Last week, the Sarvis Press Shop released the following tweet which has appeared on the Facebook pages of many of my friends:
For those who are unaware, until recently Donna Holt served as the Virginia director of Campaign for Liberty. During her time in this position, she often promoted awareness of U.N. Agenda 21, an objective which some believe is an effort to erode American sovereignty and severely restrict land use in this country.
After seeing this tweet pop up so many places, including my own Facebook page, I thought I should investigate the matter. Therefore, when Robert Sarvis came to Harrisonburg on Friday, I asked him about it. Mr. Sarvis stated that he did not write this tweet, nor did he have any hand in its creation. According to Twitter, the account is run by JVLaB@RobertSarvis.com. The Virginia Liberty Party has this additional information directly from Robert Sarvis: “I certainly wasn’t involved in the tweet and have already raked him over the coals for injecting his own editorial comments….as for Donna Holt…I have recently seen her name explicitly associated with blatant and clearly intentional misrepresentations of my positions. I don’t know what was said about her in any tweets but the smear campaign is just rank dishonesty.”
As we are just days from the election, with Sarvis’ poll numbers hovering around 10% (most a bit higher, some a bit lower), many of my liberty-minded friends have been taking to Facebook to talk about Robert Sarvis. Some offer legitimate concerns, while (as far as I can tell) a majority seek only to deride Robert Sarvis as a person as well as to cast doubt on his principles, integrity, and commitment to liberty. Favorite tactics these days include calling him nothing more than a McAuliffe operative (there’s a conspiracy theory for you), or that he is some kind of LINO (a word I think must have been invented for this campaign, Libertarian In Name Only). In order to further these tactics, they take bits and pieces of Sarvis’ quotes out of context and use them as proof that he is secretly supporting some kind of statist agenda.
Now, I know why many of my friends are proceeding down this path. They are worried that Sarvis will peel away a significant number of liberty-minded voters that may have otherwise gone to Ken Cuccinelli and thus cost him the election. However, many polls show that idea to be false. For example, according to the Richmond Times Dispatch, “Sarvis is getting 3 percent of the GOP vote, 2 percent of the Democratic vote and 14 percent of independent voters.” In the September Roanoke College Poll, they found that Sarvis draws upon 4% of Democrats and 3% of Republicans. With these statistics (and there are more out there), one could hardly make the claim that Sarvis will deprive Cuccinelli of a victory.
Furthermore, many of my brothers and sisters in liberty have bought into the idea that a Terry McAuliffe election will spell the end to everything we hope to achieve in Virginia. Now, given my research, I don’t find McAuliffe to be a particularly appealing candidate. At this point, he doesn’t seem to have much knowledge about the function of state government nor its proper role. Nevertheless, when we let fear cloud our judgment, we often find ourselves in even worse messes.
As an additional note, I must say that I don’t appreciate that some people continue to argue that Robert Sarvis made no attempt to reach out to the liberty movement or Ron Paul supporters. After all, here I am. I try to avoid self-aggrandizement, but I have been active in the liberty movement for years and proudly worked for Ron Paul in 2007/08. However, I’m sure many of you have also gotten a handful of emails that distort Robert Sarvis’ positions or claim that polls indicate his support slipping, even though the three latest polls (Rasmussen, CNU, and Emerson) show him in double digits. Yes, Jamie Radtke, Donna Holt, Chris Stearns, and Russ Moulton are important folks, but that doesn’t mean that we should assume that every email bearing any or all their names is factually correct or that they or anyone else can speak for the liberty movement as a whole in Virginia.
Getting back to the whole tweet issue mentioned at the beginning, it clearly is an ill-advised retaliation by a member of the Sarvis campaign team, but the constant and often misleading attacks on Robert Sarvis are equally ill-advised. I encourage you to weigh your options carefully and vote on November 5th for whom you think is the best candidate. Although I’ve had disagreements with the RLC-VA this year, as Robert Kenyon, the chairman of that group said yesterday, “I’m going to humbly suggest that, while I fervently believe pro-liberty voters in the Old Dominion should support Ken Cuccinelli for Governor, the best way to convince people is NOT to accuse Rob Sarvis of being some sort of crypto-liberal or hating puppies. Talk about why Ken is our guy.” The Sarvis supporters ought to follow this line of thinking as well.
If you truly want liberty in Virginia, whether you are for Cuccinelli or Sarvis, please stay positive ladies and gents. Promote your candidate and don’t simply malign the others. After all, regardless of this election, on November 6th we have to try and come together as a movement. Spending the next several days tearing us apart over fear and misinformation will make that task all the more difficult.