clayton Grabb event in Hermitage that afternoon. He knew NOTHING about it. It was an incredibly strange admission for the person who is the leader of the county party. I had heard rumors that Kelly was the GOP pick, and when coupled with the "accidental" endorsement, this ignorance of Grabb's event was quite striking.
Then Grabb's event came along, which I sadly missed - my class at Duquesne was calling, of course. Fortunately, The Herald showed up to report on it (Matt Snyder was also at the Kelly event). To my "surprise" it seems that Chairman King took Grabb to task when he said that the GOP needed to return to its roots of conservatism. Now, in all fairness, I don't know how much of the story is embellishment. The encounter might have taken ten seconds. But the substance is what matters.
A participant in several Tea Party events, Grabb promised to bring conservative values back to the Republican Party.
David O. King, Mercer County’s Republican party chair, took issue with that. He said he’s been active locally for 20 years and wasn’t aware their values had changed. He also asked why more Tea Party activists can’t swing by the Republican headquarters in Mercer.
Grabb initially said that Republicans had swung too far toward the center, which King said he “doesn’t believe.”
Several members of the audience, who said they attended Tea Party rallies, took issue with that. They cited the 2008 presidential run of Sen. John McCain and last year’s House race in New York in which party leaders chose liberal Dede Scozzafova as their nominee. Conservative opposition to that choice sunk Scozzafova’s campaign and highlighted the gulf between party leaders and rank-and-file voters.
You see, King said NOTHING when Kelly said basically the same thing. In fact, he was glowing as Kelly spoke. Kelly lampooned the fiscal mess the GOP and the Dems have made.
And BOTH Kelly and Grabb are right. The GOP is a mess. You only have to look at the slobbering support for McCain (a socialist Republican if there ever was one). When you get to the county level, there was support for Arlen "he's with us when it counts" Specter and continual glowing praise for Phil "I never met pork I didn't like" English. And then there's state senator Bob Robbins who gladly catalogs his pork on his own Web site. Most recently, we have seen overwhelming support for Tom "I'm too busy campaigning to do my job" Corbett. Ugh.
Yes, King has a job to do - to show a unified GOP. Personally, such a job would make me sick. I'm conservative first and foremost. The GOP just happens to be the closest political party to match my views. But it has been a pathetic shadow of its former self since 1994. After that, the GOP congress got greedy and sloppy. Bush killed us with his spending and getting TARP I underway. Our Harrisburg contingent (with few exceptions) went spending-silly, including the disgusting payjacking, WAM abuse, and staff bonusgate.
If King isn't aware that the GOP has steered violently to the left, then perhaps he should step down. And if he can't appear equal during an "open" primary, then he absolutely needs to step down immediately.