Trouble Brewing

Good evening everyone. Sorry for the unannounced week off. Anyway, I wanted to share some news with you. About every week or so, I get an email from my local GOP Committee encouraging me to pick up my Goodlatte and McCain signs. It struck me as odd that they didn’t advertise Gilmore signs as well. So, this morning I called to ask about this omission. You know what I learned? Apparently they don’t have any Gilmore signs to give away. It seems that Harrisonburg, Rockingham County, and the rest of the Shenandoah Valley only have a handful of signs. Now in a Republican voter rich area like ours where many counties are easily 60%+ Republican, one would think that you would try to get as many voters as possible interested in the election. Unfortunately, the reason for this deficiency is not merely a stupid oversight. The news only gets worse. I have heard that the campaign has faltered heavily on fundraising. If they cannot afford to send signs here, I wonder how many other localities have been shorted as well. Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve seen a Gilmore sign since the convention.

Come on people, those who can afford it should put their money where their mouths are and votes were back in May. They said we should support Gilmore because he was more electable than Marshall. I know for certain that without funding, Jim Gilmore stands no chance of beating Mark Warner. None. The thought of a Republican getting blown out in the state of Virginia is ridiculous, but we are heading in that direction. Maybe too many conservatives have been disaffected and are sitting this one out. I tell you this, should Gilmore get buried in the election, you’ll be able to easily spot my car on the highway. It will be sporting a bumper sticker reading, “Don’t blame me. I voted for Marshall”, and maybe another reading, “See, I told you so.” Ugh. Six years of Mark Warner.

What happened to VCAP?

Although I assume that a fair number of readers of this blog know of the Virginia based organization VCAP, for those who don’t let me fill you in.  VCAP stands for Virginia Conservative Action PAC.  They are located in Richmond and, as their name indicates, support conservative politics and politicians.  If you visited their site, you might also know that if not for VCAP this blog would likely not exist, as I had my first taste of blogging with VCAP as a guest columnist.  For some reason, at the beginning of the month of April, the VCAP blog suffered some sort of major error, which made posting additional articles impossible.  It was if it was permanently frozen in time.  As I found I enjoyed blogging, I developed this site several months later with the assistance of the Jeffersoniad crowd.  Several weeks ago, I tried calling VCAP, but their number was no longer in service.  Today when I went to their website, it was no longer there and their blog was gone too.  Does anyone know what has happened?  Are they in major reorganization or have they disappeared entirely?  Inquiring minds want to know!

What does this mean to this blog, The Virginia Conservative?  Rest assured that we will press on, but, as to avoid the potential loss of my earlier posts on VCAP, I have decided to repost a few of them here.  Although a number of them involve slightly out of date topics, I still think they have some value and do not want to see them lost forever.  I hope you enjoy them.

If you have any clues to the mystery of the disappearing VCAP, please tell me.

Onward conservative soldiers!

A Link to Something Important

Good evening.

I hope you all have noticed the increasing numbers of links added to the right side of the page.  Although I think they are all of value (otherwise I wouldn’t put them there), I want to direct your attention to the newest one, American Patriots Committee.  Earlier today I had the opportunity to speak with Mr. Herb Lux, the leader of this new political action committee.  The purpose of this organization is easy to understand and extremely important: to elect and support statesmen who understand and uphold the United States Constitution.  Although our leaders and government are supposed to be restrained by the Constitution, it’s high time that we, the activists and voters, hold them accountable.  So I strongly encourage you all to click on their link.  Find out for yourself and I’m sure you will agree with them.  Tell’em the Virginia Conservative sent you.

The Curious Case of the 2008 Senate Race

When examining the present Senate race here in Virginia, there are two factors that one should keep in mind:  the events leading up to and including the Republican convention, and results since that time.  For those who attended the convention or keep up with party politics, most of this information will be redundant for you, but I hope to bring others who have not followed as closely up to speed.

In the end, the fight over the Republican nomination was very heated and very close.  Initially, it was shaping up to be a showdown between Rep. Tom Davis of Fairfax vs. Former Gov. Gilmore of Henrico County.  Davis was the liberal candidate and Gilmore was the conservative.  While Davis advocated a primary, Gilmore supported a convention.  When the state party voted to hold a convention, Davis withdrew from the race.  The reasoning was simple; conventions typically favor the more conservative candidate.  With Davis gone, Gilmore officially announced his intent on Nov. 19th of 2007.  For a little more than a month, Gilmore stood as the only Republican candidate.  Then, on Jan 7th of 2008, Del. Bob Marshall of Prince William County entered the fray.  Marshall’s challenge stood as a serious problem for Gilmore as he is more conservative on a number of issues.  One issue in particular was the issue of abortion.  While Gilmore supports allowing abortion in the first eight weeks, Marshall opposes abortion from minute one.  Time and time again a number of the party activists hammered Gilmore on this issue.  The question for Gilmore was, given that a more conservative challenger had arisen, and the nominee was going to be selected by a convention, how could he win?  The answer his campaign settled on was relevancy.  As Gilmore was a former governor, he had far more name recognition that a delegate (which is, of course, very true).  Until the last several days he approached the campaign as if he was already the nominee, hardly ever mentioning his opponent, instead choosing to contrast himself with Mark Warner.  He had already won they said, all that was needed was the vote to make it official.  Although, of course, I supported Marshall, as a delegate to the convention I was insulted by the insinuation that my vote didn’t matter, that it was more of a coronation than an election.  I understand that if Gilmore got everyone to believe that his win was inevitable then no one would oppose him, but it produced the opposite effect in me.  In the last several days, the fight got quite ugly as accusations and names were thrown around.  In the end, although the vote was extremely close, Gilmore won by about sixty-five votes out of the over ten thousand cast. Borrowing someone else’s terminology, David nearly slew Goliath, but fell painfully short.

Now that Jim Gilmore is the GOP nominee, he finds himself in a similar position in which he placed Bob Marshall, fending off the supposed coronation of Mark Warner.  Prior to the convention many delegates supported Gilmore, not because of his political positions, but because they claimed he had a better chance of Mark Warner.  Now, although I could find no polling data pitting Marshall and Warner, the data of Gilmore vs. Warner was grim.  Prior to the convention, Rasmussen Reports charted the match up from Oct. 30, 2007 to May 5, 2008.  During that time frame, Gilmore was favored by 37% to 39% of likely voters, while 53% to 57% supported Warner.  If Gilmore was indeed our best hope as those delegates claimed, our hope was very small indeed.  In fact Rasmussen estimated Gilmore had a 15% chance of victory.  15%!  Who can be happy with those odds?  Even worse was the fact that 42% of those polled had a negative opinion of Gilmore.  The news gets ever worse.  In the latest poll of June 16th, Warner now leads Gilmore 60% to 33%.  We are headed in the wrong direction!  They now say that Warner has a 90% chance to win.

How did we get in this situation?  The answer has several parts.  The first is our President, George W. Bush.  Regardless if you like him or hate him, you should recognize his approval rating hovers at about 30%.  Two key issues here are the war and the economy.  Most voters now feel the war in Iraq was a mistake and that our economy is either in a recession or headed in that direction.  Fair or unfair, these opinions reflect poorly on Bush and thus reflect poorly on the party of Bush, the Republicans.  To the best of my knowledge, former Governor Gilmore has not distanced himself much from the President and thus will be viewed as a continuation of many of Bush’s policies, which means that a number of voters’ dislike is based simply on association.  Second, it is a proven fact that a party who controls the White House usually loses seats in Congress (must be that whole divided government ideal thing).  Third is the public perception of Gilmore and Warner.  Although very incorrect and unfair in my mind, many voters blame Gilmore for the financial turmoil suffered in the Commonwealth during his later days in office and the early days of Mark Warner.  One can see a similar parallel between Hoover and FDR.  People blamed the depression on Hoover and credited the recovery to Roosevelt even though facts of the matter spoke otherwise.  Fourth, as a result of his “brilliant leadership” as governor, Mark Warner enjoys the highest popularity of any Democrat in the state.  Fifth, to the best of my knowledge, after winning the GOP nomination in late May, Gilmore has made no efforts to reach out to Marshall supporters to tie the base back together.  He needs each and every vote possible to have a chance against Warner.  Sixth, although money isn’t everything, so far Mark Warner has raised far and away more money than Gilmore.  Unless Gilmore closes this gap quickly, we will see fewer ads, less signs, and an overall weaker campaign.

So, I suppose the question is, after fending off a spirited assault from the Marshall supporters, does Jim Gilmore have the ability to beat Mark Warner?  I certainly hope that he does, but every day that passes further fills me with concern.  Unless Gov. Gilmore and his campaign quickly and effectively address the numerous issues I mention above, the chance of success looks bleak.  Although the road ahead is very difficult, we can and must win.  We need to all work together.  To those who supported Gilmore at the convention, where are you now?  You said then that he had the best chance at victory.  So now you, above all others, must back up your claims and help the former Governor win!  We cannot afford another Democratic senator (and one far more liberal than Senator Webb).  Go Jim Gilmore!  Beat Mark Warner!

Join the Fun!

As I continue to learn more features of this website, I am proud to announce that links have now been included on the right side of the page. So far I have added some of the folks from the Jeffersoniad, but more will be added, as I deem appropriate.

Heck, we may not agree on every issue, but hopefully it will give a diverse spectrum of the state of politics here in the Commonwealth.

Enjoy!

Pictures from the Convention

Most of my photos didn’t come out well, but here are a few for those who missed the convention.  Enjoy!

 

Del. Marshall with supporters

Del. Marshall with supporters

More Marshall supporters gather

More Del. Marshall supporters gather.

-)

Those darn Ron Paul supporters. 🙂

If only we could do away with outdated concepts like liberty, maybe they would go away…

If you were from Richmond, VA Beach, or other important places, you get to sit up front.  If you are from the 6th district, to the back of the hall with you.

If you look closely, I think you can just make out a Marshall supporter or two.

If you look closely, I think you can make out a Marshall supporter or two.

The ever popular former Sen. Allen

The ever popular former Senator Allen.

Our new Chairman, Del. Jeff Frederick

Our new Chairman, Del. Jeff Frederick

Down with the Nanny State!

Note:  This was a post written for VCAP last month that was never published.  Although a bit out of date, I wanted to have it posted somewhere.

It seems to me that in recent years, at least from a national perspective, a critical part of conservatism has been forgotten.  Sure, there are social conservatives and there are fiscal conservatives, but what about small government conservatives?  Can you name any leader who still actively and unashamedly promotes conservatism in all three areas?  There are still a few.  As some folks have forgotten about it, I guess that I should first define what I mean by small government conservatism.  Simply put, it is reducing the size and scope of the federal government to its constitutional boundaries.  Now I believe there are many legitimate functions the national government serves, chief among them are defending her citizens from threats against their lives, liberty, and property, and performing tasks that either the states or individual citizens cannot do, like the creation of a uniform monetary system.  And, although there are certainly differences between regions in the country, the government should respect and uphold the religious and cultural values that have defined our country and her people in various ways since colonization.  Beyond these limited functions, the federal government should not and must not interfere.  That, in my mind, is the basics of conservatism as it applied to the federal government.

There are many areas of power that the government has taken from the states and the people that it has no right to do so.  For example, when the preamble mentions, “promoting the general welfare”, no conservative would ever take that to mean the creation of a welfare state where citizens (and even non-citizens) depend on the charity of the federal government (and, as a result, we the taxpayers).  Although our liberal colleges would decry us as uncaring, the simple fact is that the government does not have these powers.  We must reject the neo-conservative lie that big government is OK as long as Republicans are in control.  Now I know I’ll get in trouble here, but the same fact applies to Social Security.  Social Security is just a giant pyramid scheme promoted by the feds.  As long as there are more citizens paying into the system than withdrawing, then no one notices the flaws in the plan, but when more withdraw, as is happening with the baby boomers now, the system collapses.  Why in the world did we ever allow the government to get involved in retirement?  Show me where they derive such authority?  The problem with Social Security is that you cannot simply eliminate it tomorrow without terrible consequences.  First and foremost, some folks planned their retirement around this pension and, if it were removed immediately, would force thousands upon thousands onto the streets.  Second, there are many who have paid into the system who will never see a single dime of their own returned.  The solution, in my mind, is not the easiest, but must be done.  That is, fulfill the promises to the citizens on social security while phasing the program out entirely, returning the funds that each citizen put into the system.  Will federal spending have to be cut to solve this problem?  Of course.  But, I believe this solution will help restore the government to its constitutional limited role and solve many more problems in the long run.

Getting back to my original point, how many supposedly conservative politicians talk about limited government solutions to these problems?  I remember the presidential election of 1996 where Senator Dole, if elected, promised to eliminate the federal Department of Education and the National Endowment for the Arts.  To conservatives, these should be two worthy goals.  Regardless of the merits (or lack there of) of these two agencies, the federal government did not have the constitutional authority to meddle with either the arts or education.  Alas that type of thinking seems to have fallen out of favor.  For example, since the 2000 election of the Republican George W. Bush, how many federal agencies and departments have been eliminated?  Can’t think of any, huh?  For example, rather than end the federal government’s involvement in education, unfortunately he has only increased it with the creation of disastrous No Child Left Behind Act.  Education is the sphere of the state, locality, and parents, not bureaucrats in Washington.   In other areas too, the president has sought merely to reform rather than eliminate federal government control.That failure should truly be a great disappointment to every limited government conservative out there.

Assuming John McCain becomes our next president, what federal programs and departments will he work to eliminate?  I know he speaks well against pork spending which is admirable, but it is merely fighting the symptoms rather than the disease itself.  Unless he works to truly reduce the size of the government, striking at the heart of the problem, spending will go up again soon enough.

The solution, my friends, rests with us, not the politicians in Washington.  If you are a three-pronged conservative, you must support three-pronged conservatives.  If a politician claims to be conservative, the burden of proof is on the candidate.  If he or she embraces the conservative rhetoric in whole we should support him or her.  Then if the politician fails to live up to the promises and their voting record is poor, then we must withdraw that support.  When considering the Republican primary for U.S. Senate, I encourage you to put the torch under each candidate asking, “if elected, what federal programs, agencies, or departments will you work to eliminate?”  If the response is the “deer in the headlights” look, or a vague and unsatisfactory answer, limited government conservatives must not support that candidate.  That, I believe, is the only way that we can reclaim the Republican Party and reign in the massive power of the federal government.  We deserve better!

The Convention

I hope you all had an opportunity to attend the state Republican convention in Richmond this weekend.  Overall I think it went quite well and here are my thoughts on what happened.

First of all, I should mention that I supported Bob Marshall for U.S. Senate and Jeff Frederick for Party Chairman.  I strongly believe that these were the two candidates who best represented my conservative values.  Of course, the results were a mixed bag.  

The U.S. Senate

Bob Marshall lost by only the slimmest of margins, losing by about 60 votes out of over 1,000 cast.  For those like me, who greatly wanted to see Del. Marshall elected, it was a heartbreaking loss.  In my hometown, Harrisonburg, I was the lone vote for Del. Marshall.  One out of nine.  Needless to say, I felt a bit out of place waving my Marshall sign among the Gilmore supporters, but I’m used to being the lone voice in the crowd from time to time.  As a mixed blessing, we were seated in front of the city of Lynchburg, and while they had a number of vocal Marshall supporters, I sincerely wish they had shown about a bit more respect to the former Governor.  I felt their booing gave the rest of us a bad name.  The 6th district as a whole went for Gilmore, but only by a little over 20 votes.  It was amazing that most congressional districts supported one candidate very heavily with 2 to 1 and 3 to 2 margins being common.  In the end, we came up just a little short.  I suppose the hardest losses are the ones that could have been won.

The RPV Chairman

Del. Frederick easily won election to the post though official results were not given to the mass public.  For the Harrisonburg delegates the vote was 7 to 2 in favor of Frederick.  Not only that, but in the 6th district Jeff Fredrick won every single county and city with the exception of Roanoke City where it was tied.  I suspect the result was somewhere between 60 to 70 percent in his favor.  I do confess that I feel a little bad for former Chairman Hager, losing decisively as he did, but we needed desperately needed a change.  I felt that the RPV has ignored the western part of the state for too long and the losses in the General Assembly were avoidable.  Let us hope that both situations will be reversed soon.

It was great to meet so many Republicans across the state.  The hospitality suites were a perfect way to get in contact with the candidates, their supporters, and other related groups.  In fact, if not for the fine people at thejeffersoniad.com, I would not be writing here now.  Special thanks.

Well, that’s all for now.  Talk to you again soon.

Joshua

A first post

Hello everyone and welcome to my first blog post.  Although most topics will primarily concern themselves with politics (my greatest love), don’t be surprised to find a number of posts on a variety of issues ranging from mundane thoughts about day to day life, football (once the NFL season gets underway again), religion, and various goings on in the great state of Virginia.  Feel free to comment however you see fit, though I do ask for you to keep any personal attacks or profanity at a minimum.  I hope you will enjoy a brief glimpse into my world.

Thanks for reading!

Joshua