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Posts Tagged ‘Newt Gingrich’

Since Rick Santorum’s sudden and frankly rather unexpected departure from the Republican presidential nomination, pundits seems to be scrambling to claim that the process is now over; Mitt Romney is the Republican nominee.  However, for the Republican nomination to be truly over, at least one of three things must happen:  Either one candidate accumulates the required number of delegates so that it is mathematically impossible for any other candidate to claim victory, every other candidate seeking the nomination must withdraw, or a vast majority of voters are convinced that one candidate has already won.

Given that there are 2,286 delegates at stake in the 2012 Republican presidential primaries, that figure means that one candidate must accumulate 50% plus one in order to become the nominee, or 1144 delegates.  So have any of the candidates reached this magic number?  Although estimates vary given that some primaries and caucus were mere beauty contests and did not actually award delegates, Mitt Romney is the closest.  As of April 6th, the RNC had Romney’s pledged delegate at 573.  However, some more up to dates sources have him at 656, a little over half of what he needs to seal the deal.  Yes, either way Romney has a greater number of delegates than any other candidate, but remains well shy of the mark.  So, the answer to the first point is no.  No candidate has an outright majority of delegates.

What about the second point?  Although the process has eliminated a large number of contenders such as Rick Perry, Michelle Bachmann, Gary Johnson, Jon Huntsman, Herman Cain, and, most recently, Rick Santorum, there are still three candidates seeking the Republican nomination.  Besides Mitt Romney, there is also Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich.  Although Romney is leading by a healthy margin, he is not the only choice left.  Therefore, the answer to the second point is no as well.

So what about the third point then?  Ah, here is where media outlets and establishment Republicans shine.  Each have been making and continue to make the point that with Rick Santorum’s departure from the race, Mitt Romney has such a lead as to make the rest of the primaries, caucuses, and even the Republican convention itself to be a waste of time.  To these people it is irrelevant that over half of the delegates have not been awarded.  Given that neither point one or point two is satisfied, they seek to subvert the will of the folks in states that have not voted.

The 2012 Republican presidential primaries as of April 12th. Graphic by Gage Skidmore on Wikipedia.

Are there many grey-colored states left where people have not voted?  Well, guess what New York voters?  You don’t matter!  Neither do voters in Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Kentucky, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and any other state who has not yet apportioned their delegates.  It doesn’t matter voters in these states could affect the outcome of this race, if enough people are told and believe that their voice is irrelevant, then it truly becomes irrelevant.  After all, if someone believes that his or her vote will not make any difference, how many people would waste his or her time to go to the polls?

Yes, it is undeniable that Mitt Romney has a significant lead in delegates over both Gingrich and Paul.  But the simple fact is that, at this point, he still has competition and he does not have enough delegates to claim the title of Republican nominee.  To claim otherwise is wishful thinking at best, and an outright lie at worst.

Many Republicans want the nomination process to be over so that Republicans of all stripes will stop attacking examining and criticizing the GOP candidates and rally behind the banner of stopping Obama at all costs.  However, calling the process before it is truly over, as many news outlets and pundits are attempting to do, will likely create feeling of disenfranchisement and crack open greater fissures in the Republican base.  After all, if a Gingrich or Paul supporter thought the system rigged or that his or her candidate were cheated through early disqualification, that belief might cause scores of typical Republican voters to abandon the Republican nominee.  Therefore, the end result of such tampering could be four more years of President Barack Obama.  How many Republicans could claim that they desire such an outcome?

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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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The 2008 Ron Paul Greenville, SC Office

As you likely know, former Speaker Newt Gingrich emerged as the winner of yesterday’s South Carolina Republican primary with a staggering 40.4%.  Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney placed in a distant second with 27.8% followed by former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum at 17%.  In last place was Representative Ron Paul of Texas with 13%. Regardless how other pundits might try to spin this result, this news ought to come as a huge disappointment to my fellow Ron Paul supporters.

Looking at the results from the Huffington Post, you find that Mitt Romney won three of the counties while Gingrich picked up the rest.  Neither Santorum nor Paul managed to win a single one.  However, the news gets even grimmer.  With the exception of Abbeville County where he finished second, and neighboring Greenwood where he placed third, in every other county Ron Paul finished dead last.  Last!

Now, I understand the desire to try to paint as rosy a picture as possible for the Paul campaign.  For example, Jack Hunter’s Paulitical Ticker boldly reads, “Paul quadrupled his 2008 numbers after tripling them in New Hampshire and Iowa.”  Although that fact is certainly true, Paul’s numbers were much higher than they were four years ago, they were still worse than any of his three rivals.  Last I checked, there is no ribbon for the candidate who is “most improved.”  You either win delegates or you go home with nothing.  Unfortunately, Paul’ result in South Carolina is in the latter situation.

Let’s look at this matter in another light.  Today, four NFL teams are competing for two spots in the Superbowl.  At 6:30 PM, my New York Giants are taking on the San Francisco 49ers.  While the winning team will proceed onward into the possibility of glory, the loser will go home with nothing and will be a mere footnote in the history of the game, an otherwise impressive season quickly forgotten by a majority of fans and commentators.  Such a fate will befall the two Republican candidates who fail to claim mantle as the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney.  Even though delegates are awarded somewhat proportionally, winning comes first. For those casually watching the race, currently Santorum, Gingrich, and Romney have each won a state.  Isn’t John Q. Public wondering where is Paul’s state?  Doesn’t he need to win at least one?

Now, I’ll admit it.  Perhaps I hold the South Carolina result in too high a regard for two reasons.  First, four years ago, I campaigned vigorously in that very state on behalf of the Paul campaign.  Second, and far more importantly, since 1980 every GOP candidate who has won the nomination also has also won South Carolina.  It is historically a far better predictor than either the Iowa or New Hampshire contests that preceded it.

Looking to my time in South Carolina, I was quite impressed by the spirit of optimism and hard work displayed among the volunteers.  I was hopeful that the seeds sown four years ago, properly nurtured, would blossom into at least a third place finish this year.  But I haven’t been back there since then so it has been difficult to gauge how the tree of liberty has either flourished or withered.

Moving on, in Florida’s upcoming Republican primary, the Paul campaign has announced that they will not compete.  Although I’d certainly like to see Paul be competitive everywhere, I can understand this decision.  Funds must be spent wisely and as Florida is choosing to defy RNC rules by making their primary as winner-take-all, there is no victory for anyone other than the first place candidate, a monumental task.

Getting back to the situation in South Carolina, Mr. Hunter also writes, “Ron Paul campaigned in South Carolina for a grand total of four days.”  I guess that this point is meant to downplay the South Carolina result, reminding us that he did exceedingly well given the very little effort put forth.  Or perhaps that he knew South Carolina was a lost cause.  Either way, one does wonder if even these scant four days in South Carolina could have been better used to bolster the future result someplace else.  Then again, I’ll freely admit that it is far easier to be an armchair campaigner than someone deep in the thick of it.

The bottom line is that Paul needs a strong showing and he needs one soon if he wishes to remain competitive.  As already mentioned, he almost certainly won’t find this critical boost in Florida.  Therefore, that leaves a handful of states before the all-important Super Tuesday.  Spin it how you like, but I believe that the dead last loss in South Carolina is a heavy blow.  I remain hopeful but concerned.

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Earlier today, I wrote about Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s decision to try and alter Virginia’s election rules.  If successful, doing so would’ve allowed ballot access to candidates who did normally qualify for Virginia March 6th Republican Presidential Primary.

During the football game between the New York Giants and the Dallas Cowboys, I received an email from our Attorney General entitled, “Now that Everyone Is Upset With Me…”  In the message, Mr. Cuccinelli reiterates his earlier opinion that “Virginia needs to change its ballot access requirements for our statewide elections.”  However, he goes on to state, “…my concern grows that we cannot find a way to make such changes fair to the Romney and Paul campaigns that qualified even with Virginia’s burdensome system. A further critical factor that I must consider is that changing the rules midstream is inconsistent with respecting and preserving the rule of law – something I am particularly sensitive to as Virginia’s attorney general.”  As a result, he promises that he “will not support efforts to apply such changes to the 2012 Presidential election”.

In his concluding remarks, Ken Cuccinelli admits that this particular position was not for the best.  “But when convinced that my position is wrong, I think it necessary to concede as much and adjust accordingly.”  I cannot say what, if any, impact my earlier article made to switch his decision, but the most important factor is that he now recognizes this error. Many politicians arrogantly claim to never make mistakes in judgment.  However, I’m glad to see that our Attorney General proves himself to be of a higher caliber; not only is he taking responsibility, he is also reversing himself before it is too late.

I predict that this matter won’t tarnish Ken Cuccinelli’s reputation too much.  Nevertheless, this episode has provided Lt. Governor Bill Bolling, his opponent for the Republican nomination for Governor in 2013, a bit of ammunition.  As the Lt. Governor writes in a press release this evening, “Going forward, I would also encourage Attorney General Cuccinelli to avoid making public statements that criticize our state election laws while his office is defending the State Board of Elections in a lawsuit that has been brought against them by Governor Perry and certain other presidential candidates.  I am concerned that such public comments could be used against the Commonwealth in our effort to defend these lawsuits, and I am confident that the Attorney General would not want to do anything that could jeopardize his office’s ability to win this case.”  Yes, Lt. Governor, I certainly agree with your thoughts on this matter.

Although neither the Perry nor Gingrich campaigns will be happy to learn that they have lost an ally this evening, I’m pleased to report that Cuccinelli has reversed course.  Hopefully, when it comes to holding free and fair elections here in Virginia, the rule of law shall always prevail.

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Picture from Ken Cuccinelli's Facebook Page

Less than twenty-four hours ago, Fox News reported that Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is planning to intervene in Virginia’s presidential primary process by filing a bill to allow more candidates on the March 6th ballot.

In case you haven’t been following the story, let me give you a bit of background.  Virginia requires candidates seeking to be on the Virginia statewide ballot to collect signatures from 10,000 registered voters in the commonwealth, with at least 400 coming from each of Virginia’s eleven congressional districts.  It is one of the most stringent requirements of any state in the nation.  Four of the Republican Presidential candidates submitted signatures by the December 22nd deadline and the Republican Party of Virginia deemed that only two of these candidates, Mitt Romney and Ron Paul, filed a sufficient number of valid signatures.

On the surface, the idea of allowing more of the candidates to appear on the ballot seems perfectly valid.  After all, offering the maximum number of choices will allow a voter to pick the candidate that best matches his or her ideology rather than selecting among the “lesser of two evils”, which, unfortunately, is often the only choice presented.

However, upon closer examination, the Attorney General’s campaign appears to be misguided.  The Republican Party of Virginia set out the requirements for the candidates well in advance on the December 22nd deadline.  Bring us 10,000 valid signatures and you are in; fail to do so and tough luck.  Although not all of the details are completely clear, we do know that Romney, Paul, Gingrich, and Perry each submitted signatures by December 22nd, while the other candidates did not.  Romney, by virtue of submitting over 15,000 signatures, was declared an official candidate without requiring checking his signatures.  After scrutiny, Paul met the mark.  Both Gingrich and Perry fell short as a result of some combination of either not submitting a sufficient number, including voters who did not properly fill out the form, not having the formed properly notarized, and/or by using signature collectors who were not registered voters in Virginia.

Now, as stated earlier, one can certainly argue that Virginia’s requirements to get on the statewide ballot are too high.  That topic is a reasonable point that ought to be discussed.  However, that matter should have been addressed prior to the point at which candidates were certified for the ballot.  Why did no one raise a big fuss until after the votes were counted?  Was the process fair and reasonable until certain preferred candidates were excluded?

To draw a parallel, this situation reminds me of grade school students participating in either an academic or athletic competition.  After the event is over and their kid ends up losing, parents scream to either the referee or the administration that the process was rigged and his or her kid would have won if only the rules were fair (i.e. laid out in such a way as to favor him).  In the parents’ minds it is irrelevant that the agreed upon rules were followed and clearly explained ahead of time.  Principles don’t matter; winning is everything!

Would I have liked to see more candidates on Virginia’s ballot?  Sure.  When it comes to elections, I’m pro-choice.  As I’ve written previously, I collected signatures for both Paul and Johnson and signed forms for every candidate who asked.  So then was I disappointed to discover that Gary Johnson would not be on the ballot?  Of course!  Nevertheless, as the rules were clearly stated, the proper course of action wasn’t to fume and shout, demanding that the Republican Party of Virginia break the agreed upon standards just because the results were not quite what I hoped.  What sorts of arguments can Gingrich and Perry offer in their defense?  We didn’t expect you to review our signatures.  You would have never known that we were cheating if you didn’t check our work!  Do you consider these excuses valid?

By stepping into this mess, I worry that Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli doesn’t have as strong a framework regarding the rule of law as I had hoped.  Don’t get me wrong; if the process is too hard, then it should be changed prior to the next statewide signature collection process, the 2012 Senate race.  However, one shouldn’t go back and tinker with the December 22nd results.  That event is over and, be it for better or worse, Perry and Gingrich competed under the stated rules and lost.  They should not be retroactively given the chance to compete after legitimately failing the required drug test.

Election laws should not be changed on a whim.  Even worse, they must not be modified after the results are tabulated and announced.  Although such a move is common among third-world despots, I’d like to think that Virginians have a bit more respect for free and fair election processes.  Therefore, for the sake of our electoral process, I must oppose the actions of any elected official who is trying to make a mockery of the December 22nd result, even if it happens to be one of my favorite leaders, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.  I sincerely hope that he realizes the ramifications of his actions and reverses course before it is too late.

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VC Note:  I just received this email from Delegate Bob Marshall (R-13).  Given that I too have previously objected and continue to object to idea of requiring voters to sign a loyalty oath before being allowed to vote, I wanted to share his thoughts with you just in case you are not on his emailing list.

Del. Bob Marshall is urging Virginia’s GOP leaders to ask the State Board of Elections to rescind its ruling that voters, before taking part in the March 6 Republican presidential primary, must pledge in writing that they intend to support the party’s White House nominee in the Nov. 6 general election.

“Ironically, requiring a loyalty oath will bar even former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich from voting in the primary because he already has said unequivocally that he will not vote for Ron Paul for president if he’s the Republican nominee,” Marshall (R., 13th District) noted Thursday (Dec. 29).

“Virginia’s Republican leadership wants to mandate a loyalty oath when Virginia’s Republican officials are in court fighting the Obamacare mandate?  This sends the wrong message.”

Gingrich, a McLean resident, is running for the GOP presidential nomination.  His name, however, will not appear on the primary ballot because he lacked enough petition signatures to qualify.  Only two Republican presidential candidates – Rep. Paul (R., Texas) and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney – have been certified for the primary ballot by GOP State Chairman Pat Mullins.

By a 3-0 vote Wednesday at the request of state GOP leaders, the Board of Elections agreed to invoke a state statute permitting political parties to require loyalty oaths in the nominating process.

The Elections Board approved forms on which voters, before being eligible to cast ballots in the primary, must sign and print their names below a line that reads: “I, the undersigned, pledge that I intend to support the nominee of the Republican Party for president.”

The board also approved a sign to be posted at all polling places advising that “Section 24.2-545 of the Code of Virginia allows the political party holding a primary to determine requirements for voting in the primary, including the signing of a pledge by the voter of his intention to support the party’s candidate when offering to vote in the primary.”

“I understand Republican leaders not wanting Democrats to make our decision for us,” Marshall said, “but a loyalty oath is not the way to address that circumstance.”

Gingrich’s statement that he will not support Paul was made in a CNN interview Tuesday.  [See http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2011/12/27/gingrich-wouldnt-vote-for-ron-paul/]

“Loyalty oaths are detested by many good Republicans who solidly back our party’s principles and who have never voted for a Democrat in their lives,” Marshall said.  “And there are other concerns.

“In November, Virginia House Speaker Bill Howell and Virginia Attorney General Cuccinelli, both Republicans, supported an Independent for Henrico County Commonwealth’s Attorney over the Republican nominee.  Does this make them suspect Republicans?

“How many conservative Democrats voted for Ronald Reagan in ‘Republican’ primaries in 1980?  Would they have voted in a Republican primary that required a loyalty oath when Reagan was probably the only Republican they would vote for?   I doubt it.

“Requiring Virginia election workers to enforce a Republican loyalty oath in a primary paid for by the general taxpayer is a markedly questionable use of tax money.

“Republicans I know want to defeat President Obama and his liberal Democrat supporters in Congress.  I believe the great majority will vote for the Republican nominee over Obama.  I question whether beating Barack Obama, which I am working hard to do, is furthered by requiring a loyalty oath in this presidential primary.”

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In my various posts over the years, I’ve made no secret of my support of Dr. Ron Paul and, even more importantly, the political principles for which he stands.  Therefore, I must say that I was pretty surprised when I got an email asking if I would collect signatures to get Newt Gingrich on the ballot here in the state of Virginia.  For those that know me, you are aware that I had a lot of respect for the former Speaker that morphed into fear/hate relationship stretching back to my earliest awareness of politics, 1994.  Although I would gladly sign any candidate’s petition to get on the ballot, be they Republican, Democratic, third party, or independent, asking my friends and neighbors to do likewise is another matter entirely.

However, the kicker in this situation was the promise of payment for each signature collected.  Heaven knows that it is an extremely tough time financially for so many Americans.  Personally, I’ve had to resort to creative ways to make money as I wait for the start of my next full-time position…whenever that will be.  So, flush with the idea of making a little extra money, I jumped at the chance.  However, while working in my current part-time position, I took a moment to reflect upon Newt Gingrich and my time in politics.

Gingrich is a man who I believe is antithetical to the idea of limited government conservatism, as well as morality.  He seems to advocate remaking society, the government, and really the entire world, not based upon the ideals of liberty, federalism, and personal responsibility, but rather on some sort of futuristic utopia (or dystopia) where Gingrich reigns as the intellectual and political overlord of the ignorant and savage masses.  He oozes hypocrisy writing a book entitled Rediscovering God in America in 2006, after having cheated on two of his wives.  Now maybe you think that he has changed his ways.  Well, if you may recall earlier this year he blamed his past infidelity not as a result of any moral weakness, but due to his overly zealous work ethic.

Even though I could temporarily put my political principles aside and more or less work for this man for the sake of badly needed cash, what would be the result?  How could I live with myself if my actions indirectly led to his election?  Like too many politicians in Washington who have fallen to the temptation, does wealth trump principles?  Who could condemn Gingrich if he or she sold out too?  Just because I have a very disappointing relationship with Ron Paul’s national campaign, cheating on him (and, more importantly, my principles) with his loose and immoral Republican half sister doesn’t reset the scales of justice.  Would every blog post I write from here on out be nothing more than a convenient lie that I tell myself?  Could I pass in front a mirror without pointing at my own reflection and scream “whore!  You are nothing more than a political prostitute”?

Although I will freely admit that I don’t know much about what motivates a person to enter the world’s oldest profession, I wouldn’t imagine that many people engage in prostitution because it sounds fun or offers promise of a stable career, but rather stems from a desperate hope to do anything to escape their present misery.  Maybe I’m being a little overly optimistic here (and/or naïve depending on your perspective), but there is no good reason why, as Ronald Reagan once quipped, the second oldest profession (politics) has to bear a “striking resemblance to the first”.

In the end, I couldn’t bring myself to help Mr. Gingrich.  I believe that doing so would have been a tacit endorsement of his campaign.  Now to my fellow activists and friends who did collect for him, don’t think for a minute that this article seeks to condemn your efforts.  After all, I doubt any of you have the same relationship with Newt that I have had, watching your political hero trample upon what you thought were your shared principles.

As you may have heard, Newt Gingrich will not be on Virginia’s March 3rd Republican primary ballot unless he mounts a successful legal challenge.  Although I doubt that whatever signatures I would have collected would have changed this outcome, I believe that I made the right decision.  The temptation always looms, especially in these uncertain times, but we all have to keep reminding ourselves that principles should not be sold to the highest bidder and honor is worth more than a ton of gold.

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