No Need To Compromise

On Sunday, VV published an op-ed by the chair of the Richmond City Republican Committee, Chip Muir, on why we should compromise, and grant the ‘moderate pro-business’ wing of the Republican Party of Virginia a Presidential primary in Virginia next year, in exchange for their so kindly granting us a convention to nominate statewide candidates in 2017. While noble in its intent to bring disparate interests and factions within the party together, simply put… Why?

Why should the Conservative Fellowship, its allied organizations (Full disclosure: This includes RLCVA) and the Republicans who helped elect them to the State Central Committee of RPV, compromise here? Does it gain us anything? That wing of the party, and its shills on social media, have spent considerable time and effort making clear that they will not financially support RPV with the current leadership, and will indeed, encourage others not to, either. We don’t owe them a thing.

Indeed, consider what the expectations would be if the roles were reversed. The slating effort, organized and led by the consulting class, led by Ray Allen and his pals, and quite some number of Virginia Republican elected officials, led by Eric Cantor, Frank Wagner, Scott Taylor, was intended to gain control of the State Central Committee by steamrolling the wishes of conservatives by any means necessary, and they made it clear they weren’t going to compromise at all. Anyone remember Ray Allen’s treatment of folks who tried to reason with him, or offer compromise, during that? Anyone remember Bill Bolling’s political director making a spectacle of herself, actually DANCING, at a certain 2012 meeting of the SCC, where it chose a primary as the method of nomination for the statewide ticket in 2013, despite the fact that elections for SCC were forthcoming later that year? Further back, remember the effort to remove a certain RPV Chairman that began the moment he was elected at the 2008 convention? It didn’t matter what he did, they were out to get him from day one. This is the crowd we should compromise with? Seriously? Really?

No, if the roles were reversed, conservatives would be told to shut up and get in line, and maybe, just maybe, they’d let us have a seat at the table. Let them go to US Chamber of Commerce mixers and talk about how nominees like Ken Cuccinelli are just too conservative, so therefore they have to assist guys like Terry McAuliffe, while saving their Republican support for important things like helping George P. Bush, and gearing up to support Chris Christie or Jeb Bush for President.

If we’re unable to stand on principle, we are simply wasting our time. We should nominate by convention in both 2016 and 2017. No compromise here.

A year later… “Get over it.” Not a CHANCE.

So it appears that many Republican members of the General Assembly that supported the Cantor/Young Guns-led slating effort at county conventions last year will be unopposed for nomination this year. More’s the pity. These are the very people who need to be held responsible… and when I say ‘held responsible’, I mean ‘defeated and sent home’. It’s been roughly a year since that (thankfully largely unsuccessful) effort went down, and somehow Frank Wagner and Scott Taylor, the most odious of this bunch, have escaped primary challenges. It seems the entire Hampton Roads/TowneBank mafia/delegation was involved. The only good news is that Sen. Jeff McWaters (R-8th) is retiring, but his buddy, and fellow slater, Del. Bill DeSteph, is all set up with McWaters’ support for the nomination.
However, this is one place where there is an opportunity to hold a slater accountable in a primary. DeSteph is opposed by Craig Hudgins, a former Marine and grassroots conservative, with the support of local tea party activists. I encourage every Republican to do whatever they can to support Mr. Hudgins.
Another opportunity is in the 12th Senate District, which is also an open seat. The establishment-backed candidate is former Delegate Bill Janis, who supported slating. Siobhan Stolle Dunnavant is also running… yes, she’s another member of the slatin’ Stolle dynasty from Hampton Roads, and as such, is to be opposed. From what I’ve heard from locals, she’s not particularly impressive. Thankfully, there is also Vince Haley, a tea party backed conservative who has the personal support of Newt Gingrich, which has helped him raise quite a few dollars. He’s also brought aboard Zach Werrell, the young campaign manager of Dave Brat’s primary upset of slater-in-chief Eric Cantor last year. Just as with Mr. Hudgins, it’s vital to support Mr. Haley in this primary.
As to the other slaters who will coast to nomination unopposed, it would seem an opportunity has been lost this year. This includes Wagner, Taylor, all the Stolles currently in office, Barry Knight, Jimmie Massie, and DeSteph’s minion Jason Miyares, who was parachuted in to fill DeSteph’s current House seat, and no doubt quite a few others. The grassroots will just have to wait until 2017 (or 2019, in the case of Senators) to challenge them. There’s always the general election, and the possibility of their defeat there. You might well think I’d support that, but as a Republican, I couldn’t possibly comment.
The common refrain from the slaters and their supporters in response to this is some version of “Get over it. It happened.” This is patently ridiculous. As a certain former RPV chairman once told me, it’s not often that people show you who they really are in politics. The slating effort was one such moment, and it was very illuminating, and not something these people can paper over or take back. “Whoops, sorry” isn’t going to do it. Their arrogance and entitlement shows how little respect they have for those they claim to represent.
Our outstanding current state chairman, John Whitbeck, is focused on uniting the party behind conservative principles, and is working hard to right the ship across the board. I know this is the last thing he needs, but from the perspective of the grassroots, this has to take precedence. Never forget.

Crunch Time In The Fight To Stop An Article V Convention Call In The Old Dominion

I ruffled some feathers when I opined a few weeks ago about the possibility of a Article V convention. Now that several bills have advanced to the floor of the General Assembly calling for an Article V convention, there seems to be a real chance of passage of such a thing for the first time since Speaker Howell and the General Assembly wisely revoked Virginia’s previous call for an Article V convention over ten years ago. Many good conservatives like Ken Cuccinelli support such an idea. Nevertheless, the more I learn about not just the concept itself, but those behind it, the worse an idea it seems.

The people, and the money, behind the push for an Article V convention, are, shall we say, suspect. Mark Meckler, the President of the Convention of States project, was, of all things, a distributor with Herbalife, the purveyor of dietary supplements that works through a Mary Kay/Amway-style pyramid scheme. Mr. Meckler apparently made quite a killing, being near the top of the Herbalife pyramid. Meckler had never shown any real inclination to be involved in politics. This changed when he suddenly jumped into politics, co-founding Tea Party Patriots (TPP) with Jenny Beth Martin. For brevity’s sake, I won’t rehash the issues with TPP becoming a cash cow for its leadership here, but Google will quickly turn up a number of references should readers require them. Oddly enough, TPP, like Herbalife, distributed what it took in (initially through membership fees, then later contracted a large fundraising firm which kept up to 70% of every dollar taken in for TPP) through a pyramid-like scheme. I don’t believe in that sort of coincidence. Mr. Meckler then left TPP for the Convention of States project. It’s unknown how much they pay their employees, of course, but it is VERY well-funded. Here in Virginia, it is allied to the Middle Resolution PAC, which is bankrolled by Bob Bailie, an establishment Republican megadonor. In the interests of brevity, I also won’t get into the longstanding issues with Middle Resolution and conservatives, but like with regard to TPP, Google will be your friend.
There is one last tidbit regarding Mr. Meckler. He recently joined up with Living Room Conversations, a group that, based on their site, is very left-leaning. Their other public representatives include a co-founder of, a former organizer of the Coffee Party, and Van Jones (!). I am not making this up.

The advocates of the Convention of States project have still failed to demonstrate how an Article V convention could be limited once called, or how they could guarantee the “one state, one vote” structure they propose, or how they could guarantee that the delegates would be strict constructionist Constitutional conservatives. Their constitutional law expert, Robert Natelson, argues that state legislatures have such power. As it turns out, he’s wrong. Given the political makeup of Virginia, does anyone think that, even granting the CoS advocates that they could set up the convention exactly the way they propose, that our delegate would be a Ken Cuccinelli or Dave Brat? It’s far more likely that the General Assembly would select, if not a Howell or Norment themselves, someone like… oh, Frank Wagner or Barry Knight, or if we roll snake eyes, Bill Bolling. Consider that. Then consider the delegates that states like, say, New York might choose. If we are lucky, they’d send Michael Bloomberg. It is highly unlikely that an Article V convention would be led by conservatives, and extremely likely that it would yield exceedingly dangerous proposed amendments, which would then have considerable momentum for passage through the state legislatures, by the same Congress that constructed the convention in the first place. This is why the left is pushing for an Article V convention through Move To Amend and Wolf PAC. Some suggest that penalties could be imposed on delegates who exceed the instructions of a state which appointed them to an Article V convention, but there is no case law supporting that such a thing would stand. None. Once the convention is called, it’s anyone’s ballgame. Some CoS advocates even insist that an Article V convention is not a constitutional convention. Black’s Law Dictionary says otherwise. It’s also worth noting that at the 1787 convention, every delegate other than George Mason and Elbridge Gerry, and one other gentleman (whose name escapes me at the moment) wanted to leave the convention option out of Article V completely, yet these three threatened to leave the convention unless a convention to propose amendments was added, and ended up doing so anyhow because it didn’t go far enough to suit them (they wanted the convention model that CoS advocates, and didn’t get it). A convention simply wasn’t among the vehicles the framers had in mind to restrain an overarching federal leviathan. Tremendous and unnecessary danger awaits the republic if an Article V convention should come to pass.

To sum up, it is desperately important for the General Assembly to defeat HJ497 and HJ499 on the floor of the House of Delegates, and SJ252 and SJ269 on the floor of the Senate of Virginia this week. Delegate Bob Marshall and Senator Dick Black have been absolute heroes on this issue. They need YOUR help! Contact your legislators (politely and concisely) and let them know you oppose these bills, and any call for an Article V convention.

The Battle Rages On… But There Is Hope

So Jon Berkley is finally out as the chair of the Republican Party of Virginia’s 5th Congressional District, and none too soon. He presents the unvarnished “what are you gonna do about it anyway” face of consultants and political profiteers in RPV. While that’s a positive, his behavior is a symptom of their arrogance and ruthlessness, even after the leader of their faction within RPV was punked by Dave Brat.

They had a confab recently down in Richmond that you may have heard about. Unfortunately, many of the fears the grassroots had about Barbara Comstock appear to have been confirmed by her speech there, but that shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who’s been paying attention.

Even better, apparently Linwood Cobb, who got some medicine of his own before his boss did, is masquerading as some sort of political tough guy, now that he’s been relieved of his party office, just like his boss. Who does he think he is, Rob Catron?

It’s obvious that the defeat of their slating efforts, and of Cantor’s crew in the 7th, and now of Berkley in the 5th, hasn’t dissuaded them at all. The grassroots of the Republican Party of Virginia will unfortunately have to remain on a war footing with people like Frank Wagner and Robert Hurt for the foreseeable future.

But there is hope. At the same State Central Committee meeting that finally unwound the Berkley debacle (despite Cobb and others actually defending Berkley for some reason), John Whitbeck, the Chairman of RPV’s 10th Congressional District Committee, was elected the new Chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia by acclamation. He reached out to me personally to talk about his candidacy and his ideas and his vision for the party, and he actually understands we have to unite our party if we want to win in Virginia. Having a guy like that as our leader can only be a good thing.

An Article V Convention Is A Bad And Potentially Dangerous Idea

Once again, Jim LeMunyon and others in the General Assembly are pushing for Virginia to adopt a call for a Constitutional Convention, as detailed in Article V of the Constitution. There is even a large group pushing for such a thing, calling them themselves the “Convention of the States”, no doubt playing on conservatives’ longstanding support of federalism, a concept long since abandoned by the American left, except when (rarely) support for it temporarily suits their purposes.

The current push for an Article V convention gets a lot of its impetus from ALEC, which has a somewhat conservative reputation. Their point man on this issue is Robert Natelson, who purports to be the foremost expert on the legal and Constitutional issues involved. He makes the claim that an Article V convention can be restricted in its scope or methods. Further, he claims that Congress cannot alter the rules of the convention. Both assertions, in point of fact, are not true.

The truth is that there is simply no way to predict what rules Congress may or may not insist on for the convention. But even if we do get the “one state, one vote” espoused by the people pushing the convention, there is no method to effectively limit the scope of the convention, and no guarantee that a convention ostensibly called for the purposes of say, a balanced budget amendment, doesn’t end up repealing, say, the Second and Tenth Amendments. There is but one example of such a convention in American history, and it certainly exceeded its assigned duties, to say the least.

Just say NO to an Article V convention.

Vote For John Whitbeck This Tuesday

I know John Whitbeck personally for several years now.  He is a good family man who runs a business, and the Washington Post, as usual, is conducting a character assassination of the Republican in a Northern Virginia Election.  Take the time to learn about who is John Whitbeck.

John believes that government exists to serve the people, and not the other way around. He is a fiscal conservative constitutionalist and a loyal Republican.  As Chairman of the 10th district he has shown himself to be a leader.   John is the founder of his law firm, a small business with offices in Loudoun County and Clarke County. His practice focuses on family law, criminal law, mental health law, and other litigation.  In his practice John has dealt with the real problems of real people, and understands the issues that confront Northern Virginians today.

With Terry Mcauliffe in the governor’s mansion do you want to give him out right control of the VA Senate?  Mcaulliffe wants to dump hundreds of millions of dollars in VA taxes into Medicaid expansion and try to set up an Obamacare state exchange.  Most state exchanges operate about as well as Oregon’s, which has cost that state $250M dollars and has not signed up a single enrollee.

The Washington Post as usual is endorsing the Democrat (Wexton) no matter how flawed – and allows her to misrepresent her record as a prosecutor and as a private attorney in her law firm where Wexton has violated her clients trust.   Wexton has issues with ethics and serious judgment issues, recently describing the Tea Party as rapists in her campaign adds.

The Post of course is also ignoring the issues with the former Republican cum independent Joe May.  May has been in politics for too long, and became a bitter clinger to power when he lost in the primary to David LaRock.  He showed his true colors a number of times during the primary campaign and then helped the Democrat in the general election against David, the Republican candidate.  He is looking for payback against Republicans, and has engaged in some dirty pool already.  This is not someone you want to see in the Senate.

Neither May nor Wexton live in the 33rd, as such are you really looking for a carpet bagging opportunist to get elected to the VA Senate?  This sort does not look out for their constituency’s interest’s. Instead they are seeking to further their own agendas.

If you live in the 33rd, or know someone else who does please get yourself to the polls.  Or, get your friends and neighbors to go and vote for John.  Down in Norfolk we have a recount going on for another VA Senate election were the difference was nine (9) votes.  Every vote counts!  Get the vote out for John Whitbeck!!

North Carolina GOP Preparing to Siphon Virginia Jobs and Growth

Just a heads-up. When you hear that “giant sucking sound” of jobs leaving Virginia for points south, now you’ll know why.

Republican legislators in North Carolina have unveiled a plan to completely eliminate the state’s income tax, to be replaced with a consumption tax. This pro-growth measure, designed to place North Carolina squarely in the same league as jobs-creating giant Texas, has the support of the state’s Republican leaders and comes on the heels of last year’s across the board cuts in corporate and personal income taxes.

Imagine. Pro-growth, pro-taxpayer Republicans.

By contrast, Republican leaders in Virginia, led by Gov. McDonnell, argued that the largest tax increase in the state’s history passed earlier this year was absolutely necessary for economic growth. People other than Republican leaders, such as Bill Bolling, even went so far as to argue the economic benefits of expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare, provisions for which were included in this year’s Virginia budget.

Silly me, but that sounds an awful lot like what Democrats typically say about deficit-busting entitlement programs and enterprise-crushing tax increases.

So, now we watch and wait to see the natural experiment in action. Who will have better economic growth? Which state will create more jobs and opportunities? I suppose we’re fixing to see. But Detroit-style economics (characterized by higher taxes and greater “investment” of other people’s money) has never worked wherever it has been tried. Texas economics (low taxes, less regulation) works every time.

But at least we’ll get to ride Amtrak to Roanoke. We still got that going for us.

Cross-posted to The Bull Elephant

Democracy, Open Borders, Multiculturalism–Pick Any Two

Headlines about continued rioting in Sweden reminded me of the wisdom of Jim Bennett, author of The Anglosphere Challenge: Why the English-Speaking Nations Will Lead the Way in the Twenty-First Century.

One of Bennett’s greatest truisms is the idea that democratic government cannot long endure in an environment of permissive immigration and multicuturalism (i.e., a culture-wide resistance to assimilation). Indeed, no two of these three things can survive the addition of the third. As Americans concerned for our constitutional republic and “little d” democratic government, we should look upon what is happening in Sweden–not to mention the recent London butchery–with extreme interest.

Case in point for Bennett’s arguments. Read them here.

How is your local government doing?

While counties to the north are raising taxes, Stafford County, yet again, eliminated taxes.

Fairfax County is doing it (Supervisor Pat Herrity’s email newsletter)

Yesterday, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted to increase the property tax rate by one cent to $1.085. With the increase in assessments that translates to a 4.5 % or $216 increase in taxes on the average homeowner. This increase is on top of a 1.9% increase last fiscal year (FY2013) and another 4.5% increase in next year’s tax bill (FY2015) if cuts are not made for a total of 11% over three years. I voted against this budget.

Prince William County is doing it (Virginia Virtucon post, April 23, 2013)

The Prince William Board of County Supervisors will vote tomorrow, April 23, on the FY 2014 tax rate. A resolution has already been drafted setting the rate at $1.181 per $100, which amounts to an average tax hike of 2.3 percent. There is much flowery language included in an attempt to provide a fig leaf here (“lowest tax bill”, “lowest tax burden”, “efficient and effective governance”, etc.), but the bottom line is people’s taxes are going up.

Stafford County is NOT doing it (Chairman Susan Stimpson’s email April 24, 2013)

Want proof that conservative governing and ideas work? Look no further than what we did in Stafford County last night. The Stafford County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a budget that:

  • Returns approximately $3.4 million to the taxpayers
  • Zeroed out the machinery and tools tax
  • Zeroed out the motor vehicle carrier tax
  • Zeroed out the boat tax
  • Focused dollars into the classroom and cut approximately 10% of the school administration costs by targeting categorical funding to instruction and technology
  • Put a mechanism in place that will address surplus funds, returning $2.4 million back to the taxpayer.

Conservative governing works and Susan Stimpson, Bob Thomas, Paul Milde, Cord Sterling, Gary Snellings, Jack Cavelier and Ty Schieber, all members of the Stafford County Board of Supervisors are proving it.

Radtke Endorses Stimpson

Former candidate for the U.S. Senate and Tea Party leader has endorsed Stafford County Chairman Susan Stimpson in the race for Lt. Governor.  Last year there was speculation Jamie herself would be a candidate for the job.  However over the last several months Jamie has made it clear she was not going to run and is supporting Stimpson.  Today she released the video below to make it official.

Having Radtke’s support could be a game changer in a convention setting.

Bill Whittle outlines the way forward for conservatives

An excellent and practical video. It’s well worth the hour you’ll spend watching it, and for those of us who have been extremely discouraged by the results of the election, Bill give a gracious-but-firm kick in the butt!

Stimpson Jumps In

As we correctly speculated earlier this week, Susan Stimpson, Chairman of the Stafford County Board of Supervisors has thrown her hat into the ring for the Republican nomination for Lt. Governor in 2013.

Stimpson made her announcement via a video message to her supporters on Facebook and her website.

Stimpson has been a friend to many of Virginia Virtucon contributors.  Of course, several of the current candidates for the nomination are friends of ours.  Stimpson joins PWC Chair Corey Stewart, Delegate Scott Lingamfelter and Sen. Steve “Wild and Crazy Guy” Martin.  There are rumors that a few others are also considering jumping in.  They include former State Sen. Jeanmarie Devolites Davis, Del. Brenda Pogge and current Victory Chairman Pete Snyder.   It will certainly be an interesting race to watch and see how many of these candidates can withstand the next 9 months of campaigning around the state.  The nominating convention will be held next summer in Richmond.

Stimpson, in her announcement touted the success she has led in reforming Stafford County government.  When Stimpson was first elected the previous board had enacted a BPOL tax in the county, had several years in a row of raising the real estate tax rate and expanded the government’s budget.   Stimpson with a new Republican majority Board of Supervisors eliminated BPOL and have focused on reducing the tax rate that has translated to real tax cuts for Stafford taxpayers.  Her successes most certainly put her in good position to earn the support from the conservatives that will be a major voting block at the RPV convention next year.

Virginia Virtucon is keeping it’s powder dry in terms of endorsements for 2013, instead focusing on the task at hand of electing the team of Mitt Romney / Paul Ryan and George Allen in 2012.   Stimpson is certainly a candidate we will be keeping our eye on, though.

A Full-Time Board Of County Supervisors For PWC?

In a recent post, the Sheriff of Nottingham of Prince William County put forward for debate the idea that perhaps the Board of County Supervisors should go from being a part-time post to full-time.

A Forward Thinking Solution

Prince William County is going through growing pains that involves steps that, in the view of The Sheriff, will cause some consternation among limited government advocates.  The solution is to change the status of Supervisors from part-time officials to full-time public servants.

It is a discussion that needs to start now, and move quickly to enactment.  With a budget of more than $1 billion, we have a group of part-timers who lack the capacity and time to actually understand how that money is being spent.

As it stands now, Prince William County is run by Melissa Peacor, and that is a very scary thought for The Sheriff.

That is an interesting discussion to engage in.  (Al Alborn raised the idea earlier this year as well.)  I would respectfully disagree with the Sheriff and Al on this as being the solution, though.

Two of the biggest problems on the current BOCS, Maureen Caddigan and John Jenkins, are retirees who treat this part-time post as full-time jobs.  Now imagine six MORE supervisors with nothing better to do all day than figure out new and creative ways to spend our tax dollars in self-aggrandizing ways.  At least now the other six are kept busy practicing law, running a business, or   making a living off a federal stimulus earmark.

One commenter on the Sheriff’s blog had this idea:

better than making them full time is to allow them to meet for 15 minutes every quarter…a lot less damage done.

That is definitely at the other extreme, but makes an excellent point.  Take a look at state legislatures — which ones are part-time, such as Virginia, and which ones are full-time, such as California, New York, Illinois and Massachusetts.  Anyone else see a direct correlation between how often lawmakers meet and the amount of trouble they cause for their states (and ultimately their fiscal position)?

My solution?  Eliminate the 2 p.m. afternoon BOCS sessions and only hold BOCS meetings in the evenings.  If that necessitates meeting once a week instead of once every two weeks, then so be it.  Even then, I do not think that the BOCS needs to meet that frequently except perhaps in budget season.  This way, ALL PWC residents can participate, either as spectators or as members of the BOCS.  How many residents today are locked out of their local government because they can’t attend an afternoon BOCS meeting let alone watch it on cable access or online because they have a standard 9-to-5 job?  I say no more “hiding in broad daylight.”

Secondly, the BOCS should institute the position of County Ombudsman (or an Inspector General as Alborn suggests) who will investigate and address concerns raised both by taxpayers and county employees.  King County in Washington State has such a post that could be used as a model for PWC.

Office of Citizen Complaints

The Ombudsman’s Office manages citizen complaints concerning King County government agencies. We also investigate allegations regarding violations of the Employee Code of Ethics, and reports of improper governmental action and retaliation filed under the Whistleblower Protection Act.

For more information about the types of complaints we investigate and our jurisdiction, please visit the links listed on the menu bar to the left. In addition, you may contact us via e-mail, phone, or visit our office to speak with an Ombudsman staff person.

Our Mission
To promote public confidence in King County government by responding to citizen complaints in an impartial, efficient and timely manner, and to contribute to the improved operation of County government by making recommendations based upon the results of complaint investigations.

Who We Are 
The Office of Citizen Complaints — Ombudsman was created by the voters of King County in the County Home Rule Charter of 1968, and operates as an independent office within the legislative branch of the King County government.

What We Do 
The Office of Citizen Complaints — Ombudsman is authorized, by King County Code (KCC) 2.52, to investigate complaints regarding administrative conduct by King County agencies, and to publish recommendations for change based on the results of investigations. In addition, the Ombudsman’s Office investigates possible violations of the King County Employee Code of Ethics (KCC 3.04), and reports of improper governmental action and retaliation under the Whistleblower Protection Code (KCC 3.42).

Finally, a new County Executive from outside PWC must be hired.  This new individual should be tasked with performing a top-to-bottom review of county government and review past practices — including but not limited to budgetary, financial and administrative — and deliver a report to the BOCS that puts forward recommendations to increase efficiencies and save taxpayer money.  I never had confidence that Melissa Peacor was the right person for this job and recent events have only confirmed that.  If this Board will not fire her, then this Board needs to be fired in 2015 and replaced with one that will.  (While they’re at it, they should look into hiring a new County Attorney as well.)  Peacor only gets away with her behavior because the Board members let her.  They all have full-time staffers that could (and should) be keeping their eyes on her and the rest of county government.

These are the things that must be done in order to begin reforming Prince William County.  We are the second largest county in Virginia and one of the ten wealthiest counties in America.  It is time we started to act like it instead of some corrupt backwater county if we want to share in the types of economic growth that Loudoun County is reaping from the hi-tech sector and Stafford County is receiving from the defense industry.

“The American Idea” – Understanding Paul Ryan

If you have listened to Paul Ryan’s speeches since he was named Mitt Romney’s running mate, you may have picked up on a phrase that he often uses, “The American Idea.” This is the key to understanding him, where he comes from and what has made him the man he is today.

“The American Idea” is the title of a book that Jack Kemp put out in 1984. Ryan has spoken of Kemp in his speeches as his mentor, so this is yet another way that he is honoring him. One can not grasp the magnitude of the impact that Kemp had on someone unless you experienced it yourself. Fortunately, I did and was literally seated across from Ryan in a cubicle at Empower America back in ’93-’94 when he did as well.


Since becoming House Budget Committee Chairman, the media has characterized Paul Ryan as simply a budget-cutter.  That misses the bulk of what Ryan is truly about.

Ryan’s brother was on Greta Van Susteren’s “On The Record” last night and he related how working for Kemp had a profound impact upon Paul.  Kemp had such an infectious optimisim that spread to all those around him that sprung from his deep belief in “The American Idea.”  The basis of this is every American should have an equal shot at success so they can strive to do their very best and reap the rewards for their efforts.  That doesn’t mean everyone will meet with the same level of success, but everyone will have an opportunity to reach whatever heights their intellects and abilities will allow them to achieve.

The difference in philosophy between Ryan / Kemp / Reagan vs. Obama can be boiled down to these two quotes from this past weekend:

Ryan – We promise equal opportunity, not equal outcomes
Obama – a new vision of an America in which prosperity is shared

No one can argue the fact that Jack Kemp was someone who took his message to everyone regardless of their station in life because he believed in the indefatigable (one of his favorite words) nature of the human spirit.  It didn’t matter whether someone was rich or poor, what the color of their skin was or any other arbitrary difference because he truly believed that every single life had purpose, meaning and potential.  The key to unlocking that potential is opportunity.

It is easy to talk about equality of opportunity, but it is another thing to advance policies that strive towards making that a reality.  As early as 1980 Kemp was working on strategies to create jobs in the inner city.  Not government jobs, handouts or bailouts, but private sector jobs.  His goal was to “greenline” urban America with what he initially called an “Enterprise Jobs Zone.”  He wanted us to achieve an economy with full employment without inflation.  He sought to bring together unions and management by highlighting for each the reasons they needed one another.  Ryan caught this passion from Kemp to use economic growth not as an end in itself, but as a tool to lift up everyone willing to work and that is coming through clearly in these initial speeches he is giving as a vice presidential candidate.

People forget that Kemp was also concerned about mounting debt, not just in America, but worldwide.  His answer to this was a two-pronged approach — economic growth and a stable monetary policy.  Those are linchpins to Ryan’s thinking as well.

Ryan, like Kemp, represents a Democratic-leaning district with contituencies one would not normally associate with being supportive of Republicans let alone conservative Republicans.  Yet Ryan routinely wins reelection by significant margins.  How does he do it?  He seeks to teach, not argue or demagogue.  He uses examples that people can relate to in their everyday lives.  When it comes to healthcare, he gives examples of why our system is broken — one hospital charges $3,000 for an MRI while another charges $5,000 and neither one can tell you how they arrived at the cost because it doesn’t matter anyway since insurance pays some other random amount anyway.  People get the insanity of that.

Kemp inspired loyalty in people — loyalty not to him, but to ideas.  It was never about self-aggrandizement, but advancing sound policy that could make a difference in people’s lives.  That is what drew so many of us to Kemp nearly 20 years ago.  Kemp was my first paying client as an attorney after I was admitted to the bar.  I was offered the post of Deputy General Counsel for his 1996 presidential campaign which would have required that I move across the country to Sacramento, Calif. and was prepared to do it until he decided against running.  The ideas he championed, however, lived on and two years later, in 1998, Paul Ryan brought them back to Congress.  Now, 16 years after Kemp was the GOP vice presidential nominee and three years after his passing, one of his staffers holds that same honor.

While Vice President Joe Biden makes ridiculous statements such as Republicans want to re-enslave African Americans (“They’re going to put y’all back in chains“), Paul Ryan is speaking about ideas that will free everyone to achieve whatever heights we can dream.

The fundamental choice here is between President Obama who believes that prosperity is something to be shared and Paul Ryan’s belief that prosperity is something that is earned and only opportunity is what must be shared.  The latter is what has always been “The American Idea.”  The 2012 election will determine if that still holds true or whether we have lost our way as a nation and we are headed down a dark path from which there may be no return.

Why are Conservatives so Afraid of Capitalists?

From an article at the National Review:

“”The last two presidential election cycles have revealed a stinking hypocrisy in conservatives: They profess their love of capitalism and entrepreneurship, but when offered a real capitalist and entrepreneur, they go, “Eek, a mouse!” And they tear him down in proud social-democrat fashion…..

“I was watching a clip of Romney tangling with an “Occupy” protester last week. Romney was defending corporate profits. I was astounded. I don’t think I had ever seen a candidate do this. When the subject comes up, you’re supposed to denounce corporate profits or say, “Hey, nice weather we’re having, huh?”…….

“Over and over, Romney defends and explains capitalism. And he’s supposed to be the RINO and squish in the race? That’s what I read in the conservative blogosphere, every day. What do you have to do to be a “real conservative”? Speak bad English and belch?

“In the Saturday debate, Santorum knocked Romney for being just a “manager,” just a “CEO,” not fit to be president and commander-in-chief. This was odd for a couple of reasons: First, Romney did have a term as governor of Massachusetts (meaning he has executive political experience, unlike Santorum). And second: Since when do conservative Republicans denigrate private-sector experience?

“About 800 times, Newt Gingrich told us to read a particular newspaper, to see what a capitalist meanie Romney was. What was the newspaper? The New York Times, of course. There’s a great slogan for our conservative visionary: “Read the New York Times!””…….

“Perhaps after the election, while Obama is deepening the country’s poverty, Romney and others like him can find a party friendly to capitalism. We conservative Republicans turn out to be cradle-to-gravers, like everyone else.””

The whole article is worth a read. I sums up my puzzlement over why we republicans have turned on capitalism and free enterprise. When did Republicans and conservatives decide that we hate rich people who make money from their own business endeavors?

More on Romney Derangement Syndrome.

UPDATE: Tim Pawlenty weighs in:

Too Conservative, Conservative Enough?

Disclaimer: Someone may have thought this is about a blog or a website but it’s not; it actually is about Conservatism.

With the GOP presidential primary season beginning in less than a month and a full field of candidates competing for the nomination, many find themselves in a quandary about who to support.

No doubt after the first few states have their say the field will narrow some, but it appears there will still be several who are in it for the whole ride; how will we choose between them when it’s our turn?

One of the most important discriminators for GOP voters this cycle is undeniably the question of whom is most conservative.

According to an August 1, 2011 poll, 11% of American voters identify themselves as “very conservative”, 30% as “conservative”, 36% as “moderate”, 15% as “liberal”, and 6% as “very liberal”, but how do we define Conservatism? How do you determine who is most conservative or conservative enough? What does Conservatism mean to you?

Here is a standard definition:

“a political philosophy based on tradition and social stability, stressing established institutions, and preferring gradual development to abrupt change; specifically : such a philosophy calling for lower taxes, limited government regulation of business and investing, a strong national defense, and individual financial responsibility for personal needs (as in retirement income or health-care coverage)”

Historian Gregory Schneider identifies several constants in American conservatism: respect for tradition, support of republicanism [the concept, not the party], preservation of “the rule of law and the Christian religion”, and a defense of “Western civilization from the challenges of modernist culture and totalitarian governments.

The Reagan model solidified conservative Republican strength with tax cuts, greatly increased defense spending, deregulation, a policy of rolling back Communism (rather than just containing it), a greatly strengthened military, and appeals to family values and conservative Christian morality.

Does the term “Electability” have anything to do with your assessment of Conservatism? Do you even think a conservative is electable? If so, is there a degree of conservatism that makes a candidate unelectable? Will only a “Moderate” be electable? Should we take a chance on a conservative?

Are Mitt and Newt not conservative enough? Are Santorum and Bachmann the real conservatives but unelectable? Is Ron Paul so conservative that it has made him mentally ill?

I believe the American people are not only ready for, but are in fact seeking a true constitutional conservative leader who will lead them to the right of center like Reagan did, not one who will move to the left to meet them like McCain tried to do.

I believe the majority of Americans are looking for another Reagan, and perhaps even another Jefferson; a leader that believes in Constitutional government and will lead us forward to a time when government is once again small and out of our lives and our pockets; a time when America is once again a great and prosperous nation.

Business leaders rally around Thomas for 56th Delegate


Key Business Leaders get behind 56th District Delegate Candidate Steve Thomas

Conservative candidate gathers business support from around the Commonwealth

Spotsylvania, VA. Steve Thomas, Chairman of the Spotsylvania Republican Committee and candidate for the Republican nomination for the 56th District House of Delegates, today announced the endorsements of several business leaders from across Virginia.

“I am an entrepreneur and small business owner. My father is an entrepreneur. My grandfather was an entrepreneur. Leading business associations such as TiE-DC has given me the experience to push for the policies small businesses need to be successful, even in the Obama Economy”, said Thomas. “That CEOs of some of Virginia’s most dynamic companies are supporting my candidacy speaks not only to my ability to craft wise policy, but also to having the inroads necessary to fundraise in such a short timeframe.”

Thomas’s Business Coalition Founding Supporters are:

Sudhakar Shenoy, Chairman of IMC, former Chairman of the Northern Virginia Technology Council, named one of the 100 most influential people in Washington

Reggie Aggarwal, CEO of Cvent, which just completed the largest technology investment round in four years

Pallabi Saboo, CEO of Harmonia Holdings, Board Member of TiE-DC, Member of Virginia’s Small Business Financing Authority

Ann Heidig, Founder of Lake Anna Winery, President of the Virginia Wineries Association, President of Spotsylvania Farm Bureau


Aggarwal remarked, “”As the CEO of one of the fastest growing companies in Virginia, I face the challenges of doing business and creating jobs every day. I have known Steve Thomas for years through TiE-DC. He knows the challenges that businesses face as they grow, and is the ideal person to be a partner for the business community in the General Assembly. He is a conservative who will work hard to create jobs and lower taxes. I heartily endorse him for the 56th District House seat”.

Saboo added, “I have gotten to know Steve Thomas through his work with the entrepreneurs’ group TiE-DC. I know him to not only be a sharp, resourceful person, but very savvy on issues facing businesses today, especially small businesses. His dynamic personality and ability to carry people with him has benefited TiE-DC greatly.  He will make an excellent Delegate and I endorse him whole heartedly for the nomination in the 56th District.”

The 56th House district encompasses Louisa County and parts of Henrico, Goochland and Spotsylvania counties. It went 70.8% for Gov. McDonnell in 2009.

Steve Thomas owns a consulting firm and lives in Spotsylvania, VA with his wife Katherine and son Charlie. He is the Chairman of the Spotsylvania Republican Committee, a member of the Spotsylvania Volunteer Fire Department and serves on several community Boards and groups.

Virginia Is For Lovers Of Free Enterprise Business

From Phil Cox at Opportunity Virginia PAC:

Just hours ago CNBC released its annual Top States for Business ranking, and we are very pleased to relay that Virginia was awarded the #1 spot – with the highest vote total in the history of the study! 

Governor McDonnell’s top priority since taking office has been to create more jobs and bring more opportunity to every corner of the Commonwealth, and while we’ve still got a lot of work to do, his consistent focus on that priority is producing a record of results that all Virginians can be proud of. In fact, unemployment in Virginia has dropped from 7.2% in February of 2010 to 6.0% last month – the third lowest unemployment rate east of the Mississippi.

Governor McDonnell sat down with CNBC today to discuss Virginia’s #1 ranking and the steps he’s taken to reduce bureaucracy, help the private sector create jobs and increase Virginia’s competitiveness. I have included the video clip below – please share the great news with friends, family, neighbors and coworkers, and thank you very much for your continued support!

Can Trump Get Elected?

Donald Trump made quite an appearance in his speech at CPAC.  However, he is getting both hailed and impaled by conservative pundits over his statement that Ron Paul cannot get elected.

I think Trump was referring to Pauls electability and ability to appeal to the masses, not necessarily his political stances.  Plus, it was Paul’s campaign in 2008 that, in the opinion of many (including myself) that planted the seeds for the Tea Party movement.  Unsurprisingly, Rand Paul came to his father’s defense, but his statement that the crowd was partisan to his father is a bit overstated…there were more cheers than boos for what Trump said.  Plus, I think Trump meant for that to be a tongue-in-cheek statement.

So, if Ron Paul can’t get elected, could Donald Trump?  Judging by the buzz, you must at least take the possibility of his candidacy seriously.