VA GOP Campaign Pro Lays Out What Went Wrong

I just received this message from a long-time Virginia Republican campaign professional who I have known for a number of years. We hope that he will consider joining us here at Virtucon in the near future as a contributor.

I read some of your election post-mortem. Unless there’s something really unusual that no one knows about yet, you are correct that it’s over for George Allen, and it just didn’t have to be that way. I am in full rant mode on this. I have serious concerns about the current direction of our state party. The way the Kilgore campaign last year and the Allen campaign this year were conducted was astounding. There were good people in both campaigns who did a great job trying to fix a broken ship (for example, the Allen campaign took a definite step upwards when Mike Thomas came on board full-time towards the end of September, and some of their field people, like Trixie Averill, did their usual great job). However, the sad fact is that most of the staff in both of those campaigns was made up of very inexperienced people who had little or no experience in the day-to-day of campaigns. I have managed a number of tough, winning legislative races in Virginia, and am very familiar personally with the team that ran Webb’s campaign and the sleazy personal tactics that are their standard MO. I very much wanted to work in both the Kilgore and Allen campaigns (both are longtime friends of mine who deserved better than what they got), but I couldn’t even get phone calls returned. Instead, the staff was made up people who simply didn’t have the experience level to know what to do in a tough race. I have heard from three different sources that a number of the Allen staffers this year were hired with the promise of an easy job in 2006 and then already being on board “for the next step.” If those folks couldn’t handle a competitive Senate race, how could they have handled a Presidential race? It’s not their fault the race became competitive (that was caused by Senator Allen’s personal mistakes, along with the overall bad political environment and Virginia’s changing demographics), but once the race became competitive, they were s imply not equipped to handle it. It’s not just that I feel hurt (I don’t mind using that word) and betrayed by a number of folks in the party whom I had thought were my friends. More importantly, it’s that this insistence on hiring inexperienced people to work in these races is costing our party elections we should be winning, and now it appears to have cost our party control of the United States Senate. I hope these people are very, very proud of themselves.

I agree that we need to avoid a bloodbath in 2008. However, and this may seem contradictory, I also think we need to encourage a large number of candidates, particularly some “outside the box” type candidates, to seek the Presidency. I think yesterday’s results show that the country wants a new direction, not just a different party in control, and I think we need to be able to choose from a wide variety of candidates in order to find that new direction. I know the frontrunners right now are McCain, Guiliani, and Romney, but I think all three of them have problems that could prevent them from winning the nomination, and if it’s not one of them, it has to be someone else. I absolutely think Jim Gilmore should move forward and explore a Presidential candidacy. He is very good at delivering a strong message on both national security and fiscal issues that can fire up the base without turning off the rest of the country. I don’t think Duncan Hunter fits the bill of what we need, but, by all means, if he wants to run, he should take his best shot and make his case. With the field being as wide open as it is, I think it may get even wider after yesterday (particularly since George Allen has long since squandered his opportunity to be the consensus conservative choice). The critical caveat is that all of these candidates need to run issue-oriented campaigns that will make the party stronger once we have a nominee, and stay away from a bitter, divisive nominating contest.

As for the conservatives who were frustrated and chose to send the President a message by staying home, my message is this: Remember that message when the Democrat Congress passes bad but politically popular legislation such as raising the minimum wage and forces the President into the position of either having to issue politically unpopular vetoes that could further hurt Republican candidates in 2008 and beyond or having to sign into law bad legislation. Remember that message when the President has to spend the next two years fighting off congressional investigations that, in addition to being factually baseless, could seriously undermine our War on Terror. Remember that message when the President is forced to acknowledge the reality that he no longer has any hope of getting strict constructionist judges confirmed and has to settle for folks that the Democrat Senate will confirm.

Finally, I strongly believe that our congressional leadership needs a serious overhaul. I’ve never thought Hastert was a particularly effective leader, and I honestly haven’t been that impressed by Boehner, and I don’t think Roy Blunt is the right person in the current environment. I think a perfect choice for Minority Leader would be Eric Cantor. In the Senate, it’s always been assumed that Mitch McConnell would succeed Frist as Leader. However, I don’t think McConnell is the right choice. I’m not sure who the best person is, but I think serious consideration should be given to Kay Bailey Hutchison, and possibly to John Sununu as well.

Class Act

I just got back from Senator Allen’s concession speech in Old Town Alexandria where I met up with fellow Virtucon bloggers Hirons and Lighthorse. Senator Allen was a class act and showed his deep respect for the people of Virginia, stating that they had spoken and although he could request a recount, he did not believe that it would change the outcome. He also said that he would not have the taxpayers of Virginia foot the bill for such a recount nor would he let this drag out until Christmas as would have been the case. (Take note of how to handle such situations Al Gore and Creigh Deeds.)

Senator and Susan Allen were smiling and in good spirits. Allen was tossing a football to people in the crowd. Senator Warner’s wife was crying as were several other women who were there. The George Allen on display today was the George Allen of old that the people of this commonwealth elected twice to statewide office. I predict you haven’t seen or heard the last of George Allen. In fact, with Marky Mark looking to bring his Funky Bunch back to Richmond in ’09 now that he has bailed on his own presidential run, he may have made a critical error in helping to unseat Allen in ’06. I’d stack Allen’s record of abolishing parole, welfare reform, tax cuts and standards of learning up against Mark Warner’s record of tax increases and fiscal mismanagement (oops, where did that $100M go to?) any day.

Presidential Sweepstakes

And they’re off:

The race for the Presidency officially started as the polls closed on Tuesday. Actually Duncan Hunter (R- CA) jumped the gun a little, but no false starts for that in this race.

In the race

Republicans Democrats
Representative Duncan Hunter(CA) Governor Tom Vilsack (IA)

Will (or should it be when will)Hillary announce? When will McCain announce? When will Romney announce? Will Gilmore really throw his hat into this ring?

With George Allen probably completely out of the picture what will support coming out of Virginia look like?

Is Romney really the top Republican dog right now?

I’m not convinced Hillary won’t seek to be Senate Majority Leader and sit the presidential race out.

Did the Marriage Amendment Defeat George Allen?

With 30 percent of those voting for the Marriage Amendment also voting for Jim Webb according to exit polls, it would seem that was the case. How did this happen? Well, exit poll results show that African Americans overwhelmingly supported passage of the constitutional amendment, but then turned around and voted Democrat.

So, a measure that was designed to lift George Allen up and superboost his presidential candidacy instead wound up defeating him. Cruel irony.

The Fem Speaks Out

Greetings. For the record, my Fembot (the “femmebot” spelling invokes the French, who make me throw up a little in the back of my mouth when I think of them) is MUCH more Lindsay Wagner than Austin Powers, so nobody get excited.

One might wonder why I would choose such an ID. Simply stated, I have decided as of 5am on November 8, 2006, that I absolutely will not stop (oops, that was from The Terminator, not Bionic Woman, but you get the point) until A) Republicans get back to their essence and ask their candidates to at least read the Republican Party platform before agreeing to run; or, B) Conservatives begin getting elected to office because they are no longer afraid to trumpet their principles from the podium. We conservatives MUST get back to framing the issues without fear in this country or the United States will never be allowed to win a war again.

Perhaps last night was the spanking the Republicans needed. I certainly voted and campaigned for them here in Stafford County. Jo Ann Davis is a true conservative, but we simply have to see more people like her in the political sphere.

I will close with a quote Ronald Reagan gave us about the enthusiasm he encountered on the campaign trail. It is perfectly apropos for this moment in Republican history:

“I pray I will be deserving. I always tried to remember that; otherwise the power goes to your head, and the history books are littered with such unsavory people.”

Defeat The (Old) Media!!!

Now, as far as the media, in particular The Washington Post goes….

What good is an ombudsman if you don’t correct your biased behavior? Is it something to have just to make you feel good while you go about your business as usual?

There’s an old saying that you don’t pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel. But what if you were able to reduce it from a barrel to a trickle?

It is time for Republicans, conservatives and fairminded people everywhere to hold the WashPo accountable.

Cancelling your subscriptions won’t have any impact. That isn’t where they make their money anyway. Besides, I’m sure that a number of disgusted people already have or never did subscribe.

I’m talking about hitting them where it hurts.

Why is the NY Times teetering on bankruptcy? Loss of ad revenue dollars.

What would happen say if a large enough group of people organized a boycott of all major businesses that advertise in the pages of the WashPo so long as the paper remains biased in its coverage of the GOP? (You’d probably have to exclude Sunday sale flier inserts.) If the effort was serious enough and widespread, consumers could force a major loss of ad revenue by making advertising in the WashPo radioactive. Before you know it, those multiple full page ads from Macy’s would vanish.

The way you defeat the WashPo (and the rest of the old media), is to starve it.

Any ideas and suggestions are most welcome….

Categories: Media_

The Lieberman Option

With SecDef Donald Rumsfeld announcing that he is stepping down, President Bush should call upon Senator Joe Lieberman to fill the post for the good of our nation.

Heck, it would also let a GOP Gov. appoint a GOP senator to the seat and keep the Senate in Republican hands.

Categories: World War III_, National Politics_

Statement of Congressman Mike Pence

“As we examine the results of this election, it is imperative that we listen to the American people and learn the right lessons.

“Some will argue that we lost our majority because of scandals at home and challenges abroad. I say, we did not just lose our majority, we lost our way.

“While the scandals of the 109th Congress harmed our cause, the greatest scandal in Washington, D.C. is runaway federal spending.

“After 1994, we were a majority committed to balanced federal budgets, entitlement reform and advancing the principles of limited government. In recent years, our majority voted to expand the federal government’s role in education, entitlements and pursued spending policies that created record deficits and national debt.

“This was not in the Contract with America and Republican voters said, ‘enough is enough.’

“Our opponents will say that the American people rejected our Republican vision. I say the American people didn’t quit on the Contract with America, we did. And in so doing, we severed the bonds of trust between our party and millions of our most ardent supporters.

Categories: Congress_, National Politics_

Wednesday Morning QB

Isn’t hindsight great? If we could just invent a cool time machine and reverse the clock to do it all over again.

Well here’s my take on what went wrong.

Nationally: Why did so many Republican’s lose?
A. They allowed themselves to run against themselves. The Republicans never stood up this year to say what they believe in. The power that bred coruption took over the headlines. No Republicans stood up and shouted against this.

Where was the support for the President and for our troops in Iraq? Okay so his poll numbers were down around 30% and the war didn’t appear to be going so well. Well, the Republicans were headed towards defeat anyway, so why didn’t they stand up to say what they believe in and fight for it? You stood by the President in 2002 why should have 2006 been any different. Perhaps if some of you would have come out and said “I stand by the President, I support the war effort and this is how we are going to win” and then actually presented some ideas we could have seen the Presidents poll numbers rise and support for the War increase. But no, those numbers are too low – you thought you had to get as far away from them as possible. Look where that got you.

Virginia: What went wrong? What went right?
Okay, as a loyal Republican I am probably not suppose to say it’s over for Allen, but, as much as I hope I’m wrong, it’s over for Allen. Thank you George for your years of service, as a Delegate, Congressman, Governor, and Senator. We’ll miss you. It was all about the M-word. Those seven letters sunk it for you. The campaign was cruising along headed to a victory – then the grainy video hit the airwaves. From that point on it was all scramble for a pocket passer. You almost made it back to the line of scrimmage, but it looks like the measurement is going to come up just a hair short on 4th down.

However, Virginia will survive. Solid Republicans were returned to Congress from the Commonwealth, a good Republican was elected to lead Prince William County and we still believe in a little institution called Marriage here the state for lovers.

Where to from here?
Speaker Pelosi, Chairman Rangel, Chairman Conyers, Chairman Waxman, etc. are the best thing that could have happen to the Republicans chances of holding the White House in 2008. These folks won’t be able to get any thing accomplished. They put a very liberal face on the Democrat party. There will most likely be plenty of fighting amongst the more conservative troops in the Democrat House Caucus.

Senator Webb – My bet is it’ll take him less than 18 months to tick off the Democrats in some form or fashion. He’ll spread his maverick wings with his new found power and will do something to make the liberals none to happy. Although he will be very, very tough to beat in future general elections he’ll see primary competition in six years. Won’t that be a funny site? The hero of 2006 the goat of 2012.

Republicans have got to avoid a blood bath in the 2008 Presidential nomination process. Hopefully there will be plenty of candidates with plenty of debate, but – please, please, please – let’s stay focused and keep it on the issues and keep our eyes on the goal. We have to find a candidate who can unite us and lead us to back to the top of the mountain. With the right candidate and the right issues – and the winds of luck giving us just a slight breeze in our sails – we can retain the White House and Take Back the Senate! (We’ll shoot for the House in 2010).

Categories: 2006 Elections_


Thelma Drake defeats Phil Kellam 51-49 with 100 percent of the precincts reporting.

If Senator George Allen holds on to defeat Jim Webb and Corey Stewart beats Sharon Pandak for PWC Chairman, Virginia will have proven to be a beachhead against the Democrat wave.

Categories: 2006 Elections_, Virginia Politics_

Election Day Open Thread / Predictions

Who will win, who will lose, who will wind up in a recount / legal battle? Tell us your experiences and your predictions.

Here are my predictions in the races in which I voted:

George Allen – 49.7
Jim Webb – 48.9

Jo Ann Davis – 62
Shawn O’Donnell – 38

Corey Stewart – 54
Sharon Pandak – 46

And on the Marriage Amendment, I predict it passes 53-47.

Categories: 2006 Elections_

Did Webb resign as Reagan’s SecNav to keep from getting fired?

Did Jim Webb resign as Reagan’s Secretary of the Navy in order to keep from being fired from that post? There are increasingly strong indications from people who worked at the Pentagon back then that is exactly how things played out. Given Jim Webb’s use of Ronald Reagan in this campaign, Virginia voters have the right to know — was President Reagan on the verge of firing Jim Webb before he quit?

Categories: 2006 Elections_, Virginia Politics_, Military_

Potomac News Endorses Pandak

Yesterday, the Potomac News endorsed Sharon Pandak for county chairman, citing her long experience as county attorney.

Hmmmm…. Wouldn’t that be back in the time that PWC was considered a backwater county? And as far as experience goes, former Chairman Sean Connaughton had even less experience with the county when he was first elected than Corey Stewart does today as he is finishing up his third year on the Board.

Experience only counts if it is good experience. I, for one, do not want to go back to the bad old days of when Pandak was on staff.

Categories: PWC Politics_, 2006 Elections_



1. Corey is the only candidate for Chairman with a controlled growth voting record.

2. Corey is the only candidate for Chairman to vote against all tax increases.
Corey kept his pledge not to raise your taxes, he believes government should limit their budget increases to the rate of inflation.
Endorsed by Prince William Taxpayer’s Alliance.

3. Corey will focus new county resources on education, transportation and public safety.

4. Corey is opposed to day labor sites and believes social services should be limited to citizens and legal residents.

5. Corey has pledged transportation improvements before developments are approved.

6. Corey is leading the effort to require developers to pay for development, not the citizens.

7. Corey is the only Candidate for Chairman to sign the pledge to protect the Rural Crescent.
Endorsed by Voters to Stop Sprawl & Advocates of the Rural Crescent.

8. Corey believes government should be informative, inclusive and responsive to citizens.
As the Occoquan District Supervisor he has kept his constituents informed and created focus groups of citizens to work on important issues such as land use and the County Budget.

9. Corey Stewart is the citizen’s candidate, his opponent is the developer’s candidate.
Developer’s Campaign Contributions:
Opponent’s Campaign $80,157.44
Corey Stewart’s Campaign $500.00

10. Corey Stewart has a plan to work together with the citizens and all the local, federal and state elected officials to change the process and to help alleviate the symptoms of over development in Prince William County.
Endorsed by: Lt. Gov Bill Bolling, Attorney General Bob McDonnell, Congressmen Tom Davis & Frank Wolf, Senator Jay O’Brien, Delegates Jeff Frederick, Scott Limagmnfelter, Bob Marshall, Michelle McQuigg, Sheriff Glenn Hill, Clerk of the Court Dave Mabie, Supervisors; John Stirrup, Wally Covington, Marty Nohe, School Board Members: Michael Otaigbe, Julie Lucas, Milton Johns, Grant Lattin & Don Richardson

Categories: 2006 Elections_, Virginia Politics_

Susan Allen on WARW

WARW, 94.7, Classic Rock, had Susan Allen on this morning around 8:30am. Shortly before the interview, they announced that she was going to be on and I was a little concerned. The morning announcers are lefty and semi-shock jocks. But the interview turned out very well; they were polite with her. They did bring up the deer in the mailbox issue, but the interviewers phrased the question in a way that showed that did not believe it. They also brought up the harassing blogger. They talked about all the different places she’s going to for the remainder of the campaign. All and all, Susan came across as a hard working, articulate supporter of her husband, and the Democrats came across and nasty and nutty.