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Posts Tagged ‘Republican Politics’

“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood.”  So begins Robert Frost’s immortal poem and so too the liberty movement in Virginia now faces two or more roads.  Nowhere can this divide be seen more clearly than in the 2013 race for governor where many liberty activists supported Republican Ken Cuccinelli and others rallied behind Libertarian Robert Sarvis.  As attacks mounted, each side grew to despise the other.

The question now becomes what should be done?  Many people declared that the Republican ticket of Cuccinelli, Jackson, and Obenshain was the most liberty-minded statewide slate of candidates Virginia had ever seen.  However, Cuccinelli and Jackson both fell in defeat and Obenshain is a few votes behind Herring; at this point, that contest and the recount to likely follow isn’t terribly promising.

On the Libertarian side of things, although Robert Sarvis performed leaps and bounds better than Gary Johnson’s presidential run in 2012 or Bill Redpath’s 2001 gubernatorial race, he was unable to reach the 10% mark, which would have given tremendous legitimacy to the Libertarian party and awarded them official status within the two major parties in the state.

Some of my fellow liberty activists remain firmly committed within the Republican camp, arguing that taking over the GOP is the only realistic hope for liberty.  However, there are grumblings within the establishment of that party, whether fairly or not, using 2012 as an example of what happens when the party drifts too far from the center.  Although perhaps mere rumors, there is talk of expelling the tea party and the liberty movement from their ranks.  And, given the proclivity of some Republicans to pass massive tax increases and meddle too much into personal affairs, an increasing number of libertarians see the GOP as a major part of the problem.

Others declare the Libertarian Party to be the path of the future for liberty.  However, given the party did not achieve its 10% goal, it still faces significant hurdles both electorally and, just as important, the wasted vote syndrome embedded within the minds of scores of Virginia citizens.  The party is still quite small and underfunded, thus the challenges are enormous.  And some of their positions are unpalatable to liberty-minded social conservatives.

As you likely know, during this election cycle I looked at the choices and was…“sorry I could not travel both”; ultimately taking “the one less traveled by”.

Like I stated as the campaign cycle began to take a particularly nasty tone, one of my greatest concerns was the rift in the liberty faction.  The Republican wing considered the Libertarian to be fools, wasting their time on a candidate and cause that clearly could not win, while the Libertarian wing thought the Republicans to be sell-outs, supporting candidates who did not really adhere to the message of liberty.

Regardless of which party you believe is the best vehicle for advancing liberty (or if you choose no party at all), the liberty movement needs to heal, respect each other, and come together in some fashion if we wish it to advance.  My advice to all sides is to reach across the partisan divide and search out like-minded Republicans, Libertarians, and even Democrats (yes, they do they exist.  However, they were troubled by Cuccinelli’s supposedly radical social agenda.)  At least that’s what I’m trying to accomplish.  At the end of the day, it is my great hope that we can say, “and that has made all the difference.”

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IMG_2204Yesterday morning at 10 AM, Ken Cuccinelli greeted supporters at the Harrisonburg/Rockingham County Republican Party headquarters.  There were almost forty in the crowd including several members of the media.

After an introduction by Delegate Tony Wilt (R-26), Cuccinelli spoke on a number of topics, drawing clear contrasts between himself and Terry McAuliffe.  As in previous speeches, Cuccinelli did a pretty good job balancing the troubling positions of his Democratic opponent while offering his own positive solutions to these issues, unlike the bulk of his campaign, which is still mired in negativity.

One issue that ought to be distressing to Republicans regarding the event is the attendance of Saturday’s gathering, especially this close to the election.  By comparison, the Sarvis event in Harrisonburg earlier that week drew about three times the crowd and the lieutenant governor debate watching party also had slightly better numbers.  One would expect that a multitude of conservatives from in and around the Shenandoah Valley would come out to wish Cuccinelli well; unfortunately, the fact that they did not perhaps further underscores the fact that both Cuccinelli and McAuliffe are viewed with disdain by huge segments of Virginia voters.

With less than a month to go until the election, it should be interesting to see how the polls fluctuate and what Virginia voters ultimately decide on November 5th.

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Delegate Todd Gilbert

Delegate Todd Gilbert

As hinted in my previous piece, Delegate Todd Gilbert of Shenandoah County could also be facing a Republican primary challenger this election cycle.  The 15th district, which Mr. Gilbert has represented since 2006, includes Shenandoah and Page Counties as well as a portion of Warren and Rockingham Counties.  As reported in today’s issue of the Daily News Record, Mark Prince, a retired airline pilot from northern Shenandoah County may seek the nomination as well.  Should Mr. Prince choose to run, his central issues are, as of yet, unknown.

 

Last night at the meeting of the Harrisonburg Tea Party, I had the opportunity to meet with Mark Berg, a 10th district representative on the Virginia Republican State Central Committee.  He announced that he is challenging Beverly Sherwood for the GOP nod in the 29th district.  The 29th district, which Ms. Sherwood has represented since 1994, includes the city of Winchester, Frederick County, and a portion of Warren County.  As Mr. Berg mentioned, Delegate Sherwood is among a number of Republicans who voted for the recent transportation tax hike, called the largest tax increase in Virginia history.

The Shenandoah Valley is quickly entering uncharted political territory, incumbent legislators facing intraparty challengers.  For the nearly two decades that I’ve been involved and active, most elected officials in this region have captured the Republican nomination without question, year after year for as long as they choose to remain in that office.  So is 2013 the dawn of a new era of political competition?  Will even more candidates emerge to challenge the status quo?  Or will this election serve as a mere hiccup in the normal routine?  Only time will tell.

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Earlier today, the House of Representatives held a vote for speaker of that body.  Although there was and still remains conservative animosity toward John Boehner, he secured re-election as speaker with 220 votes out of 426 cast.  Nancy Pelosi finished in second place, garnering the support of the Democratic members of that body with 192 votes.

390px-Bob_Goodlatte_OfficialAs you may know, prior to this vote, Virginia’s 6th District Republican Committee, the district that Bob Goodlatte represents in the house, passed a strongly-worded resolution calling upon Representative Goodlatte to oppose Boehner’s re-election as speaker.  It should also be noted that this resolution passed unanimously, favored by Republican political activists throughout the greater Shenandoah, Page, and Roanoke Valleys.

For the record, the resolution reads as follows:

November 10, 2012

Dear Congressman Goodlatte,

The framers of the Constitution of the United States wisely instituted the division of powers, not merely to enable specialization of the respective commissions, but primarily to limit the powers of each community. Under the influence of both Christian thought and the abysmal historical precedents of foreign nations, they recognized the tendency even of the best of men to secure to themselves unlimited and unjust authority, and to employ it for the purpose of enslaving the masses. The authors judiciously embraced their moral obligation by including this mechanism (division of powers) for the simple frustration of such tyrannical efforts.

The imposition of Obamacare against the wishes of the people is an unequivocal expression of the anticipated tyrannical powers. Yet even though every member of the House of Representatives is aware of his ability to thwart this measure, no such effort of protection is forthcoming. Apparently few enough care more about the people they purport to represent than about their own political aspirations.

Speaker Boehner has called for “Repeal and Replace,” all the while he has been fully cognizant of the fact that the Senate and the President would not concur with him.  Such disingenuous acts are intended to defraud the people while leading them to believe he is fighting for their cause. His unwillingness to lead the effort to de-fund Obama’s healthcare, a truly feasible mechanism for restraining this tyranny, is a conscious dereliction of duty. His recent commitment to active pursuit of its funding, coupled with his capitulation on the issue of amnesty and his agreement to raise taxes are acts that are nothing short of treasonous to our interests and our security.

Therefore, we are writing to notify you of our unwillingness to accept such representation; to demand that you oppose the selection of Mr. Boehner as speaker for the next session; that you only select a representative who is willing to engage fully in battle against Obamacare and the many other imprudent and unconstitutional efforts of the Obama administration, and that our future support for you is contingent upon your efforts to lead the fight to deny President Obama every unconstitutional measure, and that this must be done without excuse.

Passed unanimously, this 10th day of November, 2012

The Sixth Congressional District Republican Committee of Virginia

Although some activists may appreciate the willingness of Goodlatte to stand his ground, this move to re-elect Boehner will almost certainly infuriate his base, the conservatives of the 6th district who believe that the federal government has grown well beyond its constitutional limitations and who also think our Republican leadership has been actively leading the country in the wrong direction.

A few moments ago, I called Bob Goodlatte’s D.C. office as well as all of his district offices to confirm his vote on this matter.  Although I have been unable to secure a direct confirmation from these sources, I was told if given a choice between John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi, Goodlatte would choose Boehner.  However, this either/or choice is not entirely correct.  Although it is true that there was no single, unified Republican candidate to stand against Boehner, other options were available as illustrated by the fact that some Republican members of the house cast their votes for Rep. Eric Cantor, former Rep. Allen West, Rep. Justin Amash, Rep. Jim Jordan, Rep. Raul Labrador, or David Walker.  Other also voted present or remained silent when his or her name was called.  According to Republican Liberty Caucus Chairman Dave Nalle, Representative Goodlatte was not among the list of Republican representatives who opposed Boehner.

In this most recent election cycle, Bob Goodlatte faced a Republican challenger for the first time in his 20 years in office.  Karen Kwiatkowski, his GOP opponent, attacked Mr. Goodlatte from the right, claiming that he was not conservative or liberty-minded enough to represent the people of the 6th district.  Although she was unsuccessful in her first attempt, it should be noted that she did win the city of Harrisonburg and almost captured Page County as well.  Today’s vote makes another challenge from either Kwiatkowski or someone else all the more likely.

Conservatives across the country are rightly upset with Boehner’s leadership and many will be unhappy to discover that he retains the position of speaker.  The fact that our representative, Bob Goodlatte, chose today to ignore the wishes of some of his most important and influential constituents, the entire 6th District Republican Committee is quite surprising and could cause a particularly nasty fracture between Goodlatte and the committee.

So, the big question now is how will Virginia’s 6th district Republicans react to this news?

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Shortly after the November elections, I heard Fun.’s Some Nights and realized that many of the lyrics in this song apply to the current turmoil in the Republican Party stemming both from the nomination of Mitt Romney and his failure to win the general election on November 6th.

Now, I know what some of you are thinking; gee, do you always draw ties between politics and pop culture?  Well, I guess that connection is simply programmed in my brain.  For example, when I watched the James Bond film Skyfall yesterday, I noticed a number of interesting theories at work, such as the question of when or if one should surrender his or her own needs and desires to the greater good of the state.  But any discussion of Skyfall will have to wait for another day.

First, if you haven’t heard Fun.’s Some Nights, or if you don’t remember the song, I encourage you to listen to it again here.

For purposes of this article, I’ll quote a line from the song and then explain the current political significance regarding the controversies within the Republican Party.  Is everyone clear on the format then?  Okay.  Let’s begin.

Right off, we have the line “Some nights, I stay up cashing in my bad luck”.

A few Republican pundits blamed the results of the 2012 election on bad luck.  Oh, if only Hurricane Sandy didn’t hit when it did…oh, if only Representative Todd Akin didn’t stick his foot in his mouth when it came to rape, Mitt Romney would have won.  Although bad luck can certainly play a factor in all facets of life, including elections, the Republican Party lost for more important reasons than simply “bad luck”.

The next line of interest is “But I still wake up, I still see your ghost”.

The political ghost for the Republicans is the spirit of Ronald Reagan.  Most Republican activists fondly remember the Reagan presidency in particularly idyllic terms.  Oh, they think, if only we could only find another Ronald Reagan then we could return both the country and the party to some sort of golden age.  Unfortunately, the standard practice is to whitewash history so we tend to forget that despite his greatness, Reagan did have his flaws and the country wasn’t perfect under his rule.  Nevertheless, Reagan was a good president, but we must recognize the simple fact is that he is gone.  The GOP must look to the future, not continually dwell on the past.

Moving on, we find the lines:

“Oh Lord, I’m still not sure what I stand for oh
What do I stand for? What do I stand for?
Most nights, I don’t know anymore…”

In these lyrics we find the crux of the GOP dilemma.  What does the Republican Party stand for these days, if anything?  Many conservatives I know would argue that the Republicans stand for a federal government restrained by the constitution, free markets, fiscal responsibility, personal liberty, a strong national defense, and a faith in God (see the creed of the Republican Party of Virginia).  But one does have to wonder, if those principles guide the GOP, why did they select such a poor standard bearer in the form of Mitt Romney? After all, during his political career, he opposed the 2nd Amendment, approved of judicial activism and fought against the right to life by supporting Roe v. Wade, spoke in favor of some aspects of government involvement in healthcare, and believes that government can deny citizens suspected of terrorism their basic constitutional protections.  Are these the values that the modern GOP supports?

Then we have “This is it, boys, this is war – what are we waiting for?”

Both the Republican and Democratic Parties have been actively working to destroy political dialogue in this country.  Differing political opinions are not tolerated; those who disagree, either domestically or internationally, are treated as enemies that cannot be reasoned with.  Taken in its extreme form, you get thoughts much like President George W. Bush statement in 2001, “Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.”  The prospect of any sort of political middle ground is treated with hostility.  Once a people begin to treat their friends and neighbors as enemies based upon mere political disagreements, that country is no longer politically healthy.  As fellow political blogger Rick Sincere stated earlier today, “People with whom I disagree are people with whom I disagree. They are not demons, mortal enemies, or the Antichrist. Disagreements about policy and culture are the lifeblood of representative democracy and pluralist society. They are not signs of the Apocalypse.”

“Why don’t we break the rules already?”

The Republican Party famously chose to modify many of its rules at the Republican National Convention in order to favor the establishment and exclude liberty activists.  But it is okay, because the end justifies the means, right?

“I was never one to believe the hype – save that for the black and white”

Leading up to the election, some political pundits, like Karl Rove or Dick Morris, predicted a victory for Romney, apparently not based upon political reality, but predicated upon the mere hope that Romney would win.  Should we leave objective journalism to the “black and white” newspapers?

“I try twice as hard and I’m half as liked”.

Mitt Romney did work diligently to win the election.  However, far too many voters had a hard time liking a New England liberal elitist who was unable to relate to the plight of the average working man or woman.  Nationally, he claimed less votes than the not particularly well-liked John McCain.

“…but here they come again to jack my style”

Here we have the establishment lament.  Oh, those cursed Ron Paul supporters! If only they would have fallen in line behind the party nominee.  Who cares what principles they may or may not hold?  The victory of the party is of paramount concern.  They only exist to cause trouble or to “jack” the style of the establishment.

“…who I am, who I am, who I am.  Oh, who am I?”

As stated earlier, the GOP is a party with an identity crisis.

“Cause I could use some friends for a change
And some nights, I’m scared you’ll forget me again”

In order to survive as a national party, the Republicans will need to attract new voters or “friends”.  A lot of these potential friends are youth associated with the Ron Paul movement but in order to attract these folks, the party must adopt a more pro-liberty slant.

“Some nights, I always win, I always win…”

A repetition of the mistaken belief and/or fantasy that Romney and the Republicans would enjoy a great victory on Election Day.

“Well, that is it guys, that is all – five minutes in and I’m bored again
Ten years of this, I’m not sure if anybody understands”

One of the great concerns of the establishment is the acquisition of power.  To many of them, principles are a secondary issue.  Without this power, they grow bored and don’t wish to wait ten long years (or, in this case, four years) to regain influence in Washington.

“So this is it? I sold my soul for this?

Washed my hands of that for this?

I miss my mom and dad for this?”

Some conservative activists are rightly upset that they compromised their principles in order to defeat the supposed greater threat of Barack Obama. The line, “I miss my mom and dad for this?” echoes the fact that many volunteers sacrificed their family life for the pursuit of this political goal.  Unfortunately, at the end of the day, we don’t have a Republican victory, the GOP doesn’t seem to hold too closely to our principles any longer, and some of our personal relationships have become strained apparently needlessly.

“Who the %&*# wants to die alone all dried up in the desert sun?”

Unless the GOP returns to its principles and works to attract the new converts, sooner or later the party will die alone or be relegated to political irrelevance.  This line could also refer to the neo-conservative foreign policy of George W. Bush, which was extended by Barack Obama.  These conflicts resulted in many of our soldiers dying alone in the deserts of the Middle East.

“When I look into my nephew’s eyes…
Man, you wouldn’t believe the most amazing things that can come from…
Some terrible nights…ahhh…”

I’ve stated this fact over and over again, but the youth are the future of the party.  If we could but understand their concerns and tie them into the greater Republican movement then perhaps some good could come from the terrible night of November 6th.

Although I began writing this article before watching Fun.’s video, the backdrop of the U.S. Civil War is appropriate to the political situation.  After all, the Republican Party is embroiled in its own civil war to determine who will control the party, the establishment or the conservative/liberty wing.  This battle is clearly playing out in Virginia as Lt. Government Bill Bolling squares off against Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli for the Republican nomination for Governor in 2013.  One important question is yet to be determined.  Is the modern Republican Party in the mold of Thomas Jefferson, who called for a limited federal government, or has it reverted to the party of Abraham Lincoln who promoted the expansion of federal authority?

Perhaps after reading this article, you might hear something new when Some Nights comes on the radio again.  So what does the Republican Party stand for these days?  Honestly, some nights, I don’t know.  But I do know the direction that I’ll be pushing it.  The GOP must be a strong advocate for liberty at all times.

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Photo by Charles Dharapak of the Associated Press

As the 2012 Republican Presidential race continues, in a move that would certainly be a monumental surprise a year ago, former Senator Rick Santorum has positioned himself as the leading alternative to former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.   It is likely that quite of few readers of this article prefer Rick Santorum.  As Mike Huckabee did in 2008, Santorum polls highly among those describing themselves as conservative, especially Christian conservatives, and has done quite well in the both the South and the Midwest.

Is Rick Santorum a conservative?  There is no doubt that he is socially conservative.  But, does he embrace the ideals of Madison and Jefferson who called for a limited federal government bound to the principles of constitutional restraint?  Does he believe, like Barry Goldwater, that Republicans ought to fight against big government programs, such as FDR’s New Deal, that expanded the role of Washington bureaucrats far beyond what Americans had previously known?  Unfortunately for conservatives, as Rick Santorum stated in the following interview from 2008, the answer is no.

Interestingly, Rick Santorum has picked up considerable support among tea party members as well.  Keep in mind, that the core aim of the tea party, at least in this area, is a return to the Constitution, restraining the federal government to its authorized functions, and opposition to the spiraling debt and massive spending.  As the previous video indicated, Rick Santorum isn’t particularly favorable to this mindset.

So how does Rick Santorum view the tea party?  Since his speech in 2008, has he changed his views and embraced the ideals of limited government conservatism?  Well, in June 2011, he answered that question.

Now that he is officially running for president, Santorum has changed his tune, reaching out to unaware tea party voters even through his policy positions remain relatively unchanged since his time in the U.S. Senate.  Given Rick Santorum’s troubling, although fairly consistent, stance opposing the conservative ideal of a small, fiscally responsible central government, opposing the branch of the Republican Party who advocates these ideals, and opposing the tea party movement, one does have to wonder why any self-described conservative or tea party member would support his candidacy for President.  The only reasonable answer is that they do so solely based upon the idea that he has strong moral and religious principles.  Although then the question becomes, should we support someone for a political office based on his or her religious beliefs alone?

Do we believe a person who labels him or herself a Catholic, Protestant, Mormon, Jewish, Islamic, Hindu, or any multitude of faiths or someone with no faith at all is or ought to be the defining characteristic which makes a person suitable for elected office?  And, if so, like the nation of Iran, should our country be ruled by a theocracy?  Assuming that either the GOP or the government follows down this theocratic path, will we still enjoy the long standing freedom to criticize our leaders or their policies when their principles run counter to our own?  When fascism comes to this country will it, like we have been warned, be wrapped in a flag carrying a cross?

Of course, anyone is free to support any candidate for any reason, however, it is useful to know where that candidate stands.  Rick Santorum, by his own admission, is not friendly to either limited-government conservatism or the tea party movement.  Therefore, it is particularly puzzling why some of these very same people should accept him as one of their own.  Following this line of thought, one must ask if he or she wants a Republican Party, a tea party, or a nation primarily ruled by Rick Santorum or someone who embraces his ideology?  It ought to be a fairly easy question to answer.

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Yesterday, in Missouri, the citizens of St. Charles County held their countywide Republican caucus.  Typically, caucuses are rather straightforward affairs where the participants vote for their choice for candidate with a minimum of fuss.  However, the meeting of the St. Charles County Republican County quickly devolved into complete chaos.

It is difficult to gather a completely accurate scenario of the events that unfolded given that the chairman called for a ban of all recording devices.  However, given assorted bits and pieces found scattered about youtube, it becomes apparent that the temporary chairman of the gathering did not properly conduct the meeting in accordance with Robert’s Rules of Order and may not have even been a legitimate authority figure during the proceedings.  Whether or not his decree to ban video from the event was valid or not, disallowing the media does make one wonder if the results reported from the caucus would have actually mirrored the actual votes taken.

However, I encourage you to watch and listen to the following videos that are available and reach your own conclusions.

This first video includes the announcement of the ban of recording devices.

The following audio recording captures the event collapse into chaos as the chairman refuses to recognize members of the audience requesting a point of order.

As mentioned in the beginning, one issue, in accordance to Robert’s Rules of Order, is that the first order of business in a mass meeting is nomination and election of a temporary chair of this meeting followed by the nomination and election of a temporary secretary.  Were these protocols followed before the pledge of allegiance, which is typically done prior to conducting official business?

Furthermore, according to Robert’s Rules of Order, “It is the duty of the chairman to enforce the rules and preserve order, and when any member notices a breach of order he can call for the enforcement of the rules.  In such cases, when he rises he usually says: ‘Mr. Chairman, I rise to a point of order.’ The chairman then directs the speaker to take his seat, and, having heard the point of order, decides the question and permits the first speaker to resume his speech…”  Furthermore, “while on all questions of order, and of interpretation of the rules, and of priority of business, it is the duty of the chairman to first decide the question, it is the privilege of any member to ‘appeal from the decision.’  If the appeal is seconded, the chairman states his decision, and that it has been appealed from, and then states the question thus: ‘Shall the decision of the chair stand as the judgment of the assembly [or society, convention, etc.]?’” When the first member calls for a “point of order” followed by a chorus of others, according to the rules, the chairman ought to have stopped the proceedings and recognized this motion instead of simply dismissing it.

Was the election of a chairman rigged?  Yes, one can clearly hear a multitude of calls to nominate Brent Stafford.  Given the noise, it is difficult to determine if Mr. Stafford was nominated properly in accordance with the rules, but it is certain that the chairman ought to have done several things.  1. Ask for a proper nomination for Brent Stafford if it was not already done.  2. Ask for nay votes for the first candidate.  3. Given the considerable opposition, the chairman should have called for division to make certain that the first candidate actually had a majority of support.   However, the chairman failed to do all of these important tasks.

In addition, toward the end of the recording, it is difficult to determine how many caucus-goers voted to adjourn as compared to how many wished to continue.  Was the meeting adjournment justifiable?

In the last recording, given that many people in the audience felt that the caucus was adjourned improperly, Brent Stafford and others attempted to continue the proceedings outside the building.  However, he could not do so as the police arrested him for trespassing.

So what the heck happened in St. Charles County?  As one caucus-goer suggested in the last video, did the straw poll taken at the door set the whole trouble in motion, as the party in power didn’t like the probable outcome?  Were the attendees unreasonable and too far out of control to conduct business?  Or was it simply the case of a chairman, defiant of protocol, assuming too much authority?  Regardless of the answer to any of these questions, the greatest concern of this whole matter ought to be that the citizens of St. Charles County may have been disenfranchised through this highly questionable process and thus might not be able to voice their opinion concerning the Republican nomination for president.

To learn more, you can read the thoughts of Brent Stafford, the man arrested in the last video, here.

Thanks to Jeremy for bringing this matter to my attention.

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On Friday at noon, the Harrisonburg and Rockingham County Republican Parties held their monthly First Friday gathering at the Wood Grill Buffet in Harrisonburg.  The featured speaker was Pete Snyder who is heading up the Republican victory program in Virginia for 2012.

The meeting itself was a fairly ordinary affair.  About two-dozen or so local Republicans attended, most enjoyed lunch, while I just had several glasses of sweet tea.  However, once just about everyone had dispersed, I paid my bill, sat on the bench near the entrance and wept.

As we live in a society which typically discourages most public forms of emotion, especially from men, it must have been a strange sight indeed for those around watching a thirty-one-year-old person cry for no discernable reason.

So what, may you ask, caused me to act in such a fashion?  The answer is boiling anger, overwhelming frustration, and infinite sadness triggered by the actions of one local Republican.

I wept for the sake of the party.  In the meeting, one person declared that our goal should be to elect “anyone but Obama”.  Really?  Has our party become so vapid and devoid of rational worth that we will gladly rally behind any man or woman regardless of merit simply because he or she is not Barack Obama?  Heck, Hilary Clinton is not Obama; does that mean we should support her if she had an “R” by her name?  And isn’t there is an ocean of difference between Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, and Newt Gingrich?  Don’t principles mean anything anymore?  And I started to fear that perhaps I was gravely mistaken to believe that they ever did.  Yet if we cast aside principles, what’s left to separate the parties other than a meaningless animal mascot and a color?

I wept for the state of Virginia and the nation as a whole due to the fact that we have so many leaders of both parties that seem to care nothing or at least very little about the values of the people and the society that placed them in their position of power.  Sure, we can criticize members of the other party who trample upon the Constitution, moral decency, or the rule of law, but calling out members of your own party who violate these ideals has become taboo.  Therefore, I must mourn the loss of political dialogue and freedom that have given way to strict and unthinking party loyalty.

Although it may sound selfish, I wept for my future employment prospects and myself.  As I’ve mentioned to many people over the last several months, there are few things that I desire more than the chance to make a decent living promoting my political principles among my fellow countrymen, the citizens of the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.  However, my rugged insistence of clinging to my values is likely seen as a liability.  Who wants to hire a passionate paleo-conservative when malleable yes men are available? Which kind of person will likely cause less headaches?  Unfortunately, most of the powerful and affluent politicians scoff at liberty-minded constitutional conservatives while those companies and people who do value us either have no money and can only offer volunteer opportunities or give little better than subsistence wages.  Does the easiest, and perhaps only, way to succeed involve selling out?  Again, I fear that blind allegiance to the party and its leaders trump standing up for the creeds that supposedly guide their actions.

Lastly, and more importantly, I wept for the demise of a former political ally, a person who supposedly once held the political principles that I cherish.  To be fair, I had known for some time that this person had jettisoned our shared beliefs, but I now realized that there was no turning back, there is no hope for redemption.  Conservative/libertarian principles have melted away and have been replaced with a zeal for the establishment.  Now the ideological drift is simply too great; today we have about as much in common as Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky does with someone like Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina or Virginia Senator Steve Newman does with fellow Virginia State Senator Tommy Norment.  We might both call ourselves Republican but we likely have as many areas of disagreement as agreement.

This knowledge is particularly disappointing, but it alone wouldn’t have been enough to spur such a reaction.  However, after the Republican meeting was over, that same person savagely attacked me with an over the top tirade in front of a fellow activist.  At that moment, that person represented to me everything that is wrong with politics today; a person ruled, apparently not by principle, but self-serving ambition that is willing to use anything or anyone as a stepping-stone to greater influence.  Although I know that it only heightened tensions during the exchange, much like a scene from Fellowship of the Ring, I more or less inquired when did this person decide to “abandon reason for madness?”  This particularly ugly combination of events frays any past political ties and makes the hope of any future cooperation unlikely at best.

So, if you happened to have entered the Wood Grill Buffet in Harrisonburg on Friday and saw someone crying on the bench, now you know why.  I was overcome with grief and anger mourning the downfall of many things: the bastardization of my party, the way in which so many politicians continually deceive the public without recourse, the loss of a former ideological believer, the likely failure of my future, and the death of the principles which supposedly guided them all.

How would you feel if you discovered that so many of the activities and relationships you crafted over the past seventeen years might be meaningless?  What if your great passion created nothing but corrupted politics and false friends, and the only thing you had to show for your effort was a pile of crumbly ashes?  If so, you might say, as Lesley Gore wrote in her well-known song, “it’s my party…you would cry too if it happened to you”.

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VC Note:  Earlier this morning, I wrote that Lt. Governor released a statement against the loyalty oath for Virginia’s March 6th 2012 Presidential Primary.  For the record, the oath states that by voting in Virginia’s Republican primary, you are pledging to vote for the party’s nominee in the November general election, regardless of which person emerges victorious and irrespective of what principles he or she happens to hold.  Shortly after posting this piece, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell offered his take on the oath, which I present, to you below along with some additional commentary:

 Statement of Governor Bob McDonnell on Proposed  Loyalty Oath for March GOP Presidential Primary in Commonwealth

RICHMOND- Governor Bob McDonnell issued the following statement this morning regarding the proposed “loyalty oath” that all voters seeking to participate in the March GOP Presidential Primary in Virginia would be required to sign in order to cast a vote.

“Over the past few days I have reviewed the issue of the proposal that voters sign a loyalty oath as a requirement for participation in our upcoming GOP Presidential Primary in March. While I fully understand the reasoning that led to the establishment of this requirement, such an oath is unenforceable and I do not believe it is in the best interests of our Party, or the Commonwealth. The effect of the oath could be one of diminishing participation in the primary, at a time when our Party must be expanding its base and membership as we head into the pivotal 2012 general elections this fall. For these reasons, I urge the State Central Committee to rescind the loyalty oath requirement at its upcoming meeting on the 21st.

It is true that for political parties to remain viable they must have some means by which to control their own nomination processes. I know the loyalty oath was proposed as a possible good faith solution to this issue in this primary election, but there are other ways. I would support legislation to establish voluntary party registration in Virginia. Such a reform to our electoral system would eliminate the need for any oaths or pledges and greatly simplify the nomination process in the Commonwealth.”

VC Note: I always welcome another nail in the coffin of the hated loyalty oath.  Even though odds are pretty good that I will support the Republican nominee against President Obama, I believe the oath attempts to strip away our right to vote our conscious as well as the idea of a secret ballot.  Sure, it is unenforceable, but it creates a situation whereby otherwise honorable people will refuse to sign the oath and therefore be denied the right to vote.  After all, if it is dishonorable to break the oath, then only 100% party loyalists and dishonorable people will show up to vote.  Should either of these two groups have complete control over the primary?  I think doing so is bad for the candidates, bad for the party, bad for the state, and bad for the nation. 

Then again, I believe the process is best handled through conventions rather than primaries.  If states held conventions and caucuses in 2008 as opposed to primaries, I’m pretty sure that the Republican nominee wouldn’t have been John McCain.  Were you happy with that choice?  I know that even though I am a Republican I was not, but then again, neither were a majority of the American voting population.  So how is that hope and change working out for you?

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VC Note:  I just received this press release from Virginia Lt. Governor Bill Bolling.  I’m glad to see that more and more people, politicians and activists alike, are taking a stand against the undemocratic loyalty oath forced upon voters in Virginia’s March 6th Presidential Primary.  Hopefully, with enough backlash, the party will get rid of this oath and never attempt to use it again.

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR BOLLING ASKS REPUBLICAN PARTY OF VIRGINIA TO RESCIND PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY LOYALTY OATH

RICHMOND – Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling today asked members of the Republican Party of Virginia’s (RPV) State Central Committee (SCC) to rescind the Loyalty Oath in connection with the upcoming presidential primary.

In a letter to SCC members, Lieutenant Governor Bolling wrote:

“In recent days various Republican Party leaders and activists have inquired about my position on the Loyalty Oath, so I wanted to share my views on this issue with you.  While I certainly understand the rationale for a Loyalty Oath and respect the initial decision the SCC made in approving a Loyalty Oath, it is my belief that the Loyalty Oath should be rescinded.

“I am concerned that requiring a Loyalty Oath may send the wrong message about our desire to grow our party and create an opportunity for more people to become involved in the party.  If we want to prepare the Republican Party for the future and build a robust organization that can defeat President Obama and Tim Kaine this fall, we must grow our party, make our party more inclusive and avoid any action that could be perceived as being exclusive.”

Lieutenant Governor Bolling added, “I realize that one of the challenges with Virginia’s current open primary system is the possibility that our primary could be influenced by Democrats or other voters who do not have the best interest of our party or candidates at heart.  That is a legitimate concern and that is why I have always supported and continue to support voluntary party registration in Virginia.  I know that the SCC’s decision to require a Loyalty Oath in the upcoming presidential primary was intended to try and diminish this possibility.”

RPV Chairman Mullins has called a special meeting of the SCC for January 21, 2012 at which time the committee will revisit the requirement for a Loyalty Oath.

To read the full text of the letter, click here.

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