Chancellor “Dr.” The Rev. Michael Farris of Patrick Henry Bible “College” in Purcellville, a major force within the Loudoun GOP machine, has offered another explanation for the far-right opposition to Metro that nearly sunk the project in last week’s cliff-hanging 5–4 vote by our unusually non-unanimous Board of Supervisors.
Metro made for some strange political problems for our normally very unanimous supervisors. Polls showed an overwhelming majority of Loudoun residents, even in the western rural reaches of the county, favored extending Metro rail to Loudoun. The business-oriented Chamber of Commerce types who poured a lot of money into last fall’s election, particularly to the campaign of Chairman Scott York (R-At Large), also strongly favored it.
Bitterly opposed, however, were the far-right anti-tax/Tea Party types who foam at the mouth at any thought of public spending for the good of all, a sizable faction within the local GOP machine and certainly one of the more vocal (and even on occasion thuggish and violent, according to Too Conservative’s “Loudoun Insider,” who has had his share of run-ins with them).
This posed a dilemma for the very ambitious Ken Reid (R-Leesburg) and Janet Clarke (R-Blue Ridge), who understand perfectly well who pulls the strings in the local GOP machine — which consistently blocks any efforts to select candidates by open processes like primaries, instead of the old-fashioned smoke-filled room where the extremists predominate.
It now also turns out that the sanctimonious-religious bloc in the local Loudoun GOP, a third major faction and one that Janet Clarke, Geary Higgins (R-Catoctin), Suzanne Volpe (R-Algonkian), and Ken Reid have all been very cozy with, was also opposed to Metro. As “Chancellor” Farris explained in a recent interview in the Washington City Paper that did a fine a job of distilling the complete whackiness of Loudoun Republican politics, Metro is bad because it will bring the sinful enemy to Loudoun:
“I don’t like the lifestyle it brings, the politics it brings.” The Silver Line extension, Farris contends, is the “best way to turn Loudoun into a permanent Democratic stronghold.”
While Ken Reid had his arm, or some part of his anatomy, twisted at the last minute to vote for Metro, the very ambitious Janet Clarke, who has her eyes already on challenging York for the chairmanship in 2015, clearly saw where the advantage lay in this vote — her “no” vote was a chance to curry favor with the anti-tax ideologues and the religious-right that dominate the GOP nomination process.
Wonder if Scott York is already regretting having sold his supporters down the river this time around for the ephemeral support of the Republican machine?