the closet video

Brent Finnegan -- June 2nd, 2008

TV3 and the DNR have both run stories on a YouTube video targeting Sen. Emmett Hanger (24th District) without actually linking to the video.

For those interested in the Republican rift south of Harrisonburg, here’s a link to the video (I also posted this on Twitter a few weeks ago, which may have caused some confusion).

9 Responses to “the closet video”

  1. Bubby says:

    Keith Drake isn’t just another garden-variety “Albemarle Republican”, he is the former Chairman of the Albemarle Republican Party, making him another local Repub in open revolt against the Party. We used to think it was just something in the water here in the Shenandoah.

    Drake, a member of the 101st Fighting Keyboardists, Albemarle Dandies, was recently in an uproar when the Charlottesville Veterans for Peace spoke out against the War in Iraq. “My first thought is just the irony of it all, especially veterans, protesting the war against terror,” Drake said. Drake called the Vets “hypocritical” for opposing the War on Terror. I guess he missed the irony of judging the actions of others when he can’t seem to find the recruiting station himself.

    Keith Drake; Republican Grassroots Gold!

  2. David Miller says:

    Bubby, you seem knowledgeable on this subject. For those of us who have not been able to figure out what this all really means, will you elaborate. The videos left me simply confused as to “good guy” “bad guy”

  3. finnegan says:

    David, I can’t explain the details of the incident in the video (it’s a poor insider narrative). Likely, the only people who could explain the details are people who were in that room on that day — and it’s doubtful it would be an objective explanation anyway.

    But the deep background is the disdain many right wing Republicans have for so-called “moderates” like Hanger. You may remember the Scott Sayre primary last summer. There is a rift within the VA GOP, and a push from the right to oust the “RINOs” (Republican in name only). On some level, this YouTube video is a small part of that bigger picture.

  4. Gxeremio says:

    What a weird, confusing story this is. I watched both videos from “Hanger’s Closet”, and I guess it boils down to the allegation that Hanger and his allies tried to block Kurt Michael and his allies from becoming delegates to the state convention. Right?

    The story from DNR was no help in figuring it out, characterizing the videos as a smear campaign. Check out this quote from the venerable Bob Roberts:
    “”What [‘Hangers Closet’] reinforces is that this is the way to attack people. You attack them under the radar screen.” How a YouTube video and a campaign to get the media to write about it counts as under the radar I don’t know. That combined with the article’s apparent confusion between website, channel, and YouTube video produce the impression that people have no idea what they’re talking about.

  5. JGFitzgerald says:

    Conventions and caucuses have rules designed mainly to aid people of good will in coming together to decide political differences. The rules are 49 percent legal and 51 percent political. They can be obeyed for purposes of a smooth and fair process, they can be ignored when everyone knows the outcome and agrees on it, and they can be ridden roughshod over by political bullies. In the latter case, you need someone holding the gavel who is so certain of his own rightness that he sees the rules as a hindrance, secondary to his holding the gavel. Said hammer-holder also needs a higher power in his party to ratify Republican authoritarian bullying over democratic process and principles.

    Mellott and Roberts, bless their hearts, think they still are the radar screen. That explains a lot of the reporting and analysis, if you choose to call it that.

    The Pubs in Augusta obviously sacrificed their rules to the convenience of letting a bully take charge. If it looks chaotic, that’s what it is. You can’t look too hard for a meaning and process beyond that without becoming disappointed or confused.

  6. Bubby says:

    This dust-up in the Valley GOP is a glimpse into the rot that works on the Virginia GOP. Just as leadership in the Augusta GOP is challenged, so too has the RPV just overturned it’s Chair of less than a year – John Hager. Damn right the DNR doesn’t want to publicize this! You’ll have to read the NewsLeaderto get the scoop, and lots of the good stuff is scrolling into their paid archive.

    For several years now a group of mostly young rightwing activists have operated under the radar of Valley GOP politics; mostly because they don’t need a walker to show up at campaign events, and they do their organizing on this computer thingie, unseen by the rank and file. We know them as SWACjobs (Staunton.Waynesboro.Augusta County Nutjobs).

    Inspired by George Allen, they gathered in the bitter aftermath of Mark Warner’s successful Democratic governorship to thwart Tim Kaine’s rise – backing Jerry Kilgore – a mean-spirited little hillbilly from southwest with moveable morals, an odd relationship to the law and his responsibility to the Commonwealth. It was a natural fit – if a squeaky pol like Kilgore could aspire to high office, so to could a band of misfit toy soldiers. Of course, they lost, but they still had “mean and aggrieved” working for them. They doubled down.

    In 2006 they mobilized in what George Allen called “his old home turf” to protect the right to mock dark people, keep the gay people as second-class citizens, and cheer on a war that other people fought. The rhetoric rose to a shrill pitch, with one teenager impersonating an attorney, and others faining assault to have a UVA law student detained by the Sheriff of Augusta. All this was tolerated by the Augusta GOP and the RPV, mostly because the Repub base have little visibility for the internets, and the character of their online rightwing spokespeople. Allen won the Valley, but Virginia went to the capable James Webb with the help of many Republicans, and conservative Independents. Losing George Allen rocked the world of many rightwing activists – he was the incumbent torch bearer of business-as-usual, willfully un-informed divisive politics, and he was pre-ordained to follow Bush43 to the Whitehouse. It sent them over the edge.

    Adding up two major losses, the SWACjobs figured that they stood on the road to rightwing renaissance and the Party had run into the ditch. Delusion works that way. They found a willing candidate to challenge incumbent Senator Emmett Hanger and rode him into a primary challenge on a single rail – *taxes suck, Hanger votes for taxes, Hanger sucks*. They lost again, but this time they had turned their vitriol on a Party elder, and they did it in the old media – offending the sensibilities of the Old Guard Republicans.

    It was on. The Battle of Staunton GOP was first and ended in a loss. The courtly dandy Dr. Clem fell early, and was dragged through the pages of the local media in joyful celebration by the insurgents. Senator Hanger took note and assembled a slate of buddies to retake control of the Augusta GOP. It was a bold and provocative flanking move – openly public. He had the who’s who of County politics and roused his supporters to a GOP mass meeting in April. His enemies were waiting.

    Hanger created a list of decoy candidates for County Republican Chairman, with the goal of conceding down to a single strong candidate – Larry Roller. However, accustomed to top-down authoritarian control of the Party, Hanger and his team were rusty on the levers of democracy and parliamentarian rules. None had familiarity with the hand-to-hand political skills of their true-believer activist opponents.

    At the April 10th mass meeting Hanger was initially in control. He even had U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte in attendance, lending noble endorsement. Knowing that he was weak on parliamentary rules, Hanger brought a servant to provide guidance, but apparently he shrank at the first shout. BoS Chair Jim Bailey was selected as temporary chair by the Hanger contingent, and Bailey moved the outnumbering Hanger voters to select Roller as their new Chairman. It looked like the Coup had been complete. Unfortunately they forgot to remove Kurt Michael, or otherwise drive a wooden stake through his political heart.

    As the Hanger/Roller people swarmed for the exits, high-fiving, and slap-assin’, Kurt Michael and his young activists sprang from their seats. Bailey had neglected to properly call the meeting to a close. Devil’s in the Details. The News Leader tells the story:

    …However, when temporary Chairman Jim Bailey adjourned the meeting without a vote, Michael said the meeting had been improperly conducted and held a second election. Though Michael won this second election easily, a majority of mass meeting voters had already left the premises at the time of the second vote.

    Hanger watched in horror as Michael called the meeting back to order and had himself elected Chairman. Goodlatte stood frozen as Dr. Clem beseeched him to enter the fray. The late Chairman Roller and Sen. Hanger pushed to the podium to confront Kurt Michael and cry foul. Michael bitch-slapped both and declared himself winner. Hanger and his people loaded back into their Buicks and with heavy heart, headed home.

    Promising to seek higher authority, Hanger/Roller contested the outcome and tied up the seating of delegates to the 6th District GOP Convention. This provide yet another opportunity for Augusta Countians to witness crazy Kurt Michael in front of TV cameras, promising to man the ramparts, bar the doors, and fight to the last breath. He said he would resign rather than destroy the Party, but noted that he still had some destroying to do.

    Then just this weekend, at the RPV state convention, the State Central Committee ruled in Kurt Michael’s favor:

    The State Central Committee of the Republican Party of Virginia upheld a decision Friday naming Kurt Michael as the rightful chairman of the Augusta County Republican Committee.

    Roller was livid:

    Roller said he will meet with a group of people to determine what to do next, which could include appealing to the courts system or exploring other options….”I’m not going to let him steal the election, no matter what,” Roller said about Michael.

    Although Roller received more votes than Michael, his boys botched the rules-of-order and handed victory to Michael.

    “The main reason is that the proper procedural steps that needed to be completed were not completed,” Noland [RPV Director of Communications Josh Noland] said. Without a credentials report there is no way to confirm the numbers and eligibility of voters, he said.

    Damn rules!

    Onto the stage comes Keith Drake, Albemarle interloper. His well produced, but murky video portraits Emmett Hanger as a bungling wheeler-dealer who gets his hat handed to him by the handsome and forceful Kurt Michael. It sets the stage for the next act – where Michael resigns only to be re-elected by a reassembled contingent of supporters.

    Fresh from their successful removal of Chairman Hager, and endorsement of Michael at the State convention, the SWACjobs are re-invigorated. Yet they remain divided as they split between Jim Gilmore and Bob Marshall for their Senate candidate. But make no mistake, they are arguing over who will be their far-right loser, or the far, far right loser. They are convinced that Hanger’s cooperative, bi-partisan approach to governing has damaged the Republican brand and must be stamped out if the GOP is to rise again. They are betting that a feisty, emotional fiscal illiterate majority will carry them.

  7. David Miller says:

    Bubby, while very editorialized (Which I thoroughly enjoyed btw) I truly appreciate your narration. This makes so much more sense than anything I had gotten so far. Would anyone from the Michael side of things like to offer their editorialized version of these events?

  8. Andrew Clem says:

    For the record, I am not, nor have I ever been, a “dandy.” I listen to Lynyrd Skynyrd and Charlie Daniels, for gosh sakes! Otherwise, Bubby has provided a fairly accurate and amusingly insightful summation of the GOP meltdown in SWAC Land. God help us. Seriously.

  9. Bubby says:

    Well Andrew, I did modify dandy with courtly didn’t I? And chin up; these chickens may have come home to roost, but they are a stupid and brutish lot. You’ll think of something.

Reader Tweets

Latest Flickr photos in the hburgnews Flickr pool
Announcements & Press Releases
  • Friendly City Grand Opening Set for July 9

    Friendly City Food Co-Op, Harrisonburg’s consumer-owned grocery, invites the community to come see its new destination for natural, organic and locally-produced products at the store’s grand opening 11 a.m.-5 p.m. July 9 at 150 East Wolfe Street.

  • Friendly City Becomes Member of National Cooperative Grocers Association

    HARRISONBURG, VA — Friendly City Food Co-op, slated to open this month in Harrisonburg, Va., has become the newest member of the National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA), a business services cooperative serving 120 consumer-owned food co-ops nationwide.

  • Harrisonburg Recognized as a Bike Friendly Community

    May 2: Harrisonburg was honored when the League of American Bicyclists announced the latest round of Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) designations over the weekend to kick off May as National Bike Month.