The Battle for Kentucky and the GOP

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ace of Spades

During the Tea Party rally about a week ago, the promoters were selling a number of political items: Tea (or Tee) shirts, bumper stickers, Gadsden flags, and the like.  As a casual poker player, one particular novelty that caught my eye was a deck of playing cards called “America’s Most Wanted”.  Similar to the most wanted cards printed during the Iraqi invasion, this deck contains pictures of a number of politicians, though U.S. not Iraqi.  The two ties, which bind this assortment of fifty-four leaders together, are their support for big government policies and the fact that they are up for re-election in the 2010 election cycle.  Of course you can find the usual suspects, Speaker Nancy Pelosi as a Joker, Rep. Barney Frank as the Queen of Hearts, Senator Chuck Schumer as the King of Spades, but what caught my eye was the Aces of Spades.  It may surprise you to know that the deck includes a handful of Republicans.  As they put it, “Republicans and Democrats alike, who have betrayed the American traditions of individual liberty & personal responsibility by voting for or supporting these four issues [TARP, the Stimulus Bill, socialized healthcare and Cap and Trade] are represented.  As a result, for the twin acts of supporting TARP and Cap & Trade, on that Ace, we find none other than Arizona Senator and 2008 Republican Presidential nominee, John McCain.

Now I’ve outlined my objections to John McCain during the 2008 Presidential cycle, so I won’t rehash them here.  Nevertheless, I believe it is healthy for political activists to question the positions of any political candidate regardless of party affiliation and so I’m glad to see the Tea Party take another stand for principle.  It is my hope that the Tea Party movement will serve as the catalyst to push both the Republican and the Democratic Party toward greater constitutional conservatism.  Only then will we be able to begin to restore the Republic.

If you want your own set of cards, you can find them at the Shenandoah Valley Tea Party Patriots website.

Memoirs from the 93rd: Part V

The Numbers Game

How does a Republican candidate win in a Democratic district?  John McCain won approximately 38% of the vote in the 93rd district back in 2008.  Jim Gilmore only managed 28% in the same year.  George Allen captured approximately 45% of the vote in 2006.  Given that all of the percentages are below the statewide average, one could hardly call the 93rd a Republican friendly district.  Of the 13 precincts in the 93rd, what, if any, of the precincts are favorable to Republicans?  Looking back at past elections, George Allen narrowly won Palmer, narrowly lost Kiln Creek, and convincingly won both Watkins and Roberts B.  John McCain faired worse, only managing to win Watkins and Roberts B and not really in any danger of winning any others.  The district encompasses the two easternmost precincts of James City County and the northeast section of Newport News with the exception of the Saunders precinct, which is in the 96th.  For the record, the precincts in the district are:  Roberts A & B in James City County, and Epes, McIntosh, Reservoir, Richneck, a portion of Lee Hall, Windsor, Greenwood, Palmer, Kiln Creek, Deer Park, and Watkins in Newport News.  Of these, Delegate Hamilton won Roberts B, and Watkins, narrowly winning Deer Park, and a close loss in Roberts A. Given that the district trends Democratic, one might wonder how Delegate Hamilton was able to gain and hold onto power for so long.

The answer to this question has several parts.  First, one should recognize that incumbents have an inherent advantage over their opponents.  They have higher name recognition and presumably more accomplishments.  I would also argue that from what I saw, Delegate Phil Hamilton maintained a favorable rapport with the people of the 93rd, taking time to listen to his constituents and alerting them to his progress in Richmond.  The second is that the location of the 93rd has shifted over the years.  Although I cannot find data for how the 93rd looked back in 1988 when he was first elected, comparing it to the district in the 1990s, one can clearly see a shift.  Delegate Hamilton often referred to the 93rd as a “donor district”, meaning that the more Republican or conservative areas of this district had been given to other districts, presumably in the hopes of electing more Republican/conservative legislators.  Before the 2000 redistricting, the 93rd was further east.  It contained none of James City County and the following precincts in Newport News:  McIntosh, Reservoir, Richneck, Deer Park, Nelson, Palmer, Saunders, a small bit of Warwick, Beaconsdale, and South Morrison.  I should mention that the precinct known as Beaconsdale no longer exists.  According to the Newport News Board of Elections, the polling place was not handicap accessible, so it was absorbed into the Deer Park precinct.  What does all this mean, you ask?  Looking back at both the Allen and McCain elections, let’s assume the 93rd is in this old shape (including all of Warwick, no absentee ballots, and no write ins).  Do these candidates fair any better?  John McCain reaches 40%, Jim Gilmore improves to 29% and George Allen reaches 47%.  Although none win this old district, they do capture a higher percentage.

Let’s next consider the Governor’s race in the 93rd.  While the delegate’s race was 54% in favor of Robin Abbott, McDonnell won about 52-53% in that same district depending on the source.  He handily wins the precincts of Palmer, Kiln Creek, Deer Park, Watkins, Roberts A and B, narrowly wins Richneck, and barely loses Windsor.  Now why did he do better than Phil Hamilton?  Was he better known?  Did he run a better campaign?  Was his opponent easier to beat? (Answer:  yes!) Or was it that he wasn’t tarred by a scandal?  For comparison’s sake let’s run McDonnell in this old 93rd.  Does he similarly get a one to two point bump in the polls as the other candidates did?  Indeed the trend holds true with McDonnell gathering about 54% in this relic district.  However, applying these numbers to Phil Hamilton does not result in victory.  While it raises his percentage from 45.6 to around 47.6%, and dropping his opponent likewise, Robin Abbott would still win with a slim 51.94%.

So what should we take home from the numbers game?  Although the 93rd has undeniably gotten worse for Republicans since redistricting, it is possible, although difficult, for Republicans to win here.  In a great Republican year like 2009, Bolling ran about even and Cuccinelli won 51%.  The statistics clearly prove that if Delegate Hamilton was able to run alongside Bob McDonnell (or Cuccinelli, and maybe even Bolling) and capture all of the same voters, he would be returning to the House of Delegates next year.  Unfortunately ODU and the resulting aftermath dashed any hopes for this scenario.

A Sweet Blast From The Past

Recently, while working, my thoughts drifted back to the Ron Paul campaign. The meetup group of Greenville, SC often met at a coffee/ice cream shop called Spill The Beans. In the early stages of the primary season, in order to get patrons into the spirit of the event, the shop offered various ice cream combinations based upon many of the candidates. Below were the six choices.

Giuliani, Paul, and Clinton
Giuliani, Paul, and Clinton

Romney, Obama, McCain
Romney, Obama, McCain

Some things you should note:
1. Yes, Rudy Giuliani did visit.
2. Unlike Fox News and the New Hampshire debates, this shop included Dr. Paul. Of course I ordered it…pretty tasty too.
3. Check out the price tag associated with Senator Clinton. Given the ingredient list and the price, I’m guessing they didn’t respect her much.
4. Whoops, misspelled the future president’s name.
5. John McCain’s special seemed about as appealing as his plan for government purchased mortgages. If you note, they say, “so far we’ve sold just one, to Mr. L. Graham of Oconee County”. For those unfamiliar with South Carolina politics, they are referring to Senator Lindsey Graham, one of Senator McCain’s biggest supporters in South Carolina and nationwide.

No great revelation here, just thought you might find these pictures interesting.

A Conservative Renaissance

In recent times, there has been little for limited government conservatives, such as myself, to be happy about.  If you will recall, back in 2000 Governor George W. Bush campaigned as a “compassionate conservative”, whatever that truly means.  I always have assumed that conservatism, at its heart, is sufficiently compassionate as it promotes the ideals of personal reasonability and liberty, over reliance to a burdensome government that can give you anything you want, albeit inefficiently, but also take away everything you have.  Unfortunately, as a result of the 2001 terrorist attacks, the Bush Administration broke just about all of its supposed ties to limited government conservatism.  It became a sort of conservative dark ages.  As expected, the military budget increased to combat terrorism, however, George W. Bush supported many policies which ran counter to conservative ideals:  immigration amnesty, greater federal involvement in education with the No Child Left Behind Act, attempting to nominate a person to the Supreme Court with little knowledge of Constitutional Law, laying the foundation for a police state through the Patriot Act, and starting a pre-emptive war in Iraq to name the biggest issues.  Unfortunately, as George Bush was a Republican, far too few conservatives were willing to speak against his policies.  I am certain that if a Democrat advocated legislation such that Bush advocated conservatives would have raised a big fuss.  I recall wistfully remarking to one of my professors the hope that the Republican Party would offer a conservative alternative to Bush in the 2004 Presidential election.

The 2008 Republican presidential election didn’t provide a whole lot of hope for conservatives either.  Early front runners like Rudy Giuliani, who was far from a social conservative, Mitt Romney, who supported state sponsored healthcare and has held both points of view on many political issues, and Mike Huckabee, who although a social conservative seemed to forget about limited government and fiscal restraint, filled me with considerable concern.  As you know from reading this blog, I decided to rally behind the only Republican candidate who consistently spoke in favor of shrinking the national government, Representative Ron Paul.  Unfortunately, too many conservatives scoffed at the idea of Paul being their nominee.  Some firmly believed in Bush’s conflict in Iraq while others lumped Paul as being the same as some his more radical, conspiracy-minded followers.  Nevertheless, John McCain became the Republican nominee.  As I have stated in the past, although Senator McCain advocated a few conservative policies, he is not a conservative.  This truth should have become painfully clear as a result of the McCain/Feingold muzzle on free speech, his support for amnesty, and his insistence during the debates of compelling the government to buy up and renegotiate bad mortgages.  Yuck!  Although many conservatives grudgingly voted for McCain, others either stayed home on election day, voted for Obama, or voted for a third party candidate.  Still, I was still surprised by how badly McCain lost.  Conservatism was further removed from the national stage.

For the first time in a long while, I’m beginning to gain a glimmer of hope.  Now I believe that we are only a few years from a conservative renaissance.  “How can that be?” You might ask.  Under Obama and the series of bailouts the state has grown ever larger.  What politician is willing to take a stand for my liberty…for my tax dollars?  Just look at recent events.  More and more states have passed resolutions reclaiming their sovereignty as protected by the 10th Amendment.  We don’t know what sort of legal impact these resolutions will make, if any, but it is clearly an important step if we wish to reign in the federal government.  And consider the tea parties.  In hundreds of locations across the nation, thousands upon thousands of disenchanted citizens gathered to protest excessive government taxes and spending.  Think back to last year at this time.  If the protest occurred then, wouldn’t they have been labeled as radical or ignored completely by media outlets like FOX News?  Have either spending or taxes risen so dramatically between Bush and Obama?  Hardly.  And yet now that a Democrat lives in the White House, conservatives and Republicans of many stripes can band together in opposition to Obama’s policies.

The present time harkens back to 1994 when the Democrats controlled the Presidency, the House, and the Senate.  However, unlike that time, we must nominate and elect principled limited government Constitutional conservatives who will remain true to their values, not be corrupted with the temptations of power and kickbacks.  Then, and only then, we will enjoy the fruits of a lasting conservative renaissance.  Our goals are clear.  Let us not waiver.

Reclaiming the Party

Well fellow conservatives, we stand at a historic opportunity to reclaim the GOP.  Although the Republican Party was trounced in the election, the principles of limited government conservatism remain strong.  The Republican Party lost.  Neo-conservative thinking lost.  But, you must remember that we did not lose because our policies and principles were not on the ballot.  True, some conservatives did and might lose (let us hope that Virgil Goode (5th, VA) triumphs), however, those defeats likely stemmed from the weakness from the top of the ticket.  I assure you that more McCain voters were motivated by fear of Obama than enthusiasm for McCain.  That tactic is no way to win an election.  Love trumps fear.  Have we learned nothing from Machiavelli?  If only our candidates had run away as fast as they could from big government advocates like Bush and McCain, they would have done far better.  As I’ve said in the past,

“I believe that there are three key elements that lead to our success.  We win if we:

1.    Stick to our principles,
2.    Properly articulate our message to the fine citizens of the Valley and the rest of our state, and
3.    Campaign hard

When we fail at even one of these principles, we usually lose (and deservedly so).”

Unfortunately, when conservatives place party ahead of principles, conservatives lose.  Then, sooner or later, the Republican Party loses …Virginia loses…and the nation loses.

Along these lines, I present to you a speech given by the author of the book Conservatives Betrayed, Richard Viguerie.  He gave this speech at the Virginia Conservative Leadership Conference on April 26th 2008 in Richmond, Virginia.

Should you want to hear more of Richard Viguerie, you should pick up his writings or visit his website.

Fellow lover of liberty, all is not lost.  We must take back our party, our state, and our nation.  Do you want more faux conservative candidates like McCain or Bush?  Do you want more betrayals and crushing defeats?  If we fail to act today, who knows when we will get another opportunity like the present?  Now is our time, so let us begin.

The Virginia Democratic-Republican?

Well…here we are…the day after the presidential election.  In a recent post, Jack Hunter a.k.a. the Southern Avenger asked what issues motivated you in this election.  For him, the central concerns were controlling illegal immigration and an elimination of the present aggressive and expansive foreign policy.  I think that both were indeed important, but did these issues move you?  Could there have been others?  What about the killing of our children via abortion?  Or how about cutting taxes?  Reducing government spending?  Protecting our rights to keep and bear arms?  The list goes on.  Although there were numerous issues of importance in this election, as with every year, the single most important and all-encompassing issue for me was a drastic reduction of the size and scope of the federal government.  As well you know, neither of the two major party candidates offered any significant plans to noticeably put us on a path to a reduction in government.  Although you would be right to ask why neither the Republicans and the Democrats would nominate a person who shares my goal, instead let us focus a bit on the history of American politics.

Those without grounding in early American politics might find my title “the Virginia Democratic-Republican” a bit strange.  No, I assure you that I don’t have some sort of multiple personally disorder or that I’m pining for the fusion of both Democrats and Republicans, but rather I’m referring to one of the two original political parties in the county.  Early in the nation’s history, there were, like today, two parties.  The first sought greater power for the federal government through means such as the establishment of a national bank, a strong national army and navy, close ties to Great Britain, high tariffs, considerable government spending, and the ability to punish those who spoke against the policies of the government.  They were called the Federalists and were led by men like Alexander Hamilton and John Adams.  Sounds a bit like today doesn’t it…with a federal reserve/bailout, the War on Terror, and the Patriot Act, huh?  Opposing this party were the Democratic-Republicans who favored a weak, limited, constitutional government with greater power reserved for the states.  They argued for low taxes and spending, small or nonexistent standing military, good relations with France, and a balanced budget.  Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe were leaders in this party.  Slowly, but surely, due to a number of factors, the Democratic-Republicans gained power until the Federalist Party disappeared.

Although the Federalist Party died, their ideas did not and they reformed as the Whigs and later as the Republican Party.  The Democratic-Republicans, on the other hand, became the forbearers of the Democratic Party.  The first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln, and his successors continued in the vein of the Federalist Party of old by attempting to create national banks, an income tax, a large military force, internal improvements through massive government spending, high tariffs, and subduing states rights under the heel of the national government.

For the most part, the Democratic Party stood as the champions of states rights and limited government.  Curiously this trend changed with the presidencies of the first two Democratic Presidents in the 20th Century.  Woodrow Wilson, like the Republican Lincoln before him, created a permanent national bank (the Fed), the income tax, and vigorously supported American military interventionism in the name of idealism.  Later came Franklin Roosevelt who expanded the power of the federal government like never before with the creation of unconstitutional programs such as the New Deal, complete with the financial nightmare of social security and massive federal spending such as the Public Works Administration.  With the Democratic Party corrupted, who would stand firm for the Jeffersonian or Democratic-Republican principles of limited government?  Enter the Conservative coalition.

A conservative faction within both the Democratic and Republican parties rose to stand in opposition to big government advocates like FDR.  The Democratic wing came from mostly southern states and, unfortunately, often tied the movement to policies of racial inequality.  The most prominent leader of this group was Senator Robert Taft.  He, like the Democratic-Republicans, supported a small government rather than the welfare state and a non-interventionist foreign policy.  Conservatives managed to get two presidential nominees, Barry Goldwater followed by Ronald Reagan.  As time passed, the conservative Democrats disappeared which left the Republicans to hold the torch.  As Reagan stated when he became a Republican after being a Democrat, “I didn’t leave the Democratic Party.  The party left me.”  Unfortunately, since Reagan, neither party has nominated a true limited government advocate for president.

1994 was another important milestone in conservative politics in the United States.  Not only did the Republican Party simply regain control of the House and Senate, but also it was after a 40-year hiatus.  They achieved power through a coordinated effort promising to streamline government called the Contract with America.  By promoting conservative thinking, the Republican Party was able to win.  Since 1994 conservative politics have been backsliding.  As I’ve stated in earlier posts, the presidency of George W. Bush has been a pretty consistent disappointment for conservatives and a John McCain presidency offers little joy either.  Add this to the fact that none of the Republican or Democratic leaders in the House or Senate have taken a firm, strong stand for conservatism in recent years and you get a recipe for massive government increases.

Where are the politicians who embrace the philosophies of limited government in the tradition of Jefferson?  Although they still exist, both major parties have marginalized them.  Ron Paul has been the most vocal leader in recent years; the conservative Democrat Bob Conley unfortunately failed in his attempt to knock off McCain pal Lindsey Graham in South Carolina; Bob Marshall nearly grabbed the GOP Senate nomination here in Virginia.  What the future has in store for us I cannot say, but we must never give in and never compromise our core values.  I hope that with McCain’s defeat yesterday the Republican Party will be shocked back to its senses.  Otherwise we will need a new party to advance our cause.  No more Bushes and no more McCains.  Where’s Robert Taft when you need him?

President Obama

Well, with only day left in the election, voters gravitate further and further to the Obama camp.  Even Virginia has slipped from a tossup state into the Democratic camp.  Although I see that McCain is ramping up is TV ads in the final 72 hours, it seems practically certain that he will be unable to overcome this gap.  Even Rasmussen Reports, who features McCain ads and anti-Obama ads on their website recently put Obama’s chances of victory at 85%.  If and when Obama does win, the blame game will begin.  Success, they say, has many fathers, while failure is an orphan.  Some Republicans pundits will blame conservatives such as myself for not rallying for McCain (or against Obama), but I steadfastly believe that if the Republican party nominated a true conservative rather than a liberal/moderate “maverick” we could have had a shot at winning.  It would have been tough, no doubt, with the unpopularity of President Bush, the war, and the economy, but there was still a chance of victory.  Senator McCain ignored the conservative base in favor of pandering to the liberals and the independents and we all will suffer for it tomorrow.

Nevertheless, I wonder what will come of an Obama presidency.  Government spending and taxes will increase, but what about foreign policy.  When the Republican got slammed back in 2006, the silver lining I hoped for was the end of the Iraq conflict.  After all, many Democrats, like our own Senator Webb, campaigned on the issue.  Unfortunately, we are still there in Iraq.  Ideally, I’d like to think that in an Obama administration diplomacy would replace the barrel of a gun approach favored by the Bush administration.  Will there be other changes?  You betcha.  The minimum wage will likely increase and there will be talk of a national health care system once more.  However, fellow conservatives, we must not become despondent or remain complacent.  We must shift the Republican Party toward conservatism if we want any voice or any true counterbalance to this cradle-to-grave liberalism.  Mark my words though, if we work together and promote our small-government ideals, we should be in prime position to make tangible gains in the midterm 2010 election.

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

The Disappointing W

(Not a reference to the movie of the same name)

From the time of my political awaking back in the mid 1990’s, politicians have come and gone, rising to great power and falling from glory.  However, one leader on which I pinned such wistful hopes has so resoundingly disappointed me.  That leader was none other than President George W. Bush.  Back in 2000 when he was running against the liberal leaning John McCain, I strongly supported his election.  After the 8 years of Clinton, we needed a strong conservative leader who supported the ideals of limited government and exhibited strong moral values.  Very early in his administration, pundits criticized President Bush for taking time off and not accomplishing anything, but I didn’t mind in the least.  After all, he was our president, not the “leader of the free world” like the president has come to be viewed.  True, we are the greatest nation on earth, but other nations have a right to govern themselves rather than be controlled from Washington.  I figured that other conservatives and southerners agreed with this viewpoint.  One of my favorite quotes came from George Bush.  He said that in 2001, “I just don’t think that it’s the role of the United States to walk into a country to say, ‘we do it this way, so should you’”.

I thought that, like Communism, after the Clinton failures, the ideas of nation building and military interventionism were thrown on the ash heap of history.  In addition, for the first time in my life, Republicans controlled the House, the Senate, and the Presidency.  Can you imagine it?  We could finally roll back government spending and taxes.  How about eliminating a few unconstitutional government agencies?  Or even take steps to end the genocide of abortion?  Just about anything was possible.  Unfortunately, as they say, 9-11 changed everything.  Rather than fighting to restore our government, President Bush pushed for the so-called Patriot Act which further stripped away our privacy and liberty in order to gain a little temporary security.  American citizens, in their fear, willing gave up their rights in order to try to stay safe.  After all, if you weren’t guilty, you had nothing to fear, right?  Then came the terrible conflict in Iraq.  I say that it was terrible because it was the first time that we preemptively provoked a conflict (unless you want to argue about either the Vietnam and the Spanish American War, though in both those cases the government came up with a rational explanation that later turned out to be false).  Rather than focusing on punishing Osama Bin Laden for 9-11, we instead took over a sovereign nation, first in the name of weapons of mass destruction and later to spread democracy and freedom.  To die to maintain and enhance the freedom and liberty of one’s own people is a noble goal.  To fight on behalf of another nation or people’s freedom should be a choice made on a person-by-person basis rather than by our leaders.  European monarchs of old and today’s dictators treat their soldiers like pawns in a chess game, sacrificing them to gain territory or aid allies, but I would like to think that the lives of our soldiers hold far more value.

Back to domestic concerns, rather than fight against federal involvement in education, President Bush pushed for No Child Left Behind.  Also Bush failed in his duty to defend our borders by not punishing illegal immigration and refusing to pardon the border patrol agents who were imprisoned for doing their jobs.  What about his delay in firing Rumsfeld, which likely cost Republican seats in 2006?  Then we have the issue of the bailout.  Normally, a rational fiscal conservative would have realized that government intervention caused the problem, but instead George Bush supported massive corporate welfare at your and my expense.  On the other hand, what socially conservative programs did George Bush push?  Has abortion been curtailed?  Do we have greater school choice?  He squandered away so much political capital on his war on terror, that he either ignored his opportunities domestically, or even worse, steadily moved us in the wrong direction.

True, I did campaign and vote for George Bush in 2000, but I didn’t repeat my mistake in 2004.  I pinned so much hope on W. and he has disappointed on just about every front.  He is not a small government advocate on either fiscal or foreign policy issues and he tricked the moral wing of the party into supporting his flawed plans under the banner of God and Country.  Think John McCain is a fresh conservative change from the likes of George Bush?  Think again.  Until Republicans rediscover and embrace the constitutional conservative soul of the party they not only should lose, but they also must lose.  As even the questionably conservative Mitt Romney noted, “When Republicans act like Democrats, America loses”.  Demand better.  Otherwise get used to more crappy leaders like Bush and McCain.