Archive for January, 2009

Palin skips House GOP Confab; Steele, Romney speak

January 31, 2009 Leave a comment

The House GOP is at The Homestead in Warm Springs this weekend to talk policy and strategy in the wake of Steele’s accession to the RNC Chairmanship and a solid front against the pork laden stimulus package. The conference featured a number of Republican stars. One, however, was conspicuously absent. From The Note

Retreat organizers tell ABC News that Palin politely declined, giving a perfectly understandable reason.  According to the Congressional Institute, which hosted the conference, Palin said she simply could not make it to the retreat because pressing state business made it impossible for her to leave Alaska this weekend.

So where is Palin this weekend?  She’s in Washington, D.C., attending the super-elite Alfalfa Dinner.


The House Republicans seemed to do just fine without Palin. Their list of speakers included Republican stars Michael Steele, Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty and Newt Gingrich.

Asked about Palin’s no-show, House Republican leader John Boehner shrugged.

“Whatever,” Boehner said.

Snubbing the Congressional leadership to attend a high-profile but closed event is not exactly the best way to set-up a run for the top spot in 2012. I’ll write more about that later, but more important is what was said by those who did speak. More below the fold. 

The RNC provides the complete recorded remarks by Michael Steele, where he notes that re-capturing the 20th New York Congressional Seat and the NJ and VA gubernatorial races are the top priorities for 2009. 

Meanwhile, Mitt Romney’s PAC has his full remarks. If the economy remains an issue for the next few years, expect Romney to become a leader on this issue. Also to watch: Will Romney dominate at CPAC? If he does, it’ll become clear that he’s taking the Reagan path to victory–become a conservative leader over a period of time, then cash in. 

God, 2012 has already started. Anybody have any extra Xanax?


Moving the Party Forward

January 31, 2009 Leave a comment

There’s plenty of reaction across the blogosphere to the election of Michael Steele as Chairman of the RNC. One particularly interesting take come from an open letter to the Chairman by Matt Moon over at The Next Right. Of particular interest to me are two reccomendations:

Hold campaigns and local parties accountable. Patrick and Mindy give specific goals for Congressional and Senate races when it comes to raising money and recruiting online activists. Here’s what I would like to see. Ask every state and local party to give specific grassroots, electoral and fundraising goals. Publish those goals online. Reward parties that exceed expectations. Hold accountable those parties that fail to meet their goals. Shame works just as well as potential victory when it comes to incentivizing hard work and smart strategy.

Amen! While I am a bit skeptical that the RNC is going to be able or even want to reach all the way down to the county level, I think it is high time that someone hold county parties responsible, and at the VERY least provide clear directions and goals to the parties. My best idea at the moment: make it very clear to surrounding units what the goals are and publish whether or not those goals are being met. This will mean that not only internal but external pressure will be placed on chairs to shape up. Too often units become the equivalent of Republican Clubs in metro areas, and I bet you even many of them do more grassroots work than some units in the country. The excuse that committees are simply administrative bodies charged with holding a Lincoln Day Dinner and nominating candidates and that they should not be held accountable when goals are not met should be absolutely unacceptable in Steele’s RNC. 

I also wholeheartedly support the idea that the RNC should pursue a “vineyard” strategy to start at the very local level to produce not only good candidates but good ideas. Too often this is where troublesome politicians get their start. Take the case of Emmett Hanger, who started at the bottom and work his way up through the ranks based on his popularity and not on his ideas. We now have a Senator in that seat that is often extremely unresponsive to the ideas and suggestions of principled activists. However, we cannot expect the RNC to provide all the momentum here. I call upon all conservatives to PAY ATTENTION to local politics. These people will want to move up some day, but you need to be in the game to see if they are deserving of our support based on their principles, not just on their social network. Remember: Not everything that affects you and your family happens in Congress.

ABC Privatization Fails

January 31, 2009 Leave a comment

In a setback for the movement to decrease the size of government in Virginia, the Rehabilitation and Social Services Committee voted 13-2 to pass by indefinitely Senator Obenshain’s bill to privatize the state’s ABC (liquor, to you out of staters) Stores. The vote is here; it’s rather unfortunate that only two Republicans voted to keep the bill alive, but thanks go out to Senators Cuccinelli and Vogel. The Daily News Record has coverage here. Naturally, Emmett Hanger, who never saw a government program he couldn’t find a tax hike to save, voted against the bill. 

So where do we go from here? Well, Senator Obenshain has pledged to keep the fight going, as well hundreds of Virginia citizens who have rallied around the idea:

A Facebook group Sen. Obenshain created for supporters of privatization efforts currently boasts over four hundred members, and in a recent survey available on and mailed to thousands of voters across the district, seventy percent of respondents favored privatization, with nearly 85% supportive if they were assured that the Commonwealth could reap a considerable profit by the conversion. The numbers ran still higher if voters were assured that the Commonwealth could impose restrictions on the location and advertising of distilled spirit retailers. “The people of the twenty-sixth district understand what some in Richmond just don’t get,” commented Obenshain. “They aren’t ready to give up on this bill, and neither am I.”

You Won, Now Get to Work!

January 31, 2009 1 comment

Former Maryland Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele won the chairmanship of the Republican National Committee yesterday afternoon with ninty-one votes on the sixth ballot. It was a harrowing contest, though Steele started out in a good position just a few votes behind incumbent Mike Duncan. Duncan ended up being the first to bow out, as by the third ballot eight of his supporters had peeled off and Steele  and in a surprise most of his support shifted to South Carolina Chair Katon Dawson, thrusting him into the lead with sixty-two votes to Steele’s 60 on the fourth ballot.

Conventional wisdom going into the vote was that former Ohio Secretary of State and social conservative activist Kenneth Blackwell would stand the most to gain from Duncan’s departure; however, by the fourth ballot it was clear the Blackwell was losing support, leading to his departure. Blackwell endorsed Steele on his way out (an important move, given that Steele was viewed with skepticism by conservatives from the beginning), giving Steele 79 votes on the fifth ballot, just short of the six votes needed to win. 

At this point, Michigan GOP Saul Anuzis was still in the game but way behind. Standing with twenty votes, he was in a position to be a kingmaker. Twitter updates indicated that both candidates conferred with Anuzis. In the end, though, Anuzis left the race but endorsed neither candidate. At that point, Dawson had sixty-nine votes, meaning he needed over 3/ths of Anuzis’ supporters to break his way. 

Didn’t happen. Steele picked up twelve votes and carried the day with ninety one votes. 

So we have a chair; now what?

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How now, Madame Speaker?

January 30, 2009 Leave a comment

So that’s why they took our the birth control money….because they just couldn’t find the words to explain how handing out free condoms would help create 3 million jobs.

I suppose they could have hired people to deliver them door to door……

Who Will Follow Kristol?

January 30, 2009 Leave a comment

Following Bill Kristol’s unceremonious removal from the New York Times, there’s been alot of speculation and suggestion about who should replace Kristol as the paper’s leading conservative columnist. Some have suggested someone of the ilk of Rush Limbaugh. However, Jon Henke over at The New Majority points out what’s wrong with this thinking:

We have a small army of showmen, agitators, bomb-throwers, partisans and hacks.  Enough.  It is a measure of the health of the Right that we have gone from Bill Buckley to Bill O’Reilly,  Our goal should be to develop and promote our best public intellectuals, our smartest writers, and our most perceptive analysts.   Like those mentioned above,

Dead on. In these dark days, we need to be putting our best foot forward and building a new breed of intelligent, principled, open-minded conservatives who are able to carry our message not only in the halls of power but in the traditional media. Certainly figures like Ann Coulter have their place in energizing the base and carrying forth certain messages, but do we really expect to ever be taken seriously if our top figures write books with titles like “How to Talk to A Liberal (if you must)”? Isn’t the point to talk to those who THINK they are liberal and show them their misguided ways?

Or are we honestly content to sit back, argue about who’s the most conservative, and reinforce our own messages as our audience dwindles?

Direct Mail Only Works With Good Data

January 30, 2009 Leave a comment

Patrick Ruffinni makes an interesting point about the values of primaries over conventions in terms of identifying voters. He does this in the context of next Tuesday’s special election for Fairfax’s Board Chairman. 

I’ll be out of town, so I requested an absentee ballot, which came in the mail yesterday. That same day, I got a hand addressed piece of AB Chase mail from the Fairfax County Democrats, along with one anti-Herrity mailer from the DPV and mail from a third party candidate running on a platform of low taxes.


What’s wrong with this picture? Two mail pieces from Democrats, one a hand-addressed AB chase piece. One from an independent low-tax candidate, who for all I know, could be a Republican (we don’t have party listed on our ballots for county offices — causing confusion if you don’t have a sample ballot from your county committee).

Why do I get more Democratic mail than Republican mail? On a couple of occasions, I have availed myself of the opportunity to help select the Democratic nominee when we had no contested primary. But I have also voted in Republican primaries, including the extremely low-turnout VA-8 primary last year.

The bottom line: There is no reason that as a past primary voter who is a supervoter in both primaries and generals should not be getting Republican mail. I also got very little GOTV mail from Republicans in the general election last year — though I did get robocalls from John McCain in the primary.

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