No, not the blog Mason Conservative, I'm still here. My alter ego Chris Beer has moved from Herndon to Mansassas. My wife and I finally cobbled together enough to purchase a nice townhouse in the Bull Run area of Manassas. Best of all, I have signifigantly upgraded my political representation.
Congress: Old: Gerry Connolly, New: Frank Wolf
State Senate: Old: Jennifer Weston, New: Chuck Colgan
House of Delegates: Old: Ken Plum, New: Bob Marshall
Board of Supervisors: Old: Cathy Hudgens, New: Peter Candland
The Plum-to-Marshall move is probably the most drastic you can have.
Bob McDonnell has been found guilty of corruption. I’m still trying to get my head around perhaps the closest thing the GOP has to Boy Scout troop leader being found guilty of any crime. In fact, I’m still not prepared to say that McDonnell was guilty of corruption. I just finished reading Rick Pearlstein’s The Invisible Bridge about the fall of Richard Nixon and the rise of Ronald Reagan. When I read about the true crimes that President Nixon committed, that is corruption. What Bob McDonnell did was make a massive, enormous mistake. I’ve been around the state party long enough to know that Bob McDonnell is no criminal, this is not a man who spent years as a prosecutor, delegate, attorney general, and governor trying to enrich himself. In fact, it seems clear now that McDonnell’s steady rise through the Virginia power structure was done at the expense of enriching himself. My position on this is that McDonnell is guilty of something, it is clear that this snake-charmer Johnnie Williams played on both McDonnell’s weaknesses and plied him with gifts, loans, and a wedding In order to get McDonnell to make personal appeals on his behalf. Should he be staring at a potential 30 year jail sentence for essentially pimping a dietary supplement? No. Flatly, no. I consider McDonnell more guilty of a giant mistake rather than a crime. Federal prosecutors get their rocks off taking the tiniest misdeeds of any politician to put them in jail. I even think McDonnell truly did not realize what he was doing was wrong given the giant chasm between Virginia’s gift laws and federal corruption statutes. I have never heard a Republican that I have ever met say a bad thing about McDonnell personally. He just made a gigantic mistake, but I do think that he must pay a proper price. He’s guilty, just not 30 years of jail time guilty.
What is going to interesting to watch is how this plays out. I’ve found it fascinating that so many elected officials have been quiet. I suspect that every single elected official in Virginia is looking through their campaign ledgers and perhaps realized that if someone looks too close to them the same thing could happen. And if that is the case, then this trial was not all for naught. Separating the sadness I feel for McDonnell, this trial could be a gigantic strike at the crony capitalist that has defined Virginia for generations. For years Virginia has foot the bill to move businesses into the state, oftentimes at the detriment for the taxpayer. The governor’s million dollar slush fund, the Opportunity Fund, is nothing but a way for the state government to buy off businesses and have them come here with deals that no organically grown local business could get. There are the haves and have-nots in Virginia, and it has been decided for years based on who you know. I put this up in a blog post the other day, but the question everyone is avoiding is why Johnnie Williams decided to ply McDonnell and his wife with loans, gifts, and travel? What did they have? What the Governor had at his disposal was oodles of tax dollars to throw around with no oversight. Williams is a leach on society, and it’s a crime itself that he gets away scot-free with what he did.
It’s nothing new for southern states to sell out to big business, it goes back to the Bourbon era back in the 1880s. McDonnell told us from the beginning that he embraced this model with this Bobs for Jobs campaign. He sent Bill Bolling scurrying around the country trying to throw that money in businesses faces to get them to come here. What has happened, like I said before, was Virginia has set up a business structure not based on a free market but on a political market. It’s who you know, not how strong your business is. And if you know the right people, you can get a deal the rest of us cannot. My hope is that with this McDonnell conviction, leaders in the General Assembly will step up not only to close some of these ethical loopholes, but do away with the Governor’s Opportunity Fund. Businesses here should be able to stand up on equal footing with those who have friends in high places. Parasites like Johnnie Williams need to be dealt with, in my opinion, more than fallible politicians like Bob McDonnell.
Gifts and money. Money and gifts. It can all flow with no limit in Virginia and we have seen the hand-wringing by everyone about it. Its a betrayal of the Virginia Way (whatever that is), the nattering nabobs of the press tell us. Let's fix Virginia's ethics, demands Gov. McAuliffe as he vetoes ethics reform. The dirty secret is nobody in Virginia actually wants ethics reform because they all love getting free shit. McDonnell was just dumb enough to get caught.
The real reform that needs to be made must force us to ask a different question that everyone is asking now. What is being asked now is "why is there no limits on gifts?" What we really need to ask is why was Jonnie Williams trying to bribe Bob and/or Maureen McDonnell? That is what nobody is really talking about and where the real corruption lies.
Bob McDonnell had at his disposal quite a bit of money in something called the Governor's Opportunity Fund, basically a state-sponsored slush fund that allows him to throw money at businesses. Nobody is talking about that. The difference between what Jonnie Wiliams did and what Bill Bolling was doing for four years as Jobs-Whatever-Fake-Title he had is a crazy and lonely wife. The real reform isn't gifts, the real reform comes from the governor of Virginia having at his disposal millions of dollars to "convince" businesses to move here. Virginia Republicans make a lot of hay, and at times rightfully so, about how this state is great for business. But much of that comes from taxpayer money or sweetheart deals that exempt these businesses from a lot of the regulations local businesses have to endure.
The real corruption is legal and state-sponsored crony capitalism that frankly southern states have used since after Reconstruction to lure businesses here. Part of the governor's job should be to bring businesses here and foster an economic climate hospitable to business. But what Virginia does goes beyond this and vests in one man (or women) the sole power to throw around millions of dollars that opens one up to the slick moves and winning smile of a dietary supplement shyster looking to pocket taxpayer dollars by lavishing gifts and attention on a man and his wife distracted by work, ambition, and loneliness.
It's time to close this Fund and force the state and General Assembly to create a real business climate, not a one-man crony capitalism.
Nobody knows how much farther this is going to go, but it seems pretty clear at least two big names in the Ron Paul for President campaign might be heading to an indictment. It appears that Dimitri Kesari and Jessee Benton bribed a former Iowa state senator to switch sides from Michele Bachmann to Ron Paul in the 2012 presidential caucuses. I am currently reading a book about Watergate so as much as I want to say that there is no way Ron Paul himself was involved in this, you never say never until it is all said and done. Lord knows US attorneys love getting their hands on politicians, Democrat or Republican.
There has been a lot of glee bandied about on social media and various conservative blogs who hate everything about Ron Paul and would be just as happy to see every libertarian leave the party. The movement within the GOP has been shockingly successful given it was born out of a quixotic campaign by Paul in 2008. At the end of this year there could be upwards to 20 liberty conservatives in the House to go with the handful that are already in the Senate. For only six years of activism, that is a great showing. Furthermore, on the issues Paul himself ran on, we are seeing the GOP drift into that direction. Audit the Fed has become something many Republicans support, marijuana decriminalization support has grown, respect of civil liberties has shifted, and even some are beginning to question our foreign entanglements.
The lessons from the quick success the movement has had is twofold, and both are wrapped in the Sorenson scandal. The first is the movement is quite young, which means the professionals working for these candidates aren't as sophisticated and don't understand how the game is played. I'm sure things like what Sorenson did happens all the time, but it is done in a way so nobody gets indicted. Guys like Benton are playing in the majors when really they are AAA ballplayers at best. The second is for the speed in which the liberty movement has made gains within the GOP, it has made A LOT of enemies. The joy among the Paul haters to what has happened to Benton is palpable. The margin of error for the liberty movement is close to nil, as we've seen in states like Iowa, Nevada, and Alaska where the liberty forces took over the state party only to be smacked back down by the establishment by means both nefarious and clever. This is a brutal sport, GOP politics, and the people who have been on top for a long time aren't just going to step aside. They have the money, the power, and greater numbers. For the spectacular achievements this far, there is still a long way to go.
The good news is the one thing that liberty conservatives have on our side is time. We are the future. Our leaders in Congress like Justin Amash, Thomas Massie, Mike Lee, Raul Labrador, along with incoming reps like Dave Brat are in their early 50s or (much) younger. Particularly Amash and Massie have become the vanguard of this movement and their ideas are rising while the tired arguments of the establishment have seen the party lose election after election, year after year.
There are always going to be people in any movement like Kesari and Benton, overzealous at best and outright corrupt at worse, but life goes on. For this liberty movement to be successful it must become more important than anyone one person. It needs to be ideas and not personalities that drive it. Stuff like this happens in every party, all the time but we must be more careful. People on both the right and left are looking to get rid of us and we musn't let consultants dominate this movement the way it dominates both parties establishment.
Let me help educate Sen. Santorum on what Rand Paul is talking about. Non-interventionism is the exact opposite of isolationism. You know what is isolationism? Our current 14 year journey on Middle East intervention and war. Has the rest of the world, particularly Europe, ever trusted us less? Since the end of the Cold War, when has Russia and China felt so emboldened to challenge our interest around the world? Interventionism IS isolationism. It isolates America around the world, and when you combined costly wars that tire the United States with warrant-less illegal wiretapping not only in our own country but with our allies as well, the policies of the DC Foreign Policy Establishment (FPE) are the true isolationists.
Rand Paul is not calling for isolationism or Fortress America or whatever you want to call it. What Rand Paul is saying is we cannot continue to intervene in other countries because the law of unintended consequences has undone whatever good we might have achieved in the short term. In the Bush Era, we decided (with my support, sadly) to spread Democracy to the Middle East based on the Sharansky doctrine outlined in A Case of Democracy that no free and Democratic states go to war with each other. The dictators of the Middle East, some of whom we supported during the Cold War (Saddam, anyone?), we suddenly turned into pro wrestling villains needed to be removed from power because they would supposedly support terrorism. Nevermind the fact that so many terrorists where Islamic radicals perfectly happy to remove these secular dictators and fill that power vacuum with their own radical leadership. In Syria, ISIS is a direct result of the United States supporting the "rebels" against Bashar Assad. Guess who else wants Assad gone? While we damn ISIS for their savagery, bit was the United States that four years ago armed these very same rebels. By creating power vacuums we foolishly thought would be filled by allies of Democracy, we have instead opened up country after country to the rule of Islamic radicals. Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt, Libya with Syria next.
"Well Chris, what about Israel?"
What about it? The old dictators we have now removed after supporting for a generation with foreign aid understood how the world worked. Despite their talk, the wars in 1967 and 1973 effectively ended any idea of destroying Israel. These guys got the deal, they understood the game. They can bash Israel some for internal consumption but they always left them alone. What I am basically saying is the United States national security interests where better served with the old dictators like Qadaffi, Mubarak, and Assad. It is a terrible choice to make, but there aren't any Thomas Jeffersons in these countries like now. These countries don't have a history of self government like the United States did before our revolution. In fact, so many of these countries are really countries at all. They were constructed at the whim of old European Imperialists. To continue to fight the wars of Woodrow Wilson and David Lloyd George 100 years later is folly. And deadly. I hear over and over from the right that Barack Obama took victory and turned it into a defeat in Iraq. Its partisan revisionism. We only need to look back at our own Revolution to understand why.
Because the war was fought on our land, our army simply had to trade land for time. This is what happened in Iraq. The rebels live there, have always lived there, and will always live there. They can kill and then melt into the population. When I hear brilliant minds like Sean Hannity and Bill Kristol talk about being betrayed in Iraq, its a joke. We would have to stay there in perpetuity to accomplish whatever we wanted to accomplish there. How do we "win" in Iraq? They elect a government we want? Well, what if the ballot was truly open and what the people want is a more fundamentalist government? Look at Egypt, their government was elected. If you argue that Obama lost Iraq, please use the comments section to tell me how we were to "win."
Rand Paul is talking not about isolationism but re-engaging the world as a true leader, not a power searching for war. People on the right like Rick Santorum and the left like Hilary Clinton have come under this bizarre idea that we need to use our military to force our interests. Instead of wars, Paul wants to rethink what our interests are in the first place. Fighting wars for dead European imperialists isn't worth the damage it has done to this country both in our standing in the world and the terrible loss of life of our own.
What we need to do is come home and become a self-sustaining energy producer in oil and everything else to break free of whatever leverage these countries now run by radical Islamists that we inadvertently put int power. We need to rebuild relationships with up-and-coming powers like Brazil, Germany, and India to counter the Islamist-Russia alliance that we could be facing. Lastly, we need to actually engage countries like Iran and create at least a diplomatic relationship in order to make sure we never take each other to the brink. Internal energy production combined with rebuilding the trust of the world will make the United States a true leader in the world and won't let low-rent powers with imperial interests like Russia fill that void.
Remember, if you see a politician that is advocating foreign interventions they are the true isolationists.
Apparently Barbara Comstock, she of the tony McLean suburbs, has never had a job. That according to chauvinist cum congressional Democratic candidate John Foust. I feel bad on a certain level for any female who is a successful Republican. You just can't understand how befuddled liberals get that a successful women like Barbara Comstock, someone who has proven that you can have it all, is not a liberal. I think there is an actual hatred among liberals for women like Comstock. She undermines everything they say about Republicans. She undermines a war on women narrative, the abortion narrative, even though she has proven you can have it all.
These kind of attacks should make Republicans and Comstock feel good, though. Because winning campaigns don't talk like this.
Not surprisingly, Sen. Emmett Hanger is already a target. Former Augusta county Democratic chair Marshall Pattie, no apparently a Republican trying to run against Hanger from the right, is in. Don't fret though, conservative Augusta county GOP chairman Dan Moxley is running.
What is surprising is that Sen. Steve Martin is getting a primary challenge, from Amanda Chase. From what I can tell, this is a pretty serious challenge and makes for a much more interesting race considering that Martin is hardly an establishment RINO like Hanger.
It never stops.
Bomb ISIS. Then bomb the rubble.
Libertarian, non-interventionist sites and friends of mine are struggling with this issue. I personally respect Barack Obama for taking his time to make sure this is the right thing to do and we absolutely cannot send troops and get involved in another land war. But these people are so evil that even al Queda has cut ties with them. Think about that.
The larger problem is why America is having such a hard time with this. It comes down to the fact that our last two presidents have done significant damage to our standing around the world. George W. Bush dragged our European allies into wars they wanted no part of and then Barack Obama approved or escalated nearly every major Bush initiative when it comes to NSA spying. Our allies think we are war lovers who spy on their prime ministers. So we have no standing around the world to rally against this kind of evil. Nevermind our double-dealing in Syria that helped create the ISIS as we know it. We supported the Mujaheddin when the Soviets were around but then backed the dictators who made peace with Israel. We tried to have it both ways and now nobody really trusts us.
ISIS is evil. The are slaughter children and crucifying children. We must stand up and stop them, but we have made it so much harder on ourselves to be the true leader of the Free World. 20 years ago we would have had 10 countries backing us up, no questions asked. I support bombing ISIS, saving lives, but we need a complete reset in foriegn policy in order to reassert our status as a true leader of the Free World.
So someone needs to take Facebook away from FitzSimmonds, at least as long as long as he's RPV treasurer. Nothing but "twaddle" comes from his ramblings. Witness the latest that is making the rounds because every time a Republican says something like this it will:
Right before my daughter Abbie was born we started looking for daycare options. Jess and I agreed that we would perfer a home daycare operation over something like KinderCare because we figured she'd get more attention. Jess went onto the Fairfax County website and found a few, and the first person she met we'll call "Sarah." Sarah is Muslim and from Pakistan. Her and her husband came to America about fifteen years ago to make a life for themselves and raise their family. They pooled their money and invested in a Town Car and a Suburban because he works as a professional driver. She got accredited to open a daycare in home. I don't think we ever dreamed of finding someone so incredible. She loves Abbie like her own daughter and makes us feel like we are part of her extended family. She went home to Pakistan several months back, her first visit in 11 years by the way, to see her sick mother. Thankfully her mother's health rallied and when she came back she brought us all presents, including a beautiful hand-made Pakistani-style dress for Abbie. She arguably is as important in Abbie's life as we are. We trust her unconditionally. Every time I go to pick her up, Abbie is playing with her youngest daughter.
What FitzSimmonds doesn't understand, and what makes his statement in the capacity as an RPV official so offensive, is that somehow Muslims will never be apart of the fabric of America. Bob, most Muslims don't want to strap a bomb onto themselves and blow shit up. Every Muslim-American that is a teacher, doctor, student, or any kind of professional here in the United States came here to share in what this country was supposed to be about. When I read what Bob wrote, it frankly made me sad. It made me sad that "Sarah" might read it, see one of my bumper stickers, and wonder if I feel that way about her. I think about the friends I've made here in the Fairfax YRs that is diverse a group as exists in the state GOP. It makes it hard for me to tell people I'm a Republican. We have people in the party like Rand Paul and Paul Ryan trying to solve issues of poverty and criminal justice; we have elected officials like Tim Scott, Susana Martinez, Mia Love, Marco Rubio, and Brian Sandoval attempting to show the country that you can be any color and be a Republican. Things like this just undoes so much of that work so fast because so many people really believe that Republicans are like FitzSimmonds, and all the work the officials cited above are doing is just for show.
"Sarah" is apart of the fabric of America. Hell, she is apart of the fabric of my family. My very white, half-Catholic, half-Jewish family. FitzSimmonds and his type are doing everything in their power to remove people from the party, people who's immigrant story testify to everything conservatives and Republicans claim America is. Hard work, guts, inudstry, the drive to make something of yourself thanks to the freedoms and opportunity in our country. But because of people like Bob FitzSimmonds, they will not be Republicans because they will think Republicans don't want them here.
"Sarah" and her family are as much American as me and mine.
So I keep seeing the sentence "Bob McDonnell goes on trial on federal corruption charges" today and I can't help but feel the sting of it. Federal corruptoin. Accepting bribes, kickbacks ... it sounds like something out of the Sopranos. Go read about Edwin Edwards and Buddy Cianci if you want to know what federal corruption is. So what Bob McDonnell did was accept money for personal belongings from a guy pushing an energy drink or supplaments or whatever. His wife agreed to show them off at the governors mansion. I don't recall the Virginia Governor's Mansion being a prerequeasite to success in the energy supplament market.
I'm think McDonnell probably could have pleaded out and that was probably what he should have done, but honestly is the punishmnet going to fit the crime here? Did Bob McDonnell give away state assets? Did he really enrich himself? It seems to me this is "federal corruption" in only the sense that federal prosecuters went scalp-hunting. I get what he did was illegal and he needs to pay for it, but are we really going to enjoy seeing his and his wife's lives, struggles, insecurities, and pers?onal finances dragged out before the world over some energy supplament company?
Some probably will. All I know is Mark Warner made his money by Congressional insider trading that is now (I believe) illegal and he's the most popular politician in the state, while Bob McDonnell stuck his hand in the cookie jar to get his wife some nice clothes and he could be going to the slammer.
Doesn't seem right.
Looks like same-sex marriage is here in Virginia, and some would say finally. Frankly, I am happy about it. In the last few years as my principles have moved to the more libertarian side of the spectrum, I've grown more and more uncomfortable with banning same-sex marriage with some of the rhetoric by my friends on the right. I do not believe being against same-sex marriage is bigotry like others, I understand there are religious objections. Where I differ is my evolving view as the role of government in our lives. Private business and religion should be allowed to hold whatever views they want without government interference. Conversely, government should not intercede in the personal and private lives of gay Americans and Virginians as to who they wish to commit to.
Even when I voted for the Marshall-Newman amendment, I had nagging qualms about it. Should government be telling people who they can love, marry, and devote their lives to? My "conversion" did not come about in some contrived manner like a brother or relative coming out to me and I suddenly have a road to Damascus moment. I think I am just part of a generation that grew up exposed to gay culture, knew gay people, and all in all so no real differences between us. It just does not bother me. The role of government is pretty simple - maintain transportation systems, protect citizens, and generally get the hell out of the way of peoples lives.
If every Republican I know say they want the government out of their lives really believed that, same sex marriage wouldn't be an issue at all. The country is there right now, but sadly the GOP is not (altogether) there. This is a great day for liberty in this commonwealth, where all our friends and relatives can enjoy the true meaning of the great phrase "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." Jefferson put it so simply, and that is my litmus test in politics. Does something enhance life, liberty, and happiness. The roars of the past in the Republican Party are still there, but those old lions have had their day. It is time to move forward as a party and a people, to be able to show every single citizen what limited government and personal freedom truly means. I believe we can never be truly trusted so long as we are a party that stands in the way of the private happiness of others.
My worry now is the usual suspects in our party whom I agree with on 80% of other issues will lose their minds and release statements and author legislation that will harm every candidate with an (R) next to their name. Please don't. Virginia is now a commonwealth truly for all, where nobody has to hid their love in shame.
It should be embraced.
The immigration crisis on the southern border has my mind pulled in a million different ways right now. I am outraged that our laws and open borders have created this crisis and those responsible, pro-business Republicans and cynical pro-illegal liberals, have skirted blame. What our own laws and trivial political arguments has created is to blame for this. Our horrifically failing drug war has created chaos that is engulfing Mexico and Central America and these kids are paying the price.
So before we do anything else we need to send doctors, humanitarian groups, Catholic, Christian, and other religious charities to help. Before anything else, they need help and we are a country that is big enough to do it. Everyone has abandoned them, they have been abused and forgotten, let's embrace the goodness of this country and bring them and help them find homes. Not detention centers, but homes. There are enough big-hearted Americans to help.
What we due next is what is harsh. I 100% support what Rick Perry is doing in Texas, there is nothing more fundamental to the job of a governor than protecting the lives and property of his state. We need to shut down the border and we need to do it now. We have processes in place at all our embassies and consulates across the world to find a real way to bring people who want to come here. I want anyone who wants to be an American to come here and live the dream our relatives did.
We also need to seriously reconsider what we are doing in regards to our drug laws. Should we be surprised that when addictive narcotics are outlawed a murderous black market will emerge? No matter how many armies we put on the border, people will find a way. Our system of justice should punish the pushers and not the addicted. They need help, not prison.
Lets help these kids, shut the borders down, and reform the root cause for the madness to begin with.
We have a funny way of remembering our presidents and judging them today, don't we? I've been meaning for awhile to talk about this after I read Gene Healy's Cult of the Presidency. Let me allow Mr. Healy to explain what this means:
Harding's good nature and liberal instincts led him to overrule his political advisers and pardon 25 nonviolent protesters that Wilson had locked up, including Eugene Debs. "I want him to eat his Christmas dinner with his wife," Harding said. History remembers Harding's successor, Calvin Coolidge, mostly for his reticence and for fiscal policies that combined Yankee parsimony with generous tax cuts. Less well known is Coolidge's admirable record on civil liberties. Coolidge ordered the release of Wilson's remaining political prisoners, and his attorney general, Harlan Fiske Stone, put an end to political surveillance by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, abolishing the FBI's General Intelligence Division. "The Bureau of Investigation," Stone declared, "is not concerned with political or other opinions of individuals. It is concerned only with their conduct and then only with such conduct as is forbidden by the laws of the United States. When a police system passes beyond these limits, it is dangerous to the proper administration of justice and to human liberty
Historians and modern day pundits generally have it backwards when we evaluate presidents, don't they? Nobody is doubting Harding's corruption and that of his friends, but is selling government oil leases worse than putting the entire power of the federal government to supress and imprison any political dissent?
Anyways, something to think about.
I was born in 1981, so I'm not sure if I'm Gen X, Gen Y, Millennial, or what. I get confused. I consider myself a millennial however, and I can see why people are confused, as shown in this article by The Atlantic.
The fact that they make no sense actually makes perfect sense. For people my age, this is the first time in history where a single generation has been essentially lied two by both political parties. The Republicans were supposed to be the party of fiscal restraint who grew government to astounding levels in the 2000s while the Democrats were supposed to be the party of peace and civil liberties who continued the failed policies of the Republicans as well as robust domestic spying apparatus that was continuously fed. Young Republicans like me swept up by the idea of compassionate conservatism and the idea that democracy can save the Middle East have been let down as much as those young Democrats who believed Hope and Change would raise America back to its greatest instead of dragging it further down. The polling shown in this article reflects a new reality where young people are not only reevaluating our political parties but also what each party should be in favor of. Young and new Republicans are re-looking at issues like war and civil liberties while I think younger Democrats are giving another look at the entitlement state they have erected which has never really worked.
Politics are changing, and in the next twenty years the two political parties migth look quite different than they do now. The confusion shown is simply millenials trying to figure out where they are and coming to the realization that we have been let down by the current political alignment.
No surprise that in the wake of Eric Cantor's embarrassing defeat at the hands of Dave Brat and a merry band of conservative rebels, Bourbon Republicans like Bill Bolling are now arguing that we must have party registration because of the nefarious mischief of Democrats getting involved in our system. I mean, that is how Brat won, right? This is the absolute worst remedy to whatever problem Bolling and his Junta think is wrong with the party.
Now I do have sympathies for those who think that we do need to reform our nomination process, I certainly don't like asking the taxpayers funding our internal elections. But make no mistake about it, when you year the establishment talk about closed primaries, beware. There are many conservatives out there who agree with this but I must beg you to rethink your position. Closed primaries with party registration will do nothing but give those in power total and complete control of our nomination election. What if your a Republican outraged by your RINO congressman and decide not to vote for him, or lodge a protest vote? Guess what, your out.
The ballot is supposed to be private. Giving complete control of our elections to the party apparatus through registration will shrink our voter base, not grow it. It means the voters must conform to the party, not the other way around. It means you, the grassroots, will be controlled. It means you absolutely have to vote for who the Republicans nominate, no matter how horrible they are and no matter how they might have screwed you, and if you don't you won't be able to participate. The grassroots and the Tea Party is fueled in many ways by finding new voters, conservative voters who aren't necessarily political people and maybe liked what they heard from a populist like Jim Webb. If a Republican candidate can attract new and crossover voters honestly, its ridiculous that we cut them out. That is no way to grow a party. If your motivation is to keep Democrats out of the nomination process, it will never happen. There is no way to keep that from happening 100%. Democrats can get into conventions just as easy as primaries.
Bill Bolling is right, Dave Brat probably would not have beaten Eric Cantor with party registration. But not the way he pretends. Brat activated a tea party base of new voters that would have been shut out of the process entirely. Conventions are no better, as we have seen this year. In fact, there is almost no difference conceptually in my mind between party-run conventions and party-run, party registration-based primaries. Those in power control them and it is very hard to overcome that, it is very hard to grow the party that way. In our last few competitive primaries, especially the presidential and senatorial races of 2012, showed pathetic turnout that was borderline embarrassing. Our conventions this year and last were hardly any better. When the party intelligentsia runs things, the party shrinks. We need a new way, a better way to keep things open and honest.
My solution? A statewide party canvass, run by the local congressional district committees. Those are most in touch with the grassroots and local party leaders, those are the ones who can monitor those who can come and vote. I was beyond impressed with the 10th district party canvass and the way it was run. If that can be done statewide, which is frankly really easy, along with a provision allowing for absentee balloting run by the congressional district committees. Keep the state party out of it, leave it to the districts, and make it open to everyone.
Don't let Bill Bolling and others blind you with language about Democrats and all that other BS ... what he wants is the state party to dictate to the voters, not the other way around. It has to be the party being dictated to by the voters and grassroots. Don't let them fool you.
Anyone hear any calls for resignation from the left? Where is the outrage? This has become a national, even international, story. Anyone ask T-Mac about this? Someone? Anyone?
The silence is defining.
Chap Petersen and Ben Tribbett, the proverbial Batman and Robin of Fairfax Democrats, have gone all in on the Redskins Pride Caucus, and Democrats don't seem thrilled about it. I must admit, I take particular glee in seeing Northern Virginia libs tie themselves into knots over this, it is a delicisou taste of irony. The Democrats up to now are Petersen, Louise Lucas, Lionel Spruill, and Michael Futrell. Here are some brief snippets:
So, who's going to jump on the bandwagon and form a few more "pride" caucuses here in Virginia? I mean, it's not like there's other work to do or anything, plus these poor, beleaguered (actually wealthy and powerful) corporations need SOMEBODY to stick up for them, right? (end extreme snark)
P.S. How about the Persecuted White Straight Christian Males Pride Caucus next?
From commnetor The Richmonder:
From Chap's Facebook page (I'm not publishing the names):
I can't decide which is worse: did you know or did you not know that Ben was working with Snyder for this job while you all were putting together this coalition?
I'm stunned. Especially because you and Chap are both smart enough to know that the name WILL be changed, in the end. It can be done with grace and humor. Or it can be done -- like this: Offending people whose only transgression is that we put feelings before "tradition."
But the pain that I feel over this slur against my ancestors being used for a sports "tradition" is real. And you have no right to challenge it. Or to challenge whether I have the "right" to have these feelings.
I certainly don't challenge whether or not the members of this Caucus have the right to feel bad that they may have to lose a tradition that they love. I just think that using a slur against a group of people has more importance then losing a sports tradition.
Chap - I'm a supporter of yours and disappointed to see you taking such a prominent role for such a stupid cause. It's hard to find unanimity among any group of people, but from what I can tell a significant number of Native Americans finds the Redskin name offensive. They reject the name because they did not choose it for themselves and because it was historically applied to them by people who saw them as less than fully human and fully equal citizens; people who demonstrated that view time and again from the "sale" of Manhattan to the Trail of Tears to the massacre at Wounded Knee. A team name will never "unify" people -- to unify people takes the hard work of careful listening, empathy and mutual respect. I would ask you to do that work, weigh the equities, and see who has more at stake in the naming of the team. I don't think it is people with a sentimental attachment to an superannuated team mascot. This is a huge waste of time and should be beneath you. Please get back to work on issues that actually affect your constituents' lives.
And on and on it goes ... I actually think the reaction is pretty muted because so many liberal Democrats are on board, Dems aren't eager to call their own racist. For me, I think the name needs to change. I apply a simple criteria .. would you call a Native America on the street a "redskin." If you say yes, well ... Dan Snyder, Chap Petersen, and Ben Tribbett are your guys I guess.
Yay diveristy! Yay Democrats! Yay Washington Warriors!
He huffed, he puffed, he threatened, he vetoed, he screamed and he tried every trick he learned as a party hack, TV mouthpeice, and pretend-politician. Terry, your governor now, you should really act like it.
I wonder how much damage this might cause him? The only reason I'm blogging about it because I am frankly shocked that any Democrat with a scintilla of ambition would so publicly latch themselves to a cause that, frankly, is lost. I think the Redskins should change their name because it is going to happen and the longer we fight it the worst it will get for us as fans and the players. The distraction will only grow and grow ... just get rid of it and be done with it. Concentrate on fielding a great team and the fans will be there.
But seriously, Chap? Also .. .Louise Lucas, Michael Futrell, and Lionel Spurrill are apart of this, all African-American members, not sure what that means but I feel like it kind of means something. Right?
I normally do not cut and past from politicians but this response from Mark Obenshain was outstanding and this is the exact kind of leadership we need moving forward. No more of old failures sharing burgers together, we need leadership like this. Any Republican who talks like this will get my vote, and if Obnshain continues to lead he'll be our nominee for governor in 2017:
HARRISONBURG—Today, Senator Mark Obenshain (R-Harrisonburg) denounced Governor McAuliffe’s announced intention to govern independently of the General Assembly, in contravention of the fundamental principle of the separation of power.
“The Governor is free to negotiate with the General Assembly, to disagree with the General Assembly, even to lambaste the General Assembly,” said Obenshain. “What he is not free to do is ignore the General Assembly. Under our constitution, neither the Governor nor the General Assembly has the authority to act unilaterally—yet today, that’s exactly what Governor McAuliffe said he plans to do.”
In a press conference announcing his intended actions on the budget, the Governor announced his plans to use his veto pen to abolish the bipartisan Medicaid Innovation and Reform Commission (MIRC) and short-circuit the methodological reforms it is overseeing. He also announced that he will move forward with Medicaid Expansion in Virginia absent any legislative authorization whatsoever.
“The legislature created MIRC, on a bipartisan basis, to facilitate the reform and modernization of Medicaid, and to assess whether the legislature’s conditions for Medicaid Expansion had been met. But instead of letting MIRC do its job, Governor McAuliffe has decided to abolish it—leaving vital reforms incomplete,” Obenshain added.
In his wide-ranging budget press conference, McAuliffe also announced his plan to veto appropriations for the Virginia Conflict of Interest and Ethics Advisory Council, despite having already signed the legislation creating the council. “Already under scrutiny over allegations of selling access through his PAC, the Governor has decided to stop ethics reform in its tracks through a back door budget action—even after signing the bills creating the new commission,” observed Obenshain.
Added Obenshain, “Despite near-unanimous agreement on the need for more judges, McAuliffe even announced a veto of $19 million in funding for new judges merely because he wants the authority to select them himself—despite that being the General Assembly’s prerogative. Our Governor would rather see no new judges than let the General Assembly exercise its constitutional authority to elect them.”
“Today’s press conference was an outrageous show of executive arrogance,” said Obenshain. “Maybe that sort of thing works in Washington, but here in Virginia, we take separation of power seriously. The Virginia General Assembly is not an advisory commission. I know that we’re now on a tight schedule due to the fact that Senate Democrats refused to permit any action on the budget for well over two months, but perhaps the Governor should find some time to read the state constitution. He might learn something.”
Obenshain concluded, “At his press conference, McAuliffe said, ‘I’ve always said that if the federal government changes in any manner, we change, plain and simple.’ And that’s exactly what he’s done—bringing the worst of Washington-style politics to Virginia.”
My Facebook timeline has blow'd up with pictures of Ed Gillespie on stage with Bill Bolling and Mitt Romney, while Bob McDonnell was lurking in the crowd. Not a good look, Ed. I'm not even talking about this from the establishment point of view. But to be on stage with a two-time presidential loser, a former lieutenant governor who pretty clearly did all he could to submarine our statewide ticket last year, and our ex-governor who is now under indictment and fighting for his freedom. I'm not sure that is the karma you want heading into an election where you are hoping to topple Mark F'ing Warner. More seriously, it is Ed surrounding himself with Republican losers, traitors, and potential felons. While everyone there looked like they were enjoying themselves, it was just a complete showcase of the failures of RPV. Romney, Bolling, and McDonnell are frankly the politics of the past and a past that has not been kind to Republicans. I said before that I thought the best move for Ed Gillespie was to immediately campaign with Dave Brat and show he understood where the party was going. Instead he apparently wants to spend time with the pity party caucus who all look back and what-could-have-been but instead dragged the GOP down with them in some form or fashion.
Come on, Ed. Your better than this.
(Also, and this is unconfirmed, but I heard Dave Brat was attending this event that was in Glen Allen. If so ... come on, Dave. Your better than that.)
Perhaps I'm over-stepping my bounds talking about a district I don't live in, so excuse me if I'm off base here. But some things have happened that have made me think Rep. Hurt is glad he's been renominated already and that he better hope things calm down in two years. Let's go over it shall we?
Footseps ... footsteps .... footsteps
As if he needs any more, but here goes.
1. Stay away from national media. Your the darling of the hour, but these people are no friends to you or your ideology. Stick to strictly local news outlets and national conservative outlets. There is no reason to let Chris Hayes or Anderson Cooper try and turn you inside out just to embarrass you. Your the exact opposite of Cantor so stay that way ... keep it simple.
2. Your first call should be to Ed Gillespie. Nothing, and I mean nothing, will unite this party like the sight of Brat and Gillespie climbing down out of a campaign bus. He needs you and you need him. You are now the two biggest names running for federal office this year in Virginia. Of course you want to try and win over Cantor but Cantor isn't at the top of your ticket, Gillespie is. The party really needs something like that.
3. Keep your campaign the same. You'll get more money and more attention, which means more infrastructure. But please resist the temptation that will no doubt be whispered in your ear to add conslutants and staff. This is a Republican district, as long as you don't make any gigantic mistakes you'll win. Stay with who brought you.
Anyways, food for thought.
Northern Virginia Democrats once again tonight showed their commitment to diversity. For the record, here is their lineup:
VA-8: Don Beyer, age 63
VA-10: John Foust, age 63
VA-11: Gerry Connolly, age 64
Meanwhile ... the GOP nominated two accomplished professional women (Barbara Comstock and Suzanne Scholte) and an African-American US Marine in Micah Edmond. In Beyer's race there were three young white progressives (Hope, Levine and Shuttlesworth), a gay state senator (Ebbin), a black female former head of the Urban League (Catham), and ablack mayor (Euille). Maybe the Republicans can run Stan Parris next time.
But yeah, war on women and all of that.
Dave Brat has defeated Eric Cantor for the 7th congressional district seat. I cannot believe it. On Facebook I guessed 60-40 because, I mean, there was no way Brat was supposed to win. I saw absolutely zero evidence from anyone I trust that this was going to happen. Let me just say that I am THRILLED. Nobody is entitled to anything and nobody should just be able to buy a congressional seat. Cantor was long past his usefulness, a politician desperately trying to balance Congress and his district without showing us what he actually believed in. He was ham-handed, did not have a strong connection to his district, and insulated everyone's intelligence with that "liberal professor" garbage.
I've said this on Facebook today and I'm sitting here listening to Fox News and they are going on and on about the Tea Party and amnesty and all of that, which is valid. But Eric Cantor would still be a congressman tonight if he had not unleashed his Young Guns goons on local county and congressional districts all across the Commonwealth. What did Eric Cantor need from Campbell County or Virginia Beach? He made enemies across the state, and this isn't a state where its not that difficult to get in your car and drive to Richmond. Brat was only listened to only because Cantor had just pissed off so many people needlessly. He started fights to consolidate power in his orbit and the folks out there weren't happy. For god sakes, wasn't a sitting delegate slated?
Slating is bullshit. Slating was celebrated by A LOT of people in this party, who sneered and laughed off the Tea Party for losing control of their precious conventions ... well, how do you like primaries now?
Eric Cantor just got slated.
(P.S. Ray Allen should never work in Virginai again)
I had written an entire long piece about how nominating Ed Gillespie was the right thing to do and how the Tea Party needs to develop greater sophistication in grooming and running candidates that can translate our values to everyone instead of banking on our small numbers to win convention. Then I drove home from the in-laws in Stafford back home to Herndon.
In the famous words of Blazing Saddles ... Nevermind that shit, here comes (a Republican State Senate).
Sen. Phil Puckett just resigned and Democrats are apoplectic. Frankly, I don't blame them, we lose our shit when Watkins or Hanger throw us under the bus. I'd be be pissed too. So that means now Republicans control the State Senate 20-19. It's also pretty clear from what is on Blue Virginia that Puckett resigned to keep a judgeship for his daughter and grab a fat state salary for himself. For those who might not know, this shit happens all the time. I believe when you are a state employee you can get pension and said pension is based on your salary the last three years of your employment. Since state delegates and senators are state employees but also back dogsh*t in salary, these guys often take state jobs and resign when they are hitting that 20 year number. Its how Jim Gilmore finally flipped the House of Delegates at the turn of the century, if I am not mistaken. I'm not ready to call it corruption because its legal, but its certainly a shady practice. Looks like his daughter gets to keep her judgeship and he gets a place on the state tobacco commission. It does make me laugh hearing Terry McAuliffe complain about dirty politics, though. So man, your usually the master at this game, don't be mad you got beat.
Let me say this though ... be careful what you wish for fellow Republicans. Legal or not, this is a dirty deal. Karma can be a bitch sometimes.
The name I'm hearing is Del. Ben Chafin ... I know absolutely nothing about Ben Chafin so we'll see. This is "great" new for nows, but it smells really dirty and I'm not sure this will be over for awhile.
What are we suppose to be as a political party?
I ask this because I am in some debate on Facebook today that is truly making me shake my head. Somehow the conservative movement in Virginia has reached a point where Shak Hill is now the candidate "we" are going to die for in this ongoing fight with the "establishment." A person who has never held office in Virginia, never had any name or impact in Republican politics past being a volunteer and a minor local political official. He has no money, no statewide campaign, no infrastructure, and no message past "outsider" and "constitution." Do we even want to win elections anymore?
I've been a lukewarm supporter of conventions in the past but its time to let this form on nomination die. When we have gotten to a point where the party very well might nominate a candidate who has absolutely no qualifications to be a US senator and even less a chance of winning, its time to pack it in. Hill could put the party back ten years. People point to EW Jackson as the reason why we should get rid of conventions but that wasn't really fair. I honestly don't think any of the seven dwarfs running last year could have done any better. Conventions have become this bizarro world where you are punished for raising money, have a large statewide campaign, and a broad coalition of supporters who maybe can't all drive five hours that will eat an entire weekend while school is still open.
But back to what I'm talking about. We want to a conservative party, a party of principles ... but we also need to win. RPV seems to have somehow gotten to a place that we are absolutely willing to lose elections so we can feel good about ourselves and say we are protecting the Constitution. Well, you'll be defending the Constitution with Harry Reid as majority leader. Congratulations. Please don't confuse me with being an advocate for Ed Gillespie, but I know a disaster when I see one coming. If Shak wins the nomination (and he can), he will be painted as a right wing extremist for five straight months without anyway to fight back.
There is also a certain obtuseness in the right-wing that is pushing for Shak. My advice would be to make Gillespie owe you, make him know that you are part of the reason he get elected. By predictably backing a sure-fire loser, all the tea party and conservatves do is further alienate themselves. Think of if Gillespie did win the Senate seat, and you were busy dogging him for five months? Will he give a damn about the tea party? Will he care what any of you think? Ed is a canny enough politician where he understands The Game and how its played. I don't think he will forget his friends who supported him and you will have more power over him by supporting him now should he get elected than constantly bitching about him while doing nothing to help him. The tea party is in dire need of getting smarter at actual politics.
Lets be real here, we are nominating a candidate who will probaby lose. What we are talking about here is one candidate who could get us to about 45-47% of the vote compare to someone who might not get 35%. Mark Warner will beat Ed Gillespie, but Mark Warner will destroy Shak Hill. We cannot have two monumental embarassments that can be used against every candidate that runs in this state two years in a row. If we don't put up a fight it will catastrophic for the future. Nominating Shak Hill via convention will turn RPV into a national laughingstock. Nobody will invest in this party. I agree with Jeanine, if Shak wins conservatives will lose any power within the party moving forward. How can anyone take us seriously if conservatives in conventions deliver EW Jackson and Shak Hill in a 12 month span?
Please, delegates who might read this ... stop the bleeding and nominate Ed Gillespie.
I have the utmost respect for Shak Hill as a person. From what I know he's an honorable man who has taken in scores of foster children. People who know me know that I have no problem spoiling for a fight against the establishment of our party. If I were in the 7th right now I'd be out right now for Dave Brat. But unfortunately, Hill has shown that what he can do best is simply reiterate and recite the tea party cant of outsider, anti-DC. It appeals to me, though I due chuckle when I hear people tell me how much they hate DC while trying to get elected to serve there. He has run a respectable campaign that hasn't gone overboard. But a sure sign of a losing campaign is advertising the endorsement of Alan Keyes. When someone told me that Ron Meyer raised more money in a two week sprint for a local state senate nomination than Hill, I found it incredibly embarrassing.
As for Ed Gillespie, he it what he is. Do I think he'll slide right into the Senate should he be elected as "one of the boys?" Sure. But Mark Warner has voted 97% with an administration that has shown repeatedly that they really do not know what they are doing. Will Gillespie be ready to join the Pauls and Lees of the world to fight for true limited government based on a strict interpretation of the Constitution? No, probably not. But the conservative triad of tea party, libertarians, and social conservatives need to learn that sometimes the best politics isn't the scorched earth kind. Is there plenty to scorch Gillespie on? Sure ... but seriously, are you willing to burn a guy who could raise a couple million dollars and give Warner his roughest electoral fight since the 90s just so we can feel better about ourselves? Come on. I also think Gillespie understands where the world is going and I would not expect him to be hostile to conservatives and libertarians, especially if we rally and give him our steadfast support. If a conservative alternative had presented itself that could do better than Alan Keyes, maybe we could talk. Ben Cline or Morgan Griffin or Rob Wittman or Ryan McDougle or Mark Obenshain ... that would be worth the fight.
Incidentally, it looks like I will not be going to Roanoke this weekend. I'm no longer a good conservative anymore, I guess. I'm one of those pesky people that has a home life that demands my attention. I can't just run off to Roanoke for a day. For those going, please vote for Ed Gillespie so if anything we won't embarrass ourselves in November.
Politics aside, this shit has to absolutely be cleaned up. I don't care who it brings down or what happens, it has to be fixed. I have a brother who served had injured his back during his service. He's okay because he's in his early 30s, but I worry about him when he's in his 60s. Let's get this finished.
Nominating McCain would send a powerful bipartisan message that this issue can be fixed. Now do I thin this will happen? No. I think he might nominate Tammy Duckworth but who knows. McCain is at the end of his career and I know it hasn't ended the way he planned ... breaking ground on a presidential library somewhere in Arizona. But McCain could do the next best thing and help our veterans that he and the rest of his collegues sent to war to begin with.