Wednesday, October 29, 2008

P. S. You're Fired

I know I said I was leaving the blogging world but I had to put up this one last post.

Tonight I got an email from the Secretary of Roanoke County Republican Committee. I was informed that I would be removed as a member of the committee if I didn't attend a meeting of the committee tomorrow night. Are you kidding me! Less than one week before an election you issue this threat in order to have warm bodies at a meeting. This party that I have been a part of since I was 10 years old has been imploding for two years and this just shows it continues.

This email came from a member of less than one year. I have been a member for over 22, served as Vice Chairman and Chairman along with serving two terms from this county in the Virginia Senate. We don't have the smartest bunch running the show these days. The policy of being removed from the committee was intended to deal with those missing three consecutive quarterly meeting not three meeting within the last three months. Oh well they are in charge and can do whatever they want.

This party I joined has fallen even farther than I thought possible. Virginia is likely to go Dem. for President and our Senate candidate will not likely break 40%. Based on the yard signs I have seen Roanoke County will even go for Mark Warner. Unbelievable.

Great plan guys--6 days from an election--threaten to remove a long time member from a committee.

Once the dust has settled from Nov. 4th our work will begin to put this GOP back together again.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Leaving the Blogging World

As you probably have noticed we haven't put up a post in some time. Zak and I have been focused on the real world problems facing our financial system and economy. It is hard to put an opinion forward and debate it as if it didn't affect real people. While I have a number of opinions regarding our financial future and political, I have decided for the near term future to keep them to myself.

My experience over the past year of blogging has been mixed. I was disappointed in the early days that comments seemed to be directed toward attacking me personally. It was something that I was used to from being in public office but it got old. That seemed to wane over time thankfully.

When we started this blog there wasn't really anyone commenting on Roanoke Valley GOP politics. Since then a great blog was initiated "Roanoke Valley Republicans". I suggest that everyone visit their site to get a flavor of what is happening around here.

Thanks to all who welcomed me to this endeavor and the best to all of you in the future.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Star City Harbinger: Commissioner Holland Uses Charity Event to Raise Campaign Cash

It's hard to believe an elected official would knowingly do this (OK, maybe it's not), but this sure looks bad.

I've thought for a long time that the Roanoke City Democratic Party would take care of the Holland issue by knocking him off in a primary and running a fresh face. It may be the only way they can hold this office.

This is probably the beginning of the inter party attacks Holland will face over the next year.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Gas Lines in Roanoke

Just hearing that there are lines for gas and some stations are running out. Someone just told me that as she was getting gas at $3.49 a gallon the signs were changing to $3.77 as she did. Some stations were posting $4.09 a gallon, a $0.50 increase today. It has to be on supply chain issue due to Ike.

This is just a short term thing. If you don't need gas don't gas up this weekend. The pipeline supplying the east coast should be back up on Monday.

Have a great weekend.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Hunkering Down with Hanna

I've been on vacation in Myrtle Beach since Tuesday and will be here until next Tuesday. It is our annual post labor day visit. This year we were greated by Hurricane/TS Hanna. We debated yesterday whether to cut our trip short but decided to stay. At 6:00 this Friday evening winds are about 20 mph and steady rain. We are right on the beach and can see waves of 5-7 feet. The strength of the storm should hit about 2:00 AM so we may not get much sleep. The track changes somewhat but seems to be steering more east and north of us. We have been prepared for a direct hit. This storm however is big and unfocused without a hard punch like Gustav or other tougher storms. Anyway we should be ok. I have to say even down here I got up early to watch Gov. Palin's speech replayed on C-Span. Man, she is breath of fresh air for all Republicans. Finally some energy coming in on our side.

Goto go now--not really there's nothing to do besides watch Lady and the Tramp with my daughter. I'll update on this storm if I continue to be bored and the sound is too loud tonight. Currently we have a loud whistle coming from the wind blowing against our outside door.

You know what was weird today for me is the Gov. Kaine and the Gov. of NC both declared Virginia and NC in a state of emergency for Hanna. Weird because Gov. Sanford here in SC didn't even do this when his state is the location of landfall. He aptly stated that overreacting now could cause problems in the future when a true emergency came. Seems Gov. Kaine could learn from him.

UPDATE: 6:48 PM People are actual trying to swim in the surf. Maybe they think that Rip Tide warnings are something that someone has done to box of detergent in order to get it open fast. Not the brightest bulbs on the planet.

Getting dark so I'm not sure I will be able to see much to report on--but will if I can!

UPDATE: 10:00 Surf has picked up and is much louder but winds have died off. Rain is steady. Expect this to preceed heavier winds and storm surge. Weather channel has reported that pressure has dropped--maybe making Hanna a Hurricane. So far not much different that a long lasting thunderstorm. Hope to update later.

UPDATE: 11:00 Winds and surf much higher. Waves are coming in higher than high tide mark and high tide isn't until 12:30 AM. Waves are much higher and very loud. Can see white topping much further out. Landfall is probably close.

UPDATE: 7:30 AM Sat. I awoke about 2 AM to look at the surf and it was high but not as much as I would have thought. This morning, based on standing water, the small surge pushed water up to the high grass up from the beach but did not reach the hotel. We seamed to have lost power for about 20 minutes last night based on the clocks. Reports are that TS Hanna made landfall at 3:20 AM right where we are staying. You never want to encourage someone to ride out a storm but I'm glad we didn't leave as many did. This turned out to cause less damage that a typical thunderstorm in Roanoke. It seems odd to see the national reporters reaching for anything they can point to as damage.

Hurricane/TS Hanna tracking is now closed.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Buchanan: McCain's Gamble is Paying Off Big Time

I thought Pat Buchanan hit the nail on the head with his analysis of the Palin pick.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

ACC Football?

I wanted to title this post SEC football but I am still upset that my MSU Bulldogs was the only SEC team not getting it done on opening day. My guys are very talented but they need to get their heads together quick before Auburn and LSU or it will be a long year.

What surprised me the most yesterday was the horrible showing of the ACC. Both projected division leaders Va Tech and Clemson were taken apart. Clemson was even suggested to contend for a national title. They were dramatically overrated. I would say the best of the ACC would finish in the bottom of the SEC. It's also looks like Saban has Alabama ready well ahead of schedule. Not a great sign since we play them every year.

Heard that Va Tech is potentially playing Alabama to open next year's season. They better reconsider or they will have a day like Virginia did with USC yesterday.

As rough as my Dawgs had it yesterday the SEC looks well positioned to have a lot of great games this year. Bring it on!

Friday, August 29, 2008

McCain's VP Pick?

MSM on CNBC is reporting that the pick is Gov. Palin of Alaska. If this is true it is great move. Not only having a woman on the ticket but the Alaska angle is great also. She above all others can hammer the point of drilling in Alaska. Do it now. Then have the enviro left agrue with her. Whoa! I sure hope this is true.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Barack Obama: You're No JFK

As I watch Obama's speech, I am waiting for the famous JFK line, only backwards:

Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what your country can do for you.

Whacha watching tonight?

Choice of viewing tonight. A stadium in Denver, CO or Columbia, SC. I'm going with the stadium in Columbia. Why because college football begins tonight with a SEC match up involving the ever interesting Steve Spurrier!

Granted I might DVR the guy from Denver, don't know yet.

Gustav, SPR and Offshore Drilling

I have several times posted that we need to release some of the oil in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in order to punch a hole in the bubble that emerged in oil prices. Now is the time to do it.

Oil has come down on demand destruction and came close to the support level of $110. In order for our economy to continue to prosper we need to go through that level to maybe $100 or even $85. That would be a great boost to our economy and do more than any tax cut would do. Again the government could sell some of the over 700 million barrels at the current price and buy some back at a lower price. Get that-- a break for all drivers and the government increases revenue, duh!

What needs to happen? President Bush needs to declare the continued production of Gulf Oil of strategic importance to the US and commit to releasing oil from the SPR to compensate for any lost production due to Gustav. Currently the Gulf produces about 25% of US Oil. That would do it. The oil bubble that has been easing would finally collapse when it was known that Gulf storms would not impede production.

Also have you seen the map of the oil platforms in the Gulf. It is insane to have them all clustered off the coast of Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi. If it is one thing I understand that is diversification. We need to be drilling now off Florida and the east coast to not only increase our domestic production but not have us go nuts every time a storm brews in the Gulf.

Update: Someone in the Dept. of Energy must be reading my blog because they issued a statement of the willingness to open up the SPR and the price of oil dropped $4 from the highs of the day. Good move, keep it up!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Will Bolling have to wait on Governor?

Ok so Biden is the pick and Kaine is left waiting. But to have made it to a very short list is something for the young Governor. He can count on being very high in consideration in a potential Obama cabinet.

What a minute! If Obama is elected won't he name a cabinet in December to have them prepared to take office in January. What if he wants Kaine to be say Attorney General of the US. Would Kaine take with only one year left and still facing a slowing economy and a difficult budget adjusting session in January of 2009. You betcha!

So Bolling may be elevated to Governor yet. However such an elevation coming next year when McDonnell is ramping up for Governor and Bolling is preparing to run for reelection will be even more disruptive to the GOP. Election year 2009 may not be as clear cut as we think.

Our only way out of this fix is to elect John McCain President and carrying Virginia will be absolutely key to making that happen.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Kaine Succession--What If!

New rumors are out indicating that potentially Kaine has held a meeting to discuss succession if he were to accept the nomination for Vice President. While this is likely far fetched it does start the political wheels turning. First of all it is likely far fetched because without involving the Lt. Gov. all discussion would be mute and there is no way to involve a Republican in the that discussion.

So let's assume that Kaine is the pick--what happens? He can continue to serve as Governor while runs for VP. If elected he steps down and Bolling becomes Governor. This of course changes the landscape for 2009. With Bolling as an incumbent Governor, McDonnell then likely runs for reelection as AG. Now an open opportunity is created at Lt. Gov. for the Republicans. My prediction is Cuccinnelli moves over to run for Lt. Gov. In his mind he has to make a move in 2009 for fear he can't be reelected to the State Senate in 2011 in a Dem. redistricted seat. Unfortunately Brownlee is left out in the cold. It is unlikely he would translate well to Lt. Gov. and would have to wait until 2013 for AG if he still wants to run.

Even a more interesting scenario would be what if Kaine stepped down as Governor soon after being tapped to run for VP. First why would he do that and give up being Governor. It takes away any criticism in Virginia for not being here to do his job. If Obama looses and he were to continue to serve only one year as Governor there would be little he could truly accomplish. He knows the budget cuts the Governor will have to make will be difficult and he can off load that onto Bolling. Even if Obama looses Kaine as a VP candidate has put himself on a national stage. This would open up his opportunities for the future.

Even, even more interesting is what would Bolling do about the open Lt. Gov. position. I checked the constitution and it says nothing about having a special election for Lt. Gov. Bolling could allow it to stay open until the next election. In that instance the President Pro Tem would preside over the State Senate for the 2009 session. I think it likely that Gov. Bolling would call a special election due to pressure from other Republicans. They would want the opportunity to hold all three statewide positions. Think of it--it gives Republicans the opportunity to have all three statewide officeholders running for reelection for the first time in history. Well then when does he call the special......

He could call it for November to coincide with the national election. This would be fast and likely have the office go the way of the party carrying Virginia in the US Senate and Presidential election. I think it unlikely he would do that. Probably would want a low turnout race to be held in December. Ok who runs....

On the Republican side since the nominee would likely be decided by convention any number could jump in. The most likely would be Frederick and Cuccinelli since they are the farthermost along with have a statewide organization to tap into. The more interesting would the Dem. side. I think this would likely go to Jody Wagner. If Obama carries Virginia and Warner the senate, she would have an immense advantage in fundraising over the GOP. She might just pull it off. (Do you think she has known something about what might happen to Kaine being VP and resigned as Sec. of Finance to run for Lt. Gov. I thought for some time it was odd she would want to run against an incumbent in Bolling. Maybe she knew something no one else did) Heh what happens then? Does she run for reelection or jump into the Governor's race? Heck that is two many what ifs even for me. Let's see what happens with Kaine before we go there.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Councilman Rosen Blogging

I just came across Roanoke City Councilman Court Rosen's new blog. I am not aware of too many elected officials who are blogging. Sure, lots of campaigns and candidates have blogs, but you know most are not written by the candidates themselves. It seems like Court is writing this one and that's a good thing. It means we will hear first hand his thoughts about the issues and challenges facing Roanoke City. Readers also have the ability to comment. Looking forward to reading more.

Kaine as VP Pick?

Drudge is reporting that Obama will make his VP pick as early as tomorrow. Other Dem. focused blogs are speculating that it will be Kaine. Obama coming to Virginia over the next couple of days has fueled that speculation. It is widely reported that Kaine is definitely in the top three. He is as likely as the other two in that top three.

My only thought is a something my 3 year old daughter has been saying lately. As she has been listening to my wife talk on the phone one of her favorite sayings gets repeated over and over. If you have a three year old you understand. As my daughter would say "Are you kidding me?"

While Kaine doesn't really help Obama he doesn't seem to hurt. Much has been said about Kaine's lack of accomplishment but Obama doesn't have any accomplishments of his own. This pick, if it happens, would seem to go with the Clinton/Gore model. Pick someone you like, trust, very much like you but doesn't highlight any weaknesses of the candidate. I never thought he would go with someone with a military or diplomatic credentials. A pick like that would highlight that area as a weakness of the candidate. Obama's trip overseas was designed to give him all he needs in the way of international strengths.

I served with Governor Kaine and while he has no real accomplishments he is a likable person. Actually his greatest strength is speaking during very difficult emotional times. His comments following the Va Tech tragedy were extraordinary. He spoke at the funeral of a downed officer in Christiansburg. He has a tremendous ability to speak compassionately and still be uplifting. He has that uncanny ability to make you feel better at a trying time.

Not to make light of the Governor's attendance at memorial services or funerals, but isn't that one of the primary duties of a Vice President. Well seems like it actually might happen.

I'll wait to see if this does happen before speculating on the potential shift in Virginia politics.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Obama's Imperfect Speech--Funny!

If you are like me, you may be a bit sick of hearing about what a great orator Barack Obama is. But following George Bush, I think just about anyone would be "great".

This video was shot a couple months back, but I missed it and thought maybe others had as well. It's funny. And shows that Obama is not a "perfect" speaker.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Olympics Start

I'm not sure what I am more excited about today! Positive 300 point move on the Dow, SEC football starts in less than a month or the start of the Olympics. I'll go with the Olympics. There is something about individuals competing to be the best in what they do best. They get one opportunity every four years. They also know that they are probably at their peak right now. There won't really be another opportunity in four years. As they say, there is no tomorrow! I love it. Leave it all on the field, track or pool. It reminds me how I should live my life. Do what's right and give it all you've got.

Funny I never watch sports like gymnastics except during the Olympics. Every since the inspiration of women's gymnastics in 1984, I don't miss it. I'll never forget ML Retton posting a 10 on a particular event. It was enough to win her the gold. However, you always get two attempts. She came back and nailed another 10. She was there to be at her best. It is just something that stays with you for a long time. I also like the back stories of the the athletes that are there to compete but don't metal. If they gave all they had--that's what matters.

Sorry to all for the lack of posts recently. Had a pretty bad head cold recently that my daughter shared with me.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Bearing Drift: Cuccinelli's Supporters Need to Back Off

A good post from my friend over at Bearing Drift on the attacks being leveled at John Brownlee by Cuccinelli's supporters.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Federal Deficit Soars - Both Parites Share Blame

Today, the White House announced the budget deficit would reach a half a trillion dollars by 2009. A-HALF-A-TRILLION! The national debt has nearly doubled during Bush's tenure in office. Of course, this isn't all Bush's fault. The Congress holds it's share of blame. But how does something like this happen?

Democrats and Republicans love to spend our money. The question in how to pay for it. Republicans cut taxes, increase spending and amass enormous deficits, putting the long term fiscal health of our country in serious jeopardy. Democrats raise taxes, increase spending and cripple the American economy by transferring wealth from the private sector to the public one. Both strategies are a recipe for disaster. And we are on the brink.

Democrats have to realize that we can't afford to do all the things they want to do. And Republicans must realize that we have to pay for what we get. Don't pass the debt to future generations. Pay for it today. So as a society we have to decide what we want and how to pay for it. If we want new roads, we have to pay for them. If we don't want that new social program, then we need to oppose the new taxes to pay for it.

Of all the Republicans who vied for the nomination, John McCain is the best one to deal with this issue. He's spent his career fighting the pork barrel spending and has a "pay as you go" attitude. And he's certainly better than Obama. Obama will raise taxes and increase spending. Which is the last thing we need.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Turnout High for Roanoke Valley GOP BBQ - Good News for Goodlatte & McCain

According to Roanoke City GOP Chair Adam Boitnott, turnout for the valley wide family BBQ this past Saturday passed 200. That is a great turnout for a first time event. Congrats to the organizers.

It is also a good sign for Congressman Bob Goodlatte and John McCain. We've heard a lot about the apathy amongst Republicans this year. Maybe this event signifies a turning point here in the 6th District.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Poll: McCain closes in on Obama in some states

By The Associated Press Thu Jul 24, 12:37 PM ET

THE RACE: The presidential race in Colorado
Republican John McCain, 46 percent
Democrat Barack Obama, 44 percent
Obama led McCain by 5 percentage points in the same poll taken last month. McCain holds a solid lead among men — 55 to 37 percent — but women lean toward Obama, 50 to 39 percent. Whites back McCain by 10 points while nearly six in 10 Hispanics prefer Obama. Voters over age 55 favor McCain, while those younger tilt toward Obama. The two split voters ages 34 to 54. When it comes to their preference of first lady, more respondents say Cindy McCain fits the profile than Michelle Obama — 37 to 27 percent. Voters are divided on which White House hopeful has the best energy policy, with 34 percent undecided.
THE RACE: The presidential race in Michigan
Barack Obama, 46 percent
John McCain, 42 percent
Obama leads by 12 percentage points among Michigan's female voters, while men back McCain by a 5-point margin. Blacks overwhelmingly favor Obama. The two candidates run closer among white voters, with 48 percent supporting McCain to Obama's 40 percent. Obama holds a 10-point edge among younger voters. Middle-aged and older people are more closely divided. Voters are split on which candidate's wife best fits their idea of a first lady. Respondents say Obama has the best energy policy, 35 to 28 percent.
THE RACE: The presidential race in Minnesota
Barack Obama, 46 percent
John McCain, 44 percent
McCain has narrowed the gap between the contenders; Obama led by 17 points in the same poll taken last month. Women favor Obama, while men lean toward McCain. Whites are divided between the two. Middle-aged voters are also split, while Obama has a 4-point edge with voters over 55. The Democrat holds a 15-point lead with younger voters. In first lady preference, Michelle Obama and Cindy McCain are running about even. Forty percent of voters are undecided on which candidate has the best energy policy, though Obama has an 8-point edge.
THE RACE: The presidential race in Wisconsin
Barack Obama, 50 percent
John McCain, 39 percent
Women support Obama over McCain by 25 points, while McCain holds a 6-point edge with men. Obama leads among likely voters old and young. Respondents were divided over which contender's spouse fits their idea of a first lady. More women favor Michelle Obama, 33 to 24 percent; men like Cindy McCain, 32 to 24 percent. Wisconsin voters preferred Obama's energy policy, 34 to 29 percent.
The Quinnipiac University poll, taken for The Wall Street Journal and, was conducted July 14-22. It involved telephone interviews with 1,425 likely Colorado voters, with a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 2.6 percentage points; 1,684 likely Michigan voters, with a 2.4 point margin of sampling error; 1,261 likely Minnesota voters, with a 2.8 point margin of sampling error, and 1,094 likely Wisconsin voters, with a 3-point margin of sampling error.

HQ Opening....and Phone Bank?

I got an email today from a local GOP committee member reminding me about the Roanoke Valley HQ opening on Monday 7/28. Great. But then it also asks if I would be willing to stay an extra hour to make phone calls.

From my experience, the number one goal of a HQ opening is warm bodies and excitement. So, what could we do to ensure that no one will want to show up?

A - Give each person a toilet scrubbing brush for post celebration cleaning and pray no one eats the deviled eggs during the speeches

B - Have people take turns standing by the road in a giant elephant suit on a hot summer evening

C - Ask people to stay after and make phone calls.

Folks, the answer is C. Phone calls are the worst job in politics (and should be done by paid professionals, but that's another story). If you want a lot of people to show, asking them to make phone calls afterwards is not the way to do it.

I am sure the request was full of good intentions, but I don't think this is the strategy for a successful opening. Lets save the calls for another time.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Another Breiner Run?

Roanoke Valley Republicans has a good post up about former State Senate candidate Dr. Mike Breiner. Dr. Breiner is holding over $100,000 in his campaign account as of the most recent filing. I agree with RVR. There is no reason to maintain a balance that size, especially with a $60,000 personal loan that could easily be paid off with that money, unless you are keeping your options open to run again.

I hear Senator Smith, Dr. Breiner's former rival, has a big outstanding personal loan...maybe he should place a debt retirement call to the good doctor.....

AG OKs Investigation Into Wishneff Ad

The Roanoke Times is reporting this morning that the Attorney General has authorized an investigation into a campaign ad that attacked Roanoke City Council candidate Court Rosen through a false name provided by incumbent candidate Brian Wishneff. Rosen won a seat on Council while Wishneff lost his.

The ad carried a disclaimer reading "Paid for by Joe Smith, Citizens for Sensible Decisions". But, there is no Joe Smith and Citizens for Sensible Decisions is not registered with the VA State Board of Elections. I guess this time the group didn't live up to it's name.

Citizens for Sensible Decisions, Brian Wishneff included, fashions themselves as a kind of watch dog for the people, standing up to corrupt City leaders and demanding more open government. A noble cause for sure, but their tactics leave much to be desired. Their message is littered with vitriol and personal attacks. The attack ad in question is a great example. But this time, it was even worse. They didn't even have the courage to "stand by their ad", as State law requires.

And now that they have been caught, their reaction is even more telling. To them, it's just no big deal. They admit they might not have done the right thing, pleading ignorance, but is ignorance really an excuse to violate the law? Apparently the high standards with which they judge others do not apply to themselves. I hope Roanoke City voters remember this when the next election roles around and Citizens for Sensible Decisions begins to throw stones while hiding behind it's wall of self righteousness.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Governor's Reponse to Open Letter on Transporation

I received the following letter from Governor Kaine's office in response to my open letter on transportation. I thought I would share it.

Friday, July 18, 2008

More Oil?

It's time to put the nail in the coffin of high priced oil!

The leadership in Congress is currently considering legislation that would begin selling oil out of the SPR. This strategic petroleum reserve currently has over 700 million barrels. This is a position I advocated several months ago. My interest is to change the supply/demand characteristics of the world and more importantly the US. We could begin selling the oil at say 250,000 barrels per day increasing over 90 days to 1 million per day. Worldwide demand currently exceeds supply by about that amount. We could stop when either demand matches supply or the price is driven down to strong support levels of about $85 per barrel. Further we would be selling oil at above $100 that was purchased as low as $20. That's a good deal on any ones ledger.

The main objective here would be to punch oil prices down through current support at $130. It is down about $17 mostly on demand destruction. However more demand destruction equals slowing economic activity or recession.

I know the Dem's want to spend the proceeds on research of alternative energy sources. That's ok with me. My main interest is giving the citizens of this country a real break of almost a 50% potential drop on the gas they need. This is the best stimulus we could hope for and the government actually makes money doing it.

Republicans should seize on this issue and pare it with offshore drilling. A compromise bill of selling SPR oil and offshore drilling might actually show the American people that congress can actually do something that is worthwhile and effective.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Right Wing Liberal Passes on McDonnell Endorsement - For Now

DJ McGuire, frequent poster on this blog and publisher of the Right Wing Liberal, recently posted his endorsements of Bill Bolling and Ken Cuccinelli. Noticeably absent was Bob McDonnell. When prompted, McGuire said he was keeping his options open.

Unless I am missing something here, there is no other Republican candidate for Governor. To me, this indicates an higher level of unrest in the Conservative blogosphere with McDonnell than I might have originally thought and the first indication that McDonnell could see a challenge from the Right. I know, that sounds crazy, but the Convention is nearly a year away. A lot can happen in that time. One thing is for sure, McDonnell has some work to do to repair the damage in the Base as a result of the transportation fiasco.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

AG Edge: Brownlee

Having not seen the actual reports and just looking at the total fundraising numbers, I felt like John Brownlee held his own in the AG race with Ken Cuccinelli. But now that I've looked at the reports this morning, I think it's safe to say Brownlee blew Cuccinelli out of the water. If you take out the $40,000 transfer from Cuccinelli's Senate campaign account, he raised around $90,000 in 12 weeks. Brownlee raised $103,000 in 6 weeks. That's more money in half the time.

And keep in mind that Cuccinelli may be a State Senator from Northern Virginia, but he's spent the past few years building a statewide network of supporters and donors. Brownlee, as a US Attorney, was essentially prohibited from participating in the political process, meaning he is really starting from scratch. Seen in that light, this report has to be thrilling for Brownlee and disappointing for Cuccinelli. So much for Ken being able to knock Brownlee out early.

Check out the numbers:

More from Roanoke Valley Republicans:

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Warner Trounces Gilmore in Fundraising

I knew it would be bad, but not this bad. The Roanoke Times is reporting that Mark Warner raised $3 million in the most recent quarter ending June 30th. Gilmore raised just over $400,000. Even more distressing is the difference in cash on hand. Warner is sitting on over $5 million while Gilmore has just over $100,000.

Who would have ever thought two former Governors would have such different fundraising results. Gilmore has got a great issue with energy policy, but no money to use to communicate it with the voters.

AG Fundraising - Brownlee Impresses

The Republican candidates for Attorney General have announced their fundraising totals for the first quarter of the campaign. Senator Ken Cuccinelli comes in with $125,000. John Brownlee will report over $100,000. But, Brownlee raised that money in HALF the time since he announced mid way through the reporting period. These fundraising totals indicate to me that we have a real race on our hands and Cuccinelli is not the presumptive nominee.


Brownlee's Latest Campaign Update

The Brownlee Report
A Grassroots Update from Virginia's Conservative Prosecutor

Dear Republican Friends: I hope this campaign update finds all of you doing well. As we enter the heat of the summer, I thought I would write to you and provide a campaign update. Lee Ann, the girls, and I have had a wonderful seven weeks traveling across the Commonwealth. We are humbled that so many Virginians have joined our campaign and grateful for the warm receptions and kind hospitality.

As many of you know, I served as President Bush's United States Attorney for the last seven years. During that time, I, and the brave men and women of Virginia's law enforcement community, worked hard to make our Commonwealth a better and safer place to live. I worked with Attorney General Bob McDonnell to rid our neighborhoods of gangs, drug dealers, and child predators.

As Attorney General, I am committed enhancing public safety, lowering taxes on Virginia's families and businesses, reforming the civil justice system, and protecting traditional values and our most vulnerable citizens.

My last day as U.S. Attorney was Friday, May 16, 2008. I was taught by my parents that you should treat the last day on the job the same as your first. So, on my last day as U.S. Attorney, I argued an appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond. The case concerned a man who had killed his wife, received a sentence, and appealed his conviction and sentence. I argued the case at 9:30 am, drove home to Roanoke, attended my farewell dinner at The Hotel Roanoke, and then drove to Fairfax. My final term as U.S. Attorney expired at midnight, and my campaign for Attorney General began one second later.

Since May 17th, I driven over 5500 miles and participated in over 50 campaign events across the Commonwealth. (My trusty 2000 Chevy Blazer has over 174,000 miles, and counting!) I have been blessed to meet so many wonderful people from nearly every part of Virginia, including Wise County, Bristol, Wythe County, Montgomery County, Rockingham County, Botetourt County, Augusta County, Staunton, Danville, Tazewell County, Grundy, Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Loudoun County, Fairfax, Alexandria, Springfield, Arlington, Clifton, Chesterfield County, Richmond, New Kent County and Martinsville. I hope to travel to many more places in the next several months. My goal is speak with every possible Republican delegate and tell them about my Justice for All program and how I will make Virginia a better and safer place to live.

We also have worked hard on our fundraising efforts. In our first 40 days, we raised over $100,000. Our Campaign is gathering support and gaining momentum as we begin our third month on the campaign trail. I look forward to meeting all of you over the next several months, and I hope you will join our campaign. We are committed to building a better and safer Commonwealth, and, with your help and God's blessings, we will make the Commonwealth strong and vibrant for the next generation of Virginians.


P.S. - Please join my campaign for Attorney General today by visiting the links above or by visiting

McCain/Romney & Obama/Biden?

Last night on Hardball, Chris Matthews predicted that John McCain would pick Mitt Romney and Barack Obama would pick Joe Biden as their respective running mates. The two pundits seemed to agree. Are you kidding me?

First Romney. There is no question this guy has a great resume. He was a chief executive as the Governor of MA. He ran the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake. And he was enormously successful in the business world. But does any of this matter to McCain? For me, McCain needs two things. A VP with solid Conservative credentials from a swing state. I don't believe Romney delivers on either. As much as he became the darling of the right in the Primary, I don't think most people identify Romney as a rock solid Conservative. And he sure as heck isn't going to deliver Massachusetts for McCain. Matthews contends that Romney can help deliver Michigan and Pennsylvania. But I have my doubts.

Now Biden. Where did this come from? I know Obama needs to balance the ticket with experience, but how old is this guy? How can the Obama campaign attack McCain on the age issue with Biden on the ticket. Obama does need the experience factor, which Biden delivers, but he needs a swing state too and Biden doesn't do much there. And while it wouldn't hurt Obama to pick a VP his senior, I think the contrast needs to be less striking.

Tim Kaine's name keeps coming up, but I think the folks over at Roanoke Valley Republicans have a point. With Mark Warner on the ballot already, Kaine probably doesn't add much. It's Warner that can turn Virginia blue, not Kaine.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Goodlatte Votes to Impeach Bush? Not So Fast!

Apparently several blogs are running with an internet rumor that Congressman Bob Goodlatte is one of 7 Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee to vote to impeach President Bush.

But not so fast. The quote that many are using is from the 1998 impeachment of President Bill Clinton, not President Bush.

It's such a ridiculous attempt to trick people, you may not even believe it's true. But here you go:

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

An open letter to the Governor and Leadership of the General Assembly

I have sent the following letter to the Governor and Leadership of the General Assembly regarding the Transportation Special Session.


I have been tracking the recent debate regarding transportation with great interest. I have heard plans from Republicans, Democrats and a variety of other groups. While there is certainly no shortage of plans, it seems to me that the General Assembly is headed towards adjournment without a solution. I believe this is a grave mistake that is simply unacceptable to our citizens.

While I no longer have a vote as a member of the Senate, I believe my past service gives me a unique perspective on this issue. It is my firm belief that a solution can be found. I am writing to offer my thoughts on how we can achieve it.

As I said, doing nothing is not an option. So is raising taxes. Several years ago, I did vote to add the sales tax to the wholesale price of gas to fund transportation. I distinctly remember gas being $1.70 a gallon when I cast that vote. $4 a gallon is a bit different. Regional Transportation Authorities seemed like a good compromise, but now clearly raise serious Constitutional issues. Plans like HB 3202 and 6055 only serve to “Balkanize” the State, dividing us into regions and pitting us against each other. I firmly oppose bills like HB 6055 currently being considered.

My plan divides our roads into three categories: Local roads, Federal interstates, and secondary roads. Each of these road types has their own unique challenges and demands and they should have their own funding source and structure.

Local Roads

All responsibility for local roads should be shifted to our localities, as is already the case with our cities. Our localities are in the best position to know what their needs are and how best to address them.

Each city and county would continue receiving their proportionate share of the car tax relief program. However, moving forward, this money could only be used for transportation needs. All money generated by the car tax locally would be required to be used for local transportation. VDOT could be a supplier of resources and labor, but priorities and funding decisions are set by the localities.

Due to this change, localities may feel that they need additional revenue sources to meet their transportation demands. If this is the case, the locality can submit a request to the General Assembly and these requests should be considered.

I believe this approach is the most fair and equitable approach to solving our local transportation problems. If a fast growing area like Loudoun County needs additional money for their local roads, then the citizens of Loudoun should pay for them.

Federal Interstates

I propose creating a transportation fund dedicated solely to our Federal interstates. All federal highway money and future offshore drilling lease revenue would flow into this fund. Should it be determined that available revenue is not sufficient to meet the costs of construction and maintenance, tolls can be used to fill the gap. An application applying for tolls on our interstates should be made to the Federal government with the commitment to keep Federal money, toll revenue and drilling lease revenue in the Federal interstate fund.

I am not calling for a uniform placement of tolls on all interstates. Each interstate, even sections of each interstate, should be examined individually. If a new truck climbing lane is needed on I-81, tolls could be placed in that area to pay for it. There is no need for drivers of the entire interstate to pay for that single geographical improvement. Technology can be used to adjust these tolls where necessary. Out of state drivers are more likely to use our interstates and tolls will ensure that they are paying for use of our roads.

Secondary Roads

The State would continue to build and maintain our secondary roads using money from the transportation trust fund. Without the burden of our interstate highways and local roads, it is my belief that the State has the financial capacity to meet these demands without the need for additional revenue.

I know first hand how complicated this issue is. It is my intent to offer a transportation solution that does not raise statewide taxes but addresses the very real and serious problems we face. I hope you will consider my proposal as the debate continues.

I look forward to talking with you soon.

J. Brandon Bell

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

It's Gas, Stupid

I saw a poll on TV last night that said 76% of the public supports increased domestic drilling. I believe it was both on land and off shore. Only 20% were opposed and we can probably assume they are mostly wealthy liberals with no worries about filling the tank each week. 71% of Democrats supported the idea. Again, we know which Democrats are opposed.

I am having a hard time thinking of an issue that has such lop sided support. Rarely is our Country so unanimous in it's support of something. So, given the political power that comes with this level of support, can Barack Obama continue to resist the call for more drilling? Could this be his Achilles heal? I think it could be. In fact, I think it might be the only way John McCain can win. And this is all McCain should be talking about between now and November. He needs to hammer Obama on this issue. Pull the old Bush line of your either with us or against us, only this time it's you either oppose high gas prices (like me) or support them (like Obama).

Of course Obama would never say he supports high gas prices, but that doesn't mean McCain can't make the case that his policies would cause them, regardless of Obama's own feelings on the issue.

UPDATE: A reader made an interesting point regarding Virginia Democrats. Gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds voted against off shore drilling in the recent Transportation Special Session. I have not seen poll numbers specific to Virginia, but my guts tells me they would mirror the national numbers. I think that is a risky move for a statewide candidate like Deeds, who will be counting on the support of a rural base that will feel the sting of high gas prices more than their well to do Northern neighbors. I wonder if the momentum on this issue will force some Dems to change their minds?

Thursday, July 3, 2008

It's a Boy!

My wife and I were at the doctor yesterday for the 18 week checkup on our newest family addition. Everything looks great and we are expecting a healthy boy around December 1st.

Have a wonderful Fourth!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Should You Pay for Ralph Smith's Two Full Time Staff Members?

I know I am asking for it, but I am going down this road again. I got an email about Ralph Smith's latest burger fest and read something interesting. He was making a plea for money and one of the reason's stated was that he had 2 full time aides to pay for.

Let me give you a little background. Each Senate and House member is given a budget to pay for staff. It's in the mid 30's. This money has to be used for staff. You don't have to spend it all, but it can't carry over year to year. It's entirely up to the member to decide how the money is spent.

So, we can assume that Ralph is using his entire staff budget for one aide (which is what most do) and is using campaign funds to pay for the salary of the second aide.

But before you go and give him your hard earned money, lets think about why on earth he needs two people in the first place.

I did this job. Same district. Same demands. During the Session, it's tough. You could certainly use more than one person and we did have more at the end of Brandon's term. But in the recess (10 months of the year), it's essentially part time work. I know, you Ralph people are going to say I didn't do a good enough job. Even though you are entitled to your opinion (although I think I did a fine job), I know a lot of other aides and their work load was no different.

I can say with absolute confidence that you do not need two full time staff members to run a Virginia Senate office. During a campaign year, maybe you need more people. And like I said, during session you do as well. But not during the recess of a non-campaign year.

I don't know Ralph's aides, never meet them. I am sure they are nice people and competent workers. This isn't about them. It's about Ralph's staffing decisions.

So when you go to write Ralph Smith a check, think about how he is using the money. You may want to put your checkbook back in the drawer.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Pro Tax Putney

While I plan to put up a transportation post next week, I was surprised with one bill that was introduced in the special session. Delegate Lacy Putney, Chairman of Appropriations and longest serving member, introduced HB 6012 which would increase the sales tax by 1/2 cent to be dedicated to transportation costs statewide. It would call for a referendum to be held in November. The bill hasn't been acted on in the House Rules committee.

I'm somewhat confused. Lacy was one of the behind the scene voices encouraging Ralph Smith to run against me based on my alleged support for transportation taxes. On the one hand it indicates that Lacy understands from the spending perspective that we need more revenue for transportation. Why introduce a bill however that is sure to excite the anti tax crowd in Botetourt and Bedford? An act like this would surely interest a Republican candidate to run against him. But as Max Smart would say, "not so fast"!

The more likely reason is this is the first indication that Lacy won't run for reelection. There were rumors in GOP circles that he would be allowed to serve one term as Chairman of App. if he agreed not to seek reelection. Maybe this is slap at the Speaker for forcing the deal on him. Looks like 2009 will bring a contest in House District 19 which is heavily conservative.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Frederick Confirms He’s Raising Money for Re-Election – Or For Wife’s Campaign??

The Washington Post has an interview with RPV Chairman Jeff Frederick regarding a recent fundraising email he sent out (posted by Zak below). Apparently Jeff is now reconsidering his promise not to seek re-election to the House. Thus the reason he is still raising money. But even if he doesn’t run, he is going to give the money to his wife Amy to support her campaign.

As most of you know, I did not support Jeff for Chairman. But, after his victory, I resolved myself to support his efforts to build our Party. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t offer constructive criticism. But it’s in my best interest as a Republican for him to succeed.

Unfortunately this recent story confirms what I suspected all along. It really is all about Jeff and what he wants for himself. And that’s not how you build a party. Going back on this pledge, after admitting the downsides of serving as both a Delegate and Chairman, is embarrassing for our Party.

I have a theory as to why he might be backtracking. It’s only a theory, but here goes. As I posted earlier, I thought it was Jeff’s plan all along to serve as both Chairman and Executive Director. That way you get the power AND the money. My hunch is that his “people” are telling him the ED job “ain’t gonna happen”. So this is Plan B. You’ve got to make a living and it would be difficult at best to serve as Chairman and hold down a full time job. The total compensation package for a House member, including office allowance and health insurance--which is huge for a young family, is in the neighborhood of $45,000.

And the whole idea of maybe giving the money to his wife is even more ridiculous. The people and PACs writing the checks are supporting his re-election, not hers. Sure, he can give the money to any candidate he likes, but it doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do.

I’ve got some friendly, albeit unsolicited advice for Jeff. Pick one. If you want to be Chairman, great. Announce you’re not running for re-election and, if there is interest, have your wife begin her campaign. Then focus on the job of being Chairman. If you want to stay in the House, that’s fine too. You’ve got the best shot at holding the seat. But resign as Chairman. You cannot do both effectively. This is already fodder for the Dems, who no doubt look forward to running someone against you to keep you pinned down and ineffective as Chairman. I can almost hear Chairman Dickie laughing all the way from Vinton.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Griffith Joins Delegate Dave Albo's Law Firm

Seems our Delegate in Salem has made a recent employment change. Delegate Griffith has joined fellow Delegate Dave Albo's law firm, based in Northern Virginia. Blogger Waldo Jaquith brings up an interesting point....Albo's the boss 10 months out of the year, but Griffith's the boss during the General Assembly Session. Makes one wonder how that will work out.

Frederick Raising Money For His House Seat? Will He Resign?

I saw this email posted on Too Conservative. It’s supposedly an email RPV Chair Jeff Frederick sent out asking for contributions to his House of Delegates campaign account. So, why exactly is Jeff raising money if he promised not to run again??? Maybe someone just made it up? If it’s not real, by all means let us know.


I need your help. Really.

Between preparing for the birth of our second child, running my small business to pay the Bills, running for statewide Party office, and going to Richmond for the special sessions, I haven’t been doing much fundraising for House of Delegates seat.

Midnight June 30 is our fundraising deadline for the last 6 months of activity and I’m just $10,000 shy of our goal for this reporting period.

If you can spare a few bucks, I’d be grateful if you could take a minute, go online, and make a financial contribution to our efforts. We need to show strong numbers on this report, and with your help, we’ll be able to do so. I’m counting on it.

Go to: Or, you can mail a check dated June 30 (or before) to:
Friends of Jeff Frederick
P.O. Box XXX
Woodbridge, VA 22194

Thanks again for all your continued encouragement, support, and especially your prayers.

Roanoke Valley Republicans on Rasoul

An interesting post from Roanoke Valley Republicans regarding 6th District Democrat candidate Sam Rasoul. Honestly, I am a bit shocked by these campaign finance numbers.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Offshore Drilling -- Florida

The Democrats are flipping out over the increasing pressure to allows states to drill off their shores. I just watched an interview with the Chief Financial Officer of Florida (D) Alex Sink. She was particularly exercised over Gov. Crist's willingness to have Florida open to offshore drilling. Her argument was that Floridians long ago decided to keep it's waters free of drilling in order to preserve their tourist industry. HELLO! Lady, you aren't going to have a tourist industry because no one will be able to fly or drive to your great state. Unbelievable! Great move by Crist--keep it up.

I would have to put Gov. Crist in the drivers seat for the VP nod based on this. McCain would love for this to be how he is defined against Obama. Heck Sen. Webb has signed on to allow drilling for natural gas off the Virginia coast. Even he sees opposing the offshore drilling is a loosing issue for the Democrats.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Everquest Scandal Continues

It is being reported this morning that the former CEO of Everquest Financial has turned himself in to the FBI pending an indictment on securities fraud charges. He is likely to be charged for misleading investors involving sub prime mortgage investments.

When this story involving Everquest first broke earlier in the year, I posted that it caused me great concern for our potential US Senate nominee. It was apparent from my research that there may be a "purp walk" for those involved in the Everquest scheme. Everquest was, if you don't remember, a company set up to offload non performing sub prime mortgage investments from Bear Stearn's hedge funds. The company tried to go public in the summer of 2007 but failed when it became apparent what the purpose of the company was. The problem for Gov. Gilmore was, and is, he was the Chairman of the Board of Everquest Financial. It was his responsibility for hiring Ralph Cioffi as CEO. I noted when the Gilmore campaign issued a press release when the story first broke that it was filled with holes. It seemed to be written by someone with no true knowledge of the situation or someone with something to hide.

As I noted some time ago this continues to be a big problem for our candidate. Ignoring it won't make it go away. Now that Cioffi has surrendered to federal authorities, what will he say? It is doubtful he will go down by himself. The Gilmore campaign needs to act quickly and decisively and come clean as to Gov. Gilmore's knowledge of any wrong doing. If accurate, condemn Cioffi for his misdeeds and plead for the Feds to get to the bottom of any illegalities. If there is a problem for Gilmore here it needs to be aired in June not October. Get it out now. The campaign has a tough enough job as it is--don't make it any more difficult.

I know as a good Republican I'm not supposed to say anything bad about our nominee. But I don't think this is speaking ill of the Governor. I had a bad feeling about this and where it was headed. I certainly hope it will go away. Usually that doesn't happen in politics.

Update 12:13 PM:
Just read the indictment of Cioffi and there doesn't seem to be anything there to directly implicate a problem for Gov. Gilmore. There is a bunch of smoke however and my point continues. Put out something from the campaign to come completely clean on his dealings with Everquest Financial. Don't defend it--let everyone know it was a bad deal lead by a CEO trying to cover a collapsing financial situation.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Offshore Drilling--McCain/Gilmore

McCain has changed his energy policy to now include the potential for states to drill offshore should they wish to opt out of current federal prohibitions. This is great news and a real winning issue for the fall.

He and Gilmore need to take it one step further. They should combine to support drilling offshore and allow states an 80% share of lease revenue to be paid by the big oil companies. Also Gilmore could favor having the share of lease revenue be dedicated to transportation infrastructure. This would put him in the forefront of the upcoming transportation debate and on top of the one issue that would make his senate campaign competitive.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Rasoul Seeks New Campaign Manager - Again

I got wind that 6th District Democrat Congressional candidate Sam Rasoul is looking for a new campaign manager. This would be his third. He posted an ad on a Democrat job site last week.

I know that campaign staff come and go, but 3 managers in one race is a bit more than normal. His first manager, Rick Howell, quite after a short time on the job and went on to support Rasoul's primary opponent.

It certainly begs the question--why is Rasoul going through so many managers and will the trend continue? An ever changing staff will be more detrimental as the campaign heats up this fall.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Becoming a Father, Part II

Today is Father's Day. We've traveled to Mississippi to visit my Dad who is 87. He still lives in the small town I grew up in. It's a town of 2000 people and is the largest in the county that it is located in. I am looking forward to seeing him and my two sisters and brother along with other nieces, nephews and even a great niece or two. Coming back to Mississippi always relaxes me--I guess it's the pace. Nothing, or really nobody, seems to get in much of a hurry. My wife fortunately loves it also--I think it's the fried pickles.

Anyway my other reason for posting a blog today is to announce some other great news for the Bell family. My wife and I are expecting our second child in December. We are truly blessed. I will thank god today for having a great dad and guidance in becoming, hopefully, 1/2 as great is he is.

Here's a happy father's dad from a "late blooming" dad to all out there reading. Have a great day!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Redevelop the Mill

As most Roanokers know, the City and Carilion are in the process of transforming the "river side" area near Roanoke Memorial Hospital into an economic engine, including a bio-tech park, a medical school, a new hotel and various other developments. It's the best thing going in Roanoke right now.

The Roanoke Times reported today about the potential fate of the former Roanoke City Mills complex, a big collection of empty buildings and silos sitting in the middle of the development area.

I love the idea floated by Councilman Bev Fitzpatrick--instead of tearing down this historic structure, lets redevelop it. What a cool place to have condos, retail, restaurant and office space. There is no doubt in my mind that this type of development would work well (assuming it's economically feasible), being so close to the sprawling Carilion campus and new medical school. And it's got to be better than another parking garage!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Curt New RPV Finance Chair?

SWAC Girl is reporting that Walter Curt will be the next finance chair for RPV. I am not sure whether he will be an asset in this new post but I thought I would relay my personal knowledge of Mr. Curt's dealings within the party.

First of all Mr. Curt is extremely wealthy and is not shy about pumping a lot of money into political campaigns and conservative causes. It would not be impossible for him to assemble a small number of others like him and basically underwrite all of RPV's budget.

I got a phone call from Mr. Curt in March of 2003 soon after I announced I would be seeking the republican nomination for state senate in the 22nd district. I did not know who he was before he called. I later found out he was the major financier of Mark Obenshain's opponent in his nomination battle that year. Mr. Curt went on to offer to contribute $10,000 to my campaign. At the time this was a significant amount of money. It was very difficult to raise money although by budget was only $50,000. I eventually had to loan my campaign $20,000. If I had lost this would have been impossible to pay off so a contribution of this size was very tempting.

The problem was that Mr. Curt made it very clear that he wanted me to promise to vote a certain way on a potential measure that I might face once elected. I told him that I don't offer my votes for sale. After the call I did some checking and it was typical for Mr. Curt to make a large contribution but then demand it back later if a particular vote wasn't to his liking.

The irony of all this is one of the biggest attacks I received in my 2007 primary race was based on campaign contributions. My opponent alleged that because I got money from 2 or 3 certain sources that I was obligated to vote a certain way. One of those he attacked me on--the Senate Leadership Trust, which included Senator Chichester--eventually gave twice as much to him for the general election. He also attacked me for taking $6,000 in 2003 from the much maligned Sen. Chichester. Although this was used to defeat my Democrat opponent, Sen. Chichester never asked for any quid pro quo with the contribution. I voted against a number of Sen. Chichester's tax bills particularly the largest one in 2004.

Conclusion---I'm not sure. It does appear that the reason some attack others alleging a quid pro quo with contributions do so because that is how they see them. Just something to consider the next time someone says "well he got $xx from so and so thus it must be bad". Dig a little deeper and decide for yourself.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Funny Article on the Veepstakes - It Ain't Gonna Be Clinton

Obama-Hillary Ticket? Ain't Gonna Happen
Toby Harnden

Imagine it is January 21st 2009. You are President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton is your vice-president.

She's already demanded her old office back in the West Wing. You've learned from CNN that Bill Clinton is on a jet with Ron Burkle heading for Kazakhstan. Drudge has a flashing siren up beside a report from a British tabloid about a mystery blonde who emerged from the former president's apartment in at his library in Little Rock just before dawn last week. The blonde is promising a full interview tomorrow.

Mark Penn, White House counselor, is busy polling whether a divorce or a brief separation from Bill might best help the former First Lady become in 2012 the first member of a president's own administration to defeat him for his party's nomination.

The new vice-president's case is bolstered because your margin of victory was barely wider than George W. Bush's in 2000. According to exit polls released after John McCain's popular vote win, 78 per cent of late deciders cited the leaked tape of Hillary calling you a "wimp" as a key factor. Some 64 per cent agreed with her.

For months, the pundits have been ridiculing the Obama-Hillary (she insisted on her first name) slogan of "Ready for Change and Experience We Can Believe In on Day One". Bill Clinton's Labor Day quip that it would be a "three-for-one" deal didn't help either.

OK, stop imagining. An exaggeration? Certainly. But you get the picture. If Obama even begins to consider whether a Vice President Clinton would loyally help him better govern the country, she's toast in the veepstakes.

Which is why the notion that Hillary will get the nod can be summed up in three words. Ain't. Gonna. Happen. She may be on anyone's short list, as Obama has stated cannily. But she's already inked in at the bottom of his.

Let's face it, the chances were never high. Underpinning Obama's campaign has been his potent argument that it's time for fundamental change in Washington - an end to triangulation, the politics of personal destruction and, by implication, an end to the dynastic rule of the Bushes and the Clintons. Oh, and an end to the Iraq war - which Hillary authorised.

Obama's top advisers believe she sought to diminish him and at best failed to rein in supporters and allies who played the race card or encouraged the ignorant and gullible to view him as some kind of Muslim fifth columnist. She even said that McCain was ready to be commander-in-chief and Obama wasn't.

Electorally, moreover, the benefits of her being on the ticket are dubious. The vast majority of her 18 million voters are likely to plump for him anyway if he runs even a half-decent general election campaign. Those Appalachian types who backed Hillary in the primaries after baulking at a black man won't vote for Obama no matter who's at the bottom of the ticket.

It's easy to forget that Hillary remains one of the most polarising figures in American politics. Naming her as running mate would mobilise the Republican base for McCain more quickly than if the angels Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan and William F. Buckley descended from heaven to anoint the Arizona senator live on C-SPAN.

In his baroque rant about Todd Purdum this week, Bill Clinton's accusations about Obama got relatively little attention. "They had all these people standing up in this church cheering, calling Hillary a white racist, and he didn't do anything about it," he vented to the Huffington Post. "The first day he [Obama] said 'Ah, ah, ah well.' Because that's what they do - he gets other people to slime her."

If those words had been uttered publicly by Frances Strickland or Susan Bayh do you think their hubbies would still be in the veepstakes reckoning? And that's even before you consider Bill's foreign financial deals and the undisclosed donors to his library.

All this is leaving aside what happened this week. Hillary didn't only display a breathtaking - though characteristically Clintonian - self-pity, delusion, sense of entitlement and blatant desire to put her own good above that of her party. She also showed an astonishing political ineptitude.

The test of a true leader is how he or she performs under the pressure of dramatic events. Her self-regarding defiance was the worst political misjudgment by a leading Democrat since Al Gore blew the 2000 election by conceding when Florida was still in the balance.

To authorize the likes of Bob Johnson (whose charming contributions to the election cycle thus far have been to call Obama a "Sidney Poitier", allude to his youthful drug use and state he would not have been beating Hillary had he been white) to lobby for the vice-presidential slot is plain stupid. And then denying it all in a press statement fooled no one.

For Obama to opt for Hillary over candidates such as Sam Nunn, Jim Webb, Tim Kaine, Mark Warner, Joe Biden and Wesley Clark would be an acknowledgement of weakness. It would also indicate a decidely uncharacteristic lack of confidence.

The Illinois senator's primary campaign was remarkably well disciplined, consistent, on message and lacking in drama. Despite Hillary's undoubted mastery of policy minutiae and her impressive fighting spirit, her campaign exhibited none of these qualities.

Obama will need to pay due deference to his vanquished rival's bruised feelings while deftly courting her angry, disappointed supporters. But he's not about to gamble everything by bowing to her presumptuous and preposterous demand.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Go Ahead Make My Day!

Hey Hillary, don't wait for the phone call from Barrack. Go ahead and begin your campaign for Vice President now. There is nothing in the rules of either party that the presidential nominee absolutely gets to pick a VP candidate. Balloting for VP is done completely separate from the President.

Here's what you do, see! Contact all your committed delegates and tell them of your plan. Of course they will be with you. Then research Obama's delegates for those coming from regions you carried or did well in. Spend the next couple of months telling them how much you love Barrack and can help him on the ticket. When Barrack announces his pick a week before the convention many won't have a clue who the person is. That is if he doesn't pick your husband (which of course he could do) All you need is a couple hundred votes to swing your way. Piece of cake for you.

Hey, hey, go ahead do it make my day! At least we would have a convention worth tuning into.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Frederick to Serve as RPV Chair AND Executive Director....

Well, maybe. Again, we are just speculating here. But after calling Jeff Frederick's impending resignation from the House, we feel like we've got a decent handle on this guy.

And serving as both Chairman and ED makes sense for Frederick, and would not doubt be extremely appealing.

I've been reading with some amusement about the "transition team". My first thought--they want to make this sound a whole lot more important than it really is. But I got to thinking about campaign exploratory committees. Everyone knows that these committees are set up by the candidate. The committee then decides that the candidate should run. And imagine this, they run! The committee is just there to make it look like the candidate is running for some reason other than his own ambitions. Now back to this transition team. I think it's cover to float the idea of Jeff serving as both Chairman and ED. Jeff doesn't want to be the one to come out and say he wants to do both jobs. But if the transition team makes that recommendation, he would humbly accept.

So, why both jobs? That's an easy one. The Chairmanship is an unpaid, volunteer position that requires a lot of work. And with the bar that Jeff has set, it will be even more work than in the past. The Executive Director however, is a nicely paid position. Jeff (I mean the transition team) will argue that in order to do the work required, he needs some type of compensation since he can't really do any other jobs. He's giving up his House salary and benefits and from what I've been told, his real world job deals in political consulting--a clear conflict of interest if you're Party Chairman.

So, don't be surprised if the "transition team" recommends that Jeff serve in both roles. Former ED Charlie Judd attempted to do the same thing last year when Ed Gillespie resigned. John Hager beat him by only a handful of votes. So clearly many on State Central have no problem with the idea.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Scrap the Convention Nomination System

Before I outline my ideas and concern, I must say I do enjoy political conventions. It is great time to see people and renew friendships with those most dedicated to the party. Most all involved live and breath politics and spending time with them is really a lot of fun I must admit. However, as much as I and other party activists might enjoy the convention process, it is a system thats time has passed.

The biggest problem with the convention is that it imposes an undue burden on those who must travel long distances to attend. The cost for travel on those coming from SWVA has proven to be a real deterrent to participation. It cost me over $100 just in gas to get to Richmond and I didn't stay overnight. It was a 6 hour round trip for me. There is no practical way for anyone living west of me to drive up just for the day. For them lodging drives up the cost even more. This discrimination was apparent in the attendance from SWVA. I heard only two delegates made the trip from Carroll County, a very Republican County.

In theory the way a convention should work is you go to a local mass meeting and elect delegates to attend the convention to vote your interests if you cannot attend. This doesn't work with today's structure. With no delegate slating you basically have to attend yourself as a delegate to have your vote counted. With Roanoke County there were 189 delegate votes with the potential for up to 5 times that number able to attend. This would have allowed 945 people to attend and vote. Only 42 did!

I know many have a problem with open primaries that could allow non-republican voters to enter into our process. Since we don't have registration by party (I supported while in the Virginia Senate) we could look to another option.

We should design a statewide caucus or canvass process. This process would be run in each local unit. They could be run with a set system for voting on a certain day in early June. This would allow all Republicans to vote locally. The results from each unit would then tabulated and posted to a website using a secure password much like the state board of elections does. The actual ballots could also be transmitted to the state HQ for verification. I feel a process like this should be used for all statewide campaigns for elected office. If the party still wants to hold conventions for party offices that would be OK. Furthermore it would force the local committees to function. It would strengthen our numbers by having our neighbors in the habit of voting in the local caucuses. I would suggest procedures that mimic the state run primary process. We could use the same filing deadlines, filing fees and requirement for petitions.

Some might say that this is to difficult. Poppycock! If Iowa and Nevada can run a statewide caucus then the great Commonwealth of Virginia can pull this off. Let's get started with the 2009 races.

A Smooth Transition?!

SWAC Girl reported yesterday that nearly all high ranking officials at RPV had resigned and left on Monday.

But today, Bearing Drift reports that a "senior member of the Frederick transition team" (please, what is this, the White House?) says the transition has been "smooth and cooperative".

I suppose it's all about one's perspective. If you wanted to replace the entire RPV staff, then having everyone leave could certainly be viewed as "smooth and cooperative". Smooth because they left without a fight and cooperative because they did exactly what you wanted.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

GOP Convention Thoughts

Gov. Gilmore won in a nail bitter with just 66 delegate votes out of over 10,000 cast. It really was closer than that in actually people attending. Due to turnout from SWVA every person attending carried more than one delegate vote. It was noted that each person attending from Carroll county carried 50 delegate votes. I made a comment earlier in a post that I thought Marshall missed an opportunity in not spending more time in our area. For Roanoke County had 189 votes but had 42 attending (at least for the Senate Nomination). Marshall would have only needed to change the mind of 10-15 people to have won.

The momentum of the day was clearly with the Marshall campaign. Never would I have believed that a flier would be put in my chair claiming that Gilmore was a RINO due to his abortion position. I was shocked. Several of us that attended the 1993 convention when Gilmore attacked his chief rival Steve Agee claiming him to be pro choice. Ironic that 15 years later the attack was put back to Gilmore.

Congratulations to Jeff Frederick in his election as chairman. He choose a great time in the electorial climate of change to move on replacing Hager. It paid off for him. Let's see if he can deliver on the promises made.

Now Fredericks house seat comes open in the '09 cycle. We start out with this Dem leaning seat now up for grabs. Jeff has begun his chairmanship with a very high bar. He has to make sure we hold his old house seat and as he claims reverse the tide of losses in the GA. Yes a very high bar indeed.

It became apparent to me on Saturday that Jeff's wife Amy is being positioned to replace him. With her writing the Howell email and speaking to the convention. Definitely a move to have her viewed in a "political" light. Aren't she and Jeff expecting another child? Seems this will be a campaign that will be tough on both of them. I'm sure he would like to keep the income and benefits but I can't imagine a tougher family strain. We'll see if the policy of not having RPV involved in nomination contests holds for this one.

It has been noted over at Novatownhall that there were a number of irregularities. I don't know if that was true but the convention did seem a bit loose in it's operation. I also felt none of the campaigns had any idea who was going to win until the final vote was read. I've seen several well run floor operations at conventions and there seemed to be very little on Saturday. Yesterday brought me to the conclusion that conventions are not the best way to nominate a candidate for public office. I'll have more to say on that in the near future.

Lastly, there was quite a surreal moment for me in the afternoon. While we were waiting for the vote to be announced for chairman, Senator George Allen spoke. I harkened back to 1993 in the Richmond coliseum with over 13,000 voting delegates hanging on ever word. That day after hotly contested races we charged out of the hall to elect George and Jim as our Governor and Attorney General. Yesterday Senator Allen spoke to maybe 1000 people with about 1/2 paying attention. Governor Gilmore was shaking hands of supporters as people filed out for the day. After 15 years how far have we fallen?

Friday, May 30, 2008

U. S. Senate Candidate Decision Time

Deciding on who I will vote for to be our nominee for US Senate has been one of the more difficult I have encountered in some time. While the readers of this blog know I have real problems with Gov. Gilmore's candidacy, you would think I would automatically support Marshall. Not so fast.

The very first post of this blog was "Anyone but Jim". I was hopefully such a call would lead to having a heavy weight get in the race and give us a fighting chance against Mark Warner. Bob Marshall is a principled and fine man but he is hardly the heavy weight I was hoping for.

Still I have many issues with Gilmore such as: high unfavorable ratings, favors abortions in the first 8 weeks, a car tax plan that shifted state tax revenue disporportionately to NOVA, and others I won't mention. I have a real problem with his abortion stand particularly when I was able to see my daughter's heartbeat at 6 weeks. It is hard to stomach that it is OK to end life at that point. That being said he has come through with a real winner of an issue: Energy.

Gilmore has the best energy policy of anyone running. His position is even better than our presidential candidate. I predict due to the pandering to the environmental left over the last several years the voters understand what it means not to have enough oil. They understand that we need to drill for more while we explore alternative sources. This is one issue that Joe sixpack will understand and I believe the fall's election could turn on.

I have been surprised that Marshall feels the Sierra Club and others are that important in order to win in the fall. He should understand that they will drop him like a hot rock for Mark Warner. My hope should he be our nominee that he would figure that out and adopt a policy much like Gilmore's.

When comparing resources both our guys are in bad shape. Gilmore has more money but has been spending almost all of it (80%) and will have little for the fall. A significant number of GOP givers are siding with Warner and that will make it more difficult. He will need more money than Marshall because he needs to create a more positive image of himself due to his high unfavorables. Marshall will need a lot of money just to let people know who he is. So far he hasn't shown such an ability but has waged a very efficient nomination battle and has a real chance of becoming the nominee.

The last consideration is how will our nominee effect our other candidates running. At least for the 6th District neither will slow down Goodlatte. Bob's opponent hasn't shown much and is not likely to put up the effort to be able to take him down. But the effect on our presidential nominee could be more important. Senator McCain will need help motivating social conservatives to turn out. Probably a slight edge in this area goes to Marshall. Marshall may have difficulty winning himself would turn out a more dedicated group that would help McCain. With Virginia in play nationally this can't be overlooked.

So---with all this back and forth---the envelope please. And the winner is-----------! Sorry I have decided to keep this one to myself. I wish whoever wins all the best but for once I plan to vote my conscience and come back home. I'm sure I'll have comments on Monday about how the weekend went.

Hager New Endorsements

Just got wind that George Allen and Ollie North plan to endorse Hager for Chairman today. Seems that momentum is back on Hager's side. We'll see tommorrow!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

District Chairman Slams Frederick for Negative Campaign

I've been waiting for this to happen. After reading Delegate Frederick's increasingly vitriolic emails against Chairman Hager, I figured it was only a matter of time before someone hit him back. I received the email below (as part of a blast) from Mike Wade, 3rd District Chairman. I don't know Mr. Wade, but thought this was worth sharing. I suppose we will all form our own opinions about this race. I will only say I have been truly surprised by the tone Frederick has taken, especially with the Mark Warner criticism and the letter to Speaker Howell.

Leadership? A Few Questions for Delegate Frederick

Dear Delegate Frederick,

Luckily, the demand of Party business has consumed my time and I have been spared up to now from your unyielding barrage of vicious statements. After almost five months of running, a lot of us thought that you would find at least one positive message for your bid for Chairman. As I peruse your recent e-mails, I am truly saddened by the fact that you have run a campaign attacking fellow Republicans with much more energy than you have ever attacked the Democrats. In your mind the Republican Party of Virginia is a defunct institution, our District Chairman are bumbling idiots and our volunteers just didn't meet with your expectations lastyear. You seem to want us to believe that Chairman Hager is a closet supporter of Mark Warner and that we should disregard his 30 years of devoted service to our Party and conservative causes. Your own Leadership in the House of Delegates has even felt the visciousness of your attacks. Delegate Frederick, it seems that without you, we will all but cease to exist.

So please, if you will, answer my questions in your daily e-mail propaganda. Answer them honestly, check your facts out and tell us the real deal. Please help us understand how your recently found interest in the Party can be credible when your record fails to support your claims of Leadership. Remember Delegate Frederick, answer based on your record not campaign hype. Most Republicans believe that it's not what you say that counts, it's your track record.

First question, would you agree that an essential ingredient to winning is to have a united Party, working for our nominee once the nomination is settled? If you answer "yes", please explain why you have made mocking comments to rank-and-file activists at District conventions when they made it clear they would not support you for chairman. Even worse, you have gone to the extreme of telling an unpaid intern who chairs a local College Republican club that she would not be asked back to intern when you are elected, all because she would not wear your sticker. At the Goochland County Committee breakfast just a few weeks ago, you stated publicly that all of the District Chairs would be challenged because they supported Chairman Hager, and that the challengers who were supporting you would win these seats. You later criticized the entire State Central Committee. Can you truly expect to rally and lead those activists and party leaders you have vilified after your callous behavior?

Second question, how can you claim to be a leader for our Party against Mark Warner when nowhere can I find you, Delegate Jeff Frederick, making any statement against the Democrat previous to your campaign for RPV chairman. As a matter of fact, on your own web-site you repeatedly thank the Democrats first for your wins in your District. You also crow about your "bipartisan ideology" with great pride on your web-site. Rather than what your campaign attacks would try to have us think it is your statements that disturbingly sound a lot like the rhetoric of Mark Warner. Thanks to that bipartisan thought process, we got the largest tax increase in Virginia's history.

Third question, how can you blame John Hager for losing the majority in the State Senate and seats in the House of Delegates, even though John Hager became chairman just 3 months prior to election day? Answer with irrefutable facts to support your claim. Surely it couldn't have been the support by some legislators for Mark Warner's massive tax increase, could it? It couldn't have been the perception of Republicans in the General Assembly as more interested in fighting with each other than in fighting for working men and women, could it? It certainly couldn't have been that many of our candidates supported the creation of new, unelected regional government with taxing authority, could it? What reasonable person would think the voters would hold that against our candidates? No, it must have been John Hager who single-handedly brought about the demise of Republicans in the General Assembly. You must think conservative activists and party leaders are clueless if you think they will buy your propaganda. While we're on this topic though, I have a Fourth Question: Since you are now so interested in our majority in the House of Delegates, what did you do, Delegate Frederick, to help our candidates who were in trouble? Remember, actions speak louder than words.

Last but not least, the Fifth Question. Would you agree that a Leader sets an example for those he leads? If yes, please explain how you have allowed yourself and staff to run such a divisive campaign. From where I sit, your entire campaign has set out to besmirch the Party as a whole, threaten or ridicule those who do not support you and apparently just makes things up when the truth doesn't suit. Is this the example you would set for our party to follow? In 2007, with Mark Warner, Tim Kaine and the Democrats pouring millions of dollars into campaigns to defeat our legislators, Republican Delegates from across the Commonwealth opened their own campaign war chests and gave generously to the campaigns under siege. What was your example of leadership in this time of need? You came in 46 th among your fellow Delegates in assisting fellow campaigns. You invested less than $3,000 from your own campaign last year, even though you ended up with money in the bank, money which was transferred to your campaign for chairman.

Is this the leadership you would propose to provide for us statewide?

You see, Delegate Frederick,getting elected chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia doesn't suddenly make one a leader. State Chairmen who are real leaders were leaders before they were elected. In this race for chairman, there is only one candidate whose track record is that of a leader who works with party activists and leaders rather than attack them. That candidate is John Hager. There is only one candidate whose record is that of a leader who was giving to candidates personally and raising money for them not just weeks before asking that we elected him party chairman, but did so for decades. That candidate is John Hager. There is only one candidate whose record is that of a leader who has the grassroots experience and long-term commitment to build our organization so that Bob McDonnell, Bill Bolling and our GOP nominee for Attorney General will re-take the reins of state government next year. That candidate is John Hager. And, there is only one candidate who is working now to unite out party for the crucial United States Senate race and only one candidate who has been publicly taking on Mark Warner. That candidate is John Hager.

Sincerely, Mike Wade, Chairman, Third District Committee