Kilo had it first.
Here is Will's entire article:
Jim Webb is not what Washington needs more of
By George Will
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
WASHINGTON -- That was certainly swift. Washington has a way of quickly acculturating people, especially those who are most susceptible to derangement by the derivative dignity of office. But Jim Webb, Democratic senator-elect from Virginia, has become a pompous poseur and an abuser of the English language before actually becoming a senator.
Wednesday's Washington Post reported that at a White House reception for newly elected members of Congress, Webb ``tried to avoid President Bush,'' refusing to pass through the reception line or have his picture taken with the president. When Bush asked Webb, whose son is a Marine in Iraq, ``How's your boy?'' Webb replied, ``I'd like to get them (sic) out of Iraq.'' When the president again asked, ``How's your boy?'' Webb replied, ``That's between me and my boy.'' Webb told the Post:
``I'm not particularly interested in having a picture of me and George W. Bush on my wall. No offense to the institution of the presidency, and I'm certainly looking forward to working with him and his administration. (But) leaders do some symbolic things to try to convey who they are and what the message is.''
Webb certainly has conveyed what he is: a boor. Never mind the patent disrespect for the presidency. Webb's more gross offense was calculated rudeness toward another human being -- one who, disregarding many hard things Webb had said about him during the campaign, asked a civil and caring question, as one parent to another. When -- if ever -- Webb grows weary of admiring his new grandeur as a ``leader'' who carefully calibrates the ``symbolic things'' he does to convey messages, he might consider this: In a republic, people decline to be led by leaders who are insufferably full of themselves.
Even before Webb's studied truculence in response to the president's hospitality, Webb was going out of his way to make waves. A week after the election, he published a column in The Wall Street Journal that began this way: ``The most important -- and unfortunately the least debated -- issue in politics today is our society's steady drift toward a class-based system, the likes of which we have not seen since the 19th century. America's top tier has grown infinitely richer and more removed over the past 25 years. It is not unfair to say that they are literally living in a different country.''
In his novels and his political commentary, Webb has been a writer of genuine distinction, using language with care and precision. But just days after winning an election, he was turning out slapdash prose that would be rejected by a reasonably demanding high school teacher.
Never mind Webb's careless and absurd assertion that the nation's incessantly discussed wealth gap is ``the least debated'' issue in American politics.
And never mind his use of the word ``literally,'' although even with private schools and a large share of the nation's wealth, the ``top tier'' -- whatever cohort he intends to denote by that phrase; he is suddenly too inflamed by social injustice to tarry over the task of defining his terms -- does not ``literally'' live in another country.
And never mind the cavalier historical judgments -- although is he sure that America is less egalitarian today than it was, say, 50 years ago, when only about 7 percent of American adults had college degrees? (Twenty-eight percent do today.) Or 80 years ago, when more than 80 percent of American adults did not have high school diplomas (85 percent have them today), and only about 46 percent owned their own homes, compared with 69 percent today?
But notice, in the second sentence of Webb's column, the word ``literally'' appears, the word ``infinitely.'' Earth to Webb: Words have meanings that not even senators can alter. And he has been elected to be a senator, not Humpty Dumpty in ``Through the Looking Glass.'' (``When I use a word it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less.'') America's national economic statistics are excellent; Webb could actually tell us how much richer the ``top tier'' has become, relative to other cohorts, over a particular span. But that would require him to actually say who he is talking about, and that takes time and effort, and senators -- Webb is a natural -- often are too busy for accuracy.
Based on Webb's behavior before being sworn in, one shudders to think what he will be like after that. He already has become what Washington did not need another of, a subtraction from the city's civility and clear speaking.
Amen. As Kilo also pointed out, the blogosphere's deep man-crush for Webb, to the point where his day-to-day movements are reported as breaking news, his behaviour was boorish and rude the president of the United States. George Bush was simply looking in on how his son was doing, all Webb had to say was "he's fine but we are anxious to get him home," and leave it at that. Furthermore, its clear the Webb's people released this story, including his urge to "slug" Bush. Which tells me that Webb is looking for a fight and is more than willing to use his son's service to get it. Though the left will never accept it, George W. Bush deeply cares for the troops as their commander-in-cheif, and he is very popular with the troops (or at least thats what 2004 proved). Not only was Webb acting like an ass, it seems that he might be trying to imply that he doesn't care about the average troops. I doubt there is one politician who has met with more families and soldiers than Bush. And this is his obligation. He doesn't talk about it and he doesn't glorify it. For Webb to turn his son's service into a political hammer to batter Bush and Republicans with is disgusting and insulting to Republicans (like Bob McDonnell, among others) who have children in service and don't say a word about it. Webb wore his sons boots the entire campaign, and held them up at his victory rally, but how DARE George Bush ask about his well beaing? If Webb's son didn't want to be in combat, he shouldn't have joined the Marines. After all, there is no draft.
And what does it say about a 60 year old man refusing the shake the hand of a man who has graciously invited him into, what is in all intents and purposes, his home?
Jim Riley thinks Webb won't last 6 years. I tend to disagree, but by the time the the Senate and his own temper is through with him, Jim Webb wlll be a has-been senator who can't be trusted by Democrats and loathed by Republicans. He said he wants to stand alone, and it looks like he will. I hope enjoys the independence that irrelavence brings.
All six years of it.
The main-event in the 2007 Fairfax elections no doubt will be Sen. Jeannemarie Devolites-Davis against, presumably, ex-Delegate J. Chapman Peterson. A battle of the titans too be sure, there are still important oppurtunities in the rest of the area. Many of the Democrat delegates in Fairfax are freshman (Caputo, Poisson, Marsden), including mine--Del. David Bulova. A nice man, I know he reads this blog and I've talked to him via email several times. In fact, he graciously emailed me a long essay on his views on transportation that I post awhile back. He's a good guy and I'm not going to spend much time attacking him.
But I also firmly believe no election should go unchallenged. While the attention will be on JDD and Peterson, the best time to knock off an incumbant is in their first time. Bulova is finishing his first time. Bulova is a Democrat in a House of Delegates that has followed the lead of Tim Kaine. the governor has offered no solutions on transportation in the Assembly other than tax increases that he promises against while a candidate, instead betting his party's political future on the constant war between the GOP House and Senate, who in their constant fighting have give the Democrats political cover and the ability to claim that they have the answers, when in fact its in the Democrats best interest that, as long as the GOP runs the legislature, nothing gets done.
Whoever the GOP nominates in the 37th, they will have a tough race. Bulova is a good guy, but still a political youngster. But he will be running on a ticket that will have Gerry Connolly and Chap! Peterson on the ticker, as well as the institutional support he gets from his mom, Braddock Supervisor Sharon Bulova. For Republicans, much of the money and attention of the party will be defending Jeannemarie's senate seat, so it will be hard for a Republican to break through. The 37th District makes up Fairfax City and some of Fairfax County. This seat has generally been the one seat of power for FC in Richmond. The two previous occupants of the seat, Democrat Peterson and Republican Jack Rust, both were from the city. Usually the city gets together and supports one of their own. But David Bulova has changed that. From the county, Bulova used the Kaine wave to swamp Mason. But despite Mason's prestige in the city, he was asking the city to send him as a freshman to the HOD at the age of 72, AND he had been weakened when Rob Lederer knocked him off in 2000. So Bulova is a county guy, and if the GOP could find a city candidate who could galvanize the city, Bulova could be defeated. But with Chap! on top of the ticket, it would be tough.
Here are some names:
Fairfax City Mayor Rob Lederer:
I liked Lederer alot more about three months ago than I do now. Certainly he appears popular, to the point that nobody challenged him for mayor last April. He's good on low taxes and slow growth, but also takes to heart the independent streak of the city. A lifelong friend of Chap Peterson, it would no doubt hurt Jeannemaire to have a guy like Lederer downticket who spent some of his offtime in 2005 flying Peterson in his plane during is Lt. Gov campaign. As well, Lederer has a bit of a prickly side. A Washington Post article about Lederer was titled, "Fairfax Mayor Has Critics But Not Opponents." On election day I was talking to my Democrat counterpart handing out sample ballots. In the know, and who also spoke highly of Jack Herrity, Tom Davis, and Mark Earley (she was involved in Education), she told me that Lederer is rough around the edges and can be kind of nasty with people who don't agree with him, and has a bad habit of holding grudges. That contrast could prove fatal against a guy as sunny as Bulova.
Councilman Scott Silverthorne
Silverthorne, though only 40, he has been on the coucil for 16 years, and has smoothly swum the NOVA tides, supporting candidates from both parties (Davis, Connolly, Deeds, Chap, Jeannemarie, John Mason). He is the perverbial big fish in a little pond. Given how bad guys like Allen and Kilgore did in NOVA, Silverthorne's centrism could be the elixir that helps solve the Fairfax riddle for Republicans. Though John Mason was a power in the city, when he ran against Bulova he had already been defeated for mayor was alot older than Bulova. Silverthorne's moderation, his constant success in city elections (ALWAYS the top vote getter), his money, and his experience could make him a formidable candidate. Interestingly enough, I believe Bulova endorsed Silverthorne. It would be a tough sell to get Silverthorne in the race, but if he ran he could be a very good candidate. More tantilizing would be that Silverthorne could run as a spoiler third-party independent. It will take alot, however, to get him out of the council. But the city has prided itself on its independence, and a Silverthorne candidacy against a delegate NOT from the city could galvanize the city.
Councilman Jeff Greenfield
I had heard rumors that if John Mason had won, he would have been keeping the seat warm for Jeff Greenfield. He is young at 39 and experienced (much like Silverthorne) and could do well in a primary has he is a bit to the right of Silverthorne and would provide the more standard D vs. R race against Bulova. But its hard to nail down city politicians in there political persuasions becasue of the independece and non-partisan elections. Greenfield, who I am growing fond of thinking as the candidate, has been critical at times of Lederer on city spending and will get Republicans attention with his strong low-tax record. One problem? He's a federal employee for the Department of Agriculture and would have to step down.
Joan Cross and Patrice Winter (whom I don't know enough about to really write about)
This race will be dominated by the Senate election, and the nomination for the delegate race could come down to who Tom and Jeannemarie want and who could help her the most. It also depends heavily on what happens in the Assembly this winter. Jeannemarie and Bulova will both be defined by it in contrast. If Republicans continue to do nothing and the legislature ends without anything, Jeannemarie will be in deep trouble and Bulova should have not problems winning reelection. However, if Republicans can get something done (and Jeannemarie already has a plan that could bring the two sides together) it will help her tremendously and could embolden a strong challenger to Bulova. It should be fun to watch.
Born in Missour in '48,
A hot-headed senator named James Webb.
He loves to write but he loves one thing more,
Fighting 'round the world.
He fights Vietnamese and he fights Geroge Bush,
It's a problem no-one understands.
If there's two things he loves, it's fighting and
Fighting 'round the world.
Making an ass of himself
And fighting 'round the world.
It seems despite his devistating loss to Jim Webb, not one person is claiming George Allen's political career is over. Dates are flying around . . .2008, 2009, maybe even 2012?
Allen has alot of obsticles to overcome. The Democrats in this state did a masterful job of painting George Allen as an out-and-out racist, despite the lack of evidence past whispers and innuendos from people who never liked him to begin with. This loss was a glaring and devistating defeat. It cost Republicans the US Senate, and has given more glee and motivation to Democrats in Virginia than ever before.
On the Republican side, I can't imagine many people are happy with Allen. Despite "maccaca" Allen still ran a poor campaign. They were slow-footed, inside-the-box, and reactionary. Allen's biggest mistake, in hindsight, was bring in Dick Wadhams. After pulling out victories in Colorado and South Dakota, Wadhams was the proverbial "it" in GOP cirlces, the next Karl Rove. Hiring him sent a clear message that George Allen was going national. And in doing so, he ran a campaign that forgot about the home. Though I am convinced Allen's head was in the right place, perhaps Wadhams was dragging Allen's eyes too far into the future. This national aspect haunted the campaign up and down. They responded to "maccaca" in terms of how it would effect Allen nationally, not locally. They let the story get out of control, and they let themselves get pushed around.
Another Wadhams mistake was something that appears to be his trademark: making war on big newspapers. Apparently, Wadams did this with great effect in Colorado and South Dakota. It completly backfired in Virignia. By constantly antagonizing a newspaper the size and with the power of The Washington Post, who's readership in Northern Virginia is very loyal, Allen gaurenteed that the biggest pockets of voters in the state would get non-stop anti-Allen news and views. Even the ombundsman of the Post acknowledged the biased coverage. The problem is that Allen and Wadhams brought this upon themselves. They could have attempted to cultivate the Post, give it acces and what not. They were never going to endorse him, but maybe his profile would have had more than one paragraph outlining the record of his governorship.
Will Republicans in Virginia trust Allen again in a big race? Conventional wisdom is that he blew it. He ran behind downstate congressional candidates and was absolutley pummeled in NoVa. Rather than the sunny optimistic conservative of 1993 and 2000; Allen in 2006 will be remembered as a bully and, to some, a racist who was beholden to George W. Bush and the far right wing. Can he overcome this in two, three years?
But despite all of this; despit Wadhams's terrible stewardship, despite the tidal wave of abuse heaped on the senator by the natonal media and the WaPo, despite the constant race-baiting by the lily white progressive bloggers of NoVa--Allen still lost by only 9,329 votes, or by .4%. His first step was his generious concession speech, his class in meeting for lunch with Webb, and the apparently smooth transition taking place. Allen has a lot of experience and if any politician can bounce back, he's it. And the circumstances are always changing. A Democratic year in 2006 may shift in 2008. Who knows what will happen, or what could happen.
The elephant in the room is still Mark Warner. Warner would be the huge favorite for whatever office he chooses. Whether senate or governor or whatever. I remained convinced that if Allen comes back, it will be in 2009. He already stated he hates the Senate, why go back?
I know the liberals who comment on here will say, "Mark Warner will trounce George Allen!" Of course, thats what I said around June of this year when Jim Webb won the nomination. Its what people said all those years ago about Mary Sue Terry. The first test for an Allen comeback in 2009? Bill Bolling and Bob McDonnell. Can Allen convince them to run for reelection to give him one moe shot? Are they even willing to consider it?
Questions abound, but if Democrats and liberals are ready to write off George Allen, perhaps they should pay heed to the overconfidence us Republicans have succombed to for the past two cycles.
Drudge alerts us to the fact that Hurricane season has been, and will be, mild this year. This of course goes right in the face of everything we were told by the experts, and Al Gore. Now I have no idea if global warming exists or not, the science has become so politicized I doubt we'll ever know.
But methinks Mr. Gore should go back to chasing ManBearPig.
One the fascinating storylines developing out of the midterm elections have been the contrast in which Republicans have handled the loss versus the way the Democrats did in '02 and '04. Cries of voter fraud, of intimidation, of smearing Democrats patriotism where heard loudly and daily. Voter supression was accused in Ohio, and a grand narrative was weaved of how Republicans had "stolen" election after election from 2000 on. Katherine Harris and Kenneth Blackwell where slimed and attacked for doing their job. Karl Rove was elevated to the title of Darth Vader.
Yet in 2006, the Republicans have taken the opposite course. We are introspective, trusting of the people, and looking to figure out what went wrong with ourselves. In fact, we aren't blaming anyone BUT ourselves. We are weaving magical tales of fraud in places like Montana and Virginia. Rather, we instead accept the people's verdict.
What made me think about this was this diary entry at RedState:
I propose a simple compare and contrast exercise for all of us. I ask you all to observe the goings-on in two congressional districts where the results of the 2006 election are, to put it mildly, close. I give you CT-2 and FL-13.
Businessman Joe Courtney (D), a loser in 2002, decided to have another go at 3-term incumbent Republican Rob Simmons in what is (I'm pretty sure) the most Democrat-leaning district in the nation held by a Republican at the time. Well, suffices to say that 2006 was a much better year for the Democrat - on election day, Mr. Courtney held to a very narrow 167-vote lead out of roughly 250,000 votes cast. The automatic recount cut Mr. Courtney's already razor-thin lead in half.
But now, with a scant 83 votes - or about 0.03% - separating Rep. Simmons from the apparent winner, Bob Simmons has decided that legal challenges won't accomplish anything
When he conceded last week, Simmons said he understood there were problems with the vote tallying. But he decided against taking legal action, even though attorneys from both the national Republicans and Democrats closely watched the process.
Think there weren't any problems with the vote in CT-2? Well, think again:
Simmons' campaign raised concerns about the vote tallies in Norwich, New London and Chester where it appeared more people voted than were checked off by the poll workers on Election Day or filed absentee ballots. No official elections complaints have been filed.
It appeared that 9,543 ballots were cast, but only 9,125 voters were logged -- a 418-vote difference, the campaign said.
Unsurprisingly Chester (1018-660), New London (3224-1941) and Norwich (4721-4404) all went pretty heavily for the challenger. But no matter, the election is over and CT-2 is probably in relatively safe Democrat hands for some time to come.
On election night, Vern Buchanan (R) held a roughly 400-vote lead over Democrat challenger Christine Jennings in a Republican-heavy district vacated by Katherine Harris in her Quixotic attempt to unseat unpopular Senate incumbent Ben Nelson. An automatic recount moved a net of precisely one vote and Mr. Buchanan has been declared the winner.
Well, that's just not good enough:
Jennings and one of her lawyers, Bill Partridge, officially contested the election yesterday. They’re focusing on the large under vote in Sarasota.
“I believe our representative should be chosen by a will of the people, not a problem in the voting machines,” said Jennings.
And so, I close with a question or two:
Can a Democrat ever, ever, lose a close congressional race without first running to the courts and screaming about flaws in the voting process? Or is class a personal quality reserved solely for Republicans who lose close elections?
Flying under the media radar this last election season was the suprisingly amazing showing by Republicans in the state of Florida. Much of the national attention centered around Katherine Harris's disasterious run for the US Senate against the respected Bill Nelson, and the sex-scandal involving the disgusting Mark Foley. But in statewide elections, Republicans took four out of five state-wide offices, including Charlie Crist battling back Jim Davis to win the governorship, and ex-Rep. Bill McCollum capturing the AG job. And of the close congressional elections, the GOP only lost two seats-Ron Klein over Clay Shaw and Tim Mahoney capturing Foley's seat. Republican Vern Buchanan (for now) has held on to Harris's Sarisota-based seat over Christine Jennings. And in the race for Foley's seat, State Rep. Joe Negron lost by only 1.8% to Mahoney, despite the unenviable task of asking voters to vote for Foley ("Punch Foley for Negron). In addition, the state was equally set afir with the eminent domain referendum on the ballot.
So there must be lessons for Republicans in Virginia. The first lesson is the example of Gov. Jeb Bush. Take this quote from the Wall Stree Journal:
But now look to Florida. Jeb Bush came to office in 1999 touting a sweeping reform agenda of the sort that gives Ms. Pelosi the "extremist" fits. More to the point, the governor, with the support of a Republican legislature, has instituted most of it. Florida Republicans have passed tax cuts every year of the eight Mr. Bush has held office--a whopping $19 billion, including the elimination of the infamous "intangibles" tax, levied on investments. While Florida's budget has grown at a rapid clip, Mr. Bush vetoed more than $2.1 billion in wasteful spending, earning him the nickname "Veto Corleone" among frustrated state lobbyists. He's trimmed 11,000 state jobs.
Tort reform? Did it. Overhauling the child welfare system? Done. Florida has led the way in greater education accountability and school voucher programs; test scores, especially among minorities, are on the rise. The state won federal permission for the most dramatic Medicaid reforms in the country, the first to inject private competition into the system.
Florida today has the highest rate of job creation in the country, and an unemployment rate of 3.3%. Its bond rating hit triple A. Revenue is pumping into the state coffers, giving Florida $6.4 billion in reserves. Gov. Bush's approval rating stands at 55%. Even the House Democratic leader, Dan Gelber, admitted his chief nemesis was a "rock star."
In Virginia, for too long we have asked for the vote of the people and then not come through for them. To be a low-tax party, we can't then raise taxes over and over. Bush managed to win not only Republicans, but moderates as well. Its a sort of big-tent conservatism based on actual results rather than divissive partisanship and a party of rhetoric and not action. Jeb Bush set a clear agenda, did it, and maintained it. Republicans in Virginia must learn this lesson.
Does Virginia have any potential leaders that could do what Jeb Bush has done? Yes. First and foremost to stand out in my mind is Attorney General Bob McDonnell, who seems to have a sort of unify conservatism that differs from the more loudmouth and partisan style of Allen, Gilmore, and Bolling. I believe McDonnell might be the savior the party in Virginia needs to unify around. Other candidates bring strenghts, and his cheif rival seems to be Bill Bolling. I think Lt. Gov. Bolling, though certainly a thorough conservative, has a style and a reputation that would mirror the partisanship of Allen and Kilgore, and the outcome would surely be the same.
One of the big knocks against McDonnell that I have seen is his margin of victory in 2003. I think that means very little. Both Mark Earley (97) and Jerry Kilgore (01) where the top vote getters in their first statewide races, only to lose their gubenitorial bids.
The Republican Party of Virginia is facing an identity crisis where we not only aren't sure what we stand for, but that we also can't comminicate our philosophy to the people. McDonnell has the ability to do that, I believe. But I guess its up the party to work this out. I'm just one voice of many.
But its clear we do not have leaders with vision. Where can we start? How about mimicing the ideas of the youthful Speaker of the Florida Hosue, Marco Rubio, who set for his 100 ideas.
Robert Novak reports that the joke continues:
GILMORE FOR PRESIDENT?
Jim Gilmore, former governor of Virginia and Republican National chairman, is quietly building an organization to get back into elective politics -- perhaps as a candidate for president.
Gilmore might be looking to fill the mainstream conservative vacuum created when fellow Virginian George Allen's defeat for re-election to the Senate ended his presidential ambitions. Other options for Gilmore could be running for the Senate in 2008 if Republican John Warner does not seek another term at age 81, or running for governor in 2009.
The last Republican governor of Virginia, Gilmore also is the last major Republican candidate to carry populous northern Virginia -- the key to victory in the state.
The Pew Research Center has put together a fun little poll. Check it out HERE.
I was rated as an "Enterpriser." which is defined thusly:
PAST TYPOLOGY COUNTERPART: Staunch Conservatives, Enterprisers
9% OF ADULT POPULATION
10% OF REGISTERED VOTERS
PARTY ID: 81% Republican, 18% Independent/No Preference, 1% Democrat (98% Rep/Lean Rep)
BASIC DESCRIPTION: As in 1994 and 1999, this extremely partisan Republican group's politics are driven by a belief in the free enterprise system and social values that reflect a conservative agenda. Enterprisers are also the strongest backers of an assertive foreign policy, which includes nearly unanimous support for the war in Iraq and strong support for such anti-terrorism efforts as the Patriot Act.
DEFINING VALUES: Assertive on foreign policy and patriotic; anti-regulation and pro-business; very little support for government help to the poor; strong belief that individuals are responsible for their own well being. Conservative on social issues such as gay marriage, but not much more religious than the nation as a whole. Very satisfied with personal financial situation.
WHO THEY ARE: Predominantly white (91%), male (76%) and financially well-off (62% have household incomes of at least $50,000, compared with 40% nationwide). Nearly half (46%) have a college degree, and 77% are married. Nearly a quarter (23%) are themselves military veterans. Only 10% are under age 30.
LIFESTYLE NOTES: 59% have a gun in the home; 53% trade stocks and bonds, and 30% are small business owners all of which are the highest percentages among typology groups. 48% attend church weekly; 36% attend bible study or prayer group meetings.
2004 ELECTION: Bush 92%, Kerry 1%. Bush's most reliable supporters (just 4% of Enterprisers did not vote)
MEDIA USE: Enterprisers follow news about government and politics more closely than any other group, and exhibit the most knowledge about world affairs. The Fox News Channel is their primary source of news (46% cite it as a main source) followed by newspapers (42%) radio (31%) and the internet (26%).
Actually, that about nails it, except for media use. I use the internet WAY more than anything else, and I barely watch cable news anymore becasue I find it tiresome, boring, and have the annoying tendancy to make a small story way bigger than it should be becasue they need to fill airtime. I used to watch TONS of FoxNews, especially Bill O'Reilly, but there are only so many times you can here a guy say; "I'm right no matter what, but go ahead and make your arguemnet even though I won't agree with you." Newspaeprs are OK, but I can read Post, Times, Examiner, and Times-Dispatch online. So I get almost ALL my news online. I also don't match the lifestyle stuff. I don't have a gun, nor do I want one. I don't have any stocks. I do go to church, but no bible studies. But I am young and just starting off, so who knows. But I am a reliable Bush supporter, I am a college graduate, and I am most definatly white.
Its a cool survey. Take it and leave a note as to what you are.
Bearing Drift has the scoop. Apparently he got the support of Bolling, McDonnell, John Hager, Chuck Smith, and all the district chairmen.
Here's Gillespie's pledge:
A BOTTOM-UP PARTY. Having worked in campaigns for more than 20 years (starting as a phoner!), I understand the critical importance of grassroots. Someone who makes 10,000 phone calls in the course of an election is as important as - if not more than - someone who writes a check for $10,000.
As RNC Chairman, I relied heavily on the advice and input of state party chairs and RNC members. If elected RPV chair, I would rely heavily on District Chairs and Central Committee members.
A PARTY THAT FOSTERS UNITY. We can accommodate differences within our party, but not divisions. While standing strong for the principles that distinguish us from liberal Democrats, we must also recognize that a Republican who gets elected in Fairfax County may not agree 100% of the time with a Republican who gets elected in Lynchburg, but electing Republicans everywhere is essential to a majority party.
A PARTY WITH RESOURCES. We have vast untapped financial resources in the Commonwealth that should be helping to support the pro-growth party. We need to reconnect with the business community and reach out to potential individual donors in the Commonwealth and across the country.
A PARTY WITH A POSITIVE MESSAGE. When it comes to issues that affect the quality of life of Virginians, our policies are better than those of our Democrat opponents. We have to convey them in a way that resonates with voters. On countless news programs, talk shows and debate panels, I've tried to advocate our policies and highlight our differences with the other side without driving away our friends in the middle.
I promised I would support Gillespie if he won, despite my earlier misgivings. Gillespie won't have much of a honneymoon once he gets the nod at the Advance next week. He undoubtebly brings a lot of good qualities. He's smart, telegenic, conservative, and has had past successes on a national stage. In 2004, he helped spearhead an incredible Republican year.
But my questions still remain. Will Gillespie work to make sure every district is contested? Will he work to get to know the local level leaders. Will he understand that the loses of both Jerry Kilgore and George Allen have proven that the political equation in Virginia has changed, the old rules don't apply anymore? We'll see. But I'm determined to make our party work, especially in Northern Virginia. I just hope Gillespie isn't going to be bossed by out-of-office Republicans like Allen and the DC folks he's so connected with.
Test #1 comes right away. What is to be done about the state Senate? Part of the reason Republicans in Virginia and across the country are taking it on the chin is becasue we aren't practicing what we preach. The party of small government has watched government explode. In Virginia, the low-tax GOP voted for tax increases. The Hosue of Delegates represents Republican values, while a select few of the state senate's robber barons have worked to purposefully raise taxes and betray the core priciples of the party. Led by squishes like Russ Potts and John Chichester, the state senate has done nothing but undermine Republican values and have given precious political cover to two Democratic governors to raise taxes despite BOTH campaigning not too. Potts is more than likely finished--I could NOT imagine the temerity to ask the local GOP party for its support--though I would not put it past him to run as an "I."
Will Gillespie back primaries against these guys? Will he fight for our priciples that the people trusted us with, or are we going to back-pedal our way into the minority?
Many questions are left for presumed Chairman Gillespie. He's to hoping he can get the job done.
From The Washington Post, Supervisor Wally Covington has decided to use a bullhorn to get the attention of Tim Kaine and the General Assembly on transportation:
Supervisor W.S. Covington III (R-Brentsville), who has been on the board for three years, introduced a resolution this week to freeze housing construction for 12 months. Next month supervisors will discuss his proposal, which has prompted lively reaction from his colleagues, the building industry and Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D), who said during his campaign that development should be linked to transportation improvements.
I support this fine enough, though I wonder what the unintended consequences for the county could be by taking this radical step. It sounds like everyone on the Board would support this, sicne John Jenkins is quoted as saying he is for it. And certainly anti-growth new BOS chairman Corey Stewart will back this. In fact, I expected him to be the guy to back this.
Kevn Hall, Gov. Kaine's spokesman, had this to say:
"But I think an absolute moratorium on new residential development, while perhaps understandable as a gesture of frustration, would be an extreme response to the refusal of House leadership to tackle our transportation challenges in a serious way.
OK. I understand that the General Assembly has not done its job entirely on transportation, as the Senate and House have essentially made war on each other since the 2003 tax increases. But Tim Kaine has not done ONE thing, ONE SINGLE THING, to help this debate other than advocate tax increases. He knows he will stay popular so long as the Republicans in the Assembly can't agree on anything. But in that, Kaine has shown absolutley no leadership, and has gone back on his campaign pledge. Tim Kaine promised not to raise taxes as a candidate, and then turns around before the voting machines were turned off and said he would. He is using the old Mark Warner tactic of leveridging the two houses against each other. But Kaine's contributions for a solution have been non-existant. That is becasue the worst thing that can happen to Tim Kaine is the Assembly agreeing on transportation and forcing him to take a definative position on the matter. Everyone has given him a pass, from the national media to the locals. Tim Kaine will had no solutions to the debate because its in his political interest that the Assembly stay in chaos.
Unfortunatley, my family is scattered across the globe and the country, so this year I will be with one of my brothers and my sister-in-law's family. It should be fun nonetheless. Much eating, much drinking, and much football. By the way, I've got Miami, Dallas, and Kansas City winning tommorow. I really don't feel like going on and on about all that I am thankful for. Those who know me know how I feel and thats good enough. I hope everyone has a great weekend, gets fat on delicious turkey, and enjoys some pigskin!
At Bacon's Rebellion, Chris Braunlich outlines four meaningful ways Republicans can attempt to win back Northern Virginia. First off, he accuratley sums up the problems that Republican candidates have been facing up here. The notion of "getting out your base" is faulty up here becasue that base of anti-tax, pro-gun, pro-life voters isn't enough to get 51%.
Candidates running on nothing more than bumper sticker slogans found that independent voters hungering for more substance – even those who may agree with them – turned elsewhere for solutions.
That was the problem in the 2003 legislative elections. Candidates like Chris Craddock and Michael Golden, who were funded by conservative groups like the Club for Growth, did not offer a broad-based plan to fix our problems. Instead they ran on an anti-tax platform, which was foolish becasue Mark Warner became more popular after he raised taxes. Clearly, most people did not have a problem with it, and the GOP has been slow to offer a full plan to fight the issues plaguing the region. In a word, there have been too many "sound byte" politicians and not enough ones articulating positions on growth, immigration, traffic, tax revenue coming back to the region, et al. So here is Braunlich's well thought out four-part plan to try and win back the region:
Link Land Use and Transportation: Counties decide where developments are placed, but responsibility for the road building is up to the state. The result: More traffic jams. Del. Bob Marshall proposed allowing impact fees, dedicated to transportation, on new development. This isn’t “new taxes.” It’s a recognition that the taxes on new development rarely pay for the new infrastructure it requires in transportation, and imposes the cost for that new transportation infrastructure on the entity creating the demand.
Take the Roads Back: Virginia is one of only four states where the responsibility for secondary roads rests with a state bureaucracy – a 75-year-old system long outdated for population centers like Northern Virginia. The result: Decreased quality. That’s why the City of Suffolk took over responsibility for maintaining its own secondary roadways this year, and in return they’ll get VDOT’s budget for those roads and an opportunity to do it cheaper and better. There would be start-up costs to consider, but Virginia's counties should get the same right and the same funding formulas.
Stop Giving Away Money: Everyone knows Northern Virginia is the economic powerhouse that funds the state. Not everyone knows how other localities use that money. Answer: To cut their own budgets. When the General Assembly raised the sales tax in 2004, half the funds were sent back to localities for education purposes. But legislators changed the formula in 2004 so that Northern Virginia received even less than they would have under the old formula. Fairfax County taxpayers, for example, paid nearly $70 million in new taxes. Under the old formula, they would have received $53 million back. Under the revised formula, they got back only $32 million.
Adding insult to injury, 40 percent of state localities used the extra money they received from NOVA taxpayers to cut their own per pupil support. It’s not the first time that’s happened, which is why legislators started insisting on a “Maintenance of Effort” clause a few years ago to prevent localities from doing that. There was no such insistence this time. There should be.
End the NOVA Tax: Gubernatorial candidate Jim Gilmore was smart when he proposed to “end the car tax.” Not only does it affect everyone; not only is it the most painful tax to pay (all at once); but it affects Northern Virginians more than most and gave him an issue to ride hard in building a GOP majority. The “fix” was to have state government reimburse local governments for part of the tax car owners paid. But when the reimbursement reached 70 percent of the bill, the General Assembly “froze” the state’s reimbursement.
Except they didn’t freeze it at 70 percent – they froze it at whatever dollars each locality was receiving at the time. That means that, two years later, growth areas like Prince William, Fairfax and Loudoun Counties have the same amount of money, but spread it out over more cars. The more cars that come in (and the more those cars cost), the less relief taxpayers see.
At the very least, the General Assembly should “unfreeze” the dollars and keep the “real cap” at 70 percent – and stop penalizing economic growth in Northern Virginia.
Sounds like a good place to start. And remember, I'm not arguing conservatism can't work, we just need to able to articulate it as a program that will help solve these problems, rather than by sound bytes to "get out the base." Two good examples of this are Ken Cuccinelli and Corey Stewart. Both are probably more conservative than your average Northern Virginian, but they concentrate on solving problems and articulate and advocate a specific plan to do so. The most glaring oppurtunity for Northern Virignia Republicans this Assembly session will be to get more of that revenue back to the region. $70 million out and only $32 million back? And look, I understand and even want some of our money to go to the rest of the state. I live in Northern Virginia, but I consider myself a Virginian like anyone else who lives in Richmond, Winchester, Norfolk, or Galax. But the fact is the amount of money to simply maintain our roads system is staggering and any clear thinking person would understand why we need that money back. The only thing that makes me angry is that other areas of the state are cutting back their spending becasue they are getting Northern Virginia tax money! Our money is paying for the rest of the state, which would be fine if we got first dibs on it.
When Republicans in the region start advocating a full program like this, that does not boil the question down to simply tax increases or decreases, we might start winning again.
James Carville is arguing that larger than life characters will emerge one each side of the 2008 presidential election:
Arizona Sen. John McCain
ex-New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani
ex-House Speaker Newt Gingrich
New York Sen. Hillary Clinton
Illinois Sen. Barrack Obama
ex-Vice President Al Gore
Should be very interesting. Fore the GOP, Newt will capture the imagination of movement conservatives but will have a hard time winning a national election based on his past but is counting on ten years out of power to help people forget about this. McCain has the opposet problem, he is popular across the country but will haev a hard time with movement conservatives in primaries. Rudy will count on his hero status after 9/11 and his record of leaderhsip in pulling New York City literally out of the sewers and turning it into a vibrant, brilliant metropolis to help mollify conservative voters over his rather liberal social beliefs on abortion.
For the Democrats, Hillary seems vunerable after spending inexplicably spending $30 million on a Senate race she was never going to lose, leaving just around $10 million. But she has the machinery, the personal popularity among the base and yet has worked in the Senate to build a reputation as a someone who gets things done. She will have to overcome the fact that about 40% of the country wil refuse to vote for her no matter what. Sen Obama wil be the fresh face looking to capture the attention of the nation. His half-white half-black heritage allows him to move seemlessly between the races and could use his personal story and fresh youth to help the country cast itself in a different direction. His weakness is experience in both bigtime elections and hardball DC politics. Al Gore will be appealing to the hard left, Bush-hating activists of MoveOn.org and Michael Moore. Is "stolen" election will play well given how much the left hates Bush even more after eight years.
The also-rans won't last past Iowa. That means Sam Brownback and Tom Tancredo on the right, and John Kerry and Tom Vilsack on the right.
Carville is right, this election will be all about the superstars.
Carville also argues that there is a real good chance at a third party. The most imposing name?
Mayor Michael Bloomberg of NYC. A succesfull blue city mayor with just tons of money to build a national organization. If its Clinton and McCain, he will have a hard time getting anywhere, but if a dark horse or the wingers like Gingrich and Gore get the nods, Bloomberg could do some serious damage.
This could mirror 1912 with a progressive Democrat, a tradition conservative Republican, and a maverick independent. But the man in the driver's seat is McCain. He's so popular with moderates and independents, it would innoculate him from any kind of Bloomberg third party run and starts off ahead of all three Democrats.
Is Ed Gillespie a good idea for Chairman of The Republican Party of Virginia?
Nobody seems to want to say this, though it’s hinted around in posts and threads across the blogosphere. There is nothing wrong, per say, with Ed Gillespie as a Republican loyalist. As National Chairmen, he helped lead the GOP to one of its most impressive total victories in a long time. He is smart, connected, telegenic, and articulate. He has the ability to call directly to the White House.
He is also George Allen’s boy.
I respect George Allen as a conservative and for all the work he did as governor, senator, and as the leading Republican in Virginia. He is a true conservative who fought the good fight. But the fact of the matter is George Allen lost an election he should have one, and in doing so he literally cost the Republican Party control of the Senate. I worked hard for Allen, gave up my time to march around Fairfax in cold weather knocking on doors and hanging door signs. But I’m not really happy with him. He lost this election. He said things he knew better then to say, he had a poor strategy, and was slow to realize the advantages Webb had. It’s more than “maccaca.” He apologized for it, and it should have ended there. Instead, following Dick Wadhams’s strategy, Allen proceeded to a) make an un-winnable war on the Washington Post, and b) try to “out-maccaca” Jim Webb, trying to find an embarrassing phrase or sound byte to combat his own gaffe. By following this strategy, it is now clear Allen alienated many voters who had supported him previously on his sunny conservative vision for the state and the country. In a Democratic atmosphere, Allen’s strategy was a terrible mistake and cost the party dearly.
Ed Gillespie as party chairman simply keeps Allen in power in the state when it is now clear that the Virginia GOP needs to go in a different direction. The GOP is still playing by the 1990s playbook that won them office. I read that playbook as this:
--Emphasis tax cuts as the be-all-end-all to economic woes George Allen pushed tax cuts in 1993 and Jim Gilmore famously crusaded against the car tax. Mark Warner changed this conversation when he raised taxes and framed it as fiscal responsibility, and became MORE popular. The GA Republicans have not helped by making war on each other since 2003.
--Drive conservative voters out by using social issues.
Allen was passionately anti-death penalty, while Gilmore himself ran as a tough-on-crime, pro-life conservative. Again, Warner and Tim Kaine have both embraced this approach, or at least moderated it. Moderating views on these social issues have helped Democrats define themselves as trustworthy on social issues while claiming the mantle of fiscal responsibility. When Jerry Kilgore ran those death penalty ads, it blew up in his face.
--Tie state Democratic candidates too the national part.
Allen and Gilmore did this masterfully, especially Allen against Mary Sue Terry and Charles Robb. Again, Mark Warner and Tim Kaine have made the Democrats a true alternative statewide while Virginia continues to vote Republican in presidential and congressional elections.
--Republicans have stubbornly run campaigns exactly the same in every area of the state.
We have not learned how to emphasis certain issues over others in certain areas of the state. Both Mark Warner and Tim Kaine did this wonderfully. Jim Webb, as well, hid his past conservatism in parts of NoVa, emphasizing his anti-war stance while proclaiming his pro-gun beliefs downstate. It drives me crazy, but it works and we would do well to take that lesson.
What is scary for Republicans is Jim Webb’s victory. The Warner-Kaine model of swamping Northern Virginia and Richmond, and winning more votes than thought of downstate has gone national. I thought Allen could pull this off because as a senator, you have a voice in national policy and Virginians have overwhelmingly gone Republican. But Webb won, over a man who dominated statewide politics and had no business losing.
Why do I go on like this? Because I’m afraid Ed Gillespie will continue the 1990s line of thinking that just does not work anymore. Northern Virginia can be salvaged by conservative candidates who emphasis economics and a consensus style of conservatism. I am also worried that his ascension is merely a way for George Allen to stay relevant in Virginia Republican politics. I am worried that Gillespie won’t reach out to the grassroots on the most local level. Will he be more concerned about George Allen’s interests, or how many times he’ll be on Fox News? Will he be willing to come to a group like the Fairfax City Republican Committee and help us out? Will he reach out to the Internet like the Democrats have so successfully done, or simply ignore them like Kate Griffin did (and too a lesser extent, George Allen’s campaign)? Connections are nice in Washington, but what about Richmond, Roanoke, Norfolk, or Virginia Beach? Will he roll his sleeves up and help recruit candidates all over the state and ensure they are funded? Will he help craft party policy and a winnable strategy? Or is he merely here to ensure a Republican wins in the 2008 presidential election? His presumed counterpart, Dick Cranwell, is the consummate Virginia political insider who knows the commonwealth upside down and inside out.
I’m afraid the state Republican Party just cannot take chances on these questions. We’ve lost too many elections to have so much mystery surrounding our state party machinery. We don’t need a superstar to outshine everyone else at the RPV, we need a nuts-and-bolts insider who can fire up the party, raise money, recruit candidates, and create a winning strategy. I’m not going to pretend to know who can do it. I’m not that much of an insider. And if Gillespie wins the chairmanship, I’ll support him and the party 100% because the values of the GOP drive me more than the people who run it. But we need to make a decision now. The Era of the 1990s is over. George Allen has been defeated, Mark Warner essentially repudiated Jim Gilmore, and the Democrats are in ascension. Ed Gillespie, I’m afraid, is too national and too close to Republicans in the state who are defeated and no longer relevant.
FoxNews had a fun article about life after losing a campaign today:
The ballots have been cast, the votes have been counted, the campaign signs have been taken down. The election is officially over. As many winners as there were the day after Election 2006, many more were losers.
But that doesn't mean candidates who fail in their bids for public office have no life after the campaign, even if it's a different path than they planned.
Among those mentioned:
Two more NOT named in the FoxNews peice:
Here's to Sens. John McCain (R-AZ), Jim DeMint (R-SC), John Sununu (R-NH), Tom Coburn (R-OK), and Jeff Sessions (R-AL); who have been gaurding the gates of Congress from wasteful spending.
The freshmen, Tom Coburn and Jim DeMint, campaigning in 2004 in Oklahoma and South Carolina, promised not to fall in line with GOP leaders. Fulfilling that pledge allied them with the long-termer John McCain. They have been backed by Jeff Sessions of Alabama and another freshman, John E. Sununu of New Hampshire. In the lame-duck session's first week, they played Horatio at the Bridge by combining to block a pork-filled omnibus spending bill.
Among senators wailing that their pet projects are being derailed, none has been louder than Democrat Kent Conrad, who will be Budget Committee chairman in the new Congress. A self-described fiscal conservative (because he wants tax increases), Conrad submitted 41 proposals busting the Bush budget in 2005 alone. He was so distraught last week that the agriculture money bill blocked by DeMint contained $4.9 billion in additional emergency relief that he threatened to stop any money bills from passing in the lame-duck session. He did not follow through with this program of actually closing the government.
While the Senate's archaic rules can frustrate the will of the majority in passing legislation and confirming presidential nominations, they also can enable a few strong-minded senators to fight excess spending. These senators may well temporarily close what Tom Coburn calls the "favor factory" maintained by Republicans. Will the Democrats try to reopen it next year?
If Republicans want to regain the majority, following the lead of senators like McCain and Coburn are a good place to start. Part of the Democrats case for their election was the Republicans were so poorly handling the pursestrings in Washington. Novak's question is interesting, because more government means more spending. And more spending bills means more pork. I think part of President Bush's reluctance to block federal spending was he wanted to make sure Congress under his watch got all of its budgets out and everything was funded. The specter of the government shutdown 10 years ago still looms over the GOP, I think. But with Democrats now controlling spending, might the Bush become more emboldened, with the support of McCain's cadre of young senators, to veto wasteful spending?
I hope so.
Larry Kudlow has this:
During the Gingrich congressional years, and particularly during the fight for the balanced-budget amendment of 1997, limited spending coupled with low tax rates was the winning message that gathered both conservatives and Ross Perot independents into the GOP tent. Now is the time to return to these very same principles.
WASHINGTON -- Sen. John W. Warner says that as he decides whether to seek re-election to a sixth term in 2008, the defeat of Sen. George Allen "certainly is a factor."
Warner, 79, couched his calculus yesterday not in terms of party politics but in terms of Virginians benefiting from experienced representation in the Senate.
Allen had 20 years of experience in public office in Virginia, Warner said. The Democrat who defeated him last week, Jim Webb, is a newcomer to elective office.
"The absence of that experience, in terms of senators that represent the state, is a factor," Warner said when asked in an interview whether Allen's defeat would play into his future decision-making.
I think this adds further proof that John Warner will run for reelection in 2008. His thinking here is that he would be doing Virignia a diservice by leaving the Senate in the hands of two freshman senators from the commonwealth. I'm sure the recent Democratic successes in the state have also casued Warner to think about another term. With several strong Democrats, notably Mark Warner, waiting in the wings-I think John Warner would be serving his party best by running again. It would help, along with the recent announcements by Domenici and Stevens, help the GOP in the upcoming cycle.
Should he NOT run, it would be a free-for-all. Mark Warner would be the favorite, but if he chosses agaisnt a Senate run, State Sen. Creigh Deeds could step in and run a strong campaign. On the GOP side, the eyes would fall on Tom Davis and Jim Gilmore, and even George Allen. It would not be unthinkable for Allen to run again, its happened before-Slade Gorton comes to mind. Even Attorney General Bob McDonnell would make a strong candidate.
I have a feeling Warner will run again, however. Even in the minority, he carries a prestige and a presence that just can't be matched whether a Republican or a Democrat replaces him.
Ugh. Republicans were elected to cut spending, balance budgets, and shrink government. Until we can prove we can do that again, we better get use to the minority. Some things are understandable-like spending to help Hurricane Katrina victims, fund the War on Terror, and other necessities. But then there is this:
Its just sad, really. Republican representatives used the perscription drug payoff to bribe seniors into voting GOP, we have been at the helm for an unprecidented amount of earmarks, and federal subsidies and the unfunded mandates they force on the states are crippling. I think I said this before, but last month at the Fairfax City GOP meeting, Jeannemarie Devolites-Davis was telling us one of the biggest problems the Assembly is having in making its budgets is all the unfunded mandates from the federal government that is forced on them. Its terrible.
I have never questioned my vote for George W. Bush, and I never will. But this rampent spending, the growth of the budget, the earmarks, the giveways, the lack of accountability for the people's money is WHY we lost in November, because how can we look voters in the eye and tell them "we are for small government and controlled federal spending" when in six years spending has been up 40%! And whats worse, many Democrats campaigned on balanced budgets-which is a crime becasue that is OUR issue, and we have allowed it to be taken from us.
DC Republicans need to get their heads out of their asses and understand that our principles don't just go on campaign banners. We are suppose to come through, and we did not. Hopefully John Boehner cand Mitch McConnell will provide new and united leadership on this quesiton. This will also help the candidacy of John McCain, who has been maybe the lone Republican (with Tom Coburn, Jon Kyl, and John Sununu) fighting this spending. Maybe now with his party in the minority, President Bush will be more willing to dust off his veto pen. But I'm not holding my breath.
Why, you migh ask? Well, they are patriots, thats why!
THIS story tells us that this small hotel chain has stopped showing CNN on their televisions becasue the network showed insurgency snipers shooting at American troops.
"It was shocking and repulsive," he said. "Their actions supported terrorism."
and . . .
Dennis Cunningham, a retired factory worker from northern Missouri staying at the hotel for several weeks while his wife undergoes brain surgery, said he supported Thompson's decision.
"I agree with him. I think it was inappropriate," Cunningham said. "We don't need to see things like that over here."
Good for them. Its hard in this country to critize biased journalism of this nature, becasue of the 1st amendment. But I saw that special and it was outrageous, mostly becasue I'm positive it were President Kerry, it would not have run. I am of the firm belief that nearly everything the MSM does and says is couched in an anti-Bush mentality. So its cool to see some people stand up to them.
politically speaking. Two aged GOP Senators have pledged to run for reelection in 2008. From Politics1:
Sen. Pete Domenici of New Mexico
Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska
Though I do not like Ted Stevens, both races had the chance of being competative in 2008, particularly New Mexico. In Alaska, with Tony Knowles going down for the second straight election, the Democratic party challenger more than likely would have been Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich (son of Rep. Nick Begich, who died in the plane crash that killed Hale Boggs). With Stevens popular in Alaska, the Dems will probably pass this one over waiting to challenge either Sarah Palin or Lisa Murkowski in four years. But one has to wonder if some enterprising conservative might try and take down porker Stevens from the right, most likely with outside money. Prime candidate? Ex-Lt. Governor Loren Leman. The Stevens-Murkowski axis has been dominating Alaska for awhile, but Frank just went down. Could someone try and take down Stevens? And if Stevens changes his mind, guess who's waiting . . .State Sen. BEN Stevens.
As For Domenici, this is REALLY good news. New Mexico is a true 50-50 state, having gone for Gore in 2000, Richardson for govenror in 2002, for Bush in 2004, and then reelecting Richardson but also reelecting Heather Wilson in 2006. An open Senate seat in New Mexico would be a prime pick-up target for Democrats. New Mexico will more than likely be unwilling to sacrifice Domenici for partisan purposes. They have settled into the best of both worlds, having two senatos with high seniority in both parties. Even if he wanted too, I doubt Bill Richardson would risk his political career to take down someone as popular as Domenici, plus he wants the presidency. Should Domenici reconsider, both Wilson and Mike Pearce would jump in for the GOP, while Tom Udall or maybe Gary King would run for the Dems.
Still, if it holds, Stevens and Domenici running for reelection is good news politically for the GOP-taking two states out of contention.
Steny Hoyer today defeated John Murtha to become House Majority Leader. While a Leader Murtha would have been a bonanza for Republicans, I applaud this move because its what is best for the Congress and the country. Steny Hoyer is an honorable and respected man, and in his job as majority leader he not only has to sheppard through his party's agenda, but he has to be the one that most deals with the opposition Republicans, and he is better equipped than the bombastic Murtha.
This vote is an early indication at the weakness of Pelosi. I've been reading around and many "unamed" Democrats in Congress like Hoyer more than Pelosi, but she won the leadership back in '02 largely due to her unified California delegation. In the 2006 midterms, Pelosi was a liability and kept hidden while Hoyer was, after Rahm Emmanuel, the most important cog in the election machinery. With another controversy on the horizon, replacing the capable Jane Harman with the formely impeached Alcee Hastings on the House Intellegence Committee, Pelosi will be constantly looking over here should at the moderate Blue Dogs and freshman who owe Steny Hoyer their election, and not Nancy Pelosi. Should more go wrong, more mistatements and mistakes, you can expect a Paxson-style coup attempt to move Steny Hoyer into the speakership.
Oh you wacky Democrats. You make things so interesting.
Coming on the heels of Gen. John Abizaid's tough testimony before an embolden Congress, at least on the donkey side, I've been mulling writing something definitive on Iraq. Iraq does bother me, for both personal and political reasons. On a personal level, I'm not thrilled about the idea that my brother will get shipped over there some day. On a political level, its clear that the Rumsfeld plan worked militarily but was vastly blind to the kind of sectarian violence that is now occuring. So right now I'm standing with John McCain in arguing that we either REALLY win this damn thing and send more troops, or stop wasting everyone's time and money and get the hell out.
The elections this last week are complicated to understand. Most of the Democrats elected in the House are of the "blue dog" variety, and same in the Senate. My feeling is that Americans want to win, and we are not. I have always believed that we did the right thing in going into Iraq. Every single peice of intellegence that we could find-UN, Clinton, Bush, British--said that Saddam Huessien had WMDs. In the climate after 9/11 and the realization that it takes on 5 terrorists to kill 3,000 people and rattle an entire nation, Bush did the right thing. I will never waver in my belief. But now its time to finish the job. Establishing a muslim democracy in the Middle East would be a monumental achievement for the West, and could help stablize the problems in that region. Making democracy work in a place like Iraq would put tremendous pressure on other muslim countries to follow through on similar reforms.
It seems that President Bush is getting the message. According to The Gaurdian, Bush is indeed planning such a move. They outline a four-point strategy:
We must win this battle. If we cut and run in six months and leave Iraq to deal with this by themselves, it will be one of the most shameful acts of cowardice this country has ever displayed. Abizaid is right:
Addressing Congress yesterday, General John Abizaid, the top US commander in the Middle East, warned against setting a timetable for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq, saying it would impede commanders in managing US and Iraqi forces. Gen Abizaid spoke as the Senate armed services committee began re-examining US policy after last week's Democratic election victory. But Gen Abizaid argued against extra troops, saying US divisional commanders believed more pressure needed to be put on the Iraqi army to do its part
While I believe Abaziad feels genuine when he said he doesn't need more tropps, Bush's plan to send more in the short run I'm sure can't hurt. I'm convinced that this strategy is the best. We need to prove to Iraqis and Americans that we are going to win this, and given the recent elections, I'm sure the terrorists elements have been emboldened.
And one part of the public that is never asked what they think finally spoke last week to The Washington Post. (via RedState) That is, of course, the troops in Iraq, for whom so many Democratic politicians insist they are speaking for. Here are some good quotes:
Lt. Col. Mark Suich, who commands the 1st Squadron, 89th Cavalry Regiment just south of Baghdad said:
”Take us out of that vacuum -- and it's on the edge now -- and boom, it would become a free-for-all… It would be a raw contention for power. That would be the bloodiest piece of this war."
Capt. Jim Modlin, 26, of Oceanport, N.J., said:
he thought the situation in Iraq had improved between his deployment in 2003 and his return this year as a liaison officer to Iraqi security forces with the 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, based here on FOB Sykes outside Tall Afar.
Modlin described himself as more liberal than conservative and said he had already cast his absentee ballot in Texas. He said he believed that U.S. elected officials would lead the military in the right direction, regardless of what happens Tuesday.
"Pulling out now would be as bad or worse than going forward with no changes," Modlin said. "Sectarian violence would be rampant, democracy would cease to exist, and the rule of law would be decimated. It's not 'stay the course,' and it's not 'cut and run' or other political catchphrases. There are people's lives here. There are so many different dynamics that go on here that a simple solution just isn't possible."
Maj. Gen. Benjamin Mixon, commander of Multinational Division North and the 25th Infantry Division.
“This is a worthwhile endeavor… Nothing that is worthwhile is usually easy, and we need to give this more time for it to all come together. We all want to come home, but we have a significant investment here, and we need to give the Iraqi army and the Iraqi people a chance to succeed”
Staff Sgt. Robert Wyper, 26, of Riverside, Calif., a squad leader with Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment said:
It's frustrating, because it's hard to get into the fight… The combat we have is on the enemy's terms," Wyper said. "You can shoot at the enemy, but how do you shoot at an IED?"
First Sgt. David Schumacher, 37, of Watertown, N.Y., is on his eighth deployment to a foreign battlefield since a tour in Somalia, and his third tour in Iraq said:
"The insurgents are more strategic this time, they're smarter," he said. "We're trying to anticipate their next move, and they're trying to anticipate ours. There's still a lot to do."
Capt. Chris Vitale, 29, of Washington, Pa said:
his unit's recent moves to the edge of this insurgent safe haven have made a major difference for residents. "If my unit left town, the insurgents would come back in and use it to stage attacks on Baghdad," he said. "I'm sure of it."
Capt. Mike Lingenfelter, 32, of Panhandle, Tex. Said:
U.S. troops have earned the trust of residents in Tall Afar over the past couple of years and that leaving now would send the wrong message. His Comanche Troop of the 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment is working with Iraqi forces to give them control of the city.
"We'll pull their feet out from under them if we leave," Lingenfelter said.
"It's still fragile enough now that if the coalition were to leave, it would embolden the insurgents. A lot of people have put their trust and faith in us to see it to the end. It would be an extreme betrayal for us to leave."
Sgt. Jonathan Kirkendall, 23, of Falls City, Neb. Said:
he fears that many Americans think that building the country to viability will be "quick and easy," when he believes it could take many years.
Kirkendall, of the 2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division in Baghdad, is on his third deployment to Iraq and celebrated his 21st and 23rd birthdays here.
"If they say leave in six months, we'll leave in six months. If they say six years, it's six years," said Kirkendall, who is awaiting the birth of his first daughter, due next week.
"I'm just an average soldier, and I'll do what they tell me to do. I'm proud to be a part of it, either way it goes, but I'd like to see it through
You notice that NOT ONE of those soldiers is arguing for troop withdrawl, and since their supposedly uneducated (right, John Kerry?) I guess they can be forgiven for not being invited to testify before Carl Levin's Boot Scoot n' Boogie Arms Services hearings. You only lose a war, in my opinion, when you lose the troops. The soldiers believe what they are doing is right, and Democratic politicians (and some Republican) need to wake up and listen to them. What we are doing is right and just, and we need to win and win now.
THIS from Chap Peterson's blog:
Take It Back in 2007 November 9, 2006
The campaign is over. Next Wednesday, November 15th, a new campaign begins.
Our state is ready for a change in Richmond. In 2007, all 140 seats in the Virginia General Assembly will be up for election. We need a new Assembly that represents a vibrant and modernizing Virginia. An Assembly that protects our historic legacy while making Virginia a "first among equals" in economic growth and education.
The Blue Dominion Majority PAC was formed in 2004 to bring balanced representation back to Virginia. It is focused on raising money for legislative candidates that support our Democratic principles and can win contested seats. Our stated goal is to win back the Assembly in 2007.
Next Wednesday November 15th from 7-9 p.m., I am honored to join the PAC in hosting a "Take It Back" happy hour at the Firehouse Grill, 3988 University Drive in downtown Fairfax City. We are raising money and signing up volunteers for 2007. You are invited to attend and bring a friend. Sponsorships are $100-$2,500. All funds raised will be used for targeted "take it back" races in 2007. You can RSVP to email@example.com.
Please join us next Wednesday night. Taking it back starts now.
Authorized by Chap Petersen and nobody else
Chap Peterson vs. Jeannemarie Devolites-Davis will be THE top Senate race in 2007. And it is a complete toss-up. Peterson will be swimming the tide of the recent Democratic gains in Northern Virginia and his own popularity; while JDD will be banking on her own long service and the muscle her and her husband can flex.
The most important indicator in this race will be what happens in the General Assembly this year. If Devolites-Davis can forge a compromise and get something done on transportation, she'll be able to come home in good shape. But if the Republicans in the GA get nothing done, incumbants in NOVA will get wiped out.
Peterson's strength is remained to be seen. He ran statewide too early in 2005, losing to Leslie Byrne even though pundit after pundit said Peterson had a better shot at winning the general against Bill Bolling. Despite the fact that he had conventional wisdom on his side, Byrne trounced Peterson in the 11th district in general and Fairfax County in particular (though Peterson trounced her in Fairfax City). The district's strength is the county, not the city. In 2003, of the 43,015 votes case, 37,897 are in the county--which helps Devolites-Davis. Peterson will have to win this race in Davis terroritory, his own homebase of Fairfax City is too small to build a campaign around. BUT, as NLS shows down below, Chap did win 60% of the vote in this district in the fourway LG primary race. Conventional wisdom has Chap winning becasue he's the kind of moderate that people like up here, but Tom Davis is extremely popular-and that can only help Jeannemarie. The fact that the election will be one-or-lost in Davis Country, she will have NO problem raising money, and the fact that Peterson's statewide run fell flat in his own terrirotiry gives strenght to JDD. But if nothing gets done in the Assembly, those advantages will evaoprate quickly.
Jeannemarie came and spoke to the City GOP Committee last month and she was frank and about about the challenges ahead for transportaiton. A lack of revenue, combined with unfunded mandates from Congress and an explosion in growth has caused this. She made the point that even if we stopped all growth projects today, there are still scores in the pipeline that have already been approved it would do little. She's smarter than me, but I still think slow-growth is the way too go. However, she is right in asking for the region to allow itself to tax itself to ensure our dollars for transportation GO to transportaiton.
The key to Jeannemarie's reelection will stem from what happens in the General Assembly. This will be the MOST important session for Northern Virginia Republicans, ever. Tight races in all three Senate contests, as well as challenges to Albo and Callahan likely, if the GOP gets nothing done it could be over. Unless they do get around to something, and Gov. Kaine is forced to actually, you know, DO something and blocks whatever compromise might come out. What is interesting is that stalling and setting the Republcians agaisnt each other might help Democratic candidates for the state senate like Chap and Grego Workhiser, but it will backfire against their House freshmen (Caputo, Poisson, Bulova, and Marsden) who should face stiff reelections and need something done as much as anyone else. Gov. Kaine showed a disturbing lack of leadership in the special session, he is just sitting back and counting on the House and Senate Republicans to tear each other apart. That strategy worked for Mark Warner, but it might have run its course.
Just so you all know, this is MY Senate district and I will be very active for Jeannemarie. So I will hopefully have plenty to update about regarding this race. It seems this has the focus over challenging Del. David Bulova (even though I still think Fairfax City mayor Rob Lederer should run). Chap better raise some serious cash, though, becasue JDD will have plenty of it.
Right now, its a complete toss-up.
From ABCnews, via Drudge:
Convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff is scheduled to report to federal prison tomorrow, over the objections of federal prosecutors who say they still need his help to pursue leads on officials he allegedly bribed.
Sources close to the investigation say Abramoff has provided information on his dealings with and campaign contributions and gifts to "dozens of members of Congress and staff," including what Abramoff has reportedly described as "six to eight seriously corrupt Democratic senators."
The sources say Abramoff was about to provide information about Bush administration officials, including Karl Rove, "accepting things of value" from Abramoff.
Now that the story is out, it might pressure the right people to let Abramoff talk. If Rove goes down, too, so be it. I agree with my friends on the Democratic side, if there is criminal behavior, then it needs to be exposed.
What's That Thumping? It's Time We Get Back To First Principles
ex-Rep. Tom DeLay
On Wednesday the President accurately described Tuesday’s election as a ‘thumping’. When either party suffers a significant defeat at the polls, a period of recrimination, reprisal and sometimes retreat ensues. But Republicans (and more broadly conservatives) across this great country of ours would be better served by thoughtful introspection and determined resolve to move America forward again.
The cable television pundits and the editorial columnists of America’s major daily newspapers would have us believe that the election of 2006 was a broad repudiation of America’s foreign policy, of our prosecution of the war against terrorists, and of a Republican majority that either did too little or too much depending upon each particular pundit’s world view.
Some self-described conservatives have even said that the House and Senate spent too much time on ‘wedge issues’ like illegal immigration and gay marriage rather than engaging in protracted battles on social security and entitlement reform.
It seems to me that the protection of our border and the legal definition of the fundamental building block of our society are issues at least worthy of consideration in the public square. These fundamental issues are at least as important as retirement security and revamping a broad range of government programs. In fact, the 109th Congress raised all of those issues, and I believe that our nation’s public life was richer for the debate.
I would assert that this election was not so much won by the Democrats as it was lost by the Republicans.
Too many Republicans failed to continue an aggressive fight for the principles which bring us together as Republicans and as conservatives. As the great political theorist Russell Kirk points out, we conservatives believe in a society built on three first principles: Order, Justice and Freedom. These principles are the three legs of the stool upon which our society rests. With anyone of these legs removed the stool, and our society, topples.
As we go forward to regain our majority and reconnect with the voters, Republicans and conservatives must remember that our society, our government, and our policies must align in a way that promotes and protects these three intertwined principles.
It seems to me that we can reunite and reenergize a majority of Americans by confronting and addressing five major challenges to the principles of Order, Justice and Freedom.
First, we must be able to protect our citizens and our allies from attack and ensure our domestic, national and international security.
America faces threats from committed terrorists who are dedicated to the destruction of our society and all that it represents. We face a growing nuclear threat from rogue nations with irresponsible leaders who seem intent on using nuclear blackmail and regional destabilization as tools in their effort to maintain power.
The primary responsibility of government is to ensure the protection of its citizens and as conservatives we must lead the effort to strengthen our nation’s military and homeland defense capabilities to protect our citizens from attack. This means a thorough modernization of America’s military and the deployment of strategic defenses against missile attack.
Second, we must lead an effort to radically redesign government and return it to its constitutional roots. The problem with our government isn’t simply that it has gotten too big or that it spends too much – but that it is involved in aspects of our lives and our economy in which it has no business. Further, our government has almost become a self-sustaining organism which continues to grow and propagate programs without accountability and without results for the people it is supposed to serve.
We need to completely restructure government to make it more results-oriented, performance-based and accountable to the American people. This is how you reduce spending.
Thirdly, conservatives must fight for fundamental tax reform. While some progress has been made to reduce marginal tax rates, meaningful tax reform will only occur with a radically redesigned tax code. Far too many dollars are taken out of the productive sectors of our economy by trying to interpret and avoid the complicated and onerous nature of today’s internal revenue code. It is time America had a 21st Century tax code so it can compete in a 21st Century global economy.
Fourth, in order to achieve true justice, we must make every effort to reverse the culture of death that threatens the weakest and the most infirm among us. Conservatives want a society that respects and protects all innocent human life regardless of some political activists notion that some lives may not be of sufficient quality to avoid termination at the hands of an abortionist or a euthanizer.
Fifth, conservatives are united in their agreement that we must bring into check the powers of an increasingly imperial judiciary which seeks to manufacture, rather than interpret the law. The Judicial Branch must be returned to coequal status with the Legislative and the Executive, lest we undermine the very principles of Order, Justice and Freedom upon which we believe our society to be built.
As a conservative I share much of Ronald Reagan’s world view; of an America that is strong and free; an America that is a beacon of liberty where individual responsibility is respected and rewarded; and of a government limited in its size, scope and power over people’s lives. Perhaps more importantly, I share Ronald Reagan’s optimism about the future.
I believe as Bismarck said that, “Politics is the art of the possible”. We must be dedicated to our principles, certain in our direction, bold in our action and relentless in our struggle to advance our cause.
So for me, and I hope for many conservatives, this week is a time of reflection and rededication and not one of recrimination and retreat. The ‘thumping’ I hear is of a conservative movement with a strongly beating heart.
"We are entering an era where when the Speaker instructs you what to do, you do it." -Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA)
Uncle Joe Cannon, meet Grandma Nancy Pelosi. Welcome to life under a Democratic Congress. Thanks to PoliticalWire. Her leadership style is remarkably similar to that of the hated Newt Gingrich and Tom DeLay. And we saw where that got them, didn't we?
Bearing Drift is reporting that Ed Gillespie wants to be the RPV Chairman.
I have my reservations, perhaps he's too national and does not have the deep contacts at every local level to be a strong chairmen. But he certainly did a great job in 2004 for the national party. I remember being impressed becasue he was going to unfriendly places like The Daily Show and MTV, taking the grilling, and kept advocating for the party. He would also be able to raise serious money, which could help the party in its weaker and more expensive areas, like Northern Virginia. The real test is too see if a big shot like Gillespie will be interested in the nuts and bolts of recruiting delegate and state senate candidates. Can he come into my district, the 37th, and help recruit a candidate and ensure they are funded? Will he be able to get to know and get along with the various district, county, and local chairmen? THAT is what will be important. Can Gillespie reach out to the grassroots, which Kate Griffin did not do. Will Gillespie get online with some of the blogs that matter, like NLS or Bearing Drift and communicate that way? These are the questions I have about a big time national guy coming in to run the state party. Or his he here, as NLS wonders, to keep George Allen relevant?
One good thing about Gillespie that I realized as I pondered this is that since he will come in as an outsider, he won't play the faction game. Running a national campaign certainly opens you up to understanding that a conservative message must be unnited, yet different aspects need to be stressed in different areas. There is too much internal division. We need the conservatives down state and in Richmond to understand that their brand of Republicanism does not work up here in NOVA, and adjust accordingly. Hopefully, Gillespie can rid the party of many of the outside influences that have hurt us and get everyone on the same page. In a sense, he needs to be a uniter. Not a divider.
BD also argues for Tim Murtaugh to be Executive Director, which is fine with me. A Gillespie-Murtaugh team would actually be pretty good. I just want to know that Gillespie will be willing to fight in every area of the state, and not write off certain parts like other GOP downstate leaders have hinted at.
So over the other names, I guess Gillespie will be good for the party. I just worry he doesn't know Virginia well enough to be an effective adversary to the consumate Richmond insider Dick Cranwell and the DPV guys.