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Posts Tagged ‘Robert Sarvis’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Happier days at the RPV Convention in 2009

Happier days at the RPV Convention in 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Dr. Astrid Sarvis, wife of Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Robert Sarvis, offers her thoughts about Robert’s exclusion from the final debate.

Although Mr. Sarvis will be on the ballot alongside Ken Cuccinelli and Terry McAuliffe next month and has been polling quite well, often preferred by 10% or more of the respondents, he has not be allowed to participate in any of the debates with the other candidates.  This blatant and intentional exclusion of Robert Sarvis is both unacceptable and a sad reflection of the political climate in both Virginia and the nation.

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Good evening friends in liberty.

I hope that this message finds you doing well.  I would like to write each and every one of you today but as there are so many folks within the liberty movement whom I do not yet know, I thought it best to craft this blanket letter on my blog.

As you may know, here in Virginia we will be holding an election for governor in less than a month.  On our ballot we have three choices, Republican Ken Cuccinelli, Democrat Terry McAuliffe, and Libertarian Robert Sarvis.  This election has been a cause for concern in Republican circles for many as a victory which ought to have been a clear and easy task for Cuccinelli is seeming less certain or even quite unlikely as the days progress.

In response, last Friday former Representative Ron Paul came out and endorsed Cuccinelli.  As you may also know, several fairly high profile leaders in the Virginia liberty movement have recently done so as well.

Now, the goal of this letter is not to address the merits or downfalls of Cuccinelli, but rather the state of the liberty movement, especially the liberty movement in Virginia.  Looking back at my own circumstances, I joined this cause not to seek personal glory or to command a large army of followers, but to promote our shared political principles that we think ought to be advanced in Virginia and the nation.  I suspect that many of you can relate to this motivation.  However, as this gubernatorial election proceeds, I am growing concerned about the direction of the effort.

Let me ask you several important questions.  What is the purpose of the liberty movement?  Is it to rally behind an icon, following every word Ron Paul (or his representatives both past and present) speaks without question?  I should certainly hope that the answer is no.  Don’t get me wrong, I likely have as much or more respect for Dr. Paul than just about anyone.  However, I would argue though that the larger purpose of this movement is to promote greater political awareness, to enhance ideology, and the ability to think and reason, rather than some kind of blind obedience.  Although in the early stages I would have been delighted to wear a bracelet asking “What would Ron Paul do?” I’d like to think that I have moved beyond that rudimentary point, that Paul (along with others) has helped push me in the direction that I can independently come to the understanding of what is best for the cause of liberty.  I hope that all of us can  come to this kind of thinking.  Does that mean that I won’t make mistakes?  No.  Does that mean that Ron Paul is faultless?  Surely not!  No one, especially in the realm of politics, is always correct or perfect.

As many of you know, I am a former employee of Dr. Paul; I had the honor of serving as his Director of Grassroots Organization for the State of South Carolina in 2007 & 2008.  Before some rather unfortunate misunderstandings and miscommunications, I was slated to work for Dr. Paul again in 2011 & 2012.  As such, I have been actively promoting the principles of liberty for at least the past six years.  Does that role make me better than you?  Does it mean that I can speak with authority for the entire liberty movement here in Virginia?  Of course not!  Rather it serves as a reflection of my longstanding dedication to the cause.

Friends, when it comes to this election, if you value liberty there are quite a few reasons why you ought to vote for Ken Cuccinelli and there are quite a few reasons why you ought to vote for Robert Sarvis.  My purpose at this point is not to tell you whom you should support, but rather encourage you to carefully study the choices and, with a well-reasoned and well-researched argument, be able to understand and articulate your position.  And, if somehow you come to the conclusion that Terry McAuliffe is the most pro-liberty candidate, then follow your heart.  (Though I’d be very interested to hear how you came to this idea).  Yes, this means that some of us will support Cuccinelli while others rally behind Sarvis.  But the liberty folks in each camp would do well not to vilify those in the other lest the rift grow even wider.  Our detractors would love to see us fail; let us not destroy ourselves.

Make no mistake, the election in Virginia is very important.  But no matter how it shakes out, whether it is a stunning victory or a crushing defeat for one side or another, the liberty movement can and must continue.  Leadership in any cause is important and I hope to continue to offer you thoughts to ponder as we continue to make this journey together.

But, to restate my major point, please take the time to reason, think, and understand.  Sure, it’s easy to follow the leader, but it is far more important to our cause to comprehend the ideology behind it all.  How can we say that we support liberty and personal responsibility in all facets of life if we do not embrace them ourselves in the political arena?  To borrow a quote from LeVar Burton I heard many times in my childhood, “you don’t have to take my word for it.”

In liberty!

Joshua Huffman

Author of The Virginia Conservative

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IMG_2204Yesterday morning at 10 AM, Ken Cuccinelli greeted supporters at the Harrisonburg/Rockingham County Republican Party headquarters.  There were almost forty in the crowd including several members of the media.

After an introduction by Delegate Tony Wilt (R-26), Cuccinelli spoke on a number of topics, drawing clear contrasts between himself and Terry McAuliffe.  As in previous speeches, Cuccinelli did a pretty good job balancing the troubling positions of his Democratic opponent while offering his own positive solutions to these issues, unlike the bulk of his campaign, which is still mired in negativity.

One issue that ought to be distressing to Republicans regarding the event is the attendance of Saturday’s gathering, especially this close to the election.  By comparison, the Sarvis event in Harrisonburg earlier that week drew about three times the crowd and the lieutenant governor debate watching party also had slightly better numbers.  One would expect that a multitude of conservatives from in and around the Shenandoah Valley would come out to wish Cuccinelli well; unfortunately, the fact that they did not perhaps further underscores the fact that both Cuccinelli and McAuliffe are viewed with disdain by huge segments of Virginia voters.

With less than a month to go until the election, it should be interesting to see how the polls fluctuate and what Virginia voters ultimately decide on November 5th.

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IMG_2184On Wednesday evening, Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Robert Sarvis spoke in front of over a hundred students and members of the local community at James Madison University.  Sponsored by the Student Government Association, after Sarvis spoke he fielded numerous questions from the enthusiastic and supportive audience.

This trip marks Sarvis’ first visit to the Shenandoah Valley in about a month as he continually crisscrosses the state spreading awareness of his campaign.

Although a host official campaign materials were available on site, including palm cards, door hangers, bumper stickers, buttons, and yard signs, several supporters brought their own home-made signs, including this particularly amusing one featuring grumpy cat.

IMG_2195For JMU students who are interested in learning more about Robert Sarvis and the ideals of liberty, I encourage you to attend a meeting of Madison Liberty, a group which meets on Wednesday evenings starting at 7:00 PM in Taylor Hall, Room 305.

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