55,000 people have sold out the Rogers Centre in Toronto this Saturday to watch this fight between UFC welterweight (170lbs) kingpin George St-Pierre defend his title against Jake Shields, who is on a 6-year 15 fight win streak. Will be epic.
Am I being too impatient? All I can say is Jamie Radtke has underwhelmed me, and her campaign is too me to be nothing more than name-calling press releases and attacks on George Allen. I'm not in opposition to George Allen just to do it, and Radtke has failed - in my mind - thus far to build any sort of narrative that can make the case that Allen should not be the nominee.
I'm starting to think Bob Marshall might be the only real alternative who will be viable to challenge Allen for this Senate nomination. And just to reiterate my position, I'm not sure I'm comfortable rehiring one of the chefs that was in the kitchen when the food was spoiled. Allen was there for six years voting for many of things we are trying to fight now. He's voted for raising the debt ceiling, for instance. Unlike Radtke, Marshall has a spotless nearly-20 year record in the House of Delegates voting "no" on a lot of popular spending that was popular at the time but ultimately destructive.
But who knows . . . perhaps I'm just going through the stages of greif on my way to accepting Allen's inevitable nomination. But I feel that someone has to say what many Republicans are feeling privately: that Allen is a flawed candidate who's voting record is spotty at best as a senator. All these op-eds and books and statements that he's saying now? Its easy when your on the outside looking in, but when he did have a say he voted for many of the programs and spending that he now curses. What are we to trust, rhetoric or action? I think that maybe Bob Marshall now is the best candidate to available to exploit that contrast with substance and credibility.
I think he will be a huge factor in this race because he's probably the only candidate right now with a national, grassroots organization in place. He's not buying everything like Romney, or running from behind like Pawlenty. I'm still not convinced I can see a path for Paul to win the nomination, but he will have a tremendous impact in this race and will make a lot of Republicans take stands on issues they don't want to take.
John Cook came by the Fairfax YR meeting last Wednesday and gave a great talk. I always like Cook because more so than any other Republican officeholder in Fairfax County, he gives it to you straight. He talked about the roads, the budget, a little about the problems with the School Board but mostly I took away a theme that Republicans running for all offices in Fairfax County should take – a lack of leadership.
For instance, rail to Dulles. Cook pointed out that the Democrats on the Board of Supervisors, lead by then-Chairman Gerry Connolly, couldn’t figure out how to pay for the entire extension to Dulles. So they did it in phases, with no plan on how to actually pay for Phase II – which is Reston to Dulles. On top of that, Board Democrats said nothing when Gov. Kaine gave control of the project to the Dulles Airport Authority – who are largely unanswerable to anyone. And now we have a tunnel being dug for this rail when it’s not needed (while a tunnel in Tyson’s was), thus driving costs up further. It’s a spectacular example of passing the buck on spending, planning, and taxes by BOS Democrats in this county for the last 10 years. To hear Cook talk about it, I chuckled to myself because at this point that is all you really can do.
Then on roads, he reiterated his points about local roads should be given to local control. It’s of course a great idea, but of course that means it won’t happen. Cook broke down that in Virginia a supervisor is a pretty powerful position concerning local government because Virginia does not have the layers and layers of local town, municipal, county, state, and federal overlap that states like New York have. 47 other states have local control of secondary roads. As far as costs were concerned, Cook pointed out that by doing this we would ensure that all of our local tax revenue for road maintenance would be kept here so our money wouldn’t be used to build beautiful, but largely unused pavement in places like Page County (Incidentally, I was in Page County that morning picking up a customer from Luray for work . . . Rt. 340 south from Front Royal to Luray is about as nice a road as you can find). It’s an easy fix to a major problem. Downstate legislators HATE dealing with Northern Virginia roads every year, and this would make it so they generally don’t have too. Large interstates like Rte. 50, 66, 28, 29, 123, and others would remain out of Richmond. Cook pointed out that in last years snowstorms, there was legally nothing he could do to get plows and roads fixed up except get on the phone to VDOT to try and get things moving. Our local supervisors literally cannot fix a pothole. You won’t hear Board Democrats complaining about this though, because most of been in for over 20 years and probably don’t even want the responsibility. It fits into the model of leadership in Fairfax: spend money we don’t have and shift the responsibility for it elsewhere. That means spend money on rail but have someone else in charge, that means complain about roads but let Richmond do everything and take our money, that means throw money at schools but let an incompetent School Board (that’s me talking) flush it away.
Its on issues like this every single Republican in Fairfax should be honing in on their Democrat opponents. For over ten years now, Democrats have been living fat off the good times in Fairfax County and spent money and made plans that have now put the county in serious peril, and then ignored ways to save money because they frankly do not want the responsibility. It’s not about right or left defined by the national parties, it’s about real leadership in the county. But I guess in that way, it is reflective of the national political scene. You have one party pandering to politics, while the other is actually putting for plans that address and tackle the real problems we have ahead of us. The coming crisis that will be Phase II of Dulles rail and the continuing roads debacle in the county will cost us a lot in the future. I’m just glad there are guys like Cook and Pat Herrity out there willing to fight this. We just have to make sure they get some help this year.
This is a pretty big deal, and could have farther-reaching effects. The reason I think this is a big deal besides Bolling and Allen being good friends for a long time is that I think it also shows where Gov. McDonnell's hand is right now. Bolling is the most energetic face of the McDonnell Administration, and though his office is constitutionally seperate from the governors', I can't help but wonder if Bolling is speaking for McDonnell as well.
It will also make it harder for a young conservative like Corey Stewart or anyone else thinking about running to make a dent. Bolling's conservative credentials are imppecable and his decision to run for reelection was the catalyst for the Republican ressuregence we've seen here in the last two years. He's the odds-on favorite to be the GOP standard-bearer for governor in 2013, and combine that with his political intimacy with Gov. McDonnell, this is a huge get for Allen.
There is no other way to read the sheer brilliance in his veto of the General Assembly's redistricting plan. With one swipe of a pen, he has turned the Democrats on their heads in the state senate. For years, goo-goo good government liberals have preached to all of us about how we need our redistricting needs to be non-partisan. Over and over again,, they have stood aghast at the partisanship of gerrymandering. Its one of the main goals of Creigh Deeds' entire career.
But they knew how the game was played, and they figured the Republicans in the House of Delegates would be just as willing to protect their majorities and would convince the governor, himself involved in the partisan 2001 redistricting, to go along.
But the secret weapon in the Republicans arsenal is that in both the Assembly map and the nonpartisan commission map, the GOP will probably keep control of the House of Delegates. The sense of urgency isn't there in the House and they don't need to be so specific to keep their chamber. On the other side, the Janet Howell plan is the only plan where the Democrats can conceive of keeping their majority.
So not only does McDonnell get the high road here, he gets to keep his House majority, and now every Republican Senate challenger (as a friend of mine put it) can send a mailer out saying their Democratic senator spoke about bipartisanship at home but went to Richmond to gerrymander YOU at of their district.
And now Saslaw will re-pass his bill and McDonnell will again veto it. Then what for the Dems? Judges get to draw the lines? Fine . . . but "fair" lines means that Republicans will retake the Senate. This is a brilliant piece of slight-of-hand politics from McDonnell that uses the Democrats words against their deeds and its pretty funny to watch Saslaw go crazy knowing this is checkmate no matter what he does.
Quietly, in his very un-Obama way, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is stepping into the spotlight as perhaps the most complete Republican presidential candidate thus far. I am very close to officially supporting him, but I think I'm going to wait for the off-year Virginia elections to finish before deciding. Pawlenty made waves this week by signing up GOP wonderboy Nick Ayers (formely with Haley Barbour's RGA) as campaign manager; then grabbing the pollster who helped Pat Toomey, Sean Parnell, Nikki Haley, and Mike Lee get elected last year; and now he's come out swinging against the Obama-Boehner budget deal.
He sort of a peg that fills all the Republican coalition holes. I know some folks get hung up on his past support of global warming - but if that is the only knock you can have against the guy its really not that bad. Unlike Romney, he governed a blue state with red state policies; unlike Barbour, he doesn't have any verbal gaffes about race; unlike Palin, he's got deep experience in politics; unlike Daniels, he isn't looking to run away from social conservatives; and unlike Bachmann and Santorum, he doesn't just appeal to one aspect of our coaltion.
I'm impressed with Pawlenty's resume and message so far.
Its also not a good sign when Politico points out that his campaign slogan, "Believe in America," was the name of a cross-country tour Sen. John Kerry took across the country in 2008.
I just don't see how he gets around the RomneyCare. He's made a Federalist defense of it recently, but he was touting it in 2008 as a major accomplishment. There is just nothing about that I can 100% trust in terms of conservatism. I compare him to someone like Tim Pawlenty or Haley Barbour, and its really no contest in terms of accomplishments or conservatism. Now Barbour, that's easy because Mississippi is so conservative, but Pawlenty held strong in a blue state.
Its a good start for the ex-senator trying to reclaim his seat. I've made note over and over how much I think Allen is flawed, but Kaine has a glaring flaw in his armor as well. Kaine is completely tied to the Barack Obama in every way, shape, and form. Kaine was America's first governor in 2008 to endorse Obama, was almost his vice-president, and then ran his national party for him. While those acts give Kaine a high national profile and access to probably close to unlimited amount of funds, it also means that in a stratified purple state like Virginia his personal political ambitions cannot be disconnected from the President. No matter what his website says.
Allen's road to victory will be to keep his head down, campaign hard, pray he doesn't do anything or say anything stupid, and work to make sure Obama loses Virginia. Because Tim Kaine will lose Virginia, too. What will be interesting to see is what year wins in Virginia. Will 2008 Virginia - dominated by new young voters in college towns, black voters in Hampton and Richmond - win our, or will it be 2009/10 Virginia that whipped out all three statewide offices and three sitting congressman. The answer to that question will tell us if who wins in 2012 if we end up with Kaine vs. Allen.
For no real reasos, I was parusing around VPAP.org today and chuckled when I looked at 39th Senate district Republican candidate Miller Baker's page. I figured he would easily outraise Scott Martin in this primary, but the source of a lot of his fundraising comes from Louisiana.
The Louisiana Reform PAC, Bennie Baker (I assume a relative?), Industrial Packing Corp, Joseph Y. Stuart and Associates, B&B Enterprises LLC, and Dan Balhoff add up to $6,500 - a little more than 1/4 of his money raise.
Not really sure why I'm bringing it up, but in all the lists I saw I didn't see any money in that amount coming from one state so far removed from Virginia
I see glee over the interwebs today among conservatives and Republicans about Tim Kaine's entry into the US Senate race. They make fun of his eyebrow (always a good one), the Democratic losses in 2010 while he was DNC Chair, his cheer-leading for President Obama, et al.
But am I the only person who remembers a Tim Kaine who in 2001 and 2005 came from behind both times to win the lieutenant and real governorships? The candidate who ran smart, hard-working, on-message, disciplined campaigns? The candidate who knows how to close and didn't make mistakes?
I take Tim Kaine very seriously, and I would suggest Republicans in Virginia do the same. And while the Democrats lost dozens and dozens of seats in 2010, the DNC under Kaine was a fund-raising machine - and don't think those national dollars won't be at Kaine's disposal considering his closeness with Barack Obama and the need for Democrats to hold this seat.
And what do we have? A flawed and still-wounded George Allen, a go-nowhere tea partier in Jamie Radtke? Come on, friends. Mock Kaine at your peril. I see a candidate who's shown he can win statewide twice and who now will have a national network of bigt-time Democratic dollars behind him. He will be a force to reckon with.
Its times like these I wish Ken Cuccinelli would rethink his 2012 decision and run for the Senate. There is still time . . .
Michele Bachmann is a much more interesting political figure that most will give her credit for. She does not represent a completely Hard-R district. She has tagged in for Sarah Palin in the Republican World. While Palin has wondered off into celebrityhood, Bachmann has become the epicenter of anti-Obama politics. She is unflappable and genuine, fiery and charismatic. And before Republicans dismiss her, be careful. Whatever the Tea Party is, and it is nebulous despite attempts by Democrats and the MSM to solidy it, its also Bachmann. She is hard to get a handle on. And while her message, fire, energy, charisma, and controversial statements have defined her publican, NRO had discovered the other Michele Bachmann that could flesh out and entire picture of her life and narrative for a presidential run.
When most women are expecting their fourth child, they don’t decide to start taking in foster children.
But that’s what Michele Bachmann did. For six years, from 1992 to 1998, she opened her home to a total of 23 teenage girls who needed a family. She juggled raising up to nine kids at a time, homeschooling her grade-school-age and younger biological children during the day and bonding with her high-school-age foster children at night. It was a demanding life — to get a taste of the workload, consider that Bachmann was often doing four loads of laundry daily – but one that she loved.
I think Republicans better get ready for what Bachmann will bring to a GOP primary. She is a wild card, and gives the Tea Party base a charismatic lighting rod that will have to be dealt with for any of these other candidates to win the nomination. For candidates like Mitt Romney, Haley Barbour, Tim Pawlenty, and others . . . they will have to deal with Michele Bachmann. It would be easier for there be no single candidate for the Tea Party to rally around. But none of them can match Bachmann's street cred with the base or match her sizzle.
Is it crazy for me to think that Bachmann could win the GOP nomination?
Tim Kaine will have the full support of the Democratic party establishment now that he appears to be in for this run for the US Senate.
George Allen is slowly lining every major Republican behind him, and the few running against him thus far have failed to make a dent in his run towards the nomination.
The major parties are very entrenched in Virginia, and very few can overcome the party choice for statewide office. Rebellions are few and far between. George Fitch tried against Jerry Kilgore. Leslie Byrne tried against Gerry Connolly. Look at the 2010 5th CD primary. A million Democrats tried against Jody Wagner. The list goes on and on for both parties.
Obviously there are heavy rumors that Bobby Scott will make the race, and he would give Tim Kaine serious problems because of the support he would have in the black community. Scott would also make things awkward for President Obama in the wild world of Democratic identity politics. Obama had already rejected one Democratic black candidate in a major Senate race - Kendrick Meek - in favor of an established white candidate. Scott also represents one of the biggest base of support for Democrats in Virginia from Richmond to the Democratic precincts of Hampton Roads like Newport News and Portsmouth. Scott's problem is that's about it for his support base, and would take a lot of time to get ahead in the rest of the state.
As for Allen, he's more vulnerable than Kaine to a challenge but nobody with Scott's stature has thus far declared. Allen has to worry about a candidate emerging that will captivate the right wing base that has always existed in RVP - from Michael Farris to Oliver North to Ken Cuccinelli. Bob Marshall attempted a similar run against Jim Gilmore - who barely had the support of the party. Marshall is a candidate who is great on 95% of the issues, but then takes very principled stands on issues but they don't always make for smart politics. But Marshall, for constantly being derided as a gadfly, has a real record of achievement in the House of Delegates. Corey Stewart faces a bumpy road to reelection with an independent candidate and a Democrat with money - but the county remains Republican and it has not suffer the way other parts of the state have. Stewart, I believe, could give Allen a real run for his money. But the problem for both Marshall and Stewart is the off-year elections they have to run in, giving Allen a full year headstart.