Onward to the Convention!

Well, it is only three and a half months to the next RPV convention.  Excited yet?  You should be.  Although 2008 was my first, I eagerly look forward to the second.  It is a great time to meet fellow delegates, speak with candidates and elected officials, and party like it is 1984…er maybe like it is 1985…1984 is a bit too Orwellian for my tastes.  You should really go to the convention if you get the chance.  As Republicans, we will have the opportunity to select our three candidates for statewide office in November:  Governor, Lt. Governor, and Attorney General.  So let’s have a brief rundown of each office.

Governor

Unless something wacky happens between now and the convention, Attorney General Bob McDonnell will be the Republican nominee for Governor.  Although it would have been interesting to see the campaign between McDonnell and Lt. Gov. Bill Boiling and would give the candidate for governor a bit more campaign experience and even more name recognition, it is likely better for both the chances of the party and the candidates to remain unified.

Lt. Governor

Yes, we do have a nomination fight for Lt. Governor.  Current Lt. Gov. Bolling is looking to return to office by fending off a challenge from Patrick Muldoon.  In some ways, this race reminds me of the Gilmore/Marshall contest as a current (or former) statewide officeholder squares off against someone who bills himself as the more conservative alternative.  Another unusual comparison between the two races is the rematch of campaign staff, Wells vs. Waters.  Matt Wells, who was the political director for the Gilmore campaign, now head the campaign for Bolling, while Steve Waters, campaign manager for Bob Marshall, is presently listed as a Muldoon “spokesperson”.  The first question you might ask is, “Who is Patrick Muldoon?”  It is certainly an important and valid question that requires an answer.  At this point, the Muldoon campaign styles itself as being more anti-Bolling than pro-Muldoon, and although there are a handful of folks who dislike Bolling scattered across the state, I sincerely doubt that such a tactic will produce much success.  Another point to consider is that in the area of fundraising as the Lt. Gov holds a massive lead.  Unless the Muldoon campaign message coalesces quickly to explain why delegates should support Muldoon over Bolling, I predict an easy win for the Bolling camp.

Attorney General

Ah the hot tamale, the one race that everyone is talking about.  A three way contest between John Brownlee, Ken Cuccinelli, and Dave Foster.  I’d had the opportunity to meet and listen to both Brownlee and Cuccinelli so far.  Alas, I missed the chance to visit with Foster when he came to Harrisonburg last week as a result of illness.  I hope that I will get another opportunity prior to voting in the convention.  Therefore, I cannot speak either positively or negatively about Mr. Foster at this time.  Once I gather more information about the candidate, I can form a clearer picture of his electability, principles, and qualifications.  Nevertheless, I must say that I am quite impressed with both Mr. Brownlee and Sen. Cuccinelli.  Both show a strong commitment to conservative values and while Brownlee bring valuable experience as U.S. attorney and ties to the western part of the state, I am constantly impressed by Cuccinelli’s steadfast commitment to standing for his principles, even when that requires him to walk alone.  In the early part of this campaign, Ken Cuccinelli was the clear favorite by leaps and bounds. He has the greatest name recognition and so many of the Marshall supporters’ hold the state senator in similar regard.  Therefore, although the gap has narrowed considerably, if I had to bet, I’d still expect Senator Cuccinelli to emerge the victor.  It will be interesting to see the ways in which the Brownlee and Foster camps via for support and which tactics (if any), prove to be successful at wooing voters.

So the take home message here is this:  Learn more about the candidates (I know that I need to) and then get out there and vote at the convention.  You know how I hate uninformed voters.  Ok, I’ll make it even easier for you.  Here are the links to all of the Republican candidates:

Bob McDonnell for Governor

Bill Bolling for Lt. Governor

Patrick Muldoon for Lt. Governor

John Brownlee for A.G.

Ken Cuccinelli for A.G.

Dave Foster for A.G.

Rally Against the Real ID

Just a short update here folks.  In case you haven’t heard, next week legislators and conservative activists from across the state will be gathering at the capital in an attempt to halt Virginia implementation of the federally mandated Real ID program.  Several other states have rejected this plan and it is high time Virginia does so as well.

The details:

When:  1:00 PM Jan. 21
Where: Virginia Capital Bell Tower
910 Capital Street
Richmond

Both Del. Marshall and Sen. Cuccinelli will be there as well as numerous others.  Wish I could join you, but unfortunately I have to work.

For liberty!

Searching for Judas

A little while ago, I got the latest issue of the Life Defender in the mail.  For those unfamiliar with the newsletter, it is a publication of the organization Virginians for Life, a pro-life organization based out of Front Royal.  Although the issue contained a number of interesting pieces, including a small picture of yours truly, the item that caught my eye was a provocatively entitled article “What Should We Do When Pro-life Politicians Sell Out for 30 Pieces of Political Silver?”  For those with even the most basic knowledge of the Bible, you should instantly recognize the reference to Judas.  For the price of 30 pieces of silver, Judas agreed to betray Jesus to the Jewish authorities and thus led to Jesus’ crucifixion.  Now this article claims that a certain Virginia politician has sold out the pro-life movement in exchange for political capital, but who might this politician be?  Why, it is none other than State Senator Ken Cuccinelli.  But how you may ask, according to this article, did the conservative Cuccinelli betray the pro-life cause?  By endorsing Frank Wolf.

Now I think that anyone who has read much of this blog would not be surprised to hear that Rep. Frank Wolf is not one of my favorite Virginia politicians.  He supported the $700 million dollar bailout of Wall Street, he supported bartering our freedoms by voting for the Patriot Act, and he supported limiting our gun rights through the Brady Bill, just to name a few issues of concern.  But when it comes to the issue of life, for the most part, Rep. Wolf is actually pretty good.  He is against partial-birth abortion, votes to remove much of Planned Parenthood’s funding, has an 85% voting record with National Right to Life in 2007, and typically supports the pro-life movement.  So what is his great sin, that which tarnishes him in the eyes of Virginians for Life?  He is pro-life except in the cases of rape and incest.  As I stated in the past, although I don’t agree with these exceptions, I do not condemn those pro-lifers who hold them, but treat them as brothers and sisters in the fight.  Think about it for a moment.  Not only would banning abortion except in cases of rape and incest reduce the number of abortions in this nation to a relatively few, it would also be a solution which I believe a majority of Americans could rally behind.  Do I want abortions in this country?  Absolutely not, but, like those who favor gun control, we must work though incrementalism and not tear ourselves apart through infighting.

Would I support Frank Wolf for Attorney General of Virginia?  No, I wouldn’t.  But, on the same hand, I cannot condemn Ken Cuccinelli for endorsing him based upon the life issue either.  After all, Cuccinelli is on the ballot, Wolf is not.  Plenty of conservatives supported McCain even though I did not.  Should I treat them as unrepentant heretics?  Heaven forbid.  Not only would I alienate myself, I would also condemn many otherwise fine and upstanding people that I respect and desire to work along side, not against.  Fellow conservatives, I firmly believe that Senator Cuccinelli represents a strong hope for us in the coming years and we must continue to advance our beliefs through whatever candidates and organizations share such values.  To Senator Cuccinelli, I say good luck to you, sir.  To Virginians for Life, I say do whatever you can to continue to fight for the unborn, but please do not disparage the strongly pro-life Cuccinelli on this fundamental issue.  There are certainly Judases among our ranks, but Ken Cuccinelli has proven himself to be our friend and ally, not a traitor.