The Schmookler & Huffman Show (Episode XLX)

On Wednesday, September 20th, Andy Schmookler and I appeared on 550 AM, WSVA for the 50th time.  We started off talking about the upcoming election for the governor of Virginia.  I offered several reasons why I believe that liberty-minded folks should not vote for Ed Gillespie, the Republican nominee, in November.  From there, we spoke about efforts to revive the Obamacare repeal and the possible brewing conflict with North Korea.

If you missed the show live, you can find it here.

The Schmookler & Huffman Show (Episode XLIV)

On the morning of March 15th, Andy Schmookler and I, Joshua Huffman, appeared on 550 AM WSVA for our monthly radio hour.  The topics for discussion included:  Obamacare and Paul Ryan’s attempts to craft his own health care law, the 2017 Virginia elections including the increasing number of contested elections for the House of Delegates in the central Shenandoah Valley, and President Trump’s connections with Russia and whether this issue creates a massive conflict of interest with his duties to the Constitution and the American people.

If you missed the program live, you can find a recording of it here.

Dems Attack Gillespie

Gillespiecare
Image from Gillespiecare.com

A number of conservative activists in Virginia have warned the Republican Party that if they nominate Ed Gillespie for U.S. Senate, Senator Mark Warner will easily win reelection.  They claim that Gillespie supports the idea of a government funded healthcare program and thus will be unable to capitalize on one supposed glaring weakness of Senator Warner, his vote in favor of Obamacare.

Well, today there is a fresh attack ad against Ed Gillespie over this very issue.  However, it does not come from Shak Hill, any of his other Republican convention opponents, or Libertarian Robert Sarvis.  Instead, the salvo originates from the Democratic Party of Virginia; the Democratic Party declares Mr. Gillespie to be a hypocrite and claims that he will sell out if the price is right.  The website is available here.

The emergence and timing of this website raises a few political questions.  Does the Democratic Party simply assume that Gillespie will be the nominee, given that he is likely the frontrunner, and is getting a head start on attacking him early?  Or does the Democratic Party hope that Gillespie will lose the nomination and the Republicans select another candidate who will not have access to the fundraising tools that Gillespie enjoys?

Either way, I suspect that as we draw closer to the Virginia Republican Convention the number and variety of attacks from groups within and outside the GOP will only increase.

Berg Against Obamacare

In 2013, Dr. Mark Berg defeated a long-time delegate from the Winchester area in the Republican primary.  He ran on a platform of liberty and constitutionally limited government.  Now that he is serving in Richmond, he has proposed a piece of legislation, House Bill 338, which seeks to curb Obamacare in the state of Virginia.

In a press release sent out about fifteen minutes ago, the delegate and his staff explain the bill.

“Del. Mark Berg introduced HB 338 to guarantee that Virginia does not end up funding Obamacare implementation.  In the 2013 session of the General Assembly, SB 922 authorized the State Corporation Commission to perform plan management functions for participation in the federal health benefit exchange.  While it claimed to be contingent on full funding from the federal government, the legislation left the door open to partial funding from the state and federal government.

“HB 338 tightens the language to keep the state from paying the bills for the planned management functions in the future.  Del. Berg stated, ‘As we discuss how the state responds to the Affordable Care Act, it is crucial that we make sure the state is never required to gradually pick up the bill for these programs.  Allowing programs to gradually require state funding will put an incredible burden on the state budget.  Passing this bill will help protect the taxpayers and keep Virginia’s financial future secure.'”

I’m sure that many of us would like to see Obamacare repealed as we believe it to be an unconstitutional overreach by the federal government.  Hopefully this bill will prevent it from becoming just another unfunded federal mandate imposed upon the state and her citizens.

You can find the full text of HB 338 here.

A Political Fourth

For many Americans, the Fourth of July is a day filled with cookouts and family gatherings capped off by a night filled with a colorful fireworks display.  However, given that the date serves as the commemoration for the birth of the nation, it is also steeped in politics.

On Wednesday afternoon, the city of Harrisonburg, Virginia held its annual parade to celebrate the day.  The weather was quite hot and sunny, a marked difference from last year when a virtual monsoon threatened to cancel the affair.

The parade boasted the usual assortment of floats and vehicles: musicians, fire and rescue teams, antique cars, and, of course, political groups.  This year, there were four different sets of folks who entered: the Republican Party, the Democratic Party, the Tea Party, and Abe Shearer for City Council.

Overall, the candidate who could claim the largest number of visible supporters in the parade had to be Representative Bob Goodlatte (VA-6).  There was a veritable sea of matching blue Goodlatte shirts among the Republicans.  Other Republican candidates were promoted as well including: Mitt Romney, George Allen, Mark Obenshain, and the various City Council hopefuls.

The Democratic Party had an impressive showing as well.  They waved signs in favor of Barack Obama, Tim Kaine, Andy Schmookler, and two City Council candidates. I spoke with Deb Fitzgerald, one of the Democratic candidates running, to ask if the Democratic Party only fielded two folks for the three seats up in November.  I discovered that although Kai Degner is running for re-election, he apparently had no signs printed to be used in the parade.

Running as an independent for City Council, Abe Shearer also made his presence known.  Even though some might be tempted to disregard independents, recent elections have shown that they offer beat the two party candidates for this particular office.  The outcome for this race will hinge heavily upon the battle between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama at the top of the ticket and the strength of the campaigns of each of the council candidates.

During the trip down Main Street, I walked alongside the Tea Party float handing out copies of the Constitution.  In general, the crowd was very receptive and so I ran out of materials a good distance from the end of the route.

Given that the Fourth is now five days passed, you might find it odd that it has taken me so long to write about it here.  Well, I’m afraid that I didn’t feel much like writing on the evening of the event.  On the drive back to the parking lot, I decided to catch a ride on the Tea Party float.  As we turned onto a side street, the mast holding the tea party sign struck a low-hanging branch and came loose.  Unfortunately, I happened to be in the path of the heavy wooden board as it fell to the ground.  Although it was only a glancing blow, the plank did graze the side of my head and collided with my shoulder.  At the time, I was worried about the severity of the injury, and, as a result of the pain, did very little for the rest of that evening.  However, I’m pleased to say that several days later, only a yellowish bruise and a bit of residual soreness seem to be the only lingering effects.

I suppose that one could see a bit of irony in the idea of a person who opposes the idea of government-run health insurance and also does not presently have health insurance due to the tremendous cost involved, becoming injured himself and possibly in need of assistance.  Nevertheless, if a person does find him or herself in such a state of need, should one demand that the government redress this problem?  Although freely given charity is laudable, the idea of a person compelling his or her neighbors to care for his or her needs through either force or coercion seems to completely reject the basic political tenets of liberty and freedom under which this country was supposedly founded.

Anyway, to sum up, except for the surprise accident at the end, I would say that the parade was a rousing success for all of the parties who choose to participate.  Speaking specifically of the tea party, I hope that I’ll see a few new faces at our meeting later this month.

Tea With Jefferson

On Thursday night, I attended my first meeting of the Jefferson Area Tea Party.  As expected, the membership primarily consists of folks from the city of Charlottesville, where they are based, and the surrounding Albemarle County.

The leader of the group noted that there were a considerable number of new faces in the crowd that night.  That situation likely stemmed from a general sense of dissatisfaction as a result of the Supreme Court decision earlier that day upholding the constitutionality of Obamacare.  Although there were a few topics discussed, outrage over nationalized healthcare and the general belief that the courts failed to defend the law of the land took center stage.

After the meeting, the leader spoke to a local TV reporter who was compiling a story on the tea party.  The Charlottesville  media was not alone in seeking tea party reaction; an outlet attended the Harrisonburg Tea Party as well.  As luck would have it, both that organization and the Staunton Tea Party held their monthly meetings on the same night as Charlottesville’s.

So, the real question is will the tea party be able to harness this overall frustration and disgust into tangible political successes?  The answer is a definite maybe.  As I reported from previous gatherings across the state, Parke West, one of the leaders of We r Virginia, spoke about the effort to train and mold tea party activists into a grassroots army.  The purpose of this work is to influence the outcome of the November elections.  In response to this call, a vast number of the attendees eagerly signed up to learn more.

Regardless of what path you take, if you are concerned about the state of our country and the apparent continued demise of federalism, the 10th amendment, and the idea of a constitutionally limited government, you must take a stand, and you must do so now.  It is my hope that the tea parties will lead this movement; if they do, they will continue to grow in strength as they work tirelessly to restore our nation.

As I’m sure Thomas Jefferson would tell us, assuming he was still alive, we all know that Obamacare is just one of many federal programs that must be repealed.  Isn’t it past time to begin the rollback of the federal government?

Much Ado About Cuccinelli

Media outlets and political blogs everywhere have been buzzing about Virginia’s Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli since Monday’s court ruling striking down the heart of Obamacare as unconstitutional.  Although such news may come as a shock to some liberals, like the judge in the case, I think it is quite clear that the United States Constitution does not give the federal government the authority to force citizens to buy anything, let alone health insurance.  But, as there is already an overabundance of discussion on this topic, I’d like to switch gears.

Ken Cuccinelli has made quite a name for himself both in Virginia politics and nationally, first in our State Senate and now in our Attorney General’s office.  He has proven, through both his words and his deeds, that he is an ardent and effective conservative, a champion of the 10th Amendment, and a defender of liberty.  But one question constantly nagged me.  What office would Cuccinelli seek next?  Would he run for the U.S. Senate in 2012?  After all, the potential field is already getting crowded.  Perhaps he would make a move to join the ranks of men like Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, and James Monroe, becoming the next Governor of the Old Dominion?  Doing so would likely set up a showdown between himself and Bill Bolling.  Through recent statements, the Attorney General has left this potential door available.  Although I believe Cuccinelli could prevail, it could also set up a very ugly nomination contest.  I assume that many of us recall the feud between then Lt. Governor John Hager and AG Mark Earley that led to the victory of Mark Warner.  Still other pundits suggest that Cuccinelli should run for re-election to his current post.  Then again, given his increasing national attention, would an attempt to become the next Vice President or even President seem too far-fetched?  Well, about two hours ago, it seems that question has been finally answered.

Here is an email that I just received:

Dear Fellow Virginians,

Well, the liberals sure didn’t waste any time.

After news came out yesterday that a federal judge here in Virginia sided AGAINST President Obama and in favor of my argument that the federal government’s mandate to require you to purchase health insurance is unconstitutional, the liberals quickly began launching their attacks at us.

And they are coming after us with everything they’ve got.

So I’ll keep this short and sweet.  We are in for a long fight in this case that is certain to be decided by the Supreme Court.  And even though I strongly disagreed with the healthcare bill, our ongoing lawsuit isn’t about healthcare. It’s about liberty!

It’s no secret — I’m not the most popular person with liberals in America these days. The conservative leadership I’ve been working to provide in Virginia and across the country has drawn countless personal and political attacks from the left.

I’m encouraged that so many pro-freedom Americans – here in Virginia and across the country – have supported my efforts to stand up for our Constitutional rights.  But the flip side is that my political opponents are more determined than ever to smear me over the next 3 years and then defeat me when I’m next up for election.

That’s why I can’t just sit back and allow the left’s attacks on me to go unchallenged. And that’s why I can’t wait to gather the resources to fight back – so please help me by making a donation today!

I have kept my political committee open and active for three reasons:

1.    To give me the resources to respond when my political opponents attack me for doing my job … protecting Constitutional rights.

2.    Our side needs leadership now more than ever.  I’m trying to provide that leadership in Virginia and nationally.  Your donation will allow me to travel to provide leadership and campaign for good constitutional conservative candidates. We must increase the number of elected officials – at all levels of government – who will stand up for limited Constitutional government.

3.    And I must start building up my campaign warchest now in order to be ready for whatever the liberals throw against me when I run for re-election.

So please, make a donation right now to help me fight back TODAY by clicking here!

Make a donation right now!

Sincerely,
Ken's Signature
Ken Cuccinelli, II
Attorney General of Virginia

Did you catch the answer?  “…When I run for re-election”?  So Ken Cuccinelli hopes to serve as our Attorney General for eight years?  Great!  I’m all for it.  Given his popularity, massive name ID, and the fact that Virginia hasn’t elected a Democratic Attorney General since Mary Sue Terry in 1989, barring any major setback, Cuccinelli should be a virtual lock for re-election three years from now.

Virginia and the nation need strong leaders who will stand for principle over petty political maneuvering and personal gain.  Conservatives must be bold and resolute, always defending our values and not caving in to the demands of “more government” simply because it is the easiest path.  As long as Ken Cuccinelli represents these ideals, I will proudly stand beside him, whatever office he may hold and encourage like-minded Virginians to do likewise.   KC 4 AG 2013!

Understanding Obamacare

We all know that the federal government’s takeover of healthcare is unquestionably unconstitutional.  Now I know that some liberals out there disagree, therefore I ask you to show me where this authority is spelled out in the enumerated powers.  If you cannot do so, then Obamacare must be repealed.  After all we must always remember that, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”  Oh, that darn pesky 10th Amendment.

Nevertheless, as we wait for the multitude of state lawsuits to proceed through the judicial system, we should take a bit of time to understand what Obamacare means and how it could impact our lives.  Fortunately, our friends at Americans For Limited Government are taking the time to wade through the impact of Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (the official name of Obamacare).  They’ve recently created a new website http://obamacarewatcher.org/ to uncover many of the pitfalls hidden within this liberal feel good legislation.

Despite the claims of some big government Republicans, nationalized healthcare doesn’t need to be replaced or reformed, but repealed completely and the idea thrown on the ash heap of history.  This ridiculous folly mocks the concept of liberty, the notion of individualism, and ultimately undermines the true spirit of America.  As we work toward this goal, I strongly encourage reading more on Obamacare Watcher so that you can learn the truth for yourself.

Virginia vs. Obamacare

Of course you’ve heard the news by now.  House of Representatives narrowly pass Obamacare.  “Pro-life” Democrats abandon principles for the sake of party.  Americans will soon be forced to buy health insurance, etc.  Needless to say, I not pleased by this vast increase in federal government power.  Unfortunately, with each passing administration we surrender more and more of our rights and liberty to the government.  When will it all end?  How much more power do they need?  Will we suddenly wake up one day, stripped of all our liberty and personal responsibility, and wonder how we got in such a mess?  How much more unconstitutional abuse can we endure?

Although this latest affront known as Obamacare worries me greatly, it makes me very glad that I live here in the state of Virginia.  You see, unlike some parts of the country, our legislators in Richmond don’t simply throw up their hands and surrender to the overreaching authority of Washington.  This year, Senators Steve Martin, Fred Quayle, and Jill Vogel, as well as Delegate Bob Marshall have all introduced similar or identical bills in the General Assembly, which exempt Virginians from Obamacare.  As a result of their efforts, Virginians are protected from this federal mandate.  It is a modern day example of nullification; the theory that states can ignore or overturn any federal law that they believe violates the constitution.  In addition, our Attorney General, Ken Cuccinelli is preparing to sue the feds over this issue.  Even though other states are planning similar actions, Virginia is taking the lead for federalism and the 10th Amendment.  I do feel sorry for those citizens who live in states whose legislators are either too liberal or too cowardly to take a stand against this “reform”.

Here is a clip from March 17, 2010 on Fox News.

Ultimately, it is very likely that this issue will reach the Supreme Court.  Will the court find Obamacare constitutional?  And if so, will nullification efforts like Virginia’s be upheld?

I encourage you to head over to Crystal Clear Conservative who has a couple of good clips from Attorney General Cuccinelli on the matter, as well as Bearing Drift who have an important interview with Representative Wittman and AG Cuccinelli.

Bad Medicine

With each passing day, America slips further and further into the grip of socialism.  I expect that both the House of Representatives and Senate will soon reach an agreement on the latest attack on our liberty, national health care.  Although I’d like to think that Senator Webb and Warner would uphold their vows to our Constitution and vote against the bill, in the end, it is highly likely that both will toe the Democratic Party line.  Sigh.  I suppose that at some point our government must have been pretty decent.  Then again, the Supreme Court finding a supposed right to privacy that allows you to kill your own children through abortion but doesn’t protect you from the intrusion of the government through the excesses of the Patriot Act makes just about as much sense in today’s society.  It’s amazing what you can get away with when you interpret the phrase “general welfare” as liberally as possible while ignoring the 10th Amendment.

I have a confession to make.  Like millions of Americans, I don’t have health insurance.  Why don’t I, you may ask?  The answer is simple.  I cannot afford it.  Although I have had health insurance in the past and will likely do so again in the future, my budget doesn’t allow it at the present.  Well then, should I look to the government for assistance?  Should I insist that the government take money out of your pocket and give it to me so that I too can enjoy the benefits of health insurance?  Is that scheme unfortunately becoming the new “American way”?  While we are on the subject, I have to wonder why we need health insurance for routine doctor visits.  My understanding is that originally health insurance was used for major things like surgery, hospital stays, and the like.  Using insurance for any health related issue under the sun makes about as much sense as requiring auto insurance for oil changes.  As a result, this increased reliance on insurance has greatly spiked the health care costs in this country.  Take it from me; to now seek medical assistance without it is tantamount to financial suicide.  And when this legislation passes, if you choose to go without insurance, then the federal government can fine you?  I’m starting to wonder, which side won the Cold War, liberty or statism?  To borrow a phrase from Yakov Smirnoff, in Soviet Russia, insurance chooses you!

Now we can scream foul at the top of our lungs, but will our elected representatives hear our cry?  Sure, some statesmen like Delegate Bob Marshall, Senator Mark Obenshain, and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli are actively fighting for your rights, but the vast majority of politicians simply don’t care.  After all, Washington insiders know what’s best for you and are more than happy to dictate policy.  You agree, yes?  Remember, Napoleon Obama is always right.  Anyone who supports federalized insurance must be voted out of office and I encourage you to read Senator Obenshain’s recent article on the subject found in the Washington Times.  Not only does socialism promote bad medicine through expanded bureaucracy and inflated costs, it also spawns bad governance.