Remembering Memorial Day

Today is Memorial Day.  A day when we should pause and reflect upon the sacrifices made and hardships endured by countless men and women so that we can enjoy the many freedoms that we have.  These days, however, many citizens view today as part of a three-day weekend and time off from work.  It is a day of sales, barbeques, and picnics.  My first reaction is to look upon this festival of materialism and self-indulgence with disgust.  Shouldn’t my fellow citizens be grateful and mindful of the occasion?  Then again, perhaps such a thought is missing the point.  After all, our soldiers fought and died defending our freedoms so that the average citizen would never have to know the true horror of war…so that he or she would always have free choice, a free choice that includes picking whether to honor their efforts or ignore them.

So yes, today is Memorial Day.  I just urge you to take some time, even if it a single moment out of your festivities, to reflect how you came to possess your liberty.  I know I will.

Cajun Bile

For some reason that I don’t truly understand, I’ve been receiving emails from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee or DCCC.  Like most Republican emails, they implore the reader for money and are written by a variety of Democratic leaders:  Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank, or Chris Van Hollen.  Regardless of the author, none are quite the same as those written by James Carville.  To fully illustrate my point, let me share with you the most recent words from the “Ragin’ Cajun” from May 26:

Joshua —

Remember when Sarah Palin threatened to take her lie-spewing, Obama-bashing, make-up-the-facts-as-she-goes-along freak show across the country to help her favorite Republican tea party extremists that are running for Congress?

Looks like Sarah’s summer of lies road trip has started.

Last week, Palin was in Idaho raising money for a tea party wing nut who didn’t even know Puerto Rico was part of the United States. This was one of her first stops this summer for these nut jobs running for Congress but believe me, it won’t be her last.

With the media closely watching how grassroots Democrats respond to Palin’s summer road show for all those tea party extremists, we need your help to make our grassroots goal of raising $225,000 before the critical filing deadline this Monday at midnight.

Contribute $5, $10 or more before Midnight Monday so we can show the world what we think of Sarah Palin hitting the campaign trail for all those tea party lunatics running for Congress this year as Republicans.

After one of Palin’s tea party crazies Rand Paul actually won a Republican primary last week, the media is closely watching her every move on the campaign trail. But while Rand Paul is busy digesting his own foot over bashing the Civil Rights Act, Palin ain’t even stopping to take a breath when it comes to helping more tea party candidates like him running in GOP primaries.

So far Sarah’s already helped over a dozen tea party lunatics running for Congress and she’s got plans to stump for a whole lot more this year.

We need to use the May 31st filing deadline to send the strongest message that grassroots Democrats won’t sit by on the sidelines as Palin tries to elect more Rand Pauls to Congress.

Contribute before Midnight Monday so we can show the world what we think of Sarah Palin hitting the campaign trail for all those tea party lunatics running for Congress this year as Republicans.

Sarah Palin’s doing everything she can to send her favorite Republican extremists to Congress.

Will you help us do everything we can to stop her?


James  Carville

Note the tone and information provided by Mr. Carville.  It is typical of his letters.  Absolutely nothing in his message is positive.  He doesn’t praise the accomplishments of President Obama and the Democrats.  Instead he uses his words to spread fear, hate, and to slander his enemies.  He is welcome to his opinions, of course, but is an email like the one above constructive at all?  Note his failure to actually address the political positions of either Rand Paul of Sarah Palin.  He uses highly demeaning terms like “Lie spewing…freak show…extremist…nut job”…and that is only from the first paragraph!  Unfortunately, all too often this sort of degenerative rhetoric is what passes for political dialogue in our country these days.  Worse still is the fact that Carville is not alone.  Pundits on both the left and the right have forsaken debate and rational discourse in pursuit of demagoguery and that fact is truly despicable.  Although personal attacks and character assassination without looking at the real issues involved is far easier that actually presenting a well reasoned argument, I strongly encourage news outlets, my fellow bloggers, political parties, and all citizens to forsake such people who engage in such a shameful and self-serving behavior.  Until and unless we do, our nation shall become increasingly divided, embittered, and ignorant.  It’s time for a change.

Our New Chair, Trixie Averill!

At the 6th district meeting this weekend, delegates selected long-time political activist Trixie Averill of Roanoke as our new Republican Chairwoman.  As stated earlier, having worked with/for Trixie in the 2006 election cycle, I can personally attest to her commitment and dedication to our cause.  I want to congratulate Mrs. Averill for her victory and I’m sure all of us are expecting many good things from her time in office.

If anyone has any pictures of the event that they would care to share, please let me know.

Matthew Berry for Congress

Throughout the history of this blog, I have always stressed that in order to reclaim our country we need to elect limited government conservatives.  Earlier today, I had the opportunity to speak with Matthew Berry, a Republican candidate for the House of Representatives in the 8th district.  Over the last week or so, he has been seeking the endorsement of conservative Virginia bloggers, and has already gained the support of Bearing Drift, On the Right, and many more.  Although his campaign website is a wealth of information, I wanted to learn a bit more about him.

Besides being articulate and quick-witted, Matthew Berry also shares my commitment to a limited, constitutional government.  He advocates fiscal responsibility through tax and spending cuts and the abolition of earmarks.  Other important issues include: protecting the rights of the unborn, repealing Obamacare, and eliminating excessive agricultural subsidies.  As stated above, if you would like additional information, please visit his website found here.

Therefore, I’m pleased to offer my endorsement of Matthew Berry for the House of Representatives in the 8th district of Virginia.  I encourage all citizens to vote for Matthew Berry in the straw poll at the Republican Convention today (May 22) in Alexandria, in the Republican primary next month (June 8), and in the general election in November.  Remember that only by electing candidates who share our values can we hope to create real and meaningful change in our government.

Marshall Endorses Goad

Early in my inbox this morning (and I do mean early), I received an email from our conservative friends in Botetourt County.  In it, Delegate Marshall (R-13) offers his opinion about the race for the 6th District Chairman.   To follow are his comments:

Can you take four to five minutes from your busy day to think about a decision that will have effects on you, your family and Virginia for years to come?

I am talking about the Sixth District Republican Convention race where you and other fellow conservatives will set a course for our Virginia Republican Party.

The decision is yours to make, not mine, although I do have a preference for the Sixth District.

I would just like to first share with you the benefit of my experience of my more than 32 years in Republican politics, 19 years as an elected official, and 6 years as a Congressional staff aide.

Clearly, the most successful American politician of the last part of the 20th Century was President Ronald Reagan.  He called himself a conservative, and did not apologize.  He ran as a Republican.  He said he was 100% pro life because it was a moral issue.  He opposed high taxes because he thought it weakened American families.  He called the Soviet Union the Evil Empire because it was.  He would not compromise any moral principle for political gain.  He won the presidency twice after serving as Governor of California.

In 1975 Ronald Reagan criticized the spending policies of Republican President Gerald Ford for adopting the deficit spending and debt increasing habits of the Democratic controlled Congress.  Sad to say, the current crop of debt-loving liberal Democrats in Congress can point to the debt increases approved by congressional Republicans who voted to grow the debt on our children when George Bush was president.  Unfortunately, the record shows the Democrat critics are correct!

If we depart from our own principles “just a little bit,” we are not in a good position to criticize Democrats when they do it with gusto.

By voting for Danny Goad for Sixth Republican Chair on May 22 at 10:00AM in Lynchberg at the Towns Alumni Center, Liberty University, we can bring back that successful Reagan formula of combining conservative social and economic principles to win elections.

Danny Goad, father of six, is a Mechanical Engineer with an MBA.  Danny has been involved in conservative Republican efforts and elections for 18 years.  He has been vice-chairman or chairman of three local Republican units.  If ever our nation needed principled individuals willing to lead it is now.  Danny Goad is a committed conservative and is willing to serve as Sixth District Republican Chair.

Ronald Reagan did not win victories in Virginia and across America by himself.  He had the support of a Republican Political Party structure, people like you and me, who were largely conservative.

We, you and I together, can do that again for Virginia with a vote for conservative Republican Danny Goad on May 22.

Thank you for all you do to preserve our Republic and our Liberties.  If you have any questions, call me on my cell phone at 703-853-4213.

Bob Marshall

Delegate Bob Marshall, R – 13th District of Virginia

P.S.  I have included excerpts from Ronald Reagan’s 1975 and 1977 speeches to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) with a few comments of my own so you can see for yourself how Ronald Reagan combined practical experience with conservative principles to revive and rebuild a conservative Republican Party.

Ronald Reagan 1975 Speech to CPAC — Excerpts

“Since our last meeting we have been through a disastrous election.  (November, 1974) It is easy for us to be discouraged, as pundits hail that election as a repudiation of our philosophy and even as a mandate of some kind or other. But the significance of the election was not registered by those who voted, but by those who stayed home. If there was anything like a mandate it will be found among almost two-thirds of the citizens who refused to participate.

Bitter as it is to accept the results of the November election, we should have reason for some optimism. For many years now we have preached “the gospel,” in opposition to the philosophy of so-called liberalism which was, in truth, a call to collectivism.

Now, it is possible we have been persuasive to a greater degree than we had ever realized. Few, if any, Democratic party candidates in the last election ran as liberals. Listening to them I had the eerie feeling we were hearing reruns of Goldwater speeches. I even thought I heard a few of my own.  …

But let’s not be so naive as to think we are witnessing a mass conversion to the principles of conservatism. Once sworn into office, the victors reverted to type. In their view, apparently, the ends justified the means. … Can we live with ourselves if we, as a nation, betray our friends and ignore our pledged word? …

Americans are hungry to feel once again a sense of mission and greatness.

I don’t know about you, but I am impatient with those Republicans who after the last election rushed into print saying, “We must broaden the base of our party”–when what they meant was to fuzz up and blur even more the differences between ourselves and our opponents.

It was a feeling that there was not a sufficient difference now between the parties that kept a majority of the voters away from the polls. When have we ever advocated a closed-door policy? Who has ever been barred from participating?

Our people look for a cause to believe in. Is it a third party we need, or is it a new and revitalized second party, raising a banner of no pale pastels, but bold colors which make it unmistakably clear where we stand on all of the issues troubling the people? Let us show that we stand for fiscal integrity and sound money and above all for an end to deficit spending, with ultimate retirement of the national debt. …

Let us explore ways to ward off socialism, not by increasing government’s coercive power, but by increasing participation by the people in the ownership of our industrial machine. …

In his first address to Congress, the president asked Congress to join him in an all-out effort to balance the budget. I think all of us wish that he had re-issued that speech instead of this year’s budget message.

What side can be taken in a debate over whether the deficit should be $52 billion or $70 billion or $80 billion preferred by the profligate Congress?

Inflation has one cause and one cause only: government spending more than government takes in. And the cure to inflation is a balanced budget. We know, of course, that after 40 years of social tinkering and Keynesian experimentation that we can’t do this all at once, but it can be achieved. Balancing the budget is like protecting your virtue: you have to learn to say “no.” …

A political party cannot be all things to all people. It must represent certain fundamental beliefs which must not be compromised to political expediency, or simply to swell its numbers.

I do not believe I have proposed anything that is contrary to what has been considered Republican principle. It is at the same time the very basis of conservatism. It is time to reassert that principle and raise it to full view.  And if there are those who cannot subscribe to these principles, then let them go their way.”

Ronald Reagan 1977 speech to CPAC–Excerpts

The percent of Americans now calling themselves “conservative” vs. “liberal” was higher at the end of 2009 than in 1976 when Reagan was addressing CPAC below.  A recent Gallup survey found the following breakdown:  conservatives 40%; liberal 21% and moderate 36%.  Additional Gallup breakdowns show that 71% of Republicans, 35% of independents and 21% of democrats call themselves “conservative.”

Reagan recognized that there were varieties of conservative, which he identified as social and economic.   No Republican president since Reagan has been able or been willing to replicate the Reagan union of social, economic and defense of foreign affairs conservatives.  Reagan said:

“Despite what some in the press may say, we who are proud to call ourselves “conservative” are not a minority of a minority party; we are part of the great majority of Americans of both major parties and of most of the independents as well.  A Harris poll released September 7, 1975 showed 18 percent identifying themselves as liberal and 31 percent as conservative, with 41 percent as middle of the road; a few months later, on January 5, 1976, by a 43-19 plurality, those polled by Harris said they would “prefer to see the country move in a more conservative direction than a liberal one.”

You know, as I do, that most commentators make a distinction between they call “social” conservatism and “economic” conservatism. The so-called social issues—law and order, abortion, busing, quota systems—are usually associated with blue-collar, ethnic and religious groups themselves traditionally associated with the Democratic Party. The economic issues—inflation, deficit spending and big government—are usually associated with Republican Party members and independents who concentrate their attention on economic matters.

… In short, isn’t it possible to combine the two major segments of contemporary American conservatism into one politically effective whole?  I believe the answer is: Yes … This will mean compromise.  But not a compromise of basic principle.” …

“And let me say so there can be no mistakes as to what I mean: The New Republican Party I envision will not be, and cannot, be one limited to the country club-big business image that, for reasons both fair and unfair, it is burdened with today. The New Republican Party I am speaking about is going to have room for the man and the woman in the factories, for the farmer, for the cop on the beat and the millions of Americans who may never have thought of joining our party before, but whose interests coincide with those represented by principled Republicanism. If we are to attract more working men and women of this country, we will do so not by simply “making room” for them, but by making certain they have a say in what goes on in the party. The Democratic Party turned its back on the majority of social conservatives during the 1960s. The New Republican Party of the late ’70s and ’80s must welcome them, seek them out, enlist them, not only as rank-and-file members but as leaders and as candidates.” …

My friends, the time has come to start acting to bring about the great conservative majority party we know is waiting to be created.

And just to set the record straight, let me say this about our friends who are now Republicans but who do not identify themselves as conservatives: I want the record to show that I do not view the new revitalized Republican Party as one based on a principle of exclusion. After all, you do not get to be a majority party by searching for groups you won’t associate or work with. If we truly believe in our principles, we should sit down and talk.

Talk with anyone, anywhere, at any time if it means talking about the principles for the Republican Party. Conservatism is not a narrow ideology, nor is it the exclusive property of conservative activists.”

Although unfortunately I still haven’t spoken with Mr. Goad, Delegate Marshall offers many strong words of praise, going so far as to compare him to President Reagan.  Given his stances, I do hope to meet Mr. Goad sooner or later.   On a related note, it is interesting to see as more and more of my Facebook friends line up on one side of the aisle or the other.   With the election a mere three days away, the camps are clearly forming.

In retrospect, I wish I were attending the convention down in Lynchburg this Saturday.  Nevertheless, I expect that both of the candidates, Danny Goad and Trixie Averill, will serve the Republicans of the 6th district well.  It should be exciting to see who wins!

Victory, Sweet Victory!

Tonight was an important night for the restoration of liberty in our nation.  Both the primary success of Rand Paul in Kentucky and the defeat of Arlen Specter in Pennsylvania signal that voters are looking to change D.C.

Let me first start with Specter.  Although he was competing in the Democratic primary, I believe Specter’s loss is certainly positive.  Even when he was a Republican, he never was a conservative so I never cared for him.  Of course, when he discovered that he would lose the Republican nomination last year, he switched to the Democratic Party.  At that moment, some Republican pundits considered Specter to be a traitor but, as I never considered him an ally to liberty, his party switch was mainly cosmetic.  I think that at the end of the day, he was more wed to saving his political career than conservative principles.  Good riddance to a lifelong politician I say.

Of course Rand Paul’s smashing victory in Kentucky is far more exciting.  Rather than repeat the arguments I made a mere eleven days ago, I’ll redirect you to my earlier post, “The Battle for Kentucky and the GOP”.  One burning question though is, with his win tonight, will the establishment Republicans rally behind the Republican candidate or shrink away?  Obviously, I am hoping for the former option, as we need leaders like Paul in office.  In addition, assuming that Paul wins the general election in November, will he be one of the few voices crying in the wilderness, or will we bolster his victory by electing other liberty-minded men and women to aid in the cause?

I have no doubt that tomorrow will bring new challenges…but tonight let us revel in the sweetness of victory!

Thursday’s Events

Good morning everyone.

For readers in the Shenandoah Valley, we have two events of note coming up this Thursday, May 20.  The first is the monthly gathering of the Shenandoah Valley Tea Party.  This meeting will take place at the Massanutten Regional Library in Downtown Harrisonburg (174 South Main Street) from 5.30 PM to 8:30 PM.  The second is the Young Republicans.  This meeting will happen at Ham’s Restaurant (221 University Boulevard) from 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM.  Yes, you will likely notice that these two events overlap.  It is unfortunate that I’ll have to leave the party early in order to make the YR’s.  Nevertheless, both are venues to connect with likeminded folks, lovers of liberty and limited government.  If you happen to live in the Shenandoah Valley and share my political philosophy, you really should try to make at least one of these events.

Now, I know that many of you live in other parts of the state or country or even another nation entirely, so making the trek to Harrisonburg is not feasible.  Nevertheless, if you are passionate about politics (or freedom tempered with the rule of law), not only should you get involved, you must get involved.  Any government can change, but only if citizens like you and me are willing to take a stand for principle.  In whatever corner of the globe you might happen to live, why not make Thursday the day you finally take action?

A Tribute to Matt Lohr

A little over a week ago, my Delegate, Matt Lohr (26-R) resigned his seat in order to become the Commissioner for the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.  Although he has been my Delegate for the last five years, I didn’t know a whole lot about him.  Maybe you felt the same.  Like myself, he was rather modest, never boasting, “Look at all my accomplishments!  See what I have done!”  Even though that path seems to have worked out fine for him with his recent appointment, I have personally questioned using such a tactic, for unfortunately, political memory is often very short and those who vigorously promote their own glory are likely to receive far more.

With the notable exception of the abusive driver fees, I never worried that Delegate Lohr would vote differently than I would have.  Given that he never actively sought the limelight, the great lingering question of the day is, what were his top legislative priorities while in office?  Although I’m a bit ashamed to admit it, with a couple of exceptions, I didn’t really know.  So, in order to answer this question, I decided to contact his office to acquire a list of his most important accomplishments.  His responses are as follows:

TDR-Transfer of Development Rights, a bill which made it more attractive for localities to setup a farmland preservation program.  The TDR concept is a unique approach to saving farmland, directing growth to the proper areas, and keeping agriculture viable without using taxpayer dollars.  It is a very complex issue, but one that will have a tremendous benefit to localities around the Commonwealth.

Standards of Quality Education Standards: Two years in a row I submitted this bill and it greatly helped school divisions during these tough economic times.  Every year, schools are expected to meet their standards of accreditation.  These standards are always increasing and the benchmark gets higher and higher.  This bill places a one year freeze on the rising standards of accreditation.  As schools are being forced to cut back during these tough budgets, it seems unrealistic to expect them to achieve more.  This bill gave schools some breathing room and removed this added burden during what is already tough times.

Teen Driving Safety Bill: This bill increased the maximum driver hours for teenagers taking drivers education to be 45 hours instead of 40 hours.  It also includes that 15 of these hours must be after sunset.  It had been increasingly obvious that students were not having much if any experience driving at night in addition to needing extra time behind the wheel.  The bill also aims to increase parental involvement by requiring a driving log be complete and reminding parents it is a violation of the law to sign off on the log knowing the hours were not completed.

Protective Orders: This bill I did a few years back, adds to ensure the protection of victims of domestic abuse and I was very proud to sponsor this legislation.  It says that if a person who violates a protective order violates that order again for a second time within five years, they will receive a minimum confinement of 60 days.  If they commit a third offense within 20 years they are to receive at least six months in confinement.  prior to the law passing, there were no minimum jail requirements for these violators.

Annexation Extension: For about 30 years, the Commonwealth has put a freeze on aggressive annexation between cities and counties.  This latest extension was set to expire in 2010 and there were several failed attempts to extend that freeze until 2020.  The Kaine administration wanted to force a permanent agreement between the Counties and Cities but it never materialized.  Eventually, Gov. Kaine agreed to allow an extension on the moratorium until 2018.  This will allow positive relationships to continue between counties and cities without the threat of possible annexation.

School Textbook Budget Amendment-The past couple years, I put in a budget amendment that would allow schools to use their funding for new textbooks for other purposes.  My last two years in the House were very tough budget years and I was proud to come up with many creative measures, including this one, that would help give the local school divisions the freedom to decide how these monies could be spent.

Abortion Clinic Safety-I wasn’t able to get this bill through the Senate during my five sessions.  It did pass each year in the House by a bipartisan majority.  I was happy to fight this battle and keep this common sense idea in the public view.  I am confident that this will pass if the Republicans are able to take control of the Senate.  The bill says that abortion clinics should be regulated like ambulatory surgery centers.  They would need a yearly inspection, life saving equipment on hand and they must report complications.

While I do admit that my own personal legislative priorities would be quite a bit different from Delegate Lohr, I still believe his efforts were of great benefit to the people of the 26th district and the Commonwealth as a whole.  But he should be remembered for more than just his work as a part-time legislator.  Outside his work in the General Assembly, he was deeply involved in local activism ranging from charity work, like the recent Relay for Life, to spending his time at schools in the district.  If we all shared just a fraction of his community spirit, I earnestly believe that our valley would be an even better place.

In closing, I certainly wish former Delegate Lohr well in his future endeavors and thank him for his time in the House of Delegates.

The Battle for Kentucky and the GOP

Sorry for little pause in updates.  My personal circumstances are changing including a potential move, though I should still be in the 26th district.  But on to the topic at hand…

Limited government conservative and establishment Republicans have long butted heads and 2010 is no exception.  For starters, you can look south to Florida for The Rubio/Crist feud.  How about blowback against the maverick John McCain in his primary fight in Arizona?  We in the limited government camp are not alone.  The tea party movement itself rose to tell not only the federal government, but also the Republican Party, that to quote the movie Network, we are “as mad as hell and not going to take this anymore!  Things have got to change!”  Now we don’t merely want change for changes’ sake.  We have seen the supposed hope and change that President Obama offers, and now our future is clouded and uncertain.  We need a new and better direction.  Neither citizens nor corporations should endlessly suckle at the teat of the government, merely crying for bread and circuses.  That crooked road doesn’t lead to freedom and prosperity, but to shackles and serfdom.  To reclaim our nation we need a path paved with the promises of liberty and personal responsibility, not welfare and bailouts.

This year, I believe no battle is more important in war for the heart and soul of the GOP than in Kentucky.  For the side of the limited government crowd we have Rand Paul, son of Texas Representative and 2008 Presidential candidate Ron Paul.  For the side of the establishment, we have Trey Grayson, the Secretary of State of Kentucky.  With the primary less than two weeks away, politicians and political leaders from both wings of the Republican Party have taken notice and have come out swinging with endorsements.  In Grayson’s column, we have Senate Minority Leader and Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell, Dick Cheney, Rick Santorum, and Rudy Giuliani.  Paul’s supporters include Senator Jim DeMint (SC), Steve Forbes, Dr. James Dobson, and Sarah Palin.  These endorsements alone should give you some indication of the quality of the two men.

On many issues both candidates share the same (or nearly the same) views: abortion, taxes, and spending.  Therefore, I don’t believe it would be fair to say that either candidate is not conservative.  What makes Paul a better choice, in my mind, is his limited government mindset.  I think Erick Erickson of Red State sums up my thoughts pretty well.  “The problem with Republicans in Congress is that they lost their way. They were willing to do things they otherwise would oppose because George Bush told them to.  And they have been willing ever since to go along with strategies that were poll tested and mother approved because that is what the leadership wanted and told them to do.”  He goes on to add, “I want men and women of high moral character who are men and women of conservative principle, not of party.

When of party, politicians think too often of saving themselves, not the country. For too long the Republicans have invested in solid party guys who advance the party’s agenda, but not conservatism and certainly not smaller government.”

Amen Mr. Erickson.  We need leaders who are not afraid to actually lead.

Like his father, Rand Paul is against bailouts of all kinds, the Federal Reserve, and even opposes the Patriot Act and the War in Iraq.  Although such a line of thinking is not popular with the establishment Republicans and may even be considered radical, I believe that this path is the only method to save the Republican Party and, more importantly, our nation as a whole.

Although I do not live in Kentucky, I wholeheartedly endorse and support Rand Paul.  Neither side will be able to claim ultimate victory as a result of this primary, but a win for Paul will likely create aftershocks felt across the land.  Sooner or later in our own cities, counties, and states, both you and I will have the opportunity to choose between the status quo and a limited, constitutional government.  On that day, will you have the courage to take a stand?