My Party, My Principles, and the Infinite Sadness

On Friday at noon, the Harrisonburg and Rockingham County Republican Parties held their monthly First Friday gathering at the Wood Grill Buffet in Harrisonburg.  The featured speaker was Pete Snyder who is heading up the Republican victory program in Virginia for 2012.

The meeting itself was a fairly ordinary affair.  About two-dozen or so local Republicans attended, most enjoyed lunch, while I just had several glasses of sweet tea.  However, once just about everyone had dispersed, I paid my bill, sat on the bench near the entrance and wept.

As we live in a society which typically discourages most public forms of emotion, especially from men, it must have been a strange sight indeed for those around watching a thirty-one-year-old person cry for no discernable reason.

So what, may you ask, caused me to act in such a fashion?  The answer is boiling anger, overwhelming frustration, and infinite sadness triggered by the actions of one local Republican.

I wept for the sake of the party.  In the meeting, one person declared that our goal should be to elect “anyone but Obama”.  Really?  Has our party become so vapid and devoid of rational worth that we will gladly rally behind any man or woman regardless of merit simply because he or she is not Barack Obama?  Heck, Hilary Clinton is not Obama; does that mean we should support her if she had an “R” by her name?  And isn’t there is an ocean of difference between Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, and Newt Gingrich?  Don’t principles mean anything anymore?  And I started to fear that perhaps I was gravely mistaken to believe that they ever did.  Yet if we cast aside principles, what’s left to separate the parties other than a meaningless animal mascot and a color?

I wept for the state of Virginia and the nation as a whole due to the fact that we have so many leaders of both parties that seem to care nothing or at least very little about the values of the people and the society that placed them in their position of power.  Sure, we can criticize members of the other party who trample upon the Constitution, moral decency, or the rule of law, but calling out members of your own party who violate these ideals has become taboo.  Therefore, I must mourn the loss of political dialogue and freedom that have given way to strict and unthinking party loyalty.

Although it may sound selfish, I wept for my future employment prospects and myself.  As I’ve mentioned to many people over the last several months, there are few things that I desire more than the chance to make a decent living promoting my political principles among my fellow countrymen, the citizens of the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.  However, my rugged insistence of clinging to my values is likely seen as a liability.  Who wants to hire a passionate paleo-conservative when malleable yes men are available? Which kind of person will likely cause less headaches?  Unfortunately, most of the powerful and affluent politicians scoff at liberty-minded constitutional conservatives while those companies and people who do value us either have no money and can only offer volunteer opportunities or give little better than subsistence wages.  Does the easiest, and perhaps only, way to succeed involve selling out?  Again, I fear that blind allegiance to the party and its leaders trump standing up for the creeds that supposedly guide their actions.

Lastly, and more importantly, I wept for the demise of a former political ally, a person who supposedly once held the political principles that I cherish.  To be fair, I had known for some time that this person had jettisoned our shared beliefs, but I now realized that there was no turning back, there is no hope for redemption.  Conservative/libertarian principles have melted away and have been replaced with a zeal for the establishment.  Now the ideological drift is simply too great; today we have about as much in common as Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky does with someone like Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina or Virginia Senator Steve Newman does with fellow Virginia State Senator Tommy Norment.  We might both call ourselves Republican but we likely have as many areas of disagreement as agreement.

This knowledge is particularly disappointing, but it alone wouldn’t have been enough to spur such a reaction.  However, after the Republican meeting was over, that same person savagely attacked me with an over the top tirade in front of a fellow activist.  At that moment, that person represented to me everything that is wrong with politics today; a person ruled, apparently not by principle, but self-serving ambition that is willing to use anything or anyone as a stepping-stone to greater influence.  Although I know that it only heightened tensions during the exchange, much like a scene from Fellowship of the Ring, I more or less inquired when did this person decide to “abandon reason for madness?”  This particularly ugly combination of events frays any past political ties and makes the hope of any future cooperation unlikely at best.

So, if you happened to have entered the Wood Grill Buffet in Harrisonburg on Friday and saw someone crying on the bench, now you know why.  I was overcome with grief and anger mourning the downfall of many things: the bastardization of my party, the way in which so many politicians continually deceive the public without recourse, the loss of a former ideological believer, the likely failure of my future, and the death of the principles which supposedly guided them all.

How would you feel if you discovered that so many of the activities and relationships you crafted over the past seventeen years might be meaningless?  What if your great passion created nothing but corrupted politics and false friends, and the only thing you had to show for your effort was a pile of crumbly ashes?  If so, you might say, as Lesley Gore wrote in her well-known song, “it’s my party…you would cry too if it happened to you”.

Good BBQ, Good Music, Good Folks

On Saturday, the Harrisonburg GOP, the Rockingham County GOP, and the local Republican Women held a fundraiser at the Stone Family Barn in Harrisonburg.  The event featured delicious local BBQ and a wide range of tempting desserts prepared by the Republican Women.  In addition, Dave Kyger and his band provided some excellent bluegrass music.

Harrisonburg’s own State Senator Mark Obenshain was the first of many well-known speakers, which included Susan Allen, the wife of former Governor and U.S. Senate candidate George Allen, and U.S. Representative Bob Goodlatte (VA-6).  The audience brimmed with elected representatives and Republican hopefuls, a virtual who’s who role call in local politics.  The complete list (and I hope I haven’t left anyone out) also included: Karen Kwiatkowski of Shenandoah County (a candidate for Virginia’s 6th district House of Representatives seat), State Senator Emmett Hanger of Augusta County, Delegate Tony Wilt of Rockingham County, Delegate Steve Landes of Augusta County, Delegate Rob Bell of Albemarle County, Bryan Hutcheson (a candidate for Harrisonburg/Rockingham County Sheriff), Commonwealth Attorney Marsha Garst, Clerk of Court Chaz Evans-Haywood, Rockingham County Treasurer Todd Garber, Rockingham County Supervisor Pablo Cuevas, Rockingham County Supervisor Fred Eberly, Rockingham County Commissioner of the Revenue Lowell Barb, and Harrisonburg School Board member Greg Coffman.

This event proved to be another excellent opportunity to collect signatures to get both Representative Ron Paul and former Governor Gary Johnson of New Mexico on Virginia’s ballot for the 2012 Republican primary.  Whether you support Paul or someone else, I encourage you to sign these petitions so that each Virginian can have a great range of options when we go to vote next year.

As the event came to a close, the party held an auction to raise additional funds.  There were a wide variety of items on the block including many of the same desserts we previously enjoyed with our meal.  Of course, I would be remiss if I failed to offer thanks to Chuck Ahrend whose hard work made this experience possible.

Overall, the event seemed to go quite well.  If you are a local Republican who unfortunately missed Saturday’s event, I encourage you to mark your calendars in advance for next year’s gathering.  You shouldn’t let this occasion pass you by.

Unexpected Returns

As I mentioned in a previous post, I held a social gathering for young conservatives in downtown Harrisonburg this past Thursday.  Why would I hold such an event, you might ask?  Well, with the notable exception of the College Republicans, not too many folks under the age of 30 take much of an interest in politics.  For example, at the last meeting of the Harrisonburg Republican Party, I was the youngest person in the room.  Although I don’t know how many people were more youthful than I at the last Tea Party meeting, I assure you that I was well below the median age…by at least ten years.  I get it.  Most people are not like I once was, a fifteen-year-old high school student champing at the bit to do his civic duty to improve his government.  Nevertheless, citizens should take an active interest because the government affects so many facets of life.  But let’s get back to our gathering…

I arrived at the library a few minutes after 6:00 PM but was dismayed to discover that the close parking lots were full.  Therefore, I had to park on the next block away.  Normally this setback wouldn’t be too troubling but, given that I had to haul multiple heavy items such as two gallons of tea, two gallons of water, and several boxes of cookies, I found the multiple treks to and from my car to be quite taxing.  The first guest to arrive was Mr. Mellott, a writer for the Daily News Record.  I was pretty surprised to see him because I didn’t think the local news would take much notice of my humble operation.  His presence made me a bit nervous, not because I have any objection to attention from the media, in fact I welcome it, but rather I was worried that the event would be sparsely attended and therefore reflect poorly on me.  Next to arrive was a handful of members of the Shenandoah Valley Tea Party.  Although they too were not in my expected age range, I greatly appreciated their company especially their willingness to help me set up the room and return the items to my car upon the conclusion of the event.

All in all, about twenty people showed up to the gathering.  We had a handful of people from the Young Republicans, the James Madison University College Republicans, Luis (a great guy who is very spirited about the cause), and even a few volunteers from Corey Stewart’s The Rule of Law Campaign. Even though I had prepared a few brief remarks for the crowd, I never had the opportunity to speak given that people came and went as they pleased.  I don’t believe that more than ten people were in the room in any given moment.  Then again, perhaps it was for the best.  After all, the event wasn’t for me, but for everyone.

Overall, the meeting was both a disappointment and a success.  It was a disappointment because, with the exception a few of the JMU CRs, I didn’t get to meet any new 18 to 40 year old conservatives.  I didn’t bring in any new blood.  By contrast, my unexpected accomplishment was the opportunity to spend a good bit of one-on-one time talking to the leaders of the local Tea Party.  Although, in general, they are both considerably older than I and don’t have nearly the experience in politics, it is refreshing to hear about and witness their dedication and vigor in support of our shared conservative principles.

Let me take the opportunity to infuse this post with a bit of political encouragement.  Don’t believe the lies.  One person can make a difference in politics, regardless of age or experience.  You are not alone.  Never forgot that there are many conservatives, just like you, out toiling in the trenches to promote our ideology.  But you should join a group.  Whether it is the College Republicans, Young Republicans, City or County Republicans, your local Tea Party, or something else, find activists who believe the same as yourself.  After all, while one person can carry away heavy stones, a multitude can move an entire mountain.

I guess in retrospect, I should have expanded my invitation for the event to conservatives of all ages.  It just would be nice to meet a few more unattached conservative young women.  Anyway, next time I hold a social event, I really hope you can join me.

In liberty!

Everything’s Fair

Growing up, I always enjoyed the Rockingham County Fair.  What kid wouldn’t enjoy the rides, the attractions, the food, the animals…and the politics?  Ok, so maybe not every teenager cares about our government, but as you already know, I was a bit different.  Anyway, each year the Harrisonburg and Rockingham County Republican Parties operate a booth at the fair to bring a little bit of the political world to the average citizens of the community.  Every year I volunteered here once I became involved.  More than anything else, I enjoyed standing behind that table handing out information to folks who stopped by, mingling with fellow conservatives.  It was not a high-pressure sales job, but rather a chance to share a bit of our ideals, to shed light on this neglected facet of our society.

Although I didn’t have much time to offer, I still gave about an hour this past week to continue my ritual.  Below are a few photographs of the event.  They are pretty self-explanatory.  The last few are of the cow-kissing contest in which several public figures competed to raise money for the American Cancer Society.  Hosting the event was Virginia Agriculture Commissioner Matt Lohr.  In all, there were five people competing, including newly minted Delegate Tony Wilt (R-26) and Daily News Record Writer and author of the Bowser Bucket List, Heather Bowser.  Thanks to these people who donated their time to such a worthy cause.

Maybe you can join us next year.

The 26th Decision

Can you believe that the day has arrived so quickly?  Tomorrow, we will be selecting the nominee for the Republican Party here in the 26th district.  When I got home from work tonight, my inbox was stuffed with emails from the three candidates (The count stands at ten from 12:30 to 10:40 PM).  Believe it or not, I’m still undecided.  I haven’t had sufficient time to study the candidates and I still think the process was rushed.  Nevertheless, I’ll continue to read about them this evening and tomorrow morning so hopefully when 4:00 PM comes, I’ll be able to make an informed decision.

I plan to support whichever candidate I believe is the most conservative in the three key areas:  socially, fiscally, and constitutionally.  Of course I want a delegate who shares our valley values, but, in addition, I want a leader who will boldly patron conservative legislation.  So then, who is the best candidate?  To help with our decision, I’d like to share with you the responses the three candidates gave to the Shenandoah Valley Tea Party.

SPECIAL EDITION–CANDIDATES FOR 26th House of Delegates District Answer Tea Party Questions

1. John Elledge

2. Tony Wilt

3. Ted Byrd

Please scroll down to read all answers.    Information Only.  The SVTPP Does Not Make Endorsements.

John Elledge Answers SVTPP Nine Questions


1. Please provide a short essay that introduces you and your background?
I am John Elledge and I am running to represent the 26th House District in the Virginia General Assembly.  Delegate Matt Lohr, re-elected this past November, will be vacating his position, leaving the seat open less than halfway through the term.  I am determined to fill his position because the citizens of the 26th District need a Delegate who can hit the ground running.  I know that I am the right man for the job.

I know the institution of the Virginia General Assembly because I worked ten years as a Legislative Assistant to former Delegate Glenn Weatherholtz.  I am the only candidate who knows the procedures and processes of the legislature.  I have drafted bills, monitored them, and developed a strategy to pass important legislation over those ten years.  I am aware of the ins and outs of the committee structure, and the tricks and setbacks that legislators face.  I know the players in Richmond and in the District, and I know the mysteries of the budgeting process.

My political values were developed under the guidance of Delegate Weatherholtz, who had a distaste for politics as usual.  He served 24 years as Rockingham County Sheriff.  During those years and during his service in the General Assembly, he made it a point of genuine pride to never spend his entire budget.  He was also a tough man who knew his own mind and did not give in easily to the pressures of the insiders in the political class.  It is my goal to emulate Glenn Weatherholtz in all these ways.

2. Please describe the three most important achievements that you would like to accomplish for the citizens of the 26th District?
I will consider it an achievement every time I successfully work for the failure of government-expanding legislation proposed by a Democrat or a Republican.

I will consider it an achievement if I can make a dent in the status of the 26th District as a net exporter of resources.  I want to bring our fair share back home to be spent in our communities, not in the district of those who cater to expansive local governments in their districts.  I will work to fund core services of Education, Public Safety and Transportation, to relieve upward pressure on our local tax system.

I will proudly limit the amount of legislation I introduce each session.  Not every idea needs to become law.  What legislation I do introduce will have a priority of reducing the size of government.

3.  If elected, will you hold frequent town hall meetings and tele-town hall meetings for the 26th District citizens?
Yes, I will employ the latest technology to stay in touch with my constituents, to be as responsive and accessible as possible.

4. What are your three top concerns for the Commonwealth of Virginia?
That we eliminate services that are not the core role of government.

That we resist the intrusion of the federal government into the province of the government of the Commonwealth, and that we demand that the federal government lives up to its obligations to all the citizens, like protecting our borders, and spend on core infrastructure like Interstate highways, rather than expansive social programs.

That we fund core services in a focused and efficient manner: Education, Public Safety, and Transportation.

5. Is the size of Virginia government and the Virginia 2010-2012 Budget: adequate, too large, or too small?
It is too large.  Much of what makes it too large is the result of the imposition of unfunded mandates, like Medicaid and spending.  The current budget takes the Commonwealth back to the 2006 spending level, which were prosperous economic times.  We must prevent the budget from swelling back to its size before the recession.  We also need to see that a significant portion of revenue growth from the recovery goes to a Rainy Day Fund, and to repaying the frequently-raided Transportation fund.

6. Will you sign a “no-new taxes” pledge?
Yes.

7. What are your three top concerns at the Federal level?
Runaway spending
The imposition of mandates on states, especially unfunded mandates.
The Federal government’s failure/refusal to seal our borders.

8. Do you vigorously support Virginia 10th Amendment legislation such as, H.B. 10 (Virginia Health Care Freedom Act) and H.B. 69 (Virginia Firearms Freedom Act)?
I absolutely support both these legislative efforts, and further support sound legal challenges to the Federal government’s imposition of its healthcare rules and firearms regulations on Virginians, recognizing that success in these challenges will probably require the Supreme Court’s reversal of bad precedent in terms of its Commerce Clause jurisprudence (Wickard vs, Filbrum) and the extension of its good decision in U.S. vs. Lopez, which found the Gun-Free School Zones Act unconstitutional as an application of the Commerce Clause.

9. If you believe that Virginia must cut spending in state government, what spending category would you cut first?
This goes hand-in-hand with my views on question # 8.  The primary and fastest growing segment of the budget causing the explosion in spending has to do with unfunded mandates, especially Medicaid spending.  A forceful resistance to these impositions with the efforts of strong organizers and activists like the Tea Party groups working to change the makeup of Congress could do wonders to reduce this forced area of state spending.

Apart from that, I am generally supportive of Governor McDonnell’s approach to the planned cuts he offered before the General Assembly.

Tony Wilt Answers SVTPP Nine Questions

1. Please provide a short essay that introduces you and your platform?

My name is Tony Wilt and I’m vying for the Republican nomination to run for the 26th District House of Delegates seat.  I’ve never run for public office.  However, I’m excited about the prospect of representing the people of the 26th District.  Vickie and I have been married for 25 years and have a grown daughter and son.

I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman.  I am pro-life.  I believe the 2nd Amendment gives each qualifying citizen the right to keep and bear arms.  I was born, raised, and lived in the 26th District all my life, except for two brief times in California and North Carolina, while my dad served in the U.S. M.C.  I urge you to seek out those who know me.  My actions will speak out louder and truer than my words.  I trust that you will find that my actions and words are one in the same.

I’ve worked at Superior Concrete, Inc. for 30 years and am the President/General Manager.  I stand firm against any new taxes, regulations, mandates, and entitlements, and will fight to lessen or repeal current ones.  I believe in limited government intrusion in every aspect of our lives.  But along with that, I demand personal responsibility.

2. Please describe the three most important achievements that you would like to accomplish for the citizens of the 26th District?

Greater freedom of government intrusion in our lives.

Re-evaluate the state budget for what is supported, and for how much.

Secure alternative sources of revenue, instead of raising taxes on hard-working Virginians.

3. If elected, will you hold frequent town hall meetings and tele-town hall meetings for the 26th District citizens?

Yes.

4. What are your three top concerns for the Commonwealth of Virginia?

Out of control Federal government.

Efficiency of state and local governments.

Stagnant economy.

5. Is the size of Virginia government and the Virginia 2010-2012 Budget: adequate, too large, or too small?

Too large.

6. Will you sign a “no-new taxes” pledge?

Yes.    (This candidate submitted a signed and witnessed Taxpayer Protection Pledge with Americans for Tax Reform, that pledges he will oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes.)

7. What are your three top concerns at the Federal level?

Disregard for the Constitution.

Ignoring national security and sovereignty.

Mandates passed on states and locales.

8. Do you vigorously support Virginia 10th Amendment Legislation such as H.B. 10 (Virginia Health Care Freedom Act) and H.B. 69 (Virginia Firearms Freedom Act)?

Yes.

9. If you believe that Virginia must cut spending in state government, what spending category would you cut first?

This is a tough one, I believe two-fold.  Every agency must strive for efficiency, but I don’t know if that will do the trick.  We must prioritize just what the government should be involved in, and cut the rest.  That definitely means operations within each agency, but maybe the agency itself.
Ted Byrd Answers SVTPP Nine Questions
1. Please provide a short essay that introduces you and your platform?
I am running for the Republican nomination for the 26th District of the House of Delegates, because I believe my experiences in Agriculture, Economic Development, Business, Transportation, and Local Government enable me to have a balanced perspective and will represent our community’s interest in Richmond.  I am committed to listen carefully to constituents and make decisions that will best address our local and state concerns.

2. Please describe the three most important achievements that you would like to accomplish for the citizens of the 26th District?
I would be a Champion of our local Family Farmers.
I would work hard to ensure we have a business climate that encourages the creation of jobs.
I would continue to strive for fair funding for our local schools to enable children to compete for future jobs.

3. If elected, will you hold frequent town hall meetings and tele-town hall meetings for the 26th District citizens?
Yes.

4. What are your three top concerns for the Commonwealth of Virginia?
We need to return to prioritizing state funding for our core services which are: public safety, education, and maintaining our road infrastructure.

5. Is the size of Virginia government and the Virginia 2010-2012 Budget: adequate, too large, or too small?
It is still too large.

6. Will you sign a “no-new taxes” pledge?
Yes.

7. What are your three top concerns at the Federal level?
National Debt.
National Security.
The massive size of the Federal government and its reach into each of our lives.

8. Do you vigorously support Virginia 10th Amendment Legislation such as H.B. 10 (Virginia Health Care Freedom Act) and H.B. 69 (Virginia Firearms Freedom Act)?
I do support the state of Virginia Federal lawsuit to uphold Virginia’s Health Care Freedom Act and await the ruling from the federal court.  I was unable to get information on H.B. 69.*

* Newsletter Editor’s note:  While H.B. 10 passed in the recent legislative session, H.B. 69 was sent to an unfavorable committee where the legislation died for this session.

9. If you believe that Virginia must cut spending in state government, what spending category would you cut first?
Non-core services.  Through the years there has been pork or special interest funding inserted into the state budget and that would be the first place I would look to make cuts.

For some more information, I’d recommend that you read a recent article provided by hburgnews.com.

Remember that polls will only be open from 4 to 8 PM tomorrow.  If you are in the city, you vote at Keister Elementary, 100 Maryland Avenue.  If you are in the county, you vote at Lacey Spring Elementary School, 8621 North Valley Pike.

Be an informed voter!

Update: Assuming you lived in the 26th District (which of course many of you do not), based upon the above information which of the candidates would you support and why?  Please feel free to comment.

26th District: The GOP Nomination

Well, it has been decided.  On Wednesday evening, representatives from both Harrisonburg City and Rockingham County got together to determine the method for selecting the Republican nominee to replace the newly promoted Matt Lohr.  Their decision is to hold a firehouse primary.  But what is a firehouse primary you may ask.  Unlike traditional primaries where polling places are open during regular polling times, a firehouse primary is more restrictive…in this case, a lot more restrictive.  There will be one and only one voting location for the entire 26th district.

Here, let me quickly go through all the details.  After the meeting on March 31, party leaders decided to close the filing deadline on April 10.  Ten days later, April 20, the primary will take place at Lacey Spring Elementary School for 4 PM to 8 PM.

Personally, I have a lot of reservations about the process and timetable selected.  First of all, I believe the timeframe is way too short.  Currently there are two declared candidates in the race, Tony Wilt and John Elledge.  Unfortunately, I still don’t really know too much about the political positions of either.  Besides an email from one and a Facebook group from the other, I haven’t gotten any additional information.  The voters need time to learn about the candidates and 20 days (now we are down to 18) is far too short a window.  Second, although the 26th district is not a large district geographically, I think we should have more than one polling place.  At least give us one in the city and one in the county.  Third, given that the polling place is only open for four hours on a weekday, it is likely that I will have to take time off from work in order to cast my vote.  Fourth, no candidate will be able to create an effective campaign team or campaign message in so short a time, so he or she will have no idea whether or not these strategies will be successful in the general election.  As mentioned earlier, this district trends very heavily toward the GOP, so I still suspect that whoever wins the nomination will win the election; nevertheless, will we have enough time to discover the best candidate and campaign?

Now there are arguments in favor of the process they have selected.  Namely, greatly restricting the time and place of voting along with a very narrow campaigning window will ensure that only the truly dedicated will come out and vote.  The possibility of Democrats and Independents coming out to vote will be very low and only the very committed Republican activists will show up.

Given the rushed nature of the process, I therefore predict that voter turnout will be at an all-time low.  This race will be determined by just a handful of voters.  The question becomes, who can get more of their people to the poll on April 20?  I guess we will have to wait and see.

Cap and Trade

After a several day hiatus, I discovered I had a number of emails about the whole Cap and Trade issue. I’d like to share two briefly with you.

The first is from the Harrisonburg City Republican committee. It lists the phone numbers of the eight House Republicans who voted for Cap and Trade. They are:
* Bono Mack (CA) 202-225-5330
* Castle (DE) 202-225-4165
* Kirk (IL) 202-225-4835
* Lance (NJ) 202-225-5361
* Lobiondo (NJ) 202-225-6572
* McHugh (NY) 202-225-4611
* Reichart (WA) 202-225-7761
* Chris Smith (NJ) 202-225-3765
The email then goes on to say, “These guys need to be replaced by Real Republicans. We can’t afford this much government. And we certainly can’t afford the idea that government has to panic over every chicken little that comes down the street. A crisis may be a terrible thing to waste but we can’t afford all the waste that results.” I’m both surprised by the words of the local party, but also pleased. Some go along to get along types might say that we shouldn’t fight amongst ourselves, but if we don’t hold the big government Republicans accountable, then for what does the Republican Party stand? We must reassert our principles and cast aside politicians who don’t really share our values.

Now the second email was from one of Rep. Goodlatte’s staff members. It included a link to Bob Goodlatte’s recent speech concerning the Cap and Trade issue, which I’m happy to share with you here:

Thank you Bob Goodlatte for taking a stand against the further regulation and expansion of the federal government. I truly hope that enough Senators heed your words.

With the recent death of Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett, both the media and the general public seem to be ignoring this important issue. Nevertheless, I once again urge you to contact your Senators to make sure that Cap and Trade doesn’t become the law of the land.

A Handful of Thoughts

Good evening everyone.

Just wanted to pass along a quick update.  This afternoon, I enjoyed the monthly lunch gathering with the Harrisonburg/Rockingham County GOP.  The guest at this meeting was Pat Mullins (the next probable chair of the RPV).  He seemed like a pretty knowledgeable and conservative guy who has had a lot of valuable experience.  Although I don’t know a whole lot about him yet, if his deeds match his rhetoric then I think that he’ll make a fine RPV Chairman.  During the meeting, we were visited/interrupted by Trixie Averill (Western Vice-chairwoman for the RPV) and ardent Bob McDonnell supporter.  It was impossible not to smile as she left shuffling along on her knees (in order to not draw anymore attention!)  Although I didn’t get any pictures of the event myself, fear not, as our neighbor to the south, SWAC Girl, visited us and has not one, but two posts about the event found here and here.

As a side note, I’m pleased to say that this blog has now exceeded the 5,000 visitor mark.  Yay!  As expected, generally each month has been busier than the last, so I’ll be interested to see how long it takes to reach the 10,000 visitor threshold.

Hope you’ve enjoyed the journey so far.

Grahamnesty Comes to Harrisonburg (Part 2)

Well, it turns out that GOPguy1 was right.  The event on Tuesday at the GOP headquarters served as little more than a McCain pep rally.  I’m not quite sure why they did not label the event as such ahead of time.  The HQ was pretty crowded and, as expected, the three politicians showed up late.  Looking around, I saw they’d gotten a bunch of new high tech phones that likely came from the RNC.  State Senator Obenshain (26th-R Harrisonburg) was in attendance too.  As you might know, I was hoping he would’ve run for Attorney General in 2009, but I suppose we’ll have to wait another four years.  I don’t know where our Delegate, Matt Lohr (26th-R Broadway) has been keeping himself.  Although I don’t attend every GOP event here, I cannot recall the last time I saw him.  I wonder if he has been intentionally staying out of the limelight (for some unknown reason) or if he is just busy with his farming duties.

Even though the experience was not terribly exciting, I thought that there were two extremely amusing moments during the event, both from our local McCain representative, Michael Ganoe.  First, as he implored the attendees to volunteer during the last two week period, he stated that we should forgo our social and recreational activities, like our children’s sports, because, I kid you not, if Barack Obama wins then we will no longer be able to enjoy these activities.  That suggestion was greeted by a vocal amen from one man in the crowd.  Although I know the importance of hyping every campaign, the suggestion is still ridiculous!  It further illustrates the tactics of fear that have become so commonplace to the campaign.  Should we all leave the country if Obama is victorious?  How soon until we are rounded up into camps?  If McCain cannot win on his own merits (which I believe is impossible), then they resort to demonizing Obama.  The second funny moment came once Congressman Goodlatte arrived.  Here Mr. Ganoe, along with the crowd, thanked Bob Goodlatte for voting against the bailout.  If only Senators Warner and Graham were there then, I would been interested to witness their reactions as they, along with Senator McCain, both voted for the massive corporate welfare.  If that issue is as important to you as it is to me, how can you support a candidate like McCain who rammed the bill through Congress irrespective of the Constitution?

Later, Senator Warner arrived, followed by Senator Graham and they sang their praises of Senator McCain.  Although they sounded fairly reasonable, (at least for neoconservatives), unfortunately both speeches focused more on what’s wrong with Barack Obama rather than what is right about John McCain.  Senator Graham stated “If we send one more dollar of your money to Washington DC in the name of compassion we’re going to break the back of business and some of you are going to lose your jobs.”  So true Senator Graham.  Good thing you voted for the bailout huh?  I think I’d like my excess tax dollars back rather than ship them off to failing corporations.  I guess, unlike you, I’m not very compassionate.  After his speech, Senator Graham parroted McCain’s plan of compelling the federal government to buy up the bad mortgages.  Good idea!  I’m sure that plan won’t require more dollars to be sent to Washington.

But what’s a post about an event without pictures?  Oh, oh…what is this?  A shaky video too?  Hot dog!  Here.  Enjoy!

Crowd from Sen. Graham Event (1)
Crowd from Sen. Graham Event (1)
Crowd from Sen. Graham Event (2)
Crowd from Sen. Graham Event (2)
Fancy new phones for the HQ
Fancy new phones for the HQ
Looking for Volunteers
Looking for Volunteers
Rep. Goodlatte, Sen. Obenshain, Sen. Warner
Rep. Goodlatte, Sen. Obenshain, Sen. Warner
Sen. Warner, Sen. Obenshain, Sen. Graham
Sen. Warner, Sen. Obenshain, Sen. Graham

Grahamnesty comes to Harrisonburg?

A few hours ago I got an email from the local GOP indicating that Senator Lindsey Graham (SC) as well as Senator Warner will be coming to Harrisonburg tomorrow in support of Representative Goodlatte.

The details (in case you can make it):

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

HARRISONBURG, VIRGINIA

WHO: U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC)

U.S. Senator John Warner (R-VA)

U.S. Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-VA)

WHAT: Rally at Harrisonburg Virginia Victory Headquarters

WHEN: Tuesday, October 21, 2008 at 12:45 p.m. EDT

WHERE: Harrisonburg Virginia Victory Headquarters

182 Neff Avenue

Harrisonburg, VA

This email raises numerous questions.  First, why would they announce the event less than 24 hours in advance?  Won’t turnout be extremely low?  Second, why are liberal “maverick” senators like Graham and Warner supporting Goodlatte?  For the record, Warner hasn’t supported Gilmore and, most likely, will not do so.  Also, shouldn’t Graham focus his time on his own re-election bid against Bob Conley?  Third, and perhaps most importantly, why the heck would a conservative like Goodlatte want face time with Graham and Warner?

It is strange, very strange indeed.  If I can make it, I’ll let you know what I can find out.

Update:  I suppose that Louis is correct.  Calling Warner and Graham liberals would likely be incorrect.  They, like McCain, sometimes have liberal policies and sometimes have conservative policies.  Unfortunately, they are not wed to the strict conservative philosophies of limited government and personal responsibility.  I believe that both South Carolina and Virginia are conservative enough to find Senators who are closer to true conservatives (Conley and Gilmore in the present election).