Of RINOs and Cyclopes… Loudoun BoS votes to censure Delgaudio

Sterling Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio is in the news again. His most recent travails have been about an accusation that he misused County funds in directing some of his taxpayer staff to engage in campaign-related activities. To be honest, since he’s not the Supervisor of my district here in Loudoun I tend to only pay peripheral attention to his activities so I didn’t really even know about the situation until a Grand Jury had been empaneled and then came back declining to charge Delgaudio with any crimes. When I shared that link on my Facebook page I wrote:

First up, I would like to join with Supervisor Delgaudio in being glad this is done and I commend him for his behavior in this investigation. It would be nice to see the people screaming for him to be hung from a lamppost to acknowledge that a Grand Jury looked this over and found that the facts don’t indicate a crime, here. It’s time for those people to suck it up, admit they yelled "fire" when none was present, and try to actually convince voters rather than engage in using our legal system as a blunt instrument against their political opponents. I’ll be writing about some of the other rather disturbing elements of this story shortly…

Life, as it does, has managed to get in the way of my writing promptly so “shortly” has turned into a few weeks. The matter came back up again owing to the meeting of the Board of Supervisors last night wherein the Board voted to censure Supervisor Delgaudio.

Following three hours of debate Wednesday night, the Loudoun Board of Supervisors formally voted to censure Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio, stripping him of committee assignments for the rest of his term, eliminating his staff aide positions and restricting funding for his office operations.

The actions came in response to a report issued by a special grand jury that spent five months investigating allegations of misconduct initially raised by a former staff aide. Among the allegations cited by supervisors in punishing the four-term supervisor were that he was abusive to staff members and used staff time and other county resources in campaign and fundraising activities.

I have a number of problems with how this whole thing is going down. I’m unsure how anyone could read that report by the Grand Jury – excuse me, by members of that Grand Jury – with special emphasis on the reasons that were given as to why the Grand Jury issued the report and not conclude that the motivation behind issuing that report wasn’t political/personal. I’m dedicating a specific post to that one, so look for that later today or over the weekend. I’m equally unhappy with the notion that the Board would take a report from a Grand Jury that declined to find sufficient evidence of wrongdoing to actually charge somebody with doing something wrong and use it to exact punishment on someone for engaging in activity that didn’t rise to the level of something that Jury would impose charges for.

That said, we all need to remember that it is the Board of Supervisors that makes the rules of behavior for its members, not the federal government nor Richmond nor, even, the citizens of Loudoun. It is up to them, exclusively, to set the boundaries for acceptable behaviors and it is up to them, exclusively, to decide how to respond when they conclude that one of their members has transgressed those boundaries. I would remind members of the Loudoun Republicans that the exact same dynamic is at work in local committees of political parties such as the LCRC. Which brings me to the point of this post, regrettable as it is. This episode, once again, demonstrates an unfortunate tendency in certain factions of the LCRC to immediately pounce on any action that provides the least offense and to unleash absurdly over-the-top accusations essentially calling into question the entire political standing of a fellow member and asserting that said fellow member is a complete and total sham.

Yes, it’s yet another case of people flinging the “RINO” term. For the uninitiated, “RINO” stands for “Republican-In-Name-Only” and ostensibly means that the person so described may call themselves a Republican but is, in actuality, opposed to all that the Republican Party holds dear. In practice, it means that the person so named holds political views in opposition to many, if not most, of those espoused by the Party. Were someone to claim to be a Republican but thought that citizens should not be allowed to own guns, thought that abortion should be permitted legally all the way out to 8-9 months of term, wanted to enact socialized national healthcare, and sought to raise taxes, that person could be justifiably called a RINO. The problem comes when the term gets applied to someone who, in nearly all cases supports the party platform but in just 1 case or in 1 action does or says something that one of these factional members of the party disagrees with. I like and respect the people over at Virginia Virtucon but this post regarding the actions taken in the BoS meeting last night is a perfect example of what I’m talking about. Note:

We have three conservative republicans on the Loudoun Board of Supervisors, Geary Higgins, Janet Clarke and Eugene Delgaudio.  The rest are RINOs, at best.

“At best?” Suzanne Volpe, my Supervisor and a target of some very specific venom in this article, is a RINO?!? I realize that they’re mad about this over there at VV but seriously? Considering the actual facts of Suzanne Volpe’s record of service and politics that is about the most ludicrously absurd accusation I’ve seen and I’ve seen some doozies over these past 5 years. This propensity where a single deviation from doing or saying or believing what some… well, zealous proponents consider to be the one and only litmus test for party affiliation to cast the RINO label onto people is just proof of a myopic and narrow vision. They are Cyclopes, with only a single eye and single focus and anything that falls outside of their acceptance on that matter is considered tainted and unworthy in toto. It’s unjust and it’s unacceptable. I categorically reject the notion that Mrs. Volpe is a RINO and I suspect strongly that many of the other members who voted for censure aren’t, either. This reaction smacks of being motivated by hero-worship, not the facts, and that’s not the basis for a political party in my book.

I am sorry to find myself in opposition to my colleagues over at Virginia Virtucon but this is a bridge much, much too far.

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One comment

  1. I agree with your thesis that the RINO meme is overused, and in this case wrongly applied. Volpe is no RINO. She is conservative. That said the BOS has jumped the shark here. The GJ investigation ended with no finding of fact — legalise for ‘nothing to see’, but the members of the GJ did offer their vaunted opinions as to what the Virginia Code ought to look like. Taking their cue from the august GJ, the BOS stripped ED of his budget and staff. This action at best can be scene as a hysterical over reaction.

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