I understand that I am but a small minority in Reston, but one would think Janet Howell would do me the favor as a constituent and at least PRETEND to uphold the rules of the Senate. Oh well, I guess thats what I get for living in Reston. What's really incredible was the ensuing verbal smackdown Chuck Colgan put on Sens. Howell, Barker, Petersen, et al
"When we take a subcommittee and let a subcommittee decide whether something will pass or fail, that's wrong," Colgan told his colleagues. "When you do that, you are disenfranchising the people who sent that legislator here."
Ouch, Mr. Speaker.
As for what Chap Petersen wrote, its both assinine and proof that Democrats still don't understand what is going on out there. Nobody wants to seceed from the Union, its ridiculous. What folks like Sen. Obenshain and Del. LeMunyon are trying to do is balance the power between the federal government and the states. Democrats from the president on down absolutely refuse to consider entitlement reform, and its frustrating because local politicans like Petersen should be screaming from the rooftops about this. Instead, Sen. Petersen's saves the passion he should have for real reform to issues like child obesity and the state-manded PE classes. Fine. I could use some Phys Ed myself, but I would think the fact that a gigantic portion of Virginia's budget is eaten up by unfunded federal mandates would be a more pressing concern of a state senator. I will even conceed the dubious constitutionality of Del. LeMunyon's propossal, but the manner in which he dismisses the overall concern show a politician who either lacks seriousness or doesn't really care about anything past making sure kids get PE. And to answer the senator's quetsion, yes we did use that clout and DID elect three new congressmen (almost four), and god willing a new senator and a new president will follow. Yet that assumes that is where the problem is, or all of. The overwhelming size of the federal government is unsustainable and unmanagable, and electing three new congressmen isn't enough anymore to curb the power within that bureacracy. Trust me, not having Periello, Nye, and Boucher in there to vote for more government run health care and cap n' tax. But I'm shocked that after having go to Richmond year after year and plug the Medicare and Medicaid mandates put in the budget, not EVERY delegate and senator isn't up in arms over how much money unfunded mandates cost the state and really prevents the General Assembly from doing the work of the state.
An unserious man in serious times is a dangerous thing.
In some ways, I find Jim Webb a fascinating throwback of a politician. He's a Democrat through his populism, but really his overiding philosophy is an odd hodgepodge of old-fashioned populism with a streak of conservative, muscle-flexing foriegn policy. He is perhaps the last true Reagan Demcorat who is still a Democrat.
I see so many of us writing him off, assuming he doesn't want to be in the Senate. I wondering if its not the opposite. I think Webb actually does enjoy the Senate, he just doesn't enjoy campaigning. Webb's politics are hard to campaign against in many respects, because he's pro-gun and doesn't come across as particularly strident in any positions. His military background and sterling accomplishments in Vietnam give him a built-in credibility with a lot of Virginians that its hard to fight.
I see George Allen going with the tried and true "he votes with the Washington liberals" line, but I think that is lazy and I hope Sen. Allen, should he be the nominee, consider a different course of attack. The contrast between the two in 2006 was startling and its still there. While Allen certainly made big mistakes, when voters looked at Webb they were impressed I think by his past. He's hard to really campaign against. Rather than campaigning against Webb as a typical "Washington liberal," which he is not, our candidate must articulate a competing vision of the role of government in our lives and use that to hammer Webb with. Yes, we must hang the four years of Democrat overrule around his neck, but that can't be it alone.
Senator Webb will be a formidable candidate if he runs again. I hope all Republicans realize this.
Piggy-backing off of Brian's post wondering about Webb's future, I have to wonder just exactly what Gov. Bob McDonnell would do should a Senate vacancy arise. Brian seems to assume that he would name Allen right away, but is that smart? Of all people, McDonnell is someone who does not like to rock the boat inside the party and usually does things pretty cerebrially and without notice. I've blogged about this question before, but it bears repeating now that Allen is officially in the race.
I still think Gov. McDonnell will name a place-holder rather than directly name Allen. While I'm not sold that Jamie Radtke is some Virginia version of Marco Rubio, I think him taking sides would anger many Tea Party folks and those further down the Republicna spectrum from where the governor sits. I would be shocked if Allen were made senator by McDonnell if Webb did leave to serve in the cabinet.
What do you all think? Would McDonnell hand a seat to Allen if Webb went to the DOD. Or would he find a elder statesman placeholder like Thelma Drake that everyone can support in the interim?
And he's in. I've spent a ton of time talking about how I hope for a new, fresher alternative so I'm not going to get into all of that again. Needless to say, six years ago Allen had the worst possible timing for running for reelection, but now things have turned completely around. If it remains just him and Jamie Radtke, I'm not sure I won't turn around on everything I've said and vote for Allen. Radtke is just not vetted and too untested. But here is some advice . . . you can't beat George Allen by casting him as some big government squishy moderate. Thet man once said he wanted to punch Democrats soft teeth down their whinny throats. He ain't so squish. To beat Allen, you have to make this a choice between old vs. new. You can't out-conservative George Allen because his record, particularly as governor, suggests otherwise. The problem for Jamie Radtke is now that conservative voters are a little more savy than before after having watched the Millers, Bucks, O'Donnells, and Angles of the world crash because they just were not ready. Allen's been taken down before and has lived to tell about it. There is nothing that Radtke can do that Allen hasn't been through already.
Good luck to him, its not that I don't want to see the guy do well. And I'm not here to attack just for the sake of attacking, I do have my reasons. But if he is in the nominee, I really don't have an issue voting for the guy.
But I've made clear my preference is for Corey Stewart, should he decide to run.
From Slate, here are the top 10 conservatives to watch in 2011:
Florida Gov. Rick Scott
New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte
Kansas Sec. of State Kris Kobach
Tea Party Express Chair Amy Kremer
Florida Rep. Allen West
Ohio Gov. John Kasich
Illinois Rep. Allan Kinzinger
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli
Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson
Texas Railroad Comissioner Michael Williams
This got me thinking . . . what about here in Virginia? Who are those coming up on the Republican side that will become the face of the party in the next ten years? Unlike above, I haven't put any numbers on anyone and would love for folks across the commonwealth to throw a name of someone I don't know. But here are 10 I can think of . . . mostly politicians but a few other names.
Americans for Prosperity Chairman Ben Marchi - Marchi has just left the organization to join the Senate campaign of George Allen, but make no mistake Marchi took this organization and helped turn it into a force for limited government. AFP has become a huge player in Virignia, to the point that they got a direct rebuke from Gov. McDonnell over his plan to borrow for more roads. Look for him to become a major player in state party politics for a long time.
Prince William County Chairman Corey Stewart - If Corey runs for the US Senate, I will support him. So my bias is out there. But clearly Stewart is cutting ahead in line of a lot of folks in an odd way. As one of only three directly-elected county chairman Stewart is using that as a bully pulpit for immigration reform to create a statewide profile without being elected to state or federal office. If anyone in Virginia mirrors the rise of local candidates to statewide office in other states, its Stewart.
State Senator Bill Stanley - A politically connected lawyer with a deep interest in party matters, Stanley's recent election to the state senate gives him a hightened influence not only in party matters but should also give him some sway in the state senate. As the commonwealth becomes more and more suburbanized, Southside is losing more and more influence but a young, ambitious elected like Stanley who's been active in the party structure has a bright future.
State Delegate Jim LeMunyon - He's certainly trying to make a name for himself by first penning a national op-ed arguing for a constitutional convention to reign in Washington, and then by becomeing a vocal champion of the state repeal amendment offered by Speaker Howell. LeMunyon is positioning himself a the House's leading voice for the state taking on and limiting federal influence.
Secretary of the Transportation Sean Connaughton - A former county chairman, federal official, and now head of probably the single most improtant department in state goverment, he also once ran for statewide office (losing the LG nomination in '05). Connaughton has built a very impressive resume of local, state, and federal service and provides perhaps a new hope for the erstwhile Davis/Herrity wing of the Northern Virginia GOP. He is tied to the success of the McDonnell Administration's transportation policy, and so far so good. He would make a very impressive congressional candidate in 2012.
State Senator Mark Obenshain - The man with the golden name, Obenshain is starting to make serious moves statewide with a new PAC and a suite at the RPV Advance that was held in Tyson's Corner this year. The son of the conservative godfather of the state GOP, Obenshain has always been on the radar for higher office, but the timing seems to be right for him to start to make his move. Along with Bolling, Cuccinelli, and Ryan McDougle; Obenshain was one of the very few true conservative senators in the state senate at a time when it was run by establishment, moderate barons like Potts, Stolle, and Chichester. Attorney General seems to be on his radar, but he is one to watch.
ex-Tea Party Patriots Chair Jamie Radtke - She's made the leap from congressional staffer to tea party organizer to now US Seanate candidate. She has already won the support of RedState's Erick Erickson so win, lose, or draw Radtke will be making news this year as she challenges Geroge Allen for the GOP senate nomination. She built up a big army last year, but there was never a concentrated statewide race to send it into battle. Now she is going up against the most succesful Republican of the modern era. Her campaign and its performance will be a test of how strong the Tea Party will be in this presidential year.
RVP Communicatiosn Director Garren Shipley - Not much has been said lately about the RPV and its media operations . . . a stark upgrade from the chaos, controversy, and musical chairs of state party chairman. I think a big part is bringing in Garren Shipley to run communications. As an actual former member of the media who covered Virginia politics, his expertise has helped I think Republicans and McDonnell get their message out. Its no secret that we have made gains in the House of Delegates and Congress, along with all three statewide offices, with this RVP team in tow and Shipley is a big part of it. I suspect he will become a much-in-demand media and communications guru for Republicans for the next decade.
Retired Birgadier General Bert Mizusawa - Mizusawa has the personal story and military credentials to become a political force if he can find the right office to run for. Just as important was the fact that after a nasty primary, Bert seems to have come out with little-to-no ill will from folks in and around the 2nd district. He has the kind of sterling resume that many would kill for, and he's already being talked up again as a dark-horse US Senate candidate . . . pretty good for a guy who got 18% in a congressional primary.
Because apparently some polls out there show Ron Paul almost tied with Texas LG and estalbishmnet show-pony David Dewhurst for the US Senate. From the looks of it, the race is going to be a big one. Conservatives's hearts will be beating for either Michael Williams or Ted Cruz, while other Republicans will get to choose between Dewhurst, Tom Leppart, Michael McCall, or Roger Williams. With all those major names, Ron Paul with his hardcore cadre of supporters could easily make a run-off, and then who knows. The only thing is that Paul will be close to 77 by 2012. But then again, this is the US Senate. That's practically middle age.
Of note: Paul ran for the US Senate once before . . . losing the Republican primary to Phil Gramm in 1984 after Sen. John Tower retired. Little-known fact, when Paul retired from the House to run for the Senate, he was replaced in the 22nd district by . . . Tom DeLay.
Could the Minnesota Nice displayed here be what folks are looking for? Pawlenty is an interesting candidate in that he might be essentially making the argument that boring is good. I like Jon Stewart as an interviewer, he's liberal but he asks good questions and lets his guests answer.
Its not that I don't agree with almost everything she says, the way the media really worked up a frenzy after the Tuscon shooting about right wing motivations that a) had no proof, and b) ended up being false. But there is a bigger problem here. As inventive as she has been using Facebook and Fox News almost exclusively to get her message out, to maintain a rigorous and grueling presidential campaign you can't have such a hostil relationship with the press. They follow you around all day and night, always pressing for quotes, clarifications, and nosing around for a story. I'm sorry Governor, I know it sucks, but its their job.
It is a stone cold fact that the media bias against Republicans is real. Its laughable for anyone to suggest otherwise, but for Palin to become a serious presidential candidate she needs to figure this out. The best Republican ever with the media was Ronald Reagan, and he did it by killing them with kindness. And here is the thing about Palin . . . she is truly a compelling personality and the media does get that. She needs to understand that the main goal for the media is their story, and they will get it with her or without her. Reagan got that. Palin has the humor, the timining, the charm, and the prescence to be an effective candidate. But time and again she lets herself get sucked into these media squabbles that she just can't win. I mean, she can get her point across and it be correct, but its a war she can't win.
Look, she has reason to be paranoid about the media. From the beginning with stories about her newborn child really being he daughters were disgusting. And it just has not stopped. Too many "reporters" have gone out of their way to not just report stories, but dig deep for dirt just because she is Sarah Palin. After all, nothing scares liberals like a powerful, effective, conservaive women. But Governor Palin, should she want to run for president, has use her natural charm and skill instead of putting her fists up every time cricticism comes her way.
She's still young, politically speaking, and will be around for a long time. But in the last week, this should be a teachable moment for the governor. There are limits to her style right now, and the point no longer is whether she is right on the facts or not. She needs to figure out how to play the game better.
Congratulations to newly-elected state senator Bill Stanley, a politician as conservative as you could possibly get. Senator Stanley should be a new conservative ally in the state senate with Mark Obenshain, Ryan McDougle, among others.
Now its our duty to make sure fellow stalwarts like Scott Martin and Steve Hunt join them.