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!