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IMG_2133Guest post by Charles Frohman.

A Virginia libertarian can vote Tuesday for Attorney General Cuccinelli and feel comfortable, despite his unwillingness to contemplate removal of government from women’s health care, private behavior, gun purchases or immigration. That’s because the “Cooch” – as some in politics call the Republican candidate for governor – will focus on the changes needed in the state for progress: cuts in government taxation, cuts in bureaucratic spending and cuts in job-stifling regulations. Certainly McAuliffe, the Democrat, offers no reason for a vote, given his “government-first” answers for any Virginia problem. What about the third choice, Libertarian Sarvis? Doesn’t he offer an investment for Virginia’s long-term future that combines the fiscal responsibility of the Cooch without the social interventions saddling the AG?

Yes, only Sarvis offers the combination of fiscal responsibility and social tolerance favored by most Americans; if ten percent of voters Tuesday invest in the Libertarian, that party will have no signature threshold to get onto future state-wide ballots through the next several elections – guaranteeing a libertarian choice and, perhaps most importantly, pressure on the Republicans to stop offering candidates that are only partially acceptable, as the Cooch is only acceptable fiscally.

Conservatives may have noticed the GOP smears against Sarvis floating around the interwebs over the past week. They claim Sarvis isn’t as libertarian as the Cooch on spending, healthcare reform or transportation funding. These distortions of the Libertarian’s record have properly been debunked by the Richmond Times Dispatch, Virginia Conservative and Virginia Right – all faithful conservative media organs and none in the pocket of Sarvis. The truth on taxes is that while the Cooch helpfully would marginally cut income taxes, Sarvis would seek abolition of the hated tax and move to a consumption tax (making us competitive with the growing number of states that rely for revenue solely on a sales tax). Let’s abolish the income tax.

On taxpayer-funded health care for the poor, Sarvis never said he disagreed with Cuccinelli on holding the line on expanding Medicaid –the core access expansion provision of ObamaCare. Sarvis, however, has called for reform of government health care, moving to a cash-support model (touted famously in 2012 by Congressman Paul Ryan) whereby the poor could receive a voucher to buy any health plan instead of having a one-size-fits-all plan shoved onto them. Further, only Sarvis wants to get government out of women’s health care; Cuccinelli doesn’t. Libertarians – and Sarvis – want government out of health care period.

On Transportation funding, Sarvis is accused of supporting a privacy-violating mileage tax to fund road building. The Libertarian does not endorse this tax and instead merely included it in a list of suggested ways to undo the damage done by Cuccinelli’s administration that moved away from user fees. Further, only Sarvis has mentioned the libertarian dream of devolving road building decisions to local governments away from Richmond. Local control is the way to fix those potholes and build more lanes to get rid of congestion.

Staying on the privacy-threatening implications of the car mileage tax, it’s striking that the Republicans making this warning fail to see the way Cuccinelli already has violated this warning with his support for mental health gun bans. For the government to deny 2nd Amendment rights to mental patients, the government must violate health privacy. And who doesn’t suspect the definition of mental disability will expand as the government tries to deny more Americans – including civil dissidents – this ancient right of armed defense? The 2nd amendment is not to be trifled with.

The Cooch deserves a vote Tuesday for his generic fiscal conservatism and judicial activism against ObamaCare, Real ID and those unfairly prosecuted. However, to keep the pressure on Virginia to keep moving in a libertarian direction – including to protect the gun rights of all Americans, to get government completely out of healthcare, to get government out of private behavior and to improve transportation with more local control – withhold support for un-libertarian choices and invest in an “open-minded and open for business” future for Virginia with a vote for Sarvis.

Charles Frohman, from Suffolk and now in Williamsburg, worked in DC politics for 2 decades including Governor Gary Johnson’s 2012 presidential campaign.  He now directs development for the Our America Initiative, the only national grassroots movement for fiscally responsible activists who also are socially open-minded.  To reach Charles, email CFroh@yahoo.com.

Last week, the Sarvis Press Shop released the following tweet which has appeared on the Facebook pages of many of my friends:

1393872_10202405844010474_55214078_nFor those who are unaware, until recently Donna Holt served as the Virginia director of Campaign for Liberty.  During her time in this position, she often promoted awareness of U.N. Agenda 21, an objective which some believe is an effort to erode American sovereignty and severely restrict land use in this country.

After seeing this tweet pop up so many places, including my own Facebook page, I thought I should investigate the matter.  Therefore, when Robert Sarvis came to Harrisonburg on Friday, I asked him about it.  Mr. Sarvis stated that he did not write this tweet, nor did he have any hand in its creation.  According to Twitter, the account is run by JVLaB@RobertSarvis.com.  The Virginia Liberty Party has this additional information directly from Robert Sarvis:  “I certainly wasn’t involved in the tweet and have already raked him over the coals for injecting his own editorial comments….as for Donna Holt…I have recently seen her name explicitly associated with blatant and clearly intentional misrepresentations of my positions.  I don’t know what was said about her in any tweets but the smear campaign is just rank dishonesty.”

As we are just days from the election, with Sarvis’ poll numbers hovering around 10% (most a bit higher, some a bit lower), many of my liberty-minded friends have been taking to Facebook to talk about Robert Sarvis.  Some offer legitimate concerns, while (as far as I can tell) a majority seek only to deride Robert Sarvis as a person as well as to cast doubt on his principles, integrity, and commitment to liberty.  Favorite tactics these days include calling him nothing more than a McAuliffe operative (there’s a conspiracy theory for you), or that he is some kind of LINO (a word I think must have been invented for this campaign, Libertarian In Name Only).  In order to further these tactics, they take bits and pieces of Sarvis’ quotes out of context and use them as proof that he is secretly supporting some kind of statist agenda.

Now, I know why many of my friends are proceeding down this path.  They are worried that Sarvis will peel away a significant number of liberty-minded voters that may have otherwise gone to Ken Cuccinelli and thus cost him the election.  However, many polls show that idea to be false.  For example, according to the Richmond Times Dispatch, “Sarvis is getting 3 percent of the GOP vote, 2 percent of the Democratic vote and 14 percent of independent voters.”  In the September Roanoke College Poll, they found that Sarvis draws upon 4% of Democrats and 3% of Republicans.  With these statistics (and there are more out there), one could hardly make the claim that Sarvis will deprive Cuccinelli of a victory.

Furthermore, many of my brothers and sisters in liberty have bought into the idea that a Terry McAuliffe election will spell the end to everything we hope to achieve in Virginia.  Now, given my research, I don’t find McAuliffe to be a particularly appealing candidate.  At this point, he doesn’t seem to have much knowledge about the function of state government nor its proper role.  Nevertheless, when we let fear cloud our judgment, we often find ourselves in even worse messes.

As an additional note, I must say that I don’t appreciate that some people continue to argue that Robert Sarvis made no attempt to reach out to the liberty movement or Ron Paul supporters.  After all, here I am.  I try to avoid self-aggrandizement, but I have been active in the liberty movement for years and proudly worked for Ron Paul in 2007/08.  However, I’m sure many of you have also gotten a handful of emails that distort Robert Sarvis’ positions or claim that polls indicate his support slipping, even though the three latest polls (Rasmussen, CNU, and Emerson) show him in double digits.  Yes, Jamie Radtke, Donna Holt, Chris Stearns, and Russ Moulton are important folks, but that doesn’t mean that we should assume that every email bearing any or all their names is factually correct or that they or anyone else can speak for the liberty movement as a whole in Virginia.

Getting back to the whole tweet issue mentioned at the beginning, it clearly is an ill-advised retaliation by a member of the Sarvis campaign team, but the constant and often misleading attacks on Robert Sarvis are equally ill-advised.  I encourage you to weigh your options carefully and vote on November 5th for whom you think is the best candidate.  Although I’ve had disagreements with the RLC-VA this year, as Robert Kenyon, the chairman of that group said yesterday, “I’m going to humbly suggest that, while I fervently believe pro-liberty voters in the Old Dominion should support Ken Cuccinelli for Governor, the best way to convince people is NOT to accuse Rob Sarvis of being some sort of crypto-liberal or hating puppies. Talk about why Ken is our guy.”  The Sarvis supporters ought to follow this line of thinking as well.

If you truly want liberty in Virginia, whether you are for Cuccinelli or Sarvis, please stay positive ladies and gents.  Promote your candidate and don’t simply malign the others.  After all, regardless of this election, on November 6th we have to try and come together as a movement.  Spending the next several days tearing us apart over fear and misinformation will make that task all the more difficult.

The Sarvis 10%

IMG_2184As Virginia approaches its November 5th election, activists are pondering all sorts of questions.  Will Ken Cuccinelli launch a surprise comeback to become the state’s next governor?  Will the Democratic Party sweep the three statewide offices for the first time since 1989?  Will Mark Obenshain win the attorney general’s race, proving to be the one bright spot for the Republican Party on Election Day?  However, one question that will also have a lasting impact on Virginia politics is, will Robert Sarvis meet or exceed the 10% mark?

For some, this last question might sound a bit odd.  Isn’t who wins or loses the election the only important factor?  What difference does it make if Sarvis gets 1%, 5%, 10%, or even 15%?  Well, if Robert Sarvis captures at least 10% of the vote, that means that Virginia would now have three major recognized political parties, the Democrats, Republicans, and the Libertarians.  For the Libertarians, this switch would mean easier ballot access.  For example, although the Libertarians nominated Sarvis by convention in April (similar to how the Republican nominated Cuccinelli in May), the Libertarians were under the additional burden of being required to collect at least 10,000 signatures from registered voters to actually get Sarvis on November’s ballot.  For a smaller party, like the Libertarians, this effort meant considerable manpower and funding.  If Sarvis gets 10% or more, should the Libertarians nominate a candidate via convention for the 2014 Senate race, they would be free from this task, at least for the next several years.

With these thoughts in mind, will Sarvis make 10%?  Recent polls indicate that he could, but many activists are skeptical.  That being said, fellow blogger Shaun Kenney of Bearing Drift stated today on Facebook that Sarvis will reach the 10% threshold.  Anyone else care to offer their predictions?

This morning, around a thousand individuals gathered at the Festival Center on the campus of James Madison University.  IMG_2212I arrived a little after 8:30 AM for an event which was slated to begin at 10:30 and already the line stretched around the building.  Along with fellow blogger Nick Farrar, we checked in at the press table and awaited the start of the rally.  IMG_2214About an hour later, a group of nine gathered outside to show their support for the Cuccinelli campaign while another local activist drove his truck down the street with signs of the three Republican candidates.

It seemed that just about everyone who was anyone in local Democratic politics attended, including past mayors and party leaders.  About a third of the seats in the room were reserved for them.  Given that seats were at a premium, a vast majority of the crowd had to stand.

After a few individuals spoke, including the Chairwoman of the Democratic Party of Virginia and a former Republican member of the House of Delegates, both gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe and former President Bill Clinton took their turns in front of the podium.  Rather than offer you a summary of what they said, here is a recording of both speeches:

IMG_2296To the best of my knowledge, this event was the largest, and thus arguably most important political event in Harrisonburg since candidate Obama spoke at JMU in 2008.  Does this event herald a victory for McAuliffe in Harrisonburg and statewide?  We’ll find out in a week.

Earlier today, I read a brief post on the Daily Paul entitled “Neo Cons Supporting Robert Sarvis Libertarian Party Candidate For Governor of Virginia?!“.  It was written by a user calling himself Stonewall Jackson, which I assume means that he or she likely hails from our great state of Virginia.  In the piece, the author writes that both George Will and Jennifer Rubin support Libertarian Robert Sarvis “over Ron Paul endorsed Ken Cuccinelli”.

Obviously the author seeks to discredit Sarvis, Will, and Rubin through the use of the label “neo con”.  I know that I, like just about every Paul supporter, don’t have a fondness for the neoconservative philosophy.  I’ve argued that their foreign policy plans actually weaken our defense by spreading our forces across the globe in order to police the world, prop up unpopular dictators, and install leaders favorable to the United States often against the wishes of the local populace.  Here at home, I worry that neo-cons seek to surrender many of our civil liberties to the ever-expanding authority of the state.

I won’t claim much familiarity with Jennifer Rubin, but in my brief research, I belief that she is, in fact, a neo-con.  But what about George Will?  I certainly didn’t think he is a neoconservative, but let’s find out what we can discover.  Please note that this information comes from Wikipedia.  Let’s see…he “has proposed that the United States withdraw all troops from Afghanistan”.  Hmm, that doesn’t sound very neoconservative to me.  In addition, “He also criticized the Bush administration for engaging in warrantless surveillance and supported trials for detainees at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp.”  Yeah, I can get behind these proposals as well.  What’s more, he favors legalizing drugs, wants to abolish the minimum wage, and opposes the death penalty.

Now, maybe I’m off base here, but in my experience in politics I would typically call a person who holds the positions listed in the previous paragraph a libertarian, not anything approaching a neoconservative.  In fact, I would assume that most neoconservatives would not be terribly receptive to these ideas.  As further proof, on September 13, 2013, Reason magazine declared George Will “has become a champion of libertarianism“.

Although I know that there is a rift between my liberty-minded brothers and sisters in Virginia over next week’s elections, spreading false labels and misinformation does not advance our cause in the slightest.  Unfortunately, the campaign to be the next governor of Virginia has devolved into the nastiest, most personal, and dishonest struggle that I think I have ever witnessed and, what makes it even worse is that it has trickled down to spoil the grassroots.

Agree or disagree with George Will’s opinions all you like, but please don’t resort to personal attacks, especially those based upon little to no legitimate evidence.

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E. W. Jackson in downtown Harrisonburg. April 15th, 2012

I have just received word from the Harrisonburg Republican Party that lieutenant governor candidate E. W. Jackson will make a stop in downtown Harrisonburg on Wednesday.  The details are as follows:

“E.W. Jackson will be at the Rockingham County Courthouse on Court Square in Harrisonburg Wednesday October 30th at 4:30 P.M.  E.W. Jackson will be laying out his agenda for his role as Lt. Governor if elected as a part of his Statewide tour to promote Conservative Governing principles.

“The media and various local officials will be in attendance. Right now E.W. is tied with his liberal opponent in the polls.”

Update:  Today’s emails indicate that this event has been cancelled.

With less than two weeks to go until Virginia holds its gubernatorial election on November 5th, it seems that the Democratic Party has decided to bring in the big guns to promote their candidate, Terry McAuliffe.  As part of his final tour of the state, former President Bill Clinton will be joining Mr. McAuliffe.  According to news from Deb Fitzgerald, Chairwoman of the Harrisonburg Democratic Party, both Clinton and McAuliffe will be on the campus of James Madison University on Tuesday.

Here are the details:

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

HARRISONBURG EVENT

WHAT: “Putting Jobs First” Event with President Bill Clinton and Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe
WHO: President Bill Clinton, Terry McAuliffe
WHEN: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 at 10:30 AM EDT
Public Access time: 9:30 AM EDT
Press Access time: To be announced
WHERE: James Madison University, Festival Conference & Student Center – 1301 Carrier Drive, MSC-4201, Harrisonburg, VA 22807

Regardless of one’s political affiliation, this is the highest profile event for the city of Harrisonburg since Barack Obama came here during his campaign for president.  I know I plan to be there and hope to get my press pass soon.

As the title of this piece indicates, today Andy Schmookler and I recorded our fourth radio show on 550 AM WSVA.  For this first time since we began, Jim Britt has returned to his role as the host of Middays.  In case you missed the program starting at 10 AM, you can find it here.

Enjoy!

Photo from the Obenshain campaign

In two weeks, Virginia voters will face a number of important decisions regarding the future of this state.  In the race for attorney general, for those of us who support liberty, the choice is very clear.  Mark Obenshain is our candidate.  I’m proud to say that I’ve known Mark Obenshain for more than a decade and had the opportunity to volunteer on his first campaign.  Throughout his time in the Virginia Senate, I believe he has consistently stood for the principles of limited government conservatism.  And he’s not afraid to voice his opinions, even when in the minority.   We need leaders who are willing to stand for principle, even when that requires standing alone.  Mark Obenshain has done so in the Virginia State Senate and will do so as our attorney general.

Now some of his opponents have been attacking him on a rather unfortunate bill that he proposed several years ago.  Yes, that decision was a mistake and when he realized the implications and flaws with it, he quickly withdrew the legislation.  Nevertheless, there are those who have been using this single issue to distort his positions.  However, when taken as a whole, conservatives, libertarians, and independents should be pleased with Senator Obenshain’s voting record and ought to be excited about the prospect of having him serving as our next attorney general.

Much like his father, I believe Mark Obenshain and I both agree with the viewpoint that “the most important goal in my life is to have some significant impact in preserving and expanding the realm of personal freedom in the life of this country.”  As such, I’m pleased to offer my endorsement to Mark Obenshain and encourage my fellow Virginians to join me in casting their ballots for him on November 5th.

Happier days at the RPV Convention in 2009

Happier days at the RPV Convention in 2009

Yesterday evening, Ken Cuccinelli held a gathering in Lynchburg to speak with a handful of liberty-minded individuals in the 6th district of Virginia about his race for governor.  My understanding is that he sought to create a dialogue between himself and open-minded, libertarian leaders.  As such, the chairman of the Harrisonburg Libertarian Party and I made the two-hour drive to meet with him.  All in all, there were eight of us including the attorney general and his campaign staffer.

Prior to this meeting I crafted a list of the points that I wanted to address, to explain what I thought had gone wrong with his campaign and, in this late hour, what he could do if he wished form a tighter relationship with people like me.  However, when Ken Cuccinelli looked at me, I confess that I became extremely disheartened.  As my longtime readers know, I have a lot of respect for the man.  But when I looked into his eyes, I didn’t see his typical spirit of determination but rather the pangs of a soul staring down a bitter defeat.

In many ways this election has been a series of unfortunate events for Cuccinelli.  Seven months ago, I was all but certain of his victory.  After all, he was squaring off against Terry McAuliffe, a man who lost the Democratic nomination in 2009, who has no elected experience, and isn’t particularly liked by anyone, including members of his own party.  His major claim to fame is his ability to fundraise and his ties to the Clinton machine.  And yet, less than three weeks before Election Day, Cuccinelli stands on the brink of oblivion, on the verge of what could be a particularly unfortunate end to a promising and successful political career.

There is no question that the Cuccinelli campaign has gone astray.   Last night I tried to make the point that his campaign had failed him, that they traveled too far down the road of negativity without a positive counterbalance losing, not only the undecided voters, but a huge swath of the Republican faithful as well.  Yes, they have had one excellent ad, but that was it.

The liberty-minded Cuccinelli that many of us came to know and love in 2008 through the early days as attorney general has gotten lost in the mix.  Now it is true that the McAuliffe campaign tactics are awful as well, which has only served to sour voters against both men and look to the direction of the issue-oriented Sarvis campaign.  Although I had been attempting to speak with Cuccinelli for a number of months, his handlers always turned my request aside.  Despite some claims by other leaders in the liberty movement in Virginia, as far as I have observed, Robert Sarvis has done a far better job reaching out to people like me.

We also briefly discussed the issue of Robert Sarvis’ exclusion from the final debate.  Many of us agreed that if Cuccinelli wants to broaden his appeal to liberty-minded voters, he ought to actually engage Sarvis, including supporting his inclusion into the debate.  In a recent article, the press reported that only the Cuccinelli campaign holds Sarvis back, as both the McAuliffe camp and the debate organizers seem to be willing to allow him in.  But I do not believe that Cuccinelli or his campaign will budge on this point, which will only expand the sense of alienation some small “l” libertarians have with Mr. Cuccinelli.

Just because I have worked for the Sarvis campaign, have volunteered some of my time, and believe Robert Sarvis is an excellent candidate for governor, I take no joy in the prospect of Ken Cuccinelli’s probable defeat.  As I have said many times, I firmly believe that a Cuccinelli victory would be far better than a McAuliffe governorship.

Although I applaud Ken Cuccinelli for reaching out and meeting with us last night, to make a more lasting impact such a meeting should have taken place months ago.

On the drive back home I wish that I could say that I felt better about the direction of the Cuccinelli campaign, but that simply isn’t true.  I expect that they will continue down their disastrous path and thus deprive Virginians of a leader who is far better than the caricature the McAuliffe campaign has presented.  As such, given everything that has transpired and everything that is likely yet to come, I left Lynchburg feeling a lot of sympathy for Ken Cuccinelli, wishing his campaign had taken the time to actually highlight his positives and boldly advocate positions important to those of us in the liberty camp.

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