Saturday, December 15, 2007

Grassroots Efforts Pay Off for Fred in VA

Fred Thompson will be in the Virginia primary ballot, having collected the 10,000 signatures necessary to qualify.

Actually, they collected 15,549 signatures, and I had heard from quite a few of those "in the know" that they surpassed the 10,000 signature mark a few weeks ago.

Congratulations to the Thompson grassroots workers in Virginia, your efforts have paid off!

Friday, December 14, 2007

A Little Test Before You Hit the Bars Tonight


Yeah, I used to have a very active social life...;)

(h/t Below The Beltway)

Faith and the GOP

I read this earlier, and I saw Sic Semper Tyrannis had posted part of it, but it bears repeating.

In a column today, Peggy Noonan talks about how a candidate's faith has risen to such levels of importance to some voters.

Christian conservatives have been rising, most recently, for 30 years in national politics, since they helped elect Jimmy Carter. They care about the religious faith of their leaders, and their interest is legitimate. Faith is a shaping force. Lincoln got grilled on it. But there is a sense in Iowa now that faith has been heightened as a determining factor in how to vote, that such things as executive ability, professional history, temperament, character, political philosophy and professed stands are secondary, tertiary.

But they are not, and cannot be. They are central. Things seem to be getting out of kilter, with the emphasis shifting too far.

She also asks the question of if Reagan would survive in today's GOP climate...

I wonder if our old friend Ronald Reagan could rise in this party, this environment. Not a regular churchgoer, said he experienced God riding his horse at the ranch, divorced, relaxed about the faiths of his friends and aides, or about its absence. He was a believing Christian, but he spent his adulthood in relativist Hollywood, and had a father who belonged to what some saw, and even see, as the Catholic cult. I'm just not sure he'd be pure enough to make it in this party. I'm not sure he'd be considered good enough.

You know, this actually hits at the heart of what I've been saying for a long time. It's always a good thing when someone has strong morals and has their own religious beliefs, and it's even better when they're generally accepting of others beliefs or non-beliefs, as Reagan was. The belief that someone has to reach a certain level of Christian purity to be President is a bit much, in my honest opinion.

There are much more important things going on in this nation that require more than just a particular religious faith that falls within a narrow definition for a specific bloc of voters.

Quin Hillyer: "Fred Ain't Dead"

I was reading Quin Hillyer's column for the American Spectator. He had written a column that was to be posted today, but finished it Tuesday, one day before the Iowa GOP Debate. His column was to talk about how Fred wasn't quite out of the running for the GOP nomination yet, and speculated as to how Fred could get into the running.

Then came Wednesday's debate, and Hillyer HAD to address the effect it has had on the whole race for the GOP nomination, and he addressed it in a pre-column memo to the readers...

"With his superb performance in Wednesday's debate in Iowa, Fred Thompson has made a monkey out of me. By early afternoon on Tuesday, the column that appears below, one which posits that Thompson's presidential campaign might still find a way to win, was ready in exactly the form it appears here. But I thought the column would still remain exactly on target throughout the week, so (for various reasons) I aimed for a Friday release. At the time, I thought that until Thompson began his Iowa bus tour on Monday the 17th, my contention that he "ain't dead" yet would seem noteworthy for its boldness.

Then Thompson ruined it all by so clearly running away with the laurels in Wednesday's debate -- and in particularly Reaganesque fashion. Just as Reagan did at the famous Nashua, N.H. debate in 1980, Thompson used the unfairness of the debate moderator as a foil in a way that justly earned the candidate plaudits as a no-nonsense kind of guy. Now everybody is taking a second look at Thompson's chances. Deservedly so.

But of course a debate performance like that should not have been a surprise. As my column reports, pollster Frank Luntz said even before Wednesday's debates that Thompson was hitting his stride and connecting with audiences at earlier debates.

Anyway, without further ado (but with more commentary afterwards), here is my column as originally written -- in what I thought would seemed a fairly bold analysis, but which now seems unremarkable -- as an object lesson for those of us who think we understand political timing. Just as pundits, myself included, were having a high old time criticizing Sen. Thompson for the timing of his efforts in this campaign, he somehow succeeded in stealing a march on us. Maybe Good Ol' Fred knows what he is doing after all."

Somehow, I'm inclined to agree...I think Fred knows exactly what he's doing. He's simply decided to "be Fred", and that may be the greatest asset to his campaign.

LTE: "Fred Thompson for President"

I wrote this out to several papers, but it's a brief synopsis of why people should vote for Fred Thompson.

There are certain qualities one must possess to become the leader of the free world.

Honor, dignity, intelligence, communication, experience, and sensibility. These are words that are frequently thrown around as labels and descriptions, but are often misapplied incorrectly or applied with great indifference. While there are multiple candidates on both sides of the aisle that possess a number of these qualities, or can claim to possess them all, one candidate stands out above the rest.

That man is Fred Thompson.

The Democrats came into the Congressional majority in 2006 riding a wave of anti-Iraq sentiment and accusations that the Republican majority was nothing but a "culture of corruption". One year later, we have seen the Democrats continue to wave the white flag despite the incredible progress that has been made in Iraq. Also, we have seen corruption and underhanded tactics from the Democratic leaders in both the House and Senate.

If Washington is going to "clean up it's act", we need to elect a leader with a proven record of going after corruption and waste in government. Fred Thompson has shown no partisanship in his pursuits of cleaning up Washington, from serving on the Watergate Committee that investigated and eventually brought down Richard Nixon to being a key part of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee that investigated the campaign finance controversy of Bill Clinton's regime in 1996, Thompson has long stood for the elimination of corruption in politics.

Thompson stands for efficient government that does not waste taxpayer dollars. He has detailed plans on issues ranging from immigration to Social Security reform.

Most importantly, he believes in federalism, which was also a guiding light of ideology for the founding fathers of our nation. Thompson's federalist beliefs will actually lead to better representation of the people.

For instance, Thompson's federalist beliefs state that issues such as abortion and gay marriage are best left to the states to decide their it allows the people of each state to decide whether or not they want it to be legal.

Federal government should only exercise its authority on issues that affect most, if not all, Americans. That's another one of Thompson's strengths, as his strong stances on national defense, lower taxes for American citizens, and the economy are some of the most detailed and plausible of any candidate for President within the past two decades.

He supports the War on Terror, but also knows that military force alone cannot win this war. He plans to use diplomacy and negotiation, as long as it is still a reasonable option, to deal with those who harbor anti-American interests.

If you support sound foreign policy, smart economic practices, lower taxes, strong stances against illegal immigration, and cleaner government that works more efficiently...then you have to look no further than Fred Thompson for President.

Wow, Bob McDonnell's Got Some Support!

They really let it be known that the current Attorney General of Virginia and probable Gubernatorial candidate (I say probable, as he's all but guaranteed a run), is their man for Governor in 2009. My comments section had quite a few McDonnell supporters providing me reasons why McDonnell is a better choice for the Republicans than current Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling.

One post in the comments section suggested that Bolling will try to keep the LG's seat in 2009. A bit odd to assume that, since usually LG's want to move beyond that post once they've ascended to that position.

However, I have to assume that despite the respect both men hold in the eyes of the GOP, Bob McDonnell is the definite early favorite for the GOP nomination. The reason, from the McDonnell supporters, seems to be that McDonnell has stepped up and been a leader and more vocal about his stand on issues, whereas Bolling has not been has vocal and upfront on his various stances and has not shown as much in the way of "leadership" qualities to many people.

Rasmussen: Good News for Bush, Common Sense, War, and Society

- Bush's approval rating for the overall month of November was 37%, which is not great but is an improvement from the low-30's he was pulling several months ago. It's been a slow climb upward for the President.

- 54% of Americans believe that the individuals who borrowed more than they could afford are to blame for the subprime mortgage crisis...only 25% blame Wall Street investors. This 54% includes 42% of Democrats (surprisingly, only 37% of Dems blame Wall Street), 52% of Independents, and 69% of Republicans. Interesting, since the mainstream news tends to place blame on Wall Street for this problem.

- 47% of Americans believe we are winning the War on Terror, the highest level of support in 35 months on Rasmussen and 4 points higher than a month ago. This is also up 13 points since early January.

- Here's an interesting one...62% of Americans would prefer a government that offers fewer services and lower taxes, only 25% say the opposite.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

National Press Teeing Off on Dems

Mostly over their failed attempts to push their agenda and inability to get anything done because of infighting in the Democratic Party.

- USA Today states that the Democrats are "lost in time" and are a big part of the reason why America is not fully capitalizing on the success of the surge, and that this is time to seize the moment in Iraq and end this whole ordeal in a positive manner for America and for Iraq.

- The WaPo points out that the Dems are pretty much doing a lot of finger-pointing between their party's members of the House and Senate, including some shots between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Chuck Rangel. Senator Trent Lott (R-MS) summed up the GOP's enjoyment of this intra-Democrat meltdown by saying "Just let 'em stew for a while." Part of the reason the GOP enjoys this is because they had similar problems with intra-party disputes between the House and Senate many times during their recent 12-year run as the majority party.

- The Wall Street Journal chides the Dems for allowing intraparty squabbles to become a bigger contributor to gridlock than the GOP's attempts to stall the Dem agenda.

- The Hill notes that Dems in both the House and Senate recently "backed down from a spending showdown" with the President. Part of the problem...Speaker Nancy Pelosi's support for the elimination of earmarks from spending bills was strongly opposed by many high-ranking House Democrats. The main contention point is that President Bush has set a strict limit on the omnibus spending bill of $933 billion, and is forcing Senate and House Dems to find a way to fit the contents of the bill under that number, but the Senate and House Dems can't agree on how to do it.

Looks like the Dems are in for even tougher times as their first year of majority power draws to a close.

That Time of Year: Snow Storm Smacks Northeast

It's a pretty bad one, dropping as much as 12 inches or more in cities such as Boston and Hartford. The storm is blamed for 33 deaths in the Midwest, and now it is smacking areas from Pennsylvania all the way up into New England. There are reports of snow falling at a rate of 1-3 inches per hour, and numerous accidents and cancelled or delayed flights all over the Northeast.

Another storm is expected to visit Mid-Atlantic states this weekend, bringing snow and ice with it.

If you're heading up north and/or returning this weekend, tread the roads carefully as the weather is bad up north right now, and is expected to be bad by the end of the weekend here in Virginia.

So I Went and Watched Most of the Dem Debate

Same moderator as yesterday's GOP debate, same format...yet the Democrats pretty much got a free pass throughout the whole show.

She definitely was not the stern, strict enforcer of time limits and tough questions like she was yesterday. She was definitely tossing up softballs today. She was also very giggly and schoolgirl-ish with Bill Richardson. Weird.

I'd feign surprise at that statement, but sarcasm wouldn't do it justice.

One bit I must touch on...I felt the question she asked Chris Dodd about why he's running for President and the fact that his father was once censured was pretty out-of-line, to be honest...and quite an awkward moment.

Could Someone Help Me Decide Between Bolling and McDonnell?

Honestly, I'm not sure which Republican I like better as a gubernatorial candidate in 2009.

Right now, it looks like the two potential candidates are Attorney General Bob McDonnell and Lieutenant Governor Bob Bolling.

I know Creigh Deeds announced today, but that got me thinking about the two top names on the GOP side. I'm just not sure between Bolling and McDonnell.

Can anyone make a case for either the Lt. Gov or the AG?

Rep. Thad McCotter - Restoring the GOP

Many of you do not know Rep. Thad McCotter (R-MI). He is currently the chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee. Basically, it is his job to steer Republican policy in necessary directions and a big part of the prioritization of policy for the House GOP.

He gave a speech last night on the House floor that I happened to catch on C-SPAN, and it was brutally honest look back at recent GOP history, and what needs to change and how to go about changing things for the better in the GOP.

I think that, on many points, McCotter is right on. I like his coining of the term "Restorative Republicans", as that is a good description of what I consider myself to be.

Here is the text of the speech, courtesy of McCotter's House website.

"Let It Bleed: Restoring the Republican Party"

Mister/Madam Speaker,

As my Republican party completes its first year in the minority since 1994, we find ourselves held in historically low regard by the sovereign American people.

To end this trend, Republicans must accurately assess our party’s past and present failings; and its future prospects of again providing Americans a meaningful choice between the major parties. This remains, after all, a party’s duty to the citizenry.

For my GOP to fulfill it, first we must bury our ideological dead.


Safely on this side of the cleansing mists of memory, it is chic to eulogize the late Republican majority. From the chattering class few insights emerge, for in the aftermath, only poetry is an apt epitaph:

The world is too much with us,
Late and soon;
Getting and spending we lay waste our powers;
Little we see in nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away –
A sordid boon!

Such was the Republican bathos: a transformational majority sinned and slipped into a transactional “Cashocracy” – promises, policies, principles, all bartered, even honor. The majority now is of the ages, may it rest in peace...

And be redeemed.

Dirty Work

Once, George Santayana cautioned: “Those who do not learn the lessons of history are condemned to repeat them.” If our current Republican minority guilefully refutes or gutlessly refuses to admit, accept, and atone for the bitter fruits of its lapsed majority, it will continue to decline in the eyes of the American electorate. Thus, for the sake of our nation in this time of transformation, we must fully and frankly examine and understand the cardinal causes of the Republican majority’s recent demise; and, sadder but wiser, commence our Republican minority’s restoration as a transformation political movement serving the sovereign citizens of our free republic.

Through the Past Darkly

Big Hits and Fazed Cookies

To begin, we must retrace our steps down a darkened alley of broken hopes to glean the essence of our party’s headier times, big hits and fazed cookies.

Though many of its legislative leaders may moot the point, two Presidents caused the 1994 Republican Revolution: Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton.

The members of 1995’s new Republican Majority were Ronald Regan’s political children. From President Reagan, Republican Congressional revolutionaries inherited a philosophy of “politics as the art of the possible.” Cogently expressed by conservative intellectuals ranging from Edmund Burke to Russell Kirk, this philosophy’s central tenets held:

1) Men and women are transcendent children of God endowed by their Creator with inalienable rights.

2) Government was instituted to defend citizens’ inalienable rights and facilitate citizens’ pursuit of the good and of true happiness.

3) Over the generations, Divine Providence has established and revealed through tradition, prescriptive rights and custom within communities how order, justice, and freedom – each essential, co-equal and mutually reinforcing – are best arranged and nurtured for humanity to pursue the good and true happiness.

4) Human happiness is endangered by every political ideology, for each is premised upon abstract ideas; each claims a superior insight into human nature not revealed through historical experience; each proffers a secular utopia unobtainable by an imperfect humanity; and, each demands an omnipotent, centralized government to forcefully impose its vision upon an “unenlightened” and unwilling population.

This is the political philosophy and resulting public policies a once impoverished youth from Dixon, Illinois, Ronald Reagan, engagingly articulated to America throughout his Presidency in the 1980s. By 1994, the American people who, having taken Reagan at Russell Kirk’s word that “conservatism is the negation of ideology” and remembering its beneficent impact upon their daily lives, yearned for its return. For self-described Congressional Republican revolutionaries, this formed fertile electoral ground (one shaped as well, it must be admitted, by a host of unheralded and immensely talented GOP redistricting attorneys). But like all revolutions, the piece required a villain.

Enter President Clinton.

Exuberant at having defeated an incumbent President George H. W. Bush, Clinton mistook a mandate against his predecessor as a mandate for his own craftily concealed liberalism. In his first two years in the oval office, this mistake led Clinton to over-reach on “kitchen table” issues, such as raising taxes and socializing medicine. Daily, the four-decade old Democratic Congressional majority abetted Clinton’s radical policies; and across the political spectrum voters seethed.

Congressional Republicans bided their time, planned their revolution, and seized their moment. Led by their spell-binding and abrasive guru from Georgia, Congressional Republicans unveiled their “Contract with America” to much popular – if not pundit – acclaim.

Though much mythologized, if it is to prove instructive for the present Republican minority, this Contract can and must be placed in its proper perspective. A musical analogy is most elucidating.

When a reporter once praised the Beatles for producing Rock’s first “concept album,” Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, John Lennon curtly corrected him: “It was a concept album because we said it was.” Lennon’s point was this: yes, the Beatles had originally set out to produce a concept album; but early in their sessions the band dropped any conceits to creating a concept album and recorded whatever songs were on hand. Recognizing their failure, the Beatles tacked on a final song, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise), to engender the illusion they had, after all, created a “concept album.” Importantly, when the band later tried to produce a true “concept album” and accompanying film, Magical Mystery Tour, the lackluster result was one of the Beatles’ few failed artistic ventures.

Similarly, Congressional Republicans’ “Contract with America” was a collection of specific policy proposals and concrete grievances against the incumbent Democratic President and his legislative allies. It possessed merely an implicit philosophy (one obviously harkening back to Reagan). Even less than Sergeant Pepper, the individual tracks of which have (mostly) stood the test of time, today many of the Contract’s specific proposals sound dated. But like Sergeant Pepper, what endures about the Contract is the fact it was marketed as a revolutionary “concept” in governance. Of course, it is not. The Contract was a suitable period piece which served its purpose – the election of Congressional Republicans in sufficient numbers to attain our party’s first majority in forty years. Nevertheless the Contact’s lack of a clearly enunciated political philosophy with immutable principles sowed the seeds of the subsequent Republican Devolution.

Therefore, if the current Republican minority buys into the myth and makes the Contract the basis of a derivative “concept” agenda, the GOP will be condemned to another forty-year Magical Mystery Tour through the political wilderness.

Out of Our Heads

This is not to say the members of 1995’s new Republican majority lacked a political philosophy or immutable principles. Quite the contrary: these members were steeped in the Reagan tradition. But after an initial rush of laudable accomplishments, the members found themselves trapped by the Contract’s inherent pragmatism and particularity. Absent a philosophical anchor in the Contract, members drifted into the grind of governance, which distorted Reagan’s philosophical principles for public policy into non-binding precedents for political popularity. Exacerbating this process, the new majority’s leaders, exuberant at having defeated an incumbent Democratic Congressional majority, mistook a mandate against their predecessors as a mandate for their own finitely posited conservatism. In its first two years in control of the House, this led the majority’s leaders to erroneously conclude it could govern as a parliament, rather than as a Congress equivalent in power to the executive branch; and they over-reached on key issues, most notably in the shut down of the United States government over the issue of spending. Artfully framed by President Clinton with sufficient plausibility as an irresponsible Republican ideological attack on good government, this moment marked the beginning of the Republican majority’s end - in point of fact, from the government shutdown to the present the House GOP Conference has never had as many members as it did in 1995.

Some persist in too facilely dismissing this Republican debacle as being due to Clinton’s superior messaging of the issue from his bully pulpit. This analysis is errant. The reason Clinton succeeded is the kernel of truth he wielded on this issue: House Republican leaders had stopped governing prudently in accordance with Reagan’s political philosophy of politics being the art of the possible and, instead, started acting belligerently in an ideological manner against the public’s interest. It is no an accident this battle fundamentally affected Clinton’s thinking and spurred his reinvention from a liberal ideologue into a pragmatic problem-solver and proponent of “good government.” Unfortunately, Clinton’s publicly applauded posturing as a “centrist” incensed the Republican majority; and accelerated their efforts to differentiate themselves from an unprincipled President by being increasingly ideological, which they confuted with being principled.

As this ideological fever progressed through 1996, too late did the new majority’s members intuit the political cost to candidates considered “ideologues.” The Republicans’ majority did survive the partisan carnage of Clinton’s overwhelming 1996 re-election, but the cycle’s cumulative effect was lasting and damning. Without gawking at the gruesome minutia of each ensuing GOP ideological purge and internal coup instigated by this election, we can note it spawned the unseemly political perversion of the House Republicans’ transformational majority into a transactional “Cashocracy.”

Beggars Banquet

Hubristically deemed by its leading denizens as a “Permanent Majority,” the GOP Cashocracy was a Beggars’ Banquet at taxpayers’ expense. The Cashocracy’s sole goal was its own perpetuation; and its Cashocrats and High Priests of Money-theism myopically chased this aim through pragmatic corporatism and political machinations.

Obviously, the Cashocracy’s cardinal vice was its conviction to survive for its own sake. Curiously, this is not the height of arrogance; it is the height of insecurity. Aware it stood for nothing but election, the Cashocracy knew anything could topple it. This fear cancerously compelled the poll-driven Cashocrats to grope for ephemeral popularity by abandoning immutable principles. Materialist to their core and devoid of empathy, the Cashocrats routinely ignored the centrality to governmental policies of transcendent human beings.

A Bigger Bang

This Cashocracy’s first cardinal facilitated its second: pragmatic corporatism. Ensconced in insular power, the GOP Leadership lived the lives of the rich and famous, despite their middling personal means, due to their new-found friends in the corporate and lobbying community. Cut off from Main Street, these GOP leaders embraced “K Street.” The desire was mutual, and the corporatists’ influence grew gradually but ineluctably. Closed within a corporatist echo chamber, the GOP majority became deadened to the tribulations and aspirations of real Americans, and came to measure the “success” of its pragmatic policies by their reception on K Street. Reams of measures spewed forth prioritizing the interests of multi-national corporations over the needs of middle class Americans.

In fairness, even without the Cashocrats’ incessant inducements, blandishments and bullying, the majority of GOP members truly did feel they were promoting the interests of their constituents. This belief was insidiously sustained by the Cashocrats grafting their pragmatic corporatism onto the philosophy of economic determinism. It was not an unforeseeable development. Akin to their conservative brethren who after the fall of the Soviet Union proclaimed the “End of History,” House Republicans convinced themselves the ideology of democratic capitalism was an unstoppable deterministic force predestined to conquer the world; and, on their part, they viewed their job as hastening its triumph and preparing Americans to cope with its consequences. Combined with the Cashocracy’s insatiable need of corporate contributions for its sustenance, this adherence to ideological democratic capitalism reveals how the Republican House majority helped President Clinton (whom they had unknowingly come to emulate and, likely loathe ever more because of it) grant the Permanent Normalization of Trade Relations to Communist China. With this enact of this legislation, the Cashocracy reached its political zenith and moral nadir, for it did not shape globalization to suit Americans’ interests; it had shaped Americans’ interests to suit globalization.

Sticky Fingers

The handsome rewards for such “courageous” legislation fueled the Cashocracy’s third vice, avarice. The process was both seductive and simple, especially in a materialistic town forsaking the qualitative measurement of virtue for the quantitative measurement of money. While this temptation is to be expected in a city where politicians “prove” their moral superiority by spending other people’s money, it was equally to be expected Republicans would collectively resist it.

They didn’t.

Earmarks, which began as a cost-saving reform to prevent federal bureaucrats from controlling and wasting taxpayers’ money in contravention of express Congressional intent, spiraled out of control once the Cashocrats and their K-Street cronies realized the process could be manipulated to direct any appropriation, however undeserving, to any client, however questionable. In turn, political contributions materialized from the recipients of these earmarks for the members on both sides of the aisle who dropped them into legislation, often times without the knowledge of or the appropriate review by their peers. The passage of policy bills, too, increasingly mirrored the earmark process, as special interest provisions were slipped into the dimmer recesses of bills in the dead of night. The outcome of this fiscal chicanery was an escalation of the K-Street contributions the Cashocracy required to attain its aim of perpetuating itself in power; and of the illegal perks required to sate the more venal tastes of some morally challenged members who are now paying their debts to society.

Black and Blue

Cumulatively, in addition to rendering it morally bankrupt, these three vices left the Cashocracy intellectually impotent. Tellingly, within this less than subtle and manifestly sinister system of earmarks and contributions, the Cashocrats’ greased the skids for their legislative “favors” by relegating the majority’s younger members to voting rather than legislating; ignoring these members’ qualitative virtues, ideals and talents; measuring these members by the quantitative standard of how much money they raised; and, thereby, condemning these members to the status of highly paid telemarketers. Having squandered this infusion of youthful energy and insight, the Cashocrats hailed the election of Republican President George W. Bush and handed him the nation’s legislative agenda.

At first, the Cashocrats’ subordination of their separate, equal branch of government to the executive branch bore dividends. But by 2006, when the failures of the Iraq War’s reconstruction policy and Hurricane Katrina’s emergency relief torpedoed Bush’s popularity, the latent danger to the Cashocrats of hitching their SUVs to the fortunes of a President was evident. Precluded from tying its vicarious popularity to Bush’s coat tails, the Cashocracy teetered beneath the gale force invective of the Democrats’ campaign mantra the Congressional Republican majority was “a culture of corruption” slothfully content to “rubber stamp” the failed policies of an unpopular President. Panic stricken, the politically tone-deaf Cashocrats urged GOP members to tout America’s “robust economy” and attack Democrats on national security issues. The innately materialist economic argument was doomed to fail, because the “robust” economy was not to be found in regions like the Northeast and Midwest. The latter argument proved unconvincing to an electorate convinced Iraq and New Orleans were GOP national security fiascos. And, finally, nothing could persuade an outraged electorate to return a Republican majority which, in the interests of perpetuating itself in power, failed to protect House pages from predatory members of Congress.

By election day the public had concluded the Republican majority cared more about corporations than Americans; and, when the tsunami hit, the Cashocracy crumbled down upon many now former GOP members, who became the last, blameless victims of its stolid cupidity.

In hindsight, the Cashocracy would best have heeded President Theodore Roosevelt’s warning:

“The things that will destroy America are prosperity-at-any-price, peace-at-any-price, safety-first instead of duty-first, the love of soft living, and the get-rich-quick theory of life.”

Exile on Main Street

December’s Children

Straggling back to Washington for the Republican Revolution’s death vigil, the 2006 election’s surviving GOP members bid anguished goodbyes to defeated friends and struggled to make sense of it all. Dazed and confused, some members managed to grasp the reality of their newly minted minority, while some still grapple with it. Out of this former group, a distinct vision has emerged concerning how House Republicans can revitalize and redeem themselves in the estimation of their fellow Americans.

Got Live if You Want It

“Restoration Republicans” are best considered Reagan’s grandchildren. Like their Reagan-Democratic parents, Restoration Republicans were attracted to our party by the intellectual, cultural, and moral components and proven practical benefits of philosophical conservatism. Transcending talking points and political cant, these Restoration Republicans’ are devoted to restoring human soul’s centrality to public policy decisions; and focusing these policies on preserving and perpetuating the permanent things of our evanescent earthly existence which surpass all politics in importance.

The enduring ideals of Restoration Republicans are succinctly enumerated by Russell Kirk in his book, The Politics of Prudence:

1) The conservative believes that there exists an enduring moral order.

2) The conservative adheres to custom, convention, and continuity.

3) Conservatives believe in what may be called the principle of prescription – that is, of things established by immemorial usage.

4) Conservatives are guided by the principle of prudence.

5) Conservatives pay attention to the principle of variety.

6) Conservatives are chastened by their principle of imperfectability.

7) Conservatives are persuaded that freedom and property are closely linked.

8) Conservatives uphold voluntary community, quite as they oppose involuntary collectivism.

9) The Conservative perceives the need for prudent restraints upon power and upon human passion.

10) The thinking conservative understands that permanence and change must be recognized and reconciled in a vigorous society.

Given how the Cashocracy repeatedly violated these principles during its descent into oblivion, and how the Democrats’ 2006 consequent rallying cry was “change,” this tenth ideal merits deeper contemplation. For to understand it fully is to fully understand why Restoration Republicans, who are convinced we live amidst a crucible of liberty, proclaim our minority must emulate and implement the philosophical conservatism of Ronald Reagan and the fiery integrity of Theodore Roosevelt in the cause of empowering Americans and strengthening their eternal institutions of faith, family, community and country. Again, Kirk:

“Therefore the intelligent conservative endeavors to reconcile the claims of Permanence and the claims of Progression. He [or she] thinks that the liberal and the radical, blind to the just claims of Permanence, would endanger the heritage bequeathed to us, in an endeavor to hurry us into some dubious Terrestrial Paradise. The conservative, in short, favors reasoned and temperate progress; he [or she] is opposed to the cult of Progress, whose votaries believe that everything new necessarily is superior to everything old.

“Change is essential to the body social, the conservative reasons, just as it is essential to the human body. A body that has ceases to renew itself has begun to die. But if that body is to be vigorous, the change must occur in a regular manner, harmonizing with the form and nature of that body; otherwise change produces a monstrous growth, a cancer, which devours its host. The conservative takes care that nothing in a society should ever be wholly old, and that nothing should ever be wholly new. This is the means of the conservation of a nation, quite as it is the means of conservation of a living organism. Just how much change a society requires, and what sort of change, depend upon the circumstances of an age and a nation.”

Love You Live

Kirk’s words compelled Restoration Republicans to empathetically assess our nation’s age and circumstances; and ponder the direction and scope of the changes our American community requires.

In making these determinations, Restoration Republicans draw parallels between and inspiration from America’s “Greatest Generation.”

Our Greatest Generation faced and surmounted a quartet of generational challenges born of industrialization:

1) Economic, social, and political upheavals;

2) A second world war against abject evil;

3) The rise of the Soviet “super-state” as a strategic threat and rival model of governance; and

4) The civil rights movement’s moral struggle to equally ensure the God given and constitutionally recognized rights of all Americans.

Today, our generation of Americans must confront and transcend a quartet of generational challenges born of globalization:

1) Economic, social and political upheavals;

2) A third world war against abject evil;

3) The rise of the communist Chinese “super-state” as a strategic threat and rival model of governance; and

4) Moral relativism’s erosion of our nation’s foundational, self-evident truths.

The critical difference between the challenges conquered by the Greatest Generation and the challenges crises confronting our generation of Americans is this: they faced their crises consecutively; we face our crises simultaneously.

In response to these generational challenges to our free republic, Restoration Republicans have drawn upon the roots of their philosophical conservatism to affirm the truth America does not exist to emulate others, America exists to inspire the world; and to advance the policy paradigm of American Excellence, which rests upon a foundation of liberty, and the four cornerstones of sovereignty, security, prosperity and verities.

Individually and collectively, American Excellence’s foundation and four cornerstones are reinforced by these policy principles:

1) Our liberty is granted not by the pen of a government bureaucrat, but is authored by the hand of almighty God.

2) Our sovereignty rests not in our soil, but in our souls.

3) Our security is guaranteed not by the thin hopes of appeasement, but by the moral and physical courage of our troops defending us in hours of maximum danger;

4) Our prosperity is produced not by the tax hikes and spending sprees of politicians, but by the innovation and perspiration of free people engaged in free enterprise.

5) Our cherished truths and communal virtues are preserved and observed not by a coerced political correctness, but by our reverent citizenry’s voluntary celebration of the culture of life.

Restoration Republicans conclude, therefore, we must be Champions of American Freedom in challenging new millennium to keep our America a community of destiny inspired and guided by the virtuous genius of our free people; and forever blessed by the unfathomable grace of God.


It will not be easy, given the root public policy question of our times. In the Age of Industrialization, President Theodore Roosevelt empathized with Americans’ feelings of powerlessness in the face of the economic, social and political forces radically altering or terminating their traditional, typically agrarian, lives. Writing years later in his book A Humane Economy, the economist Wilhelm Ropke examined the impacts upon human beings by these forces, which he collectively termed “mass society”:

“(T)he disintegration of the social structure (generates) a profound upheaval in the outward conditions of each individual’s life, thought, and work. Independence is smothered; men are uprooted and taken out of the close-woven social texture in which they were secure; true communities are broken up in favor of more universal but impersonal collectivities in which the individual is no longer a person in this own right; the inward, spontaneous social fabric is loosened in favor of mechanical, soulless organization, with its outward compulsion; all individuality is reduced to one plane of uniform normality; the area of individual action, decision, and responsibility shrinks in favor of collective planning and decision; the whole of life becomes uniform and standard mass life, ever more subject to party politics, ‘nationalization,’ and ‘socialization.’”

In that epoch, the root public policy question was how to protect Americans’ traditional rights to order, justice, and freedom from being usurped by corporate or governmental centralization. Aware of this quandary, T.R. responded by taming an emerging capitalist oligarchy which considered itself above the laws and, thereby, soothing the economic, social, and political anxieties of urban industrial workers which threatened the stability of our free republic. Over time, from T.R.’s seminal efforts arose the industrial-welfare state which, in a tenuous detente, divided solutions to Americans’ economic and social upheavals between and within both centralized corporations and government.

No Security

In this Age of Globalization, however, while Americans are vexed by their seeming inability to influence the potent economic, social and political forces radically reshaping their lives, American corporations are busy decentralizing into “virtual corporations” reliant upon the outsourcing of jobs to other nations to obtain lower labor costs and evade cumbersome domestic laws and regulations. Such “rootless capital” being sent around the world in a keystroke to more “competitive markets” has cost Americans their livelihoods; reduced their wages and employer provided benefits; diminished their unions’ memberships; eclipsed their optimism regarding our economy’s continued vitality; and, in cases of extreme economic distress and angst, destroyed their marriages and dreams for their children.

The failure to realize the seismic ramifications to normal Americans of this tectonic economic shift was a primary cause of the Cashocracy’s collapse. As rising corporate profits and Wall Street bull markets became increasingly divorced from working Americans’ prosperity, the Cashocrats clung ever more tightly to their corporate benefactors without grasping Americans had concluded what is “good for GM” is no longer necessarily good for them.

The advent of virtual corporations and transient international capital has ended the old industrial-welfare state model of governance, wherein solutions to Americans’ economic and social anxieties were the shared burdens of centralized corporations and government. The stark choice is now between increasing the centralized power of the federal government or decentralization power into the hands of individuals, families and communities.

Steel Wheels

In their urgency to replace their lost or slashed corporate benefits, Americans will be sorely tempted to further centralize federal government to do it. But expanding the authority and compulsory powers of the federal government will be injurious to the American people. Big government doesn’t stop chaos; big government is chaos. By usurping the rightful powers of individuals beneath its bureaucracy’s steel wheels, highly centralized government alienates individuals and atomizes communities. Once more, Ropke speaks to the heart of the matter:

“The temptation of centrism has been great at all times, as regards both theory and political action. It is the temptation of mechanical perfection and of uniformity at the expense of freedom. Perhaps Montesquieu was right when he said that it is the small minds, above all, which succumb to this temptation. Once the mania of uniformity and centralization spreads and once the centrists begin to lay down the law of the land, then we are in the presence of one of the most serious danger signals warning us of the impending loss of freedom, humanity, and the health of society.”

Only liberty unleashes Americans to establish the true roots of a holistic American order – the voluntary and virtuous individual, familial, and communal associations which invigorate and instruct a free people conquering challenges. In contrast, centralized and, thus, inherently unaccountable government suffocates liberty, order and justice by smothering and severing citizens’ voluntary bonds within mediating, non-governmental institutions; and, thereby, stifles our free people’s individual and collective solutions to challenges. In consequence, the temptation for more centralized government must be fought to prevent turning sovereign Americans from the masters of their destiny into the serfs of governmental dependency.

Hot Rocks

Fully versed in this verity, Restoration Republicans have made their decision – power to the people. Thus, in this Age of Globalization, Restoration Republicans vow to:

1) Empower the sovereign American people to protect and promote their God-given and constitutionally recognized and protected rights.

2) Promote the decentralization of federal governmental powers to the American people or to their most appropriate and closest unit of government.

3) Defend Americans’ enduring moral order of faith, family, community and country from all enemies.

4) Foster a dynamic market economy of entrepreneurial opportunity for all Americans.

5) Honor and nurture a “humanity of scale” in Americans’ relations and endeavors.

Further, while these Restoration Republicans will be releasing a more detailed program in the future, the above will form the basis of their concrete policy proposals.

Get Your Ya-Ya’s Out

Mister/Madam Speaker,

My constituents are honest, hard-working, and intelligent people who are bearing the brunt of the generational challenges facing our nation. They have lost manufacturing and every manner of jobs due to globalization and, especially, the predatory trade practices of communist China. Throughout these economically anxious times, they spend sleepless nights wondering if they will be able to afford to keep their jobs; their houses; their health care; their hopes for their children. In the War for Freedom, they have buried, mourned, and honored their loved ones lost in the battle against our nation and all of civilization’s barbaric enemies. And, every day, they struggle to make sense of an increasingly perverse culture disdainful of and destructive to faith, truths, virtue and beauty, if the existence of these permanent things is even admitted.

True, they differ on specific solutions to their pressing issues. But they do agree Washington isn’t serving their concerns. They agree this storied representative institution is increasingly detached from the daily realities of their lives. And they remind me that when we enter this House – Their House – we enter as guests, who must honor the leap of faith they took in letting us in and allowing us to serve them.

With my constituents, I utterly agree. While it is not my purpose here to discuss the majority party, let me be clear as to my own: House Republicans have no business practicing business as usual. My constituents, our country, and this Congress deserve better.

And we will provide it!

Our Republican minority has members who know America isn’t an economy, America is a country.

Our Republican minority has members who know the only thing worth measuring in money is greed.

Our Republican minority has members with the heart to put individuals ahead of abstractions; people ahead of politics; souls ahead of systems.

Our Republican minority has members who have seen sorrow seep down a widow’s cheek and joy shine from a child’s eyes.

Yes, our Republican minority has members who know our deeds on behalf of our sovereign constituents must accord with Wordsworth’s poetic prayer:

“And then a wish: my best and favorite aspiration mounts with yearning toward some higher song of philosophic truth which cherishes our daily lives.”

It is these Republicans whose service in this Congress will redeem our party by honoring the sacred trust of the majestic American people who, in their virtuous genius, will transcend these transformational times and strengthen our exceptional nation’s revolutionary experiment in human freedom.

With these Republicans, I hereby throw in my lot and pledge my best efforts on behalf of my constituents and our country.

May God continue to grace, guard, guide and bless our community of destiny, the United States of America.

I'm Not The Only One Who Thinks Fred Won Yesterday...

Let's see who else agrees with me about Fred's performance...

- Dean Barnett of the Weekly Standard: "THE WINNER was Fred Thompson. Fred came to play. He also had the obvious moment of the day when he took on the officious moderator, refusing to go along with one of those idiotic "raise your hands" questions. Given the hour that the debate took place, a lot of people will probably see only a highlight package of the debate. The unquestioned highlight was Fred slapping down the moderator. Even putting that aside, Fred had his best day of the campaign. He was serious, thoughtful, and authoritative. It was a wonderful day for him."

"Fred Thompson had a big moment when he took on that moderator, and refused to play by her idiotic rules. That moment, and his overall performance, may well reignite his campaign."

- Rich Lowry of National Review: "Fred: Was unflappable, funny, and used his theme of "truth telling" very effectively. Standing up to the moderator was a memorable moment that will be talked about a lot. He deflated Romney a bit with his lines about being rich enough not worry about taxes and his comeback in the exchange with Mitt that Romney is becoming a good actor. This performance should help in Iowa where he is focusing now and is in third place according to the RCP average. " (note: Lowry pretty much placed Fred as finishing in "2nd Place" behind Romney, but since Lowry is chief editor and the National Review editors decided to endorse Romney...)

- Byron York of National Review: "Thompson, and Thompson alone, had stood up to the silliness that can characterize even self-styled serious-minded debates like the one conducted by the Register. Thompson scored again when he made effective points about entitlement reform, about the role of the National Education Association in blocking education reform, and about presidential leadership."

- Jim Geraghty of National Review: "Winner: Thompson."

- Carol Hunter of the Des Moines Register: "Sen. Thompson has a way of cutting to the heart of an issue."

- David Yepsen of the Des Moines Register: "Thompson, a former Tennessee senator, was specific, good-humored and exuded an executive persona,"

Check out the video recap courtesy of FRed States.

Creigh Deeds Announces Candidacy for Governor

From the welcome page at Deeds' campaign website.

We have much to celebrate here in Virginia. After six years of progressive leadership under the watch of Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, our future has never been brighter. I’m running for Governor to keep Virginia the best place to live, work and raise a family…the best place for all of us to call home.

Friends and supporters from every corner of the Commonwealth say the reason we’ve been so successful these past few years is because we’ve focused on building consensus and delivering results. They’re right: the only way to keep Virginia moving forward and to tackle the challenges of the 21st Century is to continue the Warner/Kaine brand of leadership. Now that Mark Warner is running for the U.S. Senate and we’ve delivered new partners for Governor Kaine in the State Senate, I’m ready to provide that same leadership if given the privilege to serve as your next Governor.

Well, I don't know about all of that talk about the greatness of Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, but I will say that Creigh Deeds is a better choice for Virginia than some of the other rumored Dem candidates (I'm looking at you, Brian Moran).

Deeds is currently a State Senator from the 25th District, which covers Allegheny/Bath/Nelson Counties as well as large parts of Rockbridge and Albemarle Counties and 2 precincts in Buckingham County, this includes the cities of Covington, Clifton Forge, Charlottesville, and Buena Vista.

Deeds, unlike most Dems in the House of Delegates, knows and gets rural voters. He is surrounded by a lot of VERY red Republican districts. He does have statewide name recognition for his run at the Attorney General's office in 2005, where he lost to Bob McDonnell by an extremely close margin.

A lot of NoVA Dems have scoffed at the idea of a Deeds run in favor of Delegate Brian Moran, the Democratic House Caucus chairman and a popular figure in Fairfax County Dem circles.

Two things make a Moran/Deeds primary interesting.

- Moran opted not to run for AG in '05 because he is friends with Deeds and Deeds had already announce. If Moran decides to run, I wonder what kind of friction this would cause.

- The brewing storm within the Democratic Party known as NoVA (Northern Virginia) vs. RoVA (Rest of Virginia). Deeds vs. Moran is the epitome of this schism.

Read more reaction to Deeds' announcement at SkepticalObservor, Raising Kaine, Rule .303, Virginia Virtucon, The Colette, Cobalt6, Virginia Politics, and Not Larry Sabato.

Upon Further Review, Fred Really Won Yesterday's Debate...

I watched the replay of the Iowa GOP Debate last night on C-SPAN2, and Fred put up a VERY impressive performance. Here's some highlights for you...

- Fred explained that his plan for Social Security will save it for both people in the present and people in the future, as well as saving the nation $4 Trillion...that's a big claim, and I don't think he would make such a statement if he didn't believe his plan would work. His plan is also the most detailed of any candidate out there at this time.

- Mitt Romney talked about how he doesn't worry about the taxes that the rich pay, and went on to talk about middle-class tax cuts. Thompson responds with "my goal is to reach Mitt Romney's situation where I don't have to worry about taxes." Mitt quickly responds "my goal is to reach your situation," and Fred shoots back "well, you're getting to be a pretty good actor." Excellent stuff and I like the fact that these two managed to trade barbs and do it with a bit of good-natured humor.

- Thompson's statement "when our worst enemy is at the negotiating table, thinking about the worst things they can do to America, who do you want sitting on our end of the table?" That was a poignant moment in the debate and you definitely saw a fire in the man's eyes.

- When the stick-in-the-mud moderator asked for a show of hands on global warming beliefs, Thompson said "I'm not doing a show of hands". When the moderator asked if that was a yes or a no, Thompson asked "Are you going to give me a minute to answer the question?", the moderator said "no", Thompson then responds "Then I'm not going to answer it". Even my wife, a tentative Giuliani supporter, agreed that Thompson really showed some strength and independence there.

- Alan Keyes responded to the global warming question by going on a long rant where he talks about the people, how we should vote for those who are not elitists, find a candidate who actually represents you, blah blah blah...Thompson retorts with "and that's Alan Keyes' stance on global warming."

I was very impressed with Fred really just "being Fred".

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Iowa GOP Presidential Debate

The last debate before the January 3rd Iowa Caucus looks like it was very interesting...I missed it, but here are the highlights from around the Web.

- The moderator was an apparent stick in the mud. She got smacked down by Fred because she kept using the "show of hands" method on so many points.

- Alan Keyes apparently hijacked the debate, big time.

- The moderator kept Huckabee from getting piled on.

- Fred actually had many good points from what I'm reading. About 80% of the AP's video highlights of the debate involved Fred Thompson.

- Duncan Hunter had a good showing, Tancredo did better than usual as well.

All in all, seems like Fred had a very good debate, and it could not have come at a better time. This is where he might be able to "turn up the juice" on his campaign. Shaun Kenney noted that this could very well be the turning point in the Thompson campaign.

Since When Did Losing Become Good Strategy?

Lowell at Raising Kaine speculates at the top of this post that it's possible that the lack of national funds into the 1st CD race from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC, I think I've got the name right, ah well I'm close enough) was a strategy to force Republicans to spend campaign money that they don't have (the Congressional GOP is actually in debt), while saving money for other races.

Also, at the same time, Dems at Raising Kaine and other blogs are SCREAMING bloody murder at the DCCC for not pumping more money into this race, as they thought it could've been a win for Phil Forgit. Even Forgit's campaign is practically saying "hey, we could've won with some money".

They totally ignore the fact that Rob Wittman was a good candidate in a solidly "red" district. Also, they also ignore the fact that money was being pumped into Ohio's 5th CD because they thought they had a better chance there...which they didn't, and I think that it was wasted money either way. All the money pumped into Ohio did not earn their candidate any more percentage points than she had received the previous year in the general election.

I think that a serious commitment from the DCCC financially would not have won this campaign for Forgit...but maybe earned him a few extra percentage points...Dems thought that they could get 43%-45% easily here...they only get 38%. They seriously underperformed by their own expectations. A good showing here would have been promising for the Dems...but the national Dems punted this election and it probably was a good thing in the end. They've got bigger fish to fry, so to speak.

The Dems who are mad at the DCCC seem to just be looking for a scapegoat, because they want to believe that Forgit would have won this race with some money. I think it would've taken a bit more than money for even a mildly moderate Dem like Forgit to win in the 1st.

Even Ben at NLS is calling the anti-DCCC sentiments from Virginia Dems "absurd".

For the 3rd Time Since Election Day...

...Republitarian has wiped out all of it's posts. What's up with that, Myron? Or Dave? Or Christa?

Congratulations Rep-Elects Wittman and Latta

A good day for the Republicans, as they hold two vacant seats, including one that Democrats thought was theirs for the taking.

In Virginia, Rob Wittman handily defeated Philip Forgit and Lucky Narain by a margin of 60%-38%-2% and is the new Representative from Virginia's 1st Congressional District. Turnout was in the 19% range, which easily surpasses the turnout projects of 7-14%. Wittman won 20 of 23 cities and counties.

In Ohio, Bob Latta defeated Robin Weirauch 57%-43% to become the new Representative from Ohio's 5th Congressional District, handing Weirauch's 3rd consecutive defeat in running for this seat. Another surprisingly high number of voters, as turnout was at 23.5%, much higher than initially expected due to poor weather conditions in that region. Latta won all 16 counties within the district.

Higher turnout + Larger-than-expected GOP wins = A good sign for the Republican Party.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Special Election Results and Reaction

Coincidentally, this is my 500th Post for Now At The Podium, let's see if we can celebrate the 500th post with a win for Podium-endorsed candidate Rob Wittman. Results courtesy of the Virginia State Board of Elections.

7:11 - First 4 precincts report, all from Spotsylvania, Wittman has early lead of 461 votes over Forgit...too bad we've got 205 precincts to go.

7:15 - 10 precincts in (they're fast this year), Wittman up by 798 votes.

7:18 - 19 precincts reporting, Wittman is already up 1392 votes, which is more than double Forgit's votes so far.

7:20 - Forgit wins his first precinct out of 25 reporting...absentee ballots in Hampton City, 18-16. Congrats.

7:25 - 46 of 209, or 22% of all precincts reporting. Wittman is up 65%-33% on Forgit, and Lucky Narain has managed to capture only 1.45% of the much for that supposedly "great GOTV effort from disgruntled Republicans" that would cause Narain to play spoiler to Wittman.

7:29 - I can't find anything on the results of Ohio's 5th CD. If you have anything, post it in the comments below.

7:33 - 34% of precincts reporting, Wittman is up 3,866 votes, the margin is 63%-35%-2% for Wittman. I'm calling this one right now so I can wrap up my day.


Special Election Update Blog

I'll post any info I come across about today's activities and news regarding the special election in the Virginia 1st Congressional District and the Ohio 5th Congressional District.

In case you've been under a rock or been away from the blogs for over a month, the candidates looking to replace to late Jo Ann Davis in VA-01 are: the Podium-endorsed Rob Wittman, Phil Forgit, and Lucky Narain. This district stretches from Prince William and Fauquier Counties in Northern Virginia, and stretches past Fredericksburg, Williamsburg, and ends at the mouth of the James River near Hampton City.

In OH-05, in the race to replace the late Paul Gillmor, Bob Latta (son of former Rep. Del Latta, who served 40 years in the House of Representatives) is running against Robin Weirauch. Weirauch lost to Gillmor by margins of 67%-33% in 2004 and 57%-43% in 2006. This district covers most of the northwestern corner of Ohio.

Both of these districts are considered "leans-conservative" districts, Virginia's district is more likely Republican than Ohio's district. Updates will come as I get them...

1:19 PM (VA-01) - Word from Virginia Virtucon is that turnout is low in Democratic-leaning precincts, but solid-to-surprising in the GOP-leaning precincts, so far. No Democratic Party poll workers or Phil Forgit signs have been spotted in Prince William County, but there are GOP poll workers and Wittman signs up all around PWC precincts.

1:34 PM (VA-01) - Comments section at Not Larry Sabato shows mixed turnout in the various precincts, but generally favors Wittman's chances and quite a few Dems have commented that Wittman should win easily because of the lack of national support for Forgit.

1:39 PM (OH-05) - The most recent polling had Latta up on Weirauch 50%-36%, but that was a few weeks ago and the sense is that the race has tightened fairly dramatically since. Both have name recognition, Weirauch from her previous runs and Latta is a State Representative from that area. The Ohio GOP seems confident in party unity behind Latta, and that they will retain the seat.

2:00 PM (VA-01) - Virginia Dem makes a plea for turnout later today, as turnout is low in Fredericksburg. On a positive note, at least Forgit signs and supporters are visible here.

2:13 PM (OH-05) - From Buckeye State Blog, turnout is predicted to be in the 20-25% range, but rainy spots in the district and generally cold weather may push turnout below 20%. As Ohio Goes reports that Fox News has acknowledged Weirauch as the frontrunner.

3:04 PM (OH-05) - Reading an article on this race at the Wall Street Journal. This is a race based on the economy more than anything. It should be noted that while Gillmor won this district by 14% in 2006, Sherrod Brown carried this district rather easily as well in his successful bid for the U.S. Senate.

3:27 PM (VA-01) - The Dems over at Raising Kaine are putting on their best face, but don't seem overly exciting about Forgit's chances. The tone of the original post is typical gung-ho Dem fare, but the comments are a bit less excited in nature as they had been in the days and weeks leading up to today's election.

4:25 PM (VA-01) - The Shad Plank notes two things about today's election so far. First, at 2 PM, turnout was at 14.5% in James City County, which isn't a high number but is higher than what many expected for today, especially with 5 hours left before the polls close. The other notable point is that turnout seems to be higher in the areas closer to the Chesapeake Bay. Other sites are reporting heavier turnout in GOP-leaning areas like Stafford.

6:35 PM (VA-01) More from the Shad Plank. A surprising amount of high school and college students are voting (at least in York County), and the low turnout should make the hand-counting of ballots a faster process. Also, in Williamsburg they are expecting turnout figures similar to last month's general election, and James City County is also expecting much higher-than-anticipated turnout. We've been seeing a mixed bag of turnout results, but it seems the Williamsburg and Stafford precincts are seeing higher turnout, as well as the precincts in counties closer to the bay.

6:47 PM (VA-01) Ben at Not Larry Sabato calls it for Wittman at 4:53 pm, over 2 hours before the polls close. A few Dems spit some venom, others were expecting this result anyway.

7:00 PM (OH-05) From, they expect that between distracted Christmas-shoppers voting, more energized Dem grassroots, and a GOP candidate that faced a much more vicious primary challenge, that OH-05 may elect it's first Democrat in over 70 years. However, their 3 scenarios are as follows...Latta wins narrowly, Weirauch wins narrowly, or Latta wins handily. No "wins handily" scenario for the Democrat.

"Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" Visits Virginia

I spent this past weekend down in Buckingham County, Virginia (just off Route 15 in New Canton, to be exact, less than 10 minutes north of Dillwyn and 45 minutes from Farmville). Our family was visiting my wife's father (my father-in-law), and we happened to visit some old friends of my father-in-law.

Turns out that one of the sons of this friend is in construction, and was part of a major project last week.

He and the rest of his company were part of the building of a new house for a National Guardsman from Rice, Virginia...only a few minutes south of Farmville. This new house was courtesy of the popular TV show "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition". The soldier is Spc. Michael Lucas. He, his wife, and his two children watched the bus driver "move that bus" yesterday, and have their new home revealed to them.

Lucas had been building a home for his family on a piece of land he acquired, but construction was stopped when he was mobilized. It also means a lot for the Lucas family, who not only had to deal with the struggles that come with having a mother or father in the military, but Lucas's younger son has been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.

This particular episode is set to air in late February/early March, which is during the next round of "sweeps", so expect heavy advertising for this episode amongst others in national ads.

It's very good to see people come together as part of a local community and work towards providing something for deserving members of society, an American soldier and his family.

Huckabee Thin on Foreign Policy

In a world where our foreign policy is one of our nation's keys to success, Mike Huckabee seems to be a bit lean on answers to handling foreign relations, as evidenced in an NRO article yesterday.

Mike Huckabee’s extraordinary rise in the polls means he deserves to be taken seriously as a presidential candidate in a way he hasn’t been all year long. Serious candidates have well-formulated views on foreign policy. What are Huckabee’s?

He hasn’t been asked about them much — reporters prefer to inquire after his views on evolution—but Don Imus, on his resurrected radio show, queried Huckabee the other day about his foreign-policy experience. Huckabee not so humbly invoked Ronald Reagan, who also, according to the former Arkansas governor, ascended to the presidency with no foreign-policy experience. As Powerline’s Paul Mirengoff has pointed out, this is — to say the least — an inapt analogy. Ronald Reagan lived and breathed the global fight with the Soviet Union for decades, and had been an important voice on the right on foreign policy long before he was president.

Mike Huckabee, by contrast, cut his teeth on typical state-level fare in Arkansas and on weight-loss and wellness programs. This is probably why he felt compelled to quip to Imus, “And the ultimate thing is, I may not be the expert that some people are on foreign policy, but I did stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night.” (Powerline also points out that he used the exact same line on Imus a year earlier when foreign policy came up.) This won’t do.

Huckabee did give a long speech on foreign policy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in September. It combined a superficial rendering of conventional foreign-policy wisdom — which of course included many unfair criticisms of President Bush — with Huckabee’s inimitable folksy delivery. The former governor’s bottom line was that we should be nicer to other countries.

Huckabee has been pretty lean on the foreign policy side of things. He will either need to hire a strong foreign policy adviser or start reading up on his own plans. Huckabee does not seem to have a real plan for America in regards to the rest of the world, and given the current state of things in the rest of the world, that does not bode well for America.

Huckabee better start giving us more than a friendly smile, folksy demeanor, the Fair Tax, and his belief in God if he wants to be President.

1st CD Special Election is TODAY!!!

Voters of the 1st Congressional District, get out there and vote for the right choice. Vote for someone who has experience representing you in the General Assembly. Vote for the best candidate running to continue the legacy of Jo Ann Davis.

Voters of the 1st Congressional District, vote Rob Wittman for Congress!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Eric Cantor = Genius

Rep. Eric Cantor (VA-7) answers the question we've all been wondering...

How are the Democrats doing?

Or click here if the video does not play above.

Another "Blogger For Miles"

At the urging of Extreme Mortman, I'm joining the rest of the world and adding Milestones to the national blogroll.

Milestones is a blog that tracks the growth and life of Miles Greenberger. Miles is the son of Peter Greenberger, who used to work with Mortman at New Media Strategies and is now with Google. Miles is growing up around some Republican stalwarts...having been photographed with Karl Rove and Arlen Specter.

To be honest, it is a fun little blog that is a refreshing break from political punditry :)

Strasburg Police Face Criticism and Praise

Now, for some news and opinion of a local flavor.

Strasburg Police Chief Tim Sutherly held a public forum to answer questions and respond to comments from citizens of the town. Over 60 citizens attended the forum. One quote from the article sums up a lot of the feelings that citizens, including myself, feel while driving around town.

Many comments and questions from citizens centered around being followed too closely in their vehicles and rude treatment by police officers.

There is some truth to this. Shenandoah County residents will attest that, for some reason the cops in Strasburg will get behind you, nearly tailgate you, and follow you from one end of town to another. It's quite annoying, and it can make people feel intimidated and paranoid. There were also concerns about the lack of tact in how police officers conducted themselves when dealing with people in situations such as traffic stops. Sutherly's response...

The chief admitted that there was some truth to the comment, but noted he preferred having overzealous officers who could be talked to and trained, rather than having nonchalant officers.

There is some truth to this and I understand where Sutherly is coming from, but I'm hoping that he will actually talk to and train these officers on public relations.

However, things are not all bad with Strasburg police. They are on constant patrol and they seem to do a good job in doing their actual job.

Councilman Scott Terndrup commended Sutherly for his pro-activeness on drugs, telling the audience that he teaches school "in a place where gangs are more evident" and "flash their colors." He said he supported the chief, who he referred to the public safety expert in the town.

A citizen in the back of the room agreed with Terndrup, saying she was happy that drug and alcohol usage in youth was finally being taken seriously.

"We have one opportunity to get this right," said the chief. "The town of Front Royal and Warren County did not do it right."

There has been some stepped up efforts over the past couple of years in terms of stemming alcohol and drug use amongst teenagers. It's been pretty noticeable and evident amongst town citizens, and their efforts should not go without commendation.

Chief Sutherly is also correct about his assertion that Front Royal and Warren County did not "do it right" in regards to stemming drug use and gang activity in the schools. Strasburg, however, seems to be heading down the right path on this.

All-in-all, it seems like Strasburg police are doing their job pretty well, they just need some "public relations" skills. At least it is something that can be taught, especially since the police force is relatively young and able to learn.

Candidate Jokes

From the Media Blog at the National Review Online. Here are some jokes from presidential candidates in both parties. I cut out the bad ones.

- Hillary Clinton (smiling): "I'm not going to tell you" - Call it a wild guess, but I think her favorite joke has got to be named "Bill".

- John Edwards (gesturing, Southern accent in full fly): "This guy's driving down a country road and he looks over and there's this farmer holding his hog, holding his hog up to an apple tree. And the guy pulls over — he's a city guy — he pulls over and walks over and he says, 'What are you doing?' And the guy's straining. He's holding the hog. His face is red and he said, 'Feeding my hog.' And he said, 'Feeding your hog?' He said, 'Now dunnit take a lot of time? Holding the hog up to an apple tree to feed him, dunnit take a lot of time?' He says, 'Time don't mean nothing to a damned old hog."

- Barack Obama (reacting to word that he and Dick Cheney might be distant relatives): "He's the black sheep of the family."

- Bill Richardson: "My wife told me I'm doing well in a recent poll in New Mexico. I asked her how, since I'm never there. I'm always out of the state campaigning for president. And she told me that's exactly why I'm doing well."

- John McCain: "Long story about a guy walking into a bar and noticing another guy at the end. They strike up a conversation and notice many similarities. Another guy walks in later and asks the bartender about the commotion. 'Oh, that's just the O'Reilly brothers getting drunk again.'"

- Mitt Romney (I'm paraphrasing this one to tell the joke as Romney would tell it): Romney asks his wife "Ann, did you in your wildest dreams see me running for president?" Ann Romney replies "You weren't in my wildest dreams."

- Fred Thompson: "Presidential debates." (ZING)

Fred rules.

AG McDonnell Calls for "Jamestown '07" Fee to Expire

From the official press release that was sent out earlier today...

McDonnell noted, “The $1 vehicle registration fee was enacted for a specific primary purpose, to fund the activities commemorating the 400th Anniversary of Jamestown in 2007. As 2007 draws to a close, all can take great pride in a commemoration of our founding that befitted Virginia’s unique role as the birthplace of America. That commemoration is now over. The fee passed specifically for this commemoration has no justification for continuation. This fee must be allowed to sunset as originally scheduled, in order to maintain the public trust. I spoke with Speaker Bill Howell this morning and he fully supports elimination of this fee. I urge the General Assembly to let this fee expire, and not authorize it for any other use.”

Amen, the commemoration is over, the fee was for this commemoration only, so let it expire. While Sen. Norment and Gov. Kaine may want to continue the fee and spend it in other places, I say let it expire since it's purpose no longer exists.

Kathryn Jean Lopez at NRO shows us a little history.

Writing about the 29,000 who showed up for Oprah-Obama yesterday, the New York Times Caucus blog asks "JFK drew about 35,000 for a Labor Day rally in 1960; get to work, Caucus readers, and tell us if you know of a bigger campaign rally without an incumbent president." There was one bigger than Oprah and JFK and you can ask Rush Limbaugh or Bill Bennett about it. They were headliners for a picnic rally for John Carlson for governor in 2000. The crowd was an estimated 40,000.

Now that poses the question...will Oprah's support help Obama that much in the long run?

Michael Vick Sentenced to 23 Months

Read about it here.