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Posts Tagged ‘John McCain’

After Senator Rand Paul’s filibuster over the use of drones to kill American citizens, Senator John McCain responded by calling him and several other legislators “wacko birds“.  In answer, Representative Justin Amash offered an amusing response on Twitter, which reads:

Amash TweetAs you may know, while Senator Paul and other supporters of liberty launched this filibuster, Senator McCain and others in the establishment crowd were absent from the fight, instead enjoying dinner with President Obama.

I’ll applaud the efforts of any legislator who is willing to stand up for our civil liberties against the ever-expanding encroachment of the federal government.  However, even though it is several days old, to offer such a witty reply, as Rep. Amash has done, cannot pass without mention on this blog.

Now I’m sure some politicians (like Senators McCain and Graham) would like nothing more than for the liberty wing of the Republican Party to shut up and go away.  I’m just glad that there are folks like Rep. Amash and Sen. Paul in Washington who are able to lead with both principles and humor.

You call join me in following Rep. Amash on Twitter here.

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Paul Ryan in Rockingham County
Photo by Helen Shibut

Paul Ryan, the Republican Representative for Wisconsin’s First Congressional District and Mitt Romney’s running mate, made a campaign stop at the Rockingham County Fair Grounds on Friday.  His visit marks the first of any presidential or vice presidential candidate to the central Shenandoah Valley.

Besides Representative Ryan, speakers also included: Delegate Tony Wilt of Rockingham County, Delegate Steve Landes of Augusta County, State Senator Mark Obenshain of Harrisonburg, and Representative Bob Goodlatte of Roanoke.

The event itself was quite well attended.  Most estimates I’ve read peg the audience about 3,000.  Like the recent Obama rally in Charlottesville, each person had to pass through “airport style security” overseen by both the Secret Service and the TSA.

Reaction to the gathering was mixed.  Although most of the people that I spoke with enjoyed Ryan’s speech, the event was plagued with a number of shortfalls.

First, no one could bring in liquids, which was expected.  However, the fact that one could not even get a cup of water without paying for it seemed completed absurd.  Would a person have to suffer through their thirst if he or she could not pay $2.00 for a beverage?

A view of a portion of the crowd and the fence that segregated attendees.

Second, the venue did not allow for a majority of the spectators to see Paul Ryan.  The organizers set up a ring of fences around the platform and only a portion could enter this circle.  Although raised, the platform was not nearly high enough for many people to even catch a glimpse of the man who could very well be our next vice president.

However, one positive aspect, as compared to the Obama event, was that the police did not close down traffic in a highly central location for the better part of an hour, which would have wasted the time of countless residents.

Overall, I would rate Ryan’s event a success even though, as mentioned, there were several aspects that could have been and should have been handled in a better manner.

So the next question is will any of the five presidential candidates: Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, Gary Johnson, Virgil Goode, or Jill Stein, make a stop in the Shenandoah Valley between now and the election?  If you will recall, four years ago Barack Obama won the city of Harrisonburg after making a speech at JMU while John McCain merely sent a relative to the local GOP headquarters.  After all, personal campaigning is an important element to electoral success and Ryan’s visit on Friday should serve to bolster the local Republican effort.  Now how will the other candidates respond?  Our first answer comes tomorrow when Libertarian Party candidate Judge Jim Gray speaks at JMU.

As a final note, I want to shout out a special thanks to Helen Shibut of Madison Liberty for the picture of Paul Ryan.  As mentioned, I happened to be one of the countless spectators who could not get close enough to get a usable shot.

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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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According to Real Clear Politics, Paul is averaging 8.2% in current polls.  During the primary season in 2008, he mustered around 6.5%.  Although a 1.7% increase might not sound like a whole lot, we should keep in mind that it is still early in the process.  Heck, did the average American even know Ron Paul’s name, much less understand his principles, four years ago?  After all, only during the primaries do most people actually take the time to learn anything about the candidates.  Therefore, I think it is fairly safe to say that the Ron Paul campaign is gathering momentum.

In ten days, August 13th, American politics will focus its attention on the city of Ames, Iowa.  Although not on the political radar often, the city is holding its sixth Republican presidential straw poll.  Last time around in 2007, Mitt Romney won with 31.6% of the vote while Ron Paul captured 9.2%.  This time, I would expect Rep. Paul to easily chart in the double digits.  However, regardless if he wins or finishes somewhere else, I feel I should add a few words of caution about reading too much into this straw poll.

First, it is a straw poll.  It is not binding and the only people allowed to vote are registered voters in Iowa who take the time and effort to show up in Ames.

Second, the winner of this poll does not always go on to win either the Presidency or the Republican nomination.  As mentioned, Mitt Romney won while John Sidney McCain placed a distant tenth in 2007.  In 1999 and 1995, the eventual Republican nominees emerged victorious (George W. Bush and Bob Dole), but back in 1987, Pat Robertson took first place.

Is the Ames poll important?  Yes, I think that all polls have some value and it might thin the field by weeding out minor candidates.  For example, after placing sixth in Ames back in 2007, Tommy Thompson withdrew.  Another factor to consider is that we should keep in mind that not every candidate chooses to campaign here.  Mitt Romney is not bothering with it this year as McCain did last time.

So what is the purpose of Ames?  Like any poll, it merely serves as a small sign of things to come.  I’d wager that if Ron Paul gets 11 to 12% of the vote here, then it will serve to boost his name ID and media presence significantly.  If he finishes below his 2007 total of 9.2%, then it means that the Ron Paul campaign must redouble its efforts.

Speaking from my personal circumstances, I do wonder if I’ll be given the chance to work for Dr. Paul as I did back in 2007/08.  Currently, I’m waiting to hear back regarding a handful of political opportunities, Paul’s campaign being among them.  Will Ames play a role in their decision?  Only time will tell.

Anyway, I encourage you to pay attention to the Ames straw poll.  It may or may not correctly forecast the winner, but either way it, along with the media spin to follow, should be fun to watch.

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Back in 2009, then political novice Robin Abbott unseated the 21-year Republican incumbent Delegate Phil Hamilton of the 93rd district.  As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, the two most important factors determining this outcome were the Old Dominion University scandal and the general Democratic leanings of the 93rd.

I’m not going to rehash the ODU matter here, but rather reexamine the claim that the old 93rd is generally hostile to Republican candidates.  First, we have the 2009 House of Delegates election itself, where Democrat Robin Abbott captured 53.94% of the vote as compared to Hamilton’s 45.6%.  Now obviously having served for 21 years, Hamilton had a clear name ID advantage to Abbott, but without further thought one may merely conclude that the result was completely due to hostility as a result of ODU.  But we should always look at the numbers.

In the 2009 election, the 93rd comprised the northwestern portions of Newport News as well as two eastern precincts of James City County.  While both James City County precincts were above Hamilton’s overall percentage (48.34% for Roberts A and 63.17% for Roberts B), he only won two precincts in Newport News (Deer Park 50.81% and Watkins 56.98).

How do these numbers compare to another contest at the same time, say the 2009 Governor’s race?  In Roberts A & B, McDonnell captured 57.42% and 72.85% of the vote respectively.  In 93rd portion of Newport News, he exceeded his statewide average of 58.61% in only one precinct, Watkins.

Looking back to 2008, how did McCain/Palin fare in the 93rd?  I should first mention that they won 46.33% of the vote in Virginia.  Only in Roberts B (68.23%) and Watkins (55.45%) did they get a higher margin than the statewide average.  Some precincts in Newport News, such as Epes (19.15%), Greenwood (23.42%), McIntosh (23.79%), Lee Hall (28.47) and Reservoir (31.76%), they didn’t even manage to get a third of the vote!  Given these numbers over the past several years, I think you can argue that the 93rd was not a friendly place for Republican candidates.

Well, how have things changed with redistricting?  This new 93rd has lost many precincts in Newport News while picking up about 12,500 James City County residents, about 14,000 Williamsburg residents, and about 5,300 York County residents.  Although the citizens of Williamsburg are more liberal than average Virginian, so too are James City County and York County residents considerably more conservative.

Let’s discover what was lost and gained in Newport News.  The precincts of Epes, Palmer, Deer Park, and Watkins were completely eliminated from the 93rd while Reservoir was split between the 93rd and 94th.  While the removal of Epes should be welcome news to Republican challengers, Palmer, Deer Park, and Watkins were Hamilton’s top three showings in the city.  Ouch!  In exchange, the 93rd picked up the Bland precinct.  However, that precinct performed well below average for Republican Delegate Glenn Oder in 2009 (48.12% to his typical 67.62%).  Losing Epes got rid of 7,800 people who typically don’t support Republicans, but shaving off 8,000 in Deer Park, 6,200 in Palmer, and 5,500 in Watkins who are far more favorable to the GOP will certainly sting.  Plus the new 1,400 people in Bland won’t likely be doing Republicans any favors.  I don’t think it is a stretch to say that it will be nearly impossible for a Republican to win a majority of these Newport News sections of the 93rd.  This exchange should significantly bolster Abbott’s numbers here in 2011.

What about Williamsburg?  Having lived in Williamsburg for four years while attending the College of William & Mary, I can personally tell you that the city is not particularly favorable to conservatives.  For example, in 2009 Stan Clark, the Republican delegate candidate, fared 4.5% poorer on average in Williamsburg than the rest of the district while Bob McDonnell posted numbers that were 13.4% below normal.  In 2008, McCain ended up almost 12% worse than his state average.  Gee, things don’t seem to look too good for Republican contenders do they?

Well, let’s move on to James City County and York County.  Unlike the cities, these areas contain a much higher percentage of Republican voters.  With the exception of the precincts of Roberts C and Jamestown B (although 2009 delegate candidate Clark did better there too), delegates, governors, and presidential candidates drew considerably more support from these new precincts of the 93rd than they enjoyed on average.  For the biggest example, in the Harwoods Mill precinct, now split between the 93rd and 91st, McDonnell got a 17.85% boost and McCain got a 22.19% increase from the norm.

So what’s the bottom line?  Well, in this new 93rd Republicans will suffer greatly for the additions and subtractions in Newport News, not to mention the addition of Williamsburg.  The influx of voters from James City County and especially York County will help a lot, but will they be enough to offset the Democratic swing of the cities?  Possibly.  For comparison purposes, Bob McDonnell won about 52% of the vote in the old 93rd and would have won about 54% in this new one.  Although both numbers are below his state average, the fact remains that he emerged victorious in either scenario.

This year, Republican businessman Mike Watson is challenging Democratic freshman Delegate Robin Abbott.  This race will hinge on a number of factors besides just the numbers listed above.  Has Abbott done a good job reaching out to her constituents?  Are they pleased, upset, or apathetic with her performance in the House?  Has she bolstered her name ID?  What sort of connections can Watson draw upon in the 93rd?  And which side will have the greater number of volunteers and a motivated base?

Given my connection with Williamsburg and my employment in the 93rd during the last cycle, you can bet that I’ll be keeping my eye on this race.  Now in fairness whether Robin Abbott is retained or replaced in the House of Delegates, either outcome will have little impact in the balance of power in that chamber.  Nevertheless, I expect liberal and conservative activists from Williamsburg, James City, Newport News, and York will have their hands full with this one.

I’d rate the 93rd a toss up right now.  The numbers slightly favor the Republicans but the incumbency factor boosts the Democrats.  Either side has the potential to win; I just don’t think that it’ll be easy for anyone.

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Sorry for little pause in updates.  My personal circumstances are changing including a potential move, though I should still be in the 26th district.  But on to the topic at hand…

Limited government conservative and establishment Republicans have long butted heads and 2010 is no exception.  For starters, you can look south to Florida for The Rubio/Crist feud.  How about blowback against the maverick John McCain in his primary fight in Arizona?  We in the limited government camp are not alone.  The tea party movement itself rose to tell not only the federal government, but also the Republican Party, that to quote the movie Network, we are “as mad as hell and not going to take this anymore!  Things have got to change!”  Now we don’t merely want change for changes’ sake.  We have seen the supposed hope and change that President Obama offers, and now our future is clouded and uncertain.  We need a new and better direction.  Neither citizens nor corporations should endlessly suckle at the teat of the government, merely crying for bread and circuses.  That crooked road doesn’t lead to freedom and prosperity, but to shackles and serfdom.  To reclaim our nation we need a path paved with the promises of liberty and personal responsibility, not welfare and bailouts.

This year, I believe no battle is more important in war for the heart and soul of the GOP than in Kentucky.  For the side of the limited government crowd we have Rand Paul, son of Texas Representative and 2008 Presidential candidate Ron Paul.  For the side of the establishment, we have Trey Grayson, the Secretary of State of Kentucky.  With the primary less than two weeks away, politicians and political leaders from both wings of the Republican Party have taken notice and have come out swinging with endorsements.  In Grayson’s column, we have Senate Minority Leader and Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell, Dick Cheney, Rick Santorum, and Rudy Giuliani.  Paul’s supporters include Senator Jim DeMint (SC), Steve Forbes, Dr. James Dobson, and Sarah Palin.  These endorsements alone should give you some indication of the quality of the two men.

On many issues both candidates share the same (or nearly the same) views: abortion, taxes, and spending.  Therefore, I don’t believe it would be fair to say that either candidate is not conservative.  What makes Paul a better choice, in my mind, is his limited government mindset.  I think Erick Erickson of Red State sums up my thoughts pretty well.  “The problem with Republicans in Congress is that they lost their way. They were willing to do things they otherwise would oppose because George Bush told them to.  And they have been willing ever since to go along with strategies that were poll tested and mother approved because that is what the leadership wanted and told them to do.”  He goes on to add, “I want men and women of high moral character who are men and women of conservative principle, not of party.

When of party, politicians think too often of saving themselves, not the country. For too long the Republicans have invested in solid party guys who advance the party’s agenda, but not conservatism and certainly not smaller government.”

Amen Mr. Erickson.  We need leaders who are not afraid to actually lead.

Like his father, Rand Paul is against bailouts of all kinds, the Federal Reserve, and even opposes the Patriot Act and the War in Iraq.  Although such a line of thinking is not popular with the establishment Republicans and may even be considered radical, I believe that this path is the only method to save the Republican Party and, more importantly, our nation as a whole.

Although I do not live in Kentucky, I wholeheartedly endorse and support Rand Paul.  Neither side will be able to claim ultimate victory as a result of this primary, but a win for Paul will likely create aftershocks felt across the land.  Sooner or later in our own cities, counties, and states, both you and I will have the opportunity to choose between the status quo and a limited, constitutional government.  On that day, will you have the courage to take a stand?

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During the Tea Party rally about a week ago, the promoters were selling a number of political items: Tea (or Tee) shirts, bumper stickers, Gadsden flags, and the like.  As a casual poker player, one particular novelty that caught my eye was a deck of playing cards called “America’s Most Wanted”.  Similar to the most wanted cards printed during the Iraqi invasion, this deck contains pictures of a number of politicians, though U.S. not Iraqi.  The two ties, which bind this assortment of fifty-four leaders together, are their support for big government policies and the fact that they are up for re-election in the 2010 election cycle.  Of course you can find the usual suspects, Speaker Nancy Pelosi as a Joker, Rep. Barney Frank as the Queen of Hearts, Senator Chuck Schumer as the King of Spades, but what caught my eye was the Aces of Spades.  It may surprise you to know that the deck includes a handful of Republicans.  As they put it, “Republicans and Democrats alike, who have betrayed the American traditions of individual liberty & personal responsibility by voting for or supporting these four issues [TARP, the Stimulus Bill, socialized healthcare and Cap and Trade] are represented.  As a result, for the twin acts of supporting TARP and Cap & Trade, on that Ace, we find none other than Arizona Senator and 2008 Republican Presidential nominee, John McCain.

Now I’ve outlined my objections to John McCain during the 2008 Presidential cycle, so I won’t rehash them here.  Nevertheless, I believe it is healthy for political activists to question the positions of any political candidate regardless of party affiliation and so I’m glad to see the Tea Party take another stand for principle.  It is my hope that the Tea Party movement will serve as the catalyst to push both the Republican and the Democratic Party toward greater constitutional conservatism.  Only then will we be able to begin to restore the Republic.

If you want your own set of cards, you can find them at the Shenandoah Valley Tea Party Patriots website.

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