Archive for April, 2009

More RPV Convention Notes

Tonight I had the great pleasure of hearing RPV Executive Director Allison Coccia speak to the Republican Women of Shenandoah County. The part of her remarks that will probably revolved around the upcoming RPV Convention of May 29th and 30th. Some highlights:

  • Over 8,000 delegates have registered, and as lists continue to come in there are estimates that the number of registered delegates may very well pass 10,000. Virginia’s convention will likely be the largest in the nation (Although only New Jersey and Virginia have statewide contests this year and only Virginia is using a convention, other states are re-organizing their state parties this year)
  • Delegates will be routed through the Lee Street entrance to the coliseum, the largest one in the facility. As they enter the facility, they will receive a packet with a barcode that will then be scanned to aid the credentials report.
  • The rules committee has proposed rules that will have all nominating speeches occur BEFORE balloting. That is, all speeches for LG, AG and State Party chair will occur, then balloting will take place simultaneously for all three offices.
  • The top ten units by voting machines; smaller units will continue to use paper ballots.
  • Delegates are encouraged to submit their voluntary registration fee. In addition to helping make the convention a self-sustaining event, delegates will receive a gift bag and a boxed lunch.

Also noted at the meeting:

  • SCRC Chairman Mike Monahan noted that Shenandoah County will have 69 delegates and has submitted a check for $1,000 to RPV, which is for delegate fees from roughly 40% of the county’s delegates
  • The Republican Women of Shenandoah County are sponsoring a bus that will go down on Saturday morning to get delegates there in time for balloting on the nomination and chair races. Right now, the bus is slated to cost $25 per person. They currently have 12 people going down (which is a full bux), but if interest exists they will get a second. This offer is open not just to Shenandoah County delegates but anyone from the surrounding units who may wish to meet the bus in Woodstock. If you are interested, please contact Sue Hughes at (540) 459-2088 or

Finally, some items of note from last week’s Weeklfrom Chairman Thomas:

  • Dr. Yaron Brook of the Ayn Rand Institute will be the Saturday morning breakfast speaker. We had speculated earlier that this spot may go to another 2012 contender, but alas, it did not. Contenders maow up, but with a packed schedule on Saturday, it is doubtful that they will be given time to speak to the convention. Dr. Brook’s nod is also interesting in that it signals that RPV is not unaware that the works of Mrs. Rand are suddenly in vogue again. Could this be a sudden nod to the growing influence of small-l libertarians after the surprise influence of Ron Paul supporters at last year’s convention (although Dr. Paul’s coalition is much broader than anyone gives him credit for, but that’s a conversation for another time)?
  • RPV will be using three twitter feeds during the convention: one with results and news from proone for alerts and messages to delegates, and another one for “fun” use. It will be intresting to see see how the RPV is able to use Twitter as a low-cost alternative to a full-blown text messaging service during a one-time event.

Wagner: Not the Details Candidate

I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t been paying a whole lot of attention to the Democratic race for the LG nomination. Wagner appears to be winning that race in both those few polls that have been done and in terms of money. However, candidate Mike Signer has turned up an interesting issue in the race. It appears that Madame Wagner did not vote in the 2004, 2005 and 2008 Democratic primaries. While this is rather curious coming from someone who is seeking a major party’s nomination for the second highest office in the state, what is even more curious is how she chooses to explain it away. From Not Larry Sabato:

As Jody said, she tried to get back to her home in Virginia Beach from her job in Richmond as a member of the Kaine Administration in time to vote, but traffic prevented her. It demonstrates the need for Virginia to pass early voting, which Republicans in the General Assembly once again killed.

Really? You’re going to blame this on the Republicans?

Anyone who has voted absentee in Virginia even once knows that the acceptable excuses for doing so are rather varied. They include if you will be away from your precinct for more than 12 hours during Election Day due to work obligations. So this means one of two things: either Mrs. Wagner just absolutely loves the thrill of feeding her ballot into the machine and just can’t vote absentee, or she doesn’t know the rules for voting absentee in the very Commonwealth that employed her for seven years. I could understand if we still used real voting machines (I just love that little bell!), but c’mon.

So there you have it folks. Not only is the Dem frontrunner for LG bad at math, but she’s not very good with details either.

Letting Freedom Ring

I’ve written quite a bit over the last few weeks about the recent Tea Party protests and their long term potential. I’m of the belief that in order to be most effective conservatives need to start at the very bottom levels of government organizing, then get their people elected, the same people who will carry the conservative mantle to higher levels of government. Well, it looks like we’re starting to see that, starting with, of all places, Rhode Island! From Granite Grok (H/T The Corner and Michelle Malkin):

Mere days after the largest nationwide anti-tax rallies the likes of which haven’t been seen since prior to the start of the American Revolution, the City Council of Woonsocket, RI (Yes, THAT RI, with a sales, income, AND property tax, basically the highest in the country…) stood poised to stick the taxpayers with a “supplemental” tax bill to fund a budget shortfall in it’s school department. Essentially, the property taxpayers– with commercial owners paying 2-1/2 times the rate– would be sent a so-called “5th Quarter” tax bill. Normally, taxes are billed and paid in quarterly payments in the year.


The local paper, The Woonsocket Call described the events:

Harris Hall was so packed that admittance was closed after about 130 spectators filled the room. People were standing against the back walls because there weren’t any more seats left and there was a line of speakers behind the lectern waiting to address the council that snaked out into the foyer. More than two hours after the session began, people were still waiting for their turn to speak, and the council hadn’t even recited the Pledge of Allegiance to mark the formal start of the agenda.


The expected 6 to 1 vote favoring a supplemental tax bill to be foisted up Woonsocket taxpayers turned into a stunning 4 to 3 midnight vote, DEFEATING it!

An incredible display of citizen activism and organization. Want to start the momentum here? Get involved and attend Shenandoah County’s budget hearing next Thursday, April 30 (time pending). Although currently real estate taxes are not slated to be increased. there is talking of an increase on the vehicle tax (which Superivsors claim due to declining asessments will be “revenue neutral,” words always to be suspicious of when it comes to taxes assesed by value), it is important to ask questions about where the money is going and where it’s coming from. To borrow two old cliches: Sunlight is the best disinfectant, and knowledge is power.

Palin’s Downward Momentum

April 24, 2009 2 comments

The other day I asked if Sarah Palin may be headed for a future leadership role in the party or if she’ll be relegated to the role of “fundraiser-in-chief,” able to raise money from red meat types but not really have a voice on policy. Well, as with any political question there’s someone out there polling it, and the news isn’t good for Team Sarah. From Political Wire:

A new Public Policy Polling survey has some interesting findings concerning Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R): While 76% of Republican voters have a favorable opinion of her, 21% say they would rather vote for President Obama if she became the Republican party presidential nominee in 2012.

In a head-to-head match up, Obama would beat Palin, 53% to 41%.

It would appear that the Governor continues to be personally popular with the GOP but still isn’t seen to have the policy chops of a potential POTUS. This isn’t to say that she doesn’t have them–Palin can still rehab her image, and definitely has opportunities to do so. However, stories like this won’t help:

The father of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s grandson told Larry King he would be willing to go to court for custody of the child, but he hoped it wouldn’t come to that.

Said Levi Johnston: “I can go over there and see him. But it’s, now you know, it’s kind of an uncomfortable thing for me to go over there. You know, I want to be able to take him and that kind of thing, go do the father thing with him and I can’t.”

The Best Blog You’re (Probably) Not Reading

I just wanted to point my readers over to a great blog: GOP ’12. Yes, yes, I know, we just got out of an over two year long presidential election. Still, us election junkies just can’t leave well enough alone. Besides, this blog keeps tracks of the goods on all of the GOP’s rising stars, including those you may not have heard of yet and those whose time may not be within the next four years but whose ideas and strategies may well hold the key to future victories for the GOP.

Well worth a minute of your day.

Unions Exploit Bravey Against Pirates for Political Gain

As you can see in the above video, the SEIU has taken the debate over card check legislation to a new low by exploting a member of the Maresk Alabama’s pride in his union membership. The gentleman only mentions his union membership in the context of he and his fellow crewmates bravery in retaining control of their ship, and yet they seem to hold this a reason for allowing unions to form without a free and private ballot.

I don’t take criticism of unions lightly. My grandfather McInturff was a union member for over fifty years, and he held only his church membership in higher esteem. He voted with the union’s interests, and he saw the union as the safeguard of he and his fellow laborers rights. Yet he also saw the value of hardwork and respect for his employers–when others would take a half hour for lunch, he would take ten minutes.

Even that great scion of the modern conservative movement, Barry Goldwater, wrote this about trade unions in The Conscience of A Conservative:

I believe that unionism, kept within its proper and natural bouynds, accomplishes a positive good for the country. Unions can be an instrument for achieving economic justirc for the working man, Moreover, they are an alternative to, and thus discourage State Socialism. Most important of all, they are an expression of freedom. Trade unions properly conceived, is an expression of man;s inalienable right to associate with other men for the achievment of legitimate objectives.

The natural junction of a trade union and the one for which it was historically conceived is to represent those employees who want collective representation in bargaining with their employers over terms of employment. But note that this funcion is perverted the moment a union claims the right to represent employees who do not want representation, or conducts activities that have nothing to do with terms of employment (e.g. political activities) or tries to deal witha n industry as a whole instead of with individual employers.

By introducing the possibility of fraud and intimidation into the process of union formation through majority organization via card-check, EFCA usurps the current system that provides fairness for both workers and businesses by protecting the right to a secret ballot even when greater than a majority have signed. Unions have the right to exist, and indeed benefit workers–however, they do not have the right to speak for all workers and must be balanced with the rights of business that form the backbone of our economy.

News on Convention Rules

Buried inside of a “catch-all” post from Salem Republican on Roanoke Valley Republicans is this interesting tidbit about the rules for balloting at the RPV Convention on May 29th and 30th:

The RPV Convention rules committee met yesterday. I was the 6th District rep. Nothing too earth shattering. Couple points of interest. Chair candidates will have to declare their candidacy by May 12th and meet with the Nominations committee shortly thereafter. All voting will be done on a single ballot after all the speeches. Speakers get 10 minutes which they can only use for candidate speeches (something I tried to amend but lost 7-6). No “last man out rule” until after the 2nd ballot. That means no one is forced out on ballot 1 but, in AG race, third place finisher on second ballot is out. Should make for an interesting convention. Process was very open and fair with all the campaigns giving input. I was humbled to be invited to participate and I’m proud of the work done by the committee.

If this rule sticks (and again, we could very well see a fight on this or any of the other rules on the 29th, partially as a test of strength and partially due to the ongoing situation with the RPV Chairmanship), then this will signal a major shift in strategy for all three AG candidates. This limits the opportunities for a war of attrition and makes it absolutely crucial that Brownlee ends up near par with Cuccinelli on the first ballot and keeps enough of his people on the second ballot to put him in a position to make a deal with the Foster campaign to carry the day.

Rendell and LaPierre Square Off

Watch as NRA Executive Vice-President demolishes PA Governor Ed Rendell as the Governor trots out all the old anti-gun tropes, including such chestnuts as “They’re ASSAULT weapons!!!” and “Nobody needs an assault rifle.”

Folks, I actually agree with Governor Rendell that assault weapons are primarily good for killing–which is why the people have a fundamental right to posess them to defend themselves. You will hardly ever get a politician to say it, but firearms are the building block upon which our rights are founded. When the government controls all the firearms, they control all. Gun violence is tragic, but it is the cost for a free and open society.

More Endorsements in AG Race

With just a little over a month to go in the AG’s race, the endorsements are now coming fast and furious. This morning, Ken Cuccinelli announced that he has been endorsed by Fred Thompson, former Senator from Tennessee, ex-Presidential candidate, actor, and radio personality. Not to be outdone, John Brownlee announced the endorsement of former Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating and Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama.

Now what to make of these endorsements? Frankly, most endorsements plus a buck fifty can get you a cup of coffee (and not a very good cup, at that). Very few voters vote based on the “scorecard” of endorsements. Perhaps at a very local level they can help, where people have a personal relationship with the endorser, and when the endorsing candidate has a “cult of personality” that follows them on every issue. However, where they are important are where they change or aid perceptions about a candidate and when they come with material gain.

Although I certainly did not expect Keating and Sessions to get involved in a Virginia nominating contest, their endorsement of Brownlee is not entirely surprising. Both are former U.S Attorneys, just like Brownlee. I have a great deal of respect for Frank Keating, and would have supported him for POTUS in a heartbeat. However, I also know that USAs have somewhat of their own fraternity, so it makes sense for them to endorse Brownlee. In that sense, their endorsement reaffirms what we already know about Brownlee–that he is Virginia’s “conservative prosecutor.” I hardly expect, though, that the attachment of their name will send anyone clamoring into Team Brownlee, as neither men has organized a campaign in Virginia. (Although I did find it intriguing that the email pointed to both as fiscal conservatives, a heretofore absent issue during the Brownlee effort)

Thompson’s endorsement, however, may have a bit more lasting impact. Thompson ran in 2008, and two of his most top level surrogates in the state were former Governor George Allen and current GOP Gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell. Additionally, although Thompson did not make it to the primary, between that race and his PAC he almost certainly must have an email and fundraising base in Virginia that can aid the Virginia effort. In short, Thompson has far more cachet with Virginians, but more importantly he has resources that the Cooch can use. Additionally, his endorsement means that he now has two ’09 contenders in his camp (he was previously endorsed by Mike Huckabee). If this is any indication, Cuccinelli is quickly building an unsoalition of fiscal, social, and “across-the-board” conservatives that may simply be unstoppable on the first ballot come May 30th.

I’ll Be Watching You

According to the Northeastern Intelligence Network, the government’s concern about “increased right wing activity” may have gone far beyond the simple aspersions cast by the recent DHS report:

According to this unimpeachable source, a single-page confidential directive issued by the FBI headquarters in Washington, DC (FBIHQ) was sent to each of the 56 field offices located across the United States on or about March 23, 2009, instructing the Special Agents in Charge (SACs) of those offices to verify the date, time and location of each TEA Party within their region and supply that information to FBI headquarters in Washington. The source stated this correspondence termed the TEA parties “political demonstrations,” and added that the dissemination of the directive was very tightly controlled. “Not all agents were privy to this correspondence,” stated the source, who compared the dissemination to an older “Do Not File” classification.

In addition to obtaining or confirming the location and time of each “demonstration,” each field office was instructed to obtain or confirm the identity of the individual(s) involved in the actual planning and coordination of the event in each specific region, and include the local or regional Internet web

site address, if any.  The information collected by region was then reportedly sent to FBI Headquarters.

The source alleges that a second directive was issued on or about  April 6,  2009 that reportedly instructed each SAC to coordinate and conduct, either at the field office level and/or with the appropriate resident agency, covert video surveillance and data collection of the participants of the TEA parties.  Surveillance was to be performed from “discreet fixed or mobile positions” and was to be performed “independently and outside of the purview of local law enforcement.”

If true (and given the government’s paranoia on the subject of late), this is a chilling threat to free speech and expression. I certainly understand the government keeping an eye out for potential ideological terrorists of all stripes, but targeting rallies as a potential staging ground for domestic terrorist activity is absurd, be it a Tea Party rally or one for the Wobblies. When governments are found to be spying on citizens in the course of exercising their fundamental right to free speech, this can have nothing but a chilling effect. The government has a responsibility to protect its citizens, but never in a way that encroaches upon their rights. (And yes, to me this includes wiretapping without a warrant and the monitoring of library materials)

Governments should feat their citizens–not the other way around.