The 10th Amendment: Conservatism’s New Star

One of the most surreal moments I had on the entire campaign trail was attending the final GOTV rally at the Winchester Airport on November 1st, the Sunday before Election Day. It was surreal for a number of reasons–namely that I was on medical leave from the campaign and not working the same insane hours as many of my colleagues. However, two things also stuck out in my mind. One was that there were a number of people (probably no more than 10%, really) that were MOST excited about Ken Cuccinelli’s bid for Attorney General. I have little doubt in my mind that nearly all of them ended up casting their vote for all three candidates nor that they had worked hard for the entire team. They’re still an interesting bunch, though.

The second thing that stuck out in my mind was the fact that one of the largest cheers of the night came when Ken Cuccinelli pledged to stand up for the state’s 10th Amendment rights. As a refresher:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Even in my years of political involvement, the 10th Amendment has rarely been a rallying cry for many. A few years ago if you asked a conservative to tell you about it, you’d probably get a mumbled explanation about state’s rights. Now, given the mess in Washington, it seems to be every conservatives mission to recite the amendment chapter and verse whenever the specter of increased federal involvement rears its ugly head.

All this makes me rather unsurprised to read, from the FreedomWorks blog, that the Virginia Campaign for Liberty (the remnants of Rep. Ron Paul’s libertarian-oriented 2008 Presidential bid) has launched a new initiative to rally Virginia conservatives around a vigorous defense of the 10th Amendment:

From the head of VAC4L, Donna Holt:

A new campaign called the Virginia 10th Amendment Revolution is sweeping the state of Virginia. This movement is targeting the federal government’s over-reaching powers not delegated to it by the states.

Citizen activist groups are banding together to take this revolution to the 2010 legislative session of the Virginia General Assembly. They are calling on legislators to defend states’ rights under the 10th amendment with the Virginia Firearms Freedom Act (VFFA) and the Virginia Healthcare Freedom Act (VHFA).

FreedomWorks has joined the coalition at, which is a great place for Virginia voters and activists to keep up with the latest on 10th Amendment initiatives and events.

Some may recall with angst the Paulistas presence at the 2008 convention, where their involvement nearly denied Jim Gilmore the chance to go down in an ignominous defeat against Mark Warner and knocked off John Hager as party chair. The result was a mixed bag at best, and the Paulistas seemed to just not get involved in 2009 (outside of their support for Ken–they did not flock to Patrick Muldoon is nearly the same numbers as they did to Bob Marshall the year before). However, they’re still out there, and they seem to have a number of recruits for the upcoming congressional primaries. Given the vigorous push for health care and various local events around the state, many conservatives are taking a second look at libertarian Republicans and welcoming them with open arms. The war in Iraq remains a key dividing line between establishment conservatives and libertarian conservatives, but domestic events have made the two friends of circumstance. Will this hold out through 2012? Only time will tell, but expect there to be some unlikely bedfellows in various policy disputes and primary fights along the way.

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