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Archive for December, 2011

VC Note:  I just received this email from Delegate Bob Marshall (R-13).  Given that I too have previously objected and continue to object to idea of requiring voters to sign a loyalty oath before being allowed to vote, I wanted to share his thoughts with you just in case you are not on his emailing list.

Del. Bob Marshall is urging Virginia’s GOP leaders to ask the State Board of Elections to rescind its ruling that voters, before taking part in the March 6 Republican presidential primary, must pledge in writing that they intend to support the party’s White House nominee in the Nov. 6 general election.

“Ironically, requiring a loyalty oath will bar even former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich from voting in the primary because he already has said unequivocally that he will not vote for Ron Paul for president if he’s the Republican nominee,” Marshall (R., 13th District) noted Thursday (Dec. 29).

“Virginia’s Republican leadership wants to mandate a loyalty oath when Virginia’s Republican officials are in court fighting the Obamacare mandate?  This sends the wrong message.”

Gingrich, a McLean resident, is running for the GOP presidential nomination.  His name, however, will not appear on the primary ballot because he lacked enough petition signatures to qualify.  Only two Republican presidential candidates – Rep. Paul (R., Texas) and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney – have been certified for the primary ballot by GOP State Chairman Pat Mullins.

By a 3-0 vote Wednesday at the request of state GOP leaders, the Board of Elections agreed to invoke a state statute permitting political parties to require loyalty oaths in the nominating process.

The Elections Board approved forms on which voters, before being eligible to cast ballots in the primary, must sign and print their names below a line that reads: “I, the undersigned, pledge that I intend to support the nominee of the Republican Party for president.”

The board also approved a sign to be posted at all polling places advising that “Section 24.2-545 of the Code of Virginia allows the political party holding a primary to determine requirements for voting in the primary, including the signing of a pledge by the voter of his intention to support the party’s candidate when offering to vote in the primary.”

“I understand Republican leaders not wanting Democrats to make our decision for us,” Marshall said, “but a loyalty oath is not the way to address that circumstance.”

Gingrich’s statement that he will not support Paul was made in a CNN interview Tuesday.  [See http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2011/12/27/gingrich-wouldnt-vote-for-ron-paul/]

“Loyalty oaths are detested by many good Republicans who solidly back our party’s principles and who have never voted for a Democrat in their lives,” Marshall said.  “And there are other concerns.

“In November, Virginia House Speaker Bill Howell and Virginia Attorney General Cuccinelli, both Republicans, supported an Independent for Henrico County Commonwealth’s Attorney over the Republican nominee.  Does this make them suspect Republicans?

“How many conservative Democrats voted for Ronald Reagan in ‘Republican’ primaries in 1980?  Would they have voted in a Republican primary that required a loyalty oath when Reagan was probably the only Republican they would vote for?   I doubt it.

“Requiring Virginia election workers to enforce a Republican loyalty oath in a primary paid for by the general taxpayer is a markedly questionable use of tax money.

“Republicans I know want to defeat President Obama and his liberal Democrat supporters in Congress.  I believe the great majority will vote for the Republican nominee over Obama.  I question whether beating Barack Obama, which I am working hard to do, is furthered by requiring a loyalty oath in this presidential primary.”

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In my various posts over the years, I’ve made no secret of my support of Dr. Ron Paul and, even more importantly, the political principles for which he stands.  Therefore, I must say that I was pretty surprised when I got an email asking if I would collect signatures to get Newt Gingrich on the ballot here in the state of Virginia.  For those that know me, you are aware that I had a lot of respect for the former Speaker that morphed into fear/hate relationship stretching back to my earliest awareness of politics, 1994.  Although I would gladly sign any candidate’s petition to get on the ballot, be they Republican, Democratic, third party, or independent, asking my friends and neighbors to do likewise is another matter entirely.

However, the kicker in this situation was the promise of payment for each signature collected.  Heaven knows that it is an extremely tough time financially for so many Americans.  Personally, I’ve had to resort to creative ways to make money as I wait for the start of my next full-time position…whenever that will be.  So, flush with the idea of making a little extra money, I jumped at the chance.  However, while working in my current part-time position, I took a moment to reflect upon Newt Gingrich and my time in politics.

Gingrich is a man who I believe is antithetical to the idea of limited government conservatism, as well as morality.  He seems to advocate remaking society, the government, and really the entire world, not based upon the ideals of liberty, federalism, and personal responsibility, but rather on some sort of futuristic utopia (or dystopia) where Gingrich reigns as the intellectual and political overlord of the ignorant and savage masses.  He oozes hypocrisy writing a book entitled Rediscovering God in America in 2006, after having cheated on two of his wives.  Now maybe you think that he has changed his ways.  Well, if you may recall earlier this year he blamed his past infidelity not as a result of any moral weakness, but due to his overly zealous work ethic.

Even though I could temporarily put my political principles aside and more or less work for this man for the sake of badly needed cash, what would be the result?  How could I live with myself if my actions indirectly led to his election?  Like too many politicians in Washington who have fallen to the temptation, does wealth trump principles?  Who could condemn Gingrich if he or she sold out too?  Just because I have a very disappointing relationship with Ron Paul’s national campaign, cheating on him (and, more importantly, my principles) with his loose and immoral Republican half sister doesn’t reset the scales of justice.  Would every blog post I write from here on out be nothing more than a convenient lie that I tell myself?  Could I pass in front a mirror without pointing at my own reflection and scream “whore!  You are nothing more than a political prostitute”?

Although I will freely admit that I don’t know much about what motivates a person to enter the world’s oldest profession, I wouldn’t imagine that many people engage in prostitution because it sounds fun or offers promise of a stable career, but rather stems from a desperate hope to do anything to escape their present misery.  Maybe I’m being a little overly optimistic here (and/or naïve depending on your perspective), but there is no good reason why, as Ronald Reagan once quipped, the second oldest profession (politics) has to bear a “striking resemblance to the first”.

In the end, I couldn’t bring myself to help Mr. Gingrich.  I believe that doing so would have been a tacit endorsement of his campaign.  Now to my fellow activists and friends who did collect for him, don’t think for a minute that this article seeks to condemn your efforts.  After all, I doubt any of you have the same relationship with Newt that I have had, watching your political hero trample upon what you thought were your shared principles.

As you may have heard, Newt Gingrich will not be on Virginia’s March 3rd Republican primary ballot unless he mounts a successful legal challenge.  Although I doubt that whatever signatures I would have collected would have changed this outcome, I believe that I made the right decision.  The temptation always looms, especially in these uncertain times, but we all have to keep reminding ourselves that principles should not be sold to the highest bidder and honor is worth more than a ton of gold.

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As my most recent article on examiner.com states, last week I conducted a straw poll at the meeting of the Harrisonburg/Rockingham County Shenandoah Valley Tea Party.  Here are the results:

2012 Republican Presidential Primary

Newt Gingrich – 30%

Michelle Bachmann – 27%

Rick Santorum – 20%

Ron Paul – 7%

Rick Perry – 7%

Jon Huntsman – 7%

Mitt Romney – 0%

Would not vote in the GOP Primary – 3%

2012 Republican Senate Primary

E.W. Jackson – 40%

George Allen – 37%

Jamie Radtke – 13%

Bob Marshall (written in, not listed on the ballot) – 7%

Tim Donner – 0%

David McCormick – 0%

Would not vote in the GOP Primary – 3%

2012 Democratic Senate Primary

No respondents cast a vote in this primary

2012 Republican 6th District House of Representatives Primary

Karen Kwiatkowski – 47%

Bob Goodlatte – 43%

Other (no name filled in) – 3%

Office left blank – 3%

Would not vote in the GOP Primary – 3%

I’m not going to rehash the finer bits about the poll.  If you’d like that information, I encourage you to read my previous article.  Instead of reporting, which is what they primarily request at examiner.com, you’ll find my commentary on each of the three races.

1. President

To be quite honest, I was very surprised by this result.  Why would Tea Partiers embrace Gingrich, a man who is arguably the least conservative in the Republican field?  I’d guess that it has more to do with his surging popularity and his favorable news coverage on places like Fox News rather than areas of policy agreement.  At least I hope that idea is correct.  Neither Bachmann nor Santorum’s strong showing really came as a shock.  After all, whether you agree or disagree with the label, they are billed as “tea party candidates”.  But Paul with only 7%?  If you are wondering, that meant he only got two votes, myself and one other person.  Although Paul may not win a majority of the tea party vote (even though I think he should), he should certainly capture a higher percentage.

So has the Ron Paul campaign reached out to the tea party movement across the country?  I would assume it would be fertile ground.  After all, the tea party supposedly grew out of the dissatisfaction regarding the big government policies of both Democrat Barack Obama and his Republican predecessor, George W. Bush, in a similar manner of the groundswell for Dr. Paul.  In order to spread awareness of Ron Paul and sway my local tea party toward his campaign, I have called his national headquarters many times and, once that failed, even sent them a letter asking for campaign materials.  Each time I contact them I am told that I would be getting something in the mail.  More than a month later, I still have nothing, which is more than a little distressing.  If you will recall, the tea parties in Kentucky helped get Rand Paul elected Senator.  Don’t you think they could be helpful in electing his father to be our next president?

2. U.S. Senate

The result for the Senate race also held a lot of surprises.  As you see, E.W. Jackson finished first.  Although he is likely the strongest, most articulate, and passionate speaker of any of the other Republican or Democratic candidates, I have seen nothing to lead me to believe that he has a particularly strong and organized campaign.

Second, George Allen captured second.  Again, this result might leave your jaw open wondering if the tea party has a heavy minority of establishment Republicans.  Not surprisingly, this poll shows a very strong correlation between support for Newt Gingrich and support for George Allen.  Of Gingrich’s ten votes, seven of them also supported George Allen.

Third, Jamie Radtke, Tim Donner, and David McCormick ought to be concerned by these results.  Although the Senate race is still many months away, I would assume that each would require tea party support to be successful.  With Radtke finishing a distant third and Donner and McCormick with no votes whatsoever, I would recommend that each needs to visit more tea party organizations in order to sway, not only the tea party leaders, but also the regular tea party members.

Fourth, Bob Marshall got two votes.  This fact may seem trivial given that is it such a low number, but given that his name wasn’t even on the ballot; you do wonder how he would fare.  After all, while leafing through the results, one tea partier mentioned to me that she would have voted for Marshall if his name were listed as a choice.  Will Marshall enter?  The answer to that question is still unknown.

3. House of Representatives

Next, we had the race for the Republican nominee for House of Representatives.  Karen Kwiatkowski, the challenger to ten-term incumbent Bob Goodlatte, won by a single vote.  Believe or not, this result was not surprising.  Although neither Goodlatte nor Kwiatkowski have been a featured speaker at the tea party, Kwiatkowski has taken the effort to show up to a handful of meetings.  On other hand, the tea party rallied outside of his office over his support for raising the debt ceiling, and seems to be suffering additional blowback for his sponsorship of the Stop Online Piracy Act. Assuming these trends continue, I wouldn’t be surprised if Kwiatkowski captures at least 2/3rds of the tea party vote up and down the Shenandoah Valley by the time the primaries roll around.

Again, there appears to be a pretty strong correlation between Goodlatte supporters and two other so-called “establishment” candidates, Newt Gingrich and George Allen.  Of Goodlatte’s thirteen votes, 77% also supported Gingrich, Allen, or both.  By comparison, of Kwiatowski’s fourteen votes, 79% supported neither Gingrich nor Allen.

Lastly, as a novel aside, one respondent gave what I dub as the “2012, Year of the Woman” response by voting for Bachmann, Radtke, and Kwiatkowski.  Regardless of whether you support or oppose these candidates, I don’t believe that the sex of a candidate should play a role in whether or not he or she should receive your vote.  After all, look at Margaret Thatcher in the U.K.  I would gladly replace a vast majority of our politicians with either a man or woman who shared Thatcher’s principles and convictions.

Getting back to my article on examiner.com, I find it rather amusing that the folks who have dismissed the survey and article are fellow Ron Paul supporters.  Here’s what I’ve got to say on the matter.  Look, these are the results.  I would have liked to see Ron Paul win the poll, just like you would have.  However, just because I didn’t end up with my desired result doesn’t mean I should suppress the story.  After all, I don’t work for the mainstream media.  And yes, thirty people may not be a very large number, but I still believe it fairly accurately depicts the attitudes of the local tea party.  If you aren’t happy with these numbers then that point should encourage you to get out there and press even harder for our candidate.  After all, I would expect that both members of the local Republicans as well as tea partiers would show up in large numbers to the March 6th primary.  With that thought in mind, who do you think is more likely to vote for Ron Paul?  Rank and file Republicans or tea party members?  That’s what I thought.  Now go and spread the word!

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VC Note:  I’m pleased to share a guest post from Melody Scalley, a Virginia talk-show host and entrepreneur who resides on the Eastern Shore.

Image from gettyimages.com

Unless you have a high paying government job, and even if you do, you are probably well aware that the majority of American’s are deeply impacted by the ongoing devastation to the United States economy since President Obama took office.

While overall the unemployment rate hovers close to 9%, minority unemployment remains consistently near 15% and these figures show no indication of significant improvement in the near future.  Meanwhile, the current administrations lack of a positive Energy Policy is not only hamstringing companies that could add much needed AMERICAN JOBS to the economy; it is also compromising our long term national security and unnecessarily delaying our economic recovery.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) recently released a report that shows the U.S. is on track to actually export a net increase in gasoline, diesel and other oil-based fuels in 2011 for the first time in 62 years.  This is due to the fact that while our economy is stalled, the economy in emerging markets is booming.  However these record exports are not forecast to continue.  EIA is also predicting domestic oil production will fall 240,000 barrels/day through 2012, mainly due to the continued Gulf “energy freeze” imposed by our current administration.

The United States has the highest standards for environmental protection in the free world.  Other countries do not endeavor to protect the environment for future generations as we do, yet their lack of concern for the environment will affect all of us.  We have the desire to be good stewards of the environment as well as the technology to extract our resources in a safe and efficient manner.  The U.S. also has the most stringent work place safety requirements of any nation.  We have the energy resources right here within our borders.  If President Obama wanted to put American’s back to work he has an entire industry waiting for the green light to help him turn around our economy.

I grew up in New Orleans and my Dad worked on the oil rigs.  I can attest first hand that oil industry jobs keep food on the table, the lights on and the rent paid.  If we simply used the God-given resources we have in our great Nation, many American’s would not be needlessly losing their homes and struggling to keep their lights on and their families fed.

We still import over half of our oil and petroleum products.  Instead of selling our debt to China we should be selling our OIL to China and reducing our national debt.  We do not lack the resources in America.  What we lack is leadership and the political will to demand our administration put forward an energy policy that is beneficial to Americans and the United States.  Let’s start the New Year on the right path.  It is time to resume drilling within American borders and stop exporting American jobs.

If you are interested in hearing more of Melody Scalley’s commentary, reports, and interviews, you can find her on the radio at WESR FM on Thursday from 6 PM to 9 PM or also by visiting her website, http://melodyscalley.com/.

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Good evening everyone.

I just wanted to draw your attention to my latest two pieces which can be found on examiner.com.  The first asks the question of whether it is more important to select a party nominee based upon his or her political principles or instead upon his or her ability to win the general election.  The second reminds readers of the upcoming tea party meetings taking place in the Valley on December 15th.  Both are worth a read, so head on over to check them out.

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The internet is full of polls related to the Republican presidential nomination.  Who do you want as the Republican nominee?  That question is likely the hottest political issue in most, if not all, parts of the country.

But let’s try flipping this question around.  Who do you believe is the worst GOP contender?  Even if you will vote for any Republican over Obama, which man or woman do you hope isn’t the standard bearer?

Now don’t think that just because you are not a Republican you shouldn’t answer.  The poll is designed for everyone.  This question is for Republicans, Democrats, Greens, Libertarians, Constitutionalists, and independents alike, regardless if you plan to re-elect the President, vote Republican, or choose a third-party candidate.

So, whether it is a dispute over domestic policy, foreign policy, political philosophy, or even a personality clash, if you had your choice, which of the eight major candidates do you not want to see as the main challenger to President Barack Obama in November of 2012?

Feel free to share your reasons for your vote in the comments section as well.

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In what will be at least the second Republican nomination fight in 2013, today Delegate Rob Bell of Albemarle County has announced his bid to be Virginia’s next Attorney General.

As a result, currently the field consists of two people, Delegate Rob Bell and Senator Mark Obenshain of Harrisonburg.  Personally, I find it rather interesting that two legislators who both represent a portion of Rockingham County are running for Ken Cuccinelli’s position.  This development makes me hopeful that the Shenandoah Valley will receive a little more attention in state politics in the near future.

Here is Delegate Bell’s letter which outlines his ideas for Attorney General:

Dear Friend:

Last week, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli announced that he will not be running for re-election. Today I am announcing my candidacy to be Virginia’s next Attorney General.

 

The Attorney General is Virginia’s chief law enforcement officer, and I would bring substantial experience to the job. I began work as a state prosecutor in Orange County in 1996. During my five years there, I worked with deputies and crime victims to prosecute more than 2,400 cases.  I prosecuted drunk drivers and domestic abusers and held them accountable for their actions.  I worked on horrifying cases of sexual abuse.  I made house calls to crime victims and gave them my home phone number, so they could reach me, day or night.
Since my election to the General Assembly in 2001, I have continued to spearhead the fight against crime. In 2004, we had a case where a sexual predator visited with students at a local elementary school while dressed as Santa Claus.  I wrote the law to keep people like him out of our schools. While serving in the prosecutor’s office, I prosecuted more than 100 DUI cases, including those where people were killed. In Richmond, I wrote laws to mandate jail for drunk drivers with high blood alcohol or who had kids in the car. Last year, after the tragic death of a student at U.Va., I patroned the bill to make it easier for threatened citizens to get protective orders.

 

We have had successes, but there is so much more to do. Every night, there are Virginians who bar their windows and lock their doors to keep dangerous criminals at bay.  I believe that’s backwards – it should be the criminals who are behind lock and key, not our citizens.  Our work will be not done until any Virginian can walk anywhere, anytime, without fear of being assaulted, robbed, or worse.  All Virginians – rich and poor – deserve safe neighborhoods.

 

Writing tough criminal laws has not been my only priority in the House of Delegates. After the Supreme Court stripped property rights away in the Kelo decision, I worked with then-Senator Ken Cuccinelli to pass a law to protect private property from abusive eminent domain. I am proud that this year we stand on the doorstep of enshrining these rights in the Virginia Constitution, and I plan on patroning the Resolution to do this. Like Senator Cuccinelli, my work was recognized by the Virginia Property Rights Coalition, which awarded me the John C. Marshall Award. In 2008, after the shooting at Virginia Tech, I worked with mental health workers and police, and patroned the bill to overhaul Virginia’s involuntary commitment laws.

 

I have been recognized as a conservative leader in the House, fighting against higher taxes and the expansion of government. I am proud that I received a designation from the American Conservative Union as a Defender of Liberty for my 100% score on their targeted votes.

 

I believe my experience as a prosecutor and a conservative lawmaker has given me the background to serve as Virginia’s next Attorney General. As Attorney General, I would continue to fight crime and to promote safer schools and neighborhoods.   I would carry on Attorney General Cuccinelli’s battle to rein in unconstitutional overreach by the federal Government.  I would fight to protect property rights and to eliminate unnecessary and burdensome regulations.

 

But this is not something I can do alone. I will need your prayers and ideas. Ultimately, to be successful, I will need your time and your financial support. Rob Bell Delegate, 58th District

 

I’m a conservative and a crime fighter. I ask for you to help me become Virginia’s next Attorney General.

If you would like to share your thoughts or to join the campaign, you can e-mail me at rob@delegaterobbell.com – I would love to hear from you.
Sincerely,

Rob Bell
Delegate, 58th District

Exciting times.  I’ll provide more news on this race as it becomes available.

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