Saturday, November 3, 2007

Things Are Quiet, Almost Too Quiet

Now that I'm done ranting about the De-Americanization of a Real American Hero, allow me to pass along the fact that things have really quieted down in the past 2-3 days in terms of election buzz.

Heck, you would think that the blogosphere would be as busy and buzzing with news, information, and commentary as ever. Is it lack of anything new? Could it be the calm before the Monday and Tuesday storm of propaganda? Is everyone simply fatigued after months of campaigning and punditry? Why is it so quiet out there all of a sudden?

Now I Understand Why G.I. Joe Will Be De-Americanized...

Apparently, George Clooney is in talks to star in this movie. I seriously doubt a single soul who knows anything about G.I. Joe will buy into his pacifist persona as G.I. Joe. Don't get me wrong, Clooney is a great actor...but no, this is one product I can't buy.

This is the plot outline from IMDb...

"A European-based military unit known as Global Integrated Joint Operating Entity (G.I.J.O.E.), a hi-tech, international force of special operatives takes on an evil organization led by a notorious arms dealer."

European-based??? G.I. Joe is a Real American Hero...a U.S. Marine! There are certain symbols you shouldn't tamper with, and the proud depiction of a U.S. Marine fighting for freedom and democracy against terrorists is not one of them. Talk about degrading the American armed forces for a generation of kids in our country...

Friday, November 2, 2007

Me and Hunter Golden (Part 1)

My fellow pundit/blogger/former aide to Mitt Romney, Hunter Golden, and I have been having off-and-on conversations regarding the upcoming presidential election and politics in general. Here's Part 1 of this series. We start with Golden talking about what he sees as the problems within the Republican Party, and the frustration that many GOP voters feel towards the party on a national level.

Hunter Golden: "The problem within the party is that you have the do-ers and the social climbers. The social climbers...I hate them, but they're the ones in power. They see politics backwards in the sense that they try to build the party from the top down instead of the bottom up. The do-ers on the other hand, are much more focused and targeted and are very good at building a base and exhibiting patience and exercise a lot of scrutiny in terms of who they pick as candidates.

If you look back to '94 when we smashed the Donks' faces and took back Congress, it was built around one thing: Finding a good candidate who matched up against the incumbent in that particular district. We ran a very localized campaign but kept a consistent national message with the contract for America and really white washed the Dems.

Now look to '06 where we got OUR faces smashed and you'll see the Dems basically took our own gun out of our hand and shot us in the face with it. Jim Webb is a prime example of a guy who was a great match up against George Allen in his district. They rode the overall theme of the Iraq war and beat Allen and a host of other Republicans.

That strategy relies on running solid, appealing candidates to a specialized population and using them to market a simple to understand national platform.

When Bush won the White House, that whole strategy was really tossed out the window, especially when the social climbers, who kissed enough ass to be given positions of authority, assumed that authority. They were out for themselves and lobbied the GOP delegation for ridiculous legislation and kick backs in return for campaign money. They thought that would be more than enough to maintain the majority. They ditched the whole idea of running localized campaigns with a national message and nationalized all the candidates and didn't prepare for poor match ups. It's the same exact thing that led to he Dems downfall in the 90s.

The problem we have right now of course is trying to dislodge those idiots from their positions and getting competent action-oriented leadership back in control. The PROBLEM is though, that the base is so disenchanted with the direction of the party and it's policies, that it's been really demoralized and essentially there aren't any efforts to move on the party leadership.

The Dems were in the same place in 02 and it took a considerable push from a lot of special interest groups to rally the base and put smart guys like Rahm Emmanuel in charge of recruiting candidates and modifying their message. The Republicans are going to have to get to that point, and it might mean losing the White House in 08.

Like 02 though, where the Dems overestimated the Republicans' strengths, it's important to recognize that the Democrats' hold on power isn't nearly as solid as the Republican's were in the mid 90s. I think given some good match ups and someone that can communicate truly conservative ideals, that they'll be able to rebound. Unfortunately though, I just don't think the party leadership is there to do it.

A side bar story that localizes all this and amplifies my point.... I'm the vice chair of the Western Mass GOP. We had a meeting a few weeks ago to gear up for the municipal elections. I'm sitting there and pose the question, 'OK, we've raised a good amount of money, who're we going to spend it on?" To which the secretary, who sits on the state committee replies 'um, everyone'. I say 'well there are some guys it'd be a waste to give the money too. They're running against established Dems and the districts don't favor them. That and a few are kind of looney and are bound to get murdered, so why not give it to candidates who have a shot or need the extra bump'... she replies "we can't do that, that'd be terrible'. "Why is that bad?" I reply. "Well, we can't be sending a message that some candidates are weaker than others'...

It was bulls**t. WHY would you WASTE your money associating yourself with inevitable losers? See though, it's not about us winning seats, it's about the secretary making sure everyone still likes her and keeps her on the state committee. It's a social club to her, where I view the party and the organization as a vehicle to win campaigns and therefore a seat at the table and influence. That right there is the problem with the party. People who're more concerned with making friends and finding ways to make money are in control. The rest of us just need to screw if we want to fight that.

So in a nutshell, that's the deal.

In terms of this elections, a lot of people feel the way you do. Funny thing is politics is that when liberals get pissed at their candidates, they prove their point by flushing their votes down the toilet on the useless nut job fringe candidate and cost the Democrat the election. Us Republicans, we just don't show up period and cost our team the election. With no one particularly ruffling the feathers of GOPers, I see less democrat protest votes and more Republican no shows, which isn't good news for the Republicans."

Phil Chroniger: "I'd agree, except the GOP donors are ruffling the feathers of the national GOP. Especially over Bush/Graham/McCain/Specter supporting the Shamnesty Bill.

Simply put, the majority of Americans are not the ones on the blogs, talking about the election on message board threads like this one, or really doing anything. They turn on the evening news, get hit with a constant barrage of bad info and oversimplified media crap, and the end up either apathetic or riled up in a heavily misinformed rage.

And, naturally, this plays to the Dems advantage, because the media (generally speaking) slants leftward.

Alan "no chance in hell" Keyes is in the race now, GOPers can point to him (and Michael Steele, among others) as proof that blacks can rally to conservative causes. However, Alan Keyes is too socially conservative for my tastes, as is most of the "Renew America" crowd (Selwyn Duke, etc...despite their intelligence and many of the valid anti-left points they bring up).

However, the GOP needs to quietly leave extreme social conservatism behind. It's a small, overly-activist and vocal subsection of the GOP base. The evangelical outcries are what kills the GOP appeal to secular conservatives and social moderates who may be fiscal conservatives.

Which leads me to why I like Fred Thompson (again). He's a non-denomination Christian who does not make his religion the base of his political beliefs. Abortion, same-sex marriage, these are side issues AT BEST, but many social conservatives act as if they are the most pressing issues facing all of mankind."

Part 2 Coming Soon...

Vogel Sets the Record Straight

In an interview with The New Dominion today, Jill Holtzman Vogel sets the record straight on her stance against the proposed power lines by Dominion Power that would run right through the heart of the 27th District to ship power to other states.

She also corrects the falsehoods that her opponent, Karen Schultz, has been spreading about Vogel's stances and expresses frustration and discontent with Schultz's negative campaign blitz over the past month or so.

Give it a read.

Obama's "Pizza" Metaphor

Courtesy of Extreme Mortman...

Barack Obama made this statement to a 5 year old, I guess to make socialism seem more appealing to youngsters.

“We’ve got to make sure that people who have more money help the people who have less money,” Obama said. “If you had a whole pizza, and your friend had no pizza, would you give him a slice?”

While Mortman and a few others make some jokes about Obama promoting subsidized childhood obesity (which is really funny), I have my own response to this line of thinking.

Much like teaching a man to fish, you'd be better off teaching your friend how to make a pizza. In the end, though, I would give my friend a slice...but I would do it out of the goodness out of my heart, not because the federal government mandates that I do so. They already take enough slices of pizza from my hard-earned pie.

Have Symbols of America Been Reduced to This?

They're turning G.I. Joe from a "Real American Hero" to a UN Peacekeeping Officer for next year's live-action adaptation of G.I. Joe.

You've GOT to be freaking kidding me. They name claim that G.I. Joe stands for "Global Integrated Joint Operation Entity". WTF is THAT supposed to mean? It definitely does not mean "Real American Hero".

Lest we forget, the whole G.I. Joe character, story,'s all based upon a real-life U.S. Marine from World War II, Sgt. Mitchell Paige. Paige was a recipient of the Medal of Honor...he single-handedly held off a Japanese assault on the hill his platoon was defending after every other man in his platoon was killed.

It's Mitchell Paige's face that is the face of the G.I. Joe action figure. His only request when he allowed them to use his face was that G.I. Joe ALWAYS remain a United States Marine. Now they want to paint him as some kind of United Nations lackey!?!?!?

When I was a kid, I had a G.I. Joe lunchbox...and they definitely were not wearing UN colors.

Oh, that means that he cannot shoot at the Cobra Commander unless Cobra shoots at him first. Hasbro is attempting to backtrack and say "oh, that's not what we're really trying to do with G.I. Joe". However, I highly doubt that.

Here's a transcript from Glenn Beck's satire and discussion of this.

First they make Captain America look weak and then kill him off, now G.I. Joe has to answer to someone other than much longer can we sit back and watch these characters, which were once icons of patriotism and American pride for generations of children, be turned into symbols of weakness and subservience to international bureaucratic organizations that have been miserable failures and whose existence has a tendency to usurp the sovereignty of our nation?

Many of you, mostly liberals, will think I'm making too big of a deal of this. However, this definitely symbolizes something bigger than just the change in a storyline for a fictional character. It's a change in the attitude towards how our country is portrayed to children.

(h/t Podium contributor Paul Cave for passing this along to me)

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Vogel Press Release Exposes Schultz Campaign Fabricating Endorsements

(h/t NovaTownhall Blog)

Apparently, if you donate to Karen Schultz's campaign, you're automatically endorsing her.

In a press release from Jill Holtzman-Vogel's campaign, Schultz's fabrication of endorsements is exposed. Schultz claims that she has a "joint endorsement" from the Northern Virginia Technology Council.

Why would anyone in their right mind endorse two candidates in the same race???

The truth is that the Northern Virginia Technology Council simply donated to both candidates equally. She also claims an endorsement from the Virginia Nurses Association (which also donated to Vogel) and she also previously claimed an endorsement from the Washington Post, which was an outright lie. The Washington Post has actually already endorsed Vogel, not Schultz.

This is poor and deceitful campaigning by Karen Schultz.

Trying to do the Right Thing

When it comes to the Middle East in general, America has done a lot to attempt to bring order and some amount of social freedom not granted to the people by the governments of that region. True, we always had our interests in mind to varying extents, but I believe that our attempts to simply democratize the region for the sake of providing freedom to those who never had it before have been genuine to at least some degree.

I've come to believe that true stability may never be reached in the Middle East...but you can't fault the U.S. for at least trying. The problem is, you have the roots of almost half of the world's religious beliefs set in this general region. You also have some of the most extreme tribalistic societies in this region. Combine that with a willingness to die for your beliefs because the man next to you does not believe what you believe...and by killing them and yourself, you get 72 virgins and an eternity in paradise...well, I guess personal freedom and democracy now can't compare with those kinds of promises that can be achieved by simply killing "infidels" in the name of Allah.

The worst part of it all is that most Muslims do not believe in these acts. However, their religion has been so hijacked by these extremists that they feel powerless to stop them. The other roadblock is the different sects of Islam refuse to coexist, much like the Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland, even though they read from the same book of beliefs.

However, I've read a few reports that state that Al Qaeda has lost a lot of influence in Iraq in recent months. Most of this loss of influence is due to these non-extremist Muslims standing up and refusing to give shelter to Al Qaeda terrorists, and not just U.S. military force alone.

Maybe we can end this occupation on a positive note, after all.

The Reagan21 Caucus

Interesting. Michelle Malkin introduces us to this group. This quote from Malkin in the opening paragraph caught me by surprise...

"Grass-roots conservatives should keep an eye on the caucus. If they do their job right, they’ll be battling the GOP establishment with as much frequency, if not more, than the Democrats and nutroots."

Interesting. Human Events states that this movement is an attempt to reinvigorate the Republican Party and bring back the positive attitude and optimism of the Reagan-era GOP. Any movement that aims bring back positive attitudes to the Republican Party and attempts to move the Party forward in a good direction intrigues me.

Some of the members of this caucus include: Senators Tom Coburn(R-OK) and Jim DeMint(R-SC); as well as Representatives Jeb Hensarling(R-TX), Paul Ryan(R-WI), John Shadegg(R-AZ), Tom Price(R-GA), and John Campbell(R-CA).

I will be interested to see what this could lead to.

First Newspaper Endorsement in the 24th District...

And it goes to Podium-endorsed Libertarian Arin Sime! Some key quotes from the News-Virginian article endorsing Sime...

- "Sime’s views are the most alluring."

- “He favors a constitutional amendment to block the abuse of eminent domain, has compiled a detailed platform on open government, backs school choice and promises he will not raise taxes”

- “Fresh thinking such as his is a rarity in an era of knee-jerk, party-line politics,”

(h/t The Augusta Free Press)

87th District, People Wondered Why I Picked Giffin...

As of right now, the Pilot Online is running a poll asking who you would vote for in Tuesday's elections, and all of the Hampton Roads area candidates are up there.

Currently, Hank Giffin is spanking Paula Miller by a margin of 63.1% - 36.9%

And someone said I was crazy, and that Miller had a sizeable lead in her internal polls, so this was a safe win. I predicted a squeaker in favor of Giffin. I had a feeling from everything I saw that Giffin could pull this out.

UPDATE - Apparently, since word of this poll spread across the blogosphere, suddenly a flood of votes came in for Miller...kinda makes you wonder how that happened, ya know? That was one of the reasons I was hesistant to post this info, but I figured informing the masses was more important than sitting and chuckling to myself that I might be right :)

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Fred Thompson on "Meet The Press" this Sunday...

Should be an interesting interview. Let's see how Thompson handles Russert.

Election Day Cometh - Prediction Time! (State Senate)

Complementing the H.O.D. predictions from earlier today, here's my predictions on the State Senate.

"**" Denotes incumbent.

Red = Republican, Blue = Democrat, Orange = Independent, Green = Libertarian

1st District
- Tricia Stall vs. John Miller
This is an intensely close race. Miller got started late, in my opinion, but has been running really hard since he got going, and he has had good backing from the DPVA. Stall is a very "hard-right" candidate in a moderate-right district. However, she has stanch GOP support, and upended the current seatholder, Marty Williams, in the June primaries. Stall's far-right stance may not play well in this area, and the more moderate Miller should slip by.
Prediction: Miller 51%, Stall 49% (Dem Pickup)

6th District
- Nick Rerras** vs. Ralph Northam
Another district where Democratic money has been brought in by the truckload. Northam has a great background that could appeal to voters. However, Rerras is well-liked in a Republican-leaning district. He's put in the effort during this campaign season as well, and his efforts should pay off with a narrow victory.
Prediction: Rerras 52%, Northam 48% (GOP Hold)

13th District
- Fred Quayle** vs. Steve Heretick
While there are a few Dems that believe this is going to be a win for just isn't going to happen. Heretick has raised some funds, and would probably win if the district were more Democratic-leaning. Quayle wins rather easily.
Prediction: Quayle 57%, Heretick 43% (GOP Hold)

20th District

- Roscoe Reynolds** vs. Jeff Evans
Roscoe has incumbency and experience on his side. However, the feeling I get from the 20th is that many people are sick and tired of him. Hiring Joe Stanley's firm to help drive his campaign, and his subsequent attempts to avoid admitting that he did so further fueled the grassroots. I really see Evans slipping by in a big upset.
Prediction: Evans 51%, Reynolds 49% (GOP Pickup)

22nd District
- Ralph Smith vs. Mike Breiner
This should be interesting. Ralph Smith has the experience and name recognition in this area due to being the former mayor of Roanoke, and he also defeated current Senator Brandon Bell in the June primary. The area leans Republican, and Mike Breiner is only just getting funds from the DPVA and other Dem sources. This should close the race some, but Smith should win this district.
Prediction: Smith 54%, Breiner 46% (GOP Hold)

24th District
- Emmett Hanger** vs. David Cox vs. Arin Sime
Ah, this district. The GOP primary was a firefight of the political kind. Sime will have more traction than any other 3rd party candidate in this entire election that isn't already sitting in office. Cox has been very unimpressive and disappointing with his fundraising after a good showing against Ben Cline in a House of Delegates race two years ago. In the end, I think a plurality of the vote tips towards Hanger.
Prediction: Hanger 44%, Sime 32%, Cox 24% (GOP Hold)

26th District
- Mark Obenshain** vs. Maxine Hope Roles
This is the district that the Podium is voting in, hence the only reason this race is mentioned. Obenshain is well-liked, well-established, and well-qualified to represent this district. Maxine Roles may have had "Hope" in her name, but not in this race.
Prediction: Obenshain 69%, Roles 31% (GOP Hold)

27th District
- Jill Holtzman-Vogel vs. Karen Schultz vs. Donald Marro
While Marro's fundraising has been quietly impressive, it comes down to Schultz vs. Holtzman-Vogel. Vogel has everything going for her. Name recognition in Schultz's base, incredible fundraising, and a wide variety of endorsements. Schultz has had less baggage, in part because she did not have a primary to go through. However, considering the smashing win Vogel had in the GOP primary over the man who, 4 years ago, nearly took out current Senator Russ Potts(purple for the extreme RINO status)...Vogel should have this in the bag.
Prediction: Vogel 55%, Schultz 44%, Marro 1% (GOP Hold)

28th District
- Richard Stuart vs. Albert Pollard
This is John Chichester's old seat, and the primary to find a replacement was a hot one. The moderate candidate was selected, and he has run hard against his Democratic opponent. Chichester's RINO status favors neither man, but other recent voting trends in the district favors Stuart.
Prediction: Stuart 52%, Pollard 48% (GOP Hold)

29th District
- Chuck Colgan** vs. Bob Fitzsimmonds
Fitzsimmonds has been pushing HARD and has run a great campaign. Colgan may be the long-established incumbent but has very little else going in his favor. Fitzsimmonds is seen as a potential star in the future of the GOP by many, and he has acted like he wants to live up to that potential, so far. Voting trends really favor Fitzsimmonds as well.
Prediction: Fitzsimmonds 53%, Colgan 47% (GOP Pickup)

33rd District
- Mark Herring** vs. Patricia Phillips
This race had turned very competitive as Phillips built up momentum after her surprising win in the May GOP primary. However, as the late summer wore on, Herring regained his footing and should open up a bit of distance over Phillips. Credit the GOP for making this more of a race than it initially was supposed to be.
Prediction: Herring 55%, Phillips 45% (Dem Hold)

34th District
- Jeannemarie Devolites-Davis** vs. Chap Petersen
*sigh*, this race has worn me out. It's the "big money" race for both sides. Davis, self-described "RINO" and the wife of current Congressman Tom Davis, has represented this area since 2003, when she upended Ron Christian. Chap(!) is a former member of the House of Delegates, and is one of the most conservative Democrats in the state (well, conservative FOR a Democrat). This race has been all over the place, has seen the grassroots on both sides working in overdrive, and has had it's share of memorable (or not-so-memorable) moments. In the end, I think demographics and anti-JMDD motivation give Chap the edge.
Prediction: Petersen 52%, Devolites-Davis 48% (Dem Pickup)

37th District
- Ken Cuccinelli** vs. Janet Oleszek
Talk about some real opposites here. You have the pretty hard-right Cuccinelli against the pretty hard-left Oleszek. Cuccinelli is a polarizing figure. You either love him or hate him. Fortunately, Oleszek is the same way, but the demographics don't favor Cuccinelli. Of course, having a campaign site that looks like an ode to the former Soviet Union doesn't help Oleszek and her leftist stances much at all. Oleszek's money makes this pretty close, but Cuccinelli should win this because Oleszek is a poor candidate and a bland figure.
Prediction: Cuccinelli 53%, Oleszek 47% (GOP Hold)

39th District
- Jay O'Brien** vs. George Barker
George Barker has a penchant for ugly races, apparently. Between his nasty little primary battle with Greg Galligan and now his dogfight with O'Brien, it seems Barker can't keep himself out of the mud. The demographics tilt in Barker's favor, but O'Brien is the incumbent and Barker seems out of touch with his party's voters...even though this is a district where the rise in popularity amongst Democrats statewide could carry him to a fairly un-earned victory..
Prediction: Barker 51%, O'Brien 49% (Dem Pickup)

There you have it...The Podium's Predictions on the 2007 Virginia State Election.

Election Day Cometh - Prediction Time! (House of Delegates)

Less than a week until Election Day, so it's time for predictions! First up, the key races in the Virginia House of Delegates...

"**" Denotes incumbent.

Red = Republican, Blue = Democrat, Orange = Independent

5th District
- Bill Carrico** vs. Susan Dixon-Garner
This has been a competitive race that has flown under the radar for the most part. The demographics in the district may split fairly evenly, but Carrico hasn't really done much to push support away. Both have run solid campaigns, slight fundraising edge to Carrico in a low-money race. I'll take the incumbent here.
Prediction: Carrico 54%, Dixon-Garner 46% (GOP Hold)

7th District
- Peggy Frank vs. Dave Nutter**
This was initially supposed to be a Dem victory, for reasons I'm unsure of. Nutter is much like Carrico in the sense that hasn't done much to lose, except this district leans GOP more so than Carrico's district does. Frank hasn't raised the kinds of funds she was expected to raise, and Nutter should hold onto this seat.
Prediction: Nutter 55%, Frank 45% (GOP Hold)

9th District
- Eric Ferguson vs. Charles Poindexter vs. Jerry Boothe
This is for Allen Dudley's old district. Ferguson lost to Dudley in 2005, but managed to retain a significant amount of money for this race. He's also outraised Poindexter signifcantly. Poindexter has put up a good fight, and has put in the work necessary to be competitive, but in the end, I see Ferguson taking this seat by a few points. Boothe won't factor in much here.
Prediction: Ferguson 51%, Poindexter 48%, Boothe 1% (Dem Pickup)

13th District
- Bob Marshall** vs. Bruce Roemmelt
This race had all the makings of something really competitive. However, Roemmelt could never seem to get his fundraising shifted into the next gear (for whatever reason), and Marshall has a solid base of support in this district.
Prediction: B. Marshall 57%, Roemmelt 43% (GOP Hold)

14th District
- Danny Marshall** vs. Adam Tomer
This is the first real "toss-up", as it's hard to get a read on this district. Tomer has out-raised and out-campaigned Marshall overall, but Marshall has voting demographics going in his favor. Incumbency splits the difference, here. Marshall in a squeaker.
Prediction: D. Marshall 51%, Tomer 49% (GOP Hold)

16th District
- Donald Merricks vs. Andy Parker
This is the seat formerly held by Robert Hurt. Merricks has run a solid campaign, and has outraised Parker. Combine that with a fundraising advantage and this race that some thought would be competitive turns into a solid win for Merricks.
Prediction: Merricks 56 %, Parker 44%(GOP Hold)

21st District
- John Welch** vs. Bob Mathieson
This race will really come down to the wire. Both raised funds well, Welch has an incumbency edge, but it seems like Mathieson has ran the slightly more effective campaign. This could go either way, but it seems like Mathieson may squeak this one out.
Prediction: Mathieson 51%, Welch 49% (Dem Pickup)

26th District
- Matt Lohr** vs. Carolyn Frank
I'm doing this race because it's relatively local and a hot topic at Republitarian, not because it's going to be anything close. Unless Lohr decides to drop out due to his wife's illness, he's got this one in the bag. Myron Rhodes said that Frank was running a "Jim Webb-style" campaign. To which I replied "so she's going to wait for her opponent to say 'macaca' and film it?" It never happened, and she's got no chance of winning.
Prediction: Lohr 61%, Frank 39% (GOP Hold)

32nd District
- David Poisson** vs. Lynn Chapman
Early on, I thought this would be a close race. I think Lynn Chapman will be in the General Assembly soon enough. However, Poisson has too many advantages going for him, a lot of those advantages involve money. Chapman's efforts will make this a closer race than most candidates would have made it.
Prediction: Poisson 56%, Chapman 44% (Dem Hold)

33rd District
- Joe May** vs. Marty Martinez
Reverse of the 32nd District race above. I thought this would be a closer race than it's going to turn out to be. May's fundraising and incumbent status will pull through for him in a pretty solid conservative district.
Prediction: May 58%, Martinez 42% (GOP Hold)

34th District
- Dave Hunt vs. Margi Vanderhye
This seat currently belongs to the now-retiring Vince Callahan. While many see this as a possible blowout, I don't. While Hunt raised a significant amount of money, the fundraising edge goes to Vanderhye, but a lot of that came and went during a pretty tough primary. Both have run excellent campaigns, in my opinion. However, this election pits the Democratic momentum in NoVa vs. Callahan's previous popularity and Hunt's tough campaigning. In the end, the demographics should have it in this district.
Prediction: Vanderhye 53%, Hunt 47% (Dem Pickup)

40th District
- Tim Hugo** vs. Rex Simmons
While Rex Simmons has a great name to play on (Sex Rimmons, lol), Hugo should walk away from this one pretty solidly. Fundraising has been close, but Hugo has solid support and an incumbency advantage. Simmons, on the other hand, had to deal with a challenge from Morris Meyer that seemed to sap some of his campaign strength over the summer.
Prediction: Hugo 55%, Simmons 45% (GOP Hold)

50th District
- Jackson Miller** vs. Jeannette Rishell
These two did this dance a year ago in a special election for the same seat. Miller won last year, and should have no problem doing so again this year. Rishell edges Miller in fundraising, but has had to spend more money, too...and Miller is still the favorite.
Prediction: Miller 53%, Rishell 47% (GOP Hold)

51st District
- Faisal Gill vs. Paul Nichols
This is for the open seat held previously by Michele McQuigg. This race has been very hotly contested and controversial since the GOP convention this past spring that narrowly chose Gill over Julie Lucas, where Gill barely slipped by Lucas amidst allegations of ineligible delegates at the convention. However, despite his "honest man" persona...he hasn't really said much in terms of how he plans to improve the district and the state. Given the mood in Prince William County, Gill should edge by on this one.
Prediction: Gill 51%, Nichols 49% (GOP Hold)

59th District
- Watkins Abbitt Jr.** vs. Connie Brennan
Abbitt has represented this district since 1986. His family name goes back very far in rural south-central Virginia. Abbitt has long-shed his father's not-so-great legacy and has become a staple of Virginia politics. Brennan poses the biggest threat to his seat since he was voted into office, and has outraised him by a decent margin...but let's be honest, Abbitt will probably hold onto this seat as long as he wants.
Prediction: Abbitt 55%, Brennan 45% (Independent Hold)

67th District
- Chuck Caputo** vs. Marc Cadin
The "God-Like Figure", Chuck Caputo, should prove himself to be mighty mortal in this race. Caputo's got a great warchest from his previous campaigns. However, Cadin has been working very hard in this district and putting in the effort. Cadin put himself on an even keel over the summer, and has been right there with Caputo ever since.
Prediction: Cadin 51%, Caputo 49% (GOP Pickup)

68th District
- Katherine Waddell** vs. Manoli Loupassi vs. Bill Grogan
Loupassi is one of the most energetic and motivated GOP candidates out there. Loupassi has been a fundraising machine, as well. Waddell is a left-leaning independent incumbent who finally woke up late in the race and has made her surge towards making this competitive. She also did not really "wow" voters in her last campaign, either. Grogan may get a point or two, but that's about it. Loupassi in a romp, this will not be as close as some think it will be.
Prediction: Loupassi 54%, Waddell 44%, Grogan 2% (GOP Pickup)

83rd District
- Chris Stolle vs. Joe Bouchard
Bouchard has been a little more efficient in his campaigning. But this is the Tidewater area, and this is a Stolle running for office, and this district leans GOP. This is also Leo Wardrup's old seat, and Wardrup was a pretty popular delegate himself. Bodes well for Stolle going into next week's elections.
Prediction: Stolle 54%, Bouchard 46% (GOP Hold)

86th District
- Tom Rust** vs. Jay Donahue
Pure demographics would say that Rust should lose this district. However, he enjoys a good deal of crossover popularity. Donahue has proven to be a solid campaigner, but Rust has killed him in fundraising and should hold on to this seat. What makes this race close is pure demographics.
Prediction: Rust 53%, Donahue 47% (GOP Hold)

87th District
- Paula Miller** vs. Hank Giffin
Miller has run a lackluster and uninspired campaign. Hank Giffin is a former admiral who has run pretty hard against the incumbent. The demographics lean slightly in Giffin's favor if you look at the recent voting trends, too. While many favor Miller to hold on, I think Giffin edges Miller in an upset.
Prediction: Giffin 52%, Miller 48% (GOP Pickup)

88th District
- Mark Cole** vs. Carlos del Toro
Cole has incumbency and a decent amount of popularity on his side. Del Toro has been raising money like mad...but really hasn't been "out there" and getting in touch with the voters in his district. The Dems have invested a lot of money in winning this race, mainly to influence things up-ballot. However, I don't think Carlos will deliver in this district, and will get edged out by Cole in the end.
Prediction: Cole 52%, del Toro 48% (GOP Hold)

96th District
- Brenda Pogge vs. Troy Farlow vs. Pamela Pouchot
Pouchot is counted out, as she is a late entry with no real purpose in this race. Farlow has run a decent, if unspectacular campaign. However, Pogge has demographics and a slight money edge on her side, as this is the seat that belonged to the retiring Melanie Rapp.
Prediction: Pogge 53%, Farlow 47%, Pouchot 0% (GOP Hold)

There you have it...the key State Senate races should be up later today or tomorrow.

Congratulations Republitarian and Whackette!!!

Megan and Myron Rhodes finally welcomed their new baby boy into the world. Baby Whackette (as we shall refer to him until Mom and Dad choose a name) was born at 10:17 last night, and was a health 9 lbs and 22 1/4 inches long. Mommy and Baby are happy and healthy, and we all wish them the very best.

See a picture of Baby Whackette here.

Read the live blog of the birth (courtesy of Whackjob) here.


UPDATE - The baby's name is John Issac Rhodes.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Creigh Deeds = Foot In Mouth

You know, I don't always agree with Ben over at NLS (especially when he says I use foul racial language), but I do think that he sometimes nails the point on the head. Today, he quotes Creigh Deeds at a press conference for Karen Schultz.

"Her opponent on the other hand is a DC insider- her campaign just took a huge infusion of Oil money- the choice between these two could not be more clear- Karen is only one in this race with a real connection to community values."

As Ben says, the donation to Jill Holtzman-Vogel came from her father, Bill Holtzman...who owns the locally-owned Holtzman Oil Corp.

If anyone knows community values, it's Bill Holtzman...considering he employs a good chunk of the Northern Shenandoah Valley in some way, shape, or form. C'mon Creigh, why do you have to label a family-owned local business as some kind of evil entity??? If Karen Schultz is going to stand for the slanted depiction of an honest business that does a lot of good in the community, she has no business representing the 27th District in the Virginia State Senate.

Monday, October 29, 2007


This is more of a personal endorsement.

I am endorsing James Atticus Bowden for the 1st House of Representatives district that is now vacant due to the death of Jo Ann Davis. His stance and knowledge of issues is well known in Virginia already due to his numerous blogs and commentary. He fleshes out his qualifications and ideas quite a bit...right on the front page of his campaign website. I like that he makes no bones about what he believes, and lays it all out there for you to see.

Therefore, The Podium endorses James Atticus Bowden for the House of Representatives - 1st District of Virginia.

Fred Rules

So says a poll of center-to-right leaning bloggers. (h/t Podium contributor Paul Cave)

Basically, they asked bloggers to give their top 5 and bottom 5 candidates for the GOP nomination. After subtracting the "bottom 5" scores from the "top 5" scores, your overall field looks like this.

1 - Fred Thompson (+72.0)
2 - Duncan Hunter (+37.5)
3 - Rudy Guiliani (+33.0)
4 - Mitt Romney (+25.0)
5 - Mike Huckabee (+24.5)
6 - John McCain (-13.0)
7 - Tom Tancredo (-15.5)
8 - John Cox (-38.0)
9 - Alan Keyes (-41.5)
10 - Ron Paul (-65.5)

A few things to take away from this poll...

- The GOP netroots are still wildly in favor of Fred Thompson. Duncan Hunter isn't surprising, as he has a good netroots organization going, as well. Huckabee is about even with Romney, which actually follows national trends.

- Despite the incredible activism by Ron Paul supporters on the net, they've probably turned off a lot of the netroots supporters that were previously undecided. John Cox is so unknown that nobody thought to really mark him down further.

- This race continues to be a 5-man horse race. However, it's also showing that the "D" in Dark Horse doesn't always apply to "D"emocrats. Mike Huckabee is turning into the dark horse candidate in the GOP.

UPDATE - It appears Kilo has carried this story, as well.


Yesterday was a milestone for me. A first in my life.

It was the first time in my life I have ever voluntarily stopped watching a Redskins game.

Their performance was so uninspired, sloppy, and miserable that I could not stand to watch the game anymore. Once the score reached 38-0, I left to take a shower. I couldn't hold my head up to see the screen anymore. I don't care how good the Patriots are, we were not supposed to be that bad.

I was born into the Redskins (and Joe Gibbs) tradition of winning, and doing so with honor, dignity, and pride. Since Gibbs retired in 1993, I've suffered through many sub-par and miserable seasons under the tutelige of Richie Petitbon, Norv Turner, Marty Schottenheimer, and Steve Spurrier.

Norv got us back to respectability for a short while. Just barely missing the playoffs in 1997 due to a late-season collapse and another near-miss in 1998 due to Michael Westbrook's inability to keep his cool (or his helmet on) while on the field, and Gus Frerotte's inability to not headbutt a wall and jam his neck.

Since 1993...the Redskins have made 2 playoff appearances, won 1 division title, and have otherwise created a sense of crushed hope amongst it's fans.

The team is still 4-3, and they're not out of it yet, and they can still make a run at the playoffs in the NFC. However, the effort put forth yesterday did something that the numerous 3, 4, and 5 win seasons of the past 15 years never did...

...yesterday, I was embarrassed to be a Redskins fan.

UPDATE - looks like Del. Kris Amundsen feels as bad as I do.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Real Larry Sabato: His Heart is in the Right Place...

...but his head...well, I'm not so sure.

In his most recent "Crystal Ball" article, he outlines his idea of "Universal National Service" for all citizens between 18 and 26. This is one of his 23 ideas for a more perfect constitution, which goes along with his proposed "Bill of Responsibilities" to go with the Bill of Rights.

Sabato's "UNS" is drawn mostly from the energy that comes from youth, and born out of John F. Kennedy's famous phrase, "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country."

While that is a great phrase to live by, and certainly an inspiring quote, Sabato takes this one step further. Basically, it makes 2 years of service (which can be done at any time) mandatory. This service is not just military, though. Sabato proposes that service can include time with the Peace Corps, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and suggest we create new programs. His examples include a revived Civilian Conservation Corps and a "National Disaster Strike Force" to accompany FEMA to assist with recovery after incidents such as Hurricane Katrina.

I can really see the positive aspects of this, but...

Despite Sabato's claims that this idea is "less about governmental authority, and more about a renewal of personal citizenship through sustained individual commitment to improving the nation", the problem is that you do create an incredible amount of governmental authority in an area that should not have any governmental authority at all.

Nobody should be "forced" to volunteer their time and services to help others unless absolutely necessary. It should be recommended, encouraged, but not made mandatory as a requirement of citizenship. First of all, it takes away the genuine feeling of "I'm doing some good" and replaces it with the feeling of "Uncle Sam is making me do this".

I feel that if you're going to do public service such as this, one should make a choice in the matter. That's part of what makes our nation so great, the freedom to choose. Another thing that makes our nation so great is the voluntary goodwill of it's citizens to help those around them. How can something be considered to be " done out of your own goodwill towards others" if it is mandatory?

We eliminated the military draft so people had the right to choose whether or not they wanted to serve their country. Now, we're essentially removing that right to choose. When you start making such mandates, you run into very dangerous territory in terms of how the government chooses to use (or abuse) this service.

I understand that Sabato is trying to capture the energy of our college-aged citizens and turn it into positive actions. I also understand that he endorses such a program because it is good for everyone to do something for the greater good of their fellow citizens. However, despite how good it is...I'm not sure if that's something that needs to be government mandated.