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.

Monday, October 12, 2009

An Update on the Cantor-Nye Axis (With An Added Twist!)

Back in September I brought to light rumors that had been swirling behind the scenes about Eric Cantor and others courting Glenn Nye to switch parties. Many may have filed this away for future reference but you'll want to add this potential scenario to the list of reasons why Glenn Nye will be switching to the Republican Party at some point to continue his career in politics.

A liberal blogger over at Swing State Project has pointed out what many Virginia politicos have known for some time: a Republican redistricting could create two minority-majority districts based in Eastern Virginia. (I'll put aside right now the possibility of creating another in Northern Virginia, at least for this post.)

Now it's not surprising that the Party of Lincoln would want to help create a new minority-majority district to help compensate for the historic unjust of years of Democrat-enforced segregation and Jim Crow in the Old Dominion. In the end, this would work out very well for everyone involved. Democrats are faced with only one reliable liberal from the African-American community in Hampton Roads: Bobby Scott. Republicans are faced with one district that voted for Obama, Randy Forbe's 4th District, and one that seems dangerously close to flipping given long term trends, Rob Wittman's 1st District. Then there's the 2nd District's Glenn Nye, who after riding Obama's coattails to victory has done everything possible to ignore his Democratic base.

So Governor Bob McDonnell, faced with a solidly Republican House of Delegates and a narrowly Democratic State Senate, has several options before redistricting. He could try to court a moderate Democrat like Chris Miller or Ralph Northam to switch parties. He could appoint a Democrat to his administration and hope a Republican wins the special election. Or he can employ this plan, which involves creating a new majority-minority district in the Hampton Roads area. This would almost certainly lock down the Republican hold on the 1st and the 4th for some time to come. And it would give an up and coming liberal with support from the African-American community a clear edge over Glenn Nye in a primary.

So liberals win with a new reliable member of Congress. Republicans win by protecting two members from potential defeat in the next decade. Win, win!

As an added plus, it could probably be done to also include some of the Democratic-leaning precincts in Perriello's 5th District (areas of Brunswick, Prince Edward, etc.) and help lock down the Republican hold there too. Win, win, win!

This plan works very well if George Allen's return to politics fizzles. Faced with a need for a conservative candidate against Jim Webb in 2012, the Republican Party of Virginia may have to turn to its two leading conservatives in the House: Randy Forbes and Rob Wittman. This would leave a vacancy in the two Republican districts in Eastern Virginia, offering Glenn Nye a clear choice. He can stick with the Democratic Party and the district lines will be drawn to make sure he's stuck in the new minority-majority district where his continued opposition to Obama will be held against him in the primary. Or he can join the Republican Party and the lines will be drawn so that his reelection and continued service on the House Armed Services Committee (a key for the region) will be secured. The conservative establishment will assure Glenn that they will easily keep the rabble rousing Tea Partiers from knocking him off in a Republican Primary. Eric Cantor, George Allen, Bob McDonnell, and others will stump for Good Ol' Glenn.

If George Allen runs (which I'm cautiously supportive of) the scenario gets more complicated but is still possible. The new lines would have to run a lot farther west and include more of Central and Western Virginia.

Now I promised in the title an added twist. Well if this plan works so well for liberals and Republicans at the Congressional level, why not apply it to the state level too? Delegate Danny Marshall of Danville is facing the second major challenge in two election cycles, although it seems clear that Deeds is going to draw down House Democrat candidates everywhere. But what about the future? The long term demographic trends in Danville look bad for Republicans. But what if you took the more Democrat precincts of Danville and drew a district that connected them with similar precincts in neighboring Pittsylvania, Henry, Martinsville, and maybe even Halifax. I'm sure you could produce a district that would want to elect a far more reliable liberal than, say, Ward Armstrong, who could be drawn into the lines.

Winning Isn't Everything, It's The Only Thing

The announcement of State Senator Rob Hurt for the 5th District nomination has generated a buzz on the blogosphere. In blog, after blog, after blog, after blog, after blog, I see the same concern: Rob Hurt votes to raise taxes on Virginians. The Charlottesville Daily Progress echoed these concerns.

One possible problem for Hurt’s candidacy is that he voted in favor of a $1.4 billion tax increase in 2004 that closed a gap in Virginia’s budget that threatened the state’s AAA bond rating and increased spending on education, public safety and mental health services.

The tax increase has been a sore spot for the Republican rank-and-file ever since. The issue has come up, for example, in this year’s gubernatorial race between Republican Bob McDonnell and Democrat R. Creigh Deeds. McDonnell has criticized Deeds for backing the 2004 vote, saying it was the largest tax increase in Virginia’s history — and unnecessary.

The response I see everywhere, although often from the same one or two individuals, is that we MUST defeat Tom Perriello and Hurt is the ONLY Republican who can do so. Or at least the BEST challenger.

Look, winning isn't everything. It's the only thing. But you've got to know how to play the game. The game isn't over after the election. That's just the first half.

After a series of Democrat victories in Congressional elections and the election of Barack Obama Republicans could have just given up. Oh, we lost, that's it. Guess we'll just roll over and play dead until 2010. Although I have a lot of problems with the Republican leadership, they have not given up in fighting Obama and the Democrats tooth and nail. And the grassroots movement of Tea Party members and other American patriots fed up with big government have their back.

Elections are important. They are the foundation of our representative democracy. But once you get elected the battle has just begun. You have lobbyists, special interest groups, newspaper editorials, pundits, constituents, and your own Congressional peers all applying pressure to you. You think an election's bad? Try being a member of Congress.

Well, try being a member of Congress that worries about doing the right thing. If you don't worry about doing the right thing, if you don't worry about your constituents, you can just kick your feet up on your desk and wait to go vote the way Nancy Pelosi or John Boehner tell you to. No worries. But you no longer are an independence voice advocating for your constituents.

Being a conservative is about more than having the R next to your name on the ballot. It means you are an independent thinker that stands up to the leadership of either party, Democrat or Republican, when they do the wrong thing. It means having a spine.

It means not buckling under pressure and voting for the largest tax increase in the history of Virginia.

The problem with RINOs like Rob Hurt and Dede Scozzafava up in upstate New York is that they buckle and give cover to Democrat legislation. Not only was Warner able to get through his massive tax increase he was able to claim it was bipartisan. And Hurt helped make that possible.

Is that the type of man we want to send to Congress to fight with Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama? Hurt would have a big bulls-eye on his back telling liberals that he's the guy to put pressure on and get to buckle when you want your legislation to be "bipartisan."

So if all you care about is defeating Tom Perriello, go ahead, support Rob Hurt. But if you want to actually win and push a conservative agenda in Congress, keep your options open.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Verga Finds a Map, Does it Lead to Victory?

Since first entering the race for the 5th District Republican nomination and receiving my ridicule for campaigning outside of the 5th District, Laurence Verga appears to have found a map. He's used it to find his way to DC with the Jefferson Area Tea Party and will be traveling down to Danville tomorrow for an event that also features Virgil Goode, Feda Morton, and rob Hurt. Will Verga's map lead him to victory and back up to DC in January of 2011?

Maybe. It's enough to convince me that Verga has a legitimate shot at the nomination. Morton didn't make it up to DC but will also be in Danville on Saturday, showing a strong commitment to reaching out to the entire 5th District. Exactly what you'll need in order to win the nomination next year.

Here's what the Rob Hurt boosters overlook: the 5th District nomination will more than likely be decided at a convention, where anything can happen. The number of delegates will be dependent on Republican performance in the last two statewide elections- 2008 (McCain) and 2009 (McDonnell). So Albermarle, where McCain got 40%, carries more weight than Pittsylvania, where McCain got over 60%. The Hurt boosters (Hoosters!) also ignore that being State Senator from the Danville-Pittsylvania doesn't make you State Senator of all of Southside Virginia. Hurt will have to depend heavily on allies like Tucker Watkins to lock down the rest of Southside (Halifax, Mecklenburg, Prince Edward, etc.).

Also, the convention will eliminate minor candidates if the first ballot doesn't produce a winner. Candidates will need at least 5% support to stay in no matter what. So despite the crowded field, Hurt has to win with 50% + 1 support. In a primary, he could end up winning with 30 to 40 percent of the vote against divided opposition. He can't count on that in a convention. The host of solid conservative candidates from around the district have a chance to unite and block hurt at the convention.

Which is why Verga (among others) still stands a chance. Whoever is able to come off as the last man standing against Hurt has a good shot at the nomination. Could it be Verga? Boyd? Rees? Who knows. But I wouldn't count anyone out yet.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Possible Hurt Ethics SNAFU?

Looks like Robert Hurt has his Congressional website up and running. That was fast.

It even has the address to contact his campaign:

Post Office Box 2
10 North Main Street
Chatham, VA 24531
(434) 432-4600

I'm sure Hurt is hoping the check is already in the mail! But that address and phone number may look familiar to residents within Hurt's State Senate district.

If I may ever be of service to you, I hope that you will not hesitate to contact me at my legislative office in Chatham at (434)432-4600, where I live and practice law.

Wait, Hurt's listing his district office as his campaign office? Are Virginia's ethics laws so weak that members of the General Assembly can run for higher office from their district offices?

Rob Hurt: Never Wrong!

A nasty regional divide is showing up in the fight for the 5th District nomination to take on Tom Perriello. Already, some in Southside Virginia seem to be acting like they run the 5th District and they don't need to reach out to the rest of the district. The pundits and reporters of the Southside newspapers fell into step today with a series of articles praising Rob Hurt for his conservative principles. Only the Charlottesville Daily Progress had the courage to highlight important concerns with Rob Hurt's record.

Let's be clear, this isn't a liberal-conservative divide. The Daily Progress is the only major paper in the 5th District that endorsed the entire Republican ticket of McCain-Gilmore-Goode last year in 2008. It's credentials are solid when compared to, say, the Danville Register & Bee (McCain-Warner-Perriello). As the newspaper of record for the liberal island of Charlottesville, the Daily Progress knows a RINO when it sees one.

One possible problem for Hurt’s candidacy is that he voted in favor of a $1.4 billion tax increase in 2004 that closed a gap in Virginia’s budget that threatened the state’s AAA bond rating and increased spending on education, public safety and mental health services.

The tax increase has been a sore spot for the Republican rank-and-file ever since. The issue has come up, for example, in this year’s gubernatorial race between Republican Bob McDonnell and Democrat R. Creigh Deeds. McDonnell has criticized Deeds for backing the 2004 vote, saying it was the largest tax increase in Virginia’s history — and unnecessary.

“People have long memories, especially of such a difficult time politically,” said Keith Drake, a former Albemarle County GOP chairman and leader of the Albemarle Truth in Taxation Alliance. “[Hurt] was on the wrong side of that vote.”

Hurt’s support of the 2004 tax increase, Drake said, could be a factor when the district’s Republican voters choose their nominee in a convention. Conventions, he pointed out, tend to draw a small number of hardcore party members who have strong feelings about the issue.

Hurt acknowledged that the 2004 tax vote still irritates many Republicans, but he said it was necessary, based on the information lawmakers had at the time, to avoid a government shutdown over budget gridlock.

“I was convinced at the time, based on what I knew, that it was something that had to be done,” he said. “I hated the vote, but I felt it was necessary at the time."

In the middle of a heated election for Governor, Rob Hurt decided to announce his run for Congress knowing that it would bring up his support for the 2004 tax increase. This tax increase has become a defining issue in the Gubernatorial race. And yet Hurt is defending it and undermining the nominee of his own party less than a month before the election! Instead of admitting he cast the wrong vote, Hurt is throwing his own party's nominee for Governor under the bus!

The Southside establishment is a good old boy network that only cares that Hurt is "one of us." They are not offering the principled and conservative leadership this district needs. I can only hope that the grassroots movement of conservatives rising up in opposition to Obama and the Democrat Congress will be strong enough to block Hurt's nomination and ensure a true conservative defeats Tom Perriello.

But here's my question for the Hurt fans. How can Hurt claim to be a Pittsylvania native if he was born in New York City?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Fall of the Dollar & The Next Bubble

Robert Fisk reports that a host of countries are looking at replacing the dollar at the currency of international oil dealings with a basket of currencies, including gold. This would further reduce demand for the dollar and contribute to an even weaker dollar internationally. This will strengthen the growing carry trade built on low interest rates at the Fed.

The dollar, already plumbing its lowest levels of the year, is expected to continue to weaken even as an improving U.S. economy eventually leads the Federal Reserve to unwind more of its liquidity-boosting programs.

That's because the U.S. currency has increasingly been at the center of a so-called carry trade. With interest rates effectively at zero in the U.S., global investors seeking risks and higher returns are increasingly borrowing risk-free dollars to invest in higher-yielding currencies and assets, such as stocks, commodities, and emerging markets.

So the Federal Reserve, trying to boost the US economy, is practically giving money away to investors. But a weaker US dollar may be welcomed because it will help this carry trade.

The U.S. may “welcome” carry trades in dollars as returns overseas flow back to American investors, Credit Suisse Group AG said.

High returns generated in other countries will help the dollar maintain its status as the world’s reserve currency, even as the greenback weakens, said Hiromichi Shirakawa, chief economist at Credit Suisse in Tokyo.

“A weak dollar should be welcomed, since it signals a recovery in the global economy and financial markets,” Shirakawa said by telephone today. “The U.S. will likely welcome dollar carry trades.”

In a carry trade, investors borrow in nations where interest rates are low and buy assets where returns are higher, profiting from the difference. Benchmark interest rates are as low as zero in the U.S. compared with 3 percent in Australia and 2.5 percent in New Zealand.

But wait, Credit Suisse argues that the carry trade will help secure the dollar as the world's reserve currency, while the first article argues that the shift away from the dollar as the currency for international oil trades will indicate a move away from the dollar as the world's reserve currency.

What happens when both trends combine?

You'll have dirt cheap dollars from the Federal Reserve practically giving money away. You have the dollar with less global credibility as countries move away from using it as the world's reserve currency. The carry trade will still be there but the demand for dollars will drop. More dollars, less demand, mix, and you get an even weaker dollar. Rinse and repeat.

And the response from the big corporations and global investors like Credit Suisse?

Everything is great! Returns on international investment (speculation) are the only way for the US economy to pull out of the economic crisis, they'll say. Keep other countries more money, don't worry about investing in America. You Americans have moved beyond manufacturing and actually making things, just focus on giving us your money and everything will be fine!

The result, of course, will be the next big asset bubble. With the rise of a global middle class based in Asia (primarily India and China) the need for expanded extraction of natural resources will turn to South America and Africa (and perhaps the Arctic). While the carry trade overall includes international investments, the concentration will be in natural resource extraction in the Southern Hemisphere. China is already looking at Africa for oil, for example.

And what will be backing up this asset bubble? Just like the last housing bubble it will be the US government. The one thing the dollar will still have going for it is the backing of the US government. Not because the US government is so trustworthy, but because the US military will still have the ability to back up US investments. A populist uprising threatening key oil investments in West Africa? Call in the Marines. The more our financial system is tied up in the international asset bubble, the more our military will be called on to play the role of the world's policeman. Which will just further contribute to the bankruptcy of this nation.

This isn't just the fall of the dollar, this may well be the fall of the United States.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Thoughts on the GOP Nomination in the 5th District

Southside Central tries to "rank" the current Republican challengers to Tom Perriello by giving them all 0% chance at being the actual nominee. He gives Rob Hurt at 99% chance. He obviously hasn't been watching the grassroots movement sweeping the nation of Americans upset at the status quo in Washington. This movement isn't just anti-Democrat, it's anti-big government.

To assume that Hurt has the nomination locked up ignores history. Back in 1996 when Goode was first running as a Democrat the Republicans recruited then Delegate Frank Ruff to run. And guess what? He lost at the convention. The 5th District may be conservative, but it's also independent and has a mind of its own.

I also disagree with his emphasis on Southside. Sure, it would be nice to run a campaign that focuses only on Southside, run up the margins, and swamp Perriello in the end. But Perriello is the incumbent now and will have a significant advantage next time around. I don't think the NRCC will do all the fundraising for the challenger to Perriello, not even for Hurt. They are looking at races around the country and will prioritize. Sure, they may be making promises to Hurt right now but they are just the sweet seducing songs of sirens.

Tommy Boy may very well still win if the GOP nominee focuses only on Southside Virginia. First, that leaves Perriello unchallenged in the Charlottesville area and he'll be able to run up an even higher margin in the area as the Republican base feels ignored and neglected. Second, any candidate who thinks they can just rest on their state legislature laurels will be missing out parts of Southside. Any candidate, including Rob Hurt, will have to work to introduce himself to Bedford, to Appomattox, to Halifax, to Charlotte, to Lunenburg, and so forth. Third, the people of the counties he already represents or represented have no where near the same attachment to him, a minor State Senator who has rarely faced strong challengers, as they did to Virgil Goode. And guess what, Goode lost.

What we need is a conservative candidate with vim and vigor. Having waited to long to annouce, I'm starting to question Hurt's vim and vigor. I only have two candidates right now that have impressed me. Bradley Rees may not have political experience but he has vim and vigor. And Ken Boyd seems to have strong conservative credentials and a proven track record of taking on the liberals in the lion's den of Albemarle County. I'll have to keep my eye on the others.

With vim and vigor Perriello will be challenged everywhere, including and especially Charlottesville. With vim and vigor all of Southside will be excited and energized about the election. Republicans will have a reason to come out and vote for SOMEONE, not just a fear that they have to come out and vote AGAINST someone. I have a lot of problems with how Bush managed the country like a big spending liberal, but one thing I can say in his defense was he knew how to campaign. He got conservatives fired up. McCain didn't and we lost Virginia for the first time since 1964. Let that be a lesson to us all.

Vote for Conservatives, Not Republicans

It may come as a surprise but I consider myself a conservative first and foremost and a Republican only by accident. Voting for a conservative, regardless of party label, is more important than voting for a Republican. I have no problem with voting for a conservative Democrat, if you can find me one. Or a conservative Independent. Or a conservative Whig. Or even a conservative Mugwump.

So that's why I'm in full support of Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman in the special election in New York's 23rd district. The "Republican" candidate is a liberal and total RINO. Don't believe me. Check out her latest supporter: liberal blogger Markos.

Sure, she is a Republican, and opposes the public option. But she's been willing to raise taxes when budgets require it, and is to the left of most Democrats on social issues (including supporting gay marriage).

Markos also notes she's been supported by the Working Families Party in the past. This Working Families Party. She's not just a moderate Republican, she's an out and out liberal who has somehow managed to secure the Republican Party nomination.

I have no problem voting for a third party conservative even if the Republicans are in a close election. It's not worth it to help elect a liberal mole who will work from inside our Grand Old Party to destroy America. I feel that way about New York Liberal Dede Scozzafava. And if he runs, I'll feel the same way about New York Liberal Rob Hurt.

Recently I had some heated criticism for the latest candidate in the 5th District of Virginia, Michael McPadden. I stand by my remarks but still welcome him warmly to the race. But I do want to highlight a response to my remarks that he posted at Bill Hays's blog.

The point of my article wasn’t to say that Democrats are always bad for small business and Republicans are always good. The point was that in statewide and especially national politics voting for the party makes more sense, than voting for individuals, and in the case of the small farmer and small businessman, the Republicans are the horse to bet on in this race. I probably did not make that point as clear as I could have. I will do better in the future.

. . .

Once again when it comes to national politics I stand by my original statement. If you are a small farmer, a family farmer, an organic farmer, or a micro farmer, I have news for you. The Democrats are not your friends. Big government (read Democrat party) is at war with the independence and freedom that comes with being a small businessman and a small farmer. Learn it, live it, love it.

Here is my advice for Michael McPadden, who honestly seems not only half way there but maybe three quarters to the right message. It's not a question of just Democrat versus Republican. Almost, but not 100%. Just look at this race in New York. You have three candidates. You could say you have a Democrat, a Republican, and an Independent. But you could also say you have two liberals and one conservative.

The fight in national politics is between liberals and conservatives. Yes most of the liberals are Democrats. But a handful are Republicans! Frankly I'm more on guard against liberal Republicans than I am against liberal Democrats. And in a Republican Party nomination fight, which McPadden just joined as one of five, focusing on your conservative credentials is more important to me than attacking Perriello. We already know he's a liberal. Now tell me why you're better than the other guys running.