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Posts Tagged ‘Republican Liberty Caucus’

Last night, the Board of Directors of the Republican Liberty Caucus of Virginia voted to remove two of their members from their ranks, Vice Chairman Steven Latimer and At-Large member Joshua Huffman.  In separate photographs both Latimer and Huffman were shown wearing shirts for Robert Sarvis, the Libertarian candidate for governor.  Earlier in the year, the RLC-VA voted to endorse Ken Cuccinelli, the Republican candidate.

Although I cannot fault the RLC too much for their decision, given that it is the “Republican” Liberty Caucus after all, I did fight against my expulsion from the group.  If you remember, Ron Paul himself ran as a Libertarian back in 1988 and spoke favorably about that party during his talk in Lexington, VA in January of this year.  Would they similarly condemn him?  However, given that one replacement for Stephen and me happened to be on the call where the vote was to take place, there was little doubt in my mind how it would go.  For the record, I had been a part of their board since July of 2012.

For those who have read my piece entitled “Joining Team Sarvis”, you will note that even though I do have a few policy disagreements with Ken Cuccinelli, my major complaints centered on the tactics of Cuccinelli’s campaign rather than the candidate.  In good conscience, I could not support their exceedingly negative campaign and their attempts to silence Sarvis, a legitimate candidate on the November ballot.  Some liberty-minded folks claim that the Cuccinelli negativity is simply in response to McAuliffe’s negativity, but I must reject that argument.  Two wrongs cannot be combined in any fashion to make a right.  What both the Cuccinelli and McAuliffe campaigns were doing was, quite frankly sickening, making both seem completely unelectable without any positive hope.  Given Cuccinelli’s constantly slipping polls numbers up to Labor Day, it seems that a majority of Virginia voters agree.  After speaking with Steven Latimer earlier today, his opinion is that “Ken Cuccinelli has not run a very libertarian campaign” and that “the campaign seems out of touch with the party grassroots and is resistant to hearing suggestions.”

As you may know, giving the flailing nature of the Cuccinelli campaign, they recently had a bit of a shake-up as well.  It was my great hope that they would jettison their previous negativity.  Today, I received an email from the Cuccinelli campaign entitled “Lies” and beginning with the line, “Headed into the first statewide televised debate, Terry McAuliffe has set a low bar for the depths of dishonesty he will stoop to,” while at the same time including not a single positive word about Ken Cuccinelli; it seems to me that they have learned nothing.  Should they lose in November, (and I unfortunately believe that they will) and then they wonder why they lost, they only need look in the mirror.

It is amazing to me that for someone who has been struggling to find work, a person who is trying to put a little food on his table and a little gas in his car, the RLC would chastise him for doing so.  Should he do what he can to promote the cause of liberty, even if that means working for a Libertarian candidate?  Or would they prefer if he suckled at the teat of the welfare state instead?

Given a choice between Cuccinelli and McAuliffe, there is no doubt in my mind that Cuccinelli would be a much better governor for the Commonwealth.  I have said as much before and have no qualms about doing so again here.  However, that statement wasn’t sufficient for the RLC-VA who insisted that I had to both renounce Sarvis and publicly endorse Cuccinelli.  To me, my endorsement is something exceedingly special, my highest stamp of approval.  As such, I have endorsed only a handful of candidates over my 18 years in politics, such as Ron Paul in 2008 & 2012, Karen Kwiatkowski in 2012, and Ken Cuccinelli in 2009.  One should never construe my employment as necessarily my endorsement, for I have not endorsed all of the candidates for whom I have worked.  In addition, each of my endorsements I have done in accordance with my own free will, without duress.  I cannot nor will not allow any group to force me to endorse anyone.  Even though I very much wished to retain my position with the RLC, I felt I could not honorably take this step and told them as much.  As a result, as mentioned at the beginning of this article, both Steven and I were removed from our positions.

Virginia needs a healthy dose of liberty interjected into her politics.  So too do the Republican and Democratic parties.  Given my more than a decade of involvement with the GOP, I saw the RLC as an important avenue to promote these principles and mold the Republicans into the party that their creed claims they are.  Say what you will about them, the Libertarian Party, partly through the Sarvis campaign, has been pushing the liberty envelope in the state.  Will this Libertarian effort hurt the GOP?  Of course it will.  But rather than shoving liberty-minded people away, both the RLC-VA and the Republican Party as a whole ought to redouble their efforts to welcome these activists into their camps.

The Sarvis campaign serves a multitude of important functions to promote liberty and expand political dialogue and if anyone thinks that I am helping them because I hate Ken Cuccinelli either politically or personally, or believes that I want to see him lose in November, then that person has missed the point entirely.

Despite this unfortunate event, I consider many of the board members of the RLC-VA as my friends and wish them well as they seek to reform the GOP.  I’m disappointed not to be counted among their ranks, but know full well that I too will do my best to continue to promote the cause of liberty in some fashion or another.

Liberty now and forever.

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When considering U.S. foreign policy, how often do you think about the morality of our nation’s actions?  Presumably many of us don’t pause to consider this question and, if we took the time to do so, it is likely that we would very troubled by some of the actions our leaders have taken on our behalf.

Joel-McDurmon-150x150To explore this topic in greater depth, I’m pleased to announce that Dr. Joel McDurmon will be coming to Harrisonburg this coming Saturday, May 4th.  Starting at 7 PM in the Board of Supervisors room for Rockingham County (20 East Gay Street), Dr. McDurmon will be speaking on “The Bible, War, and American Foreign Policy: What’s the Problem?”.  After his talk, members of the audience are encouraged to participate in what will surely be a lively question and answer period.  The groups sponsoring this event are: The Republican Liberty Caucus of the Shenandoah Valley, Grassroots Solutions Inc., and the Providence Baptist Church.

I hope you’ll strongly consider coming to this event on Saturday.  Entrance is free though donations are accepted.

If you would like a flier with more information, please click on the joel flyer.

See you there!

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RNC Chairman Reince Priebus
(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

About a week ago, both the Republican Liberty Caucus and the Virginia state chapter of the RLC issued press releases calling for the resignation of the chairman of the Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus.  The reasoning for this action revolves around the conflict that took place during the recent Republican Nation Convention in Tampa, Florida.

For many Republican and conservative activists who only heard news of the convention via reports from the mainstream media, much of this article may come as a bit of a shock.  However, behind the cheery exterior in Florida, there lurked a number of troubling accounts.

First, as mentioned in a previous article, the changes in the convention rules greatly upset a number of conservative activists including Virginia Republican National Committeeman and president of the Leadership Institute, Morton Blackwell.  Rather than using proportional voting in early state primaries, which would allow for greater development in the GOP primaries, this switch means that an exceedingly small number of voters in places like Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina will likely dictate future party nominees.  In response, Blackwell warned that these changes would “concentrate and centralize more power at the top of the party, and to shut off opportunities for power in the party to flow from the bottom up”.  Video of the vote on this matter shows that the result was not decisive, but Speaker of the House John Boehner declared in a dictatorial fashion “in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it.”

Along these same lines, rather than unify the party behind Mitt Romney, the convention further drove a wedge between the Ron Paul and Romney supporters.  For starters, early in the convention, many delegates from Maine who supported Ron Paul were stripped of their voting power.  To make matters worse, although a candidate and elected official in the Republican Party, Representative Ron Paul was not allowed to speak on the convention floor.  Lastly, in a move which must have been done out of spite, when delegates from each state cast their votes, the officially announced totals made no mention of Paul’s total.

Here is a video which outlines all of the objections raised in this article:

Therefore, as stated at the beginning of this article, as a result of the events that took place under the leadership of RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, the Republican Liberty Caucus and many state chapters of the RLC have issued a resolution calling for his resignation.

The text of the RLC-VA resolution is as follows:

September 17, 2012 (Staunton, VA) – The Republican Liberty Caucus of Virginia Board approved the following resolution in response to the events at the Republican National Convention in Tampa:

Whereas, the management of the Republican National Convention in Tampa displayed a blatant disregard for the rules under which the convention committees and convention’s general business session were supposed to be conducted;

Whereas, national party leaders and agents of the Romney campaign worked to disenfranchise legitimately elected delegates, silence dissent and disregard legitimate motions and the results of votes during the national convention;

Whereas, fraud and coercion were used to pass new rules which reduce the power and autonomy of state and local party organizations, allow future rule changes without proper oversight by the body of the party and impose a top-down structure of governance in place of the party’s traditional bottom-up structure;

Whereas, most of the factional problems at the convention could have been resolved through reasonable negotiation in ways which promoted unity and cooperation, but were instead dealt with by a heavy handed incompetence which has led to greater divisions, a weakening of the party and loss of support for the presidential nominee;

Whereas, responsibility for the mismanagement and abuse of process at the national convention ultimately rests with the national Chairman;

Whereas, it is to the benefit of the party to protect the rights and interests of party members and preserve the traditional and unique practices of the state parties;

Therefore be it resolved that:

We call for the immediate resignation of Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus;

We reject the validity of all of the revisions to the party rules passed at the Tampa convention and consider the 2008 rules to remain in effect;

We commend the efforts of the Republican National Committeeman from Virginia, Morton Blackwell, to prevent adoption of these odious rule changes;

We condemn Ben Ginsberg, John Sununu and John Boehner for their leadership of and complicity in these activities;

We assert the primacy of the state parties in determining policy for conducting party elections, nomination of candidates and apportionment of delegates within their states without the interference of the national committee or any campaign or outside entities.

We urge the Republican Party of Virginia State Central Committee, our State Chairman and our Republican National Committee representatives to act on this resolution and vote to return control of the party to the state parties and the body of party members.  We urge members to take this resolution to their local unit committees for passage by said committees, and for Virginia Republican activists to endorse it.

The unity of the Republican Party is in a sorry state due to the leadership, or lack thereof, of Reince Priebus and his confederates.  Conservatives and libertarians have been demoralized and disenfranchised and his actions have harmed the party and its candidates in not only the 2012 elections, but for elections in the years to come.

Partially as a result of the devious actions which took place at the convention, most Ron Paul supporters I know are unifying behind Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and, try as I might, I can’t say that I blame them.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  Nothing defeats the Republican Party quite as well as the Republican Party.  We should never forget that Reince Pribus bears a considerable portion of this blame.

It is time for Priebus to go!

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Do you believe that the greatness of our country was founded upon the principles of a limited and constitutional government, personal responsibility, and the free market?  Do you sometimes think that the Republican Party and the nation as a whole have lost their way?  And does your adherence to these principles of liberty ever make you feel like a political outcast?  Well, if you answered yes to any of these questions and live in or around the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, I have some good news for you!

On September 16th, the Republican Liberty Caucus of the Shenandoah Valley will be holding a meeting in Staunton.

Although some of you may not know of the Republican Liberty Caucus, you are, no doubt, familiar with some of the leaders that they have endorsed.  Here is a short list:  2012 Senate candidate Ted Cruz of Texas, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina, Representative Justin Amash of Michigan, and Representative Ron Paul of Texas.  I think you will agree that each of these individuals are some of the best leaders that this nation has to offer, statesmen who promote the values of limited government conservatism and liberty.

As mention earlier, starting at 4 PM on September 16th, the Republican Liberty Caucus of the Shenandoah Valley will be gathering.  It will take place at Mrs. Rowe’s Restaurant in Staunton, Virginia, just off of the 222 exit on Interstate 81.  Although the guest list is still tentative, it is confirmed that Robert Kenyon, the chairman of the Virginia Republican Liberty Caucus, will be there.

So, no matter where you happen to live in the Shenandoah Valley, or even if you reside just outside the area, I hope that you can join us in September as we seek to build a coalition of like-minded activists.  Please RSVP on the Facebook page so that we reserve enough space for all.

Working together, we can reclaim our party, restrain our government, and restore our nation.

See you on the 16th!

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A few hours ago, I received word from George Allen’s campaign that today he signed The Contract from America.  By doing so, he joins the growing ranks of limited government conservatives like Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, and Representative Michelle Bachmann of Minnesota.  As Allen states, “To me, signing this pledge is an affirmation of my commitment to protecting individual liberty, limited government and economic freedom.”

But what is The Contract from America, you might ask?  I’m sure most of you remember the GOP’s 1994 Contract with America, but now we are talking about a contract from America?  What an odd name.  Doesn’t it sound like some secessionist ploy?  Well, here’s the contract.  Read it yourself:

The Contract from America

We, the undersigned, call upon those seeking to represent us in public office to sign the Contract from America and by doing so commit to support each of its agenda items, work to bring each agenda item to a vote during the first year, and pledge to advocate on behalf of individual liberty, limited government, and economic freedom.

Individual Liberty

Our moral, political, and economic liberties are inherent, not granted by our government. It is essential to the practice of these liberties that we be free from restriction over our peaceful political expression and free from excessive control over our economic choices.

Limited Government

The purpose of our government is to exercise only those limited powers that have been relinquished to it by the people, chief among these being the protection of our liberties by administering justice and ensuring our safety from threats arising inside or outside our country’s sovereign borders. When our government ventures beyond these functions and attempts to increase its power over the marketplace and the economic decisions of individuals, our liberties are diminished and the probability of corruption, internal strife, economic depression, and poverty increases.

Economic Freedom

The most powerful, proven instrument of material and social progress is the free market. The market economy, driven by the accumulated expressions of individual economic choices, is the only economic system that preserves and enhances individual liberty. Any other economic system, regardless of its intended pragmatic benefits, undermines our fundamental rights as free people.

1. Protect the Constitution

Require each bill to identify the specific provision of the Constitution that gives Congress the power to do what the bill does. (82.03%)

2. Reject Cap & Trade

Stop costly new regulations that would increase unemployment, raise consumer prices, and weaken the nation’s global competitiveness with virtually no impact on global temperatures. (72.20%)

3. Demand a Balanced Budget

Begin the Constitutional amendment process to require a balanced budget with a two-thirds majority needed for any tax hike. (69.69%)

4. Enact Fundamental Tax Reform

Adopt a simple and fair single-rate tax system by scrapping the internal revenue code and replacing it with one that is no longer than 4,543 words—the length of the original Constitution. (64.90%)

5. Restore Fiscal Responsibility & Constitutionally Limited Government in Washington

Create a Blue Ribbon taskforce that engages in a complete audit of federal agencies and programs, assessing their Constitutionality, and identifying duplication, waste, ineffectiveness, and agencies and programs better left for the states or local authorities, or ripe for wholesale reform or elimination due to our efforts to restore limited government consistent with the US Constitution’s meaning. (63.37%)

6. End Runaway Government Spending

Impose a statutory cap limiting the annual growth in total federal spending to the sum of the inflation rate plus the percentage of population growth. (56.57%)

7. Defund, Repeal, & Replace Government-run Health Care

Defund, repeal and replace the recently passed government-run health care with a system that actually makes health care and insurance more affordable by enabling a competitive, open, and transparent free-market health care and health insurance system that isn’t restricted by state boundaries. (56.39%)

8. Pass an ‘All-of-the-Above” Energy Policy

Authorize the exploration of proven energy reserves to reduce our dependence on foreign energy sources from unstable countries and reduce regulatory barriers to all other forms of energy creation, lowering prices and creating competition and jobs. (55.51%)

9. Stop the Pork

Place a moratorium on all earmarks until the budget is balanced, and then require a 2/3 majority to pass any earmark. (55.47%)

10. Stop the Tax Hikes

Permanently repeal all tax hikes, including those to the income, capital gains, and death taxes, currently scheduled to begin in 2011. (53.38%)

It certainly sounds promising doesn’t it?  Any effort that seeks to restrain the growing power of the federal government is certainly an idea I can get behind.  It seems, I’m not alone; the concept has the backing of a number of limited government organizations like The Leadership Institute, The Republican Liberty Caucus, and Freedom Works.

However, I do have two questions regarding the contract.  First, what’s with all the percentages after each segment?  Is it a ranking of priority?  Do the number represent folks who sign choosing to accept certain portions of the contract while rejecting others?  Well, after making a few phone calls, I discovered this answer.  In order to gauge public opinion on what are the most important priorities, the organizers held a poll.  The top ten are what are listed here.  The percentages after each are the percent of the vote each won.  “Protecting the Constitution” was labeled the highest priority, while “Stopping the Tax Hikes”, although important, was the lowest concern of the top ten.

Second, I’m not too wild about point number seven.  Sure, I’d like to see federally run health care defunded and repealed, but replaced?  Replaced with what?  Something merely more cost efficient?  I do not believe that the federal government has any constitutional authority when it comes to the health care of its citizens.  Therefore, without additional details, I cannot support this particular plank.

If you will recall, back in 1994, Republicans captured control of Congress by uniting around a list of conservative principles and priorities.  Should they do so again, I would expect them to win a far greater percentage of seats.

Therefore, despite my one particular objection, I believe that this Contract From America is an important step in the right direction.  It may be a funny sounding name, but we need to get Washington under control and we must do so now.  As our former Governor and Senator states, “Only by listening to ‘We the People’ and returning to the foundational principles of freedom, personal responsibility and opportunity for all will America once again be the land of opportunity.”

Although I still need to learn more about this effort,  I certainly do appreciate their motivation and applaud George Allen for signing on to this project.

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