Archive for May, 2009

Greetings everyone.

I, like many of you, will be heading to the convention this afternoon/evening.  I’m pleased to say that the Jeffersoniad will once again have a hospitality suite (generously sponsored by The RPV New Media Committee) in the Richmond Marriott.  So feel free to stop by tonight and meet some of your favorite (or least favorite for the liberals in the crowd) bloggers.  Should be a great time!

Until then!

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By now, many of you have heard about the anti-Brownlee robocall sent out yesterday.  To recap, many of the delegates to the RPV convention received a pre-recorded phone call from a childlike voice lamenting “John L. Brownlee put grandpa in jail!”  The brief call goes on to repeatedly urge the listener to visit the website www.johnlbrownlee.com.  You can find the call itself over at Bearing Drift.

Now last minute attack ads are nothing new.  I recall hearing several, right before last year’s convention, and certainly the recent contest between McCain and Obama had numerous.  The real question with this robocall is, who paid for it?  In accordance with state law, all political ads must include a disclaimer mentioning who sponsored the ad.  However, this call did not have such a tagline.  So then, who made it?  Let’s throw open the door to wild speculation.

Across the Virginia blogging community, most everyone seems to have some opinion as to who sent out this call.  First of all, who would have had a list of the delegates phone numbers?  Supposedly only the RPV and each of the eight campaigns would have such access.  So who did it?  First of all, what about Senator Cuccinelli’s campaign?  From the polls I’ve seen, it appears that John Brownlee is Cuccinelli’s strongest competition and therefore lessening the threat of Brownlee would be seen as a priority.  On the other hand, polls also tend to show that Cuccinelli is leading, so would the campaign gamble on a rather poorly created phone message?  What about the Brownlee campaign?  Could they have created the message in order to disgust delegates about the anti-Brownlee material floating out there?  Then again, a good bit of what is posted at johnlbrownlee.com has not had much press time, so I doubt they would want to draw attention to that material.  What about the Foster campaign?  They could make such a call in the hopes of pinning it on Cuccinelli so that both Brownlee and Cuccinelli destroy each other.  However, I haven’t really seen much either positive or negative coming from the Foster folks, so why would they spend the effort on a call like this one?  How about Brian Gentry, the creator of johnlbrownlee.com, which the call repeatedly references?  Certainly this call has generated considerable traffic to his site and his message.  But if he did so, why would he not claim ownership of the call?  After all, he isn’t shy, clearly listing his name on his website.  Perhaps it is some other unknown pro or anti Brownlee group in conjunction with a campaign?

In the end, unless some person or group comes forward, I doubt that we will ever know who sent out the call.  The real question is, will this call have any impact on the voting this weekend?  Only time will tell.

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Across the Internet, there have been many posts and emails concerning the Republican nomination for Attorney General.  Even the race for Lieutenant Governor has received a fair amount of discussion.  However, the contest for the Chairmanship of the Republican Party of Virginia seems to be less of an issue by comparison.  Nevertheless, this race has the possibility of being just as important as the rest (assuming that we can find a chairman who holds that post for more than a single year).  With fresh memories of the showdown between Jeff Frederick and the State Central Committee, and the removal of John Hager by convention delegates last year, I’m sure that we all are hoping to find a candidate who can lead the party for an entire term.

After Frederick’s dismissal, the SCC chose Pat Mullins to lead the Party until the convention.  Then Mr. Mullins decided to attempt to retain the chairmanship by running at the RPV Convention.  Although names swirled about as to who might challenge him, including former Chairman Frederick, no candidates emerged.  It appeared as if Chairman Mullins would easily hold the chairmanship.  Then, in early May, Bill Stanley announced that he, too, would be seeking that position.  And so, the contest is on!

From what I’ve read thus far, it appears that both candidates seem to be good choices.
Each promotes the mantra of limited government conservatism.  Each is or has been successful as the chairman of one or more committees:  Pat Mullins served as chairman of the Fairfax and Louisa County Parties.  Bill Stanley is the current chair of the Franklin County Party.

Will Pat Mullins win?
On the surface, it would appear that Pat Mullins would be the likely victor.  Most important is the fact he is the present chairman.  The SCC appointed him and therefore his leadership style and abilities presumably would not conflict with the SCC as compared to our previous chairman.  He has more endorsements than Bill Stanley and that list includes:  Morton Blackwell, Mike Farris, Thelma Drake, Mark Obenshain, and Jim Gilmore to name just a few.

Will Bill Stanley win?
Although Pat Mullins currently holds the chairmanship, the average political life span of a chairman these days is only about a year.  For proof one only need look at the last four:  Obenshain Griffin 2004-2006 Gillespie 2006-2007 Hager 2007-2008 Frederick 2008-2009.  In addition, some of the grassroots, especially the Frederick supporters, may resent the actions of the SCC and view Mullins as a mere agent of the committee.  After all, the “We Support Chairman Jeff Frederick” Facebook group has 299 members at present.  Also, in a poll at Bearing Drift, Bill Stanley currently leads Pat Mullins 250 to 216.

So I cannot honestly say who will win this contest on Saturday.  My advice to you is very simple.  Read as much as you can about both candidates on their websites (found here and here) and also the wisdom of those who know more about the men and the specific nature of the job of RPV Chairman.  Whoever wins, I certainly hope that we can unite around him and our supposedly commonly held conservative principles, and put aside our infighting.  So who is it going to be?  Mullins?  Or Stanley?

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This evening, I received a rather interesting email from the folks at Campaign for Liberty.  Embedded within were two video links from South Carolina politicians.  One is Senator Lindsey Graham and the other is Governor Mark Sanford.  The comments that they make really strike at the conflict over the future of the Republican Party.  Before I continue, you should watch both…

The first point I’ll make concerns Lindsey Graham.  Notice that when a member of the crowd calls him a hypocrite, he doesn’t deny the claim, only pointing out that “I’m a winner pal.”  Now perhaps he touches on the subject during the obvious gaps in footage, but don’t you think it strange that he immediately counters with such a line?  Is he saying, “I may be a hypocrite, but as long as I keep getting reelected, it doesn’t matter”?  Is that the kind of politician you want representing your interests in Washington?  Then he goes on to bash Libertarian ideas and calls himself a Republican.  Note that he doesn’t say he is a conservative, but simply a Republican.  He then touts the merits of winning.  Now, perhaps you might think from my earlier article, The Minority, that I hold winning in high esteem and that I dislike Libertarian ideas too.  It is true that winning is important.  If you are unable to achieve victory in an election then you will find it difficult, if not downright impossible to promote your philosophy and agenda.  However, one should never sell out one’s constituents or principles for the mere sake of victory.  If you do, then you seek to serve only yourself and your own ambitions.  As for our Libertarian friends, I would argue that I have more Libertarian leanings than your run-of-the-mill Republican.  You all have points with which I agree as well as ideas to which I am opposed.  Regardless of your own personal feelings about Libertarians, how many administrations, either Republican or Democrat, have actually successfully reduced the size and scope of the federal government?  As far as I can tell, these days it is all about advancing one facet of the government over another.  As either a Conservative or a Libertarian, doesn’t such a realization deeply disturb you?

Then, we have the response by Mark Sanford.  Unlike Graham, he embraces overarching Libertarian principles and is proud of the supposed slur.

Now, I’m not suggesting for a moment that the Libertarians and the Republicans merge, because there are a number of issues of great distinction between the two, especially when it comes to some important social issues.  But, I do think that the Republican Party must reclaim the mantle of fiscal responsibly and uphold the distinct rights of states and individuals made subservient to the federal government.  People like Governor Sanford display this conviction in both word and deed.  On the other hand, politicians like Senator Graham seem to concern themselves with maintaining their own power and advancing the federal government to suit their own designs.  Given a choice, I know which of the two I’d prefer leading both the Republican Party and the nation.

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As we are now less than two weeks from the Republican State Convention, I thought I should weigh in on the important Attorney General’s race.  For the attentive folks, you may have noticed that I’ve recently added two graphics links to my page.  One serves to remind you about the RPV Convention.  The other is a link to the Ken Cuccinelli for Attorney General campaign.  When it comes to selecting our next Attorney General, there are a myriad of reasons that can compel you to support a certain candidate and I would like to share with you my three most important reasons for choosing Senator Cuccinelli.

The first point is the issues.  State Senator Ken Cuccinelli has proven time and time again, not just with rhetoric, but with deed and legislation that he embraces the same limited government conservatism critical to the preservation of the liberty and prosperity of Virginia’s citizens. When it comes to abortion, Senator Cuccinelli has been a tireless advocate for the rights and lives of the unborn.  He has worked to deny funding to pro-abortion groups like Planned Parenthood, he has pushed legislation to end the horrid infanticide known as partial birth abortion, and he supports parental notification.  On immigration, the Senator has fought for the rights of citizens in denying immigrants who have entered the country illegally the same unearned benefits, such as in-state tuition for college students, driver’s licenses, and our jobs.  Senator Cuccinelli has fought against unconstitutional meddling by the federal government by standing firmly against the “Real ID” program.

The second point is endorsements.  Many politicians and political leaders I know and respect have also endorsed Senator Cuccinelli.  They include my own State Senator, Mark Obenshain, and Delegate, Matt Lohr.  In a discussion with Delegate Bob Marshall, he mentioned that the way I could best serve the conservative movement in Virginia was to work to ensure the nomination and election of Senator Cuccinelli, strong praise indeed I think you would agree.  Before becoming party chairman, Pat Mullins endorsed him.  So too have Morton Blackwell (president and creator of the Leadership Institute) and a number of other members of The Jeffersoniad.

Update: Sorry I missed the endorsement of the Republican Liberty Caucus of Virginia, another very important group.

The third point is Senator Cuccinelli’s courage and commitment to his principles.  When the General Assembly began to debate the merits of the Real ID, who led the rally against the measure?  Senator Cuccinelli.  What about standing for the rights of the family, property rights, abortion, and the whole host of pressing issues of the day?  Again, Senator Cuccinelli.  He doesn’t just vote correctly, he also actively speaks out, encouraging other politicians and activists to rally behind his strong example.  One event that still comes to the forefront of my mind was the nomination for Senator at last year’s convention.  Former Governor Gilmore had a nearly endless parade of supporters trot across the stage singing his praises.  Yet who stood for Delegate Bob Marshall?  Ken Cuccinelli and Ken Cuccinelli alone.  Although many in the convention hall supported Bob, only Senator Cuccinelli had the guts to speak in favor of Delegate Marshall.  Even if you favored Jim Gilmore, I still think that you have to admit what sort of courage and fortitude Senator Cuccinelli displayed that day.  I strongly believe that he will consistently display such resolve when serving as our next Attorney General.

Therefore, I am both pleased and honored to endorse Senator Ken Cuccinelli as Virginia’s next Attorney General.  I have no doubt that he is the most committed limited government conservative in this race and he will serve this state and her citizens exceedingly well.

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Despite the lyrics of the Green Day song, I doubt that very many people “want to be the minority”.  Now today’s discussion of minority has nothing to do about race, but rather ideology.  However, as I’ve said in the past, it makes no sense to rectify past discrimination of certain races by promoting racist policies toward another group.  Is the only solution to ending racism by enacting discriminatory laws?  But I digress…

In politics, to be in the minority often means a lack of power, prestige, and respect.  Who cares to join a movement that cannot ever affect policy?  Not many people.  From my experiences, that one point is the greatest failing of the Libertarian Party.  Many active Libertarians I have met seem perfectly willing to maintain their minority status.  Without reaching out to a broader base, all that they will ever be is a discussion group, pontificating about their vision of a perfect society, but never taking the necessary steps toward making their dreams a reality.

The same could hold true for limited government conservatives in the Republican Party.  There exist factions of the Republican Party (the so-called moderates, the neo-conservatives, and the blind party loyalists) who don’t want to see us succeed.  They have either embraced the notion of big government or refuse to take a stand on the important issues of the day.  Like so many facets of life, the easiest path in politics is to accomplish nothing.  If a politician or party doesn’t either pass or promote legislation, then no one will rise in opposition to them and they can hold power for a long period of time, generating kickbacks for themselves and their faithful supporters.  Except for the whole kickbacks thing, the American political system was intentionally designed to slow and outright prevent new laws.  The founders of this nation developed a system of governance and Constitution that they liked and didn’t want the next generation to radically rock the boat.  For the most part, this system worked until politicians and parties fell down on their duty to defend the nation and it’s Constitution from all enemies.  While big government liberals actively continued repeatedly to press for the expansion of the federal government, conservatives, for the most part, have quietly acquiesced or, even worse, joined in, looking to gain benefits for their constituents.

Although some people are enamored with the prospect of a third party (and I’ve written about the topic a bit), unless such a party supplants and replaces one of the two major parties, it will always be the minority and thus ignored.  Names do change, but realistically in the whole history of American politics, the only party to achieve such success was the Republican Party, who formed after the splitting of the Whigs.  Most Americans really do not give 2¢ about politics and so, in truth, all political movements are minority movements; still, of those who are politically active and influential, I do not want to be part of the minority.  I honestly believe that the only realistic path to success is to push the Republican Party and Republican politicians (kicking and screaming if necessary) back to the principles of limited government conservatism that they claim to hold.  Should politicians or leaders balk or act contrary, we must withdraw our support and find new candidates to replace them.  To use a plant analogy:  although some of the branches are rotten and in need of pruning, the solid roots of the modern Republican Party alone make it worth retaining.  We must not be afraid consistently and ardently to champion our values and compel our representatives to do likewise.  Otherwise, be prepared to remain the minority.

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A Fresh Hell

Good evening everyone.

I know that many of you stop by on Tuesdays checking for a new update.  Rest assured that I’ve been working on a few new topics, but lately I’ve been plagued by sleeplessness due, in part, to reconstructive work being done in the basement of the house where I live.  It’s hard to be too analytical when you don’t sleep well.  Anyway, while desperately accumulating sleep debt last night, I wrote the following poem.  I hope you find it interesting, but don’t worry…political commentary will be returning soon.

A Fresh Hell

I lie awake for hours
The Sounds of whirring machinery
Buzzing in my ears
I tiptoe down the stairs
Seeking cause of this disturbance
In the far corners of the basement
Devices hum unwatched
They bear the warning
“Do not shut off!”
I retreat to my bed
Uncertain from where these noises come
The hours tick by
Whirring never ceasing
Eyes wide in torment
The clock strikes three
A fresh hell

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