Friday, September 16, 2005

Time for GOP State Committee to Banish Richie Robb

Mayor Robb speaking at a Teamsters conference.  Click here to see who else joined him.Click here for more pictures of who was at this event last year with Mayor Robb.

For about the last year, the state Republican Party has been filled with rumblings about the disloyalty of state committee member Richie Robb, mayor of South Charleston. Last year, Robb made national headlines by threatening to be a "faithless elector" and not vote for President Bush in the Electoral College (although he eventually did vote for Bush).

Robb's most egregious act was to speak at a Labor Day event headlined by Willie Nelson. If the faithless elector threat was not enough, this act was surely sufficient to trigger provisions in Article XVII of the state committee's bylaws, which provides:

The West Virginia Republican State Executive Committee is an organization established and dedicated to the furtherance of the Republican Party. The members of the West Virginia Republican State Executive Committee serve to make this goal a reality. Therefore, any member of the West Virginia Republican State Executive Committee who by any public action donates, contributes, endorses, or in any manner provides open and public assistance to a Democratic candidate in a contested campaign for public office to the detriment of the Republican candidate, shall forfeit any and all rights and privileges of a member of the West Virginia Republican State Executive Committee. Such member's name shall be removed from the active membership roster. Such member shall forfeit all rights to vote and participate in the decision-making process of the Committee, and such member shall be prohibited from attending any meeting of the Committee as whole or as a Sub-committee. The term of this banishment shall be ten years.

For a while, it seemed this controversy had died. However, Robb rekindled the fire by spearheading an effort to pass a resolution by the South Charleston City Council calling for a complete withdrawal from Iraq. The resolution, which was amended to remove a deadline of the end of this year, passed on a 5-4 vote, which included Mayor Robb.

Since I could not say the rest of my comments on this subject any better, I will just repeat what Gary Abernathy had to say:

Mayor Richie Robb is a nice guy. He's also a very intelligent man. And he must be a darn good mayor, because he's been elected and reelected in South Charleston for about 30 years.

Mayor Robb is also a member of the Republican State Executive Committee. When you're a member of the Executive Committee, you are, in essence, declaring yourself a "super Republican," i.e., you wouldn't support a Democrat or work against a Republican -- particularly the President of the United States -- if your life depended on it.

Your might recall that in 2004 Mayor Robb accepted nomination as an Elector for President Bush. Now the Mayor always claimed he never asked to be an Elector, and he is right. But he also could have declined it, and he did not. Throughout the campaign, he unnecessarily caused a lot of headache for the Bush campaign and Republicans in general by threatening not to cast his Electoral vote for President Bush if Bush won the election. In the end, he did cast his vote for Bush, but only after it became clear there were plenty of Electoral votes to spare.

Previously, at one of our state Executive Committee meetings, Mayor Robb introduced a resolution condemning President Bush for the war in Iraq. It died for a lack of a second. But he's at it again, introducing a resolution this week in the South Charleston City Council demanding a withdrawal from Iraq.

It's long past time for the Republican State Executive Committee to remove Richie Robb as a member. The bylaws provide for such action, and it's time to move on that. He is a citizen who can throw stones all he wants, but the Executive Committee doesn't have to let him do so as a member of that body.