Anyone following the subsequent events remembers the much publicized GOP forum held at Buffalo Gap High School on July 27. Although the forum was public, the selection of a pinch hitter was actually made by the local Republican chairs who interviewed candidates (and probably made up their minds) the day before. Those chairs met secretly after the forum and announced they'd picked Staunton City Councilman Dickie Bell.
Now, scratching about in the grist, I'm hearing of a few Republicans who aren't exactly crowing about the nominee and how he's performed in the month following his behind-closed-doors selection.
When you bring up Mr. Bell, one Republican (who didn't attend the forum) questions where he is and what he's been doing since early August. He knows Bell made an appearance at the county fair and a few yard signs have appeared at the usual GOP homes in Staunton, but other than that, little has been seen or heard from the GOP nominee. This person expected Bell to hit the ground running, trying to build name recognition in parts of Augusta and Rockingham counties where he isn't very well known. He has been disappointed that Bell doesn't seem to be working very hard or taking it seriously.
Another very conservative Republican had hoped David Karaffa would get the nod from party leaders. Pointing out how Karaffa organized folks to come to the forum in red shirts, this GOPer noted that Karaffa knows how to motivate the conservative base of the party. What really gets this right winger miffed, is that Karaffa is putting on his own health care town hall and showing the leadership that is apparently lacking in the nominee: "They picked the wrong person for the job. We needed a true conservative. A leader. We didn't get either."
I don't know how widespread these views about Dickie Bell really are among Republicans. Perhaps it is just a few disgruntled folks sounding off to anyone who will listen. But, from my roost, it is very interesting that at least a few birds are straying from what used to be a pretty tight-knit flock.