Al Weed’s Ewert mailer.

Fifth Congressional District candidate Al Weed just sent out a mailing attacking Bern Ewert, his opponent for the Democratic nomination. Here’s the business side of the mailer.

Al Weed's Mailer

(Click to embiggen.)

It looks like things are getting serious.

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

66 replies on “Al Weed’s Ewert mailer.”

  1. Ouch! This is nasty stuff and uncalled for. There’s a particular kind of attack that includes throwing about spurious charges, but doing so with the “plausible deniability” of not really making the charges direcly, but suggesting that others could make them.

    This stuff is odious enough when it appears in a general election. It’s even worse when it’s used in a primary. I’m disappointed in the Weed campaign. They didn’t need this to win. Now, it just may backfire on them.

  2. This is a rehash of what came out of Cumberland County and ties the Weed campaign to it.

    I am sure the Democratic party wants to encourage people to run for public office. This type of message sends exactly the wrong message to potential candidates…namely that it is open season for personal attacks.

    This message tells me far more about Al Weed than it does about Bern Ewert.

  3. The Weed campaign has heard discontent about this ad from supporters and volunteers (myself among them).

    I can understand the dilemma: Ewert has (so I gather) been playing hardball in his advertising and phone banking, and there are legitimate questions about his resume and failure to file FEC papers on time. But the decision not to remain silent about them doesn’t mean you have to go to the opposite extreme and adopt Rovian tactics. The paragraph about Galveston, for example, which strongly implies “Bern Ewert is a racist”; it seems to have been inspired by some digging that Lisa Blanton did on her blog, but if you look at the Houston Chronicle piece it references, it appears that the court order in question had more to do with political in-fighting (of the sort that often happens when an outsider is brought in over the heads of local candidates) than anything nefarious. And the sensationalism of “could Bern Ewert go to jail?” is over the top. Lisa Blanton filed an FEC complaint over Ewert’s late filing of papers, but there’s no telling whether the FEC will find a willful violation involved, a prerequisite for any criminal penalties (Ewert has claimed that the FEC lost his second-stage paperwork and that he refiled; whatever the case, he is in the FEC system now).

    So I think this ad is a tactical mistake. And worse, an ethical one. It hasn’t shaken my support for Al, but I feel that it has undercut my ability to present him in idealistic terms as clearly differentiated from his opponents.

  4. While there are certainly debates to be had about the merits of going negative, it should be noted (however childishly) that Bern went negative first, both with a district-wide mailing and in his phone-banking. Why is it so offensive for Weed to go negative but not for Ewert?

    Personally, I think the questions about Galveston are completely legitimate considering Ewert’s claims to be a staunch supporter of civil rights. His opponent has every right to question that assertion. In terms of the FEC filings, Ewert initially failed to file correctly or on time. FEC regulations require a candidate to file once they’ve raised $5,000. Ewert publicly stated in early March that he had raised $30,000 but the FEC had no record of his filing. Additionally, first quarter finance reports were due to the FEC by April 15th. They are uploaded to the site within an hour of filing. The FEC still has no electronic filing on record for Mr. Ewert. Considering the trouble that Rep. Goode has gotten into with campaign finance regulations, I don’t find it to be beyond the realm of reasonable attacks to questions one’s ability to follow campaign finance laws. Mr. Ewert has advocated lobbying and campaign finance reform but I believe that his credibility on the issue should he be elected to Congress would be seriously tainted by his inability to comply with FEC regulations. Mr. Ewert may attack Weed for being a second-time candidate, but at least his experience extends to campaign finance regulations. (It should be noted that campaigns who expect to raise less than $50,000 in a cycle are not required to file electronically with the FEC. If Mr. Ewert did decide to paper file, it begs the question of his ability to compete financially with Goode.)

    If Mr. Ewert wants to claim that he is the most electable candidate due to his record, he should be prepared for questions and attacks on his electability and his record, just as he has attacked Weed’s multiple candidacies and the claim that it makes him a more prepared candidate.

  5. This is what really sucks about politics, primaries especially. We try to remember that we’re all on the same team. We try to fight the good fight. Then, when push comes to shove, you’ve got to go for the prize and won’t shy from a knife fight. Rovian? naa. This is good old fashioned full-contact politics.

    Even though it’s rediculsous to ask wither Bern is going to jail, this shows Weed’s willingness to fight for the nomination. I think that’s a very good sign. He didn’t go for the jugular last time, which left him appearing a bit too angelic for the US Congress. Hopefully, this time around Weed can gut Goode like a bony Shad.

    This piece at least shows that all those years on the tractor haven’t taken the fight out of the vet.

    btw, who’s going to shadplanking on Wednesday?

  6. Considering the trouble that Rep. Goode has gotten into with campaign finance regulations, I don’t find it to be beyond the realm of reasonable attacks to questions one’s ability to follow campaign finance laws.

    Actually, Goode hasn’t been in any trouble with the FEC.

  7. This petty sniping gets no place. Voters are furious at the prices they are paying at the gas pump. Do they give a rats butt about petty politics? No. They want candidates to talk to them, not each other.

    Hard hitting on the issues is one thing, swift boating crosses the line to personal attack. This ad crosses the line. You don’t have to adopt republican tactics to beat them or to beat fellow Democrats.

    Raising the FEC filing is legitimate. Pretending this ad does not go way over the line to suggest there is a risk of going to jail is like reaching around your elbow to scratch your butt. It is just plain silly to try and blur the distinction.

    Polls are indicating that voters, including republicans, are fed up with elected officials focused on themselves and not their constituents.

    It is quite reasonable for Democrats to expect that their future nominees conduct themselves in ways that reflect well on the party as well as themselves.

    It time to grow up.

  8. Mr. Kane: don’t you maintain Mr. Ewert’s web site? It’s not that important, but it does show who you support and why you’re speaking out so much against this.

    In spite of that, most of your points are true. I know that jobs are important – my mother and aunt lost their jobs recently in Danville. I don’t care about the petty politics that this mailer refers to. However, I do want somebody who can win. I remember Mr. Weed from last time, all of my families does. He has kept in touch with our community since he lost and has earned a lot of respect for that. Mr. Ewert just appeared very recently, making promises, having never worked with any of us before.

    I think Mr. Weed will be able to talk about the issues and focus on what’s important to my family because he won’t have to deal with this character stuff that Mr. Ewert seems to.

    Mr. Weed has been focused on helping my family for three years. That is why I am voting for him.

  9. Ashley:

    I am glad that you have a positive reason for supporting Al and I take what you have to say on thier face value.

    My comments should be taken on their face value as well and not on a presumed hidden agenda. I am not a stealth Bern supporter.

    No, I do not maintain Bern Ewert’s web site. If I did, I would have corrected some graphics that have gotten broken. I did create the web site, but I handed that over to his campaign. Since that time, I have not anything to do with his campaign…that includes seeing or receiving any of his mailers.

    My points have been focused on what I think is good and not good for the Democratic party. Believe it or not, there are some Democrats out here that think we should do better than what we’ve seen so far from either of these two guys.

    Al Weed’s mailer deserves criticism, in my view, because it is not good for the party and should not be dismissed out of hand as coming from the Ewert campaign.

  10. I’d like to add that I’ve been a supporter of Al Weed since he first considered running against Virgil a number of years ago. I always thought he should balance his positive message with some stronger indictments against against Mr. Goode. This mailing makes me like Al Weed even more, because it shows he’ll bring the fight to Virgil this year that he should have brought last time.

    It’s too bad it took goading from Bern Ewert for Al Weed to pluck up, but it’s good to see it nonetheless.

    Even though I’m a Weed supporter, I also know Bern Ewert and think he’ll be a fine candidate if that’s what the Dems in the 5th decide.

  11. I saw Bern Ewart speak at the Lynchburg J&J dinner a few weeks ago and I thought that he fell so far short that I couldn’t see him possibly getting the required campaign skills together fast enough to be competetive in November (not to say that Bern Ewart couldn’t be competetive in a more local race – because he could become really good material with more experience). It was largely on that basis that I had decided to support Al Weed again for the Democratic nomination.

    But this mailer from Al Weed’s campaign changes everything. I hereby withdraw my support. What is the point of going negative in a primary for a long-shot race like this?

    Al, you have the skills and the resume to run a positive campaign and win the primary. You don’t need to stoop to this kind of thing. You want to start throwing around comments about who can or can’t beat Virgil Goode? Fine, let’s do that. You talk pretty big for a guy who only took about 35% in 2004. You’ve *proven* to us that you can’t even come within ‘pat on the back’ range. 35% is what anything with a pulse and a ‘D’ next to it’s name will get, including the Devil himself if he ever switches parties. If you hadn’t raised a single dime, hadn’t made a single speech and didn’t shake a single hand then you would have gotten exactly the same number of votes. Your 2004 campaign is the very definition of a wasted effort. In other words, you’ve already flushed almost $500,000 of Democrats’ donations down the toilet with literally nothing to show for it and you’ve got the nerve to ask us to send you out there again?

    Fat chance. I know that I’m being harsh, but you asked for it when you sent that mailer out attacking a decent man with pointless, ambiguous accusations. I’m voting for Bern Ewart, although not really expecting that either of you guys is going to get anywhere. All eyes (and dollars) are on that Senate race now.

  12. Josh,

    Are you on crack? Al isn’t bringing the fight to Virgil. He’s attacking another Democrat for pretty minor stuff.

    Allow me to point out an essential truth: neither of these guys has a snowball’s chance in hell of winning this election. 35%. Well-entrenched incumbant. No significant local media interest in scandal. Local reputation as a maverick rather than GOP foot soldier. Excellent constituent services. Jerrymandered district. Stop kidding yourself. This is a hopeless race. Period.

    Most of us here are sophisticated, grizzled campaign veterans. Let’s not sugarcoat anything. We’re not making speeches to the base right now.

    There are only 2 practical reasons to even bother running a candidate against someone like Virgil. To periodically probe the opposition’s strength in a given CD and to build an effective party organization in that district rather than to let it atrophy by the time the seat opens up. The only real effect of going negative in this primary is to weaken the 5th district Democratic party. Sometimes it’s a good idea to go negative in a primary. This is not one of those times. This is a BS nomination for a forlorn hope that is not worth having a catfight over.

  13. All I can say is, desparate measures by a desparate man. If Al Weed’s lack of relevant experience, and thorough record of loosing every political race he’s entered (this is his 5th), wasn’t enough to convice democrats that he can’t win, then this Karl Rove-like attack using mudd-splattered innuendo and race-baiting should be the deciding factor for dems that want to take a good shot at this seat in the fall, to get behind Bern Ewert’s nomination.

    There is simply no way anyone of good-will can equate the Ewert campaign’s literature pointing out Al Weeds 4 losses in the most generous of terms (“…Al as a cherished member of the community and the Democratic Party.”), with the ugly, malicious and mean-spirited Weed attack.

    Weed’s vicious attack is not something to admire, it is everything that we should reject in American politics.

  14. Marlin, you should really identify yourself as Ewert’s campaign manager if you’re going to comment on how nice the campaign is playing.

  15. Marlin,

    Now you’re being unfair, too. Al has plenty of experience relevant to service in Congress.

    His 31+ years as a senior NCO in the U.S. Army would make him a major asset to defense-related committees. There aren’t a whole lot of combat veterans in Cingress right now and I’m not sure that there are any senior NCOs who have a real idea of what we’re asking our grunts to do. That’s a voice we ought to have in government. Al’s service as a senior-level executive at the World Bank makes him conversant in issues of economics and government management. Having almost single-handedly established the modern wine-growing industry in Virginia, Al Weed knows a lot about farming and what does and doesn’t work in agricultural policy. If you don’t think that experience is relevant, you need to spend a little more time in the rural 5th district.

    Al would make a great Congressman. Too bad he doesn’t have any real hope of winning the general election and too bad that he launched a negative attack against his opponent in the primary and alienated most of the party in a single, ham-handed motion. But to suggest that he has no relevant experience is absurd. Al Weed is the most qualified candidate for Congress that I have ever seen.

  16. Always nice to get strong opinions from people I respect, Jack.

    Duly noted. Maybe I’ve been away for too long. Considering the fact that Virgil’s sitting on about 10x as much cash as Al Weed, you’re probably right about this being hopeless.

    I still like to see Al Weed willing to fight, and it sounds like he took the high road with Bern as long as he thought he possibly could.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but did Bern Ewert go negative first? If so, does Al Weed deserve to be so violently attacked for responding? Since I don’t know the answer to this question, I’ll just let those closer to this race answer.


  17. Are we really suprised that Al Weed would do everything he could to deflect attention from the fact that he was trounced by Virgile Goode in the ’04 election? Plain and simple, Weed carries the baggage and persona of a loser. Goode must be praying for a chance to face him again. In Bern Ewert, Democrats have a chance to offer a better candidate. They should do so.

  18. Josh – In answer to your question, yes Ewert did go negative first. His campaign recently sent out a district-wide mailing attacking Weed for having no record of public service (a pretty questionable claim) and stating that Al has never won an election. (For the record – Ewert hasn’t won an election either) They have repeated, and I believe expanded, upon these comments in their phone-banking.

    If people want to object to candidates going negative, fine, but at least share the blame equally.

  19. Rick:

    Plain and simple, Weed carries the baggage and persona of a loser.

    Do you know Al Weed? Have you ever talked with him? If you had, you would know that Al Weed carries no baggage about a previous race for office. How many elective offices has Bern Ewert held? What percentage of the vote did Bern get in the last race? Oh, thats right, Bern has never faced the voters in any election.

    Bern is better at what? What makes him a better candidate? I await your prose.

    I agree with one thing in your post; Virgil should be praying. He is tainted with illegal money, does little or nothing for this district, and has a challenger in Al Weed that is not going to just go away. Quite the opposite.

    I invite you to spend ten minutes talking with each candidate. When you get through the empty stare of Bern Ewert, go talk to Al. He can tell you anything you want to know about him, his message and his conviction to win this district for the Democratic Party.

  20. Josh:

    An excerpt from a Bern Ewert flyer:

    Democrats that want to win in the 5th Congressional District have an important choice to make by April 17, 2006, nominate Bern Ewert as the Democratic candidate to challenge the Republican, Virgil Goode, or gamble away this golden opportunity to beat Goode with a fifth run for public office by Al Weed.


    He doesn’t have a record that people can look to, and he has lost too many political campaigns to make people comfortable with his ability to win.

    And on and on, ad nauseum. Bern even claims to have union stewards and organizers in his camp.

    Honestly, the flyer is extremely poorly written. From the beginning, the Ewert organization (and I use that term loosely) has been on their heels, not wanting to answer legitimate questions. This may seem like an attack on him, but it isn’t. He just can’t or won’t answer questions unless he likes them or is in a public place where he can laugh them off.

    The reason why Bern attacks on such a weak basis? He can’t find anything bad to say about Al. His is an almost-whisper campaign.

    I do not want to trust such a disorganized campaign as Bern’s to beat Virgil Goode in November.

  21. I did research Bern and Al before ever going to any of the events that have been held for this year’s primary (or even starting my own blog). Want to know why? Because I am personally tired of dishonest candidates and officeholders, including ones that sugarcoat their records or hide things which are not positive. I also disapprove of candidates using diversionary tactics. An example is where they get someone to write a response that doesn’t relate to the question that has been asked of them about something specific they said or getting a letter from a totally different location–say Roanoke, when the question inquired specifically about Charlottesville.

    I’m also tired of candidates/officeholders who claim that they didn’t know something or are doing their job for their constituents (for example, Virgil saying, “I didn’t know the donations were illegal” and claiming to always help the 5th district). Tell me, does the immigration issue really have a direct impact on jobs here in this area? Another example is Bern claiming to be a first-time federal candidate and not knowing the procedure for proper filing. It’s funny, but I found the specific information on filing my complaint on the FEC’s own website. That’s one of the reasons why they have it up there–as a public service to get information about all things related to federal elections.

    You know, there is so much information out there to find about our candidates. I feel that anyone who just takes a candidate’s word for anything is deluding themselves about the candidate’s honesty. If those running for office know we are going to check into their backgrounds (including their employment history) and their stance on the issues (including past actions that support or reject their current view), then maybe they will think twice about telling half-truths, leaving things out, or acting like they are unknowledgeable. After all, Virgil left out during the 2002 election that he was planning to change his affiliation from Independent to Republican after he won and that’s why Democrats are working hard this year to try to get him out.

    David says above that Bern claims the FEC lost his second-stage filing. Regardless of the fact that it takes up a lot of room, I always make copies of important papers before I mail them. As a matter of fact, I kept a copy of my complaint and all of the postage receipts that go along with it. (For what it’s worth, I did receive a follow-up letter from the FEC last week–and the matter is under review by them currently. With the MUR number, I can check it’s status online any time.) My point–where is Bern’s copy of his initial paperwork or at least the postage receipts paid by his campaign for the first FEC filings?

    Had Bern considered my concerns about his employment record when I spoke with him personally in Danville in February or responded to the questions from this 5th District constituent about his filing, then the complaint would probably not have been filed. Let’s lay the blame for the Cumberland County researching exactly where it should be–on Bern for not feeling that one person’s concerns and questions were important enough to be answered. With no answers, I went looking a little deeper and found lots of interesting information that I posted along with the original sources.

    Want to know the main difference I see between Bern’s campaign and Al’s? After telling me to contact him, neither Bern nor his campaign responded to my questions–before I ever started my blog. However (and I still don’t work for Al Weed), any time I have contacted his campaign about anything, I have gotten an answer. Does this mean his staff feels that the individuals in the district are important? I think so and in the coming convention and November election, every vote counts.

  22. Again we get the Lisa/Mark/Mike swift boaters from Cumberland and Charlottesville. I agree with Jack, Al Weed may well have snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. The sycophants just may keep the smear going long enough to sink that swift boat.

    Democrats have been the target of outrageous, disgraceful, fact twisting attacks by Republicans long enough. I don’t think the Democratic Party is in any mood to grow our own crop of Rovian operators.

    Mayor Crew’s response is a strong rebuttal of the Weed mailer allegation and the trash out of Cumberland. The suggestion of racism is at once repugnant and untrue. This “divide and conquer” tactic is what’s wrong with the country today. Its time for Al to put his junk yard dogs on a leash.

    This has gone on long enough.

  23. Actually, Bern Ewert has faced the voters in an election before. In 2002 he sought the Democratic nomination for Charlottesville’s City Council. He lost and, interestingly enough, was outpolled by one Waldo Jaquith (who, also, ultimately, lost, but that’s another story).

    And, for political trivia buffs, to complete the circuit, Waldo’s nominating speech in that Charlottesville convention was given by none other than Al Weed.

  24. I am a Al Weed supporter. Now that I got that out of the way, I have read the previous replies and see alot of attempt on the Bern side to muddy the water. That being said – please do your own research on Bern in the Houston Chronicle and The Washington Business Journal. Not a glowing depiction with a common theme of lack of personal skills. I went to the first debate and from my perspective Bern’s experience is as a middle manager. I don’t want a poor communicating middle manager as my congressman.

  25. As usual, Greg, you make everything so personal when it’s not the individuals posting who are at fault here–either you or me. It’s the candidates who just can’t seem to tell the whole truth or who try to hide facts from the public. Call it trash if you want, but the truth is that Mayor Crews was there when Bern was hired and for only a little while afterward. Her views of the situation and the reality of the situation, according to the Houston Chronicle article cited above are decidedly different. According to another source, Bern left Galveston “after failing to observe certain sacred cows.” The articles from the Chronicle show a definite problem, no matter how you look at them.

    Actually, methinks you do protest too much (for someone who says he is not working for Bern)! As far as being a sycophant, I’m not sure who you think I’m trying to impress and what favors I’m seeking; but the same could be said for you as well, I guess. Therefore, from one junk yard dog to another, Greg—we’ll just have to agree to disagree again.

    Harry, I thought Waldo outpolled Bern at a Democratic “caucus.” That was the gist of the article I read in March about the event. Personally, I don’t put a caucus or even a convention on the same level as an election. One has only those individuals who are registered members of your own party, while the other is open to every registered voter in the area regardless of political party. Maybe I’m wrong, but not getting the Democratic nomination means to me that you weren’t a candidate in the “official” election for City Council. However, running for the nomination is in itself a major deal. I was impressed with Waldo’s showing in the caucus after reading the article. However, after meeting him in Forest, I’m not really surprised.

  26. Grow the hell up. Jeez, people, I’m 20 years old; I shouldn’t have to say that. Politics isn’t friendly. The republicans sure as hell aren’t playing nice and there’s no reason we should either. I’m not ever going to defend smear tactics from anyone, but this isn’t a smear! It’s all accurate and it’s all relevant, so what’s the problem? This isn’t a tea party with voting machines it’s an epic battle between the forces of good and evil; between one party with morals and values and another leading us on a path of debt, death, and destruction. So don’t pretend it’s more important to be polite than to fight for what you believe. Haven’t any of you read Kant? or Mill? or Hagel? or Jesus? The truth will set you free, people, and unless Al said anything untrue, stop your whining.

    If you want to be pure and lose elections, vote for the green party. If you want to sell out your values, alienate your base, and lose elections for a generation, vote for Bern. The fact is, over the past couple decades, people like Bern Ewert blew it for the Democratic party. My parents’ generation got their civil rights era stuff done, and they stopped fighting. Every time the polls looked bad they ran from their shadows, and now we’ve run so far from that sacred penumbra that we don’t even know where it came from or why. What have we become, as a nation, as a party. Someone has to pick up the pieces of the Democratic party and start fighting again, someone with a heart of gold and balls of steel. If you’re a lifetime Democrat, willing to fight for the progressive movement, the constitution, and Democratic values, vote for Al; and if there are enough like you to knock on doors and give 20 bucks at a time, we’ll win this November.

    (And even if you think it’s all hopeless, wouldn’t you rather lose shouting at the top of your lungs and speaking truth to the masses? I thought so.) Al Weed

  27. Hey Mark:

    Yep, I know Al Weed. In fact, I listened to him speak endlessly two years ago about issues that had nothing to do with the daily lives of those he sought to represent.

    Al carries the baggage and persona of a loser because of his dismal showing in ’04. The indepenents and disenchanted Republicans needed by the Democrats to oust Goode won’t give Al a second look this year.

    Ewert has good, and more importantly, a positive name recognition in the Southside. His years of service in neighboring Roanoke — the major media market for most of the Southside — ensures that the voters there will give him a fresh look. That’s something they won’t do with Weed.

    With Weed or Goode as a choice, there will be no compelling reason for those who need to vote to make a change to do so. Such would not be the case in an Ewert versus Goode contest. This year, voters will turn out to vote for “change.”

    Of the four potential candidates in the 5th CD only one — Ewert — comes into the race with the basic ingredient needed to win — freshness. He is the “change” candidate and if the Dems don’t see that they deserve to lose again.

    Perhaps you desire to stay with and old war horse. As for me, I’d rather get a new horse when my old mount lets me down. After all, Dems can’t do anything positive unless we win — and we won’t win with Al — he proved that in ’04.

  28. I must have forgotten that nobody changes. Nobody ever grows as a person, a man or a politician. I am interested in reading your fact-based arguments about who someone in a particular locality will or will not vote for. Also, the information that Independants and disenfranchised Republicans will not vote for Weed would be great to see.

    What you are saying sounds like the wishful thinking and hopes of a Bern Ewert supporter. I commend you on that.

    I merely look at facts and decide for myself about who I think will best represent us in Washington as our Congressman. In my opinion, Al is that person. The contrast could not be more stark. Al is knowledgeable in areas that are a perfect fit for this district. We desperately need new jobs. We as a nation need an alternative to the choking effects of imported oil. Al has been studying this for a long time, and has a plan to open up Virginia to the economic policies of alternative fuel production. I could go on, but to hit every great idea Al has would take me all night.

    Facts will prove out in the end which is the best candidate to go after Virgil Goode. There is a whole race to run out ahead of us, and there are things that can change a lot between now and November. I guess you could call that ‘my’ version of wishful thinking. And wishful thinking does not need to be inherently negative.

  29. It’s going fine, Greg! The domain has been purchased and we have a committee to put it together. No sense in going off half-cocked and not considering everyone’s suggestions. Thanks for asking.

  30. Mark:

    Your guy is the one out there with the negative smear against a fellow Democrat. Sorry, but he just represents more of the same. Turning on your fellow Democrat — how “Goode-like.”

  31. Hey Rick,
    Nice to get your feedback. I’m glad that you followed the entire 2004 campaign so closely since you only heard me speak in person one time (in Lynchburg, and that for only 3 minutes). I know that you worked the veteran’s angle for Kerry so you must have factored that in your judgment about me as well. Since the Kerry effort was so successful, perhaps you could tell me what issues the people I seek to represent care about, that I failed to mention? Let me remind you what they were — and essentially remain:
    The war in Iraq, national health insurance and jobs for Southside.
    I guess Democrats will be able to make sound decisions about Bern and me when they consider the following:
    No one has ever beaten Virgil as an incumbent;
    No one has ever run twice against Virgil;
    Name recognition trumps damn near everything. Mine is two years old, Bern’s is fifteen years old and most people who remember him at all associate him with Explore Park.
    Every time (including 2004) we run a “fresh” face we lose. It’s time to try something different.

  32. Al:

    Rick must have turned in for the night but I’m still here. Its late and I know you must be tired, so I’ll just ignore the initial sarcasm. However it is your inconsistent logic that sends a flag up for me.

    You mentioned the Kerry campaign and those of us that worked on it. You seem to imply that since the Kerry campaign was not successful that the people who worked in the Virginia campaign may not have much value to offer. If that was one of your points, I’ll disagree with you. I guess for now we could say that both the Presidential and 5th CD campaigns learned lessons from their respective losses.

    You then segue into an assumption that what has been brought up as disagreements is about issues. In fact, that is the problem. This discussion has not been about issues. This discussion was fueled by charges, unfair charges that sidetracked the discussion of issues that voters care about. Instead this has degenerated into a mud slinging fest.

    The issue of electability is partly issue stance and partly name recognition but it is also the ability for the candidate to “connect” with the voters.

    The inconsistent logic really kicks in for me on these points that you made:
    1. No one has beaten Virgil as an incumbent
    2. No one ever ran twice against Virgil
    3. You think you have better name recognition than Bern
    4. Every “fresh face” has lost to Virgil
    …therefore, it must be the “fresh face” that’s losing us all these elections.

    I don’t think so. You and Bern have both positioned yourselves on issues in a way that is consistent with the Democratic Party. It is a valid debate on who has the better name recognition today. The real key (in my estimation) is who can better “connect” with the voters? Your “fresh face” theory aside, your last run did not produce a big “connection” and that makes it also a valid point of discussion.

    No matter which way folks decide to go, this mud slinging is bad for the campaign and bad for the Democratic Party and I wish both campaigns would make a commitment to bring this to a halt…now.

  33. That’s it. I’m so sick of all of this intraparty mudslinging that I’m writing in Meredith Richards come November.

  34. Greg,
    Fair enough. We raised what I think are important issues about electability. There has now been sufficient discussion for those who care about this to be able to inform themselves. We’re done.
    I hope my sarcasm won’t hurt Rick’s feelings.
    Actually I think you understood my logic perfectly — it takes two runs to get the visibility needed to knock off an incumbent. If we are always starting anew Virgil always starts out with a big boost. By the way, we raised more money in the 1st quarter than did Virgil, but he was a bit distracted, I suspect. His war chest, though huge, is also about $92,000 less than it might have been.

  35. But Al’s mailer is correct. Us Republicans will be pleased to ask those quesions :)

  36. Al:

    Sorry I turned in early last night. On second thought after reading your posting it wasn’t really worth staying up for. Just read your post again and it’s still not worth a reply. By the way, as I recall the Kerry campaign did better in the 5th CD than you did in ’04.

  37. Well actually Rick is right about Kerry.

    In fact Kerry pulled 20,000 more votes than Al in 2004 and Kerry never set foot in the 5th CD. The closest he ever got was Roanoke.

  38. Greg,

    Kerry never set foot in the South Side area of the 5th. But he did come to Charlottesville during the primary. I saw him speak downtown.

  39. Wow – I never knew! How did I miss that?

    The real point, I guess, is that races in the 5th can do better than the 36.28% we saw in 2004. Kerry pretty much wrote off Virginia and he still got 43% in the 5th.

    Virgil is tough because he has the bubba charm factor working for him. But Dems have won in the 5th. While the opponent is an important factor, the Dem candidates voter “connection” factor is the key – in my opinion. Can the candidate connect on a personal level and does he/she talk to issues that motivate voters?

    I mentioned gas prices earlier. All polling indicates that voters are REAL pissed over gas prices. We can speak to the unemployed on the jobs issue and we can speak to farmers on bio fuels but ALL voters are pissed over the gas pump and they are reminded of that every couple of days.

    Did the Gilmore car tax BS teach us nothing?

    Calling for some dramatic action – ie a Congessional investigation of gas price profiteering (Exxon just replaced Wal Mart as the biggest corporation) would ring some bells.

    If not this then something else, these guys need to connect on a level that motivates people and not some “years down the road” BS. I think bio fuels and a focus on jobs are good solid things to do…but we need to ring bells with the voters. The gas pump issue may not be sexy or the favorite issue of the left, but it is the type of thing that connects candidates with the dailey concerns of struggling people.

    Sorry for rambling but I just think we need to get out of the clouds and back down on the street.

    I do not believe we can win the Congressional seat in 2006. I do think we have a shot at the Senate. Webb is generating a lot of energy. If we can move up from 36% to 40 or 45% in 2006 we can set up 2008 to take Virgil out. I think that is doable.

    If I am right, and I think I am, then the candidate that gets the nomination will have a party building responsibility – if he can look past his own ego. If not, that candidate will find almost all of the Democratic energy exclusively focused on the Senate race.

    Candidates tend to think its all about them…it never is. Its all about the rest of us.

  40. Greg –

    You’re advocating the worst in politics, where politicians take a showy stand instead of actually standing up for something. A congressional investigation of oil prices won’t accomplish anything to actually SOLVE high gas prices in addition to the fact that it probably won’t happen. Short term solutions are meaningless unless they actually solve something. The lack of jobs and the economy in Southside ARE issues that people care about and over which the Democratic candidate can connect with the voters. We already have a congressman who can’t seem to accomplish anything in Washington. Why vote for a Democrat who offers a lot of talk but no action? Long term solutions may be long term, but importantly, they’re also solutions and thats what the voters really want.

  41. My two cents:

    First, what is with the term “swiftboating” being used for negative campaigning? As I recall, the swiftboaters were pulled out of the woodwork to make claims that couldn’t be substantiated and that made folks question the validity of Kerry’s service. They used rumor to shed doubt. Al Weed’s mailer, while negative and somewhat misleading, used media reports. Al and his campaign didn’t dig up a disgruntled Roanoke resident to complain about Bern – they did their research and brought our attention to it. Not in the nicest way, perhaps, but they aren’t working off of rumors. Let’s keep the term “swiftboating” applied to folks who have NOTHING to support their claims, shall we?

    Second, I find it amusing how Meredith Richards keeps popping up. I have nothing against her – I raised money for her and I fought for her victory. So this isn’t anything against her, but rather against the rosy memories we have of that time. Didn’t Meredith lose by the same amount that Al did? Wouldn’t she have the same “aura of a loser” that Al supposedly has?

  42. Julia:

    Thanks for your little lecture…especially regarding how Al’s mailer was only a little bit pregnant. Al distorted facts. This is what we used to term “dishonest” back in the day a half truth was the same as lie.

    Passing on rumors and speculation as fact is is also unethical. Suggesting Bern had a race problem is really low.Suggesting Bern could go to jail is called “distorting the facts”.

    Please wake up Julia. When a member of the Republican party writes a “thank you” blog for Al’s mailer, most thinking Democrats would smell a rat.

    Al Weed is a swiftboater and his tactics are on par with what we’ve seen in the past from Republicans. Al has the Republicans laughing their butts off. “Half truth Al” might get the nomination, but he’ll never win the general.

    A lot of Democrats will remember this low road he is taking for a long time.

  43. Wow Greg – you sound like someone who is upset over your man’s dirt coming out! It is pretty obvious from your remarks that you are determined to mar Al regardless of the links to the facts about Bern. Rather than research the newspaper articles and comment on them, you are much more bent on distorting Al’s honesty. You and Bern should be thankful that Al brought the questions to the forefront so that Bern could answer to the 5th district Dems rather than Virgil’s camp really having fun with it. Do you really think that the Republican’s wouldn’t have found the info? I for one would much rather deal with it before the convention and allow the 5th district Dems to get all of their ducks in a row. Rather it seems that like a “middle manager”, Bern somehow feels that he is above explanation. Bern coming clean with direct and open dialogue would go a long way for this voter. But then again Bern’s lack of people skills is what most of Bern’s critics site in the articles.

  44. Greg,
    Wow, just when I was writing to try to encourage a clearer use of words, I get a response that “distorts” my message. First off, in my first posting, I acknowledged that I thought the Weed mailing was “misleading” and “not the nicest”. You turned that into “dishonest” and “rumors and speculation”. Let me clarify what “misleading” means to me: it means that
    something is presented in a way that leads you to a certain, desired conclusion. It does not present the fact by itself (or ALL of the facts) and let you draw your own conclusion. Ah, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a fact there, just that the PRESENTATION of it tries to manipulate the audience. That isn’t a positive thing, but I still don’t think it falls into “dishonesty”.

    So, your letter galvanized me to re-read the Weed mailing and look at just WHAT it says and HOW it says it. (And I apologize to all the folks who have already done this for themselves…)

    1. “Why was Bern Ewert fired from Explore Park? After pocketing nearly $500,000 in salary over a 7-year period, why was Bern let go?”

    Ok. “Pocketing” sounds like “bilking” and puts Bern in the same mental association with Kenneth Lay. However, aside from that, why WAS Bern let go? AND, doing a bit more research (overdue, actually), I went to Bern’s website and pulled up his resume. Here is his work experience as he shows to the public (sorry, can’t format it to be smaller):
    President, Ewert & Company, Charlottesville, Virginia
    Consult on the building of New Towns

    Interim City Manager, Peoria, Illinois
    Restructured finances, added police officers

    County Executive, Prince William County, Virginia
    Implemented a growth boundary in half of the county

    Interim City Manager, Galveston, Texas
    Developed a financial plan that averted bankruptcy

    President, H.B. Ewert, Inc., Roanoke and Charlottesville
    Spent 3.5 years working with the Czech Republic and established a national system of economic development, the first in the former Eastern Bloc

    City Manager, Roanoke, Virginia
    Rebuilt the downtown and neighborhoods, created 5,000 jobs and reduced the Real Estate Tax from $1.60 to under $1.30.

    Deputy City Manager, Charlottesville, Virginia
    As Acting City Manager proposed to City Council the full pedestrian mall and the McGuffey Art Center

    Umm… Explore Park was his job for at least half a decade (while job in Galveston lasted 15 months), and it’s not listed at ALL. Why?? I am upset at Al’s misleading tone that Bern got fired for shoddy work and that he was a greedy businessman, but Bern’s own resume doesn’t acknowledge this job! Did he think it wouldn’t come up? What happened down there? I’m curious, I admit. So, Al, good question. You’ve gotten me thinking.

    2. “Explain why the Federal Elections Commission has been asked to investigate Bern Ewert. If found guilty of the charges, could Bern Ewert go to jail? How can Ewert take on Goode and the culture of corruption if he, himself, has broken the law?”

    Hmm.. that last line that says “if he, himself, has broken the law,” and therefore presumes Bern guilty. Not good. Misleading. Gives Bern the Tom Delay aura. Definitely “not nice” and yes, I’ll give you that it’s speculation. Reading the rest of it though, I found that it is true that the FEC has been asked to investigate, and it is true that a penalty for “misleading” the FEC is jail time. And I think that as Democrats, we do need to wonder how Bern is going to use Virgil’s MZM donations against him if he is suspected of having broken campaign finance laws himself. That removes one of the weapons of choice against Virgil this time around from Bern’s arsenal. So, Al, you’ve gotten me thinking.

    3. ”Why did the Galveston Branch of the League of United Latin American Citizens and the NAACP seek a court order to prevent Bern Ewert from being appointed city manager?”

    Hmm… This one is definitely rough on Bern. I did sense that Bern was being accused of being a racist, and the groups mentioned led me to that preliminary conclusion. Misleading, for sure. However, also fact. And, the newspaper article that reported on it only mentioned those groups. Follow-up research and reading on my part answers that question quite satisfactorily – they weren’t filing against BERN specifically, but against his renewal, which would mean overlooking quite a few other candidates. Al played dirty by using this, probably knowing what conclusion we’d come to, but we can’t accuse him of being dishonest.

    My conclusion (and I know you are patiently waiting for one) is this: Al has facts and valid questions about Bern. He used a misleading tone. This is not the kind of mailing I like to receive and I’m a bit disappointed and two shades more jaded. But as a Democrat, I have the right to know these things and have these questions raised. Certainly, when the questions are raised to Bern, he blows them off. I am still steaming over his blithe, flippant, “I lost my mind for a few weeks,” reply when asked about his previous consideration of running for office as a Republican. Don’t we deserve to know the answer to that, if we are going to choose him over another dyed-in-the-blue Democrat? Frankly, I think every political campaign is misleading, and therefore – by your definition – “dishonest”. It’s our job to try to sort the fact from the spin.

    And last, I am laughing MY butt off at your indignation over your perception that Al is being dishonest and trading in speculation and rumors, and then suggesting that he’s in cahoots with Republicans, what with your “When a member of the Republican party writes a “thank you” blog for Al’s mailer, most thinking Democrats would smell a rat. “ I’m sorry, but that screams HYPOCRITE to me.

  45. Well Julia, thanks for your view of misleading. Once again, just for you, a little bit pregnant is still pregnant (in my view). When you’ve got to dig and research to find truth, then you know that you were not presented with the truth to begin with. Some people (perhaps not you) would call that a “half-truth” which is viewed by many (but perhaps not you) as dishonest. Now you may have come to the conclusion that Al’s dishonesty is so small as to qualify for re-labeling to mere “misleading”. That’s your call.

    The very best lies always have a glimmer of truth to it. That’s what makes the lies so effective.

    On Explore Park – was Bern let go? I don’t know that he was. I agree its not on his resume and that is a good question to ask him. Bern says he fulfilled two contracts and then left the project. Is there something more negative there? I don’t know. Perhaps. Perhaps not. But that is not what Al said. Al said he was fired. Now if Al didn’t know for a fact that he was fired (and today, the Progress reports that he said “His contract was not renewed, fair enough,”) and he makes a flat statement that he was fired, that makes him a liar. That may be shades of grey for you, but it is a lie to me.

    You could say he is just a little bit pregnant or a tiny bit misleading or you could say he embellished the truth…or you could say he’s a liar.

    On the FEC filing charge; is it clear Bern shot himself in the foot? You bet he did. Can he get that thrown in his face by Virgil. He sure can. Is that a legitimate issue to bring up in the campaign? Absolutely.

    We both agree on the “misleading” speculation on Bern going to jail. What is a laugh is reporting that a charge was filed with the FEC and omitting the fact that it was one of his own supporters who did it. This is akin to setting your dog on your neighbor and then claiming you know for a fact your neighbor doesn’t like animals. “Half truth” Al has a nifty little bag of dirty tricks and the people to carry them out.

    On Galveston, we’ll have to disagree again. When anyone strings facts together in a way and with a purpose to mislead, that makes the person a liar. Now you may determine that intentionally misleading people is not dishonest in your opinion. I think he is dishonest and he lied.

    You say that you have the right to know the truth. I think you do as well. Are some of these things valid to bring up in a campaign? I think so. My complaint is not that valid issues were brought up but that Al Weed twisted the facts and lied. Al seemed desperate that he couldn’t find enough to complain about…so he just invented the rest.

    Al started off as a nice enough guy,,,maybe he went of in a couple odd directions like in 2004..but basically he was OK. Now he is Mr. “lessons learned”. He has shown that he learned all about misleading, and in my estimation, dishonest campaigning.

    Finally, I didn’t suggest that Al was in cahoots with the Republicans. That was you outsmarting yourself again. I said the Republicans thanked him…and that Democrats should smell a rat. This is a Democrat rat that is walking and talking like a Republican.

  46. Someone want to suggest to me how the mailer would have raised similar questions in reference to the same facts in a less misleading way?

    You have one third of a one-page (back and front) mailer to make your case without creating a way for Bern supporters to cry foul. I know you’ll be working on this all night, Greg, so just don’t go under 8 point font and try to keep at least half-inch margins.

    I’ll judge them based on whether I am capable of righteous indignation after reading them, and don’t get sloppy because I’m a liberal and I’m great at righteous indignation.

  47. Tell me something, Greg. On what are you basing your statement that the person who filed the FEC complaint is an Al Weed supporter? I filed that complaint and I haven’t come out in support of either candidate. Are you making the same assumption Bern did when he accosted me outside the meeting room in Danville in February after I asked a question he didn’t like? Just because I have questions and want answers that he won’t give, I must be for the other guy, huh? It is precisely that attitude and political candidates’ lack of honesty that irritates me.

    Of course, your condescending statements, chauvistic manner and pointed jabs come pretty close to irritation–but I just keep trying to consider the source. If you think that’s how you personally are going to “save” the Democratic Party from people like me, you have a lot to learn. I know quite a few people (besides myself) who are tired of others telling us what to think, who to listen to, and treating us like we don’t have brains of our own. We are also fed up with individuals who act like our questions are bothersome or are unimportant. If Bern won’t answer questions and keeps diverting those he doesn’t like by leading people in the wrong direction, then he should expect to continue to deal with the fallout.

    I have researched both 5th CD candidates heavily. (Can you say the same? Doesn’t sound like it.) I’m not taking anyone’s word for anything. I’m tired of being burned by candidates who say one thing before the election and then do something else or change parties later. Unfortunately for him, in the 5th CD Bern is the one with the holes in his background. And the more I look, the more his background doesn’t match his rhetoric and public statements.

    Not once have I come out in support of either candidate. You are the only person who continues to make that claim–just as your actions on this thread and others could possibly mislead me (and others) into thinking you were a staunch Bern supporter. I have not given money or in-kind donations to either candidate, have not been hired by either candidate, or registered as a volunteer with either candidate. Unfortunately, you can’t say the same since your name is on his website–broken graphics/links and all. (I have to admit, if my name was on the site, I’d offer to fix it—but you have to make your own decisions about that.) However, if you want to know what someone in Peoria thinks about the site (and Bern), click here. This is some recent stuff I came across—from February 2006.

    I have friends who support Al and I know people who support Bern. I actually know some people who couldn’t give a rat’s behind about who is running. Most people in my county have never really heard much about Bern, since he’s never bothered to come here, even though he was invited. I form my own opinions based on people’s actions, reactions, and data that I dig up. If filing a complaint means to you that I must be for Al and against Bern, then that’s you making an assumption.

    As usual, we’ll just agree to disagree. I’ve decided I won’t respond to any more of your posts. You’re just too condescending, arrogant, combative and negative for me. What you’ve written lately performs the same function as what you say Al Weed’s mailer does: to smear a candidate. Your mentioning that Al is a liar over and over is unfortunate, not true and won’t change the fact that you are trying to influence opinion. That’s just as bad as you saying that Al intimating that Bern could go to jail over my complaint was a smear campaign toward Bern.

    Speaking of complaints, since I’ve already done it once and know how easy it is to let the FEC know about people who can’t seem to follow election law, I’m considering another complaint about his lack of timely first quarterly filings. You know, even though Bern claimed to Bob Gibson that he had filed or was filing, I still can’t find that information anywhere.

    I research when I can, I post what I find—because like it or not, honesty (and doing things on time and legally) counts.

  48. Lisa, Bern filed yesterday for his quarterly report. 4 days late.
    I have to say, I’m not at all impressed with Bern’s campaign infrastructure. The FEC filings are late, the website’s in shambles, and the campaign manager is sending out stuff that hasn’t been edited. (See, for example, the 15th response on this strand.)

    I’m just not impressed. And try as I might to find something that Bern has said that would resonate with me, nothing has popped up there, either.

    Greg, I am not going to get into any more discussion about the Weed mailer. But, I can definitely say that Al Weed doesn’t leave me with a underwhelmed feeling of glumness like Bern does. Fix that website, would you?

  49. Lisa – Thanks for all of your research, sharing and followup. Your quest for honesty and personal accountability will only help to strengthen our Democratic Party.

    Greg – research allows us to pose questions that in this case deserve answers. Lisa has described you perfectly, and I have no time for continuing to read your self-inflating propaganda. Your forked tongue and viper fangs need new meat to bite into. Hard for you to imagine – but there are actually intelligent women and I no longer feel the need to witness your vicious personal attacks.

  50. Marlin – I’m giving you a free pass on your blog editing, since I can’t keep my “whelms” straight. I am OVERWHELMED by a feeling of glumness when I listen to Bern, and UNDERWHELMED by Bern himself.

  51. Wow. This isn’t healthy people. But it just might be par for the course.

    I am a life long democrat, not because I enjoy the label, but because it is the party that I most agree with. As an outside (Not any longer) observer to this thread I have decided that it is emblematic of Democrats greatest strength and weakness. WE are the party of ideas. Many different ideas. We care about more things than GWB can even consider in his missing-link sized brain. This is what makes us the people’s party. But it also divides us.

    See this thread. Dems not united in effort but1 divided by our own means. Not just divided, but also derisive, misleading, and verbally manipulative. STOP IT! I know that some of you would say that this ‘debate’ (I call it poop-slinging) is because we don’t have a single candidate yet. Maybe even some of you really feel that when the candidate is chosen that most of us will throw our support which ever way the winds blow. But you people are burning bridges.

    If I was Virgil Badde I would check threads like this every day just for fun. I probably email portions of this to his goode buddy Allen so we could all share a laugh while our campaigns were protected by not-so-political infighting. Look, I don’t know who I think is the better man yet (between Ewert and Weed), I owe myself and my vote more research first. But I do know that this whole thing has left me feeling a little despondent about our chances in 2006 and 2008. The republicans are successful because they are (somewhat more than us) UNITED. That is not necessarily what I suggest for us but a little respect for one another would be a great start.

    This mailer that kicked off the debate is BAD. No real info, mostly manipulated facts, and costly. It is misleading and manipulative. It is also cowardly. It doesn’t really come out and actually make claims, only raises the spectre of them. Come on Al. I thought that I liked you. Why not send out a ‘challenge’ mailer. A challenge to Bern Ewert (whose name remnds me of Burt and Ernie) to take a stand on relevant and important issues. A healthier debate. It seems to me that if these two (and most of you) could intelligently debate the issues and concede positive points to your opponent from time to time, that we could form a base to stand on. Then, whomever faces Virgil (NOT the poet) for the 5th cd will have somewhat of a chance. Because this isn’t just about votes, it’s about us.

  52. Whose stupid idea was the piece? I would think that the last thing Weed would want to do is bring up the issue of electability. His last campaign was a disatrous waste of money and any John Doe with a ‘D’ next to his name would have done better than Weed last time around without spending a dime. Outside of Charlottesville, the economy of the socially conservative district has been in the shitter for years and what did Al campaign on? Gay rights, abortion rights, and removing Christianity from public life. If Al Weed still has any name recognition in the district at all, it’s ‘MUD’. And the accusation about improper filings with the FEC is just shameful, it’s an open secret that Weed had all sorts of problems with the FEC in 2004.

    Can Bert Ewert beat Virgil Goode? I doubt it. Can Al Weed? Definitely not, we already know that.

  53. Wow…late to the party…nice intra-party sling-fest.

    I am an Al Weed supporter, so there’s disclosure.

    Bern may have better Roanoake name-recognition, but I think he comes across to a lot of people as an opportunistic Johnny-Come-Lately. Al’s been out working the 5th for a number of years – and continued to prepare for this year’s election in spite of his loss last round. Bern seems to have sensed an opportunity for any John Doe Democrat to win this year – in a very much socially conservative (reactionary) district – a very rare opportunity regardless of who the candidates are – and decided to hop in.

    As far as Weed being electable: he’s done better against Virgil than anyone else – my goodness, want to talk about getting trounced? What about Meredith Richards in her run against Virgil?

    I think Al’s flier was a bit higher profile, but Bern has been engaging in a whisper campaign since the beginning. Yes, it’s childish, and yes, it’s rather cynical, but as others have noted, winning really does matter – and if Bern wants to start it, then he can take it too. The simple matter is: Weed’s got a much larger and better organized operation – he’s been working on this for over three years – that’s tough for Bern to overcome, so he’s resorting to “smearing” Weed as ‘too liberal’.

    I think this campaign won’t be about God, Guns & Gays for a change – that certainly was what it was about in ’02 and ’04, but not this round. I’m hoping Al doesn’t pull any punches on Virgil this go ’round either – I agree that this flier is a sign that he’s willing to really fight back.

  54. I think this campaign won’t be about God, Guns & Gays for a change

    No, I expect Virgil has decided it’s going to be about Mexicans, Mexicans, and Mexicans. In other words, the immigration card. It’s another hot-button issue, and one that lets him pretend he’s not a Bush Republican, i.e., one of the members of Congress who has over that past four years enabled the disaster that this Administration has become.

    I still don’t like the tactics of the original Weed flyer, but I’ve come around slightly toward the view of people arguing that it is a healthy sign of determination to campaign hard. And Ewert’s campaign has done an inadequate job of responding to the questions, substituting complaints about the tactics for addressing the underlying issues of competency they raise. So I think Al actually came off sounding more convincing in Bob
    Gibson’s piece
    on the dispute.

  55. David,

    I think you’re right about Mexicans, Mexicans, Mexicans. But, I don’t think that distancing himself from Bush’s guest worker views will distance Virgil from the Abrahamoff/MZM corruption issues. Cognitive Dissonance is tough to overcome, and I’m sure there are a lot of Goode’s “base” that will accept corruption from someone they see as ‘on their side.’ But, I do believe the economic situation in southside – the textiles collapse in Martinsville and Danville – will not result in a purely anti-Mexican backlash. Warner’s work down there has helped open up the ears of folks down there to Democratic solutions.

  56. Anna:

    Here is a little bit of a Washington Post article today:

    Congressional leaders yesterday planned to ask President Bush to order investigations into possible price gouging by oil companies as crude oil prices hit new highs on world markets and average gasoline prices in the nation’s capital blew through the $3-a-gallon mark.

    Republicans are recognising this as a real danger. The oil companies are gouging the consumer (aka Voters). Democratics should jump all over this. This is not the worst of politics – this is real politics. It really is in the power of Congress to do something about this…and the first step is a Congressional investigation controlled by Democrats.

  57. Greg,

    Al’s rational for the biofuels is that gas prices are going to start going through the roof (will make 3 a gallon a very found memory).

    He says that we can make fuel cheaper and keep the money in the local economy instead of sending it to middle east.

    Brazil is all ready doing it, and we are going to have no other options. Why is this not something we want the Democratic party talking about?

  58. Jon

    Promoting bio fuels and going after the immediate cause for the current gas prices is not mutually exlusive. As I have said before, the bio fuels program is a good thing for Democrats to support. The only down side for that is that the benefits are years away. The bio fuels postion should be balanced with what can be done in the short term to relieve pressure on the consumer.

    Going after those that are raking in profits at the expense of the rest of us is good politics and has more of an immediate response from voters.

  59. Greg,

    Then I think here, at least, we are mostly in agreement. But even though gas prices are going to be be awesome politics for Dem’s this fall; I would say what is good politics is not always good policy.

    As is well known oil is a globally traded commodity, the price is set outside of this country (why drilling in ANWAR will have absolutely no effect on domestic gas prices). As I understand it, making US oil companies give up some of their profit would only marginally reduce the cost at the pump. But maybe, instead, they could be made to donate money to an alternative fuel research project, and a fund for fuel subsidies.

    Also, at the moment high oil prices have much, much more to do with regional instability where we harvest the oil, refinery capacity, and high demand.

    The % of profit margins pretty much stay the same regardless of $18 a barrel or $71a barrel.

    Anyway, in the future declining fields and a lack of new discoveries to replace those fields, will increase prices further. Add some sort of serious supply shock (like a war with Iran), and we will be in Great Depression II.

    The real culprit in this is not the oil company’s profit margins, the real culprit is their intransigence and hostility towards the USA varying its energy portfolio.

    It has been thirty years since oil prices killed our economy the first time; and we didn’t learn a damn thing!

    Now people are going to be hurting big time because of this, and our country and its security are going to be compromised.

    Of course the real kicker is to successfully implement biofuels and more hybrid tech, prices (at least for awhile) have to be high, so the newer stuff can compete and get more market share.

    I do not know how you balance the politics of all of this.

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