I’ve never thought so much of myself that I should be out there endorsing candidates. My politics these days doesn’t fit into any neat contemporary definition. I feel closest to the liberty movement, though I cannot claim to be a part of it. But there is still a conventional conservative lurking within me. As some of my views of evolved and matured, I’ve made a couple of realizations. First off, I believe that the real battle lines in our politics aren’t necessarily right versus left, rather its inside versus outside. The liberty right and progressive left have more in common than the establishment of both political parties wants us (or them) to believe. Secondly, I believe that the biggest single problem facing our politics is the need to conform. Money in politics has become concentrated in our capitals, both national and state. It empowers the establishment to fight outsiders, or co-opt them later. I am yearning for authenticity, honesty, and individuality. Pandering is the most insulting thing a candidate can do.
Pandering conformity doesn’t just have to be to the establishment elites. The tea party revolt of 2010 was one of the most exciting things I have ever witnessed. Yet slowly its decentralized nature has allowed the media to selected embarrassing spokesman nobody within the movement chose, and combined with Elmer Gantry-like politicians seeking power that wrap themselves in the Gadsden Flag we have seen much of this movement coopted and prostituted for political power. We are now in an era where so many seeking power are willing to pander to the genuine limited government constitutionalists that rose up in 2010, many of them with their fingers crossed behind their backs. This is the case of much of the lieutenant governor’s race here in Virginia.
We are in an era where Pete Snyder, as insider and establishment as they come having been a key cog in the Mitt Romney campaign, somehow has convinced people he’s an outsider. His PAC-filled donor base would suggest otherwise. We have Jeannemarie Davis, who I personally sat and listened to in 2007 as she scolded conservatives that they most moderate to win in Fairfax (and then lost by 10 points when Ken Cuccinelli won a similar district), now claims to be a conservative champion who worked in DC to defeat Barack Obama’s agenda. We have Scott Lingamfelter, who claims to be a Reagan Republican draped in cammo holding various shotguns, is on a one-man mission to expel from the party conservatives who a generation ago would have been at the heart of Reagan’s takeover of the GOP. Then there is Susan Stimpson, who should have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of during her tenure as BOS supervisor and confidant of Speaker Bill Howell, has run as far away as possible from her impressive young record to transform herself in a female Ron Paul. She doesn’t need to do that, her record is compelling enough. These candidates don’t have to do this. If your establishment, be establishment and tell me why your vision is worth voting for. If you’re moderate, be moderate and work hard to convince us your vision is worth voting for. Instead, these candidates have pandered.
You might say, “Chris, that’s not all the candidates.” Not, it’s not. I cannot make the claim the remaining three are panderers. Steve Martin has been who has been since 1993; the only problem is that it’s not 1993 anymore. Unabashed social conservatism doesn’t do it anymore; the Bush years poisoned that well. Corey Stewart was gracious enough to call me today and speak a bit more about his views on immigration and the work he’s done to connect with minority communities. However, I just no longer agree with some of the things he’s said regarding immigration.
By process of elimination, you can probably tell where my long and winding road in my head has taken me. Of all the lieutenant governor’s candidates, there is only one who has been who he’s always been. There has only been one whose message is his and his alone. He hasn’t raised much money, I don’t think he has much of a campaign, and I kind of doubt he can win this; but this crop of candidates has so depressed me on our abilities as a party all that I am left to do is vote for a candidate at this convention who won’t offend my own conscience. Conservative and original, I am going to Richmond in May to vote for Bishop E.W. Jackson for lieutenant governor. I won’t ask anyone else to join me because I don’t think so much of myself that I can tell you what to do and what to think. I would hope you might consider my thinking and perhaps it will lead you to Jackson, or perhaps another candidate. So be it. But in this era of conformity and centralized power in both parties, I want someone who is genuinely different and willing to stand up on their own and tell me who they aren’t and what they believe in.