Shaun Kenney is back blogging, and all seems right with the world. Now if only a certain judge in Wise County could get elected to the House of Delegates and get back behind the computer; the universe would be in working order.
Its becoming more and more clear why Tim Kaine came out so early for Barack Obama. First, there was the recent polling I talked about HERE that Hillary Clinton is losing to every major Republican candidate. But its more than that, it has to do with Timmy's big brother Mark Warner.
The most logical conclusion is that Kaine is backing Obama as payback for the dirt Hill-Dog's team dug up on Warner, forcing him out of the presidential race. But its more than that. Kaine is a shrewd operator, and understands the problems on a state-level, say for something like a Senate race, that Hillary would pose to Democrats. She is polarizing and turns off independents and moderates. George Bush isn't on the ballot anymore. While she'll no doubt max out Northern Virginia, there are a lot of people who don't normally vote that will come out to defeat Hillary, and Gilmore can capture many of those votes, certainly enough to pull even with Warner.
Jim Gilmore, as I've chornicled, is an interesting candidate becasue of how well he's done in the past with minority voters in Virginia--to the extent that in 1997 Doug Wilder refused to endorse Don Beyer. With Hillary on the ticket pushing away the mdoerates Warner needs and Gilmore's past ability to win minority votes its clear Hillary does more to hurt Warner than help.
On the DCPost Virginia blog, Kaine came close to disclosing this:
But Kaine said that despite doing better in the polls, Obama is still the "underdog" against U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton. He declined to call Clinton a "drag" on the Democratic party in Virginia where Democratic officeholders are generally moderate but said Clinton needs to appeal more to those moderates and independents.
For once, I agree with Kaine.
I've purposefully saved the link of an incredible story that the great Virginia writer and newspaperman Garrett Eppes wrote about Gov. Jim Gilmore. Thought written in 1999 and a bit dated, it still gives the best background piece ever written about Gilmore, where he comes from, and what makes him tick.
The story is not an unusual one in American politics, where humble origins stretch from Springfield, Ill., to Hope, Ark. But in Virginia, as the state's foremost populist, the late Henry Howell, used to say, "everybody wants to wear velvet underwear." Family, blood and breeding, even at the verge of the 21st century, are serious matters in the Old Dominion. Virginia politics, in particular, have always been dynastic. Candidates were known not by who they were but by who sired them.
In the departed days of the Byrd organization, the equivalent of divine anointment was supplied by "the nod," the solemn signal from Sen. Harry Byrd Sr. that a chosen candidate was acceptable to him. In the years since the organization crumbled, Virginia, like a middle-European kingdom between the wars, has scoured the earth for pretenders with a drop of royal blood. Chuck Robb was a prince consort of the Lyndon Johnson family. John Warner was once married to Hollywood's Queen of Egypt. Oliver North proudly claimed the bar sinister of the House of Reagan. Even George Allen came from a football dynasty.
But Jim Gilmore resists the urge to don the purple. He remains identified with the working and lower middle classes that gave him birth. He drinks Miller Genuine Draft; he's been known to catch a Hootie and the Blowfish concert; his favorite restaurant is Pizza Hut. On a Saturday afternoon, he still hangs out at Price Club. He is Governor Six-Pack, Homo suburbanus, and, in the hallowed halls of Virginia's historic Capitol, an outsider.
If bloodlines are the issue, then Jim Gilmore is a son of the 'burbs – Henrico County writ large – and proud of it.
And then this little nuggett:
Gilmore's inclusive gestures would serve him well when he ran for governor in 1997. His Democratic opponent, Lt. Gov. Don Beyer, was well ahead of him in name recognition and fund-raising, and had a seemingly invulnerable political base in Northern Virginia.
It an amazing read by a true writer. There is more to Gilmore than meets the eye and Mark Warner better get ready because I don't think they are taking anything seriously and are already writing "senator" before his name. I'm not saying Don Beyer is Mark Warner, far from it, but Gilmore has ran every race as an underdog. One thing that comes across in this peice, never underestimate Jim Gilmore.
It sure is, and I agree with every word of this complaining Romney-backer. Huckabee is clearly an Iowa-only candidate. He has thrown so many resources into Iowa, he doesn't have it anywhere else. The top tier candidates have spent months building machinery in the other states, does Huckabee think that if he wins Iowa suddenly everyone is jumping ship?
Still, after February there will still be plenty of time for Huckabee to get back to Arkansas and run for the US Sentae. Or, he might end up in the Senate still, does Giuliani-Huckabee sound good to anyone else?
It isn't the Republican convention.
It isn't the state Democrat Party.
It isn't even Mark Warner.
Former Gov. Jim Gilmore threw his hat in the ring to replace Sen. John Warner on Monday, and The Washington Post is already classifying the race as Social Conservative vs. Pro-Business Centrist. Post reporter Anita Kumar quickly summed up the race this way:For a traditionally conservative state that has favored Democrats since Gilmore left office, a matchup with former governor Mark R. Warner would provide a definitive choice for voters: Do they prefer a social conservative who cut taxes but left a deficit, or a centrist businessman who balanced the budget but raised taxes?
Gilmore, a conservative Republican who served from 1998 until 2002, and Warner, the pro-business Democrat who replaced him, clash on such topics as taxes, transportation, national security and immigration.
Notice how the Post doesn’t find tax-hiking to be a clash with being "centrist" or "pro-business." That’s at least in part because the business lobby in Virginia (at least northern Virginia) has been a barrel of tax-hike lobbyists.
In the last cycle, the Post offered the same contrast, putting George Allen on the social-conservative side, and Jim Webb on the almost-as-conservative side, even though Webb drew fervent support from the abortion and gay-left lobbies. As governor, Mark Warner largely stuck with the libertine left when social issues came before the legislature.
The media play a huge role in defeating George Allen. The took outright glee in their reporting. Every section of the paper, including the Style section, ran an article on Allen and maccaca last year. It was so shameful that their own ombundsman acknowledged the slanted coverage. Hell, they endorsed Bob Ehrlich only becasue they had to appear fair. The Post has a history of this, taking down both Marshall Coleman ('89) and Wyatt Durrette ('85) by exaggerating claims of racism and overcovering the Democrat in the race. Heck, Durrette and Coleman had great personal records concerning civil rights.
Jim Gilmore is an interesting candidate becasue his background suggest he should be a Democrat. Born working class and scratching and clawing for everthing he got, if he had a "D" next to his name the media would be fawning over his struggle. Instead, he's characterized as "rough" and other backhanded compliments. Gilmore's gotta find a way to fight this, and it starts by making sure he doesn't wage war on the Post the way Allen did, which backfired mightily in Northern Virginia. He's got to concentrate on his message, and talk about his past and connect with voters who aren't traditionally Republicans. Gilmore has always performed well a minority communities, partly becasue he can relate to their upbringings. In many ways, Warner's history is that of the privilege elite while Gilmore is the hardscrabble underdog. It will be interesting to see if Gilmore can use his own remarkable rise to break through the media loving that will go on for Mark Warner.
The DCPost's Virignia politics blog really has become outstanding and a constant source for me. They have a scoop just up that Sen. William Wampler, with his dreams of being president pro-tem and/or chairman of the Finance committee dashed, might retire. I have a feeling that Democrats are feeling so good they would love a chance to get this seat. I don't pretend to know much about SWVA, but an obvious great candidate for Republicans is Del. Terry Kilgore.
What about Jerry Kilogre?
Good grief, Hillary Clinton can't beat anyone:
Giuliani 43 Clinton 39
Romney 43 Clinton 40
Thompson 43 Clinton 40
Huckabee 44 Clinton 39
McCain 42 Clinton’s 38
When your Hillary Clinton, former first lady and senator from New York, and your losing to MIKE HUCKABEE in a national poll you know things aren't going well for you.
Minority Leader: Tommy Norment
Caucus Chairman: Steve Newman
Pro-Tem: Ken Stolle
Whips: Mark Obenshain, Frank Wagner
Eh. Its compromise, so this is fine by me. Here's the deal with Stosch. I don't think anyone ever thought he was the leader to begin with. Rather, it was Stolle and Chichester making decisions over the top of him. I honestly don't know much about Norment, but he's been around awhile. But a good sign is seeing Newman and Obenshain there which should give us all a smile knowing a couple of friendly faces are in those leadership meetings now. This won't turn the state senate in a conservative blockade like many of us would like, but at least its a step in the right direction. Compared to Stosch, Norment is at least his own man and will actually lead. But the critical test is to see that, now that we are in the minority, how much Norment and other moderates are going to want to work with Gov. Kaine. They have no reason too. The burden of the majority is off, its up to the Democrats to get things done.
Perhaps. NLS is reporting that the recently defeated, but universally respected and well-liked Jay O'Brien could be running for LG. The undercard in both camps is light, and O'Brien could be a real heavyweight in the race. Currently, the only other name is Chris Saxman, but O'Brien brings more experience and a larger home-base that Saxman does. But can someone lose a state senate seat and expect to get elected statewide?
I'll be working once again all weekend, so instead of staying dead for two days I've taken inspiration from Jim Riley to give back to the blogger readers with a little music. While he certainly loves his 80s music (and who doesn't?), my love will be and always has been Alt Rock. So for your view pleasure I give you two of my favorite band - Our Lady Peace and Incubus. These are two favorites, dating back to when I was in colllege and WHFS hadn't made its blasphemous turn to El Sol. For those who don't HFS was the best rock station in the area, playing more cutting edge stuff than DC101. I was only able to make it to one HFStival, but it was a good one, in 2002. In fact, I got to see Our Lady Peace there at RFK. Good times . . . Anyways, enjoy!
Our Lady Peace - Somewhere Out There
Incubus - Dig
I can't wait to see how the left will react to this. Its not that I don't believe many truly believe that stem-cell research was a good thing, but for the purposes of politcis I believe the pro-abortion movement enveloped unconditional stem-cell research as a way to justify the destruction of life.
It also is illustrative of the politics of science. Had a President Gore or a President Kerry allowed the science to go forward without regard for moral principle, it would have set a terrible precedent. A Gore or Kerry presidency would have bestowed federal blessing and taxpayer funds on laboratory work predicated on the assumption that embryonic human beings can be treated as spare parts and that cloning to kill is acceptable.
But because President Bush stood his ground, we have avoided that moral catastrophe. Had Bush lost either election, or had he caved to pressure from those who slandered him as "antiscience," it is very possible that the new method of stem cell production--the new gold standard, in all likelihood--would never have been found. Most likely, science and the public would have accommodated themselves to the mass production and mass killing of human embryos.
Indeed, it is not Bush alone, but the entire pro-life movement, that has been vindicated. For the petition-signers and the direct-mail organizers, the philosophers and the scientists who have defended the sanctity of human life, the Cell and Science stories come as a reward. When I spoke with Robert George, he praised Leon Kass, the former chairman of the President's Council, together with William Hurlbut, as the driving intellectual force against embryo-killing and in favor of finding alternative methods of obtaining pluripotent stem cells. "All along," George reports, "it was Dr. Kass who said that reprogramming methods would, if pursued vigorously, enable us to realize the full benefits of stem cell science while respecting human dignity."
We are playing Kansas St right now. Kansas State? Yes, they are also ranked 20th in the country right now. Big big game for us. Remember, all five starters are returning including Final Four vets Foloran Campbell, Will Thomas, and Jordan Carter. All five starters from last year who came wtih an Eric Maynard of reaching the tournament last year. All five starters are back.
So what are we to make about Jim Gilmore's claim that he can win Northern Virginia, since he did it twice over a decade ago? Many Republicans up here, including me, worry about Gilmore's chances here. Especially against Mark Warner, who seems to represent Northern Virginia in his very existence. Both Jerry Kilgore and George Allen got crushed up here, and so did Tom Davis's wife. All this has Democrats crowing about Warner's chances in this race.
But there are hints that perhaps all is not what it seems. In a recent interviews, Gilmore seems to think he can overcome those obstacles. Perhaps he can, but he does have one point. There are explinations to our loses up here that does not have everything to do with our ideology. In 2005, regional bias and poorly run campaign had a lot to do with Jerry Kilgore's defeat. He lost bad in a lot of other places other than Northern Virginia. Tim Kaine ran a tight, efficient campaign that waited for Kilgore to make a mistake. He made several. In last year's US Sente race, I firmly believe Geroge Allen lost becasue of "maccaca" and his failure to deal with the controversy that ensued. That turned moderates and average folks who don't normally vote off, and Jim Webb's status as an outsider and a Vietnam veteran made him an especially appealing alternative. Since Webb is relativley conservative on issues like guns and abortion, it wasn't hard for voters to shift from Allen, who thye now disliked, to Webb. As for this years elections, it was a mixed bag. While Democrats did take the state senate, it was much closer than anyone is willing to admit in the press. The only real blowout was of Jeannemarie Davis. Furthermore, in areas where Democrats hoped to make inroads, rural Virginia, they didn't (Ferguson, Tomer). In Northern Virginia, the one guy who stuck to his political principles--conservativism, won. That, of course, being Ken Cuccinelli. Davis was the moderate, who railed against guns, and she got destroyed. Furthermore, two of our delegate candidates lost by under 1,000 votes and two incumbants--Tim Hugo and Tom Rust--won. In Prince William County--Jackson Miller, Scott Lingamfelter, Bob Marshall, Corey Stewart, and John Stirrup all stormed to huge reelection victories. The only defeat, Faisal Gill, came amid controversy that had nothing to do with political ideology. In fact, he came closer than anyone expected to winning.
Conservatives in Fairfax and Prince William won. There is a gleam in Jim Gilmore's eye when he talks about Northern Virginia--talking about his past victories here. While conventional wisdom suggests he will do terirble here, such wisdom does not look deep enough. There seems to be a strain in Northern Virginia that could give Gilmore the votes he needs to stay competative. Remember, Democrats need to SWAMP Northern Virginia just to barely win. Depsite losing Northern Virginia by 120,000 votes, George Allen still ALMOST won. Some see this as a reaosn why we'll never win again, but I see it as a roadmap to victory. If Gilmore can learn from his predecessors mistakes, he could do well enough. He just has to refrain from running issue ads to attempt to replace a lack of substance, and not be caught sluring a teenager no matter how fabricated the whole word might be. If Gilmore can carry Prince William, break even Loudoun, and win 45% in Fairfax he can win this race.
There is hope. I do not subscribe to the theory Tom Davis believs that Republicans have moved too far right to win in Northern Virginia. Certainly national issues don't help our candidates up here, what hurts more are candidates shifting positions over and over to try and keep up with the region. Jeannemarie and Cuccinelli's races proves Tom's theory wrong, in my opinion.
The one thread that binds the victories of all our Northern Virginia candidates was their insistance on keeping their races focused on local issues. Gilmore can't get into a shouting match with Mark Warner over the small stuff. When Republicans run on ideas in Virginia, we win. When the issues get muddled or a controversy errupts, that is when Democrats win. Gilmore and Allen won all their races as men of substance, men of ideas and action to back that up. Mark Warner won reeleciton by saying nothing and promising nothing (except not to raise taxes - d'oh), relying on platitudes and mushmouth. Kaine was the same way. Stewart, Marshall, Hugo, Lingamfelter, Cuccinelli, Rust--they all stood for something and fought for it. They weren't attempting to reposition themselves based on polls.
Warner will attack him based on the past. He'll say he had to fix Gimore's problems. Thats fine. But if Gilmore can learn form the mistakes of the past and the lessons of our few victories, this could get very interesting.
My theory? It helps Rudy Giuliani and hurts Fred Thompson. And of course, it could be shattering to Mitt Romney.
It helps Rudy because it hurts his most primary rivals--Mitt and Fred. It hurts Fred becasuse Thompson came in claiming to be the conservative savior, and he could be eclipsed. What does Thompson do if Huckabee wins here? As for Rudy, there has been talk of a wink-wink relationship between the Gov and Hizzanuh. While Rudy is county on the February states, big ones like Florida and California, anything he can do to derail Romney helps, and Huckabee could be that agent. But Rudy better be careful, helping Huckabee to hurt Romney could help Huckabee too much.
Consider this a presidential open thread.
The Presidential Primary is set, along with my predictions:
Jan. 3 - IA (caucus) - MIKE HUCKABEE
Jan. 5 - WY (convention) - FRED THOMPSON
Jan. 8 - NH - JOHN MCCAIN
Jan. 15- MI - MITT ROMNEY
Jan. 19- SC, NV (caucus) - MIKE HUCKABEE (SC), RUDY GIULIANI (NV)
Jan. 29- FL - RUDY GUILIANI
Feb. 2 - ME (caucus) - RUDY GUILIANI
Feb. 5 - Super Tuesday - WHO KNOWS
Mathew Continetti of The Weekly Standard has a great piece on Rudy Giuliani, looking into his past, his thinking, and his evolution from a guy who voted for George McGovern to a guy who quotes Ronald Reagan. Despite the obvious charge of "flip-flopper," Rudy's journey to the Republican Party I think represents a lot of other Democrats who came over to Ronald Reagan, and these are the types of voters we've lost since 2004. The last two sentences best sum it up:
You sometimes hear that Giuliani is a cipher, that he has hidden or downplayed his true self in order to appeal to the Republican primary electorate, and the American electorate more generally. Nothing could be further from the truth. His instincts, his thoughts, his goals, his tactics, his audacity--it is all there in the open, like it or not, as it has been from the beginning.
Those are the famous words of Strom Thurmond, in 1968 when addressing southerners on their choice at the convention between Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon. Its a sentiment that I have come around on.
Its time to stop dreaming, Republicans.
I've spent the last few days really thinking about our US Senate candidate. I always tried to maintain that I don't have anything against Jim Gilmore. I am worried about our party, perhaps moreso given the Northern Virginia prism that I look through. I've made my views clear, and everyone understand that I believe this party needs new and fresh leadership. I have been sadly disappointed in young congressman Eric Cantor and Randy Forbes, who seem content to sit in their safe seats the move this party forward by taking a personal political risk.
That practical sentiment that Thurmond famously uttered all those years ago has finally broken through. But allow me to explain what I've been trying to do. My view of the recent elections isn't that HB3202 lost us the election, or any particular part of our record lost this election. I felt like the party left its principles. HB3202 was something many of supported because it did prevent a statewide increase in any taxes. The State Senate stopped being "moderate" long ago, and by last session was tresonous to party principles. Our leaders there treated that chamber as a private fiefdom above recourse. I believe we lost the Senate becasue we told Virginians that our majority would act like Democrats--so they decided to just elect the real deal.
Cantor was a real oppurtunity, something I felt reallys strongly about. I thought (and still do) that Cantor was exactly what the party needs. However, it gets to a point where we need to buckle down and get back to the business of electing Republicans. I have not abandoned my hopes that Republicans and the work I hope to do in helping to grow the party by recruiting new and young volunteers and canddates. There is dissenting and working within the party to change, and then there is just hurting our chances. Backing a young member of the House of Delegates for a US Senate campaign is, I think, an excercise in the latter. My posts in the last few weeks have been my attempt to not only shine light on the glaring failures of those in leadership of our party, but to have an honest conversation about our future. I tried to maintain decourum throughout, never attacking Gilmore. I wanted to make this a discussion about the party. But in all reality, when Eric Cantor decided not to run it ended. In the wake of our election loses, I felt it was my duty as a Republican activist to let my feelings know and start that conversation. That conversation must continue, but Gilmore is the man that has stood up to lead. Sure he comes with baggage, but so does Warner. I fully expect that this time next year, I will have helped take part in the campaign that shocked the world and brought Virginia Republicans back.
So tonight, I made a contribution to Jim Gilmore's campaign. Its time to get this thing going and remember, we have 11 months to take down Mark Warner. It can be done, and it will be done.
Lets turn Govenror Gilmore into Senator Gilmore.
Del. Chris Saxman, R-Staunton, said Sunday that he is considering a bid for the U.S. Senate.
If elected, Saxman would fill a seat left vacant by retiring Sen. John Warner, R-Va. The seat has also drawn attention from former Democratic Gov. Mark Warner and former Republican Gov. Jim Gilmore.
Republican members of General Assembly approached him earlier this week to ask if he would consider running, Saxman said in a phone interview.
"They're very serious about the future of the party," he said. "They believe that changes need to be made, and like the old saying goes, 'If you want to make change, you have to make change.'"
While Saxman said he was flattered by the request, he said he will have to do some soul-searching and also consider what is best for his family.
Saxman said he has spent the past week gathering as much information as possible so that he can make an informed decision. He said he has called people throughout the state to ask what they are looking for in a Senate candidate.
"I think it's important to hear what's on people's minds and to listen to what people want," he said.
Saxman said he has received favorable reactions from his calls.
In the past week, Saxman said he also made visits to the White House, Capitol Hill and the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
Saxman said he will most likely decide whether to run within the next two weeks.
"This is not a quick decision," he said. "This requires a lot of due diligence."
NLS has an excellent point about the ironic problems that Saxman gives Gilmore. Not only are they ideologically similar, but the weighted votes in the convention are in Republican delegate disitricts. This should be a very interesting ride.
Speaker Bill Howell won reelection by acclimation today as Speaker, a move that I endorse. The least of our problems have been the House of Delegates, who have steadfastly been the conservative bulwark in the General Assembly. The reason we lost the Senate has nothing to do with Bill Howell, Kirk Cox, Morgan Griffth, or Terry Kilgore. Fighting over House leadership was a pointless exercise in circular firing squad. The Senate was the problem, so lets go fix that by making Steve Newman minority leader.
We really needed this.
Ken Cuccinelli had a victory party tonight at P.J. Skidoos and it was fun. It was also very well attended, with well over 250 people there. It was fun to actually be celebrating a victory and seeing smiling faces on people who really should be smiling. Everyone who spent even a second help Ken deserves credit for this. People were excited and happy.
Ken gave a great speech. He said he was "born to be in the minority," and reminded us all he's spent 5 years building up his arsenal to lob at the opposition, but couldn't do anything because they were the majority. It seems like being in the minority is almost setting Ken free. He promised to not only work for conservaive principles in the senate, but also in the caucus. He says that since he's been the lead blocker, chances are he won't be minority leader. The names that I heard from talking to people there, were Steve Newman and Frank Wagner. The reason for those two names is that Newman is the conservative most acceptable to the moderates and Wagner is the moderate most acceptable by the conservatives.
But I digress.
This was a fun event, and it was a good pick-me-up for Republicans in the area. And all I can say to my Democrat friends is this: beware. Ken Cuccinelli is a man on a mission and he will be the spur in your saddle every minute of every day. He will especially make life difficult for his fellow NOVAns--he mentioned Saslaw in particular. Cuccinelli is just itching to get Saslaw on the floor. And I imagine Barker and Petersen are going to face some uncomfortable votes too, forced by Cuccinelli. He promised he wouldn't win all the battles, but he would give it his every effort. Thats all we can ask for.
Delegate Bob Marshall will offer a resolution of “No Confidence” in the House Republican Caucus tomorrow, Sunday November 18, where Republican delegates will select the Speaker, the Majority Leader, Whip, and Caucus Chair.
Expressing a sense of no confidence in the policies of the current House Republican Leadership as pursued from 2002 to the present, and urging a change in policy.
In the House Republican Caucus
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Mr. Marshall, (Bob), for himself,
Expressing a sense of no confidence in the policies of the current House of Delegates Republican Leadership as pursued from 2002 to the present, and urging a change in policy.
Whereas even though the House Republican Caucus was in charge of the 2001 Delegate Redistricting, Republican Caucus strength has decreased from 67 (65 R, 2-Ind.) to 55 members (53-R, 2-Ind.) in the four and one half years of the present House leadership since the Summer of 2002; and
Whereas The Republican leadership has failed to pursue efficient government spending by:
1. Including in the 2008 budget nearly $50 million for a Fine Arts Museum in Richmond while at the same time proposing Abusive Driver Fees as a necessary component of the state road funding;
2. Refusal to demand fiscal accountability from Governor Warner by ignoring the will of the House in failing to follow up on properly passed resolutions seeking an accounting by Governor Warner and his Cabinet on implementing the recommendations of the 2002 Wilder Commission report on Efficiency and Effectiveness in Government Spending. (See HR 12 approved 61-35, March 1, 2004, requesting Gov. Warner’s Cabinet to disclose the efficiency and cost savings measures adopted pursuant to the Wilder Report and other efficiency measures; and HR 13 approved 62-33, March 1, 2004 requesting the Governor to provide the House with detailed facts relating to implementing the Wilder Report.)
3. Allowing government spending to increase at new record levels of spending without making road and transit improvements a priority, and instead providing for tax increases by appointed governmental agencies as provided in HB 3202 (2007);
Whereas The Republican Leadership makes policy decisions in a small closed group and in a secretive manner without benefit of wide Caucus input or knowledge and in late 2006 prepared a transportation bill which Caucus members were expected to accept without discussion or critical input, i.e. HB 3202, which bill placed the responsibility for increasing taxes on appointed officials selected by statute, and included a first time ever tax on services, a tax on home sales during a declining housing market, and enacted severe Abusive Driver Fee penalties; and which violated the principles of George Mason’s Declaration of Rights and Magna Charta (1215) that citizens “cannot be taxed or deprived of their property for public uses without their own consent, or that of their representatives so elected.” (Contrast this with the unprecedented claim supported by the Governor, the Attorney General and the Speaker of the House that, “The General Assembly’s ability and power to delegate taxation is not constrained.”); and
Whereas The Republican Leadership has failed to act in a Parliamentary manner by:
1. Accepting the Budget proposed by Governor Warner in 2003 which included both revenue spending measures and revenue raising measures in violation of the Single Object Provision of the Virginia Constitution rather than return the budget to Governor Warner and inform him that tax and spending measures may not be combined in a single bill.
2. Directing House staff to not record for the public the Privileges and Elections Committee vote on HB 2797 taken on 2-2-07, while making NO objection to all other measures reported from this same committee on the same day until strenuous objection was made insisting on the normal practice of the House, the requirements of Rule 18, and the problems this would produce for the expeditious discharge of business then pending before the House of Delegates; and
Whereas The Republican Leadership has compromised and sought to coerce the independent judgment of Caucus members and their commitment to constituents by using the authority of office to advocate, urge and insist that certain Republican members of the House Finance Committee relent in their opposition to what became the 2004 sales tax increase. Such actions are inconsistent with principled opposition to tax increases; and
Whereas The Republican Leadership has adopted the practices which it criticized Democrats for using, namely failing to appoint sponsors and publicly recognized advocates of legislation as members of House-Senate Conference Committees in at least the instances of the Constitutional Marriage Amendment in 2005 and the Transportation Trust Fund Constitutional Amendment in 2007; Now, therefore be it,
Resolved, that because of the above concerns and the distinct likelihood that the new majority Democratic Senate leadership will propose an unjustified growth in the size of government, increased government spending, and the imposition of new taxes and other policies at variance with Republican principles, that the House Republican Caucus has lost confidence in the policies of the present Republican Leadership, and request that a new policy direction be undertaken consistent with traditional Republican principles.
RedState covered it HERE. And here is a tasty quote:
People want principled leadership. People are moved by ideas. You have kept faith with our founding principles. States exist to preserve freedom. The duty of the judiciary is to say what the law is, not what it should be. The Federalist Society should be proud of its role in preserving and expanding freedom, and promoting the rule of law.
I was in the Reagan Justice Department, and played a small role in turning the tide against judicial liberalism. We've made a lot of progress, but it is not complete. This next election is going to be one of the most important in the history of our country. The next president will appoint roughly 200 federal judges in the next term. I assure you that I will pick judges with the advice of people like Ted Olson and others like him.
We believe in the rule of law, not the personal preferences of judges. For many years, law schools have confused constitutional law with sociology. Like Reagan, I have an 18th Century attitude about law and order. We need judges who embrace originalism. Justices like Scalia, Thomas, Alito, and Roberts. That would be my model.
FoxNews is reporting that Rudy Guiliani and Mike Huckabee have and unspoken deal, sort of the old "the enemy of my enemy is my friend." The gist of it is that Huckabee doesn't stand a chance to win the nomination, but does stand a chance to severely hurt Romney in the early states like Iowa that Rudy isn't terribly concerned about. This means that Romney will be weakened enough by February 5 that Rudy can sweep the big states like California and Florida because Romney will have spent all his cash fending off Huckabee and Thompson. The reward? The vice-presidency.
So what do you think, Guiliani-Huckabee?
With all the attention on Democrat gains and Ken Cuccinelli's ability to get reelected, not enough attention is given to Tim Hugo's reeelection. Another Fairfax delegate targeted for defeat, he defeated
Sex Rimmons Rex Simmons. The Connection Papers have the recap.
Hugo's win is a good sign for Republicans. My only problem with the article is that it said Hugo "hung on." Hugo actually won with 57% of the vote. That is a lot consideirng O'Brien and Davis both lost, Cadin and Hunt lost, and Cuccinelli only won by 92 votes. Hugo showed great strenght and in my mind proved that he's ready to move up. Whether thats against George Barker in four years on for Congress, who knows? Anyway, congrats to Hugo and his team for an impressive victory, another sign that Republicans can still win in Fairfax.
Jeff Schapiro is reporting that Walter Stosch could be challenged by either or both Ken Cuccinelli and Steve Newman.
"The party needs new leadership -- from the very top to the very bottom," said Sen. Ken Cuccinelli, R-Fairfax.
"There will be a leadership challenge in the Senate, [and] the details of that need to be worked out. If you're in the current leadership, what's the rationale for staying there?
Here is the Republican Senate caucus: Stosch, Cucinelli, Stolle, Holtzman Vogel, Norment, Smith, Wampler, Newman, Quayle, Martin, Stuart, Hurt, Obenshain, McDougle, Ruff, Wagner, Watkins, Blevnes, and Hanger.
If Newman and Cuccinelli both run, that would probably ensure that Stosch hangs on for another term. But if only one of them runs, things will get interesting. I can name eight solid "moderates" and eight "conservatives."
Moderates: Stosch, Norment, Blevins, Wampler, Quayle, Wagner, and Watkins
Conservatives: Cuccinelli, Holtzman Vogel, Smith, Obenshain, McDougle, Newman, and Martin
That leaves three toss-ups: Richard Stuart, Emmett Hanger, and Robert Hurt. Stuart is an enigma right now, some claim he's a conservatives, others think he's a younger Chichester. This will be an important vote to see where he stands. Emmett Hanger is coming of a primary where the grassroots in his district were on fire against him and a vote for a conservative minority leader could be a first step towards healing that wound. Hurt, I don't know much about him but his record in the House seems conservative enough that he might be willing to someone new the reigns of leadership
I've talked about Stosch before, and the Senate leadership in general. But he has been severly weakened not only by the repudiation of Senate Republican policy this year, but also by the fact that he has such little support in his own distirct among Republicans. I know Ken won by only 92 votes, but he had every Republican behind him. Stosch can't say the same thing. I also think he's had his chance, and the election proved, if anything, the way the Senate did business was the wrong way. How can any of them stand for leadership?
That said, a conservative challenger must be careful. In the end, whoever the leader is, they need to be just that: a leader. I don't mind a little whipcracking and armtwising when need be, but if either Cuccinelli or Newman do challenge Stosch they can't alienate half their caucus. This year more than any we need someone who can bring the caucus together. The old way didn't work, but Chichester and Potts are gone and the moderates took it on the chin last week, but a new way must be a unifying way. That said, I do like the sound of Senate Minority Leader Ken Cuccinelli.
If anything, I can't wait to see Cuccinelli publically dismantle Dick Saslaw. My problem with a lot of the moderates is that they are too chummy with the Democrat leadership and fall for them and the party looses in the end. Democrats like Saslaw are counting on a guy like Stosch or Stolle, a buddy or friend, to do business off the floor and away from conervative eyes. If Cuccinelli is leader, he will challenge Senate Democrats and Governor Kaine every step of the way. That is what we need in a minority leader.
Go sign this petition and let Rep. Cantor know that we need him now more than ever! Jim Hoeft can explain it better than I can, and I agree with his sentiments 100%. Its time to move forward and elevate new leadership for the Virginia Republican Party. No one has proven themselves more than Rep. Cantor, a steadfast conservative leader in the House, willing to take on all the Democrats. His combination of ideas, style, and conservative principles are just what we need. Please, send a message to Eric Cantor that Virginia needs him now!
And really, I have no other expertise outside of Northern Virginia. The delegate races were very interesting up here in Northern Virginia based on how competative they were despite the lack of challengers and the Democrat "tide." First off, the election was actually quite close overall and Republicans don't have much room to make up. And why not start right here in Northern Virginia. I of course don't pretend to be as smart as anyone else, but these are just my thoughts and possible good candidates for Republicans to run.
13th: Bob Marshall (R)
I don't think Democrats can sleep at night knowing Bob Marshall continues to serve in the House of Delegates. The irrascible Marshall, who is as much a thorn in the side of House leadership as he is of Democrats, figures to be safe as safe can be. They've tried twice now with Roemmelt, and Marshall has cruised to victory. The state of the Prince William Democrat Party also helps Marshall retain this seat as long as he wants it. I don't see anyone challenging him of note.
31: Scott Lingamfelter (R)
Same as above. Lingamfelter started the year hot with a hospitality suit at the Advance and talk of an LG run. He finished with a tough race but still won comfortably over an odd oppoenent. Still, Lingamfelter didn't run the best campaign ever and if there is a more credible candidate than William Day, Scott could face a tougher race. Don't know who would be there though.
32: David Poisson (D)
For all the talk of Democrat "dominance" over Northern Virginia, David Poisson's reelection victory should give Republicans hope. The party is down in Loudoun not becasue of our philosophy, but rather becasue the Board of Supervisors was run by some shady dealers and the public had enough of it. With all that going against the Republicans, Lynn Chapman ran an excellent race against Poisson despite everything going aginst him, losing by only 1,100+ votes. The lone good-government Republican, Supervisor Lori Waters, clearly has momentum going for her, winning reelection even in a three-way race. She would be an oustanding candidate and should she run, Poisson would be in the fight for his life.
33: Joe May (R)
May won big over Marty Martinez, even when Martinez generated some early election buzz. May has this seat as long as he wants it. But May tried to run for LG last time around, could he possibly have the itch in him again? If so, this seat has to be in play.
34: Margi Vanderhye (D)
Has there ever been a candidate more cursed with where he lives than Dave Hunt. Twice now he has run deep behind enemy lines, and twice now he has fallen agonizingly short. Margi Vanderhye seems to be little more than rich women with too much time on her hands. She is a chronic joiner, yet seems to have accomplished very little. Hunt, on the other hand, is he exact opposite. His message clearly got out, and perhaps with a good gov candidate, Hunt can finally take his rightful place in the General Assembly. The man lost by 520 votes inside the beltway in a Democrat-leaning year. I beg Hunt to run again!
35: Steve Shannon (D)
This will be interesting. Shannon is a very strong incumbant, this time crushing Arthur "Pervs" Pervus. Shannon has an impressive backgroun as a moderate Democrat who was a prosecutor. Shannon might be so strong, in fact, the he's been rumored to run be thinking about a run for Attorney General. If thats the case, this race is in play. I this would be an interesting place for Patrick McDade to try another run.
37: David Bulova (D)
David hasn't been challenged on anything in his first term. He was extremely lucky in 2005 to have the opponents he did. First, the hapless Janet Oleszek in the primary. Then he face John Mason in the election, a guy who was friends with his mom and refused to go negative. The heir apparent in Fairfax City has always been Councilman Jeff Greenfield. Greenfield is sort of a "Republican Chap" in that he was born and raised in Fairfax City and has a strong well of support. He's been on the council for a long time and has the pedigree. The major question for Greenfield if he runs: Can he abandon the City "non-partisan" tradition in a delgates race and get partisan to win, something Mason refused to do. If Greenfield runs and the answer to that question is yes, this race will be one to watch.
40: Tim Hugo (R)
Along with Ken Cuccinelli, Tim Hugo was another point of pride for Republicans last week. Despite a negative campaign so corse that even Ben Tribbett condemned it, Hugo triumphed over Rex Simmons. He crushed him, too. A couple of scenarios come out here. If Tom Davis retires, clearly Tim Hugo is the best positioned Republican to run, and Hugo would be a natural fit in Congress given his previous staff service. Hugo's margin of victory suggests that he's in good shape should Davis stick around. I can't imagine Simmons would run after his pathetic performance. Look for Morris Meyer to try and get his shot at Hugo or this seat in general.
41: Dave Marsden (D)
The man NLS loves to hate. Marsden is like Bulova, he hasn't been challenged yet on anything. Clearly, his past as a Republican has wrankled some Democrats the wrong way, as has his hero-worship of Jim Dillard. The Republicans have one strong candidate if she's up for it, Braddock School Board member Tessie Wilson, who's won two terms on the school board and is an established vote getter and community leader. Wilson would make a formidable candidate if she chose to run.
42: Dave Albo (R)
My friends and I would chuckled when we talked about Albo, "the luckiest man in Virginia," we called him. Albo has two years to make people forget about abuser fees. He clearly has been an excellent delegate and one of the few NOVA delegates with any seniority in the House. In 2005, he only beat Greg Werkheiser by 700+ votes. I've heard Werkheiser is thinking about another run, and Democrats tried to coax retired Army green beret Kate Wilder into the race. Albo has two years to save his career. If not, I can't think of a more likely Democrat pickup.
43: Mark Sickles (D)
Probably as about as safe an incumbant as there is.
50: Jackson Miller (R)
See above. Might as well pencil him in as "Senator Jackson Miller" in four years.
51: Paul Nichols (D)
Nicholas finishes second behind Dave Albo for Luckiest Man in Virginia. He ran against Faisal Gill, who's candidacy nearly ripped apart Prince William County Republicans, and still may cause a civil war at the PWC Republican Committee over the future of Tom Kopko. Despite everything, Gill made a suprisingly strong showing given what happend at the convention and the personal wealth Nichols had. He only lost by 500 votes. Thats good and bad. Its good becasue it means this race is winnable in two years. Its bad becasue it might convince Gill to run again. I liked Gill and thought he got a bum wrap, but we can't take the chance again. Either Julie Lucas, who must be smiling ear-to-ear now, or Supervisor Mike May would make an outstanding canddiate here. If its Gill or another Kopko acolyte, things could get unfortunate again.
52: Jeff Frederick (R)
The man is indestructable. He wins in 2005 by only 340 votes over Hilda Barg. Then, when the transportation bill comes up, he disappears and chickens out of the vote. Yet 2007 comes around, and he crushes Chris Brown. Frederick should have been one of the more vunerable incumbants. But his non-vote protected him from the abuser fee outrage and Brown never got traction. Frederick is safe, but one might wonder if new Woodbridge Supervisor Frank Principi might make a run.
67: Chuck Caputo (D)
This race was interesting this year. Caputo sailed into the seat after the ridiculous primary between Gary Reese and Chris Craddock. This year the Republicans got united and rallied around Marc Cadin and Cadin, a first time candidate with little name recognition, lost by only 800+ votes. I certainly hope Cadin runs again, with a strong top-of-the-ticket mate he could prevail. He showed he could hang and thrive. There is also a scenerio where Caputo could make a try for the state senate against Ken Cuccinelli or for the seat if Cuccinelli runs and wins statewide.
86: Tom Rust
Rust won a close reelection race, defeating Jay Donahue. It was close, but thats as probably as close as it will ever get. Rust needs to do a bit of work, much way less than Albo. Perhaps Donahue makes another race, but a better candidate might be the new Drainsville Supervisor John Foust.
So there it is, my attempt and forecasting the future. This year, the House races were quiet becasue word got out from Camp Davis not to scare up Democrat turnout. That turned out to be a mistake. We have some tough seats, but also some oppurtunities here. We just need leadership that will inspire challengers to even bother to make the race, and back them up with fundraising support and positive campaign at the top of the ticket to give some coattails.