Negative Endorsements & Agreeing to Disagree

Although this might be a controversial statement to some activists, I firmly believe that not all endorsements are beneficial to a political campaign.

Image from the Dunbar campaign

For example, in this cycle in Virginia races, former Representative Ron Paul has endorsed Cynthia Dunbar for the 6th district in the House of Representatives and Nick Freitas for U.S. Senate.  I see these as positive endorsements given that not only is Dr. Paul my former boss,  I respect Ron Paul due to our shared principles and I believe he is an honorable man.  Over the years have I supported everyone he endorses?  No.  Nevertheless, I believe Paul’s endorsement is particularly positive.

For comparison, the present representative for the 6th district of Virginia, Bob Goodlatte, also has made endorsements (though none in this cycle as far as I know).  Given that we do not share much in the way of ideology when Representative Goodlatte endorses a candidate that fact makes it less likely, but certainly not an automatic disqualifier, that I will also support him or her.  His endorsement, in my mind, is negative.

Image from Jerry Falwell Jr’s Twitter page

Recently, the campaign of 6th district candidate Ben Cline announced that Jerry Falwell, Jr. has endorsed Cline.  As someone who both likes and respects Delegate Cline, I ended up speaking with a member of the Cline campaign regarding it.  Given Falwell’s unwavering support for Donald Trump despite the overwhelming evidence of Trump’s sexism, authoritarianism, and his flippant attitude toward religion, I believe that Mr. Falwell is leading otherwise good Christian men and women astray.  I wrote about the matter in late 2016 when I penned “The Fall of the Religious Right“.  Therefore, the staffer and I had a brief exchange about Mr. Falwell, respectfully disagreed about the value of his endorsement to the Cline campaign, and that was the end of the matter.

That dialogue, in my opinion, is how political disagreements ought to be discussed and resolved.  Obviously, no two people do nor ought to agree on every political matter.  That doesn’t mean that one side or the other is necessarily stupid or evil.  However, there are those who disagree.

Image from the Freitas campaign

Last week, the Nick Freitas campaign announced that former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell has endorsed his candidacy.  As regular readers know, I have a great admiration for Mr. Freitas.  However, I don’t think much of Bob McDonnell.  Although I voted for him for attorney general in 2005 and governor in 2009, he demonstrated that he neither shared my political principles, by signing the largest tax increase in Virginia nor supported my values through his unethical conduct in the governor’s mansion, later revealed during his corruption trial and his conviction.   Although his sentence was later vacated (though he was not acquitted),  as Chief Justice Roberts wrote,“There is no doubt that this case is distasteful; it may be worse than that.  But our concern is not with tawdry tales of Ferraris, Rolexes, and ball gowns.  It is instead with the broader legal implications of the Government’s boundless interpretation of the federal bribery statute.” As a result of his actions, whenever I hear of McDonnell, I am reminded of the image below.

Image from

Therefore, when the Freitas campaign announced Bob McDonnell’s endorsement to a private group of which I am a part, I expressed my concern stating, “I’m not sure this is a positive.”  Although the first response was to offer a counterclaim, to which I explained why many Virginians might view McDonnell unfavorably (for the reasons listed above), the resulting conversation got rather nasty.

For example, here are some things that were said to me and about me:

“There are also some people who think bigfoot is real.”

“No, some opinions are quite literally BS.”

“The entire Supreme Court of the United States agree on very little, but they agree those people are morons.”

“‘I disagree with a few bills he signed into law.  Therefore, we should pervert the law and arrest him.’  How very libertarian…”

“Thankfully libertarians and us liberty lovers consider folks innocent until proven guilty.”

“There are some people who think the moon landings were faked.”

“‘I only want endorsements from pure libertarians.’ is my favorite political posturing.”

One of Freitas’ staffers called for restraint after initially making a negative comment, but it went unheeded; it seemed that the rest sensed blood in the water.  So, apparently, because I believe that Bob McDonnell that is sleazy and not someone I would want to associate with, according to some staffers and diehard supporters of Freitas that is a BS opinion of a moron akin to believing that Bigfoot is real, the moon landings were faked, and is also an example of political posturing.  Given that the last comment was made by an out of state staffer who I’ve never met, there was a part of me who really wanted to tell the guy to go **** himself.  Those who know me know that that this something that I’ve never said, but he made me so irate I didn’t know at that moment what else to do.  Afterward, the same staffer mentioned above contacted me to apologize for what had transpired but, by that point, the damage had already been done.

Good heavens!  After reading these comments you’d think that I was a bitter critic of Nick Freitas, not one of his ardent supporters!  And yet, despite having a different opinion of Bob McDonnell, so many of them treated me with utter contempt and disrespect.  If this kind of behavior is indicative of how they interact with their volunteers who have differing opinions, they won’t have to worry about running against Tim Kaine in November because they will have already lost the Republican primary in June, having driven away all of their supporters!

Yes, there are good people who think that Bob McDonnell is pretty scummy but there are also decent people who still support him.  I think the Freitas campaign touting his endorsement is a mistake, but I’d like to believe such an opinion, especially expressed in a closed Facebook group wouldn’t result in such nastiness.

As you might imagine, this exchange upset me quite a bit, for about the next 24 hours actually.  On Wednesday afternoon, while still feeling dejected, I spoke to one of my fellow grad students about what transpired, and he said it demonstrated the dangers of groupthink.  As someone who prided himself on cultivating and maintaining mutually rewarding volunteer relationships whenever I served on a campaign, to call the behavior I witnessed appalling is an understatement.  Although I still plan to vote for Freitas in June and encourage every other registered voter in Virginia to do likewise, I am sorely tempted to throw up my hands and refuse to lift a finger to help the campaign further.

Nick Freitas is a good and principled man and he ought to be represented by a good and principled campaign.  That is why I believe the Freitas campaign needs to do something to prevent this sort of thing from happening to someone else and they need to do it now.

As stated at the beginning of this piece, I firmly believe that there are endorsements that can help a campaign and others that hurt it.  Although we might disagree on who falls in which camp, I’d like to think we can be respectful when we have political disagreements and not result to throwing around insults and attacks.  Hopefully, the political climate hasn’t deteriorated so much that this sort of thinking isn’t realistic.  Let me end by borrowing part of a speech Delegate Freitas recently gave on the House floor that seems to have gone viral.  “If we want to have an open an honest debate, I am all for that.  Let’s do that.  But it does start with a certain degree of mutual respect.”

Replacing Goodlatte: Republican Candidates for the 6th Congressional

A Guest post by Kevin Stiles

Bob Goodlatte will not be the 6th Congressional district representative for the first time since 1992. Hardly news, but since I was two years old when he took office, this is a brave new world for me and many others. The 6th is considered one of the safest Republican seats in the country, and as such, it is very likely that the Republican convention decides who gets the seat. As of the time of writing, there are currently eight Republican candidates. However, given the candidate is selected by convention, I highly doubt the five least connected candidates: Ed Justo, Mike Desjadon, Elliot Pope, Doug Wright, and Kathryn Lewis really have a chance for a Congressional seat. Let us then consider the three main candidates:

Cynthia Dunbar

Photo from the Dunbar for Congress Facebook page

Cynthia Dunbar is probably the most well known outside of Virginia. Dunbar rose to prominence during her controversial tenure on the Texas Board of Education winning a seat in 2006 and serving from 2007 to 2010. While serving on the Board, Dunbar came under criticism for comments she made regarding religion and its place in education; government’s role in education; and pushing for textbooks on Mexican-American studies that were labeled Anti-Mexican. Dunbar continues to monitor the education situation in Texas and has worked closely with her mentor, David Barton. Dunbar recently ran against Suzanne Obenshain for National Committeewoman to the RNC from Virginia and won an upset in a narrow vote. Dunbar served as a professor of law at Liberty. Dunbar has claimed that Constitutional law can be superseded by religious affiliation and various interpretations of the Christian Bible. The form of the primary seems to favor her (see below). While Scott Sayre, 6th district chair for the RNC, hasn’t made it clear if he supports her, Deputy chair Matt Tederick has been publicly supportive of Dunbar. However, Dunbar’s political baggage could prove costly. Her radical stances on many issues may strike a chord with many Democratic voters, as the Dems continue to see larger than expected turnouts for off-year elections and special elections. Dunbar may prove the most vulnerable to what some are calling the “blue wave”  that may follow Trump’s victory in 2016.

Chaz Haywood

Photo from the Haywood for Congress Facebook page

Mr. Haywood is the current Rockingham-Harrisonburg Clerk of Court. Mr. Haywood seems to be the establishment choice, having gotten the Obenshain endorsement, as well as the endorsement of Georgia Long (former 6th District RPV State Central Representative). Unfortunately, not much is known about Mr. Haywood. He hasn’t had a whole lot of public activity to really flesh out his positions beyond campaign platitudes. He served as a representative for both Mr. Goodlatte and former Governor George Allen. His website is full of well-worn phrases about “putting people first” and “standing with veterans.” Predictably, he plans to “stand with President Trump in his efforts to improve business and job growth, protecting our manufacturing jobs here and working to bring back jobs lost overseas.” However, substantive policy issues are noticeably lacking.

Ben Cline

Photo from the Cline for Congress Facebook page

Mr. Cline has been a member of the House of Delegates since 2002. This extensive political background gives Cline the most well-defined policy positions. He is co-chair of the Virginia Joint Legislative Caucus and House Chairman of the Conservative Caucus.  Cline has sponsored several more libertarian-leaning pieces of legislation such as the recent medical marijuana bill and his proposed limit on Law Enforcement drone usage. He also pushed for recorded votes in committees in the General Assembly. Cline has called for defending Confederate statues and has an A+ rating from the NRA, Virginia Chamber of Commerce, and the Virginia Citizen’s Defense League. He’s received low marks from the Sierra Club for his stance on the environment and mixed results from the Virginia Education Association. He has also received multiple endorsements from several Trump staffers such as the national field director Stuart Jolly and Mike Rubino, Trump’s Virginia State director. Cline earned the endorsements of Delegate Nick Freitas and Denver Riggleman as well.

The convention will be held May 19th at the JMU convocation center in Harrisonburg. At the moment the convention will be single ballot plurality, rather than a multi-ballot majority. This is subject to change, but this seems to favor Dunbar. Dunbar, seen as an outsider, could mirror Trump’s own rhetoric of “draining the swamp.” The plurality would mean she would not need to go through the strenuous process of deal-making that normally goes into finding a majority approved candidate. The convention process also lends itself to more conservative candidates. The 6th district is, by-and-large, Trump country. Predominantly Caucasian, with lower rates of higher education, large numbers of unemployed and underemployed blue-collar workers, and a sizeable evangelical population all seem to point towards an advantage for Dunbar. However, as we’ve seen in Alabama and other elections, the independents and conservatives that have traditionally voted for the GOP candidates are not turning out for radicals such as Dunbar. Additionally, they inspire Democrats to vote in near-record numbers. We do not know for certain if this trend will continue, and even if it does, the 6th is notoriously safe and the Democrats are fielding two new-comers to challenge for the seat. But the GOP should be wary before unleashing a firebrand like Dunbar.

Kevin Stiles is a resident of the Shenandoah Valley in Luray, VA. He attended Bridgewater College where he got a degree in History and Political Science.

Ron Paul Endorses Dunbar

Image from the Dunbar campaign

Earlier today, Ron Paul, a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives (and my boss in 2007 & 2008), endorsed Cynthia Dunbar for the House to represent the 6th district of Virginia.  In addition, Dr. Paul ran for president three times, once as the Libertarian nominee in 1988 and also sought the Republican nod in 2008 and 2012.

If I am not mistaken, this is only the second time Dr. Paul has endorsed in a Virginia race, the first being for Ken Cuccinelli in the 2013 election for governor.

As Ron Paul states:

“I have given my life to fight for liberty. It is always refreshing to encounter others with the same passion, conviction, and understanding necessary to defend our Constitution. Cynthia not only encapsulates these traits, but also has the integrity and fearlessness to stand up to politicians who wish to expand our government and infringe upon our rights. I have known Cynthia for over a decade now and she has always proved herself to be a stalwart defender of the freedoms guaranteed to us as Americans. Her voice will be heard loudly and clearly across the nation in defense of liberty, and she is the best candidate to represent our shared values in Congress. I am pleased to give her my endorsement and full support in her campaign to represent Virginia’s 6th district.”

Ms. Dunbar faces a somewhat crowded field for the Republican nomination, with four or five likely opponents.  In addition, several Democrats are vying for the position as is at least one independent and a potential Libertarian candidate as well.

The Republican convention to determine the party’s nominee will take place on May 19th in Harrisonburg.


A Toast to Bob Goodlatte

Today, Virginians across the 6th district have received excellent news.  Bob Goodlatte, the area’s legislator in the House of Representatives since 1993, will not be seeking reelection.

Since moving out of state and beginning my Ph.D. work, I have not had a drop of alcohol.  But tonight, after more than seven years of false starts and rumors, hoping and waiting for this news, I thought a celebration is most certainly in order.

Here’s a toast to the end.

Here’s to the end of your more than two-decade-long reign.

You have claimed to be a limited government conservative, but your record in Washington speaks otherwise.

You speak of liberty and limited government and then write and vote for bills which curtail freedom and enlarge the state.

You have left a legacy of debt which will no doubt cripple our nation for generations to come.

You have expanded government programs to suit your needs and the desires of your donors.

You have ruled the Shenandoah Valley with an iron fist, crushing those who question your edicts.

You have meddled in political affairs throughout the 6th, installing or attempting to install elected officials and party chairmen, not based upon good political principles, but rather loyalty to you and your minions.

You have sought to smash the careers of fine people in the Shenandoah Valley who refuse to kiss your ring.

In these last few years, you have ignored and purposely dodged your bosses, the people of the 6th district.

You have hired some of the most unsavory of characters, giving both power and protection to those of low morals.

Soon, so very soon, it will finally end.

So may your successor be just and fair.

May he or she promote liberty, honor, and honesty in all facets of public service.

May he or she reverse many of the policies you helped enact and actually defend the Constitution you swore an oath to protect.

May the people of the 6th shout “never again” when they think of your time in office.

And may your legacy be forgotten.

Tonight, I raise my glass to you, Representative Bob Goodlatte.

Finally, at long last, the end is in sight.

Kai Degner in Staunton

Scan 6Earlier today, the Kai Degner campaign held a gathering in downtown Staunton, Virginia.  Mr. Degner, a member of the Harrisonburg City Council, began his campaign about two weeks ago after the unexpected departure of Tom Howarth, the previous Democratic Party nominee.  The event, held in a local coffee shop, attracted about fifteen or so individuals, most of whom came from either Staunton, Waynesboro, or Augusta County.  The meeting also included one full-time staffer for the Degner campaign and a regional employee of the Democratic Party of Virginia.

During the meeting, Degner outlined his three major policy goals: criminal justice reform, sustainable energy policy and climate change, and various election improvements including campaign finance reform and tackling gerrymandering.  In an unusual twist, he asked of the attendees to introduce themselves as well and explain what motivated each to take an interest in this race.

IMG_3170One goal of the Degner campaign is not simply to activate the traditional Democratic base, but also reach out to conservatives and libertarians who have either voted for his opponent in the past, or have not been involved.  As he pointed out, the 6th is a very Republican district.  For example, in recent elections, when Democrat Sam Rasoul ran in 2008, he captured 37% of the vote and Andy Schmookler won 35% in 2012.  With this thought in mind, Degner hopes to draw additional interest in what has been to this point a fairly noncompetitive, safe Republican seat.  He will face Republican Bob Goodlatte, the 23-year incumbent in the fall election.

The campaign had another another event later in the day in Harrisonburg.

You can learn more about Kai Degner and his campaign at

Time to Retire Bob Goodlatte

Karen Kwiatkwoski

By Karen Kwiatkowski

What if you lived in a part of Virginia dominated by poultry, hay and cow-calf agriculture, and yet your Congressman of nearly a quarter of a century was a city lawyer from Massachusetts, who thought ethanol subsidies were a good idea, spending your tax dollars to raise your feed costs year after year?

What if your Congressional district was home to well over a dozen institutes of higher learning, in a technological age, and your Congressman responded not to their needs, but to West Coast lobbyists to preserve decades old digital copyrights law, filling his campaign chest by stifling innovation ?

What if you, like many of your neighbors, supported first amendment rights for the various groups known as “Tea Parties” and yet your 12-term Congressman who had headed the House Judiciary Committee for nearly four years agreed to consider impeachment hearings for IRS appointees for targeting tea party groups ONLY after the House Freedom Caucus forced him to last week?

What if your Congressman was never a member of the House Freedom Caucus?

What if your long-serving Congressman is close friends and political allies with removed House Speaker John Boehner and successfully primaried whip Eric Cantor?

What if your Congressman was currently offering a “free” bus for Republican delegates from the 6th District to their district Republican convention on May 21st to choose national delegates and key Republican committee seats – but only if they vote for who you tell them to vote for?

What if your Congressman didn’t understand how modern technology works in the cable business, as stated by Techdirt magazine in early May 2016, yet persisted in pushing the wrong kind of regulations for it?

What if your “republican” Congressman voted to fund Obamacare again and again, while simultaneously telling constituents that he opposed it, again and again?

What if your Congressman had advocated for federal government domestic surveillance, beyond Constitutional statutes, and blindly supported the USA Patriot Act and its extension called the USA “Freedom” Act despite constitutional questions on the legality and ethics of this surveillance and data gathering on US citizens?

This list could go on and on, and it will continue to grow, as long as we continue to send Bob Goodlatte back every two years to vote for more government spending, and more government interference in our lives, year after year.

We have a choice on June 14th to send a different kind of Republican to represent us in the House.  Harry Griego, a military veteran, professional pilot, dedicated to the Constitution and limited government, is a change that is long past due for the 6th District.

Let’s retire Bob gracefully, and leave him to his world of expensive suits and “it’s the best we can hope for” explanations to his constituents.

Let’s send a conservative warrior, who believes in limited government, and who will be a part of limiting that government through strict Constitutional votes, and partnering with likeminded Congressmen and women, who truly care about reducing federal debt and overreach.

Vote with me for Harry Griego on June 14th!


Karen Kwiatkowski is a farmer, professor, retired U.S. Air Force Colonel, member of the executive committee of the Republican Party of Shenandoah County, and immediate past president of the Republican Women of Shenandoah County.  In 2012, she challenged Representative Bob Goodlatte for the Republican nomination for the 6th district of Virginia.

Goodlatte Faces Opposition

Representative Bob Goodlatte
Representative Bob Goodlatte

Since Karen Kwiatkowski was the first person to challenge Representative Bob Goodlatte for the Republican nomination for Virginia’s sixth district back in the 2012 elections, conservatives and libertarians in the Shenandoah Valley have wondered when or if Mr. Goodlatte would face another interparty contest.  In 2014, Paul Bevington attempted to seek the nod but fell short of the signature requirement to make the ballot.

IMG_7603Well, today Harry Griego of Roanoke issued a press release announcing his candidacy.  Mr. Griego recently ran for office in 2015, opposing Delegate Chris Head for the Republican nomination in the 17th district and garnered over 47% of the vote.

According to the press release, Harry Griego states, “over and over again voters told me they were unhappy with the lack of leadership and the failure of Republican officials to vote and fight for the Republican principles they campaign on.” As a hint of his possible campaign issues, he mentions, “an end to the expansion of the budget and the crippling national debt.  They want the border secured.”

Will 2016 mark the end of the Goodlatte era of Shenandoah Valley politics that began after the 1992 elections?  Or will Bob Goodlatte fend off this challenge?  Hopefully, this primary will make for some interesting times in the 6th district.

Falling Out With Goodlatte

Representative Bob Goodlatte
Representative Bob Goodlatte

On Friday, January 2nd, I received a notice from my representative, Bob Goodlatte (VA-6th), encouraging me to connect with him on Facebook.  Although I followed him for many years, my enthusiasm for him has waned considerably and I’ve been actively supporting his challengers for the last several cycles.

Rather than pointing to a single issue, for there are many, let me instead offer some background and history.

There is no question that Representative Bob Goodlatte has been a mainstay in Shenandoah Valley politics.  First elected to the House of Representatives in 1992, he has been serving in that capacity for twenty-two years.  Most elections he has been without a Democratic challenger and he has faced an opponent from within his own party only once, Karen Kwiatkowski.

When I first became interested in politics in the mid 90’s, I supported Representative Goodlatte without question.  After all, isn’t that what a “good Republican” ought to do?  Once I graduated from college, seeking a position to make a difference in politics, my first interview was in his office, as I hoped to become his regional representative for Staunton.  That didn’t come to pass but, several years later, I had another interview, this time to work for the House Agricultural Committee which Goodlatte chaired.  That didn’t work out either.

Ah ha, you might say.  You grew bitter about not getting a job then.  Actually, that doesn’t really have anything to do with it.  I’m actually grateful for any opportunity to get work in politics and certainly don’t hold that against him.

Well, is it something personal then?  Again, not really.  He has always been civil to me and I have done my best to be civil toward him.  For example, this year he made it a point to say hello to me even while I wore the shirt of Will Hammer, the Libertarian candidate for the 6th district, and did so again a few months later while he was stumping for the Republican candidates for city council.  I’ve donated my time for his liberty-minded opponents and he donated $500 to my establishment competition for Harrisonburg City Council.

So, what then?

Well, a small portion of it deals with the people in his employ.  Although he does have some good staffers, several of his people over the years are downright unpleasant, egotistical, arrogant, power-hungry bullies whose one goal is to rise as far and as fast in the political ranks as possible, caring little what principle needs to be discarded or what person needs to be eliminated to achieve these goals.  Yes, I’ve encountered people with these traits throughout my adventure in politics, but these kind of individuals seem to flock to Representative Goodlatte at a far higher than average rate.

But that’s only a small part of the problem.  The far larger one deals with the fact that he and I have a radically different political philosophy.  I believe in a small, constitutionally limited federal government while he doesn’t…not really.  Although Representative Bob Goodlatte often uses great rhetoric, his votes and bills often don’t match.

The truth was hard for me to swallow at first.  After all, watching previous political role models such as Newt Gingrich and George W. Bush either fall from grace or completely abandon their principles was hard to accept.  Surely my Representative, Bob Goodlatte, was the good constitutional conservative that he claimed to be.  Like the kid who asked Shoeless Joe Jackson on the steps of the courthouse, “say it ain’t so, Bob.”  Unfortunately, the legislator I assumed Bob Goodlatte was didn’t match who he actually happened to be.  Let me offer some examples to illustrate:

– For a good many years he has been advocating a balanced budget amendment but has voted to raise the debt at least seven times.  Wonder why the country is over $18 trillion in debt?  Representative Goodlatte has been part of that problem.

– He supported the 2014 continuing resolution commonly known as the CRomnibusAs Conservative Review states, “This 1700+ page, $1.1 trillion Omnibus spending bill granted President Obama full funding for 11 of 12 federal departments for the remainder of the fiscal year – without any congressional restrictions on his unilateral action on amnesty, Obamacare, and environmental regulations. Worse, this bill actually provided Obama with an additional $2.5 billion in funds to facilitate his executive amnesty.”

– Has both supported and opposed minimum wage increases (depending on which party holds the White House) despite the fact that Congress has no constitutional authority to set any sort of wage standards.

– A leading advocate to ban internet gambling even though that is yet another power not enumerated to the federal government.

– Was the deciding vote in favor of Medicare Part D, further embroiling the federal government in yet another area it has no legitimate control.

– Voted for George W. Bush’s meddling in education with No Child Left Behind which Republicans are finally starting to publicly admit was a mistake.

– Voted for George W. Bush’s military adventures in Iraq despite the fact that Iraq posed no military threat to the security of the United States.  This conflict has cost trillions of dollars, and resulted in the needless deaths of a multitude of Americans and Iraqis.  In addition, destabilizing the region has only increased the possibility of terrorism against the United States and her citizens.

– Cosponsor of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and supporter of the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) designed to strip away our freedoms on the internet.

– Voted for the Patriot Act.  Although you can make an argument for it in the wake of the 9/11 hysteria, Representative Goodlatte has voted for it each and every time it comes up for renewal, gravely endangering the civil liberties of Americans.

– Voted for the Aviation and Transportation Security Act which created the TSA, needless hassle and harassment at the airport, and has failed to do much to deter or catch terrorists.

– Voted for the National Defense Authorization Act in recent years which, along with the Patriot Act, allows for indefinite detention without trial of terror suspects in violation of the 4th Amendment.

– Voted for the Intelligence Authorization Act of 2014, which, in the words of Rep. Justin Amash (MI-3rd), “permits the U.S. government to acquire, retain, and disseminate nonpublic telephone or electronic communications to or from a U.S. person”.

– Voted to impeach President Clinton and, although now Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and admits that President Obama “is not enforcing the law“, he refuses to consider impeachment for Obama’s gross abuses of executive power.

I could go on to include his advocacy for big ag subsidies and his support for the ethanol mandate, choosing crony capitalism over the free market, but these are some of the more troubling issues of the day.

IMG_0144Just as important, Representative Goodlatte does not feel beholden to his constituents.  At the 2012 6th District Republican Convention, he surprisingly called the 6th district GOP chairman, Wendell Walker “his boss”.  Although his honesty was appreciated, I was horrified to learn “his boss” wasn’t the voters of the 6th district or even the Republicans of the 6th district.  To hammer home this point, despite the fact that the 6th district Republican committee unanimously wrote a letter to demand Representative Goodlatte oppose John Boehner for Speaker of the House in the 2013 election, he ignored them and voted for Boehner anyway.  In 2015, he once again cast his lot with John Boehner.  Although his campaign shirt proclaims, “Bob Goodlatte, Working Hard for Us!” it should more accurately read, “Bob Goodlatte Does Whatever He Wants and Ignores Us!”  After twenty-two years in office, he seems to be far more beholden to the power-brokers and lobbyists in Washington than the citizens he was supposedly sent to represent.

He or his people treat the 6th district of Virginia as his fiefdom, replacing party leaders who oppose him or trying to silence his critics (as was done to me when I was expelled from the Republican Party).  Unfortunately, Goodlatte and/or his supporters have hurt quite a few of my friends and allies who, like me, believe that principle is more important than any single politician.  As a result, an increasing number of them react by treating Representative Goodlatte with utter contempt.

Although the 6th district of Virginia is arguably the most conservative district in the state, one whose people support an extremely limited federal government, we have a representative who has proven time and time again that he does not share this point of view.  Yes, it is a good thing that he encourages a public reading of the Constitution on the Congressional floor, but it is clear that he doesn’t seem to think that all of its provisions, especially the 9th and 10th Amendments, should be used to restrain the power of Washington.

Representative Goodlatte is a member of the Republican Party, but as I’ve illustrated through the issues listed above and The Washington Post agrees, he certainly shouldn’t be mistaken as either a conservative or libertarian.

I hope that Representative Goodlatte and I can continue to be civil toward each other and yes, compared to some legislators (Senator Shelly Moore Capito I’m looking at you), Goodlatte is better.  However, although Goodlatte might be a decent enough fellow personally, if you like a federal government that grows bigger every year, strips away our civil liberties piece by piece, supports endless war, ignores the Constitution, rewards some businesses at the expense of everyone else, works to enslave us all with debt, employs some of the most unsavory of people, and promotes big government Republicans like John Boehner, then Representative Goodlatte should suit you just fine.  Conversely, I oppose them all which puts the two of us at odds.

Believe it or not, I’d love to be proven wrong, that Representative Goodlatte is a strong advocate for liberty, that all the examples I’ve given don’t offer an accurate picture, and I don’t know what I’m talking about.  But I don’t think this is the case.  And so, I’ll continue to speak out against his votes.  I don’t do this because it is good for my political career, on the contrary I’ve been informed that it is personally detrimental for me to stand against such a powerful figure in Shenandoah Valley politics and likely has cost me several jobs, but because principle should come before our own enrichment.

I’ll admit that I’d very much like to support my representative as I once did, but that will either require a change of principle by myself or Congressman Goodlatte…or a change of representative.

Hammer’s Video

Today, Will Hammer, the Libertarian candidate in the 6th District of Virginia, released a campaign video.

This November, Mr. Hammer is challenging Republican Representative Bob Goodlatte.  Representative Goodlatte is seeking his 12th term.

Given the somewhat unusual last names of both of these candidates, the ad plays upon that fact, showing Hammer smashing a multitude of containers of “good latte” bearing labels such as the drug war, NDAA, and the Patriot Act.

So, what do you think?

Is the ad effective?

Does anyone else have the the urge to get a cup of coffee?