Sunday, March 23, 2008

Brian Martin Tells Crowd, Iraq Vet to Freeze (GOP Mass Meeting Looks Like a Fiasco)

A friend of mine sent me a link to a YouTube video last night. In the video Pat Wade (papers in her arms), a local GOP functionary, is speaking to a group of people outside the site of the recent GOP Mass Meeting here in Tazewell County. Brian Martin (grey jacket, hands in pockets), a former member of the Tazewell County Electoral Board, seems to be serving as something like her unofficial sergeant at arms while she calls out the names of individuals who have been declared qualified to enter the meeting. Then she explains to a crowd that they are being excluded and will not be allowed back in the building.

Before I go on, let's watch the first of two videos...



I feel a little empathy for Ms. Wade. I was on the Credentials Committee at the Democratic Party's Mass Meeting last fall when dozens of unexpected people showed up to support Spot Steele's effort to knock Bill Rasnick out of the nomination for the Board of Supervisors here in Tazewell County. It took an hour longer than normal to process all the paper work. When we locked the doors at 7pm, over a hundred people were still in line. Many of the people were completely new to the political process and unprepared for the time involved with such a process. We coped. We were polite, maybe even professional (I might be biased). So I have some empathy for Ms. Wade. Just a little, though...

The gentleman asking questions appears to be Richlands attorney Shea Cook. After you know that, the dialogue becomes more ironic. Shea was once the GOP nominee for Commonwealth Attorney here in Tazewell County and for the Virginia House of Delegates, I think. He just recently returned from a stint with the Army in Iraq. Now they won't even let the poor guy into the building for a party meeting. What's up with that? (Maybe he got in to speak later, but I doubt it. And this would be a good time for me to point out that I wasn't there; I just know what I've seen on the YouTube videos.)

My guess is that the organizational meltdown started early. People seem to have been let into the meeting area ahead of time; they picked seats and threw their coats on them - never dreaming they'd eventually be locked out of the meeting. There seems to be questions about the public notice process; an attorney (Cook) is asking the questions and they don't get answered in either of the videos.

My favorite part of the whole thing, though, is Brian Martin at the end of the first video. Cook asks if the people being excluded will be allowed to at least gather their possession back up that they left inside...
Cook: Are we going to be afforded the opportunity to get our coat or are we going to sit out here and freeze.
Martin: I believe that ya'll are not sitting delegates. I'm sorry.
Cook: Well, are we going to be permitted to come back in and get our coats?
Martin: Nope. You should have brought 'em out.
The crowd begins to cackle. And to my ears Brian Martin didn't sound too sincere when he said he was sorry that Shea Cook and the others weren't sitting delegates. He even seems willing to let them freeze to death. But what do I know...

Eventually, Pat Wade comes back out to explain to the crowd why their paperwork was rejected. We learn that she doesn't take heckling well.



One of the people present was Jim Talbert of Clinch Valley News fame. Since he seems to be taking notes in a fast and furious manner, it will be interesting to read his coverage of the event and compare it to the videos.

In any event, I think the county's Democrats can look back on their party's mass meeting the past fall with a little more pride. It was hectic and tense, but we handled it. There's also someone (the loser) who doesn't like the outcome. But almost everyone got to participate. By contrast, the GOP seems to have had a meltdown over much the same situation. Pat Wade's responses in dealing with the general public there don't make her look much like a public servant. And Brian Martin comes across as, well, snide.

Red Virginia has a news story on the scandal and claims that only 27 the 137 people who showed up were allowed into the meeting. Makes you wonder about the rumor that GOP members in Tazewell County eat their young...

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't call this an "organizational meltdown." What I heard from someone present was that the Tazewell officers (Pat Martin, et al) were backing Bob Marshall. Marshall only turned out around 20 delegates that day compared to the 100+ for Gilmore so Brian Martin and Pat Wade decided to lock everyone out of the building.

Anonymous said...

You heard wrong. There were NOT 100 Gilmore people there. Guess you should have been out there freezing instead of inside repeating false rumors.

Anonymous said...

The "poor veteran" back from Iraq which your refer to was responding with an antagonistic attitude on the inside. That's the real story. He and his friends from Buccanan County came with the sole purpose of disrupting the meeting. There WERE NOT 100 of them, it was more like 30 at most. They weren't eligible to participate. It would not have been that hard to see the notice and recognize the requirements for registration.

Tazewell Co. Participant

Greg_Cruey said...

If the numbers are wrong in the Red Virginia story, contact them. I've acknowledged that I wasn't there.

I don't know if you guys are all posting anonymously because you don't have Google Blogger accounts (they're free, and easy to create) or if you just don't have the (pick your body part) to sign your names. I almost always leave my name when I comment on something like this at another site...

jen said...

I agree greg! I think the ANON posting is just "their style" they are a deceptive group of people who apparently love to do their meanace behind locked doors! I say there are about 20 people who really don't want to be named because they were already inside the building and they want to separate themselves from this as much as possible.
they are just mad they got caught. I think it's funny they fail to see the issue ISNT with the filing( misfiling of papers although I think their handling of paperwork is questionable-- I think they utilize that as an excuse to remove whatever unpopular or undiserible individual they don't want at their meeting) or allowing people to even participate and vote as delegates. TO ME I think it's shady they KICKED anyone out who wasn't a delegate.. they wouldn't allow them to speak or even SIT IN on the meeting and observe.. and they called the state police and LOCKED THE DOOR.. that was where rights were violated.
( but it is CRAZY to me how they are so admately against anyone who isn't of the same mindset or in the inner workings of their circle- and they are so dissmissive of their behavior sighting them as "rumors") It really is a chapter out of "lord of the flies"

Anonymous said...

Amen Greg keep it up. I was at the demo meeting amd as stressful as it was it was still inclusive and polite . Seems the Repb's can't handle much presure . Vote democratic this fall better yet come to the tazewell county demo cacus this month and be included in the process and see how a real party works

Mike

Anonymous said...

During the presidential race you see division between the democrats and they look ridiculous- now we are seeing it in our own back yard--what would it have hurt to let those people in to view the proceedings- in my opinion if you have nothing to hide then leave it out there for all to see- we have a man who left his practice, his home and his life to serve his country and you leave him outside in the freezing cold and then dont even allow him or the others to retrieve their coats? wheres the respect? I am personally disappointed that it appears that those who have a some authority assert that authority to those that aren't like-minded and take it upon themselves to chose who stays and who goes-it will be interesting to see what happens at the mass meeting on saturday