In the emerging Republican civil war, it’s difficult to root for either side. The Establishment is sick and tired of losing elections, while the Tea Baggers are done with empty rhetoric and broken promises. In Virginia, the Establishment is striking back in an interesting way. Their problem has been that the state’s GOP likes to nominate their candidates in a convention dominated by looney-toon freakazoids. The result has been candidates like Ken Cuccinelli and E.W. Jackson. So, how to get rid of these damn conventions and let the voters decide?

The answer is to make it all about the troops. Troops deployed abroad or lying injured in Walter Reed cannot attend the convention and, therefore, cannot have a say in who is nominated. And the nominee may get elected and one day vote to send them to war. That’s not fair!

So, the Virginia legislature is pushing out a bill that would disallow any nominating procedure that would deny the participation of “activity-duty military, reservists and other defense personnel.”

Who can vote against that? In Virginia?

The Tea Baggers are understandably disgruntled:

Backers of the legislation say the bills are designed to prevent the disenfranchisement of service members. But critics argue the measures are trying to put a stop to grassroots activists from nominating conservatives like Cuccinelli and Jackson.

“Outlawing conventions is really about a class of political insiders, consultants and career politicians who want to control the process,” Susan Stimpson, a 2013 lieutenant governor candidate, said in a recent email, according to the Pilot.

“They believe by outlawing conventions entirely, they will have eliminated all ability for the people to really hold them accountable,” she said.

It’s a strange logic that “the people” are best represented by a coterie of buffoons in tri-corner hats.

In any case, I’m torn between my desire to see the Republican Party return to sanity and my desire to beat the tar out of them.

Help me decide if I want this bill to pass.

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