Pay-For-Play with Gov. McAuliffe

Governor Terry we’ll have drinks at lunch McAuliffe is at it again with another blatant pay-for-play move. Last week he vetoed HB1040, which would have offered citizens a chance to appeal, in civil court, their ticket for running a red light when caught by a red light camera. The technology here is not exactly sound and HB1040 hoped to bring in the human element more so than it already is so that tickets issued are in fact legit. Seems harmless enough on our courts and beneficial to the community, so why veto it?

The bill was introduced by Del. Johnny Joannou, a Democrat representing Portsmouth, and carried the support of co-patron Del. David Ramadan, a Republican representing parts of Loudoun and Prince William counties, giving the bill bi-partisan support and, if you will, cross-geography support. It passed the House of Delegates with an impressive 99 to 0 vote. Then it passed the Senate with a commanding 38 to 1 vote. But the king who sits in the governor’s mansion decided to ignore the mandate this bill received from the legislature. Why? Easy answer; money, money, money.

Reported by McAuliffe’s campaign was paid handsomely by the lobbying firm Hunton & Williams who was hired by the red light camera company Redflex Traffic Systems. And by handsomely I mean $35,599. The strings attached here must have pulled Governor McAuliffe to repay the favor, which is standard practice in his pay-for-play administration.

The issue here is simple; pay-for-play trumps democracy. In this specific situation a bill passed both chambers by a total of 137 to 1, with the only nay vote from the entire General Assembly coming from Sen. Bryce Reeves, who Hunton & Williams gave $1,203 to since 2012.

Especially considering how polarized today’s Senate is, anything that gets out of that chamber with 38 out of 40 votes is a piece of legislation that deserves to be included into law. The General Assembly is full of lawyers and Governor McAuliffe is a professional fundraiser, not a lawyer. According to his veto statement Governor McAuliffe is concerned about the court system. Lawyers who work in the court system are not concerned. I’m going with the lawyers on this one.

It certainly must be frustrating to members of the General Assembly who send the governor legislation aimed at helping to make sure the justice system provides justice and avoids, as much as possible, mistakes. The governor will gladly take your money; just remember that after you donate you will need to instruct him on how to govern.

moneyCross posted on The Bull Elephant

Mike McHugh Voted Out

The Warren County mass meeting was held on Friday night. Pretty standard all around. No slating to report on. A few Resolutions were read, two passed, one was tabled, nothing too big. There however was one item that was a little exciting, which we can call the Mike McHugh Referendum.

One of the typical pieces of business at mass meetings is the election of members who were joining or re-applying to the committee. It is common for a motion to be made for all the names to be approved without contest. Such a set was in place. Until a member of the committee offered an amendment saying the committee needed to vote, by secret ballot, on whether they wanted Mike McHugh, a longtime gun rights activist, to be a member of the committee or not. The man who offered the amendment argued to vote McHugh out and gave reasons why, which included McHugh’s conduct at last year’s convention and his lack of support for Mitt Romney. The members agreed and voted to except all applicants, except McHugh. The committee leadership then promptly returned McHugh’s check to him as he sat in the front row.

Afterward McHugh told me “the hypocrisy of the Republican Party’s selective discipline on its members for upholding Republican principles is shocking.”

While the case against McHugh is understandable I disagree with it. I like Mike McHugh. He is a principled conservative, a church going Christian and a hard worker who presses the same positions on many issues that Republicans champion as our own, such as gun ownership rights and Life. McHugh is also a lightning rod and we need that. Instead of gaffe prone candidates who make the whole party look bad, we have unelectable lightning rods carrying our banner while happily sitting on the fringe. Lightning rods like McHugh are perfect for our party because they keep our conservative principles in check and we can so easily disassociate from them we need to. It is hard to separate the party from an elected official who acts outlandishly. But when just a party member does so, we can easily brush off the ridiculousness from time to time and pay attention to the big picture.

In the specific case of Mike McHugh, I wouldn’t have voted him off. McHugh truly believes that his actions are justified because of his conservative beliefs. He fights for the big picture, how he sees it. That may not be the same way everyone else in the party sees it but its a brand worth listening to. McHugh can re-apply as early as the next meeting. I hope if/when he does the committee will accept him with forgiveness and patience.

Feeling Slated

State Senator Frank Wagner is back in the news. He slated the Virginia Beach delegation last night in order to all but clinch his victory at next month’s 2nd District convention. You may have heard of Sen. Wagner as that guy who tried to outlaw conventions as a method for parties to nominate their candidates. He wanted to increase participation. Last night he felt otherwise so that he could win something. Principles are nice, but Al Davis taught us to “just win, baby.” Too bad Al Davis was talking about his Raiders playing football and Sen. Wagner was talking about voting, which is much more essential to democracy than how well the Raiders are doing.

During this session of the General Assembly Sen. Wagner proposed to amend Virginia’s Constitution to disallow conventions. Of course he was a little too suave to come right out and say that. He massaged it hard. Here is the full text of SJ72:

“Each political party shall have the right to determine the method by which it nominates its candidates for state, county, city, and district offices. No political party shall determine that its candidates for elective office shall be nominated by a method that will have the practical effect of excluding participation in the nomination process by otherwise eligible active duty military personnel, including military reservists and Virginia National Guard personnel.”

You got to love the first part. “Each political party shall have the right to determine the method by which it nominates its candidates.” Pretty brazen to begin like that and then hit you with a serious limitation to “the right to determine,” which is then followed by that pesky word “method.” You see method here means not all methods, not even close. But the kicker is how cowardly he hides behind our brave men and women of active military duty. The proposed amendment ends by saying that parties cannot choose any method that has “the practical effect of excluding participation” from people who can’t physically be there, such as “active duty military personnel,” which means no conventions. I just wish Sen. Wagner had stood up and said that he wants to outlaw conventions and then told us why. Instead, he couldn’t muster up the courage to do so, so he hid behind the military saying it is all about increasing participation. This attempt to prescribe to parties how to nominate their candidates failed miserably, not making it out of committee.

The session in which Sen. Wagner made his, let’s call it, stand for participation, just ended a few days ago. But a few days in politics is like a few decades, I guess.

Last night the same Sen. Wagner made a stand against increasing participation. Political expediency trumped his principles. Sen. Wagner wants to be 2nd District Chairman so very bad that he help slate the Virginia Beach delegation down to just 32 trustworthy voters out of the 900 who filed. In doing so, he decided that hundreds of Republicans, some of whom are veterans, were disqualified from participating simply because they would vote for not him. Who cares about what he actually said here. Slating here was done to win, no other reason. He can’t claim that his opponent was packing the delegation with people who were ineligible, or unsuited, or America hating Commi devil worshipers.

It is very easy to understand why slating is bad. When I right click on the word “slating” the synonyms that I can choose from are “attacking, panning, knocking, censuring, criticizing.” Are those some words we want to associate with voting? The numbers just don’t add up for Sen Wagner to argue he is consistent in his ideology. VA Beach could have sent hundreds of voters to the 2nd District convention. Sen. Wagner only wanted 32 people to be able to vote at the convention. That is not how you increase, that’s called decrease, and a lot of decrease at that.

State Senator Frank jelly-of-the-month Wagner has caused a stir. He did what it took to win so Al Davis might be happy. It will be interesting to see if Wagner’s power grab for an unpaid position in the party will cost him his paying job as a state senator next cycle. But that’s assuming that more than 32 people will get to vote.


Another Pile From The Washington Compost

Sunday’s Outlook section in The Washington Compost had an article written by a longtime D.C. resident who worked for the paper for 50 years and who has now retired and moved away. The piece offered to answer the question, does he miss Washington?

In a word; no.

In many words the reason appears pretty clear to me; he was betting on Barack Obama being the second coming. This did not materialize. Now he has left D.C. and left behind a diatribe of how dysfunctional the system is.

Throughout the piece the author sounds like a disciple of Obama, a man who has consistently pushed the attitude that if you disagree with him it’s because you don’t like him, no other reason. This blatant bias is evident here, “After 2010, and despite Obama’s reelection, Washington was victimized by the politics of lying, hating and avoiding the country’s huge problems.” Why does he use the word “despite?” Probably because he is a flaming liberal who thought Barack Jesus Obama would carry us to the Promised Land. How about Obama’s hyper-partisanship has played up the narrative of dysfunction in Washington and he lacks the leadership qualities to change the direction.

When the author talks about Republicans and their “base consists principally of white evangelical Christians who, the pollsters tell us, fear that their America is disappearing. Of course they are right; it has probably disappeared already. Their America would not have elected a black president.” Translation; Republicans are just a bunch of racists. I can’t imagine the disdain the author most hold for blacks who vote Republican and each time we Republicans nominate someone who isn’t a rich white man the author here must be terribly confused.

The author’s liberal bias is everywhere. He characterizes the Democrats has having a “historic role as the allies and defenders of the little guy” which implies that the Republicans are not. Because he used the word “historic” I am compelled to point out that the Republican Party began as the anti-slavery offshoot of the Whig Party. The Whigs died, Republicans grew and the Democrats of the South gave us Jim Crow laws.

A major omission to his diatribe is the role the press has played in creating all of this dysfunction. The press used to work with the government. The cameras rolled when FDR came riding down the street in a convertible and the cameras were turned off when FDR’s staffers came to help the crippled president get out of the car. JFK was assassinated and then came Vietnam, the two biggest causes for the press to turn into a distrustful attack machine. Now, any seasoned politician will tell you not to fear the Justice Department nearly as much as some 20 something year old reporter who hasn’t made a name for himself yet. How has that contributed to the dysfunction we see today?

So, all-in-all the only redeemable quality of the article is that the author will be rooting for the Nationals when they play in New York.

Just a Bunch of Twaddle

I learned a new word this week; “twaddle.” It means silly idle talk. I would have preferred to stay ignorant of this little word but being a Republican in Virginia made it difficult to stay in the dark this week and still get through the cocktail party conversations.

This word came to my attention because a member of the Republican Party of Virginia’s leadership at the state level made a comment in social media. He picked the wrong word in his comment. This was because he didn’t know the right word, like me, or because he miss-typed or misspelled the right word. Everyone who knows this man has said that it was not out of malice. He deleted the comment and apologized. And with a lifetime of supporting conservative principles, and with all the countless hours of work with the party, elected officials and candidates, and with the general feeling that he is a good, decent person you would think that would be enough.

Oh, no, no. Time to pounce.

Partisan mudslinging is par for the course, so let the Ds say what they will. The problem, and it’s a big freaking problem, is that Republicans are now calling for this man’s resignation. Are you kidding me? The word wasn’t even used as a name directed toward anyone. It was used to classify a particular position. Of course the hypersensitivity police don’t care about the context here, they quickly radioed their officers in the spin department and the result is that now emails are being circulated that say person A called person B an evil word.

Things started to heat up when a young Delegate, who I suspect was serving as an attack-hack at someone else’s behest, sent a letter to RPV asking for the resignation of the trustworthy conservative in question. This has been followed by more catcalls from elected officials and Republican organizations/clubs.  Blogs and social media continue to pile on. And I can’t believe that some of the people calling for a resignation here are young kids who haven’t done anything for the party that is comparable to the contribution of the fine conservative in question. Pounce, pounce, pounce.

Maybe this decent man has made a few enemies from policy positions he has taken over the years, so instead of firing back on the issues the attack-hacks see their chance to remove someone who disagrees with them and so they pounce.

It’s all so confusing. We know he is not a jerk, we know he works hard for the party, we saw him apologize, so why the hell is anyone calling for his head?Dictionary

The only thing I’ve learned from all of this is what twaddle means.

Presidents’ Day Recommendations

Of all the holidays, Presidents’ Day is probably the most ridiculous. How do you plan on spending Presidents’ Day is not something you expect to be asked. But for those who care to look passed the equal branches of government part of The Constitution and want to glorify the service of one office, then by all means please enjoy a few recommendations on how to enjoy the day honoring some of our chief executives.


His Excellency by Joseph J. Ellis. Well written and thoroughly researched, the author threats George Washington with a fairness not always seen from historians. There are no stories about Washington walking on water in this biography. As a general he lost more battles than he won and as a farmer he had more failures than successes. Yet as a president, he garners more respect than any. The author portrays Washington as a great man, but a man, not the infallible being we learned about in elementary school.

American Sphinx by Joseph J. Ellis. Another great read by Ellis, which like His Excellency, portrays the subject in a fair and respectful light. Thomas Jefferson’s life was an emotional rollercoaster of joyful highs and crippling lows. The great moments are certainly there, but the author’s fairness in chronicling some of Jefferson’s lower moments leaves the reader pretty sad at times. Collectively, this book will allow its reader to appreciate why Jefferson has deservingly become a historical figure that only Jefferson himself would be unimpressed with.

What Lincoln Believed by Michael Lind. This book reads as straightforward as the title suggests. Basically the author tells you that Abe Lincoln cared about moving the country from an agrarian economy to an industrial one as much as he cared about preserving democracy. Lincoln saw the government’s role in the economy was to help facilitate the free market. The best way to do that at that time in our history was through great improvements in infrastructure. With so many biographies on Lincoln focusing their attention on the Civil War, this offers a refreshing reminder that business at the White House during the war still took place. This is not a hero worship account of Lincoln as commander in chief; it is a policy analysis of Lincoln’s domestic agenda.

Theodore Rex by Edmund Morris. This is the second volume of a two part biography on Theodore Roosevelt. It begins with the young Vice President out rock climbing in New York when President William McKinley is assassinated. Suddenly, the man that was given the vice presidency to essentially do away with him, has become the youngest president to date. The book goes year by year of Roosevelt’s presidency and ends shortly after Roosevelt’s failed third party presidential run in 1912. Some of the stories of Roosevelt are difficult to believe even reading them from such a respected author.

Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell. Maybe Presidents’ Day is not the best day to remember that four U.S. Presidents have been assassinated. If you do find yourself a little upset about this and if you are in the mood for a less than traditional biography, then this book may suit you well. The author travels to the sites the assassinations of Lincoln, Garfield, and McKinley (leaving out Kennedy), and to other sites connected to the crimes. The result is a hilarious account of some of the side stories involved in these tragic events. The author appropriately cranks jokes at the right time, leaving the reader free of any guilt that they are laughing through the pages where the subjects were tragically taken from us too early.

Moviesair force one

Air Force One. This has got to be the best movie that has the president as the main character. The best part is at the end when our president, played by Harrison Ford, tells Gary Oldman, “Get off my plane.” I always get really fired up about being an American at that point and usually have a little trouble sleeping that night due to all the adrenaline and American pride. And if you think I gave away the ending then you just don’t understand American action films.

TV Shows

Can’t recommend West Wing because I have only seen one episode and I refuse to explain why recommending House of Cards on Presidents’ Day, which may be topical, is just inappropriate. So for TV shows the best one is the series on The History Channel called The Presidents. The series offers general broad stokes on each president, nothing too profound or in-depth, but it’s entertaining. The best part is that it is narrated by the actor who played the father in Richie Rich, who is the best narrator over at The History Channel.

The Smithsonian Mall

With NoVA’s proximity to D.C., the best place to spend the day may be at the memorials on the mall. For me, that won’t fly because of work and because of how cold it is. So I’ll stay in and chip away at the book I’m reading now; Coolidge by Amity Shlaes. It’s good so far but I can’t say I’ve read enough to recommend it or not.

Support HB771

Tomorrow the Senate Transportation Committee down in Richmond will hear HB771, a bill designed to help mature drivers stay safe behind the wheel. The bill was introduced by Delegate Tim Hugo of Centreville and passed the House last week by a sweeping vote of 90-7. Despite the bill’s support from so many delegates its passage in the Senate is uncertain. It’s time to call your state senator.

Earlier this session SB180, the Senate’s version, failed by a 19-19 vote with the Lt. Governor casting the tie-breaking “nay” to defeat the bill. Wednesday could be the latest example of the House sending over good legislation that carries bi-partisan support that eventually dies in the Senate.

HB771’s summary states the bill “provides for a course in mature driver motor vehicle crash prevention and provides that such course is an option for the court in adjudicating defendants. The bill also lowers the age at which drivers are required to appear before the DMV for renewal from 80 to 75 and requires that licenses issued to persons age 75 or older be valid for no more than five years.”

The bill provides a license renewal that is a reasonable check-in on our mature drivers so that they are not forgotten. This part of the bill brings Virginia more on par with the rest of the country in license renewal. The result will be better service to the needs of our elderly and safer practices behind the wheel. It is easy to understand that safer drivers make for safer roadways.

I spoke with one of the state senators who voted against SB180 and he told me that his concern was further limiting the freedom of a group who is already restricted in their mobility, which is a point I completely understand. I respectfully do not share this concern because the bill does not strip anyone of their driver’s license. This bill just adds a reasonable mode for mature drivers to maintain their licenses without burdening them with needless red tape. This bill helps mature drivers maintain the necessary skills required to operate a car on today’s crowded roadways. Without unnecessarily singling anyone out, HB771 is a reasonable step toward maintaining safe conditions for everyone.

So please don’t just spectate here. Pick up the phone and let the Senate know that you are in favor of safer roads and reasonable check-ins. With a 19-19 tie last time the grassroots can really make a difference this time around.

Here is the office contact information for the senators on the Transportation Committee who voted against SB180 earlier this session. Call them and express your support for HB771.

Sen. Kenneth Alexander (Norfolk) 804-698-1089

Sen. Bill Carrico (Grayson) 804-698-7540

Sen. Ryan McDougle (Mechanicsville) 804-698-7504

Sen. Frank Wagner (VA Beach) 804-698-7507

Sen. John Watkins (Midlothian) 804-698-7510

Red NoVA Is Back

Attention loyal readers:

After a brief hiatus Red NoVA is back with a new design and the same clever wit. We ask for a little more patience as we continue to make some changes to the site. We will post as we build so stay tuned for conservative-minded commentary on news and events from Northern Virginia and beyond. We are back in action.

-Editorial Staff

Red NoVA logo


RIP Bob Atkins

Arlnow is reporting that longtime Civic Activist and Arlington GOP member Robert “Bob” Atkins has passed.

He was a great member of the community, always had something both informative and funny to say, and was a great neighbor. He will be missed.

Recount Date Set

The date for the recount in the Attorney General’s race between State Senators Mark Obenshain and Mark Herring has been set to start in Fairfax County on December 16th and then statewide the next day. Then there is likely to be some challenges heard in court. The whole process could be concluded by the end of that week. Most localities around the commonwealth will be able to complete their recount in one day, but Fairfax has the most precincts so we need the additional time.

The ugliest question that will be asked during the recount is; is the bubble filled in enough? This can be the pettiest part of the process and a real chance for election officials to fuss like children. Some voters show up on Election Day and, for whatever reason, choose to not vote in every race. The recount will pay great attention to this as all questions about provisional ballots and absentee ballots have been answered. All the election officials are left with is to count the votes. As they do so, the question will pop up. “That’s not filled in enough” is something I wouldn’t want to have to say. Should we penalize people for either not following directions or for not having the refined motored skills to fill in the bubble appropriately by disenfranchising them? That seems pretty harsh. Of course with all the electronic machines this question of properly filling in a bubble is removed. But the election officials need to be astute in reporting the numbers the machine tells them to report. I draw issue with that last part. I am confident that the election official will have the integrity to honestly report the number, but how do we all know that the machine was 100% accurate in its collection and tally of the data? I like to know that my vote will count which is why I always ask for a paper ballot. In case of a recount a paper ballot is left behind to be counted again.

With only 165 votes separating the two, this recount is unpredictable. Herring was named the winner but if just one vote per precinct is added to Obenshain’s total in just Fairfax County then Obenshain wins. And that’s just one county. The race for Attorney General is not yet over. Stay tuned.

Detonating the Nuclear Option Damages The Constitution

Barack Obama ran for president in 2008 promising to bring a “post-partisan” atmosphere to the land. Then as president he went on to pass the largest piece of legislation in our country’s history by a party-line vote. As troubling as that was, his praise last week of the Senate Democrats detonating the nuclear option is the most blatant example of President Obama’s hyper-partisanship and lack of leadership.

Last week the Democrats in the Senate passed a measure to allow federal judgeships and other presidential appointments, with the exception of Supreme Court nominees, to be confirmed by a simple majority vote. The Ds could only muster up 52 votes from their 55 member caucus with Senators Levin, Manchin and Pryor joining every Republican in voting against this radical rule change. Partisanship on Capitol Hill right now is very rigid, not post-partisan at all.

The Senate rule change has probably sent The Founders spinning. The Senate was supposed to be a place above petty partisan squabbles while the House was left to be devoured by the perils of majority rule. Note the stark differences between the two bodies such as age requirement, term length, composition and responsibilities. The Senate was for cooler heads and greater statesman than the House which was for passionate mobilizers of a local community. In 1917 a threshold of 66 votes to stop debate was established. That number was later lower to 60, and now to 51. Turning the Senate into the House is a mistake and contrary to the democratic structure created by our Founders.

Senator Carl Levin, veteran of the Senate, stood on the floor last week to speak against this radical rule change. He said, “Pursuing the nuclear option in this manner removes an important check on majority overreach which is central to our system of government. As Senator Vandenberg warned us, if a Senate majority decides to pursue its aims unrestrained by the rules, we will have sacrificed a professed vital principle for the sake of momentary gain.” In 2005 then Senator Joe Biden agreed, “This nuclear option is ultimately an example of the arrogance of power. It is a fundamental power grab by the majority party, propelled by its extreme right and designed to change the reading of the Constitution, particularly as it relates to individual rights and property rights. It is nothing more or nothing less.” He called voting against the nuclear option “the single most significant vote any one of us will cast in my 32 years in the Senate.”

Now here comes the post-partisan president. Wouldn’t you think that a president who has been a Constitutional Law adjunct professor and a U.S. Senator would appreciate the reasons why the Senate operates differently than the House? A stronger president would have stepped in and cooled the fire. A better president would understand who can get confirmed and how. But our partisan hack of a president praised the Senate Democrats for pushing this radical change saying, “I support the step a majority of senators today took to change the way that Washington is doing business.” But as senator Obama was against this course of action saying, “It certainly isn’t what the patriots who founded this democracy had in mind.” That is not leadership. President Obama would be an excellent choice for a superficial leadership post such as DNC Chairman, but he continually disappoints in exercising any real leadership.

I would like to see this radical rule changed in an even more radical fashion. When the Republicans win back the chamber the new majority leader should push through a measure that restores the vote threshold to end debate at 66 votes. Right now, neither party will be able to capture 66 seats anytime soon so they’ll have to work together. The Senate was supposed to be above partisanship. Let’s hope the 2014 elections will bring in a new group of senators who are more aware of the Senate’s true nature. Let the House get lost in its partisanship and let the Senate step in to find the right path. It is very likely that last week’s radical rule change will be pushed backed or watered down but it’s too late, it happened. The president couldn’t stop it and then praised it for happening. He has failed the nation on a historic level.

Finger Pointing Blame Game, 2013 Edition

There is a lot of finger pointing going around right now as to who is to blame for the Republican losses in the 2013 elections. Well I have a finger too, here’s who I’m pointing it at.

First round goes to Bob. The investigation into the gifts given to Governor Bob McDonnell hurt every Republican just by the guilty-by-association verdict.  As unfortunate as that obstacle was, it was not something that doomed any candidate. The real problem that Bob’s Rolex created was that it made the incumbent Governor campaign kryptonite. Our candidates were out fundraised despite working their tails off making calls and doing the leg the work. Campaign fundraisers, meet and greets, etc. could have had a sitting Governor headlining the event, which would have drove up turnout and increased the total amount donated for the night as well as increased the publicity of the event which would have increased name recognition. Same goes for door knocking rallies and phone banks. But no campaign wanted their Governor to be the headliner and that hurt us 2013.

Next up is Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling. For the last four years Bill has been sitting in the Senate thinking about what color drapes he’ll pick for the Governor’s mansion. Things didn’t work out like he thought, so he sat out and kept his supporters with him. He could have done a lot of things to help the candidates but he was too hurt and that hurt us in 2013.

Next up is Senator Ted Cruz. Serving as the real Speaker of the House, Cruz chose to shutdown the federal government in an attempt to stop the ObamaCare rollout. This proved to be a costly miscalculation by the rookie Senator. The ObamaCare rollout imploded, but this was after weeks of negative press on Republicans, who were all blamed for shutting down the government. Our candidates could have hit the stump hard with the failures of ObamaCare, but instead they had to answer questions about the shutdown. The 2013 elections must not have been taken into consideration by Cruz when his ill-conceived plan went into action. Timing is very important in politics and the time of the shutdown was a perfect point in the campaign calendar for the Ds to take advantage. From NoVA to Norfolk, the commonwealth has a ton of government employees and contractors who were adversely affected from a political maneuver by some guy living comfortably in Texas. Add Cruz’s appearance in Richmond for the Family Foundation Annual Gala and the Ds had enough ammunition to tie Virginia Republicans directly to “the architect of the government shutdown,” as said by that Terry McAuliffe radio ad I heard over and over and over. Guilty-by-association hit hard on the shutdown issue as moderates saw Republicans as willing to wreck things in order to fulfill a personal vendetta against President Obama. Too bad it was immaterial to voters that most Republicans running in Virginia this year were against Cruz’s poorly calculated political maneuver, but the Ds don’t care about facts and used the shutdown to hurt us.

Next round of finger pointing goes to the Robert Sarvis voters. It is difficult to rationalize why anyone would vote for Sarvis, but people did. Math experts will tell you that if everyone who voted for Sarvis had voted for Ken Cuccinelli then Cuccinelli would have won. Well it never works out like that but I blame those Sarvis voters for not voting for Cuccinelli anyway. I bet the majority of that group would rank Cuccinelli second and McAuliffe third on their list of choices. It is just too bad that by voting for their first choice they helped their last choice win.

Note that that finger went to the Sarivs voters and not to Robert Sarvis. He’s a fool for running but the system allows him to do so and the campaign process allows us to vet the candidates. This leads us to a very simple defense against terrible candidates: don’t vote for them. I didn’t like Sarvis and I did something about it; I voted for Cuccinelli.

That’s enough finger pointing. Time to move on to 2014.

Gettysburg Address 150th Anniversary

Four score and seven years and sixty-three more years ago President Abraham Lincoln delivered his iconic Gettysburg Address.

The context of the speech is it was given at a ceremony to dedicate a military cemetery at the site where the battle of Gettysburg took place. President Lincoln gave his address after historian Edward Everett gave a two hour speech. Lincoln kept it short and sweet.

The beginning pays homage to our Founders and their revolutionary idea. Lincoln then gives us a journalism 101 of the what, where, when, why of the entire Civil War and the historic battle that occurred at Gettysburg in just a few, short sentences. The next part is a dedication to the lost and a rallying call to the nation. His words are solemn like a pastor at a funeral but they are also fiery like Knute Rockne in the locker room. Lincoln honors the lost while inspiring the living with simple, to-the-point language.

There is just one inaccuracy in the Gettysburg Address. Lincoln predicts that we will not remember what was said on this day at Gettysburg in 1863, but 150 years later we are still talking about it, still studying it and still mesmerized by its sincere dedication and timeless principles.


“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate — we cannot consecrate — we cannot hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

- President Abraham Lincoln
Gettysburg Address November 19, 1863

Deadline Tonight at 11:59pm

All eyes are on Fairfax tonight where the Electoral Board has until 11:59pm to finalize the results of last week’s elections. It’s the law. With the race for Attorney General between Republican Mark Obenshain and Democrat Mark Herring so tight, what comes out of Fairfax tonight could tip the scales one way or the other. The AG race is as close as the hot girl who lives next door; too close to call.

Talk about your vote counting, the AG race saw over 2.2 million votes cast and it is coming down to just a handful of votes to decide the winner. Every vote matters and as long as you are eligible to vote, and you didn’t foolishly write-in another name, then rest confidently that your vote will count and matter.

Partisanship shouldn’t be a factor in the Electoral Board’s review process. Judicious eyes are watching carefully to insure that each eligible vote is counted. Disqualifying ineligible votes is not disenfranchising anyone and counting votes that shouldn’t be counted disenfranchises all eligible voters, so the Electoral Board’s duty is important. There has been a little hold up on provisional ballots and there was an incident of bullying that the ACLU and the NFL are curiously ignoring, but there is no cause for concern.

So there is a big deadline tonight which could determine the outcome of the Attorney General’s race but this deadline is hardly the ending. There are some issues in Richmond right now about counting. I count 1 plus 1 plus 1 equals 3 and I would continue to count that way until I got up to the over 1 million votes that each of the AG candidates have received, but maybe they count differently down in Richmond. The results won’t be officially certified until November 25th and it looks like there will be a statewide recount also, so this process won’t end tonight.

I was eligible to vote early so I did. I certainly hope my vote counts even though I’m kicking myself for writing-in Matlock.

The author really voted for Mark Obenshain.  

Republicans vs. Republicans

Election Day 2013 is going to be a rough day to be a Republican.

We all know that the media is going to rip this election apart and analyze it to death, so I figured that I’d take a stab at it too. Rather than looking at how badly Ken Cuccinelli loses on election day today, I think a more interesting study would to compare his margin of defeat vs. Chris Christie‘s margin of victory.

For the past 2 years, we as Republicans have been debating the direction of our party. The move of State Central from switching from a party primary to a party convention, followed by the nominations of Ken Cuccinelli and E.W. Jackson proved to voters several things:

  1. Republicans do not care whether or not they win or lose elections;
  2. Republicans care more about social issues than they do about the Economy, Transportation, or Education;
  3. Being “pure” is more important than trying to obtain a governing majority.

Undoubtly, there are many readers who are going to say,”Well Josh, you used to work for Bill Bolling. You are simply being bitter.” Yes, I did work for him. Yes, I continue to have the highest amount of respect for him and his team. However, Ken Cuccinelli should never have been our Party’s nominee. Four years ago, the GOP hit a slam dunk with Bob McDonnell focusing on jobs, jobs, jobs. In addition, all three GOP statewide nominees worked as a team, running combined advertising and coordinated campaign efforts. This year, we see no such thing. Terry McAuliffe will be an awful Governor, but he is about to win because our nominee cares more about social issues than he does about growing Virginia’s economy.

Let’s shift to Rob Sarvis. He’s the libertarian candidate, collects Academic degrees for a living, and is an all around nice guy. He’s polling at 10%. Sure 10% is no where close to what is needed to win, but remember that four years ago the liberatians got about 1% of the vote. Now, this is not because the Libertarian Party all of a sudden got their sh*t together; this is a rebuke of Ken Cuccinelli. Cuccinelli supporters are scared of Sarvis, and they know that many Republicans will probably be voting for Sarvis today. In fact, yesterday I got a piece of paper on my windshield (with no “Paid for ” slogan  on it by the way) that said “A vote for Sarvis is a vote for McAuliffe and George Soros.” If you ask me, desperate. So if you wonder why all of a sudden Libertarians have ballot access in future elections, thank Ken Cuccinelli.

I think Cuccinelli has to some extent realized that the social issues kool-aid isn’t working, and has shifted gears to Obamacare. The problem with that it, Cuccinelli is going to lose. This means that many Democrats are going to believe this to be a positive referendum on Obamacare. This does not spell out as good news for Cuccinelli or the GOP.

What otger evidence do I need that Republicans like Cuccinelli are bad for our party? Perhaps we should be reminded of these candidates:

  1. Todd Akin
  2. Richard Murdock
  3. Rick Santorum
  4. Joe Miller
It’s clear that Americans are rejecting this hard line socially conservative ideology. An October 2013 poll showed that 50% of Americans viewed the Tea Party negatively. Maybe after tomorrow “moderate” Republicans can have some closure after Cuccinelli loses. On election day today we have two completely different GOP candidates (Christie and Cuccinelli) and I believe that based on the outcomes of their respective races, we will finally know which is the right direction for Republicans to choose. Once we see Christie win by a bigger margin than Cuccinelli, maybe we will finally start running candidates who actually care about the economy, and focus on governing rather than social issues.