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!