Yesterday, a fellow blogger at the Mason Conservative announced that Delegate Bob Marshall will be running for the GOP nomination to replace retiring Representative Frank Wolf (VA-10). Given that I have not heard an official announcement, I decided to investigate the matter for myself.
According to my source, Marshall has not yet reached a decision and is still weighing his options and chances. Barbara Comstock is the clear front-runner at this point and has garnered many endorsements, including RPV Chairman Pat Mullins. Like Shak Hill, I was irked by Mullins’ endorsement, considering it to be inappropriate.
So will Marshall decide to run? Knowing what I know, coupled with the fact that he is no stranger to seeking higher office (having run for U.S. Senate previously in 2008 & 2012) I would rate it as highly likely and I would expect an official announcement one way or the other very soon.
For those who don’t recall, during the 2013 gubernatorial elections in Virginia, Boyd Marcus, a strategist who worked for Republicans such as former Governor Jim Gilmore, offered his consulting experience to Democrat Terry McAuliffe over Republican Ken Cuccinelli. Boyd Marcus explained his decision stating, “I’ve never before supported any Democrat, but this election Terry is the clear choice for mainstream conservatives.”
After his inauguration, Governor McAuliffe appointed Mr. Marcus to the Alcohol Beverage Control Board.
“Let me be the first to offer my congratulations to Boyd Marcus on his appointment to the Virginia ABC Board. It’s nice to know the exchange rate for 30 pieces of silver these days is about $122,000 per year plus benefits.”
Although I don’t read every press release that the RPV sends out, I don’t recall ever seeing one quite like this.
On the typical day, both the Cuccinelli campaign and the Republican Party of Virginia send out a multitude of press releases. For example, when I opened my email this morning, I had already received four, one at 8:00 AM, another fifteen minutes later, a third at 9:30, and the most recent at 10:45 while I was writing this piece. Each topic bore a similar theme to the multitude dispersed weeks and months prior. Today’s headlines read, “McAuliffe Biggest Obstacle Seems to be Himself”, “Terry McAuliffe’s Payday Lending Double Standard”, “McAuliffe’s Sales Pitch Starts to Sour”, and “Breaking: McAuliffe’s GreenTech courted Obama’s Solyndra aide”. For comparison, yesterday’s titles include: “Hardly Recognizable McAuliffe”, “Editorials Across Virginia Focus on the SEC Investigation Surrounding McAuliffe’s GreenTech”, “Meet McAuliffe’s Environmental Sugar Daddy Tom Steyer”, and “ICYMI: New TV Ad Scandal”.
Notice a theme? Not a single email is centered on Cuccinelli’s record in public service, either as a state senator or as our sitting attorney general. Instead, each seeks to degrade, demonize, or question the ethics of Terry McAuliffe, Cuccinelli’s Democratic opponent for governor.
Don’t misunderstand the point of this opinion piece. I firmly believe that negative campaigning serves an important purpose when used constructively and in moderation. Some Republicans cried foul when Jamie Radtke attacked George Allen during the 2012 Republican Senate primary. However, she didn’t just simply criticize Allen, but offered a contrast how a Senator Radkte would differ from a Senator Allen.
These Cuccinelli pieces are different. They offer nothing positive other than to suggest that voters ought to elect Ken simply because he is not Terry; that McAuliffe is so ethically challenged that anything or anyone is a better alternative.
Although I haven’t watched each race as closely as this one, as someone who has followed politics for 19 years, I’ve never seen anything quite like the tactics that the Cuccinelli campaign and the RPV is employing. For at least a month previously, the Cuccinelli campaign harassed (and yes, harassed is a good word for it), McAuliffe to release his tax returns. As far as I know, a person’s tax returns are his or her own private business and aren’t required to be released when he or she runs for public office. Many people within the Cuccinelli camp argued that if McAuliffe had “nothing to hide then he would have nothing to fear”. Even though politically useful in this situation, that line of thinking is exceedingly dangerous and works to further erode the privacy rights of our citizens, especially future office seekers.
As a conservative, I believe that Ken Cuccinelli has made many laudable accomplishments during his time as attorney general. However, I am absolutely disgusted by these daily messages, especially the constant barrage from the RPV, seeking only to deride Terry McAuliffe even further. It is as if they are blindly throwing darts as fast as they can, hoping that at least one will hit the board. No. The ends do not justify the means.
Who’s to blame for all of this excessive negativity? Is it Ken Cuccinelli? Cuccinelli’s staff? RPV Chairman Pat Mullins? Or is it someone else within the state party? To be fair, a majority of these emails come from the Republican Party of Virginia. However, I suppose it doesn’t matter, for as long as these messages continue without being denounced by Ken Cuccinelli, all are complicit.
Given the tone the campaign has taken thus far, I suspect it won’t be too long until we start seeing ads like Elizabeth Dole’s completely outlandish attack against Kay Hagen in 2008.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve reached a breaking point. I’m on the verge of non-discriminately trashing everything the Cuccinelli campaign and the Republican Party of Virginia sends out. This unconstructive, unrelenting negativity has to end!
Lately, Virginia politics has shifted to an ethics probe surrounding Governor Bob McDonnell. Yesterday, Bearing Drift, the largest conservative blog in the state, reported that the governor would resign, a rumor denied by the governor’s staff.
To recap for those who haven’t been following this story, Bob McDonnell has recently come under fire as a result of an FBI investigation which discovered that one of his donors has given the governor and his family thousands of dollars in unreported gifts including paying a substantial sum for the wedding of the governor’s daughter and giving the executive a multi-thousand dollar Rolex watch. State Senator Chap Peterson is the first (and so far only) legislator calling upon the governor to resign.
But what does Governor McDonnell think about possible ethics violations? Well, if we rewind the clock four years, we come across the case of Phil Hamilton, a former member of the House of Delegates who lost his seat in a scandal involving Old Dominion University. Almost as soon as the allegations were made, before any charges were filed, McDonnell, along with Virginia Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling and Virginia Republican Party Chairman Pat Mullins, called for Hamilton to resign. He stated, “From what I have seen of published news accounts containing emails and admissions, it appears that Delegate Hamilton has violated the public trust. Based on this public information it would be in the best interests of his constituents for him to step down…” McDonnell went on to add “…but if he believes that the due process of a full inquiry by the House Ethics Advisory Panel will clear his name, he should have a full opportunity to present his case.” McDonnell, like his cohorts, were quick to condemn Hamilton without either a trial or full ethics inquiry, choosing instead a course which he thought would best help the party and his own chances during his 2009 run for governor. Then State Senator Ken Cuccinelli stood alone in his conviction that Hamilton, like anyone accused of a crime, ought to have his day in court before being thrown under the bus by his party and his running mates.
So, will Bob McDonnell resign based upon these charges? Well, if he wished to remain morally consistent he would do so. After all, if the mere charges of bribery and corruption were enough to bring down a delegate in 2009, surely this line of thinking would be constant for a governor in 2013 as well. Unfortunately, especially in politics, far too many politicians live in a world where they insist on a certain moral code…as long as it applies to everyone but the person advocating the code.
Yes, the charges levied against Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell are deeply troubling and, if proven true, he ought to resign his office. Whether the governor survives this scandal or whether he ends up sharing a cell alongside Delegate Hamilton, it is all but certain that this once rumored 2016 presidential contender’s political career has reached its zenith. However, the hypocrisy of the whole situation is not lost on this blogger. Remember, as Bob McDonnell said in 2009, “Elected officials must keep the highest ethical standards in order to maintain the public trust.”
Is Bearing Drift’s prediction of a resignation in the works? I suppose the answer to this question hinges upon the severity of the charges and the evidence against McDonnell. Either way, I expect we will find out in the coming days.
One extremely frustrating aspect of Saturday’s Virginia Republican Convention (which I cover in considerable detail in a previous article) was the excessive amount of waiting. Typically, there is a good bit of down time, a good bit of wasted time filled with an array of speakers that do little to alleviate the boredom of the crowd.
Unfortunately, the 2013 Convention offered attendees countless hours with little to do. Between the technical difficulties associated with counting the first round ballots, coupled with the daunting prospect of another three rounds of balloting, it was inevitable that a bit of mischief would occur sooner or later. After all, even a fervently Republican crowd could only stomach so many lackluster speakers or repeated Cuccinelli campaign commercials.
At one point, in order to amuse themselves, a few of the delegates in the upper reaches of the Richmond Coliseum began to make and throw paper airplanes. This new development seemed to greatly upset Pat Mullins, chairman of the state party, who took to the stage and in a gruff voice shouted for an end to the paper airplanes, stating that that these projectiles could damage the three $50,000 screens behind him. However, perhaps given the chairman’s demeanor, unconvinced that these planes could cause much harm to anything or anyone, or simply irritated by the continued waiting, the paper began to fly from the rafters again a short while later. For those of us seated on or around the floor, we simply watched as the handful of airplanes glided and fluttered to the ground.
To poke a bit of fun at the whole situation, especially given that Chairman Mullins’ words seemed to fit the stereotypical angry old man motif exceedingly well, I couldn’t help but imagining him uttering these words while I was at the convention.
Enjoy a little humor for your Wednesday afternoon!
You may wonder why it has taken me so much time to write about the recent convention. Originally I planned on writing a detailed log of everything that happened over the weekend; however, after several pages, I deemed the post too lengthy. Therefore, here are just a handful of reflections based upon the event.
First, they needed more signs during registration in the Coliseum. I wandered the halls for a good half hour looking for the registration table. It was very frustrating.
The suites, like last year proved to be the excitement on Friday night. Thanks to the RPV for sponsoring The Jeffersoniad suite. It’s very gratifying to have a party and a chairman who values blogs such as my own. We got quite a lot of visitors. Perhaps you picked up one of my newly printed business cards there. I’m hoping to incorporate that new logo into my website soon. Of course the candidates had their suites too. I visited them all with the exception of Foster’s. Unfortunately, I didn’t discover the location of the Foster suite until after it had closed. The McDonnell/Bolling suite was absolutely huge, with rows of food tables, large crowds, and a band. Although the Cuccinelli suite promised cannoli, it was all gone in less than an hour. I suppose that fact alone highlighted the popularity of Senator Cuccinelli (and free food too).
Let’s move on to the topic of the hotel. Although things went smoothly at the Richmond Marriott last year, this time was quite a different story. Now I admit it, I’m a very light sleeper. So, when I discovered that my room was directly over the Jacuzzi, I was less than thrilled. How can you sleep when your bed vibrates and you hear a very noticeable and constant vrum vrum vrum? As the hotel was full, I couldn’t switch rooms. With little option, I sat slouched in a chair in the lobby watching Glenn Beck. But salvation did come. I owe much thanks to both Jason and Sean Kenney, who offered me a spot in their hotel room. The next morning, the valet couldn’t find my car keys, so it took considerable time to get my luggage into my vehicle. I hated to miss breakfast as a result of this added delay, but had no other choice. To say that I was merely disappointed with my stay at the Marriott is a gross understatement.
The Saturday convention was quite a spectacle. Although not packed to the brim, there were still thousands upon thousands of Republican activists from throughout the state. The whole event was a bit like a huge family reunion as you got to see and speak with folks who you haven’t seen in a long while. The RPV had reserved a row for bloggers near the stage. Be it for better or worse, I decided to spend most of my time with my fellow Harrisonburg delegates. It may have been a mistake in that I would have had a better view of the stage and could have generated more publicity for this blog. On the other hand, if I did, I wouldn’t have had the chance to meet Mr. Wilson, a fellow Harrisonburger. I did enjoy my conversations with him.
I thought that the list of speakers was far too great. Obviously I was expecting the candidates to speak along with Sean Hannity, and many of the other speakers were good, but time seemed to drag by. Speaking of Sean Hannity, I must say that I don’t really care for him. First and foremost, time and time again during the 2008 campaign he offered callous disrespect for Ron Paul. From my experiences listening to him on the TV and radio, he wraps himself in a blanket of egotism, lambasting any person who holds a differing viewpoint, even those on the right, as small-minded, unpatriotic, and downright stupid. Far too often he lashes out at his critics, not as one would logically expect, with refutations and rebuttals, but with bursts of vitriolic hatred and insults. While his friends and yes-men are unquestioned “great Americans”, his critics, “hate America” and are “ignorant”. He began his dialogue talking about Alan Colmes, his former partner. He joked that Colmes quit the show after Hannity gave him a birthday present of a hunting trip with Dick Cheney I found his supposed humor tasteless. Although I often disagree with Colmes, the notion of having Cheney maiming or killing Colmes is downright disgusting. I know what some of you will say…Joshua, lighten up! It was just a harmless joke. But even in jest, what kind of conservative or Christian ethic does such a joke promote? Should we wish for the death of all liberals? I didn’t hear the rest of Hannity’s speech as I left the auditorium until he had finished.
Then came the slate of candidates. There are two in particular that need mentioning. First, I thought Senator Cuccinelli’s presentation was quite entertaining and theatrical. At the start, he had placed a number of supporters throughout the crowd who waved the Gadsden flag. I remarked to a fellow delegate that unfurling such a flag might get one labeled as a terrorist in the state of Missouri, as you might “gasp” support the crazy notion of a limited Constitutional government. Then the auditorium faded to black as sound clips played. I also want to make mention of Chairman Mullins’ speech. He made a very refreshing commitment to conservative principles. In addition, it was quite gratifying to both hear and experience his appreciation of bloggers such as myself. After the rest of the speeches came the two hour voting session. Although the vote totals were not released to the public at the time, we were told the results: Bolling for Lt. Governor, Cuccinelli for Attorney General, and Pat Mullins for RPV Chairman. Congrats to all three.
So that, in a nutshell, was the RPV Convention. As my friend Cliff ran his survey again this year, hopefully I can share with you some interesting statistics about the delegates soon. Oh and below are some pictures for you. Hope to see you at the next convention!
Across the Internet, there have been many posts and emails concerning the Republican nomination for Attorney General. Even the race for Lieutenant Governor has received a fair amount of discussion. However, the contest for the Chairmanship of the Republican Party of Virginia seems to be less of an issue by comparison. Nevertheless, this race has the possibility of being just as important as the rest (assuming that we can find a chairman who holds that post for more than a single year). With fresh memories of the showdown between Jeff Frederick and the State Central Committee, and the removal of John Hager by convention delegates last year, I’m sure that we all are hoping to find a candidate who can lead the party for an entire term.
After Frederick’s dismissal, the SCC chose Pat Mullins to lead the Party until the convention. Then Mr. Mullins decided to attempt to retain the chairmanship by running at the RPV Convention. Although names swirled about as to who might challenge him, including former Chairman Frederick, no candidates emerged. It appeared as if Chairman Mullins would easily hold the chairmanship. Then, in early May, Bill Stanley announced that he, too, would be seeking that position. And so, the contest is on!
From what I’ve read thus far, it appears that both candidates seem to be good choices.
Each promotes the mantra of limited government conservatism. Each is or has been successful as the chairman of one or more committees: Pat Mullins served as chairman of the Fairfax and Louisa County Parties. Bill Stanley is the current chair of the Franklin County Party.
Will Pat Mullins win?
On the surface, it would appear that Pat Mullins would be the likely victor. Most important is the fact he is the present chairman. The SCC appointed him and therefore his leadership style and abilities presumably would not conflict with the SCC as compared to our previous chairman. He has more endorsements than Bill Stanley and that list includes: Morton Blackwell, Mike Farris, Thelma Drake, Mark Obenshain, and Jim Gilmore to name just a few.
Will Bill Stanley win?
Although Pat Mullins currently holds the chairmanship, the average political life span of a chairman these days is only about a year. For proof one only need look at the last four: Obenshain Griffin 2004-2006 Gillespie 2006-2007 Hager 2007-2008 Frederick 2008-2009. In addition, some of the grassroots, especially the Frederick supporters, may resent the actions of the SCC and view Mullins as a mere agent of the committee. After all, the “We Support Chairman Jeff Frederick” Facebook group has 299 members at present. Also, in a poll at Bearing Drift, Bill Stanley currently leads Pat Mullins 250 to 216.
So I cannot honestly say who will win this contest on Saturday. My advice to you is very simple. Read as much as you can about both candidates on their websites (found here and here) and also the wisdom of those who know more about the men and the specific nature of the job of RPV Chairman. Whoever wins, I certainly hope that we can unite around him and our supposedly commonly held conservative principles, and put aside our infighting. So who is it going to be? Mullins? Or Stanley?
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.