Two Chances for Lt. Gov. Candidates

Pete Snyder, Scott Lingamfelter, Jeannemarie Davis
Pete Snyder, Scott Lingamfelter, & Jeannemarie Davis

Over the next two days, residents and visitors to the Harrisonburg area will have two opportunities to listen to and meet with three of the seven Republican candidates for lieutenant governor.

First, I have received word that Pete Snyder will be speaking at Thursday’s meeting of the Harrisonburg Tea Party (February 28th).  That gathering is taking place from 6:30 PM to 8:15 at the Freedom Baptist Church, located at 141 Pleasant Hill Road.  In addition, the main focal point of the evening will be Professor Robert Subrick of JMU.  He will be addressing the important and far too often overlooked topic of Austrian Economics.

Second, Delegate Scott Lingamfelter and Jeannemarie Davis are the two-featured guests at the monthly First Friday gathering of the Harrisonburg & Rockingham County Republican Parties (March 1st).  The event starts at noon and will be held at the Woodgrill Buffet on 1711 Reservoir Street.  If you would like to attend this event, please email Suzanne Obenshain at suzanne@markobenshain.com so that sufficient space is reserved.

Remember, if you are planning to sign up to be a delegate to the Virginia Republican convention in May, it is imperative that you learn about all of your choices.  Therefore, I highly recommend that you make both of these gatherings and keep an eye out for additional chances to meet with all candidates in your area, regardless of whether you live in the Shenandoah Valley or some other portion of the state.

Stimpson Condemns Massive Transportation Tax

Susan Stimpson at the Middletown Forum
Susan Stimpson

Earlier today, Susan Stimpson, Chairman of the Stafford County Board of Supervisors and Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, offered the following strongly worded statement regarding the passage of the enormous new transportation taxes.

Governor McDonnell & Speaker Howell are dead wrong promoting & passing a $6 billion tax increase last week…

I just received an email from the Governor that leaves me flabbergasted. It brags about billions in new taxes. It even directs people to look at the spending projects in their area! It sounds like a White House press release. I was half expecting it to conclude with an offer for a free cell phone!

Republicans are supposed to be about cutting taxes, cutting spending and reducing the size of government—like our current leadership in Richmond promised us they would do when we were working hard to elect them.

Instead they abandoned our party’s principles by raising taxes and paving the way for Obamacare.

Do we or do we not believe that a restrained and limited government is what allows the most freedom and prosperity?

Speaker Bill Howell and Governor McDonnell are friends. But they could not be more wrong. And they could not have failed us at a more critical time.

There has been a long, unsettled battle within the Republican Party in Virginia on whether or not government has enough money. It has played out in 2004, 2007 and now. Each time, Republican leadership has taken the side of “not enough taxes” instead of providing the vision and leadership toward a restrained government. How much more can we bear?

It’s time to end this battle decisively with New Leadership committed to the principle that Virginians are over-taxed.

As Lieutenant Governor, I will not only work tirelessly to advance a conservative agenda in the General Assembly, but I will work relentlessly for authentic conservative majorities in the House and Senate.

I have talked to Republicans today who are absolutely disgusted with our Party. They are sick and tired of being sold out. The Republican Party itself is at stake in Virginia, and if we don’t act and restore our Party to that of lower taxes and smaller government, we risk losing faithful Republicans and independent voters. While Democrats are proudly stating they stayed committed to their values and achieved higher taxes and Medicaid expansion, Republicans failed to lead and they rolled. And we control both Houses and the Governor’s office!

The time to act is now. As Lieutenant Governor, I will fight for tax cuts, spending cuts and smaller government as I have done in Stafford County, and I will lead an effort to elect principled, tax cutting conservatives to the House of Delegates and State Senate.

VC thoughts:  Most conservative activists across the state are severely upset with both Governor Bob McDonnell and the Republican-controlled General Assembly for what amounts to one of the largest tax increases in state history.  I applaud Susan Stimpson for taking a firm and unapologetic stand on this important issue.

One-On-One With Pete Snyder

Pete Snyder
Pete Snyder

On Saturday, after the meeting of the College Republican Federation of Virginia here in Harrisonburg, I had the opportunity to speak with Pete Snyder, one of the seven candidates seeking Republican nomination for lieutenant governor.  Mr. Snyder is an entrepreneur from northern Virginia who recently served as chairman for the 2012 Virginia Victory campaign.

Although we planned to get together at the local Starbucks, due to overcrowding, we had to relocate to the Jimmy Johns located several doors down.  This particular discussion was pretty open-ended, in which I was able to ask a number of questions about Mr. Snyder’s political principles and his campaign.  Armed with a trusty, new recorder, we began.

What I thought was the most important issue of the day concerned the matter of liberty and how Pete Snyder would reach out and connect to the tea party and Ron Paul activists, a growing segment within the Republican Party in Virginia.  His answer was fairly simple and straightforward stating that he is a solid constitutionalist, who offers a consistent message to every group, emphasizing, “I think anyone who is liberty-minded would hopefully want someone in office who…thinks about how we protect our civil liberties.”  When it comes to our government in Richmond, he added he that he would like to “have the entire state government dust off the Virginia State Constitution…and figure out what business we were supposed to be in and what business we are in now, what mission creep went on there and reign it back in.”  If elected, he declared that he would base his decisions upon three criteria: First, “Is it moral?” Second, “Does it add to or chip away our civil liberties?” Lastly, “Does it strengthen or weaken the free market?”

I did ask Pete Snyder about a potentially sore subject, his time as Virginia Victory Chairman.  As you may recall, in the past election neither Mitt Romney nor George Allen, the GOP Senate candidate, were able to win the state.  Mr. Snyder mentioned that he was honored to be asked to volunteer as the chairman and stated that he was quite successful at his primary task, raising money for these Republican candidates.  Regarding this matter, one lingering question that was sent to me recently is, if Pete Snyder spent so much time promoting Romney and Allen last year, how do we know that, if elected, he will not emulate the big government policies either advocated by these two, or Governor McDonnell who appointed him to this position?  It is an important consideration, especially coming on the back of Virginia’s transportation tax increase, which is viewed by many conservatives as a massive betrayal perpetrated by Republican Governor Bob McDonnell and the Republican-controlled General Assembly.  The Snyder campaign has answered this question over the weekend, in part, by issuing statements on Facebook praising the legislators who opposed these measures. Today, they stepped up the rhetoric releasing a statement adding, “The career politicians and big government crowd in our party have to go.”

Over the last several weeks, I have spoken to Pete Snyder more than any of the other candidates running statewide.  Personally, he does seem to be a friendly and likeable guy and I appreciate the fact that he has made it a point to talk with me after several recent events.  We share a somewhat unusual commonality, as we are both graduates of the College of William & Mary with a degree in government.  I should add, in all fairness, after I heard his story about how be met his future wife while she was on a date with another guy, I asked him about his experience, hoping for some wisdom, given that I found myself in a similar situation.

Regardless of your opinion of Pete Snyder, one must admit that he is persistent and not one to give up easily.  For example, each time we conclude one of our conversations he always ends by asking for my support.  As I’ve mentioned previously, I am still in the process of learning about all of our choices for lieutenant governor before reaching any premature conclusions.  Nevertheless, on Saturday he gave me one of his bumper stickers should the time come that I would be in need of it.

As with my previous piece on the lieutenant governor’s race, I’d like to thank Pete Snyder and his staff for the opportunity to meet with him one-on-one.  Although a conflicting event will prevent him from speaking at the Harrisonburg Tea Party this coming Thursday, a member of his campaign team should be on hand.

Lastly, let me encourage the readers of the Virginia Conservative to learn more about Pete Snyder and the six other individuals running to be our next lieutenant governor.  We have an important decision to make in May; properly informed delegates are indispensable if liberty-minded conservatives hope to reclaim the government of the Commonwealth.

Republican Lt Governor Candidate Forum a Success!

A press release from the Republican Women of Shenandoah County and their president, Karen Kwiatkowski

IMG_1670
Photo by Joshua Huffman

The forum held on February 9th at the LFCC campus provided nearly 200 attendees from the upper Shenandoah Valley with an up-­‐close and personal view of the seven Republicans vying for the party nod for Lt Governor.

All seven candidates attended, including Stafford County Supervisor Susan Stimpson and Prince William County Supervisor Cory Stewart, US Senate Candidate Bishop E.W. Jackson, State Senator Steve Martin, Delegate Scott Lingamfelter, entrepreneur Pete Snyder, and former State Senator and delegate Jeanne Marie Davis.

Event sponsors were the Republican Women of Shenandoah County, the Apple Valley Club of Winchester, and the Shenandoah Valley Constitutional Conservatives.  The candidates were placed under the conservative microscope operated by moderator Suzanne Curran, Western Region Vice Chair of the Republican Party of Virginia.

While all candidates represented the values of limited government and individual opportunity, there were fireworks evident between those who have held office at the local level and often suffer from expensive federal and state mandates, and those who work or have worked in Richmond, at times dishing out those expensive mandates.  The theme of liberty and freedom was consistently articulated by EW Jackson, and echoed loudly by the other candidates, especially businessman Pete Snyder who is running a well-­‐funded and innovative campaign of “Big Conservative Ideas.”  Susan Stimpson and Cory Stewart both touted their success in reducing taxation and invigorating local economies.  Scott Lingamfelter shared status of his so-­‐called Boneta Bill (Freedom to Farm without Fear) and many in the audience were very supportive of this effort to get government off of the backs of average people and local farmers.

The candidates all addressed a local issue of interest to Shenandoah County voters.  Each expressed their thoughts on the direct and indirect cost to taxpayers of moral obligation bonds, and various Virginia Bond-­‐Issuing Authority roles within, and relationship to, the Virginia Constitution.  Virginia’s dependence on federal spending within in the Commonwealth was also discussed.

All of the candidates delivered the conservative message with passion, and the audience was large, intently listening, and well informed.  The Republican Women of Shenandoah County wish to thank everyone who worked to arrange this event, the Apple Valley Club and Dody Stottlemyer specifically for personal donation of food and drinks, Shaffer’s Catering for a donation of coffee, the great people at LFCC, the attendees and the candidates, and many more.

For more information on these candidates, their websites are below:

Corey Stewart                                    http://www.coreystewart.com

EW Jackson                                       http://www.jacksonforlg.com/

Jeanne Marie Davis                         http://jeannemarie4lg.com

Pete Snyder                                       http://www.petesnyder.com/

Scott Lingamfelter                           http://vote4scott.com/

Steve Martin                                     http://senatorstevemartin.com/

Susan Stimpson                               http://susanstimpson.com/

    ###

A Morning With Jeannemarie Davis

Jeannemarie Davis
Jeannemarie Davis

This morning, I met with Jeannmarie Davis, one of the seven candidates seeking the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor, at the local Panara Bread in Harrisonburg.  We spoke for about 40 minutes or so, discussing policy issues, Virginia politics, and, of course, the most pressing topic, the race for lieutenant governor.  Our conversation was one of several stops for her on her busy campaign schedule today.

Speaking with Mrs. Davis in person was a welcome opportunity, a chance to talk without all of the hype and frenzy associated with debates, 30-second ad spots, and the legions of opinionated activists who have already chosen their political camps.  After brief introductions, we delved into the heart of the matter, why she is running for this office, her political principles, and what she can bring to the table through her skills and knowledge.

One unique perspective that Jeannmarie Davis offers comes from her time as a member of Governor McDonnell’s cabinet.  Several of the candidates have experience serving in the General Assembly, including Mrs. Davis herself, while others currently head local government, are business entrepreneurs, or are leaders in their communities.  However, one can certainly make the point that her familiarity with the executive branch of the state government could prove quite valuable as our next lieutenant governor.

An opinion that Mrs. Davis stressed is that the Republican Party needs to nominate the candidate who is the most conservative possible, while still being electable.  As she mentioned, despite the Democratic slant of both her former House of Delegates and state Senate districts, she still achieved electoral success while remaining solidly pro-life.  Jeannmarie continued by remarking that, given the shifting demographics, if a statewide candidate is unable to run a competitive race in northern Virginia, it is almost certain that he or she will be unable to capture a large enough percentage of the vote in the rest of the state to garner victory.  It is certainly a valid argument; purity is relatively meaningless when faced with the harsh reality of electoral failure.

As an aside, as I’ve written previously, at the end of the day I will support whichever candidate I believe is the most conservative/pro-liberty, who also has a competent campaign indicating that he or she has at least a reasonable chance at winning.  It is too easy for new activists to fall into the trap of the Sir Galahad theory of politics, “I will win because my heart is pure.”

In addition, she mentioned that the Republican Party has done a particularly poor job in reaching out to many of the ethnic communities and that the party will enjoy very limited success if they simply concede these voters to the Democrats.  By comparison, she stated that her campaign is actively courting these voters, not just for the Republican convention, but to also bolster the statewide totals in November.

When it comes to the issue of neglecting certain demographics, I added that the GOP has done a particularly poor job in reaching out to the newest generation of voters, the high school and college students.  Drawing on a personal example, when I attended my first local Republican meeting at the age of 15, I was, not surprisingly, the youngest person in attendance.  However, at the January gathering of our local GOP, almost 18 years later, regrettably I still had the distinction of being the youngest person there.  As was the case at this weekend’s ISFLC, far too many leaders in the Republican Party seem to have forgotten about minorities, the youth, and the cause of liberty, another important factor that has contributed to the party’s decline in recent years.

Given that this issue has not made too much of an appearance in the forums thus far, I was somewhat surprised to hear about Mrs. Davis’ support of federalism and the 10th Amendment, a position that she mentioned has only solidified further during her time working in the Virginia Liaison Office in D.C.

Let me close by thanking Jeannemarie Davis and her staff for the opportunity to speak with her this morning.  We certainly have areas where we agree as well as issues in which we don’t, but, as I’ve stressed time and time again, it is critically important for each delegate to the RPV convention to possess a strong understanding of all seven of the lieutenant governor candidates so that he or she can make a rational and informed decision, not merely on the first ballot, but on the second, third, and however many ballots that we end up casting so that we will nominate a candidate who will strongly articulate our values in Richmond for the next four years.  Therefore, I encourage you to check out Jeannemarie’s website and record, compare it to everyone else who is running, and decide for yourself your first, second, and even third choice.

The Bolling Question

In less than a month’s time, on March 14th, Virginia Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling has stated that he will be making a major announcement.  Presumably, he will be declaring whether he intends to run for governor in 2013 as either an independent or a third party candidate.

Bob McDonnell and Bill Bolling
Bob McDonnell & Bill Bolling (in what must have been happier days)

So what is your prediction?

Who is Susan Stimpson?

Yesterday, fellow blogger Willie Deutsch posted a 2012 campaign piece in which Susan Stimpson joins Bill Howell in urging voters to support George Allen for the United States Senate in the June 12th Republican primary.  This information, along with a host of other adventures once again begs the question, who is Susan Stimpson?

Susan Stimpson at the Middletown Forum
Susan Stimpson at the Middletown Forum

I first had the opportunity to hear Susan Stimpson at last year’s Ron Paul Legacy Dinner in Staunton, Virginia.  At the time, I thought the list of speakers for the event was rather curious.  After all, I only know of two recent candidates who sought or are seeking either statewide or federal office that have openly supported Ron Paul: these are Karen Kwiatkowski (who sought the 6th district GOP nomination) and Delegate Bob Marshall (who ran for Senate in 2008 and 2012).  Although it is quite easy to support the cause of liberty when it is politically advantageous, it is quite another issue entirely to stand on principle regardless of the potentially negative consequences.  Although Stimpson was unknown to many liberty activists, there is no question that she gained considerable traction through her appearance at this dinner.

There seemed to be an increasing avalanche of support for Stimpson among the liberty community.  However, I have urged and continue to urge my fellow activists to learn about all of the candidates before blindly hopping on any bandwagon.

So who is Susan Stimpson?  I’m still not sure, but one moment that sticks out in my mind took place during the forum at Liberty in Lynchburg.  When asked if she supported random drug testing for welfare recipients, she stated that she did.  As someone who considers himself a constitutional conservative, I found this answer to be particularly troubling for two reasons conveniently voiced by Pete Snyder and Senator Steve Martin.  First, as Mr. Snyder pointed out, these drug screenings would be a considerable invasion of privacy.  Although I do not have any fondness for a permanent welfare program, I’m horrified about the prospect of granting the state more power to control its citizens.  The second concern, mentioned by Senator Martin is one of cost.  How would the state be able to afford to drug test recipients?  Wouldn’t such a move require additional state employees and equipment?  From where would these funds come?  Would the move require additional taxes or cuts in more important programs?

Yesterday’s information from Willie Deutsch brings the question of Susan Stimpson into the forefront again.  Is she the liberty candidate?  Is she the rebellious conservative outsider?  Or is she, as Shaun Kenney over at Bearing Drift suggests, an establishment conservative?  Now don’t get me wrong, if a candidate could successfully wear the mantles of both being an establishment Republican while simultaneously viewed as a liberty-minded libertarian/conservative, he or she would likely enjoy tremendous success.  But is such a designation possible or is it merely a shell game that, if discovered, would result in utter disaster, alienating both wings of the Republican Party?

Scott Lingamfelter recently damaged his chances to win over liberty activists with his negative comments about Ron Paul supporters.  But, to the best of my knowledge, he has never claimed to be the “conservative/liberty candidate”.  By comparison, if Stimpson turns out to be merely an establishment candidate who adopted the clothing of liberty for political advantage, the fallout from such a realization would almost certainly be fatal to her campaign.

As a personal note, I must say that it is an extremely liberating feeling to have not selected a candidate yet, to be able to examine all of the candidates as objectively as I can without worrying if this process offends them or causes my employer or co-workers to view me unfavorably.

So, we return to our first question.  Who is Susan Stimpson?  Is she the liberty champion that many of my fellow Ron Paul supporters are selling her to be?  Or is she something else?  Either way, it is unwise to either rush to praise her or condemn her.

Regardless of your political principles, I once again encourage all of the activists seeking to be delegates to the Richmond convention in May to get informed, stay informed, and to share any and all information that they find.  Don’t simply adopt my opinion or the opinion of someone else.  Sure, it takes time, but do the research for yourself.

Lastly, don’t mistakenly think that the main purpose of this article is to disparage Susan Stimpson, but rather to promote awareness.  After all, who knows?  Once all of the dust settles, and I have sufficient data, I may find myself firmly in her camp, assuming her principles closely match my own and her campaign does a decent job articulating her message.  Remember, it is okay to trust, but you must also verify.

2013 ISFLC Recap

On February 15th, 16th, and 17th, Students for Liberty hosted the 6th Annual International Students for Liberty Conference, also known as the ISFLC.  I attended this event along with three students from Madison Liberty: fellow blogger Helen Shibut, Nick Farrar, and Reid Walker.

Rather than list every single event, person, and organization associated with this conference, which could take about as long as the conference itself, this article will highlight some of the more interesting and unusual aspects.

Party Milk
Dorian Electra

Friday kicked off with a rather bizarre performance called Party Milk by Dorian Electra.  Apparently, Students for Liberty awarded Ms. Electra a fellowship several years ago, but it was difficult to discern what connection, if any, the song has with the promotion of liberty.

John Mackey, the CEO of Whole Foods, was the featured speaker that evening.  He spoke about the morality and history of the free market, and his new book on the topic, Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business.

Saturday was easily the most jammed packed of the three days.  It featured six informational sessions where attendees could choose to learn about a wide variety of topics from a considerable range of speakers and organizations.

I first selected “The Teachings of Chairman Jim: The ‘Nuts and Bolts’ of Building a Libertarian Campus Organization” which was presented by Dr. Jim Lark, a professor at the University of Virginia and Chairman of the Libertarian Party from 2000 to 2002.  In this talk, Dr. Lark discussed, as indicated from the title, many of the challenges associated with both the creation and maintenance of a liberty group on college campuses.  Given that this topic would be vitally helpful to just about every student at ISFLC, it was a bit disappointing to find that more of them did not take advantage of this discussion.

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Jack Hunter

Second on the docket was “Why Conservatism is Worthless Without Libertarianism” by Jack Hunter.  Readers of this blog may recall that I first met Mr. Hunter while I worked for the 2007/08 Ron Paul campaign in South Carolina.  For those who don’t know, his work, first written under the moniker The Southern Avenger, was exceedingly inspirational to me and was one of the key factors that ultimately led to the creation of this blog in mid 2008.  He spoke at some length regarding the ideals and importance of constitutional conservatism as well as the damage done to both the Republican Party and the conservative movement by faux conservatives like Rick Santorum and Senator Lindsey Graham.

From there, I attended a taping of the Stossel Show.  Below is a short, introductory clip of this soon-to-be aired episode.

After lunch, I took considerable time to wander among the tables of the various libertarian organizations, speaking to a whole host of folks including: The American Conservative, Americans for Self Government, the Free State Project, and the Libertarian Party.  During this exploration, a man at one of the tables offered me a chance to drink raw milk.  Given that I had never had such an opportunity before, I accepted.  Worry not skeptics, so far I have not suffered any ill effects from this adventure.

Representative Justin Amash
Representative Justin Amash

Later, Representative Justin Amash (MI-3) chatted about “The Future of Liberty”.  The room where he spoke was filled well beyond capacity and some attendees had to listen from the hallway.  Although the representative did not spend too much time contemplating on the future, he did offer a number of unique insights of his service in Congress, such as his adherence to a political ideology when most of his colleagues simply bowed to the will of the party leadership.

After dinner, the Stossel Show filmed another episode, this one tailored for a much larger studio audience.  Over a period of a little more than an hour and a half, Stossel featured guests such as Gary Johnson, Dennis Kucinich, and Ann Coulter.

Ann Coulter & John Stossel
Ann Coulter & John Stossel

When he brought up his last interviewee, former U.S. United Nations ambassador John Bolton, a good portion of the crowd left in protest.  Mr. Bolton then spoke of his support of drone strikes, a position adamantly opposed by a vast majority of libertarians.

Jackie Bodner & Julie Borowski
Jackie Bodner & Julie Borowski

Sunday began at 10 AM with “How Libertarians Can Combat the Mainstream Media” with Jackie Bodner and Julie Borowski, also known as the Token Libertarian Girl.  They offered advice on ways to make an impact with local and college news sources, tips on the creation of a successful blog, and ways to connect with other like-minded thinkers.

Although I could write additional pages about ISFLC, I believe that I’ve offered you some of the more interesting tidbits.  It was surprising that Campaign for Liberty was absent and a bit disappointing that no Republican group was present, especially the Republican Liberty Caucus.  Nevertheless, given that Students for Liberty brought together over a thousand students and activists from across the globe to network, hear from dozens of knowledgeable speakers, and learn about a multitude of important topics, I would rate the event as highly worthwhile. 

Schedule permitting, I look forward to seeing you at ISFLC 2014!

Finding Rachel

Given that today is Valentine’s Day (or Singles Awareness Day for those of us currently not in a relationship), I thought it appropriate to take a pause from politics to discuss the subject of love.  Recently at church, I was reminded of a love story that had a very profound impact on me growing up.  It is the story of Jacob and Rachel that begins in the 29th chapter in the book of Genesis (that’s in the Bible for you non-Bible reading folks out there).

The Meeting of Jacob & Rachel by William Dyce 1854
The Meeting of Jacob & Rachel by William Dyce 1854

For those unfamiliar with this tale, let me provide you with a brief summary.  Following the wishes of his parents, Jacob travels to his ancestral home to find a wife.  While there, he meets Rachel, his first cousin, and falls in love with her.  (Hey, suppress the shouts of “incest!” it was a fairly common practice back in those days.)  Although details of Rachel’s appearance and personality are extremely limited, we are told that she “was beautiful in every way, with a lovely face and shapely figure” Genesis 29:17 NLT.  Jacob speaks to Rachel’s father, his uncle Laban, and agrees to work for a period of seven years in order to win Rachel’s hand in marriage.  (Again, before you decry the idea of trading one’s daughter for labor, one has to take into account that they lived in a different culture and time period where such arrangements were the norm.)

Although we don’t know the full extent of their love, it is obvious that Jacob must have had pretty powerful feelings for Rachel.  After all, could you imagine working for seven years, (yes, seven years!) just to be with the person that you loved?  But the story of Jacob and Rachel doesn’t simply end when Jacob’s term of service has been fulfilled.  Laban, being a rather devious fellow, tricks Jacob into marrying his eldest daughter Leah, instead of Rachel.  Now this development raises all sorts of relationship questions between Leah, Laban, Jacob, and Rachel, but as this post focuses on Jacob and Rachel, we’ll set those issues aside for now.  Now, I would assume that if any of us were to find ourselves in Jacob’s shoes, we would likely be exceedingly upset, feeling horribly cheated.  Nevertheless, driven by his devotion for her, Jacob agreed to work another seven years for his uncle in order to call Rachel his bride. Although we don’t really have any insight into Rachel’s opinions in this biblical story, I’d very much like to think that the feelings that Jacob felt for Rachel were reciprocated. The story continues for several more chapters, but as it exceeds the purpose of this article, I’ll stop here.

Personally, I found the idea of finding a Rachel of my own quite appealing, so much so, in fact, that I crafted a version of her into a character in my second novel (which will hopefully be available for public consumption at some point in the not-so-distant future).  Of course, that does require me actually finishing it).  Although there were some trivial differences between the fiction and real life (including, not surprisingly, having a name other than Rachel), in an unbelievable stroke of fortune, by the end of 2012, I believed that I had found a woman who could very well be my Rachel.

So what happened next, you might ask.  Well, if you scroll down a few posts, you come across a poem, seemingly out of place among the myriad of political topics.  Unfortunately, some love goes unrequited. Drawing from personal experience, unrequited love is perhaps the thorniest kind of love imaginable and, as this love is not the love of Jacob & Rachel, it is not the love I seek.  I’ll confess that I’ve have mourned this realization every day for the last several weeks which is why you find snippets of this story recently embedded in the Virginia Conservative.  Although it is a different kind of love as it is platonic, within the larger liberty movement must I continue along that path relatively unappreciated as well?  Writing prolifically about the matter in a series of unsent letters and short stories has helped quite a bit, but a shredded heart is not something that can be mended overnight.

Even with all the setbacks of life, hope still survives.  So wherever and whoever you are, and whether we discover each other tomorrow or it takes another full fourteen years of effort, I dedicate this post to you, my wonderful Rachel.  And it is my sincere hope, good reader, if you have not yet found that special person, you too will one day come across a Rachel or Jacob of your own.

Thanks for reading and happy Valentine’s Day to everyone.

A Valentine’s Message from Pete Snyder

A few moments ago, Pete Snyder’s campaign, one of the seven candidates seeking the Republican nomination to be Virginia’s next lieutenant governor, released the following Valentine’s Day video:

Is it a bit cheesy?  There is no question.  But I have to admit that this ad is a pretty clever way for Mr. Snyder to connect to voters in a non-traditional fashion and, as I briefly mentioned in my write-up regarding the recent Middletown forum, he offers a message which particularly resonates with me given present circumstances.

In his rather brief candidacy thus far, Pete Snyder has adopted the theme of big, bold ideas.  Today, through this rather unorthodox video, his campaign has taken a bit of a gamble, but I believe that this move will pay off, capturing the attention of a good number of Republican delegates.  As his wife Burson wrote today, “…Pete works tirelessly in everything he does.  And he’ll do the same for our party and the Commonwealth.  He certainly worked tirelessly to win me over — and I’m so glad that he did!”

Ultimately, I hope that whoever proves him or herself to be the most conservative and liberty-minded candidate will emerge as the Republican lieutenant governor nominee.  But innovative campaigning is another critical element that should not be dismissed.  Therefore, I have to offer kudos to Pete Snyder and his campaign for this original Valentine’s Day maneuver.