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Posts Tagged ‘2010 Election’

Earlier today, I was sent a link to perhaps one of the oddest campaign ads I’ve ever seen.  In it, due to her inflated sense of self-importance and hot air rhetoric, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) transforms into a blimp.

However, due to the extreme length of the piece, seven minutes, one does have to wonder if the piece is far too long to be effective.  After all, in 2010 Senator Boxer defeated Republican Carly Fiorina, whose campaign created the ad, by 10% or 1 million votes.  Of course, ninety-nine times out of a hundred one ad doesn’t make or break an effort.

Anyway, watch it and decide for yourself.

Thanks to Vicious Print for sharing.

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Well, I’ve just returned from the polls.  Activity was pretty brisk with three of the six city council candidates in attendance and the rest represented by proxy.  Not surprisingly, none of the House of Representative candidates had any staffers or volunteers, although there were a group of younger Republicans handing out sample ballots.  Earlier today, the Harrisonburg Democratic Committee and the JMU Young Democrats were passing out leaflets encouraging passage of all three Constitutional amendments stating, “all three are widely supported, and none of them has any major opposition”.  I guess they don’t read the conservative blogosphere do they?  Anyway, while voting at about noon, I overheard that turnout at this polling place was already about 16%.  16%!  Although you may think such a number is small, to have 16% when less than half of the voting day is gone and in a race where we have no statewide or presidential candidates is a pretty high number.

Update:  Below are a few scenes from the Keister polling location in Harrisonburg, VA.  Enjoy!

Council Candidate Greg Coffman with Republicans

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As I stated in a recent post, tomorrow voters across Virginia will have the chance to vote on three amendments to the Virginia Constitution.  After considerable thought, research, and a bit of debate among the members of The Jeffersoniad, I have decided to vote against all of them.

To refresh your memory, the first proposed amendment reads, “Shall Section 6 of Article X of the Constitution of Virginia be amended to authorize legislation that will permit localities to establish their own income or financial worth limitations for purposes of granting property tax relief for homeowners not less than 65 years of age or permanently disabled?”  Although I am of the opinion that the more localized government the better, I am leery of creating exemptions from property taxes.  I am concerned that once we start creating these blanket exemptions, they will continue to proliferate.  Property is property, regardless of the age, condition, or status of the person who happens to own it.  Once we set up these age or disability limitations, is it that big of a leap for someone in the General Assembly to move to create additional exemptions based on race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or something else?  As all citizens should be equal under the law, I cannot support this amendment.

For the same reasoning as the first amendment, I cannot support the second one either.  To remind you, it reads, “Shall the Constitution be amended to require the General Assembly to provide real property tax exemption for the principal residence of a veteran, or his or her surviving spouse, if the veteran has a 100 percent service-connected, permanent, and total disability?” Again, I believe this amendment creates a slippery slope.  We should certainly honor and respect our veterans, but is tax exemption the answer?  So what about only partially disabled veterans?  They served our state and our nation.  Shouldn’t they be given some sort of benefits too?  And if we exempt some people from property taxes, will the General Assembly merely forgo the lost tax revenue?  Or will they raise some sort of new tax to cover the shortfall?  Lastly, should we compel widows and widowers to not remarry simply to reap tax incentives?  Again, I say no.

Finally we have, “Shall Section 8 of Article X of the constitution of Virginia be amended to increase the permissible size of the Revenue Stabilization Fund (also known as the “rainy day fund” from 10 percent to 15 percent of the Commonwealth’s average tax revenues derived from income and retail sales taxes for the preceding three fiscal years?”  Although, on the surface, this amendment sounds good, I believe it will ultimately lead to higher taxes and an increased size of the government in Richmond.  Rob Schilling addresses this issue when he writes,

Increasing the allowable size of Virginia’s “rainy day fund” by 50% is a colossally bad idea. The state is not a bank, an investment, or a savings account; it should hold as little of the people’s money as is practical.

Funds retained by government are unavailable to the state’s economy and thus stifle economic activity both of businesses and individuals.

In addition, fattening the state’s “slush” fund encourages growth in the size and scope of state government, and it is a disincentive to vital cost cutting and budget reform/reduction measures.

Although I am aware that most of the members of the General Assembly will disagree, I cannot support any of these amendments to the Virginia Constitution.  To borrow another quote from Mr. Schilling, “Don’t be fooled by seemingly sympathetic subjects.  Progressive taxation and government largesse have not benefited America in the preceding century.  The 2010 ballot questions are bad news for liberty loving Virginians, and if passed, they will result in greater state control over our everyday lives.”  Now if you haven’t made up your mind on these issues I encourage you to do so before you go vote tomorrow.  Amending the Virginia Constitution is serious business.  I cannot support these proposed amendments and so I encourage you to act likewise and vote no on each and every amendment.

Update:  As discussed, other members of the Jeffersoniad have weighed in on the amendments.  Rick Sincere, Crystal Clear Conservative, Yankee Phil, Brian Kirwin of Bearing Drift, and Tom White of Virginia Right! recommend Virginia voters reject all three too.  However such thoughts are not uniform among conservative bloggers as the Right-Wing Liberal supports the first and third while opposing the second and JR Hoeft of Bearing Drift will vote for the first and second and is against the third.

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Earlier this evening, the Harrisonburg/Rockingham County Tea Party had a meeting in preparation for Election Day coming up next week.  Although I don’t have an exact count, it seemed to be pretty well attended.  Most interesting of all was guest speaker State Senator Mark Obenshain (R-26).  He spoke to the crowd on a number of subjects: life in Botetourt County many years ago, the excesses of eminent domain, the corruption of V-DOT, and politicians who are fighting against the growing encroachment of the federal government.

Personally, I believe his presence helps establish an important link between the Tea Parties and those in power.  Although some politicians try to ignore the Tea Party movement and hope it will go away, others like Senator Obenshain and former Governor Allen are  trying to work with the group.  I do not believe that the growing dissatisfaction with “politics as usual” is going to disappear anytime soon.  Some leaders in both the Republican and Democratic parties have sold out the founding principles of this nation and have unconstitutionally usurped power or abandoned their duties.  Therefore, members of the Tea Party argue that it is high time that these leaders were removed from power.

Like the Ron Paul Revolution before it, there are still a few conspiracy theories afoot.  For example, tonight one person suggested that either the Rothschilds or the Bilderbergers dominate the Federal Reserve.  Regardless of the validity or absurdity of such a claim, there are more important issues to consider.  Overall, I believe that a majority of folks are fairly levelheaded and simply want their country and their government back from the bureaucrats and career politicians who now ride roughshod over the Constitution.  Although it may be easy to dismiss these groups, we do so at our peril.  Despite a few bizarre rumors, I believe that these people, not the GOP proper, will have the greatest impact in the coming years, provided they are properly trained, informed, and organized.  They should not be quickly folded into the Republican Party, but rather act as a gadfly, insisting both the left and the right follow traditional American principles.  What they lack in experience, they make up for in enthusiasm and in numbers.

Like the GOP and the Democrats, the Tea Party too will be handing out information at the polls on Tuesday.  I don’t believe that they intend to distribute materials in favor of any particular candidate, but rather a statement of their principles and details regarding their meetings.  Then again, given the surprise appearance of Stuart Bain near the end of the gathering, maybe we will see some of his literature at the polling places too.

My advice to you is, if you are a conservative then you should get involved with your local Tea Party.  They could use your help and we, in turn, need more allies in the fight ahead.  My great hope is that they can help curb the abuses of the liberals and get the GOP back on the straight and narrow path.

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Jeff Vanke

During the 6th district debate yesterday evening, candidate Jeff Vanke was looking to convince the crowd that he could beat Bob Goodlatte in the race for U.S. House of Representatives.  After all, it is a simple fact that a good number of people will not vote for a candidate that they know will lose, a trend often referred to as the wasted vote.  To prove his electablity, he presented the audience with poll results that showed Vanke in a virtual even election with Goodlatte.  In this poll, Goodlatte garnered 46% of the vote, Vanke 42%, and Bain 4%.  According to the data, he had about 1,000 random respondents spread across 14 cities and counties in the 6th district.  Sounds promising for Vanke huh?  The problem with the poll however, as Vanke freely admits, is that it is a push poll.

Although I have discussed push polls earlier on this blog, I feel I should refresh your memory.  The primary purpose of push polls are to highlight negative attributes of one candidate either to determine what sort of attacks will be successful against that candidate or to create a strong negative reaction in the minds of voters.  Given their wording, push polls are not a useful tool for determining the outcome of an election as voters are not similarly “pushed” by the generally straightforward nature of the ballot.  For the record, Vanke’s poll reads as follows:

There’s no Democrat in this race, but there is a choice.  Independent Jeff Vanke has drafted a balanced Federal budget, and he’s running for Congress because no one there has done it.  Eighteen-year incumbent Bob Goodlatte has taken more than $1 million in agribusiness political donations, and he has charged each of us over $2000 in extra taxes to pay for agribusiness subsidies.  Independent Jeff Vanke thinks we can do better.

If the election were held today, who would you vote for?  For Independent Jeff Vanke, press 1.  For the incumbent, Republican Bob Goodlatte, press 2.  For Libertarian Stuart Bain, press 3…

Of course if you demean one candidate and elevate another right before you ask for whom a person will vote, obviously the answer will be skewed in favor of the second candidate.  To use a common (and unsubstantiated) example, what if I told you that Barack Obama was not a U.S. citizen?  Would you be more likely to vote for Barack Obama or a Republican candidate?  Obviously the results would favor the Republican to far greater extent than they would if the respondent had not been told of Obama’s supposed nationality.

Now, I hope you don’t think I’m being overly hostile toward Mr. Vanke.  After all, I believe it takes considerable courage to run for office and I applaud Mr. Vanke for being a very active participant in our election process.  He’s also right in one important respect.  I strongly believe that we need a balanced budget and we need one now.  It is horribly unfair for the present generation to saddle future generations with past debt.

So, back to the question of the day, will Vanke get 42% of the vote next week as his poll suggests?  Don’t count on it.  The last time two independent candidates challenged Goodlatte, combined they only captured about 24% of the vote.  Here’s where I’d jokingly make a ridiculous wager against Vanke getting anywhere close to 42% but, given Representative Goodlatte’s efforts to curb internet gambling and my ignorance regarding these laws, I’ll refrain.  Regardless if you live in the 6th district of Virginia, or someplace very far away, I encourage you to learn about the candidates running and make and informed choice.  Yes, voting is a civic duty, but it must be done rationally and clearly.  Otherwise you may be fooled by the next push poll that comes along.

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On Monday, I got a brief email from the local Shenandoah Valley Tea Party.  It told me that the candidates for the 6th district House of Representatives Seat were having a debate.  Being the political animal that I am, I made certain to be free during that time so that I could participate.  Here was my chance to listen to all three candidates for office and ask them about specific issues.  I thought that the notice was written rather strangely.  It read, “At 7:30 PM, Tuesday, the 26th, Stuart Bain, Libertarian candidate for Virginia’s 6th district will be debating his opponents in the Memorial Hall Auditorium at James Madison University.”  Although I know that Representative Goodlatte did not return the Tea Party’s candidate survey, it seemed a bit strange to me that they did not mention the sitting Congressman by name in the debate announcement, but rather used the term “Bain’s opponent”.  Therefore, shortly before the debate, I called Representative Goodlatte’s Harrisonburg office to make certain that he would be attending the event.  Unfortunately, I was informed that he was not going to be there.  Despite this considerable disappointment, I still showed up.

Vanke on the left, Bain on the right

Overall, I thought the debate itself went pretty well.  Both Jeff Vanke and Stuart Bain tackled a number of issues ranging from balancing the federal budget, immigration, and various disagreements they have with Congressman Goodlatte’s positions.  As one of many questions from the audience, I appreciated the opportunity to ask the candidates about their positions regarding the war on terrorism. Before I conclude, I want to thank JMU and acknowledge their efforts in hosting the event.  For more coverage on the specifics of the debate, you can visit both hburgnews and whsv.

As I’ve stated many times in the past, in order for our form of government to survive, we must have an informed electorate.  Toward that end, before you vote on Tuesday I encourage you to visit the websites of all three candidates to learn more about them.  As the debate was supposed to highlight, you can choose between the Republican Goodlatte, the Libertarian Bain, or the Independent Vanke.  You should vote, but you should vote smart.

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Continuing our series on local politics and elections, I saw another sign today that sparked my interest.  While traveling down Port Republic Road in Harrisonburg, I came across an encampment of yard signs fluttering in the breeze.  Several were in support of Coffman for Council, others were for Baxter for school board, but a few were different.  Rather than encouraging citizens to vote for a candidate, it tells folks to vote against Carolyn Frank.

Strangely, as you can see, they do not bear the paid for and authorized tag line that other political signs display.  When I saw more of the signs on Neff Avenue as well, I stopped a local business to learn a bit more.  Although on their shopping center property, the business knew nothing of the signs.  They did not authorize them and did not know who placed them there.  Obviously some person or persons have a very strong dislike of Frank in order to go to such lengths as spending their own money for the signs.

Two questions linger, who and why.  Who made the signs?  Why does their creator find Carolyn Frank so objectionable?  I found this same question and a rather lengthy discussion on a recent article on hburgnews.com.  Apparently, a local developer by the name of Bruce Forbes created them.  Their discussion informs us that Mr. Forbes is someone who tries to buy and control politicians.  He assisted in Frank’s election efforts several years ago and turned against her when she wasn’t loyal to his designs.  Getting back to the signs themselves, although admittedly my knowledge of regarding laws for local elections are a bit shaky, I would expect that, like other political signs, they must bear the “paid for” tag line.  If that is indeed an unmet requirement, then the city should remove them as quickly as possible.

If Carolyn Frank, Bruce Forbes, any of their supporters or detractors, or anyone else who has some knowledge of this subject cares to comment further, I’m sure we would be interested in learning more.

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