Thursday, December 31, 2009

Major Victory for Feda Morton

From a Feda for Congress press release:

Scottsville, Virginia (December 30th, 2009) - The Virginia Gun Owners Club is the latest grassroots organization to recognize Feda Morton's staunch defense of principle.

"The individual right to bear arms is a fundamental Constitutional right," stated Feda Morton. "I am very pleased to have the support of the Virginia Gun Owners Coalition and will continue my firm support for gun rights in Washington."

After soliciting the questionnaire of one of Virginia's largest and most faithful pro-2nd Amendment organizations, the VGOC heartily gave the highly coveted "A rating" on the 2010 Virginia Gun Rights Survey.

"Feda gets special recognition for being the ONLY candidate in next year's 2010 primary to contact VGOC asking for our survey," stated Mike McHugh, president of the VGOC.

The Virginia Gun Owners Coalition is one of the largest Virginia-based 2nd Amendment organizations in the Commonwealth.

No other candidates have filled out or requested the VGOC survey.

This is a major victory for Morton as she builds a movement for the budget-busting Republican primary that will pick the nominee against Tom Perriello. The primary is going to be very difficult to predict because of the low turnout; small shifts in activism can have a big impact on the vote. Overall turnout could range from 20,000 to 40,000 votes.

I am watching three non-Hurt candidates with interest so far. Verga, through his activism with the Tea Party movement, may have strong appeal among voters who perhaps are not strongly affiliated with the Republican Party. Morton is reaching out to traditional grassroots group within the existing conservative movement and tapping into activists who probably already operate within the GOP to some degree or another. And Boyd is at least generating press about his bid. With the low turnout, any one of the three might be able to defeat Hurt.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Hurt Could Win During General Assembly

My last post on Rob Hurt noted that his major advantage in this race is the "backing" of the NRCC and the Beltway powers that be. This gives him a level of access to power that no one else in the race has matched so far. But even the leaders of the conservative movement refuse to bend over backwards for a guy who voted for the largest tax increase in Virginia history.

Norquist said that Hurt “needs to be able to articulate why it’s credible that, having cast that vote, he wouldn’t vote for a tax increase in the future. That’s his challenge in that race.”

Signing a no tax pledge isn't enough when Hurt's trying to wash himself of a record of voting for higher taxes. As Norquist says, he needs to be able to articulate why he's a credible conservative now. His strategy so far has been to reference a few special interest groups that like him. Now he's signed a pledge. He still is campaigning like being a conservative is just checking off boxes.

Hurt has an opening to articulate his views and argue that he is a conservative leader that deserves to join the House of Representatives. Bob McDonnell is boldly moving forward with proposals to reform Virginia's broken budget process. This follows his push in the campaign to think outside of the box in finding solutions for our state's transportation woes. When McDonnell's ideas enter the lion's den of the General Assembly, Hurt needs to do more than just be a supportive vote. He needs to be a supportive voice and become a leader for McDonnell's agenda.

Hurt also needs to explain why he's previously not only voted to raise taxes, but has opposed some of the leading proposals to reform Virginia's state government. For example, McDonnell is not the first to champion privatization of the ABC stores. This idea has floated around for many years and was included in Doug Wilder's list of suggestions to then Governor Mark Warner before he decided to raise taxes with Hurt's help. But when it was most recently taken up in the State Senate, Rob Hurt voted against the proposal. This shows a worrying trend to not only buck the party to support Democrat tax increases, but a willingness to kill bold new ideas and protect the status quo. As conservatives work to dismantle the worst extravagances of the Bush-Obama years, we don't need someone like Hurt voting against their efforts. Hurt has the next General Assembly session to prove himself. Will he step up to the challenge?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Case for Rob Hurt, Part II

After the first part of this series I had a difficult time coming up with more reasons for someone to support Rob Hurt in the primary (in a general election against Perriello is another question). Rob Hurt's name ID doesn't mean that much right now and any candidate with enough money will be able to achieve the name ID needed to defeat Perriello. And that's when I realized that the case about Rob Hurt is all about the Benjamins.

Because the NRCC has "encouraged" Rob Hurt to join the race, Hurt has connections and access that no one else in the primary has right now. It's his only chance at expelling the demons of his tax increasing votes.

Five years ago, Virginia legislator Robert Hurt (R) appeared on a Wild West-style “Least Wanted” poster of a prominent anti-tax organization after he voted for some tax increases in a budget plan to shore up Virginia’s shaky finances.

Hurt’s vote is a major issue as he campaigns for the 2010 Republican nomination to oppose one-term Rep. Tom Perriello (D) in Virginia’s 5th district, where the National Republican Congressional Committee is promoting Hurt as the party’s strongest candidate.

Hurt was in Washington, D.C., last week to do a little damage control: he participated in a weekly meeting of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), the organization that blasted him in the 2004 poster and in an accompanying press release, and signed the group’s pledge to oppose tax increases as a member of Congress.

“He basically made the case that this was not a vote that he was comfortable with and that it wouldn’t happen again,” ATR president Grover Norquist, an influential conservative activist, told CQ Politics on Wednesday. “But he certainly made the case that in Washington, he’d never vote for a tax increase.”

Norquist said that Hurt “needs to be able to articulate why it’s credible that, having cast that vote, he wouldn’t vote for a tax increase in the future. That’s his challenge in that race.”

If the NRCC didn't want Hurt in the race, I doubt Grover Norquist and Americans for Tax Reform would give Hurt the time of day. Unless the NRCC was doing everything possible behind the scenes to mend the fence between Hurt and top level tax activists like Norquist, I doubt they'd be open to Hurt articulating why he has changed his ways. They'd be firing off the press releases right now attacking him.

The NRCC's seal of approval will do more than give Hurt the opportunity to win back over opponents of his votes to raise taxes. It will give him a chance to raise the money needed to defeat Perriello faster than anyone else, flooding the primary as well. We are just days away from the end of the first quarter in which Hurt has been an announced candidate. All eyes will be on his fundraising to see if he's breaking away from everyone else in the pack. If Hurt raises the big bucks and leaves everyone else in the dust, the argument for Hurt becomes all about the Benjamins. We'll know soon enough if Hurt has the ability to raise the money to defeat Perriello.

5th District Robocalls

The Andy Sere approved 5th district blog has some interesting slander regarding some potential robocalling by Verga. I had heard earlier rumors that Boyd was doing robocalling as well, both before his announcement and more recently. He's doing some type of "poll" to paint the race as Hurt versus Boyd. I also heard rumors much earlier in 2009 of a robocall or poll that may have been conducted by the NRCC as it asked about Perriello, Goode, and other potential candidates. I believe this was the poll used by the NRCC to push out Goode and bring in Hurt. Those are the robocalls I've heard, what are you hearing?

How to be a Verga Insider

A lonely corner of the blogosphere is a buzz with the question "Who is Not Andy Sere?"

The idea is that since I'm anti-Hurt and relatively uncritical of Verga I must be some sort of Verga insider on the campaign payroll.

You see, I have "connections" with the Verga campaign that show through in my blogging.

Here's how I do it.

I'm subscribed to their campaign e-mail list. I get their campaign updates through a nefarious secret program called "Gmail."

Also, I am using this top secret new technology called "Twitter" to follow Verga's campaign announcements.

If it seems like I'm retweeting a lot of Verga's tweets, go look at how often other candidates are tweeting. They aren't. Retweeting is just my lazy way of blogging.

So that's my secret of how to be a Verga insider.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Case for Rob Hurt, Part I

There's a little bit of a tempest in a tea pot over at the conservative blog Bearing Drift over the 5th District's tug of war between Rob Hurt and the other, more conservative, candidates in the race. I want to respond, in time, but I would also like to continue my trend of providing constructive insight into Rob Hurt, the man and the myth.

To do so I am starting a series of posts designed to draw out some of the reasons why people are advocating Rob Hurt as the Republican nominee. In most cases I will criticize these reasons as insufficient, but I don't want to be declared victorious over a straw man opponent. I hope you, the loyal reader, will keep me in check.

So, on to Part I. What I call, "Rob Hurt, the Hometown Hero."

The argument, which I've already lampooned a bit, is that Rob Hurt is the hometown hero of the 5th District. To exaggerate every so slightly, he's the white knight who will slay the Perri-losi-saurus. Rowr!

It is true that Rob Hurt has roots in Pittsylvania County just outside of Danville. As I pointed out, he comes from a background of affluence and privilege. He is not the average man of the 5th District, but he's not that bad of a fit for a rural district that has usually elected politicians from the group of governing small business owners, lawyers, local bankers, and the like. Which is a pretty good description of what the 5th District used to be and how some old timers like Virgil Goode and Tucker Watkins still see it as. But, newsflash, the district has grown rapidly in many areas.

The irony is the same supporters of this line of reasoning refuse to accept that Tom Perriello is a native born son of the 5th District and his late father was a well respected doctor in the Charlottesville community. I think some crazies are still looking for Tommy Boy's papers from Ellis Island, which will be found right next to Obama's Kenyan Birth Certificate. The "New York Lawyer" attack against Perriello fell flat in 2008, but some Hurt supporters seem to believe that if they just keep up the line it will eventually defeat Perriello.

Also, Tom Perriello defeated Virgil H. Goode, Jr., in 2008. The same Goode that had been representing the district since 1996. The same Goode that had been representing parts of the district since the 1970s. The same Goode with a highway, courthouse, and God know's what else named after his father. You want to talk about a hometown hero? A local boy done good? Virgil H. Goode, Jr.

Besides, how well known is Rob Hurt in the 5th District? Really? No, really. Polling on name ID of down-ballot statewide candidates shows a real lack of name ID. What makes us think that Rob Hurt is really that well known?

Consider his old House of Delegate's district now represented by Don Merricks, the 16th District. The fightin' 16th! A little less than 9% of 5th District voters in 2008 were in the 16th District. His new State Senate District? About 20%, with some overlap between the two (the 16th has parts of Henry and Martinsville, the 19th State Senate District does not). Even when you add in that Hurt may have enough coverage in the Roanoke and Lynchburg papers to boost his name ID a little bit, I have a hard time seeing how he has name ID above 15%, maybe 20%.

Rob Hurt doesn't have the name ID to win the election against Tom Perriello. He, or any other nominee, will have to actually campaign. Which may be a unique concept to some! Now that a primary has been selected, the nominee will by definition be a candidate who went out, campaigned, and won over enough voters to win. This will elevate their name ID! So there's no need to argue that Hurt has to be the nominee over another candidate because that candidate doesn't have the name ID to win. That's the point of campaigning. To build name ID!

I also want to address the idea that Rob Hurt is somehow uniquely popular in his district. Hurt has had only two real election fights, in that he's had two elections in which a Democrat even opposed him: 2001 and 2003. In 2001 he received 64.99% of the vote and won all three localities in his district. In 2003 he received 61.64% of the vote and narrowly lost the portion of Martinsville in his district. And in 2008 Virgil Goode received 59.21% in the 16th District. Is that what this comes down to? A potential 2% of the vote (in a district that is less than 9% of the congressional district) that Hurt may or may not be picking off from Democrats in low turnout elections where the difference is more likely due to who is showing up?

Rob Hurt "Facts"

Update: Changing the title. I thought it would be clear that "Rob Hurt Lies" would be lies about Rob Hurt. Like the jokes "Chuck Norris Facts." I'm changing it to clear up the confusion. Maybe "Rob Hurt Tall Tales" would work too.

Wow. I just read a comment over at Bearing Drift that takes the prize for biggest lie about Rob Hurt. It seems that the Hurt supporters are going to try to win by outright falsifying their candidate's record. He can't hide from his votes to raise taxes. And he can't hide from his biography. About the only real Hurt cheerleader in the blogosphere, kelley in virginia, is claiming that "he’s lived in the 5th all his life so he knows the issues."

Oh really?

Hurt needs to scrub this news story from his website.

Hurt grew up in Pittsylvania County, earned a bachelor's degree from Hampden-Sydney College in 1991, and received a law degree from from Mississippi College School of Law in 1995.

While in law school, he worked in the criminal litigation section of the Mississippi Attorney General's Office and in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Mississippi.

He also worked for the DeKalb County District Attorney's Office in Atlanta, Ga., and Virginia Attorney General's Office in Richmond.

During his final semester, he attended the Cardozo School of Law in New York and worked for a New York State Supreme Court judge.

But about that "grew up in Pittsylvania County" . . . Here's some history for you.

Born in New York, New York, June 16, 1969

New York?!

Oh, and check out his high school.

Episcopal High School (1987)

That's not in Pittsylvania . . .

The comprehensive tuition fee for the 2007-08 school year was $38,200, in addition to the technology fee ($250), cost of books (about $600), and spending money. Student activities are included in the tuition, although there are some exceptions.

I would love to know the tuition for the school when Hurt was attending. Right now tuition at the school is higher than the per capita income of the 5th District.

Oh Gerry . . .

Gerry Connolly is worried about the deficit.

"We've got to indicate we're serious about the deficit," said Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), who voted “no” and represents a Republican-leaning district with low unemployment. "We didn't cause the deficit, but we have to address it."

That "no" vote on the new stimulus is nice Gerry. But don't you think that doing something about the deficit should have included voting against raising the debt limit?

Oh Gerry!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Republicans welcome new entry to 5th District primary

IVY- Republicans will have a new but familiar choice in next June's open primary election to challenge U.S. Rep. Tom Perriello, D-Ivy. Meet Rep. Tom Perriello, R-Ivy.

Following in the independent tradition of the 5th District, Democratic Rep. Tom Perriello announced that he would enter the June Republican primary in order to receive the nomination of both major parties.

“I now have my work cut out for me,” Perriello said. “I’m humbled to — I mean this sincerely — humbled to be in the field of up to nine good men and women. The fact that there are so many candidates really does show the level of enthusiasm for changing the direction of this country.”

"This probably isn't what people thought I meant when I said I'd work a double shift," said Perriello.

Andy Sere, regional press secretary for the National Republican Congressional Committee, said the GOP is looking for a candidate with a strong record, the ability to put together a well-funded campaign and who can draw a stark contrast with President Barack Obama's liberal agenda in Washington.

“Having this process play out in public view and be decided by a primary open to all voters, including Democrats, that’s something that’s healthy,” Sere said. “I think it’s healthy, but I think at the end of the day that everyone’s going to unite behind the Republican nominee simply because everyone recognizes what the ultimate goal here is — which is to elect someone who calls them self a Republican.”

A primary favors a candidate that can create a large campaign organization, something Perriello did last year in defeating long term Republican Rep. Virgil Goode. Primaries also bring more people into the candidate selection process, including those in the military who can vote by absentee ballots. But because Virginia doesn’t require party registration, Democrats will be able to vote in the GOP primary.

The choice to hold a primary will allow Democrats to pick the Republican nominee, something that Perriello seems to be trying to take advantage of.

“A primary, many people believe, has a bigger access to more people,” said 5th District Republican Party Chairman Tucker Watkins. “A convention is easier to limit it to just Republicans … You have to decide which you think is a better way to nominate the candidate. Obviously the 32 voting members of the 21 party units across the district thought it would be better to let the Democrats nominate our candidates. I feel kind of silly now that we didn't think the Democrats would take advantage of the process. That Perriello is smart. He went to a good college."

But Perriello will also face a frontal assault on his record by several conservative candidates who believe that he his too liberal to represent the Republican Party.

“They have just chosen the best way to elect a RINO to that seat,” said Tea Party and FairTax activist Brad Rees. RINO is an acronym for “Republican In Name Only,” and it’s a label Perriello will have to shed over the next six months if he hopes to rally the GOP behind his nomination. Already, GOP candidate Robert Hurt has referred to Perriello as a liberal because his votes to raise taxes are larger than Hurt's votes to raise taxes.

“I don’t even know what that means,” Hurt said in response. “I am a Republican! Andy said the nomination was mine! Mine!

Perriello, for his part, dismissed that idea that he is anything but a true conservative. He received a top rating, he noted, from the National Rifle Association in his 2008 run for Congress. And he voted against federal funding of abortion in the health care reform bill.

"I am proud to have reduced taxes," he said. "My very first bill, the American Opportunity Tax Credit, was signed into law six weeks after it was introduced as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The bill provides for a tax credit of up to $2,500 for tuition and related expenses (including textbooks, for the first time) to help middle-class families afford college and allow displaced workers to attend community college in preparation for re-entry into the workforce. And I'm proud to have fought against unbalanced budgets."

Perriello also said fiscal responsibility is a “signature issue” for him.

The NRCC was quick to respond to complaints from conservative activists that a match up between Democrat Tom Perriello and Republican Tom Perriello wouldn't be a fair election.

“We are fortunate to have a strong field of GOP candidates who are more interested in serving their country than serving themselves, a la Glenn Nye ,” said Sere. “No one likes an empty suit, and Nye — who has quickly developed a reputation on both sides of the aisle for shameless political posturing — is looking more and more like a one-term congressman with each passing day. The good citizens of the 5th District should just be thankful that they are not represented by Glenn Nye.”

Conservatives Don't Just Check Off Boxes

Last night I had some fun at Rob Hurt's expense by noting his week attempt to defend his record as "conservative." Hurt made a halfhearted attempt to reference a few Republican-leaning special interest groups and quickly glossed over a few meaningless policy positions. He is "proud" of his record that includes opposing taxes and repealing taxes, but also voting for the two largest tax increases in Virginia's history. One step forward, two steps back.

But let's analyze Hurt's statement a bit more seriously. I believe it shows a deep flaw with Rob Hurt as a candidate due to his failure to understand that being a conservative is more than checking off boxes. Rob Hurt may think he understands politics. He's been in the General Assembly for a while and he understands a little bit about the game. Blue team versus red team. Democrats versus Republicans. While Virginia doesn't have party registration, Rob Hurt has made his partisan identity public by running as a Republican. If Virginia had party registration you can be sure he'd check off the box to call himself a Republican. Rob Hurt is a Republican because he is a Republican. It's just a fact. He has checked that box off. That's all there is to being a member of a party. Just check the box.

That doesn't make Rob Hurt a conservative.

Being a conservative is more than checking off a few boxes. The problem with liberalism is that it has become little more than special interest politics. Check off the box for being "pro-choice." Check off the box for being "pro-affirmative action." Pick up some union endorsements. Pander to the environmentalists. The liberal movement in America is defined by an overall governing ideology of "I want something from the government." Most of the groups within the Democrat Party agree on little day to day. Auto workers in Detroit don't have much in common with environmentalists in San Francisco. But they do have one thing in common. They want something from the government. And to get what they want they will raise your taxes.

Rob Hurt has spent too much time in the General Assembly playing the game of blue team versus red team. He just thinks that there are two sides full of different special interest groups that want something. At the end of the day there isn't enough to go around so special interest groups fall into alliances to fight out who gets the loot the government has collected from the taxpayers. But in this view of government there is no meaningful difference between the two sides. That's the game Rob Hurt seems to be playing. Just check off the boxes of the special interest groups that support the red team.

Such a vision of government gets to the core of why Rob Hurt voted for the two largest tax increases in Virginia's history. He's "proud" to have voted for balanced budgets. "Proud" to have voted for additional revenue so that the special interests could have more money to split up amongst themselves. That's the approach of the liberals in the Democrat Party. Budget deficits? Not enough government revenue to pay for all of the programs? The simple liberal solution is just to raise taxes. Bring in more revenue. Problem solved. That's how the Democrats do it. That's how Mark Warner "solved" the budget crisis in Virginia.

I am happy that there is a widespread grassroots movement concerned about the direction of our country. One of the issues that is motivating this grassroots revolution is the deficit and our growing national debt. But Bill Clinton was worried about that too. So are many liberals in Congress. They are worried about it because it means they won't have enough money to pay for all of their stuff. The problem isn't the deficit. That's the symptom. The real problem is government spending too much money. Real conservatives get this. They understand there has to be more than just the fight over how to divide the loot. We need to take steps to reduce the amount of loot in the hands of politicians and make sure more is kept by the taxpayer. Rob Hurt may be able to check off the boxes for the red team's special interest groups, but he's shown a consistent inability to understand what it means to be a conservative.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Rob Hurt: Dazed & Confused

Poor Rob Hurt seems dazed and confused by the criticism against him from the conservative grassroots. He is trying to push back and defend his record, but just doesn't seem to be able to pull together a strong message. Here is Hurt in the Charlottesville Daily Progress.

Hurt, for his part, dismissed the idea that he is anything but a true conservative. He enjoys top ratings, he noted, from the National Rifle Association, pro-life groups and the Family Foundation.

“I’m proud to have fought against taxes,” he said. “I’m proud to have repealed taxes. And I’m proud to have voted for balanced budgets.”

The NRA? The same one that gave Tom Perriello an "AQ" for answering their survey with all of the right answers? Given Perriello's willingness to sign onto every sheet of paper the NRA puts in front of him I'd say that Perriello, at some future event in Danville against Hurt, will be able to claim top ratings from the NRA too.

Pro-life? Well, Tommy Boy is a good Catholic but as a Democrat he dances around the abortion issue. But he has his credentials with his vote to prevent taxpayer funding of abortion in the health care bill.

But where Rob Hurt really shows his grasp of politics is his statement that he is "proud" to have voted for balanced budgets. Virginia, like all states but Vermont, is required to have a balanced budget. It's no feat at all to vote for balanced budgets in Virginia. They are, by definition, balanced! What Hurt means to say is he's "proud" to have voted for the largest tax increase in Virginia to balance the budget instead of cutting waste and inefficiency!

With Rob Hurt showing signs of weakness in the campaign the NRCC should start looking for another candidate to anoint. If they don't care about a candidate's economic record I have a great suggestion for them. He's an energetic young politician who received the NRA's top rating for challengers in 2008. He's faith based. Voted against taxpayer funding of abortion and "tithes" ten percent of his campaign time. Oh, don't worry about his votes to raise taxes and send this country into a destructive spiral of deficits and recession. Can you guess this new candidate who sounds just as conservative as Rob Hurt? Here's a clue, a picture of him with who I believe to be State Senator Rob Hurt.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Why Now?

If holding a primary to ensure that our men and women in uniform overseas can vote absentee is so important to the establishment of the Republican Party, why did we nominate our 2009 candidates through a convention? Why was the 2008 Senate fight between Bob Marshall and Jim Gilmore decided at a convention? Sure, we've used primaries like in 2004. But the Republican Party of Virginia is just as likely to pick up a convention for important statewide elections. Let's not pretend that one side in this fight is high and mighty, both are making arguments because of their desire to win. That's the bottom line.

Hurt's side argues the turnout could be as high as 50,000. Maybe, maybe not. Those numbers are based on very competitive Republican primary elections in 2000. It could be as low as 30,000. The spin from the decision to hold a primary instead of a convention has been that this favors Hurt. However, I think Andy Sere at the NRCC has some personal experience with Republican candidates that managed to win primaries against establishment Republicans. He should be worried.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The 2004 Vote Matters

I want to point out something that is often overlooked in the back and forth on Rob Hurt's support for the 2004 Warner tax increases. This vote is not ancient history. And it has remained an important divide between Republicans and Democrats in Virginia. Note soon to be sworn in Governor Bob McDonnell's message on the campaign trail.

McDonnell talked of the tax hike at last week's debate, criticizing it as the largest tax increase in Virginia's history and noting that a state surplus the same year demonstrated that the increase was not needed.

"I did not think it was the right vote at the time," McDonnell said, "because the kind of governor that I'm going to be is to find ways to do things better, to make reform government, to use innovation and privatization and consolidation to be able to find new resources, to set priorities in government. That's why I've said public safety and transportation and funding for higher education will be my priorities, as opposed to my opponent that's always just looking for new revenues."

Has Hurt done anything to explain why he differs from Bob McDonnell on this issue?

Oh Really Sere?

Andy Sere is claiming at that the NRCC has been entirely fair in the fight in the 5th District of Virginia:

But NRCC spokesman Andy Sere told HUMAN EVENTS, “we have not endorsed a candidate in that race.” He said an endorsement is “unlikely," and that the NRCC has promoted Verga on their website. He also said it should become clearer who is best fit to take on Perriello after the fourth quarter fundraising reports are released late next month.

Oh really?

Where is Verga and others on this profile of the Virginia 5th? They mention both Loyola and Rigell in the 2nd but no one but Hurt in the 5th.

I am not the only Virginia blogger to note the NRCC's favoritism toward Hurt. But check out what the media in the district has picked up on.

The Danville Register & Bee:

Of the six, Hurt is the only challenger to Perriello that the NRCC has outwardly supported so far, publicizing his announcement to run via e-mail.

Lynchburg News & Advance:

Thursday afternoon, the National Republican Congressional Committee sent out one of its many e-mail blasts about Rep. Tom Perriello, the Democrat who represents the Fifth District in the House of Representatives.

The release, which came under the signature of Regional Press Secretary Andy Sere, was about the announcement of state Sen. Robert Hurt, R-Chatham, announcing his plans to challenge Perriello in November 2010. Hurt’s entry into the race prompted many political experts to rate Democrat Perriello as one of the most endangered freshmen in next year’s congressional elections.

Roanoke Times:

"Senator Hurt's candidacy is excellent news for the legions of central and Southside Virginians who've grown tired of having a congressman who holds their values in contempt," NRCC spokesman Andy Sere wrote in a statement.

Andy Sere has to spent as much time defending Hurt as he does attacking Perriello. Find me one example of Sere praising the other Republicans in the field. The NRCC is obviously backing Hurt and only someone who believes every line sold to them by the NRCC would believe otherwise. Sere is spinning left and right, but mainly left, in order to keep Hurt's candidacy alive. On Saturday, the word will come down from the mountain that a primary is wanted in order to lock the nomination down for Hurt. A "competitive" primary could get as high as 40,000 to 50,000 voters based on the 1st and 7th District nominations in 2000. While it will be a set back for the conservative cause, I believe the conservative grassroots can still win against Hurt.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Tucker Folding Under National Pressure?

Tucker Watkins, just weeks ago:

Watkins said 15 unit chairpersons took a straw vote a few months ago, with 10 voting in favor of a convention.

Today, after Hurt went up to DC to beg the NRCC to do more to help his campaign:

ifth District GOP Chairman Tucker Watkins said Wednesday that he didn’t know how many committee members were leaning toward a convention or how many might prefer a primary. A third possible nominating process, called a party caucus, doesn’t have much support, Watkins said.

So in just days Tucker has gone from knowing that 10 out of 15 unit chairpersons favored a convention to having no idea.

Coincidence? I think not. The NRCC is trying to shove a primary down the throats of the 5th District in order to get Hurt nominated. And Tucker is folding under their pressure.

Another Deceptive Republican

A while back I noted that Congressman Randy Forbes was trying to pull a fast one on his constituents by introducing a resolution, which in Congress is just expressing the sense of one chamber and is non-binding, and claiming that it would actually accomplish something. I thought this was pretty insulting but it may be common up in Congress. His fellow Republican Eric Cantor has just done the same thing.

Today, Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R-CA) and Republican Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) introduced a resolution, H. Res. 952, allowing Congressional Medal of Honor recipients to properly display the United States flag on their property at all times.

Wow, Congress has the power to overturn the private contracts of homeowner associations?! Wait, that doesn't sound right. Let's look at the bill itself.

Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that a recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor should be permitted, at all times on the recipient's property, to properly display the Flag of the United States of America.

. . .

Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that a recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor should be permitted, at all times on the recipient's property, to properly display the Flag of the United States of America.

This is just one of those meaningless resolutions expressing the sense of the House of Representatives. It in no way has the force of law. If it passes, poor Colonel Van Barfoot will be in the exact same situation he is now. But maybe Eric Cantor could get him a nice framed copy of the resolution. That will be nice!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Tom Perriello Slaps Glenn Nye

The DPVA Central Committee meeting occurred over the weekend in Staunton and was host to the usual pomp and circumstance in speeches. While the liberals spent the weekend patting themselves on the back about how great their remaining politicians can give speeches, check out this speech from Tommy Boy:

What was that Tommy?

"You have to make sure that we are fighting for the working class and middle class . . . have no doubt, you can get elected with a D after your name and still go up to Washington and Richmond and not continue to stand up to the very things that inspire all of us."

Who are you talking about?


Oh yeah, this guy.

What benefit is there to Tommy to slam Nye? Maybe because he wants those rich liberal donors to give him money instead of Nye? There's going to be a lot of infighting next year as the vulnerable Democrats in Virginia go after each other behind closed doors to win over money and activists. But this is the first example I've seen of this type of slandering going public.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Thanksgiving Hiatus & Afghanistan

I took the Thanksgiving week off from blogging and twitter to enjoy time with family, friends, and fowls (turkey!). As the hiatus ends there's a lot to catch up on. And even more to talk about in the weeks ahead. Health care, Afghanistan, jobs, Christmas, and more. Tonight, Barack Obama is scheduled to speak to the nation about Afghanistan. How Republicans and Democrats respond to his speech will heavily impact 2010. One Republican has already come out against the President and in favor of withdrawing from Afghanistan.

Saying it’s time for Republicans to do more than “take pot shots at ACORN,” freshman Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz will call on President Barack Obama on Monday to bring U.S. troops home from Afghanistan.

Chaffetz’s push for a troop withdrawal — to be unveiled in a speech at the Hinckley Institute of Politics in Salt Lake City — runs counter to the position of House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio and other leading Republicans in Congress. But it also reflects the divisions within the conference about the question of Afghanistan. Chaffetz told POLITICO the issue “has been probably the most difficult one as a freshman in the minority.”

How many other Republicans will line up with libertarians like Ron Paul and Jason Chaffetz in opposition to the Afghanistan surge proposed by President Obama? Something to watch for in the coming weeks.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Defeating Tommy Boy

Conservative Party candidate Bradley Rees has some thoughts up about the vulnerabilities of Democrat Congressman Tom Perriello in Virginia's 5th District. I suggest reading it over to get a full sense of the fight that conservatives and Republicans will have next year in defeating Perriello. Rees has more sense than Republican hacks like Andy Sere over at the NRCC pushing Rob Hurt as the white knight that will defeat the Democrat dragon that is Perriello. It's surprisingly that Rees, the Tea Party activist, is more in touch with reality than the so-called "professionals" in DC that are supposed to know how to win. That's the difference common sense makes.

The biggest point that Rees makes worth repeating is that Tom Perriello is, sadly, not the liberal bogeyman that the NRCC makes him out to be. Look at this article today from Real Clear Politics about the Virginia Democrats up for reelection next year:

Perriello, though, has also bucked his party leadership this year, including publicly supporting a bill that would prohibit congressmen from taking campaign contributions from a company in the same campaign cycle that they requested an earmark for that company. Democrats have so far done nothing with the bill. He also supported, along with only a dozen or so other Democrats, privileged resolutions brought forth by Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) to look into the relationship between earmarks and campaign contributions. Those also went nowhere.

On the big issues like health care and cap and tax Perriello has been a good liberal. But he's broken from his party enough time to show "independence." Do you really think "Ivy-bred" Perriello is stupid enough to think he can run as a 100% Nancy Pelosi liberal? No, he's smart enough to break from the party when he needs to. Just look at his vote in support of the Stupak Amendment to ban federal funding of abortions in the health care bill. The guy's smart. He really is "Ivy-bred."

In the big picture, take a look at where Obama stands nationally with this post from liberal Democrat blogger Chris Bowers His graph makes a pretty good argument that most people who voted for Obama still like Obama. And most people who voted for McCain still don't like Obama. Which makes a lot of sense. The problem for Democrats is that Obama voters aren't turning out to vote when it's not Obama on the ticket. They are also helped by two smaller groups that, combined, can have a big impact. First, conservatives who didn't come out and vote in 2008 because McCain ran a lackluster campaign. Second, the small group of Bush-Obama voters who swing election to election.

That latter group is being driven by the economy argues Nate Silver at 538. And how people feel about the economy not only influences how they feel about Obama, it influences how they feel about all of Obama's agenda, like health care reform. If the economy improves you can watch Obama's numbers increase again. And support for his agenda, despite how liberal it is. That's just the way it is.

So I think that most people who voted for Perriello last time around still like him. And most people who voted for Goode still probably don't like Perriello. But the problem for Republicans, not the Democrats, is that Goode was far more well known and established. There's schools, highways, courthouses, and more named after his family. He had been serving in the area since the 70s. He was a former Democrat. Perriello won because he did a better job in winning over McCain voters than Goode did of winning over Obama. And I think Goode did run a bad campaign. But he also was a very, very strong incumbent. I don't think someone like Hurt, with no competitive election under his belt, will have have as much clout as Goode.

Victory for Republicans against Perriello will be based on getting more conservatives out to vote than Perriello gets liberals out. Some of the game will be with swing voters. But a solid conservative with strong base turnout will be advantaged over Perriello. Someone like Hurt with weak base support will have to work twice as hard to win over swing voters. Republicans, you have been warned.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The GOP's Open Seat Problem

There is a slight problem for the Republican Party's chances at retaking the House of Representatives next year that I first highlighted in my two part series "Pelosi's Silving Lining" (Part 1, Part 2).

First, the good news. Of the lost seats in 1994, including two special elections, twenty-four were open seats. Democrats held onto all open seats in districts where Clinton won over 50% of the vote. I'm willing to concede that Democrats will probably keep open seats where Obama won over 50% of the vote, especially traditionally Democratic seats where Gore and Kerr also won. And I'll concede they only have a few open seats to defend right now. In Louisiana, Charlie Melancon's seat seems like a certain pick up. Pennsylvania's Joe Sestak and New Hampshire's Paul Hodes will be more difficult seats for them to defend and I'm optimistic about the Pennsylvania 7th. And I'll concede some difficulty in defending Mark Kirk's seat in the Illinois 10th. But other than the open seat in Delaware, I don't see much happening in this category of races. For now.

Down in Louisiana it looks almost certain that the two parties will swap sweets. Republicans will take Melancon's open seat in the 3rd District and Democrats will defeat Cao in the 2nd District. Democrats also have to defend open seats in New Hampshire and Pennsylvania, but that's the extent of their open seat defensive game. Republicans, however, will have to worry about Delaware, the Illinois 10th, and the Pennsylvania 6th. All three are in blue districts. I have my fingers crossed for the Pennsylvania 6th but the other two will probably flip.

So despite the big national wave favoring Republicans, it looks like the open seat playing field will, at best, be neutral. In 1994 the open seat playing field helped Republicans on their way to victory. This year the tea leaves look bad enough that a lot of Democrat House members are backing out of statewide runs because they don't think they will win and they don't want to give up their House seat.

Without the open seats helping the GOP along, and potentially even harming them, Republicans will have to work even harder to defeat Democrat incumbents. Which means spreading resources around and investing wisely. Given the fetishism of the NRCC for RINOs like Rob Hurt, I'd say us conservatives at the grassroots will be working against the grain in trying to elect conservatives in 2010.

Morton Builds Momentum!

Here is the latest press release from the Feda Morton for Congress campaign about her growing list of big name endorsements in the race.

Congressional candidate Feda Morton announced today that her campaign has received the endorsement of two Republican National Committee members. National Committeeman Morton Blackwell of Arlington, and National Committeewoman Kathy Hayden Terry of Botetourt, agreed that Feda Morton is the Virginia GOP's best hope to replace liberal Democrat Congressman Tom Periello with a principled and proven conservative.

Blackwell is one of the longest-serving members of the Republican National Committee, having first been elected in 1988. In 2004, Blackwell was elected to the RNC Executive Committee. Blackwell served in the Reagan White House; his education and training center, The Leadership Institute, has trained a generation of conservative candidates and grassroots activists.

"I've known Feda Morton for years," said Blackwell. "She is a conservative's conservative who will not compromise her principles when she gets to Washington. Feda's commitment to limited government and an America as envisioned by our Founding Fathers is unwavering. Feda will be a true conservative leader in Congress."

Kathy Terry has been a fixture in conservative and Republican politics in Virginia for quarter century. Previously to serving on the RNC, Terry was a longtime member of the Republican Party of Virginia's State Central Committee.

Terry mentioned her years of working side-by-side with Morton as a grassroots conservative activist. "Feda understands the conservative grassroots of Republican Party because she is a part of that grassroots. Feda has never shied away from standing up for her beliefs; she has been a tireless advocate for the conservative principles of life and liberty, and she will continue to do so in the House of Representatives."

Feda Morton said she was honored to have the support of these two national republican leaders. "Morton Blackwell and Kathy Terry are known and respected leaders of the conservative movement and the Republican Party, both nationally and here at home. These two know the type of candidates our Party needs to nominate for Congress if we are to be victorious in 2010. Their endorsement of my campaign is a strong signal to those who share our conservative principles, and those who want to see our Party again fully embrace those principles in the future."

Blackwell and Terry join other noted conservative leaders in endorsing Feda Morton's campaign for Congress. Earlier this week, Mike Farris announced his endorsement of Morton. Farris is the founder and Chairman of the Home School Legal Defense Association, a group dedicated to the protection of the rights of home educators across the nation.

Feda Morton is seeking the Republican nomination for Congress in Virginia's Fifth Congressional District. She teaches AP biology at Fluvanna High School, is a former state championship basketball and track coach, past Chairman of the Fluvanna Republican committee, and twice elected to the Fluvanna School Board.

It looks like Morton is continuing to build big name support for her campaign to rival Rob Hurt's "NRCC approved" campaign. But I have not hear Morton take on the issues that would define her as a better candidate than the less than conservative Hurt. But this December will be a key month as candidates try to raise funds to show that they are serious candidates for the nomination. And we'll watch to see what the result will be of the meeting to decide the nomination process. Stay tuned.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Media General's Daily Progress Hiding Editorials?

The Charlottesville Daily Progress posted your usual letter to the editor today from an Albemarle liberal defending Tom Perriello in the face of the paper's editorial board. That's not news. What is news is that the letter references an editorial that, as far as I know, was never posted online. It talked about a November 11th Editorial but the online editorial page is blank for that time period.

What gives?

Why is this Media General newspaper failing to post its editorial attacking Perriello online?

Maybe we should ask Diane Cantor, who serves as a director on the board of Media General. Certainly the wife of Eric Cantor would understand politics and be interested in why one of her newspapers is hiding up their criticism of Perriello.

I don't know what's going on, but I want to know what the editorial said. I don't subscribe to the Daily Progress. Is it possible that the Daily Progress, a paper that is to the right of Ken Cuccinelli, went to far in its attacks on Perriello and Eric Cantor is worried that if the DC Beltway picks up on the paper's far-right views they will discount future hit pieces by the paper during the key 2010 general election?

Inquiring minds want to know . . .

Friday, November 13, 2009

Votes Don't Matter. Votes Matter!

This past Saturday, November 7th, Congressman Tom Perriello demonstrated his bipartisan and independent nature by voting with the Republican Party on eight out of the thirteen votes cast on that fateful day. That's over 60% of the votes!

But wait! On that very same day Tom Perriello, a Nancy Pelosi lapdog, supported the Democratic Party on twelve out of the thirteen votes! Nearly unanimous support for the far liberal agenda!

How is that possible? How can Perriello support the Republicans 60% of the time and on the very same votes support the Democrats over 90% of the time?

Because, despite being a day with historic votes on health care "reform," the day was also full of Congressional resolutions "Expressing support for designation of the week beginning on November 9, 2009, as National School Psychology Week" or "Recognizing the 20th anniversary of the remarkable events leading to the end of the Cold War and the creation of a Europe, whole, free, and at peace." There were more substantive votes dealing with what appears to be a popular small business program. And several procedural votes that were practically meaningless. On the rule setting the terms of the debate on the health care bill the Republicans argued that the Democrats were trying to jam through the bill with just four hours of debate! Republicans seized the moral high ground by arguing that Congress obviously needed five, not four, hours of debate!

Wow, what a contrast in political views!

The fact is almost half of the votes don't matter. Well over half in fact when you include procedural votes. The bulk of the votes in the House of Representatives are relatively uncontroversial bills recognizing a holiday or historical event. Sometimes there are uncontroversial bills that do actually do something, such as renaming a federal building or post office. Or, like the small business bill from Saturday, are extensions or tweaks of rather popular programs. Do you actually think there have been almost 900 meaningful votes in the House this year? NO WAY.

And then you have the procedural votes that are required under parliamentary rules but rarely accomplish anything. Every time the majority party decides to bring up a new issue or bill to debate there is a vote in which the minority party argues that issue X or bill Y is obviously more important than issue A or bill B. And every time you have a rule to set the terms of the debate the minority party will argue that they need an hour, or two hours, or thirty minutes more of debate. And additional amendments . . . etc. etc.


Votes don't matter.

But . . . . votes matter!!

The fact that Obama's "stimulus" package passed without any Republican support in the House of Representatives matters. It shows that the Republicans are united against him. The fact that Representative Cao of Louisiana cast the only Republican vote in favor of health care "reform" matters. It shows (if you believe Democratic spin) that there is bipartisan support for the bill. And the fact that a handful of Republicans voted for cap and tax also matters. Same thing, it provides cover to claim the bill is bipartisan.

And votes can produce change. The vote on the Stupak amendment mattered. We changed a bill that had federal funding of abortions into a bill that did not have federal funding of abortions. That may still change but it's still a big victory.

So what percentage of votes matter? I'm not sure. Twenty? Thirty? Ten? The vast majority of votes don't matter, but from time to time a Representative is actually called on to make a meaningful decision. And that's why elections matter!

Which is why the Republican nomination will matter . . . .

Rob Hurt or any other Republican will vote with the Republican Party over half the time because over half the time the vote won't matter. But what about the votes that do matter? Maybe we can count on Hurt on votes like cap and tax and health care "reform." But what about another Wall Street bailout? What about higher taxes? Will he be another Cao or Snowe and provide "bipartisan" cover to the Democrat agenda?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

NRCC's Andy Sere SLAMS Rep. Goodlatte Over Earmark

Just received word that Andy Sere, regional spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, has sent out a press release SLAMMING Representative Bob Goodlatte over his two press releases highlighting earmarks worth $251,000 and $1.016 million for the 6th District of Virginia. But these earmarks were in an Energy & Water Appropriations bill that Goodlatte voted AGAINST. Here's what Andy Sere had to say:

"There’s an inherent contradiction there," Sere said, "and I would just say that no matter the excuse, it’s simply unacceptable to take credit for an earmark that you voted against, and that’s the issue here."

Wait, what? That was a press releasing attacking Tom Perriello for doing the same thing that neighbor Bob Goodlatte did? The same thing Virgil Goode did? The same thing that even anti-big government Republicans like Ron Paul take part in? Are you going to tell me that Andy Sere is embracing a double standard? Say it ain't so Joe.

Could it be that the bigger problem is with the earmark process? A process so open to corruption that even the otherwise useless Eric Cantor has sworn it off? And leading conservatives like Jeff Flake and others refuse to take part in?

What's fascinating is that the NRCC pushed this hit job on Perriello and his earmarks and Perriello's office fumbled the ball. Perriello just ends up looking like an idiot totally unprepared to defend his voting record and position. Isn't this the same Perriello that was pushing for earmark reform just months ago?

Perriello's independent streak has no time for rank-and-file allegiance. He has made haste to challenge entrenched House practices.

He's already pushed for transparency that requires members to post on their Web sites requests for earmarks. And now, he has signed on as an original cosponsor of a bill that would prohibit members from taking campaign contributions and awarding earmarks to the same people.

It's a courageous move, made all the more so because Perriello isn't just challenging the opposition party but is taking on power brokers within his own Democratic Party. Few are more powerful, more wedded to earmarks, more capable of dealing out harsh punishment to those who buck them than John P. Murtha.

What happened to Perriello's fight for transparency in government? For reforming earmarks? For voting consistently to investigate the ties between campaign contributions and earmarking by not just Murtha, but PMA's lackey Jim Moran. The guy who defeated Virgil Goode (R-MZM) last year? The guy using earmarks as "game changers" for the local economy?

Perriello ought to know that Andy Sere and the NRCC are out for blood. Sere's spam e-mails after the health care vote should show that. But if Perriello has any hopes to hang onto office, he needs to bring his A game. Letting himself get hit by the local editorial board that helped put him over Goode last year was an unforced error. It's time to play ball Tommy Boy.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Here's To You Tommy Boy

If you were following my tweets yesterday you may have noticed the passage of an unemployment extension bill that passed with a very overwhelming margin.

You'll remember that I blogged about the original bill, H.R. 3548, back when it first passed the House of Representatives by a narrower margin. At the time I was very angry that our so-called conservative Virginians like Randy Forbes and Rob Wittman had voted for a bill that would tax Virginia businesses in order to send unemployment checks to failed states like Michigan. And yet liberals like Tom Perriello and Jim Moran ended up voting against it. Smart move on their part!

Here is the Augusta Free Press describing Tom Perriello's work to improve the bill:

The legislation passed today – which mirrors legislation introduced by Rep. Perriello – extends an additional 14 weeks of unemployment benefits to jobless workers in all 50 states, with an extra six weeks for those in high unemployment states (over 8.5 percent) who are about to run out of benefits. Though Virginia has an average of 6.6 percent unemployment, most communities in Southside Virginia have unemployment rates over 9 percent.

How Rep. Perriello Succeeded in Fight for Unemployment Benefits Extension:
· Sept 21: Rep. Perriello writes to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer asking that unemployment benefits be extended based on regional considerations, as opposed to by state.
· Sept 22: The U.S. House passes H.R. 3548, the Unemployment Compensation Extension Act, which only applied to states with unemployment rates of 8.5 percent or higher. Perriello broke with his party and voted against the bill.
· Sept 29: Rep. Perriello writes to the House Ways and Means Committee Chairman urging an immediate six-week unemployment benefit extension for all states.
· Oct 1: Rep. Perriello joins Reps. Peter Welch (D-Vermont) and David Loebsack (D-Iowa) to introduce legislation to extend unemployment benefits in all 50 states.
· Nov 4: The U.S. Senate approves compromise with provisions similar to the Welch/Perriello/Loebsack bill.
· Nov 5: The U.S. House approves the Senate’s compromise.

So here's to you Tommy Boy. I'll give credit where credit is do. Now vote against health care!

Also, nomination for worst Congressman in the world: Scott Garrett of New Jersey. Why? Well when the bill was first voted on he supported it. Yesterday he voted against it! What part turned Garrett off? The better treatment of states like Virginia? Tax credits for homebuyers? Come on!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Morning After . . .

How did I do?

Let's see.

My Prediction: McDonnell +16
Results: McDonnell +18

Lt. Governor
My Prediction: Bolling +14
Results: Bolling +12

Attorney General
My Prediction: Cuccinelli +22
Results: Cuccinelli +16

House of Delegations
My Prediction: GOP +6
Results: GOP +6 or +7, pending recount.
Specific Delegate Races:


3rd (Morefield over Bowling) YES!
32rd (Greason over Poisson) YES!
21st (Villanueva over Mathieson) RECOUNT!
23rd (Garrett over Valentine) YES!
51st (Anderson over Nichols) YES!
64th (Clark over Barlow) NO. :(
67th (LeMunyon over Caputo) YES!
83rd (Stolle over Bouchard) YES!

CLOSE CALLS (Narrow Democratic Holds)

34th (Vanderhye over Comstock) NO, but in a good way!
35th (Keam over Hyland) YES!

DEMOCRATIC PICK-UPS (Few and far between!)

52nd (Torian over Lopez) YES!
42nd (Werkheiser over Albo) NO, but in a good way!


14th (Democrat Seward Anderson vs. Republican Danny Marshall) Not even close!

What did I miss?

Republican and scandal plagued incumbent Phil Hamilton being defeated by Democrat Robin Abbott. I thought that Hamilton was out working Abbott and was favored at the end with the momentum on his side. But I guess there's a level of corruption voters can't handle.

Here's to next year!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

First Endorsement of 2013

The 2009 election is only minutes away from ending, but I wanted to get a head start on 2013 by endorsing Ken Cuccinelli for Governor four years from now.


As I explained last night, Deed's defeat came down to three strikes.

The problem for the Republicans is that they can't count on the "Creigh Effect" in 2013. As noted by other Democrat pundits, Deeds actually helped depress his own base with his campaign. Sure, we knew that a lot of the first time Obama voters weren't going to come out again in 2009. But Deeds, by attacking health care reform and cap and tax, actually alienated liberals! Democrats will be sure to nominate a liberal in 2013, meaning that one of the three strikes against Creigh will be off the table.

This should help the Republicans win over moderates and independents though, right? Maybe, maybe not. The problem is that our soon to be Governor-elect is facing a historic fiscal crisis after eight years of Democrat rule. McDonnell will be facing a budget in shambles and will be forced to cut spending. Eliminating waste from the state budget is good but there's always the risk of offending special interests who can then whip up voters into a frenzy. Difficult choices will be made and McDonnell and the GOP will have to defend them. But unlike Mark Warner, who was able to raise taxes due to RINO support like Rob Hurt, McDonnell won't get political cover from the Democrats. Independents and moderates will prone to Democrat attacks claiming that McDonnell is cutting funding to "vital services." Just look at how Clinton bounced back from 1994 to win reelection in 1996.

So two of the three strikes will be gone. And let's add another strike . . . one against Republicans. Demographics. We'll have four more years of the same demographic trends that have made Virginia less red and more blue. More liberal dependents on the federal government in Northern Virginia. More youthful Obama voters. Maybe even a bumper crop of illegal immigrants granted amnesty by Obama next year?

The only hope for Republicans will be to nominate a Republican candidate for Governor who can keep the conservative base energized. We can't have a reverse "Creigh Effect" by which our nominee tries to shift to the left and pander to liberals. The result would be an almost certain defeat. Between Bill Bolling and Ken Cuccinelli, the most likely candidates for Governor in 2013, there's no question. Cuccinelli will keep the conservative base energized. About the only way I'd change my endorsement is if George Allen wanted to run.

Minutes away . . .

Monday, November 2, 2009

Three Strikes And You're Out Creigh!!

Predictions for tomorrow's election:

Bob McDonnell (R): 58%
Creigh Deeds (D): 42%

Bill Bolling (R): 56%
Jody Wagner (D): 44%

Ken Cuccinelli (R): 61%
Steve Shannon (R): 39%

Big picture prediction: The energy of the conservative grassroots will ensure that the Republican ticket experiences far less ballot drop off than the Democrats. There will be many Democrats who hold their nose to come out and vote for Deeds and then leave from the voting booth as quickly as possible. But on the Republican side Cuccinelli will be giving conservatives a strong reason to go down the ticket. This lingering effect will help local Republicans in House of Delegates elections too.

House of Delegations Predictions:


3rd (Morefield over Bowling)
32rd (Greason over Poisson)
21st (Villanueva over Mathieson)
23rd (Garrett over Valentine)
51st (Anderson over Nichols)
64th (Clark over Barlow)
67th (LeMunyon over Caputo)
83rd (Stolle over Bouchard)

CLOSE CALLS (Narrow Democratic Holds)

34th (Vanderhye over Comstock)
35th (Keam over Hyland)

DEMOCRATIC PICK-UPS (Few and far between!)

52nd (Torian over Lopez)
42nd (Werkheiser over Albo)


14th (Democrat Seward Anderson vs. Republican Danny Marshall)


Why watch the 14th? Because I'm hearing that the complete and total failure of the "Deeds Country" strategy and the surging McDonnell support in the suburbs has left Republicans in ROVA (Rest of Virginia) a little complacent. >Danville Republicans have had to trot out Virgil Goode from his Perriello retirement to call on his mostly old white audience to come out and vote tomorrow. Local Republicans in Danville are worried that the lack of statewide attention and resources could tip the scales to Anderson if there isn't local energy and enthusiasm to come out and vote for a Republican ticket, including Marshall. This could allow Anderson to narrowly win, but more than likely Goode's last minute rally will save the GOP in Southside.

The Big Picture

What is the cause of this overwhelming catastrophe for the Democratic Party?

Strike One, Bob McDonnell is energizing the Republican base. John McCain was unable to do this because of his history of being a "maverick" by attacking the conservative base on issues like immigration. There is a significant chunk of voters that checked out in 2008 who will be showing up in 2009 and they are favoring McDonnell almost two to one. This is accounting for about three to four points of McDonnell's lead.

Strike Two, Creigh Deeds isn't energizing the Democratic base. It's one thing if McDonnell were energizing the conservative base but Deeds could depend on the liberal base. But Deeds is actually depressing the liberal base with his stands against the public option and cap & tax. This is about five to six points of McDonnell's lead.

Strike Three, Bob McDonnell is winning over Obama Republicans in the suburbs. I won't go into the details, but this is making up about seven to eight points of McDonell's lead.

Net result? Three strikes and you're out Creigh!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

RINOs: An Endangered Species

Back in 2004, a group of so-called Republicans crossed over to support then Governor Mark Warner's $1.8 billion tax increase. In the House of Delegates nineteen Republicans crossed over while the State Senate had fifteen RINOs (Republicans In Name Only). First, let's take a quick look at the Republicans who held the line and voted against the tax increase. They include then Delegate Bob McDonnell (soon to be Governor), then State Senator Bill Bolling (soon to be reelected Lt. Governor), and State Senator Ken Cuccinelli (soon to be elected Attorney General). That's a pretty good group to be included in.

The tax raising liberals?

First, take a look at some of the RINOs in the House:

Delegate Preston Bryant- Jumped ship to take a cabinet appointment from tax raising Tim Kaine. His seat went Democrat in a special election.

Delegate Jim Dillard- Retired rather than face the voters. He then endorsed the Democrat running to take the open seat. Has now endorsed Creigh Deeds!

Delegate Joe May- Still around, but faced a 2005 primary fight that was relatively close for an incumbent (59% to 41%).

Delegate Harry Parrish- Won an even closer 2005 primary fight 55% to 45%. Retired and the Republicans held on 2007 with Jackson Miller.

Delegate Robert Orrock- Won a similarly close 2005 primary fight 55% to 45%.

Delegate Gary Reese- Defeated in a 2005 primary fight by Chris Craddock, but Craddock went on to be narrowly defeated by a Democrat.

Delegate Vince Callahan- Retired in 2007 and his seat was taken by a Democrat.

Delegate Charles Carrico- Tried to take on Congressman Boucher in 2006. Being a tax hiking Republican didn't help and he lost 32% to 68%.

And those in the State Senate?

Senator John Chichester- Has retired and endorsed Creigh Deeds for Governor. Republicans held onto his seat in 2007 barely.

Senator Jeannemarie Devolites- Defeated by a Democrat in 2007.

Senator Emmett Hanger- Narrowly won his 2007 Republican primary 53% to 47%.

Senator Charles Hawkins- Retired and handed his seat over to then Delegate Rob Hurt, who also voted for the tax increase.

Senator Bill Mims- Left to work for then Attorney General Bob McDonnell. Democrats took his seat in a speical election.

Senator Tommy Norment- Still around, but may be having some problems . . .

Senator Russ Potts- Left party, ran for Governor in 2005, crazy. Endorsed Creigh Deeds.

Senator Ken Stolle- Denied nomination to Congress in 2nd District because of vote to raise taxes. Currently running for Sheriff of Virginia Beach to pad his retirement.

Senator Marty Williams- Defeated in 2007 in the Republican primary because of this vote and his support for Kaine's transportation fees plan. Democrats narrowly took the seat. Last seen endorsing Creigh Deeds for Governor.

Senator Walter Stosch- Narrowly won his 2007 primary 51% to 49%!

So what's the track record for these RINOs? A lot have jumped shipped rather than face the voters. Others have had a tough time convincing their fellow Republicans to keep them around. Several have been defeated. And a surprising number have crossed over other times, be it to support Kaine's transprotation fees plan or endorsing Creigh Deeds for Governor.

Makes you wonder what now State Senator Rob Hurt has planned for his political future.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Reasonable Response

There is a narrative being pushed by some that opposition to State Senator Rob Hurt is unreasonable and that conservative activists like myself and Bill Hay are undermining the effort to go after Tom Perriello. But what is a reasonable response to Tommy Boy? Attacking him when he's wrong, or making shit up?

Recall that I offered very, very harsh criticism of Republican candidate Michael McPadden when he attacked Tom Perriello and tried to link our liberal Congressman to the Food Safety Enhancement Act and other big government policies to destroy agriculture in America. If there is anything I dislike more than liberals, it's knee-jerk Republicans who don't do their homework. But now someone else has inspired my wrath. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know I am the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon you.

You see, my conservative brothers, a reasonable response to Tom Perriello would look at his actual voting record. So when attacking him on the out of control spending in Washington, you'd look to see that he actually voted against the Obama Budget.

When you argue that the budget resolution doesn't matter but appropriations bills do, you'd actually check before claiming "Perriello has not voted against any of the appropriation bills." Because if you actually did your homework you'd find out that he has voted against several appropriations bills. Is it enough to make him a fiscal conservative? Maybe, maybe not. But it's enough to show that whoever made the statement is wrong and undermine their credibility in attacking Perriello or anyone else running for any office, including dog catcher.

When you claim that Perriello only votes against the Democrats when it doesn't matter, and if he does vote against the Democrats the vote obviously doesn't matter, you are employing circular logic. Intellectual masturbation isn't going to defeat Tom Perriello. What makes a vote matter? If the Democrats fall seven votes short of passing a bill and Tom Perriello voted against the Democratic Party, is that a vote that matters? How close does it have to be for the vote to matter?

Or you could just make shit up. Like claim that Perriello voted for the extension of unemployment benefits that I have been bashing Forbes, Wittman, and other Republicans for supporting. In reality, Perriello voted against the bill.

You could attack Perriello for signing onto a letter to Eric Holder opposing gun control, or you could listen to the NRA (They know something about opposing gun control) and thank Perriello and the sixty-four other Democrats for their leadership on the issue. Or look at his votes and his co-sponsorships and realize that attacking him on guns is not worth the effort.

We all lose credibility if we make up attacks on Perriello and the rest of the Democrat Party. A reasonable response helps us defeat Tom Perriello. An unreasonable one will ensure his reelection. Sadly, it looks like a few Republican bloggers out there are on the Perriello for Congress bandwagon. How else can you explain their unreasonable responses?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Rob Bell Slip Up? (Update!)

I've generally ignored the House of Delegates match up this year between Republican Rob Bell and Democrat Cynthia Neff despite its clear importance for Virginia politics long term. Rob Bell had been mentioned as a potential challenger to Tom Perriello next year or a future Attorney General candidate. He certainly has the credentials to move up in politics. Frankly, this race is going to be a blow out and Neff doesn't have enough of a chance for me to even comment on this race. But his recent response to Cynthia Neff's desperate mailer slandering Rob Bell is a slight slip up to an otherwise pitch perfect campaign.

“I have been around numerous campaigns, and expect hard debate on the issues,” Bell wrote. “However, we can all remember how negative mailings filled with innuendo and personal attacks helped defeat Virgil Goode in 2008.”

Two observations. First, Bell represents a swing district but he must been feeling very confident in turnout this fall on the Republican side. Mentioning Virgil Goode and associating himself as an innocent victim of negative mailers, just like Goode, would make sense in a solid red district in the 5th. But John McCain only narrowly won the 58th District (or potentially lost it depending on the allocation of absentee ballots) and Perriello swamped Goode 54% to 46%. This district was actually the center of the McCain-Perriello crossover in the district, so I don't think the swing voters there really have any sympathy for Virgil Goode.

Second, Bell seems to be rewriting the 2008 election. I'm sure we all remember the negative mailings in 2008. They may have helped contribute to Virgil Goode's defeat. But here's the funny thing. They were sent by Virgil Goode. Goode ran the same sort of desperate negative campaign against Perriello that Neff is running against Bell. That didn't help Goode, and it certainly won't help Neff. Game over, congratulations on another term Rob Bell.

Update: Sorry I wasn't clear but when I talk about Perriello swamping Goode 54% to 46% I'm talking specifically about Rob Bell's 58th District in the House of Delegates, not the 5th Congressional District as a whole. Perriello did very, very well in winning over McCain voters in the suburbs around Charlottesville, which is pretty much Rob Bell's district. And not just in Albemarle. Look at Greene County. Perriello won 559 more votes than Obama in Greene County while Goode finished 607 votes behind McCain. That is a lot given the 727 vote margin in the 5th District as a whole. Figuring out what went wrong with McCain voters in the northern end of the district is a key part of defeating Perriello next year.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Return of Obama Republicans

A little over a year ago, Barack Obama won Virginia and put the Old Dominion into the Democratic column of the electorate college for the first time since LBJ. How did he do it? By surging ahead of John Kerry's 2004 performance. Barack Obama received over half a million more votes than John Kerry while John McCain finished about 8,000 votes ahead of George W. Bush. New voters made up about 13% of Virginia voters in 2008 and they favored Barack Obama over John McCain 63% to 35%.

A funny thing about 2008 though. Among the voters that had voted before, Obama edged out McCain according to the exit polls 50% to 49%. That's close! A lot closer than Bush's defeat of Kerry in 2004. Even without the new voters, Obama did a very good job at picking up Republicans who had voted for Bush.

Now take a look at the latest Survay USA poll showing Bob McDonnell ahead of Creigh Deeds by almost twenty points! Look at how they peg the 2008 election among those actually voting in 2009: Obama 47%, McCain 48%. That's pretty much an even split.

So what's happened in 2009? Obama's coalition of young voters and African-Americans aren't showing up at the polls. The result is an electorate that's pretty well split. But the problem for Deeds is that the Obama Republicans are coming home!

Check out "Deeds Country" first. Only 6% of McCain voters are supporting Deeds, a total of less than 3% of the electorate! McDonnell? He's picking up 15% of Obama voters, or 7% of voters. The Obama Republicans are coming home!

Why? It's not because McDonnell is a liberal. He's running a strong conservative campaign. I can relate to how, after eight years of George W. Bush, even some Republicans were suffering from a GOP fatigue. Bush did not live up to all of my expectations and I am still disappointed in how he handled some issues like Katrina and overall federal spending. When you consider how fast the economy was collapsing last year, it's understandable that some Republicans voted for Obama out of disgust with the party. McDonnell has shown them that they have every reason to be proud of the Republican Party again, or at least his Republican Party of Virginia. Future candidates in 2010 will also have to prove their conservative credentials.

Randy Forbes: Deceptive Constitutional Scholar

When last we checked in on Randy Forbes he was in the Hall of Shame for voting in support of H.R. 3548. Randy was just happy to support a bill that would tax Virginia businesses and give the unemployed in failed states like California, New York, and Michigan more money. My criticism isn't with the idea of unemployment insurance, my criticism is with the idea that you can tax half the country to pay for the poor economic management of the other half. And even if Virginia is a well managed state overall because of our conservative political culture (which will reassert itself in sending Bob McDonnell back to Richmond as Governor in a few days), there are still areas like Petersburg in Randy's district that are hurting. Congressman Forbes voted to tax businesses in Petersburg, destroying job growth, in order to send checks to Detroit or New York City.

I was really angry at this vote because Randy Forbes, Rob Wittman, AND Frank Wolf all voted for the bill. On the Democratic side in the Old Dominion, Tom Perriello, Glenn Nye, Gerry Connolly, and Jim Moran voted against it! Even the liberals knew this was a bad idea!! And two of our leading conservatives (Wittman and Forbes, sorry Wolf) either didn't read the bill or didn't care about their constituents.

Now I see that Randy Forbes has a tweet asking people what they think about requiring members of Congress to sign up for the public option:

@Randy_Forbes Tell me what you think:Should Members of Congress have to enroll themselves in the healthcare plan they vote for?

Here's what Congressman Forbes has to say:

I have joined with 94 fellow Members of Congress to cosponsor H. Res. 615, which would require those Members who vote in favor of a government run healthcare plan to forgo their current health plan (FEHBP) and agree to enroll under the public option.

Here is the problem with H. Res. 615. It is a resolution expressing "the sense of the House of Representatives that Members who vote in favor of the establishment of a public, Federal Government run health insurance option are urged to forgo their right to participate in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) and agree to enroll under that public option."

Expressing the sense of the House that Members should do something isn't the same thing as requiring Members to do something. The House passes pointless, stupid, meaningless resolutions all the time expressing the sense of the House. They can pass one urging members to brush their teeth. Doesn't make anyone do it. Hell, they could pass one urging members to pay their taxes, but Charlie Rangel wouldn't change his tune. It's not law. It's not binding. It's meaningless and empty.

Or, in other words and with apologies to LBJ, Randy Forbes is giving us chicken shit and calling it chicken salad.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The 5th District Convention

With the election of Bob McDonnell as Governor only weeks away (and don't forget Bolling and Cuccinelli!), I wanted to look ahead to the next big race--the 5th District convention that will nominate the Republican challenger to Tom Perriello. Based on my understanding of the rules, a convention would allocate delegates to each locality based on the number of votes received by McCain and McDonnell (the last Presidential and the last Gubernatorial elections). Since we don't know what McDonnell's victory will look like (8 points? 14 points?) I'm going to use Kilgore's 2005 numbers. The formula is based on how many votes in each locality, not how Republican the locality is, so it doesn't matter that Kilgore did worse than McDonnell will do. What matters is the relative strengths and weaknesses from locality to locality, which I just don't think I can predict.

Here's what I came up with.

Albemarle County: 63 Delegates
Appomattox County: 15 Delegates
Bedford County: 38 Delegates
Bedford City: 5 Delegates
Brunswick County: 7 Delegates
Buckingham County: 11 Delegates
Campbell County: 53 Delegates
Charlotte County: 11 Delegates
Charlottesville City: 12 Delegates
Cumberland County: 8 Delegates
Danville City: 27 Delegates
Fluvanna County: 20 Delegates
Franklin County: 47 Delegates
Greene County: 15 Delegates
Halifax County: 27 Delegates
Henry County: 27 Delegates
Lunenburg County: 9 Delegates
Martinsville City: 7 Delegates
Mecklenburg County: 23 Delegates
Nelson County: 12 Delegates
Pittsylvania County: 58 Delegates
Prince Edward County: 13 Delegates

I'll be posting my thoughts on what this means for the nomination later . . .

The Hypocrisy of Forged Letters

Last week, Congressman Perriello was all set to testify about the "forged letters" sent to his office urging him to oppose the cap and tax bill. At the last minute the hearing was rescheduled, but we can see Tommy Boy's level of outrage at this attack on democracy. Blah, blah, blah.

But it looks like Tommy Boy only opposes forged letters when they aren't sent by his friends. Has Congressman Perriello come out against his own group, Aavaz, sending out forged letters pretending to be the Chamber of Commerce?


Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Call to Arms

I have been working under the radar the last week and a lot has gone on that I haven't had a chance to blog about. Another challenger to Tom Perriello has announced. Both Glenn Nye and Gerry Connolly are looking at some very impressive fundraising reports from their opponents. It really doesn't look good for Keith Fimian to outraise Gerry Connolly! And the Washington Post decided that since Deeds wouldn't even be in the election at this point without its primary endorsement it might as well go ahead and endorse him in the second round!

There is a lot going on in Virginia politics. But I need to help bring attention to an article than every conservative, Virginian or just American, needs to read. Charles Krauthammer has the most comprehensive attack on Barack Obama's failed presidency that I have ever seen. If you want something that will connect the dots between health care "reform," cap and tax, appeasement to Russia, cuts to the military and space exploration, and the weakening dollar, here you go. It's one thing to follow Obama's actions day by day--that's scary enough! But to see the big picture of how Obama is destroying America, the land of the free and the home of the brave, is a nightmare I wish I could wake up from.

What's great about Kraufthammer is that he throws down the evidence piece by piece. It's all there on the table. For example, we are retreating from space and becoming more dependent on the Russians and Chinese:

Primacy in space--a galvanizing symbol of American greatness, so deeply understood and openly championed by John Kennedy--is gradually being relinquished. In the current reconsideration of all things Bush, the idea of returning to the moon in the next decade is being jettisoned. After next September, the space shuttle will never fly again, and its replacement is being reconsidered and delayed. That will leave the United States totally incapable of returning even to near-Earth orbit, let alone to the moon. Instead, for years to come, we shall be entirely dependent on the Russians, or perhaps eventually even the Chinese.

Don't believe me about the dangers of a resurgent Russia and the growing Chinese Communist Empire? Look at the close ties between the two based on Russia's abundance of natural resources and China's growing need.

The economic cooperation agreement Moscow signed with Beijing at the end of last month will reinforce Russia’s role as a supplier of raw materials to a resurgent China, a pattern that is sparking concerns both about Russia’s industrial base and about Moscow’s effective control of the Russian Far East.

On September 23, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Chinese President Hu Jintao signed an economic cooperation accord through 2018, under the terms of which China will help develop Russia’s raw material resources in the Far East and Russia will then export these resources to China for processing into finished goods.

That arrangement, according to experts surveyed in an article published in today’s “Vedomosti,” reflects Russia’s lack of financial and human resources to develop these sites on its own and China’s willingness to do so as long as it Chinese factories rather than Russian ones make the finished goods (

Russia's failure to maintain a strong work ethic (decades of Communism will do that to you) means that it is increasingly dependent on China for the investment and manpower to extract its natural resources. China is only too willing to help in return for the raw materials it needs to expand its economy. Russia, China, and a host of their satellite nations are lining up against the United States and Barack Obama is asleep on the job.

My hope is that conservatives will take this as a call to arms and start organizing their friends, family, neighbors and coworkers. I do want to help connect the dots one more time and show a silver lining on the horizon that makes me believe that some, although maybe not all, within the Republican Party are starting to get it. Here is Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty standing up to Obama's appeasement to Russia.

“Not only did President abandon missile defense, but he is opening negotiations with Iran and North Korea. The lessons of history are clear: Appeasement and weakness did not stop the Nazis, appeasement did not stop the Soviets, and appeasement did not stop the terrorists before 9/11,” Pawlenty told a gathering of Christian conservatives at the Omni Shoreham Hotel this evening.

Speaking to attendees at the Values Voters Summit, Pawlenty, who announced earlier this year that he will not seek re-election and is widely mentioned as a prospective 2012 GOP presidential contender, reserved his harshest criticism for Obama’s decision this week to scrap a controversial plan for a missile defense shield in Europe.

Pawlenty’s offensive was geared towards beefing up his record on foreign policy – an area where the two term governor has yet to prove himself.

Much like a Congressional candidate without past political office, Pawlenty's lack of foreign policy experience isn't a negative but an unknown. It's a blank space that needs to be filled in, not a mark against him. He's proving himself a viable candidate for the Presidency by showing that he gets it. Abandoning missile defense is the wrong policy for keeping America safe and security. You don't need years of experience to get that, just some common sense.

But it's also reassuring that Pawlenty is working to surround himself with well respected foreign policy advisers who have consistently gotten it when the rest of the Beltway was pushing appeasement and retreat.

Among those interested in getting to know Pawlenty are Douglas Holtz-Eakin and Randy Scheunemann, two top policy advisers from the McCain presidential campaign who have joined the Minnesota governor’s host committee.

Randy Scheunemann was a key McCain adviser on foreign policy. The mainstream media tried to go after McCain because Scheunemann, who supports a hard line stance against Russia, was also a lobbyist for Georgia--a country invaded by Russia! Russia invades a country in an attempt to rebuild the old Soviet empire and Scheunemann, a consistent opponent of Russia's imperialist agenda, was working to help a country that ought to be our friend and ally. Leave it to the liberal media to decide the real story is Scheunemann's ties to Georgia and not Russian aggression!

I don't know all the skeletons in Pawlenty's closet, but a strong stand against Obama's weakening of America's military is a good start to his 2012 campaign. Even if Pawlenty isn't your candidate for 2012, I hope all conservatives will read Charles Krauthammer's article as a call to arms.