Archive for February, 2009

Congratulations Amy Tisinger!

February 28, 2009 Leave a comment

I don’t know what I’m more excited about: the fact that my good friend has been elected to a judgeship, or that I scooped all the local media outlets, if only by default because no one else is crazy enough to be watching this stuff on a Saturday night. 

All kidding aside, I am very happy for Amy, who was elected to a General District Court position beginning July 1st of this year. Though her presence will be sorely missed on the Shenandoah County Committee, I know that her election is a boon for the Commonwealth, which will be getting a brilliant and tough but fair legal mind. 

Congratulations once again, Amy.

House Election News

February 28, 2009 Leave a comment

While there’s certainly a flurry of activity coming out of Capitol Square today with the end of the General Assembly Session (and it appears as if today will in fact be the end, but more on that later), there’s also big news on the election front. 

First off, Republican William Fralin of Roanoke will be retiring. This move comes as somewhat of a surprise, as at 46 Fralin isn’t exactly an elder statesman in the House, and while Roanoke has (like many of Virginia’s cities) been bluing of recent vintage (46.3% for Bush in ’04 to 37.5% for McCain in 2008), the outlying territory is red enough that it was still a solid district for McCain. As a relative moderate in the House GOP Caucus (primarily on education and fiscal issues), Fralin could, COULD stand a shot against John Edwards in 2011. That, however, will take time to shake itself out. In the meantime, can now project that, should he secure re-election in November, Delegate Todd Gilbert of Woodstock will officially be the tallest member in the House of Delegates. 

In related news, Delegate Steve Landes will face Democrat Greg Marrow this fall. Landes, who has represented the district for 14 years, has not faced much opposition. However, with a fading red Waynesboro at the heart of his district (63.9% for Bush in ’04 to 53.3% for McCain in 2008) Landes may face a stiff challenge, but again, the outlying territory in Rockingham and Augusta counties made this a solid McCain district in 2008. With both Landes and Matt Lohr facing challenges in November, this means that half of Rockingham County’s four man delegation is under fire. However, with Chris Saxman’s district being based in Staunton (which went from 60.3% for Bush in 2004 to 48.4% in 2008) and Todd Gilbert still under fire from liberal circles for his comments about Barack Obama this past fall, we may very well be seeing challengers for those two as well. 

Stay tuned. This is shaping up to be a great political year in the Shenandoah Valley.

The Big O Show Tonight

February 26, 2009 Leave a comment

Listen Here.

Tonight: Freestyle.

Categories: Uncategorized

More from Last Night’s Meeting

February 25, 2009 Leave a comment

First me doing some “vlogging” with thoughts before the meeting last night:

Then I spoke with Ben Marchi about his organization and why the group decided to support CHG last night:

The People Speak

February 25, 2009 Leave a comment

Although most of the nation’s attention tonight was focused on the speech given in Washington by the most powerful man in the Western world, a few more average citizens of these United States were doing some speaking out of their own. I’m talking about the rally that was held by Citizens for Honest Government, with support from Americans for Prosperity. The rally was to protest the Board’s decision to change its budget for the current fiscal year to allow for down payments and initial work on tracts adjacent to school property in Strasburg and Woodstock. Below are some photos.

Now, as usual, the fix was in before even a single word of public comment was even uttered. Both sides came out, but it became very clear through the course of the evening that those who favored the purchase outnumbered those opposed. However, this was not the only issue that brought out those who were protesting the decision. You see, those involved in Citizens for Honest Government stayed through the entire meeting. They are interested in the entire process. Do they have an agenda? Of course–anyone involved in politics should. Tonight, however, was a key example of special interest politics as work. 

When the meeting truly got underway with Sheriff Tim Carter’s speech on the state of the department, the crowd shrank to nearly a quarter in size. The reason? Those interested in the school land purchase knew it was a done deal–they had put on their theatrical production, citing “it’s for the children” all the time, never considering the debt load that the children will bear nor the fact that, perhaps, fine buildings do not an academic make. 

Who stayed? CHG. Earlier in the evening Ben Marchi, the representative from Americans for Prosperity, was accused of being used as a pawn in local politics. That is not the nature of the game. Does this board member not understand coalition politics? You go with those who are supporting your issue, and in this case, AFP was supporting the side of fiscal prudence. Certainly the current board members have their gripes with CHG, as CHG has its own problems with the board. I will grant that there is a great deal of backstory that goes into the history of CHG, some of which I don’t agree with. What I do agree with, however, is their attitude towards fiscal responsibility and open government, no matter who the players are.

I understand that the Board members may pride themselves on being “independent.” Perhaps it is lost of them that they were elected as Republicans, not independents. I understand that they believe they have the county’s best interests in mind, no matter if those best interests are really a select few. However, is it truly too much to ask that when our politicians make promises, or stand on a party label with a specific platform, that they at least give a nod towards the stances of that party? I hate to say it, but I am becoming convinced that there is no longer a true fiscal conservative on the Board of Supervisors.

AFP will step away from the stage now, but CHG will remain, active and ready to fight for honest government as we head into the November elections. It was noted several times that the rally wasn’t really about the decision being made. 

It was about the decision makers being changed. 

This will be a very interesting cycle indeed–more video and commentary as I can get it up.

Where’s Craig O?

February 24, 2009 Leave a comment

An update for those of you waiting for more of my pithy (or pitiful, depending on your political persepective) musings on Virginia and Shenandoah County politics:

I’ve been gainfully employed in a major freelance project over the last few days that could turn into something more, so that’s been taking most of my time. However, the good news: I’ll be back tonight with exclusive news from tonight’s Board meeting, and some video as well.

So hang in there, politics fans. And remember: Be a player.

Categories: Personal Tags:

Socks the Cat: 1989-2009

February 20, 2009 3 comments

Socks the Cat answering questions from the press on November 9th, 1994 following the Republican tidal wave in the midterm elections the day before. Socks had advised the DCCC on the use of animals in the Congressional campaigns

Socks the Cat, presidential pet and Democratic political consultant, died in Hollywood, Maryland at the age of 19. Socks had one of the longest tenures of presidential pets, but his term was not without controversy. Following Clinton’s re-election he was demoted to co-First Pet with Buddy the Dog, beginning a rift with the Clintons that Socks would carry to his grave. In 1998 was highly criticized for  scratching Tony Blair.

Socks began life in Little Rock Arkansas as the son of Fluffy and Roscoe on March 21st, 1989. He was the only surviving member of a litter of five, one of which was eaten by Fluffy and the others which met a variety of untimely fates, both canine and vehicular in nature. Roscoe was a poor provider and left the brood after he caught Fluffy with another tomcat. In 1990 Fluffy fell into an open sewer drain and was never seen again. At that point Socks was cast out into the streets of Little Rock, beginning a stretch of bad luck that would continue until Socks met the Clintons the following year. In his 2003 Memoir “My Tail,” Socks recounted that he suffered a serious battle with catnip addiction that continued well into his time in the White House.

While sleeping off a catnip binge in early 1991 on top of some bags of shredded paper in an alleyway behind Rose Law in Little Rock, the cat was spotted by firm’s security guards. However, they were unable to apprehend the frisky feline. The cat was later found by Chelsea Clinton at the home of her piano teacher. Chelsea took the cat home, beginning a personal and professional relationship with the Clintons that lasted until Socks was exiled from the family in 2001.

Socks is credited by some Clinton insiders as the inspiration behind the Clinton-Gore campaign’s core strategy  when in mid-1992 Socks pooped on Clinton’s draft paper on economic issues, leading adviser James Carville to exclaim “That’s ‘The Economy,’ stupid!” Following the 1992 campaign Socks followed the Clintons to the White House, but it was there that the relationship began to sour. After his call for a ban on semi-automatic waterers was misinterpreted by the White House policy team, Clinton began to lose popularity in many parts of the South when he signed the assault weapons ban in 1994. Following this incident Socks was sent to the DCCC to advise Congressional candidates on the use of animals in their campaigns. One of these candidates was Speaker Tom Foley, who lost his seat during the Republican tidal wave of 1994. After the campaign Socks returned to the White House and never consulted on another Democratic campaign, outside of his owner’s own re-election bid in 1996.

Some Clinton insiders credit Socks with the expulsion of consultant Dick Morris from the Clinton campaign when, unbeknownst to Morris, Socks hid under the bed during the consultant’s infamous liaison with a hooker. However, increasing tensions behind the scenes led to Sock’s demotion as chief White House pet in 1997, when the Clintons got Buddy the Dog. Socks took to intense week-long catnip binges around the streets of Washington, DC, at the end of which he would often be found in the lap of the Lincoln Memorial. In 1998 his behavior hit rock bottom when he scratched Prime Minister Tony Blair on December 13th, beginning a two-day stand off with the United Kingdom that was only halted with the launch of Operation Desert Fox against Iraq. Socks then spent a week at the Betty Ford Clinic, after which he never struggled with catnip addiction again.

In 2000 Socks asked to be assigned to Hillary Clinton’s Senate campaign but was rejected by the Clintons. This was the first signal of things to come, as in 2001 Socks would not follow the Clintons to New York, leading to a final split between the cat and the First couple. Socks began speaking out against the family and in his 2003 book shared many stories about Clinton’s liaison with Monica Lewinsky. In 2002 after Buddy the dog was suspiciously run over by a power company truck. Socks was investigated, but no charges were ever brought.

Following his time in the White House Socks began expressing increasingly conservative political views. In 2002 during the Little Rock Christmas parade he announced his support for the Invasion of Iraq. In 2004 during a rare public appearance with former White House Secretary Betty Currie Socks announced his intention to vote for George W. Bush in 2004, citing the President’s handling of the war on terror. In 2005 he briefly joined the campaign of Republican Jeanine Pirro in for U.S. Senate against Hillary Clinton but was fired when he ate a page of Pirro’s announcement speech, which led to an embarrassing gaffe where Pirro stumbled over her words for nearly a minute.

In 2008 Socks returned to Democratic politics but not to work for Clinton. Instead he endorsed Barack Obama, saying that as a black and white cat in America he was extremely pleased to see the beginning of racial reconciliation in America. Later in the year Socks was diagnosed with cancer and his public appearances became extremely rare. His final public appearance was to be a speech at the Democratic National Covention, but his speech was bumped when President Carter’s video went long, a final blow to America’s former first feline.

Socks had one final meeting with the Clintons in December of 2008 when it appeared that he would not recover for his cancer. He congratulated Hillary on her appointment as Secretary of State and made up with Bill, apologizing for any damage he caused during the White House years. Socks was euthanized this morning, attended by Mrs. Currie.

Socks the Cat’s funeral will be held at the National Cathedral Monday at 11 A.M. Vice-President Biden is expected to attend, as is Secretary of State Clinton. Socks has decided not to have full state honors; rather, his body will lie in state at ASPCA’s national headquarters

*In case you don’t have a funnybone, this is a work of satire. However, I always did think Socks was one good looking cat and my inspiration for getting my mother’s cat Maya when I was at UVA. Socks, you will be missed. 

Categories: History, In Memoriam Tags: , ,

The Threat to the South

February 20, 2009 Leave a comment

Most of the attention in foreign policy coverage right now is either on the troop increase in Afghanistan, the tension in Israel, or the situation in Pakistan. However, on Sunday something happened to the South in Venezuela that must be paid attention to. From the AP:

Venezuela’s elections chief says President Hugo Chavez has won a referendum to eliminate term limits, paving the way for him to run again in 2012.

National Electoral Council chief Tibisay Lucena says with 94 percent of the vote counted, 54 percent have backed the president’s proposal. That trend is irreversible.

Firecrackers exploded as pro-Chavez caravans circled the city with horns blaring after the announcement Sunday night. Chavez appeared on the balcony of his presidential palace to sing the national anthem.


This is not the first attention that has been paid to the situation in Venezuela. People with far more intimate experiences with the nation reveal more details. From Michael Rowan, a Democratic political consultant who spent 13 years in the South American nation:

Since 2004, Chavez has had the capability to rig the elections. That capability includes control over the voting roll, the electronic voting machines, and the centralized count, none of which has been independently audited in five years (while the roll increased from 10 million to 17 million names); direct or indirect employment of five million jobs; direct threats to fire employees who do not vote for him; using billions of dollars of government funds to buy votes — openly; using, sometimes with plausible deniability, the police, military, and roving gangs to intimidate or murder opposition or media nuisances; and restricting freedom of speech and assembly of the few remaining opposition groups, e.g., gassing the students or denying their permits to march.

Read more…

Millenials: Liberal or Libertarian?

February 20, 2009 1 comment

The conventional wisdom about the latest generation of American voters is that they tend to be socially liberal but economically and fiscally conservative. These are the same voters that came out in huge numbers for Barack Obama. A survey from The New America Foundation, however, seems to contest the notion of younger voters as more libertarian: 

The report indicates that the cohort skews more liberal on economic and social issues.Barack Obama was no doubt a draw during the 2008 presidential contest — he and Joe Bidenwon 66 percent of the under 30 vote nationally — but these younger voters also self-identify as liberals over conservatives in greater numbers than the broader voting population. Meanwhile, 45 percent of young voters said they were members of the Democratic Party, compared with 39 percent of all voters. All this means that the group’s overwhelming support for the Democratic ticket during the 2008 presidential contest isn’t simply a flash-in-the-pan phenomenon, experts say.

They tended to see the government as less wasteful than their older voting peers and more supportive of unions. Whether or not these trends are lasting or related to the Obama movement is an interesting question. However, still interesting fodder for anyone working on how the Republican party can regain a significant share of younger voters.

The Big O Show at 10:30 tonight!

February 19, 2009 Leave a comment

Listen here. 

Due to the fact that the SCRC Quarterly Meeting might run long, tonight’s show is being moved to 10:30. However, I’ll still be on for the full hour to bring you a smorgasboard of county and state political news, including: 

  • The SCRC Quarterly Meeting and the Call to Convention
  • An Update on Election 2005
  • The Veteran flap in GOP AG race
  • The conflict of conservatism and tradition in local politics

Plus Craiger’s Stumper, my fave of the week, and a Conservative Quotable, all tonight at 10:30!

Categories: Podcasts Tags: