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Archive for November, 2011

I haven’t seen Corey Stewart in the city of Harrisonburg since he spoke to the Shenandoah Valley Tea Party back on February 24th.  At that time, he spoke primarily regarding The Rule of Law Campaign, but also explained how George Allen was a poor legislator during his time in the United States Senate.  Although I could discuss in length how his recent flip-flop on the former Governor greatly tarnished my opinion of him, that topic must wait for another article.

Although Stewart himself will not be at James Madison University, his actions as the Chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors will be a central focus on Tuesday.  Tomorrow, JMU’s chapter of Amnesty International along with Virginia Organizing will be holding a screening of the new film 9500 Liberty.  From what I’ve read about the movie, it paints Stewart and his supporters in unflattering terms.  According to rottentomatoes.com, “9500 Liberty reveals the startling vulnerability of a local government, targeted by national anti-immigration networks using the Internet to frighten and intimidate lawmakers and citizens.”

I know most conservatives don’t care for Amnesty International and I will confess that I don’t like some of their positions, such as their opposition to Virginia’s death penalty.  However, when it comes to issues like torture, this group serves an important role as a watchdog to protect citizens and foreigners alike from abuse.

So here is the trailer for 9500 Liberty:

I’m guessing that I will not agree with the message of 9500 Liberty.  After all, protecting our borders is one of the primary Constitutional duties of the federal government.  If Washington D.C. cannot or fails to prevent aliens from entering our country illegally, then it falls to our state and local governments to pick up the slack.  In general, I’ve been supportive of the efforts of folks like Corey Stewart to battle the influx of those people who have violated our laws.

So why should we watch the film?  Well, even if you happen to disagree with the political premise, that doesn’t mean that the movie has no value.  After all, although I wouldn’t rate Fahrenheit 9/11 as a particularly great work, it did raise questions that needed to be discussed.  So too could 9500 Liberty.  I hope it is more than mere liberal propaganda.

In case you are interested, 9500 Liberty will be showing on November 15th from 7 PM to 9 PM at JMU’s Memorial Hall in room 2210.  Love it or hate it, my hope is that this movie will expand the political dialogue.  I suppose that there is only one way to find our for sure.

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Currently, five candidates are vying for the Republican nomination for the Senate seat currently held by Jim Webb.  But could a sixth soon join the fray?

As far back as two years ago, I began wondering if Delegate Bob Marshall would seek Virginia’s Senate seat again.  After all, in 2008 he came within a handful of votes of upsetting the establishment favorite, former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore, at the Republican convention.  Along with Corey Stewart, rumors swirled that Marshall would run after he won re-election.

Throughout the past forty-seven or so months, the topic keeps popping up.  On multiple occasions, including The Leadership Institute’s 4th of July Soirée and the Agenda 21 presentation in Verona, I’ve spoken with several folks with very close connections to Delegate Marshall who indicated that he would enter the contest.

Now that his House of Delegates election is over, he can now focus on this race…assuming he chooses to do so.

But what are his chances of success?  Has the race solidified sufficiently to severely hinder any new entrant?  Have the coalition of activists and politicos that rallied behind him back in 2008 already selected a candidate in this race?  Well, it is true that Marshall’s former campaign manager has joined the Allen campaign, many social conservatives are supporting E.W. Jackson, and Jamie Radtke is working her tea party contacts.  Earlier, I argued that waiting until after Election Day 2011 would be too late for any candidate.  But perhaps I was mistaken.  After all, the field still seems pretty divided.

In addition, Delegate Marshall enjoys the highest name recognition of the non-Allen candidates.  For example, the marriage amendment to the Virginia Constitution bears his name as the Marshall/Newman Amendment.  If can gather together his loyal band of activists from the 2008 convention, maybe he can position himself as the best conservative alternative to Allen as he did with Gilmore three years ago.  Then again, perhaps Radtke, Donner, Jackson, or McCormick is already on his or her way to capturing that title.

So will Bob Marshall announce?  I cannot say for certain, but I expect we will have our answer very soon.

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A few moments ago, I returned from Bridgewater College where U.S. Senate Candidate David McCormick spoke to the Bridgewater College Republicans.  Now, this meeting was important for several reasons.

First, it heralded the return of the CR organization to the campus.  When I worked for the Republican Party of Virginia back in 2006, I was a bit disappointed to discover that the CRs here seemed a bit disjointed.  As it turns out, that group disbanded shortly thereafter and has just been re-recognized by student activities only recently.

Second, it gave me a chance to listen to and also speak with David McCormick.  As I stated in my review of the Verona debate, Mr. McCormick began to draw my attention during the latter half of the event.  Therefore, I had been looking for an opportunity to learn more about him.  Tonight provided such a chance.

He didn’t offer some great and lofty speech, but rather asked each of us individually what issues were important and then offered his opinion on that subject. Topics of interest included: taxes, federalism, immigration, energy independence, and foreign policy.  Although this style of presentation is downright impossible for a huge gathering, I believe it was a very good idea for a group our size as it invited each of us to participate in learning who David McCormick is and what he stands for.

After the evening came to a close, I had a chance to chat with Mr. McCormick in the parking lot about campaigning, Virginia politics, the tea party, and other related matters.  I’m guessing we could have continued for an even longer period of time if it wasn’t so cold outside.  It makes sense that as we are both conservatives, we would share a lot of the same political concerns.  However, what impressed me the most was his honest sincerity to change Washington for the better.

As the 2011 elections are now a thing of the past, more and more people will begin focusing on 2012.  Republicans have five choices for Senate; do you currently know enough about them to make an informed decision?

If you care to hear David McCormick in person for yourself, he will be returning to the Shenandoah Valley in about thirty-six hours.  On Saturday, starting at 9:30 AM, he will be speaking at the next gathering of the Shenandoah Valley Constitutional Conservatives.  They meet at the Denny’s in Mount Jackson.

Thanks again to the Bridgewater College Republicans for hosting this event.  I’m looking forward to hearing of more of your political activities in the coming months.

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VC Note:  This brief article regarding the 2011 election comes from the Republican Party of Virginia.

Election 2011: What it Means

 — GOP Supermajority in House, Majority in Senate, Solid Start for 2012 — 

The votes are counted. The canvass is done, and the dust has settled. What does it all mean?

First, let’s look at the lay of the land.

House of Delegates

* Republicans picked up 7 seats in the House of Delegates.

* Republicans now have a 68 seat caucus in the House, the most in history.

* Republicans won 13 of 14 open seats in the House.

* Republicans defeated 2 Democrat incumbents in the House.

* All 52 incumbent Republicans seeking re-election won.

 

Senate of Virginia

* Republicans have won a working majority in the Senate.

* Republicans gained two seats to make it 20-20 with Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling holding the decisive tie-breaking vote.

* Republicans won 3 of 5 open seats in the Senate.

* Republicans defeated 2 Democrat incumbents in the Senate.

* All 15 incumbent Republicans seeking re-election won.
 

So what does it all mean?

First and foremost, Virginians overwhelmingly voted for a Republican controlled General Assembly.

 

Just look at the numbers:

 

House GOP Votes: 757,000, about 61% of all votes cast

House Dem Votes:  419,000, about 33% of all votes cast


Senate GOP Votes
: 771,000, about 57% of all votes cast
Senate DEM Votes: 554,000, about 41% of all votes cast

 

2011 caps a remarkable three-year run for Virginia Republicans:

 

* In 2009, Virginia Republicans won all three statewide offices by massive margins and picked up 6 seats in the House of Delegates.
* In 2010, Virginia Republicans defeated 3 incumbent Congressional Democrats and came within a few hundred votes of defeating a fourth, moving the Congressional delegation to 8-3 and clearing the way for our own Rep. Eric Cantor to become U.S. House Majority Leader.
* In 2011, Virginia Republicans picked up 7 more seats in the House of Delegates and picked up 2 seats in the state Senate.

For three years running, the message from Virginia voters has been clear. We expect them to send the same resounding message again in 2012.

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This morning, citizens across Virginia awake to a day much like any other.  The sun has risen, the temperature is fairly warm, and life proceeds steadily onward.  The politicos among us, still weary from the toils of yesterday, look to the results of Election Day and are instilled with either hope or dread depending on one’s perspective.  So what are the results?

The biggest topic is the Virginia Senate.  So far, the Republican Party has netted one seat with Bill Stanley’s narrow win over Roscoe Reynolds in the 20th district.  The 17th district is still too close to call with Republican Bryce Reeves currently enjoying a 136-vote lead over incumbent Edd Houck.  It seems very likely that a recount in that district is coming soon.

Although the GOP has made gains, it certainly isn’t the slam-dunk that many conservative and Republican activists had hoped.  Assuming Houck emerges victorious, the Democrats will retain control of the Senate.  If Reeves wins, then the chamber will be evenly split with Republican Lt. Governor Bill Bolling likely casting the deciding tie-breaking vote in many circumstances.

One question that has troubled me throughout the campaign is, assuming the Republicans gain control of the Senate (or have a 20-20 tie), who will lead the party in that chamber?  Will it be a fiscal, social, and constitutional conservative?  Or will it be someone in the mold of former Senator John Chichester?  Even though I’ve been told by several sources that we will not return to such days, unless the GOP chooses a leader based on conservative principles, and not merely on seniority, I remain concerned.

Before moving on to the other races, I believe it is important to recognize that conservatives could have made their gains greater, but they spread their resources too thinly.

Looking at the unofficial results, the GOP ran pretty close campaigns in the 1st, the 33rd, the 36th, the 37th, the 38th, and the 39th.  However, the party devoted efforts to wide range of other races and thus ended up short in so many places.  As Bearing Drift stated in the most recent issue of their magazine, the 36th and the 38th districts leaned Republican and yet both were lost.  If money and volunteers were used in a wiser fashion, would the GOP now have a 21 or 22-seat majority instead?  To use a sports analogy, why gamble so much and swing for a homerun when a simple base will win (or at least tie) the game?

Here at home, Republican Bryan Hutcheson will be the new Sheriff of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County.  Even though the city was close, Hutcheson captured an amazing 66% of the vote in the county.  Congratulations to Mr. Hutcheson and his campaign team for their decisive win.

Moving north, Craig Orndorff emerged the top vote getter in the four-way race for Soil and Water Conservation Director in Shenandoah County.  Best wishes to him in his new position.

With the House of Delegates firmly in Republican hands, not too much attention has been given to that chamber.  However, given my ties with a particular House of Delegates seat, the last area of interest is the 93rd district.  As I mentioned previously, this district became a little more Republican after redistricting.  Mike Watson of Williamsburg capitalized on shift by defeating freshman Delegate Robin Abbott of Newport News.

Over all, things haven’t changed too much here in Virginia.  I’m sure pundits from both sides of the aisle will spin the results to declare victory for their cause boldly stating that either President Obama has been repudiated or vindicated.  Personally, I don’t think this election demonstrated a huge shift, but rather serves as another testament to Virginia’s conservative-leaning principles.

As the ink begins to dry on Election Day 2011, we prepare for 2012.  Given the limited space on my car, today is the annual ritual of bumper sticker removal.  So long Delegate Wilt and Senator Obenshain.  I expect to see both your names on my vehicle for the 2013 cycle.

The ceaseless political battle continues again soon.  But, for the moment, let’s come together as Virginians united and savor a respite.  The time for reflection and introspection is at hand.

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In about eight and a half hours polls across the Commonwealth of Virginia will open.  On the ballot, we will find each member of the House of Delegates, the Virginia Senate, and a whole host of local and constitutional offices.

The most talked about aspect of this election statewide is control of the State Senate.  Currently, the Democratic Party enjoys a 22-18 majority in that chamber.  Most commentators, myself included, believe that the Republican Party will pick up several seats.  The two questions are: how many seats will the GOP gain and where will they enjoy the greatest success?

Here in the Shenandoah Valley, neither the House nor the Senate races are particularly interesting.  Most incumbents are unopposed and the one Delegate who is challenged, Delegate Dickie Bell of Staunton, should win handily.  As I’ve mentioned, the race for Sheriff is the most exciting contest in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County.  Of course, I’m also interested to hear the outcome of the school board race in the county too.

In years past, you would often find me outside polling places, working for a candidate or the party.  This year, though, I’m trying something new.  I’ll be working for Rockingham County to help oversee one of their many polling places.  From 5 AM to 9 PM, you will find me at this post.  It’s going to be a long day, but whether you are a Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, or an Independent, we can all agree that ensuring proper voting and fair play is a central element of our election process.

Anyway, if you live in Virginia, I want to remind you to vote tomorrow.  Sure, this election may not be as glamorous as the 2012 Presidential race to come, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore it.  After all, if you want to have a voice in your state and local government, now you have your chance!  Polls are open from 6 AM to 7 PM.

Vote Virginia!

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On Thursday, I received a rather negative comment on this blog regarding an event going on at James Madison University.  After reading such news, I decided to head over to the university to see what all the fuss was about.  Well, it seems that the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform had put up their Genocide Awareness Project (or G.A.P.) in the middle of campus.

For those who haven’t heard of G.A.P. before, it is a colorful display that contains graphic images of both abortions and various mass murders through the ages such as the Holocaust and the Rwandan butchery.

Now, I can understand why these pictures would upset most people, like the person who sent me the comment yesterday.  After all, when I first started working for Students for Life of America, I had a rather negative impression myself.  Who wants to see such horrible pictures?  Of course the answer is no one.  Won’t they just serve to turn people off from the movement?

But then I got to thinking about my own experience.  Back in high school, what motivated me to be a pro-life activist?  Wasn’t it the same terrible pictures adorning literature from Heritage House 76?

Dukes for Choice Protest

But don’t these images serve to weaken the pro-life cause?  Well, how many people do you suppose are either so disgusted (or so pleased) by these pictures that they decide to have an abortion as a result?  I doubt anyone could make such a claim.  Abortions aren’t pretty, nor are the images that result from this choice.  Some pro-lifers may reject these tactics, but if any choose to abandon the movement when confronted with them, then I doubt they had a very strong commitment in the first place.

No one likes to see these pictures, nor should they.  They are meant to show the real-life consequences of abortion.  You can argue the philosophic merits or detriments of abortion all you like, but when you face the brutal images of the deed, you cannot help but feel revulsion.  It is both natural and human.

After touring the Buchenwald concentration camp outside of Weimar and seeing the photos of what went on there during the Nazi regime, I gained a new-found understanding of the barbarous ways that a man can treat his fellow man.  It wasn’t a journey for fun or pleasure, but it was nevertheless important.  Hopefully, by making such knowledge public we can decrease the likelihood of such events happening in the future.

So too is the goal of the G.A.P.  The organizers don’t like these pictures anymore than you or I.  So then why do they do it?  Well, as a result of this gross panorama the life of even one unborn child is saved, is it worth it?  I believe the answer is yes.

Below are several thumbnail pictures of Thursday’s event.  You are free to look at these graphic images or not.  If you have never seen pictures of the results of an abortion, I encourage you to do so.  Consider yourself warned; you won’t like them, of course, but they do serve as a valuable tool.

So what will your reaction be the next time G.A.P. and the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform comes to your campus?  Will you protest, like one reader and Dukes for Choice, demanding restrictions and squelching the 1st Amendment right of free speech?  Or will they motivate you to take a stand for those who cannot speak for themselves?  I suppose that there is only one way to find out.

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