February 2006 Archives
First off, I want to thank everyone who helped me get to this point. It's one thing to run a blog for months and get virtually zero traffic, then have the zero become a barely discernable trickle, and then out of that trickle to gain the people's ovation and fame forever.
Most of all, I want to thank Sophrosyne, who has ramped up the productivity on this blog to heretofore unknown levels.
Without further ado, then on behalf of Sophrosyne and all the wonderful folks at NOVA TownHall: We gratefully, humbly and not-a-little-quizzically accept:
Honestly, I don't know if I've ever been involved with a 'worst' of anything before, although I've given it a good shot. One of my first dates in the 1970s consisted of me taking this girl out for a drive in my 1964 Buick around Annandale and Springfield while I sold subscriptions to The Journal newspaper. She was horribly overdressed for the occasion, and therefore had no interest in the Red Hot Bean Burritos and six-pack of tall boys I picked up at 7-11 along the way. I have to think she had worse dates than that one, though.
Being bestowed the award by a blogger who I'm pretty sure knows almost nothing about this Web site is also quite the unexpected bit of luck. If he or she did delve very far into our work product here, I have little doubt we'd be relegated to the unenviable category of "fair-to-middlin'" with all the other blogging schmucks.
Yet here we stand, alone, at the very bottom of the hierarchy - which is, by the way, second only to the very top in terms of easy accessibility: The nadir and the zenith, we two, like peas in a pod.
So whenever you want a quick read you can rely on for consistency of quality if nothing else, take a hint from Too Conservative - the man (or woman) who lives in Virginia (or one of the surrounding counties), who has been blogging for anywhere from one month to seven years, with interests ranging from...well, I'm stuck on that one because Too Conservative happens to be an individual I KNOW ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ABOUT except he/she thinks this is the worst blog on the Internet.
Whoever it is, I would like to know a little more about how exactly we earned this award...no, scratch that. It's the first blogging award I've been a part of and I'm keepin' it! Please, Mr/Mrs TC, investigate us no further, your work here is done. For a 'Worst' blog we've already got about all the traffic we deserve.
UPDATE: The mystery appears to be solved. Read the comments.
If you are, like me, amazed at the rank hypocrisy of most liberals, leftists, feminists, progressives - you know, THOSE people - on certain topics, such as human rights in the Islamic world, this important article will shed light on the ideology which makes the progressive camp seem so wacko.
For instance, I have an acquaintance who gets all frothy when discussing subjects like the Bush administration's insidious schemes to violate the privacy rights of terrorists or the treatment of women in American corporations.
When I follow up with a question such as, "What about, like, the Taliban?" the response is usually a deadpan "duh" sort of gaze as though my question was the ultimate non sequitor.
I can try to press the point that, if one is going to get rabid about civil liberties denied and sexual discrimination and such, the Islamists - the ones George Bush wants to wiretap - are a pretty fat target. But intellectual consistency is not what the Left is all about.
The Left never errs â€“ it always acts against the West. It never stands or fights for anything that may be good for the western world. It canâ€™t, because it is a reaction against it. Opposition to the West is the very reason for its existence; it is its nature. A wolf canâ€™t act like a hare or a lion like an antelope. The Left can never become the Westâ€™s friend, because antipathy towards it actuates its heart and infuses its soul.
The theory proposed here shows why this is so. But it does more than this â€“ it also makes readily comprehensible even the Leftâ€™s most seemingly inexplicable rhetoric and behavior.
Take a few minutes to read it all.
NOVA Townhall is pleased to announce that weâ€™ve joined the Old Dominion Blog Alliance (via Commonwealth Conservative) and the Guard the Borders blog roll. Please check out some of the other members of both of these communities- there is some great stuff there!
I am also pleased to report that weâ€™ve won an award on the Too Conservative blog. I for one take it as a compliment that weâ€™ve been listed as â€œWorst Blogâ€ for our true Northern Virginia conservative commentary and were referred to as the â€œmouthpiece for the Group B crewâ€ (TCâ€™s apparent distinction for conservatives who donâ€™t fully embrace his specific argument for GOP success through moderates). We will wear this award as a badge of honor. Although I must point out I think itâ€™s a little childish and petty to provide a link to every other blog given an "award" but refrain from linking to ours because we often disagreeâ€¦ if youâ€™re going to make a judgment about a blog (in my opinion) you should provide a link to let readers check it out for themselves- call it a principle of fairness if you will.
In the coming days NOVA Townhall will be adding some new bloggers who are well connected to the Virginia political scene, so check back soon!
Yesterday Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling sent out his weekly report, this one was focused on a broad overview of the state's biennial budget and its growth over time. I've placed the full report below the fold, but here are some interesting quotes:
So, when we hear comments likeâ€¦..â€State spending has increased by 80% in the last ten yearsâ€â€¦..it is important to keep in mind that many factors influence these spending increases, such as inflation and population growth.
It is also important to keep in mind that a small number of agencies and programs accounted for much of the $13B budget growth over the past decade, and much of this additional spending was required by constitutional or statutory commitments.
It's refreshing to hear this broad and well reasoned explanation of why (beyond the new increases in the massive 2004 tax hike) Virginia is spending so much more than it did just a decade ago. This is also further evidence that while some like to smear true fiscal and social conservatives as "all or nothing" crazies, such a smear isn't really grounded in reality and many true conservatives such as our Lieutenant Governor understand that there are some legitimate reasons for an increase in state spending while working to keep our taxes as low as possible to fuel economic growth.
The following is a succinct description of the price paid on the local level, both in terms of taxes and the declining quality of education - thanks to Euphoric Reality:
As a parent with two kids in Texas schools, I have a pet peeve. I really, really resent that their education is hampered by kids who canâ€™t speak English. Iâ€™ve seen classes that move mind-bogglingly slow as teachers have to work one-on-one with children who shouldnâ€™t be there in the first place. Itâ€™s enough to make me grind my teeth in frustration!
I am a big proponent of the immersion method of learning a language. It is my firm belief that once in America, immigrants should learn our language, and the best way is by complete and total immersion. When we lived in Mexico, we placed my son into a public school in the local village so that he could learn the language more rapidly. I continued to teach him at home what he needed to know to keep his education above American standards, and his classroom experience was for language purposes only. We asked for no special considerations, we just did what was necessary. It was not easy, but it worked.
That is only one of the reasons it is so offensive to see our tax dollars paying for immigrants, many of them here illegally, to receive special dispensations because they canâ€™t (or wonâ€™t) learn our language! But why should they learn, when almost everything is bi-lingual anyways?
Recently in Arizona, an activist judge has ruled that itâ€™s not enough that American citizens pay for a free education for the children of illegal aliens, and itâ€™s not enough that the classes are dumbed-down for non-English speakers, but now the taxpayers must pay exorbitant funds to provide special classes for children who donâ€™t speak English!
One of the most outrageous examples of out-of-control judges is the case called Flores v. Arizona, now pending in federal court in Tucson. Originally filed in 1992, plaintiff lawyers claim to represent an estimated 160,000 children of illegal immigrants attending Arizona public schools.
The case seeks to force Arizona taxpayers to pay for bringing these children, euphemistically called English Language Learners, up to grade level. The lawyers are trying to accomplish this by turning a state legislative issue into a federal judicial command.
[Click 'continue' below to read the rest.]
South Dakota Governor Michael Rounds is showing some real courage in standing up and fighting the holocaust of abortion. Many moderates have been pressuring him to avoid signing (or to outright veto) the recently passed abortion ban (which is obviously designed to bring the full issue of Roe before SCOTUS) because they fear political fallout among suburban women. However it appears Governor Rounds refuses to cast aside this effort to protect innocent pre-born children for partisan political reasons or to advance his own career. CQ Politics has this great quote that sums up the Governor's perspective:
â€œBut, any movement which we can make [toward] that ultimate goal would save lives,â€ he said. â€œAnd thatâ€™s what I use as my ultimate determining factor as to whether or not we are making progress is: Are we saving lives?â€
In Virginia weâ€™re lucky to have folks like McDonnell, Bolling, and Cuccinelli who arenâ€™t ashamed or afraid to vocally support the most innocent among us. But we need more folks like these who are pragmatic leaders willing to advance all the concerns of their constituents while remaining true to their fiscal conservative principles and remaining willing to support the matters of life and family which affect us all. It will be a great day when the humanity of the child in-utero is no longer denied but to get there we need more men and women of courage and conviction in public office.
UPDATED: I just saw this great article on the South Dakota situation at Life News. I didn't realize Governor Rounds had vetoed a previous ban to protect other pro-life legislation. He's dedicated and clearly this isn't just some political move, rather it is a serious effort to save lives.
When the state legislature previously sent him the abortion ban, Rounds issued a veto because the measure would have wiped all of South Dakota's pro-life laws off the books while the legislation was tied up in court. Rounds has indicated that staff attorneys are checking to make sure that isn't the case this time and that there aren't any other unintended problems that could occur. Both sides expect Rounds to sign the bill and lawmakers say the problems he cited last time have been corrected.
Riley has a post up regarding a Washington Post story on winning in NOVA, it's interesting.
This just in via the Family Foundation, Attorney General Bob McDonnell has overuled the Warner-Kaine Exexutive Order giving sexual orientation a special protected status. Below is the Family Foundation press release.
UPDATED: There is also an AP story on McDonnell's action, to see it click here.
Virginia Attorney General Bob McDonnell today issued a legal opinion stating that Executive Order No. 1, which included sexual orientation as a protected class in the Commonwealth's nondiscrimination policy, is unconstitutional. The executive order was one of Governor Warner's parting actions and Governor Kaine's first act as governor, signed immediately after taking the oath of office on January 14.
General McDonnell issued the opinion in response to a query by Delegate Bob Marshall (R-13, Manassas) on the constitutionality of the executive order. The opinion states that the executive order aims to change public policy, which constitutionally, can only be changed through the legislative process.
McDonnell wrote in his opinion that the executive order was "permissible to the extent the Governor is ensuring that the laws are faithfully executed," but that the addition of protected class status to a particular group "was intended to, and in fact did, alter the public policy of the Commonwealth. It is further my opinion that changing the public policy of the Commonwealth is within the purview of the General Assembly; therefore, that portion of Executive Order No. 1 is beyond the scope of executive authority and, therefore, unconstitutional."
It was the third stinging rebuke to the homosexual lobby and their allies in state government in less than a month. Previously, the General Assembly defeated a bill to add sexual orientation and expression to the protected class in nondiscrimination policy not only for the state, but for local governments as well. The General Assembly also stripped similar sexual nondiscrimination language out of the state budget submitted in January by former Governor Mark Warner before his term expired. The insertion of such language into the budget by Warner was unprecedented, as he tried to get policy passed into law through the budgetary process where he could not through normal legislative means.
Reversing the Governor's actions and working to prevent similar legislastion has been a high priority for The Family Foundation this session.
While anticipating such an issue was impossible during his campaign, McDonnell's action today was consistent with his campaign platform of strictly interpreting the Constitution and of limited government. McDonnell's office also played a role in the recent debate on the proposed constitutional amendment defining marriage by defending the amendment's language amid attempts to water down its meaning and to delay the process of getting the amendment on the ballot.
As we noted the other day, it's heating up.
This was the scene on the grounds of Herndon Middle School, the evening of February 8, 2006. Most of these folks appeared to have arrived on a bus.
The latest skirmish is drawing national attention:
Taxpayer Funded Casa De Maryland Threatens Children of Minutemen
(PHOENIX, AZ) February 23, 2006 â€“ Casa de Maryland, a taxpayer funded organization that caters to illegal aliens, has threatened to target the children of Minuteman Civil Defense Corps (â€œMCDCâ€) volunteers who peacefully and lawfully exercise their civil rights by seeking the enforcement of laws regarding employment, illegal immigration and border security.
Gustavo Torres, Executive Director of Casa de Maryland, in an article by the Gazette published February 22, 2006 and posted on the Casa de Maryland website, is quoted saying of the Minutemen:
â€œWe are going to picket their houses, and the schools of their kids, and go to their work.â€
Among other ugly things, this statement raises the specter of Casa de Maryland spying on the children of Minutemen at their homes and stalking them to determine where they go to school.
Casa de Maryland is not sitting still in any sense.
See Chris Core's poll on this matter, below the fold...
A TMG Coalition update brought this National Review Online article by Peter Ferrara (former VA Club for Growth President) to my attention. Now we all are familiar with Governor Warnerâ€™s famous deceit mentioned in the article:
â€¦â€œWhen Mark Warner ran for governor in 2001, he insisted he would never even consider raising taxes. He famously said, â€œThe old style of politics, of saying anything to get elected, is not what we need. Instead, as a businessman, I will clean up the budget mess in Richmond, restore accountability, and â€” no matter how many times my opponent may say otherwise â€” I will not raise your taxes.â€â€¦
And we all know that then, with the help of left-leaning Republicans Warner pushed through the largest tax increase in Virginia history under the false pretense of a budget shortfall which we know wasnâ€™t true because Virginia ended up with $400 million surplus in FY04 before the tax hike went into effect. As Ferrera reminds us, Warned and these Republicans would have had enough revenue to increase the biennial budget by 11% without a tax hike- but they wanted to spend even more of our money.
What I find so incomprehensible and sickening is not Warnerâ€™s role in this fiasco, after all we should expect as much from Democrats regardless of how conservative they claim to be. No, I am disgusted at the Republicans who pushed for this big-government tax hike after they promised not to support taxe increases. This is why the Republican Party has lost some of its support among Reagan conservatives, not because of â€œfar far far right group B Republicans.â€
We canâ€™t maintain the party that has been built on the shoulders of the Reagan revolutionâ€™s conservative agenda by abandoning that agenda while simultaneously deceiving voters with disingenuous campaign promises we then proceed to break. Ferrara uses the perfect example:
â€¦â€œLetâ€™s review the story of state senate finance committee chairman John Chichester. Chichester had faced a serious primary challenge in 2003, in which he urged voters to â€œJoin his campaign for lower taxes.â€ His literature also alleged that he was a â€œLeader in the fight for lower taxes.â€ In a campaign letter, Chichester said, â€œyou can always count on me to support our shared Republican principles of smaller government [and] lower taxes.â€ He told the Richmond Times Dispatch in May 2003, â€œIâ€™m certainly not going to favor raising taxes.â€â€¦ When Chichesterâ€™s primary opponent Mike Rothfeld charged that Chichester was plotting a massive tax increase with Warner, Chichester said Rothfeld was â€œhallucinatingâ€â€¦
The VA GOP suffered some significant election losses following the 2004 Republican tax hike disaster (some Kilgore staffers have point blank told me that voters were again and again giving them push back on the issue of trusting Republicans after the hike) And that brings us to where we are today: we find ourselves with growing state revenue (at an 11.3% rate for the first half of this fiscal year) and "moderate" Republicans are again clamoring to raise our taxes. I know I am getting more and more confused about what it means to be a Republican, I can understand how the rest of the electorate is equally confused and not motivated to vote for a Party that is seemingly abandoning its core principles.
The latest update from Senator Ken Cuccinelli (it also included the WSJ article I posted on yesterday.) Interesting comment that eminent domain is the most important issue of the session at the bottom.
The Cuccinelli Compass
Dear Fellow Republicans,
Well, the first round of the tax contest is over. The Senate budget bill followed the tax bills over to the House of Delegates today.
I offered three amendments to the budget:
1) Forbidding the spending of Medicaid funding for elective abortions. This was defeated, so unless this comes out in the conference committee, we will be spending taxpayer funds for abortions in Virginia. Our information from the state identified 1,547 abortions in the last year that were paid for with Virginia taxpayer funds.
2) Changing the education funding formula to help a number of jurisdictions that are shortchanged under the current formula, including my home County of Fairfax. The change would have lowered the maximum LCI from 0.8 to 0.7. Astonishingly, Democrat Senator Dick Saslaw â€“ From Fairfax â€“ rose and spoke against it! Education funding comes primarily from sales taxes and income taxes. Here are some basic figures: Fairfax has 14% of the students in Virginia; Fairfax pays 16% of the sales taxes in Virginia; Fairfax pays 25% of the income taxes in Virginia; and Fairfax gets just over 7% of the K-12 funding! Do the math on that!
3) I also proposed NOT spending transportation funds to match federal earmarks from the federal transportation bill that had nothing to do with roads or mass transit. I.e., donâ€™t spend transportation money on wild flowers, horse trails, etc.
All three of my amendments failed on the Senate floor. Needless to say, I was disappointed.
I will write again soon about taxes and the most important issue of this session â€“ eminent domain. But before I sign off, I want to share with you the editorial from the Wall Street Journal today. It holds important lessons for the Republican Party.
It's already been posted by Riley on TC but this WSJ article is too fantastic not to post here as well. It's below the fold.
CQ Politics had a story yesterday about the House GOPâ€™s recently formed â€œSuburban Strategy Caucusâ€ which is focused on addressing the emergence of the suburbs as the new political battleground and the key to Republican success.
â€¦[suburban voters hold] remarkably consistent views across different regions of the nation. Families in this area consistently report concerns about issues such as education, health care, the environment and the economy as among their top priorities for the work of the Congressâ€¦
The caucus, led by Congressman Kirk of Illinois, proposes a platform of â€œ20 defining issues to win the suburbs and keep our Republican majority" that contains some appealing ideas such as legislation to empower local school districts to access national crime information databases to determine if prospective school employees might pose a danger to children, promoting limits on lawsuits that delay the cleanup of contaminated industrial sites, eliminating the estate tax, and creating tax-benefited 401(k) plans for children that can eventually be used for purposes other than college education. As the article states:
â€¦Good policy makes good politics, the axiom goes, and the GOP membersâ€™ establishment of a suburban caucus reflects a recognition that the suburbs are the fulcrum of American politics today â€” and will be even more so in the futureâ€¦
The group has met with solid principled Republicans in the Republican Study Committee and the more liberal Tuesday Group- so this seems to be a broad coalition although the leader- Congressman Kirk- is certainly more left-leaning. The need for this new suburban focus seems universal and the story touts Tim Kaineâ€™s victory as a perfect example of this with him running away with NOVAâ€™s exurban areas while maintaining the Democratâ€™s typical base.
Fred Barnes of the Weekly Standard has more detail on the Suburban Strategy Caucus and discusses the polling the group has done in the inner ring of suburbs around Chicago to test the 20 issues.
â€¦Twelve of the issues polled over 80 percent positive, and only two polled under 70 percent (while still receiving majority support). The top four were approved by 90 percent or more: teacher checks (95 percent), tax credits for small businesses that provide health insurance (93), portability of health insurance (93), and mandatory Internet filters (91)â€¦.
One surprise to all was the polling results regarding traffic congestion:
â€¦One major issue in the exurbs-reducing traffic congestion-didn't register favorably in the suburbs. Asked if they wanted privately built toll roads, "voters said they'd rather the highways not be there."â€¦
Noteworthy is the fact that some of the 20 issues are solidly conservative. Barnes points out that:
â€¦The 14th--highest polling issue (79 percent approval) was barring states from issuing driver's licenses to illegal immigrants. The 20th was a flat tax at 20 percent to replace the federal income tax. Fifty--seven percent favored it, 55 percent of swing votersâ€¦
Of course the smart Blue Dog Democrats (descendants of the conservative Boll Weevils' who backed Reaganâ€™s tax and spending cuts and military buildup) are probably engaged in a similar strategy aimed at the growing influence of suburban and exurban America- all the more reason why the GOP cannot ignore this new reality.
Only time will tell if the Suburban Strategy Caucus is merely political strategy masquerading as policy. But we can rest assured that if Virginia Republicans present tangible ideas such as some of these now being presented while remaining committed to Republican principles (as opposed to pure Republican power with no regard for principle) such as the value of faith, life, marriage, and opportunity- the GOP will quickly shore up our dominance of this growing demographic.
Is anyone else fascinated by the apparently symbiotic relationship between the Conservative Party and the Republican Party in New York? Do conservatives truly have to operate outside of the party in left-leaning regions of the country? I certainly find it interesting. More below the foldâ€¦
Twenty years ago the crux of the primary culture war was abortion. Today, it is illegal immigration and border security. Our definition of war is, an issue over which people are willing to sacrifice personal comfort, hit the streets and put their personal safety on the line. This is the situation in Montgomery County:
Schreiman, a Gaithersburg resident, said the Minutemenâ€™s Maryland chapter formed about six weeks ago and has about 100 members who already were involved with the groupâ€™s Scottsdale, Ariz.,-based headquarters. He said surveillance of the Wheaton day laborer center, which is funded in part by Montgomery County, started last week when Minutemen photographed contractors who drove into the centerâ€™s parking lot on University Boulevard West to pick up day workers, men who are primarily Latino...
While the Minutemen are taking a stealthy approach, Casaâ€™s response will be quite the opposite.
â€˜â€˜We are going to target them in a specific way,â€ said Executive Director Gustavo Torres. Casa representatives will go out with cameras and video cameras to record the Minutemen, but that will only be the first step, he said.
â€˜â€˜Then we are going to picket their houses, and the schools of their kids, and go to their work,â€ Torres said. â€˜â€˜If they are going to do this to us, we are going to respond in the same way, to let people know their neighbors are extremists, that they are anti-immigrant. They are going to hear from us.â€
Reminiscent of the argument that those who oppose abortion secretly hate women's freedom (or, simply hate women), the new version claims those who wish to enforce the immigration laws are hateful, inhospitable and racist.
More, below the fold.
PoliticalDerby.com's updated 2008 Power Rankings were released yesterday. They have this to say about Senator Allen, who remains on top of the rankings.
With roughly 1,000 days to go before the 2008 election, picking a winner today is like predicting what you'll pick out of your teeth after dinner on May 3, 2021. Regardless, Allen stays at the front of the field on the strength of very positive inside-baseball chatter. Though he doesn't poll as well with the general public as some of the other horses behind him, DC insiders still rate him #1. Of course having your picture on the conservative rag NewsMax with the headline "Star Player for 2008" sure doesn't hurt.
Last night moderate blogger Vincent Thoms said that he really liked Governor Kaineâ€™s transportation â€œsolutionâ€ (read: immediately break campaign promise and throw money at the problem while raising taxes and screaming Republicans want to destroy our schools). I thought it would be fruitful to post a rational response to TCâ€™s regurgitation of Kaine talking points that mr_jms posted in that blogâ€™s comments section. Here it is:
â€œThe HoD plan, as I have heard it explained, is trying to fix transportation by cutting education, public safety and economic development monies.â€
Can we please drop the Dem talking points?!?!?!
TC: As a friend, colleague and mentor I am disappointed in this response. Here are the facts:
- The HOD budget increases education spending by over $1 billionâ€¦ One of the largest increases in education spending EVER. The Gov, and VEA, definition of cutting education spending is by not granting the entire increase. Spending has NOT been cut.
- The majority of other â€œcutsâ€ the Governor speaks of are in new program requests. Do we expect the legislature to simply approve every single spending requests made by the executive branch? If so, lets just eliminate the General Assembly and Congress now.
- Our state is projected to run a $1.4 billion surplus this year. AGAIN. So, we should raise taxes in the face of a bursting bank account? Ridiculious. Any elected official should be ashamed to even ponder such a concept.
- VDOT is a broken system. BROKEN. We began working on the â€œmixing bowlâ€ 30 years ago and we are STILL doing it today. When the project is done it will save the average commuter 1-2 minutes on their commute. Sounds like those guys know what theyâ€™re doing. Why donâ€™t we reform the broken system before we dump more money into it?
- Those funds are not even gauranteed to go towards transportation. Sure, take the Governor or someone elseâ€™s word for it, but I donâ€™t trust anyone else with my money. And why should we trust a Governor that broke one of his central campaign promises six days into his administration? At least it took Warner two years.
Donâ€™t buy into the Dem talking points. Fact is throwing money to a broken system will not work. Also, funding for core projects have not been affected AT ALL by the HOD transportation program. The Governor would love to sell that to you because he thinks your dumb enough to believe that not giving him everything he wants is â€œcuttingâ€ programs.
The HOD budget actually includes a new research initiative for higher education, the greatest allocation of total dollars for K-12 education in the Commonwealthâ€™s history, $200 million in new funding for the Chesapeake Bay and the environment, and much-needed funding for healthcare â€“ including mental health. This is all accomplished in addition to record levels of transportation spending.
A semi-retraction may be in order. I was in a bit of a huff when I wrote this post the other day denouncing the Republican Party and pledging henceforth to starve it unmercifully by cutting off the several hundred dollars I usually give each year, burning my "Halliburton Right or Wrong" sweatshirt and removing the "W - Still the President. HA HA HA HA HA!" bumper sticker from my SUV.
Sometimes it just feels good to be ticked off.
After reading the post by Sophrosyne on the news SCOTUS would review a lower-court ruling that has blocked enforcement of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, the point did strike home that 'elections matter.'
Then, on the Dubai port issue, I was initially impressed by the fact our President is unapologetic about supporting the deal.
I was impressed in the sense of, "Boy, he's impressive even when he's dead wrong!"
But after reading a bunch of information posted on the excellent Blogs of War, I did experience a nagging doubt. The doubt said to me: "Joe, you don't actually know one single thing about the United Arab Emirates, yet you are ready to burn your Halliburton shirt?"
I strongly urge everyone to take the opportunity to read John Little's post and get educated.
As I've gotten older, I really haven't gotten any smarter, just a lot better at admitting how dumb I am.
Now, I would not mind terribly to be proven wrong in this case by being proven right on that previous post. (And I think I've set myself up for a small victory here no matter what happens, which is nice.) But whether right or wrong on Dubai, I'm pretty confident abandoning the GOP makes no sense at all.
On a related note, with reference to the local scene...[more, below the fold]
Absolutely fantastic news and further proof that elections do matter. Imagine if radical pro-abort Kerry was president and he had just placed two pro-abort ideologue activist-judges on the Supreme Court... Let's all hope and pray the new court restores Constitutional order and ends the barbaric practice of Partial Birth Abortion in the United States once and for all.
Equally exciting is the fact that Attorney General McDonnel has apparently filed a request on behalf of Virginia asking the Supreme Court to review the Appeals Court ruling that placed an injunction on Virginia's Partial Birth Infanticide ban. We can be sure Deeds certainly would have failed to step up to protect Virginia's nearly-born children. Again, elections matter and this is why we need true conservatives in office.
More below the fold...
Now I am sure British historian David Irving is an anti-Semitic neo-Nazi lunatic and the twisted view of history he supports in his literature is downright disgusting and painful to the millions of victims of the evil of National Socialism during WWII. By all accounts Irving is a scum-of-the-earth slime-ball.
Even with that said this seems pretty absurd, especially given the debate over freedom of expression that is raging across Western Europe after the printing of the Muhammad cartoons:
VIENNA, Austria â€” Right-wing British historian David Irving pleaded guilty Monday to denying the Holocaust and was sentenced to three years in prison, even after conceding he wrongly said there were no Nazi gas chambers at the Auschwitz concentration camp.
It really seems that Western Europe, the mother of the Enlightenment and the concept of individual liberty is imploding on itself- now egregious thoughts can earn you a prison sentence and Islamo-Facists are burning flags and instigating deadly protests across Europe because of a cartoon. Wow.
The House Appropriations Committee and the Senate Finance Committee have announced that they have stripped the sexual orientation language outgoing Governor Mark Warner cowardly inserted into the 2006-2008 budget language just hours before leaving office as a shameful political play to boost his presidential hopes among the hard-left constituencies in the Sociocratic party.
Warner also put the language immediately into effect for state agencies via Executive Order, something Governor Kaine has signed onto as well- but this is only a temporary situation that is far easier to reverse than codified budget language passed by the GA. Hearty thanks to the House and Senate committees for standing up and opposing this unnecessary language ultimately designed to silence those who hold any opposition (religious and/or secular) to the radical normalization of the homosexual lifestyle in American society.
I'd be remiss if I failed to point out that those homosexual activists arguing in favor of this now failed push to add the sexual orientation language can provide no examples of when the state has discriminated against homosexuals or the tangible existence of any real problem... rather they argue it is a preventative measure and employ the same logic that they then in turn deny when it is used to support the VA Marriage Amendment (designed to prevent utter redefinition of marriage by judicial fiat).
This sexual orientation language was not only unneeded but dangerous- as we can see in Maryland where similar laws are now being used to attack those who advocate for a healthy procreative heterosexual lifestyle and oppose the homosexual activist agenda. Good to see some common sense action from the House and Senate.
Sunday George Will had an excellent article in the Washington Post discussing the future of the Republican Party, specifically focusing on Ken Blackwell's gubernatorial bid in Ohio. Obviously the Ohio GOP is a mess right now with "moderate" Republicans in control and raising taxes, many opposing the wildly popular Marriage Amendment that passed in 2004 (and arguably boosted President Bush over the top in Ohio and thus kept Senator Kerry out of the White House) and fighting medical tort reform which thankfully passed. Without a doubt the Virginia GOP is in much better shape than Ohio's, however one can't help but notice that we're charging down a similar path towards the mushy moderate "center". I've placed the entire article below the fold, but here are some particularly salient points:
"...He [Blackwell] annoys the establishment because he, unlike it, believes things. He believes that the establishment is proof of a conservative axiom: Any political group or institution that is not ideologically conservative will become, over time, liberal. That is so because, in the absence of a principled adherence to limited government, careerism -- the political idea of the unthoughtful -- will cause incumbents to use public spending to purchase job security..."
"...Ohio's state and local tax burden, which was among the nation's lowest in the 1970s, is now the nation's seventh-heaviest ($3,906 per capita). Blackwell blames taxes, lawsuit abuse and regulatory confusion for Ohio's ranking 47th in job creation, with a rate last year less than one-seventh of the national rate. Since January 1999, the beginning of the Taft years, Ohio has lost 210,000 manufacturing jobs. "We have become," Blackwell says, "one of the leading repopulators of other states." One in particular: He says that every 24 hours 65 Ohioans become Floridians..."
"...Republicans hold 12 of 18 U.S. House seats and both Senate seats. Unfortunately for Ohio Republicans, they also control both elected branches of the state government, and their record of scandals and un-Republican governance -- substantial tax and spending increases -- have Blackwell, a 6-foot-5, 255-pound former college football player (Xavier University in Cincinnati), running against his party's record..."
Can't help but think Chichester et al are working hard on their own substantial tax and spending increase this session in Ohio-esque fashion... If GOP moderates have their way Virginia's tax burden will continue to escalate as well.
Full text below the fold:
This past Wednesday the Idaho Senate passed legislation to put a proposed constitutional amendment to protect marriage on their 2006 November ballot. This measure had previously failed to garner a majority of votes in the state Senate. More and more states are stepping up to amend their constitutions to prevent unelected tyrants in black robes from legislating gay marriage by judicial decree.
Details below the fold...
Saturday our Lieutenant Governor, Bill Bolling, issued a crossover report. In reading the briefing it yet again is painstakingly obvious that there is a vast philosophical chasm between the Republican led House and the Republican led Senate- I highlighted some of these manifestations below. Let's hope and pray that those in the House have the intestinal fortitude to stand up for Virginia's families this year.
The full Bolling Report is below the fold.
(PHOENIX, AZ) February 16, 2006 â€“ Chris Simcox, President of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps (â€œMCDCâ€), today announced plans for the groupâ€™s nationwide â€œSecure Our Bordersâ€ campaign in April 2006. Simcox also announced a new operational structure for the original Minuteman Border Project to meet the growing needs of the continued expansion of Minuteman border security operations.
Thousands of MCDC volunteers, augmented by the new national support team, will hold border watch patrols in northern and southern states along an estimated 800 miles of international borders during the month of April. The Minutemen will observe and report suspected illegal border crossings to the proper authorities. As always, they will maintain a â€œno contactâ€ policy with the exception of providing emergency water to those illegal aliens found in distress in the wilderness.
Last year, MCDC revolutionized the national debate about border security and illegal immigration by focusing the nationâ€™s attention on the dangers of Americaâ€™s wide-open borders in a post 9/11 world. The Minutemen have demonstrated that the borders can be secured with sufficient political will and dedication.
Since the MCDC 23-mile border watch in April, 2005, interest in joining and supporting the Minutemen has exploded nationwide. MCDC chapters have been formed in southern and northern border states, as well as interior states. To date, 6,500 men and women have passed the required background check and interviews to qualify to become official Minuteman Border Project volunteers â€“ with more waiting in the queue for approval. Over 120,000 people have become friends of the Minutemen through their support and volunteer work.
Given the success of the Minuteman Border Project efforts, and two successful month long 24/7 operations conducted in April and October of 2005, a new national volunteer operational structure has been launched to support the Minutemen. The new structure is necessary to respond to these thousands of volunteers and supporters asking what they can do to help.
MCDC has asked for and accepted the help of experienced border volunteers who have been on the front lines, some for as long as four years. With this expansion we will be ready for the thousands of volunteers who will participate in the â€œSecure Our Bordersâ€ operation in April 2006. This expansion further solidifies MCDCâ€™s ability to continue the largest neighborhood watch effort in American history. The Minutemen will continue their civil defense operations assisting authorities in securing the U.S. borders with Mexico and Canada until properly relieved.
Contact MCDC at (520)829-3112 or email@example.com
For more information about MCDC: www.minutemanhq.com
This has been a production of the Guard the Borders Blogburst. It was started by Euphoric Reality, and serves to keep immigration issues in the forefront of our minds as we're going about our daily lives and continuing to fight the war on terror. If you are concerned with the trend of illegal immigration facing our country, join our blogburst! Just send an email with your blog name and url to euphoricrealitynet at gmail dot com.
Blogs already on board:
I guess as a regular, dumb old citizen I can't be expected to understand why subcontracting management of American ports to an Arab company would not be a bad idea:
Chertoff defended the security review of Dubai Ports World of the United Arab Emirates, the company given permission to take over the port operations. Chertoff said the government typically builds in "certain conditions or requirements that the company has to agree to to make sure we address the national security concerns." But Chertoff declined to discuss specifics, saying that information is classified.
"We make sure there are assurances in place, in general, sufficient to satisfy us that the deal is appropriate from a national security standpoint," Chertoff said on ABC's "This Week."
To me, this explanation does not convey a sense of air-tight security precautions.
I do not believe the Bush Administration are just a bunch of dunderheads, top to bottom. But when there is money involved....well, maybe it creates an opportunity for imbecility to rise to the surface.
Now, we can stipulate it's a good thing W and the GOP won the election: Justices Roberts and Alito - installed. John Kerry - safely back in the Senate. Ted Kennedy - running nothing but his mouth. Charlie Rangel - heh, can you IMAGINE him chairing a committee...talk about signs of the End Times...
BUT, we do have to draw the line somewhere. There comes a point where we have to say, enough.
I did not need Ann Coulter to tell me to stop supporting the Republican National Committee. I was way ahead on that one.
Last year, I decided to stop giving money to:
-Republican National Committee
-Senate Platinum Leadership Committee
-White House Super Special $5000-Dinner-Invitation American Heroes Committee
...despite the succession of increasingly
desperate heartfelt direct mail I receive from each.
For the various problems related to port security and border security, I suppose we need to be writing some letters...? Finding better candidates? Building a more conservative Republican Party in Virginia?
Or am I just too unsophisticated to understand all the nuances of national security?
Lindsey Jacobellis has gotten nailed (repeatedly) for messing up what would have been a gold medal run.
But she does have character: Soon after the fall, she went on TV with Bob Costas:
Your body's just tired and your mind's somewhere else...
The Olympics is a pretty unforgiving, one-and-done, venue. When a mental mistake takes you down, you find yourself in the great wheel of life.
Keep trying, kid. Life has a way of turning things around.
Today the Family Foundation sent the below message as conservative groups throughout the Commonwealth rally the troops for the latest Democrat and Liberal Republican led effort to raise taxes on Virginia families. Attend the rally if you can; I know I'll be there.
Friday, February 17, 2006 Action Alert: Rally against tax hike
The battle over the state's next biennial budget is underway, and while budget and tax proposals have been floating around for weeks, the real negotiations are now taking place. Center to the debate will be whether to increase taxes in Virginia to pay for transportation projects. Today, the Senate of Virginia took the first step in that direction by passing a bill that raises taxes and fees for every Virginia family.
The Governor, some legislators and the media are decrying the transportation "crisis" and have spent several weeks laying the foundation for a massive tax increase. This just two years after the largest tax increase in Virginia history netted state government nearly $2 billion in additional revenue. And when we have a surplus of nearly that amount.
Incredibly, Governor Kaine and a majority of Senators support a tax increase of nearly $4 billion over 4 years. The proposals have included raising the tax on the purchase of new and used cars and an increase in the gas tax. Increases in insurance fees and the tax on automobile repairs have also been suggested. A new Senate proposal would also increase the tax on real estate sales. Together, these increases would cost an average Virginia family at least an estimated $678.95 per year. The package passed today by the Senate includes many of these proposals.
While the House of Delegates has killed several of these proposals in initial votes this year, it must be remembered that the 2004 tax hike was initially defeated in House committees, only to be revived later during the extended session. This year, Governor Kaine has threatened to keep the General Assembly in town if they do not pass an adequate transportation proposal (i.e. tax increase) by the time session is scheduled to end, March 11.
Ultimately, the debate comes down to whether or not citizens of the Commonwealth believe that state government needs more revenue to meet its "obligations," like education, transportation and public safety. To put that question into perspective, we need to remember that:
1) The state budget has increased nearly 100 percent in the past 10 years, while population has increased just 14 percent;
2) The tax burden in Virginia has increased 55 percent in the past 10 years;
3) The General Assembly has raided the "Transportation Trust Fund" in recent years to pay for other budget items, and now claim a crisis in transportation funding.
Another systematic problem with the General Assembly's spending habits is evidenced in the $150 million in budget amendments members have submitted for pet projects in their district, including:
$500,000 for the Norfolk Botanical Gardens to install outdoor artwork commemorating the men and women who originally planted azaleas on the garden property
$300,000 for the development and construction of a museum emphasizing the accomplishment of the depression-era Civilian Conservation Corp
$2,000,000 to the construction of a Virginia Beach Performing Arts Center (This while efforts to build a similar facility in Richmond have failed miserably, costing taxpayers millions of dollars)
All this while some legislators continue to claim that they have reduced spending and eliminated unnecessary programs and still need more money from the taxpayers.
Of course, some continue to allege that the state does not "live up to its commitments" to public education and health care. Yet, according to the General Assembly's own study commission, spending on public education has increased an inflation-adjusted 42 percent in the past decade while enrollment has increased only 10 percent. And funding for Medicaid has increased 37 percent while enrollment has increased just 5 percent. Again, spending in both real dollars and inflation-adjusted dollars has far outpaced real growth rates.
Thus far, there has been little public outcry in favor of tax increases for transportation. At the same time, there has been little opposition. For the most part, Virginians appear apathetic to the issue of increased taxes, or resigned to their inevitability. Sadly, these attitudes are seen by some in our General Assembly as an opportunity to pass a tax hike package that will once again place a higher financial burden on Virginia's families.
The Family Foundation is firmly opposed to unnecessary tax increases. We will work to protect your family from the fiscally irresponsible action of raising taxes while the Commonwealth enjoys a huge surplus and our economy continues to grow.
ACTION: Rally Against Tax Hike
On Wednesday, February 22 at 11:00 a.m. the kNOw Campaign will hold a rally at the Bell Tower on the grounds of the State Capitol in opposition to the proposed $4 billion tax hike. Former Governor James Gilmore will address the crowd. Governor Tim Kaine is holding "Townhall Meetings" around Virginia to promote the tax hike, and like 2004, those who benefit from government spending are filling the rooms. Those opposed to this unnecessary tax hike can make a statement to the Governor, the General Assembly and the media by attending the rally Wednesday. For more information, contact Kate at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Conservative grassroots activist Bill Wheaton writes for the Lynchburg Ledger a few times every month. His most recent article, published today, goes right to the heart of the problems plaguing the Virginia Republican Party. While I don't fully agree with his harsh (and unnecessary) personal comments about Congressman Davis and his family- the core of his argument is still very salient. His response goes right at the logic presented by Davis and other "moderates" at the recent meeting of RPV's Northern Virginia Task Force held at the Fairfax County GOP headquarters. Here it is:
The Lynchburg Ledger February 17, 2006, Page 3
Republicans on the Decline
By Bill Wheaton
If recent Virginia special elections are any indication, Republicans need to be very concerned.
Republican losses in Virginia special elections, coupled with the inability of Senate Republicans to discipline Russ Potts for his defection last fall to run as an Independent, indicates to me that the Republican Party in Virginia not only is losing support, but it has lost much of its integrity.
In the last two special elections, one right here in Lynchburg, Republican candidates did poorly against their Democrat opponent.
Democrat Shannon Valentine handily defeated Mike Harrington in Lynchburg, by 58 to 42 percent, for a previously held Republican seat.
In Loudoun County, Democrat Mark Herring defeated Republican Mick Staton in the 33rd Senate District by a whopping 62 to 38 percent, for a previously held Republican seat.
In response to Statonâ€™s loss in Loudoun County, Congressman Tom Davis (R-11th) suggested that Republicans need to move to the political left to win future elections. I think the advice offered by Tom Davis is not only wrong, but is actually the problem.
Tom Davis, who I have known for years, has always been on the far left side of the Republican Party. Similarly, his new wife, Virginia State Senator Jeannemarie Devolites, recently voted with the Democrats in committee on a bill that would require the addition of "sexual orientation" to the state's non-discrimination law concerning state and local government hiring practices. Fortunately, the bill was defeated by an 8 to 6 vote.
Both Davis and Devolites first marriages ended in divorce, under the cloud of an alleged affair. Additionally, Devolitesâ€™ daughter was arrested and convicted of participating in a robbery and is currently incarcerated. Given these circumstances, one cannot help but wonder whether these politicians have sacrificed their marriages and families for their political careers. If so, this is not the type of candidate that will attract core Republican voters who are traditionally more conservative when it comes to family values
It is getting more and more difficult to tell the difference between Democrats and Republicans, and the Republican base is reacting by staying home on Election Day.
I recall back in the early days of the Clinton Administration when conservatives and evangelicals were outraged by the direction the liberal Democrats were taking the nation and they became politically active.
Newt Gingrich put together a strategy called the â€œContract with Americaâ€ which Republican candidates for the House of Representatives across the nation could all run on. I heard Gingrich outline his strategy in 1993 and thought it nothing more than a pipe dream.
Needless to say, it was no pipe dream but it resulted in the Republicans taking control of Congress. The Republicans started off strong for the first couple of years and did some great work like reforming welfare and curbing spending. In fact, the federal deficit was eliminated and a surplus created under Republican Congressional leadership. Bill Clinton claimed credit for eliminating the federal deficit, but it was the spending discipline of the Republicans that got the job done.
Now, 10 years later, Congressional Republicans have become undisciplined in spending, like Democrats used to do. They would routinely add â€œearmarksâ€ to bills after they had been voted on, which were nothing more than pork-barrel spending.
The new House Majority Leader John Boehner is unique as he has never added an earmark to a bill. It is this kind of reform the Republicans need, not the Tom Davis kind.
Republicans are now in danger of losing the House of Representatives this fall, and if they follow the Davis advice, they surely will.
In Virginia, we still have the problem of Republicans voting as Democrats and I believe that is demoralizing conservatives, resulting in Democrat wins.
The Senate Health and Education Committee is known for killing responsible, family-oriented legislation and is still chaired by Russ Potts who routinely votes with the Democrats.
Republican John Chichester chairs the powerful Senate Finance Committee and is responsible for the increase in our sales tax which we now know was unnecessary. This committee recently killed the only bill that would really reform and improve education in Virginia.
SB189, introduced by Senator Steve Martin (R-11, Chesterfield), would actually save Virginia taxpayers in the long run by reducing public school enrollment, creating competition and thus ultimately reducing spending. He argued that some public schools simply are not serving children well and that those kids should have other educational options. His bill would have provided a tuition tax credit.
Senator Russ Potts led committee opposition to the bill, labeling the legislation as a "$89 million assault on public schools."
The teachers union (Virginia Education Association) is one of the most powerful lobby organizations in Virginia and opposes any real attempt to interfere with their monopoly on education by introducing real education reform.
This abandonment of core principles was even seen at a recent Campbell County Board of Supervisors meeting. Sunburst Supervisor Rick Boyer, who campaigned as a fiscal conservative and had just lectured the board on fiscal responsibility, requested a refund for part of their sewer connection fee for a church.
A waiver had been granted for a small church previously because the cost was a hardship on their tiny congregation. Boyerâ€™s request for the refund was not based on hardship, but on the basis that another church had received it.
The board rejected Boyerâ€™s request.
I suppose it is going to take more election losses before Republicans realize they canâ€™t win elections when you canâ€™t tell them apart from Democrats.
Bill Wheaton lives in concord, VA. His email address is email@example.com
Below is a message from the Virginia Conservative Action Pac (VCAP), one of the groups organizing citizens to oppose the absurd tax hike being pushed in the GA by Governor Kaine and his liberal Republican allies. All Virginians must rise up and oppose this unnecessary effort to hoist new taxes on our families.
This week is crossover for the 2006 session of the General Assembly, when bills crossover to the opposite chamber. How stands the cause of freedom, of low taxes, and of limited government?
As has been the story since 2004, it is a tale of two houses.
In the House of Delegates, conservatives stood together â€“ joined by even those who voted to increase taxes two years ago â€“ and rejected Gov. Kaineâ€™s tax increase for transportation.
In the Senate, once again a unanimous vote from the Senate Finance Committee reported a $1 billion tax hike. Senator John Chichester called the measure â€œa good start.â€
The House of Delegates passed legislation prohibiting in-state college tuition to those who are illegally in this country.
The Senate passed legislation making it easier for illegal aliens to receive in-state college tuition.
The House of Delegates again passed legislation requiring abortion clinics to meet minimum standards currently in place for ambulatory surgery centers.
The Senate has assigned this measure to its Education & Health Committee â€“ which has killed it for the past three years.
The good news about the first half of the 2006 session is that conservatives are standing firm. And because you supported VCAPâ€™s efforts in last yearâ€™s primaries, House Republicans who might be willing to vote for tax increases want nothing to do with an increase this year.
The bad news is that the Senate continues to be run by liberal Republicans aligned with Democrats and dedicated to taxing and taxing and spending and spending.
The good or bad news â€“ depending on what we do together â€“ is that a house divided against itself cannot stand. The governing majority in the General Assembly â€“ supposedly a conservative one â€“ cannot remain half pro-tax and half pro-tax-cut. It cannot remain half big government and half individual freedom. It will become all of one or all of the other.
That is the message of crossover. What choice will conservatives make?
Senate taxers have made it clear that they want a tax hike. Gov. Kaine has made it clear he wants one. It again falls on House Republicans to take a stand.
What happens over the next 45 days will go a long way in determining which way this divided house will go.
Once again VCAP is taking the fight to the tax- raisers with your help.
We provided grassroots support and financial support in the recent special election in Hanover and elected conservative Chris Peace in a very close race.
We are making sure your voice is heard at the General Assembly in this tax battle.
We are preparing for the primaries and elections of 2007 in which we will decide how the divided house will go.
In all these efforts, we have relied on you in the past and need you again.
Donâ€™t let the tax raisers make the crossover a time for another double cross. Governor Gilmore is hosting a rally on February 22 at the General Assembly. Please plan on joining Governor Gilmore and VCAP on February 22 to fight the $1 billion Senate Republican tax hike.
Rally Schedule on Tuesday, February 22 8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Sign-in Table Lobby of General Assembly Building, Visit Legislators, and Attend Committee Meetings.
11:00 - Rally outside the General Assembly Building
11:30 - Noon - Greet Legislators as a group when they walk from GA Building to House and Senate Chambers.
If you cannot attend, please continue to write, email or call your delegate, state senator, and Governor Kaine.
Email us back and let us know if you plan on attending (firstname.lastname@example.org).
It seems there is a battle raging for the soul of Virginiaâ€™s Republican Party. This battle is being waged by conservatives and moderates and its outcome will have a profound impact on principled governance here in Virginia.
Following the significant defeat of Jerry Kilgore this past November (not to mention Chris Craddock, Michael Golden, and Dick Blackâ€™s) and more recently Mick Statonâ€™s nearly 2-1 special-election defeat at the end of January, many knee-jerk moderates have jumped to signal that they believe the end of a conservative Republican Party is at hand. These folks believe many principled, limited-government, pro-life candidates are â€œwackosâ€ and they blame every failure not on the dynamic and complex political situation that exists but on solid conservatives in the mold of Ronald Reagan. They demonize conservative candidates as â€œfar far far right wingâ€ and ignore Reaganâ€™s frequent urging that Republicans â€œpaint our positions in bold colors, and not pale pastels.â€
This vocal squish element in the Republican Party of Virginia indirectly call Reaganâ€™s approach of painting our positions in bold colors "divisive" and "polarizing." And in a sense they may be right- there is a sharp distinction between the tax-hiking state-bureaucracy bloating moderates and the principled believers in individual liberty and limited government. The success of the VA Republican Party in the 90s can be attributed, in part, to effectively pointing out this delineation between the Republicans and Democrats on this point. Now the wagons are circling and similar battle lines are being drawn within the Republican Party itself (theyâ€™ve always existed but recent events make them more pronounced than ever before).
This battle over principle is in many ways similar to the great debate within the national Republican Party that occurred in the early 1960s. On one side there were the people who wanted to keep the party on a â€œmoderate courseâ€ mimicking the agenda of the Democrats as we see Chichester, Dillard and Potts do so very well in recent times. Then there were the Goldwater-Reagan crowd who believed that the party should stand â€œclearly and forthrightly upon uncompromising principles of liberty.â€ Reagan made it clear when he said that "weâ€™ve come to a moment in our history, when party labels are unimportant. Philosophy is all important." This is a point on which Virginia Republicans may need to be refreshed. Running a candidate who offers no real ideas or philosophy and who puts his finger in the wind to ensure he is in middle of the road and maximizing his moderate appeal will only end in failure and will never excite voters.
The problem with the VA GOP is not that we have vocal conservative candidates when we should have nice squishy moderate ones (as some blogs would have us believe). This is merely a politically expedient battle cry of the left-leaning faction in the Party; the true problem is much more complex.
I was very much enthused to hear one individual is already addressing this issue- former Governor Jim Gilmore. He did so in his address to John Taylorâ€™s Tuesday Morning Group Coalition meeting this past Tuesday (blogger Norm Leahy has details on Gilmore's remarks here).
As we all recall, Gilmore was a conservative Governor who was elected on the principle of personal property tax relief for Virginiaâ€™s families (i.e. abolishing the car tax). Gilmore never sugar coated his conservative message for squishy moderates and has always been unwilling to compromise on the core values that have made the Party of Reagan so great. At the TMG meeting he directly addressed the deceitful tax-hiking practices of the â€œmoderateâ€ GOP leadership in the Senate and former Governor Warner.
Most relevant, however, were Gilmoreâ€™s remarks on the troubles facing RPV and this internal battle that is brewing. His principal argument was that many recent Republican candidates have had no coherent message or principles that resonate broadly with the community. Compounding this issue is the reality that distinctions that used to exist between frugal and values-oriented Republicans in the 90s and their Democratic counterparts (post advent of the two-party system in Virginia and the death of the Byrd machine) are becoming increasingly blurry. Republican leaders in the Senate these days are even more eager to raise taxes on Virginiaâ€™s families than their Democratic colleagues. The deadly duo of poor candidate recruitment and messaging and the rise of the â€œmoderateâ€ pseudo-Republican tax-hiking, anti-pro-life agenda in the General Assembly has hurt RPV and increased the cynicism among Virginiaâ€™s voters. To many it is unclear where our candidates stand anymore and it is difficult to make a real distinction.
Now this doesnâ€™t mean we donâ€™t need to use micro-targeting and be pragmatic in expressing our principles- but we must possess them in the first place. And of course we need good, credible candidates well connected in their communities to carry our principles forward, painting them in the â€œbold colorsâ€ of which Reagan spoke.
Itâ€™s refreshing to hear Governor Gilmore address this issue- and it will certainly be interesting to see how the internal party battle unfolds as the blame game continues. I for one agree with the sentiments expressed by John Ashcroft when he famously said that there are "two things you find in the middle of the road: a moderate and a dead skunk, and I don't want to be either one of them.â€ Principle matters.