Sen. Black Against Proposed Article V Convention

Add State Senator Dick Black to the growing list of solid conservatives who oppose the Convention of the States through Article V of the U.S. Constitution. Sen. Black sent out an email earlier this evening encouraging Virginians to let their legislators know that they should vote against the legislation that would help put this convention in motion. His email is below or you can view it here.

URGENT:

Virginia will vote to change the Constitution of the United States in a few days!

This is called an Article V Convention and the purpose is to rewrite parts of the Constitution of the United States. Two thirds of the states must apply for a Convention and there is confusion about whether Virginia will complete the tipping point because other states that passed it decades ago have since attempted to rescind that vote.

3 SIMPLE FACTS YOU NEED TO KNOW:

• Article V Convention Supporters include:

George Soros, Code Pink, MoveOn.org, Occupy Wallstreet, New Progressive Alliance and 100 other liberal groups are pushing for this.

• We can’t control who will amend the Constitution.

This is the most troubling aspect because there is no law that states how delegates to the Convention are chosen. Congress could appoint themselves. Even if Congress allowed states to choose their own delegates, the Republican establishment leadership in Virginia’s House and Senate would never choose a conservative to amend the Constitution.

• We cannot limit what parts of the Constitution can be changed.

No matter what limited rules are put on the Convention regarding what parts of our Constitution will be changed, the delegates themselves can vote to change the rules at the Convention. The First Amendment, Second Amendment, etc. could be changed if delegates at the Convention vote to change the rules.

Please contact your state delegate and senator and ask them to vote no and protect our Constitution! Find out who your representative is here and tell them not to gamble with the Constitution of the United States.

Want to learn more? Read on:

Conservative Supreme Court Justice Burger said history shows us we can’t control what parts of the Constitution will be changed.

In a letter to the Eagle Forum’s Phyllis Schlafly (who opposes calling a Convention), former Supreme Court Justice Warren Burger wrote, “The Convention could make its own rules and set its own agenda. The Congress might try to limit the Convention to one amendment or to one issue, but there is no way to assure that the Convention would obey. After a Convention is convened, it will be too late to stop the Convention if we don’t like its agenda. The meeting in 1787 ignored the limit placed by the Confederation Congress ‘for the sole and express purpose.’ With George Washington as chairman, they were able to deliberate in total secrecy, with no press coverage and no leaks. A Constitutional Convention today would be a free-for-all.”

A new Convention could plunge our Nation into constitutional confusion and confrontation at every turn, with no assurance that focus would be on the subjects needing attention. I have discouraged the idea of a Constitutional Convention, and I am glad to see states rescinding their previous resolutions requesting a Convention…

Whatever may need repair on our Constitution can be dealt with by specific amendments.”

We have never had an Article V Convention. In 1787 we had a Constitutional Convention for the sole purpose of amending the Articles of Confederation. History shows us that although limitations were put on these delegates, they came out of that Convention with a completely different form of government. Thankfully, we had selfless men of character in that Convention who crafted a Constitution that has withstood the test of time. However, do you think today’s Congress would send similar selfless men/women of character to a modern-day Convention? Do you think Congress today has similar values as those who crafted our Constitution?

What does Article V say? Here it is in its entirety (it’s very short):

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.

Now that you’ve read Article V, ask yourself some questions:

Where does it say how the delegates to the Convention are chosen? Where will it take place? Will delegates be bound to vote on behalf of their state or as individuals? How many delegates will there be? Can Congress appoint themselves as delegates? ANSWER: No one knows. It’s similar to what Nancy Pelosi said, “But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.”

You Cannot Control Who the Delegates Will Be at a Constitutional Convention:

The makeup of the delegates to the Convention is the most troubling aspect of this entire endeavor, and it is the one thing that is guaranteed to go AGAINST those hoping for a conservative outcome.

There is no law or statute that binds Congress or the states on who will be selected as delegates to a Constitutional Convention, or how they will be chosen. There is not even a requirement that a delegate to the Convention representing Virginia be an actual Virginia Citizen. All we have are historical precedents of how other conventions have chosen delegates, but precedent is NOT binding.

The most likely scenario is that a slate of delegates would be put forward by the General Assembly, voted on by both Houses, and approved by the Governor. Governor McAuliffe is not likely to approve a conservative delegation, nor would the Republican establishment choose conservative lawmakers. This would guarantee that the delegates from Virginia would NOT be conservative and would most likely be evenly split between Republicans and Democrats.

With the need to secure Democrat support for any slate of delegates, do you think there is a chance that Virginia will send a group of people dedicated to reining in the size and scope of government? Absolutely not. Frankly, it was the Republican establishment that gave us the largest tax increase in Virginia’s history and they would never choose a conservative to amend the Constitution of the United States. The most likely scenario would be moderate Republicans joining with the Democrats to select a slate of centrist, left-leaning individuals, and that’s just in Virginia. Imagine what states like California and New York would do.

In states controlled by Democrat legislatures, you can be assured of getting only a slate of liberal lawmakers without a single conservative voice among them.

You Cannot Limit the Scope of a Constitutional Convention:

Proponents of a Constitutional Convention argue over and over that they can keep the scope of any convention focused on a narrow subject. They are wrong. Just like any other political convention ever held in this country, the delegates to the convention set their own rules.

No matter what limited rules any Congress, State Legislature, or anyone else may seek to impose on the Convention, the delegates themselves are the ones that vote on these rules. They can easily dismiss any limits placed upon them and set their own rules governing what amendments they can consider, as well as how those proposed amendments are considered. They can even do away with the “one state, one vote” notion put forward by Convention proponents and institute “proportional representation” giving liberal states like New York and California the ability to run roughshod over smaller, more conservative states.

Imagine what harm a Constitutional Convention, packed with left leaning delegates, could do to the Constitution? If the left were able to amend the Constitution of the United States, they could change Freedom of Religion to say certain teachings from the Bible are hate speech, they could take away our right to own a gun, etc.

Planners Are Already Moving to Loosen Restraints on the Scope of a Convention:

“Assembly of State Legislatures” is a group of legislators planning the Article V Convention. About fifty state legislators met December 9, 2014 in Washington DC. Notes from this meeting show that lawmakers tabled a motion to restrict the scope of the Convention to only the subject matter of the state applications, and also rejected a motion which would have prevented congressmen and senators, federal judges and governors from serving as delegates to the Convention. This is an early indication that politicians want to have a more open process and may want to appoint members of Congress, the US Senate and federal judges to amend the Constitution.

We Don’t Get a Second Chance to Get it Right:

The supporters of a Constitutional Convention are well-meaning people who, like us, want so badly to get our country back on track. Unfortunately, there is no easy fix to our problems. Our form of government was never meant to be on autopilot.

Proponents of a Convention say that they know the rules. But how can anyone know the rules for something that has never been done before? There has never been a Constitutional Convention called under Article V of the US Constitution, and with good reason. Most people understand the dangers to our liberties a Constitutional Convention represents. At a time when our rights are being redefined by activist judges and the Constitution is being ignored by our President and his supporters in Congress, why would we place our most sacred document into the hands of the same corrupt leaders who are trampling it in the first place? The fact is that there is no way around bad leaders. The only way is to replace them with good leaders. We would be delusional to think these bad leaders would choose good leaders to amend our Constitution, no matter how badly we need them to.

Please contact your state delegate and senator and ask them to vote no and protect our Constitution! Find out who your representative is here and tell them not to put the Constitution of the United States of America AT RISK: http://whosmy.virginiageneralassembly.gov/

I will be in my Richmond office until February 28 and welcome you to stop by. Our office is in Room 308 of the General Assembly Building. You can contact me at District13@senate.virginia.gov or 804.698.7513. You can also follow me on Twitter @SenRichardBlack and on Facebook where I will do my best to bring you the most up to date information on the session.

Warm Regards,

Senator Dick Black

Senator Header

Del. Marshall on Article V Convention

I received an email yesterday from Delegate Bob Marshall of Prince William County encouraging us to be against Article V states’ rights convention. His message is below.

Dear Friends:

On Tuesday Jan. 27th Speaker Howell’s Rules Committee will hear HJ497 and HJ499, applications asking Congress to call a Convention to amend (change) our U.S. Constitution. Please contact the following delegates to OPPOSE these measures. The Hearing will be in House Room 1, around 1:00 pm if you can attend.

delwhowell@house.virginia.gov, delslandes@house.virginia.gov, delkcox@house.virginia.gov, deltkilgore@house.virginia.gov, dellware@house.virginia.gov, delcjones@house.virginia.gov, delborrock@house.virginia.gov, delbknight@house.virginia.gov, delringram@house.virginia.gov, deljmassie@house.virginia.gov, delghabeeb@house.virginia.gov, deljjoannou@house.virginia.gov, delkplum@house.virginia.gov, deldtoscano@house.virginia.gov,

After all of the sacrifices made by our Founders to birth our nation and form our government, I am troubled that the Constitution is blamed for the ills facing America, when really they are caused by those who ignore their Oath of Office and “we the people” who let them get away with it! Dictators love to hear: “elections will never solve our problems.”

Once called by Congress, the Convention cannot be stopped or limited and will have complete authority to change any part of our Constitution! The only other convention, held in 1787, re-wrote the Articles of Confederation, and changed the ratification requirements from unanimous to three fourths! Yes, it gave us our present Constitution, but we had many statesmen of moral conviction who fought the War of Independence leading the nation at that time. Madison said he trembled at the thought of a second convention after witnessing the first!

The entire Constitution will be open for amendment (change) at the Convention. The Library of Congress (April 14, 2014) Congressional Research Service points out that in the 1970’s-80’s when Balanced Budget applications nearly reached the 34 state threshold, 41 bills were introduced in Congress which “generally included quite specific standards for state petitions, delegate apportionment formulas and delegate qualification…” (p. 36 CRS document R42589) so Congress will be involved.

Randy Barnett, who supports the Convention, in an April 23, 2009 Wall Street Journal article noted:
“An amendments convention is feared because its scope cannot be limited in advance. The convention convened by Congress to propose amendments to the Articles of Confederation produced instead the entirely different Constitution under which we now live. Yet it is precisely the fear of a runaway convention that states can exploit to bring Congress to heel.” That’s like playing a game of “chicken” with our Constitution!

The state legislators planning the Article V Convention rejected a motion that would have prevented Members of Congress, the US Senate, federal judges and governors from serving as convention delegates. They also tabled a motion to restrict the subject matter of the convention.

How would constitutional conservatives have the upper hand at a national bipartisan convention, if conservatives don’t have the upper hand right now in politics, government, schools, churches, health care, or the media? And the liberal Wolf-PAC has also secured passage of three state applications for an Article V Convention with the help of the Young Turks and liberal law professor Lawrence Lessig who wants tax financed elections!

Please also urge your own state delegate and senator to OPPOSE ALL APPLICATIONS ASKING CONGRESS TO CALL AN ARTICLE V CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION.

Thank you for your help!

Sincerely,

Delegate Bob Marshall

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Two New Additions to RPV

Over the weekend the Republican Party of Virginia (RPV) met up here in NoVA where we saw two new additions which will keep our party united and moving forward.

The first new addition was John Whitbeck of Loudoun County was elected by acclamation to be the next Chairman of RPV. Chairman Whitbeck, a lawyer by trade, has been serving Virginia’s GOP as the chairman of the 10th District. He has done a great job as district chairman, he understands the party plan and the party rules as well as anyone, and he has the right vision to move the GOP forward. We are lucky to have him serving in this unpaid and mostly thankless position.

The other addition to RPV was the removal of the deceitful and dishonest Jon Berkley from the 5th District Chairmanship, which is addition by subtraction.

Berkley, pictured below at the podium, needed to be removed. If you haven’t been following this story then check here and here and here for more info. Berkley did himself no favors on Saturday when he stood up to “defend” his baffling actions. First, he didn’t speak to the charges against him and instead told a room full of volunteers that he volunteers, which missed the point entirely. Second, he called himself a “martyr” and I nearly fell down. And the third thing he did in his speech was say that RPV is acting like the Obama Administration, which is not the way to persuade Republican votes. After that, discussion opened up. I was surprised that some people argued not to remove Berkley, but their arguments were easily countered. So with little to no reason to support him, Berkley was removed by a majority vote.

Out with the old Jon Berkley and in with the new chairman John Whitbeck are two additions that will greatly serve the Republican Party of Virginia. Character and integrity won the day and we should all be grateful for that.

Berkley removed

Political Cartoon of the Week

Below is a political cartoon from Funny Politician on Twitter.

GitmoDuring the State of the Union earlier this week the president mentioned closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay, which has been a persistent failure for Obama. The cartoon is from 2013 but it could have been made in any year of Obama’s presidency. On his first day in office Obama signed an executive order to close the prison. Liberals can’t stand the Gitmo prison because they see it as a symbol for tactics, which while effective, are still moves liberals believe themselves to be higher and mightier than. The prison has yet to close because Obama and the Democrats never could figure out what to do with the prisoners. Bottom line here is that Gitmo is a tool we need to fight terrorism and it should stay open.

Morrissey Arrested Again

I have grown sick of this story. When someone has a cancerous tumor a doctor removes it. The General Assembly in Richmond has a cancerous tumor named Joe Morrissey who needs to be removed. Morrissey was arrested again today. Now he has been charged with perjury and forgery for filing forged documents to help his defense in the case involving his creepy relationship with a minor. He is currently serving his prison sentence, but he gets to leave prison every day for as much as 12 hours because he is in work-release program, which allows him to vote in the House of Delegates.

All of this leads to three questions I can’t figure out; 1) Why hasn’t Morrissey been tossed out of the General Assembly? 2) Why did the judge today allow Morrissey to stay in this sweet work-release program? And 3) Where is Morrissey sleeping tonight?

Ok, ok, ok, I know the answer to the third question; Morrissey is sleeping tonight in Henrico County Jail East located in New Kent County, or in shorter terms, prison. That’s right, all session of the General Assembly Morrissey will spend his nights in jail. And with these new charges it looks like he’ll spend a lot more time in jail. Or at least he should. Our friends at The Bull Elephant have more here.

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Previewing Tonight’s Partisan Clapping Contest

Tonight is the annual State of the Union. Any of President Obama’s speeches can be described the same way; extreme narcissism and radical leftwing talking points used to justify a deep-rooted contempt for America and the free market. Tonight will be no different. Obama is expected to announce that he will now be known as the Robin Hood president as he is going to talk about his specific wealthy individual targets to tax to help pick up the tab for his administration’s outrageous spending sprees.

The Constitution requires the president to address Congress on the state of the union every year. But the Constitution does not require the president to show up and give the speech. Thomas Jefferson delivered the State of the Union by courier. I would love to have that brought back. Today’s version of the State of the Union is just a partisan clapping contest. Obama will say something about taxes and only the Democrats will clap, then he’ll say something about veterans and everyone will clap, it’s predictable and obnoxious.

A popular hashtag trending on Twitter today and yesterday has been #StateOfTheUnionInThreeWords, which is State of the Union in three words, if you don’t savvy Twitter talk. I don’t like how Twitter simplifies everything down to just a few words, but in this case they are unfortunately on the ball as it is easy and descriptive. Playing along, the state of our union right now, in three words, is;
Overspending our money,
Ignoring the Constitution,
Taxed Enough Already!

That last one is the rally cry that gave rise across America to the TEA Party.

There are several drinking games to play while watching tonight. My favorite is the one that plays to Obama’s narcissism, you have to drink each time he says “I” or “my” or “me.” Let Obama’s inflated ego get you hammered.

Surely Obama’s speech tonight will be, in three words, partisan narcissist’s delusion. While things could certainly be worse, I would say the state of our union, in three words, could be better. Of course, tonight offers the opportunity for President Obama to offer some real leadership and he could do it in just three words by beginning with; hold your applause.

SOTU 2015

2nd Amendment Big Issue at Richmond’s Lobby Day

Today is Lobby Day down at the General Assembly in Richmond, a day where lots of grassroots activists wander the halls of Virginia’s legislature, find their representatives, and engage them in discussions on the issues that may come up this session.

Many different groups use today to push their supporters to Richmond to show strength in their cause. One group that has always done a good job in organizing a big display each year is Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL). They run buses from all around the commonwealth and when their people arrive they make sure all of them are wearing the bright orange “Guns Save Lives” lapel stickers. I have received their emails again this year regarding Lobby Day and they are expecting the same impressive turnout they have had in the past.

VCDL sends out emails previewing some the bills they plan to discuss with legislators. They list bills they favor and ones they are against, giving their members plenty of information to approach General Assembly members. And after the Governor’s State of the Commonwealth speech, which included talks of more gun control legislation, expect VCDL members to be very active today. In addition to visiting the offices, VCDL will have a rally outside the General Assembly Building at the southeast corner of 9th and Broad streets starting at 8:30am. The program will include gun rights activists Emily Miller, David Codrea and Larry Pratt.

Lobby Day gives citizen activists like the ones filling the Virginia Citizens Defense League buses today a chance to let lawmakers know that gun grabbing bills are just swipes at our Constitutional rights and we won’t stand for them. There will be a lot of bright orange stickers down in Richmond today reminding everyone that the 2nd Amendment needs to be protected because “Guns Save Lives.”

VCDL

Common Core Not for Virginia

State Senator Dick Black has introduced SB724, a bill designed to help keep education decisions in Virginia by adding a layer of state intervention before there can be any implementation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). This is an important bill we should all support because it will provide a state check against an unpopular federal program.

Common Core has been a headache since it first began. The problem is that it is too closely tied to the Race to the Top program the White House set up to reward increases in student performance with cash money. The CCSS is not a mandate tied directly to Race to the Top, and states that do not signed on to Common Core can still apply for Race to the Top money, but it is fair to conclude that the best way to get the White House’s money is to implement the program they are endorsing, so 45 states signed up right away, I suppose before they really read it à la Nancy Pelosi’s ObamaCare comment. But Virginia didn’t sell out our kids for federal money and thus far has not begun the CCSS in public schools.

Texas is another one of the few states that did not go for the money. Governor Rick Perry said he opposes Common Core because he says it “would be foolish and irresponsible to place our children’s future in the hands of unelected bureaucrats and special interest groups thousands of miles away in Washington, virtually eliminating parents’ participation in their children’s education.”

Indiana is the first state to drop Common Core. Governor Mike Pence defended Indiana’s move saying, “Like I think most Americans, I’ve always believed education is a state and local function.”

The whole thing seems to be unpopular all around. Liberals have soured on the CCSS because teachers’ unions are upset about how teachers have to teach to the test and are restricted in how they can try to reach their students. Conservatives don’t like it because we believe education should not be controlled by bureaucrats in Washington.

I completely agree with the comments by Governor Perry and Governor Pence. The feds need to let education stay at the state and local level. Specifically speaking to Common Core, I don’t like it because “the CCSS do not address fact vs. opinion in reading” and it “does not follow a logical instructional progression” in foundational reading principles, as according to a Virginia Department of Education review. Also, Common Core may not exactly have a required reading list, but each grade has specific teaching examples from specific texts which creates a de facto reading list. One reading list for all of America is not a democratic way to teach our children.

Sen. Black’s bill is a necessary legislative layer that will help us decide for ourselves how to education our kids. Support SB724.

Dick Black

Political Cartoon of the Week

On this throwback Thursday here is a political cartoon from U.S News & World Report’s year in review. It was first published early last year after Congress raised the debt ceiling.

www.usnews.com.png debt ceilingThis new Congress will have to vote later this year on extending the debt even farther. Our government can’t keep spending like this while continuing to borrow such massive amounts of money. Let’s hope the 114th Congress can cut spending significantly enough that we won’t have to raise the debt ceiling even higher, but don’t bet on it.

Creepy Joe Wins His Delegate Seat

Somehow creepy Joe Morrissey won his seat in the House of Delegates last night. Delegate-Elect Morrissey resigned his seat after accepting a guilty plea for contributing to the delinquency of a minor as a result of his inappropriate relationship with a 17 year old. Morrissey is currently serving his 6 month sentence on a work release program that hardly has him in prison, but he did hear the news of his victory from prison last night. Seriously, he was back in jail when all the precincts reported their totals. Again, the guy who won the election was sitting in prison when he learned of his victory.

The House Democratic leadership put out a statement last night disavowing ownership of creepy Morrissey. The Democrats are right to do so. Morrissey is no longer a member of the Democratic Party and he ran for this election as an independent. The D’s statement said that Morrissey is not going to be welcomed in their caucus this session.

House Speaker Bill Howell and Minority Leader David Toscano said they will explore ways to expel Morrissey from the legislature.

So here lies the problem; does the General Assembly have just cause to expel this creep? On the surface the answer is clearly yes, get rid of that pervert. But from a legal perspective it looks a little murky.

Creepy Morrissey will argue that he made a mistake so he resigned and then brought that mistake to the voters and asked them if having sex with a 17 year old is enough to disqualify a 57 year old from serving with the trust of the people in Mr. Jefferson’s historic house. It looks like the voters of the solid Democrat district said it’s ok. So Morrissey will say that the House has no business stepping in and overturning the results of a free and fair election, which may be a sound argument.

The counter to creepy Morrissey’s will of the people garbage is that our Founders didn’t really trust the people to always be on the right side of the issue so they put in a few, seldom used safeguards to protect the people from our own stupidity. One of those safeguards is that the legislature can expel members for what is simply termed “disorderly behavior.” I think we can agree that sex with a minor falls into disorderly behavior, as well as a few other descriptions.

Another argument presented by our friend Dave Webster on The Bull Elephant is creepy Morrissey can claim that he wasn’t a member of the House because he resigned so his new election as an independent candidate wipes the slate clean. I don’t see how that can be argued though. Morrissey was a Delegate when he engaged in disorderly behavior with a minor. The legislature was out of session during Morrissey’s conviction and unable to act until the next session, which was just a month away at the time the creep was convicted. Morrissey’s maneuver to avoid accountability for his actions should not give him legal grounds to avoid punishment. He was a Delegate when it happened, he was a creep then, he is a creep today, so expel him.

With the Republicans united against creepy Morrissey, and with the Democratic leadership saying they are looking at ways to proceed with expulsion, and with Delegate Mark Keam promising he will vote to expel the creep, it looks like Morrissey will be out of the House of Delegates soon. The legislature just has to stand tall and reject the nonsense of whatever argument Morrissey tries to use to defend his disorderly behavior with a minor.

Until creepy Joe Morrissey gets thrown out he will be back and forth from the big house to the state house, spending his day voting in the General Assembly while spending his nights in prison. Unbelievable.

Morrissey jail

Don’t Fall Into The 2016 Trap

Guest post from Prince Edward County Rep. Comm. Chairman Daniel Bradshaw on why our focus needs to be electing conservatives in 2015 before we start talking about 2016.

Everyone likes to talk about presidential elections. Even people who as a general rule don’t discuss politics can’t help but jump in to add their two cents when the subject comes up about who the next president will be.

Now for those of us who have an unwholesome addiction to politics, the subject about who is going to be elected president in 2016 became a serious topic for debate and conjecture on November 7, 2012, the day after Barack Obama was re-elected. For normal people who live outside the 24/7 political bubble, presidential election discussions don’t really emerge until the year preceding the election. With the clock striking 12:00am on January 1, 2015, ringing in the new year, presidential contenders where officially in season.

Feverishly racing ahead in their thirst for blood, the liberal media has already begun slashing away at potential contenders for the Republican presidential nomination. They can’t even wait for these sorry souls to officially announce their intentions before these “journalists” descend upon them like a pack of ravenous wolves. You have to admit that they have gotten really good at this. Identifying who the strong candidates are, they go after them more viciously than the rest.

On social media, conservative talk radio, and Republican leaning blogs, the debate is in full swing. Huckabee? Bush? Cruz? Romney? Christie? Walker? Paul? Carson? Micky Mouse? Everyone has got someone they love and someone they hate. Interestingly enough, in the discussion circles I frequent, people seem to enjoy talking more about who they hate more than who they like. It is enough to make you want to pull your hair out, but I digress.

Getting back to my main subject: What is the “2016 Trap”? To answer that question I need to first inform you of a very interesting phenomenon that occurs in the Commonwealth of Virginia. We have an election EVERY YEAR. This is no joke. While most states have their local and state office elections on even numbered years along with federal elections, Virginia actually holds its local and state office elections on odd numbered years.

School Board, Board of Supervisors, Commonwealth Attorney, Commissioner of the Revenue, Clerk of the Court, County Treasurer, House of Delegates, State Senate, all of these (and possibly a few more) offices are up for election in almost every county in Virginia in 2015. We have 100 members in the Virginia House of Delegates who face election every two years and 40 members of the Virginia Senate who face election every four years. All 140 of them are facing election in 2015!

I have to break some bad news to you. Even if we send someone to the White House who is even more conservative than Ronald Reagan, America will not be fixed or restored in the following four to eight years. Sorry to be such a wet blanket, but the federal government is so far in the toilet that a conservative president with the full cooperation of a conservative Congress would only be able to fix a small portion of everything that is broken in Washington in eight years, granted they get two terms.

However I firmly believe that we can enact substantial change by getting back to the basics and focusing our attentions locally. If we had local and state governments full of men and women with courage and conviction who would stand up to the federal government, then we could accomplish something long term.

Do you know how many votes it takes to swing a Board of Supervisors or School Board election? Less than 100 in most cases. In a county-wide office? Usually less than 500. House of Delegates and State Senate? Generally less than 1,000. These are goals that a small group of dedicated people can accomplish without much difficulty.

In 2015, there is going to be a dog fight over who controls the Senate. Right now we have a majority with 21 of the 40 seats, but we are going to be forced to fight tooth and nail to hang on to that majority, much less increase it. Terry McAuliffe is muccalendar_novh better at fundraising than being a governor and that is exactly what he is going to do. The Democrats are going to pour more money than we have ever seen into most of these Senate races, and the only way we are going to prevail is to outwork them.

All the money that they can throw around can’t match the impact that you will make by knocking on 100 doors, sending handwritten notes to friends, or hosting a neighborhood cookout and inviting the Republican candidate to come and speak to your neighbors. If we allow ourselves here in Virginia to get sidetracked by a presidential election that won’t even happen until next year, then we will miss a great opportunity to effect some serious change in our communities and our state this year.

We cannot win the White House in 2016 unless we carry Virginia. We cannot win Virginia in 2016 if we don’t win it in 2015. Now is the time to focus. Now is the time to set 2016 aside for a later day. Now is the time to win control of our local governments. Now is the time to elect a solid conservative majority to the Virginia Senate. Don’t fall into the 2016 trap and neglect your duty to your community and your Commonwealth.

Daniel Bradshaw is chairman of the Prince Edward County Republican Committee, having been elected in 2010 at the age of 18.  He has worked as a Legislative Aide to State Sen. Tom Garrett and has worked on several political campaigns including E.W. Jackson’s run for Lt. Governor in 2013. Bradshaw is currently owner and CEO of Appomattox River Landscapes, a property care and landscaping company he started in 2006. 

Special Election to Replace Creepy Joe

There is a special election tomorrow, Tuesday the 13th, to replace creepy Delegate Joe Morrissey, who resigned his seat after accepting a guilty plea for his inappropriate behavior with a 17 year old. The Republican in the race is Matt Walton. The Democrats have a nominee. Also, defying logic, Morrissey is running as an Independent for the seat he has resigned from. The Democrat nominee is heavily favored to win this solid blue district but you never know what will happen with low turnout in a special election in January.

The breath of fresh air we can all take from this weird scenario is that Democrats in the House of Delegates will vote to expel Morrissey should he somehow pull off an amazing upset. I can’t imagine anyone voting for Morrissey, but plenty of Democrats voted for his re-election last November despite the news of his then upcoming trial for indecent behavior with a minor so who knows what could happen. Morrissey is currently serving his very light sentence. He has been out on work release during the day and has been spending each night in prison. I’m not sure if he’ll be back in his jail cell Tuesday night before the results are released.

The best thing for Republicans in the Greater Richmond area to do is get out there and knock-and-drag for Matt Walton. Special elections are all about turnout. When someone knocks on your door prior to a November election it is easy to dismiss the volunteer, forget he was ever there, but still remember to vote because it is November. A January special is much different. Knock-and-drags tomorrow will make a big difference as plenty of people have let this special election slip their mind. The party that can get more of its base to the polls will win, and with creepy Joe on the ballot the Democrats could split their vote allowing Republican Walton to steal a surprise victory.

Whatever happens let’s just hope creepy Joe doesn’t win. Yes the House will still expel him but I’m sure there will be a fight about whether they can expel him after he resigned and blah, blah, blah. If Morrissey loses, as he must certainly should, then we won’t have to deal with that crap.

So if you live in the Greater Richmond area then please get out there Tuesday and help rid Virginia of creepy Joe Morrissey.

Walton

Need a new System for Selecting Speaker

Rep. Scott Rigell of Virginia’s 2nd District voted for Rep. Daniel Webster for Speaker of the House. Rigell was one of 25 Republicans to vote for someone other than Rep. Boehner, who won a third term as Speaker with 216 votes. Boehner won because there is no procedure within the party to challenge the incumbent Speaker. In Washington, the newbies are expected to fall in line with the established, which has turned voting for Speaker into a ceremonial exercise absent of meaningful thought.

Rigell defended his vote yesterday on the John Fredericks Show calling Webster “a viable alternative.” Rigell mentioned how Webster is well respected in the House Republican Caucus and served with distinction in the Florida legislature, but he didn’t really explain why he voted against Boehner. Fredericks didn’t press Rigell at all on why he didn’t vote for Boehner and let Rigell go on and on about jobs when the question was on the vote for Speaker. All Rigell said were nice things about Boehner and nice things about Webster and that was all. No real debate was offered.

Dave Brat of Virginia’s 7th District joined Rigell in voting for someone other than Speaker Boehner, but Brat joined no one in casting a vote for Rep. Jeff Duncan of South Carolina, including Duncan who voted for his state delegation colleague Rep. Trey Gowdy.

Cheers to the courage shown by Rigell and Brat in their votes for Speaker. It would have been nice to see Brat vote for someone more viable than a guy who couldn’t get two votes, but we admire the effort anyway. It would have been nice for the Republican Caucus to produce a contest, have a short but substantive and real debate, and then vote for the best candidate. That did not happen at all this time. Rigell found out Webster was interested in being Speaker the morning of the vote. The parties need to end confusion like that by having a real contest put in place for Speaker.

Next time around let’s hope the Republican House Caucus can internally debate who will step up and challenge the incumbent Speaker, then run publicly with a civil debate on the difference between the two conservative visions, and then hold a real vote within the caucus before the vote on the floor so that a split doesn’t lead to a united Democratic vote putting Rep. Nancy Pelosi in charge of the majority while she is in the minority. During the short public debate constituents will be able to call their Rep. to weigh in and after the internal vote the party will have the chance to stand unified behind their choice. No hard feelings, no vengeful committee assignments, just good old debate that leads to a stronger and more conservative message.

Without setting the system up to produce a contest for Speaker then we are left with a rubber stamp ceremonial vote for something that is pretty important. No vote should be a coronation, as alternatives are an essential component of democracy. In addition to running the House, the Speaker sits in the line of succession to be president behind only the vice president. A position like that deserves a lot more than just a rubber stamp for the guy that got there.

I would like to have seen a new Speaker elected this time. Rep. John Boehner hasn’t done a very good job. There has to be someone better. If a contest was the accepted protocol then Boehner would probably have been ousted. But in Washington the protocol is don’t rock the accepted establishment’s boat leaving us stuck with either Boehner or Pelosi for the unforeseeable future.

Boehner