Delegate Bob Purkey (R-82nd) fancies himself a business and financial sensei. To some extent he demonstrates certain acumen. But the minute he wanders off his point, he slips into quicksand. Saturday, he did just that when attempting to praise Jim Cheng. It illuminated Republican pandering to non-whites. Welcome to VBRP.
Quite possibly Purkey means well. At the very least, he’s subtle. For years Purkey has talked about the need for Republicans to bring minorities into the Republican tent. He always approaches the subject in a manner similar to this:
“It’s interesting, you know when you look, the future of our country is our young people and the future of our country is diversity.” – Delegate Purkey
It seems important for Purkey to emphasize that the Republican Party should reach out to non-whites. When he explains how Jim Cheng came to be the Secretary of Trade and Commerce in the McDonnell administration, McDonnell’s ability to identify and recruit talent is cited as the reason. Somehow it must be Jimmy’s work that attracted the Governor’s attention. But conveniently:
Purkey scans the audience. “How many of you are familiar with the OCA? (silence) Shame on you. Let me tell you why this is important. You know Bob McDonnell wanted to get elected Governor…and he recruited, among other people, Jimmy Cheng. Jimmy Cheng is Dr Richard Cheng’s son. In the United States they have an organization called the Organization of Chinese Americans. And there’s the hundred most prominent Chinese Americans in the United States. We have one in Virginia, Richard Cheng, Jimmy’s father.”
Purkey postulates about what he considers evidence of political change in Northern Virginia and its source. He points out that President Obama (he refers to him by his last name only) won Northern Virginia by 14 points. “As Pat will tell ya’,” Purkey reaches out to the RPV Chairman in attendance for support, “Jimmy and Peter (Jimmy’s brother) Cheng organized the 52,000 Taiwani (sic) born Chinese Americans in Northern Virginia.” He goes on to add 250,000 mainland born Chinese, the Vietnamese, and the Koreans in Northern Virginia to the flock Jimmy gathered.
There it is: Jimmy’s grassroots work on the ground earned his recognition. Never does Purkey mention that Jimmy contributed $24,500 to the McDonnell campaign ($4,500 more than the $20,000 he contributed to Kilgore). Jimmy built and sold a very successful internet technology support company in Northern Virginia. Republican merit.
… for instance, if this group would go to Northern Virginia today and sit in a restaurant, we’d all be a minority. Because literally the future of this country and the future of the Republican Party is diversity. The diversity in this country is the future of our party. If you do not understand that, you are fools. Because frankly, our country, and it’s one of the greatest strengths we have, it’s one of the greatest strengths we have, and anyone who doesn’t understand this is crazy. But Jimmy, Peter, and their 300,000 very close friends worked their very buns off in Northern Virginia. And Bob McDonnell won by 12 points. Is that not right Pat? Now how in the world, do you, in a two year period Pat?… From the time Obama won by 14 points, how in the world do we have a 26 point swing in Northern Virginia in two years?
By now you have to wonder if Pat Mullins wishes he were in Fairfax not blending in. But Mullins maintains his casual stunned mullet approach and takes no exception to Purkey’s rambling discourse. In fact, he is drawn in:
Bob Purkey: “Pat knows this better than I. Pat, am I not correct? This group would be somewhat…”
Pat Mullins: “Not representative for the city of Fairfax…”
Bob Purkey: “It’s … no accident that Northern Virginia is referred to in the press as ‘Virginiastan.’ You have the second largest population of Arab Americans in Northern Virginia … in the United States outside of Detroit and Dearborn Michigan. I mean am I correct…”
Pat Mullins: “Yes…”
Bob Purkey: “Absolutely. And literally if you go up there and if you don’t have the Korean vote, …if you don’t have the Vietnamese vote, if you don’t have the Chinese American vote, if you don’t have the Hispanic vote, don’t run: you’re not gonna win. You’re just not…and, the African American vote…you’ve got to have the diversity vote. Bob McDonnell realized that when he ran for Governor and Bob McDonnell ran a superb race and he had the help of every diverse group.”
Every “diverse group.” Bob McDonnell had the help of “them” all. They are quite the homogenous group.
And Jimmy Cheng earned the appointment as the Virginia Secretary of Trade and Commerce because…he is quite capable of sensing an opportunity for the McDonnell administration to claim credit for someone else’s accomplishments. There has been little news about the Waynesboro councilman’s journey to China and even less out of the office of the Secretary of Trade and Commerce. Bottom line, whatever it was that earned Jim Cheng his position in the McDonnell administration, it wasn’t a welcoming and open Republican tent flap or his potential to generate commerce and trade, despite the blusterous assertions of Bob Purkey. It was the kind of “influence” that works well in the contemporary Republican Party. But a convenient coincidence can’t be wasted.