My RPV convention wish list.

The Republican Party of Virginia is having their state convention this weekend. I’m excited about it. The theme of this blog for the past few years has been that, given a choice, Virginia Republicans will always choose wrongly. Not wrong in hindsight, but wrong like should I pick up some dinner on the way home, or drive off a bridge? They’re presented with two choices this time around: who to make RPV chair and who to nominate as their candidate for U.S. Senate.

John Hager, the incumbent and former lieutenant governor, is a nice guy. He’s got the gravitas and the experience to try to hold together his party, and he’s clearly slowed its collapse, as I expected. He’s only had the job for a year. His challenger is the far-right Del. Jeff Frederick. He’s polarizing, inexperienced, and kind of a tool. Though Hager’s reelection seemed a cinch a few months ago, Frederick seems to have a real chance of winning. That would surely seal Republicans’ fate as a minority party in Virginia come next year’s elections.

The other decision that Republicans are presented with is considerably less consequential. They’ll be selecting between Gov. Jim Gilmore and far-far-far-right Del. Bob Marshall for the nomination to run against Gov. Mark Warner for Sen. John Warner’s seat. Short of a dead-hooker-or-live-boy scenario, Republicans may as well be nominating Mickey Mouse. Gilmore is way to the right fiscally, having left the state in a financial shambles at the end of his term as governor (apparently convinced that was a good thing), while Marshall is way to the right socially, being fundamentally opposed to sex for any purpose other than baby-makin’. The nomination of either would be terrible for the party. The citizens of Virginia well remember how badly Gilmore screwed up localities’ coffers, and will rightly interpret Gilmore’s nomination as an endorsement of Gilmorenomics on the part of Virginia Republicans. And giving Bob Marshall a platform is always a mistake, because nobody knows what’s going to come out of that man’s mouth (including, I suspect, Bob Marshall), and nobody but the dwindling base is going to like what he’s got to say. At best, these guys will go unnoticed by the public. At worst, they’ll be noticed.

This convention will certainly be a net loss for the RPV, but it may prove to be a staggering loss if Frederick defeats Hager. I know who I’m rooting for.

25 thoughts on “My RPV convention wish list.”

  1. Jeff Frederick is an accomplished campaigner and fund raiser. He is equipped with the drive and the skills needed to more the GOP forward in the Twenty-First Century. He scares the Hell out of the Democrats because he is so effective.

    No wonder Mr. Hager is now deemed a “nice guy” by you and other Democrats. I guess that in the Democrat dictionary, nice guy is a synonym for, someone who will let Democrats win.

    Bob Marshall is often attacked by Democrats who disparage this statesman with terms that attempt to paint him as a lunatic. I wish all of those who use such inflammatory rhetoric could have seen Bob Marshall during the Marriage Amendment debates. People from the gay community who came expecting to have a hate-filled encounter with Bob Marshall were instead, pleasantly surprised to learn how carefully Bob had prepared for his discussions about the subject of gay marriage. Especially noteworthy was how Bob Marshall had scoured the Code of Virginia and Federal Law and how he actually helped show many those who had intended to heckle him, how many of their concerns already had solutions built into our existing laws.

    After the debates, it was fascinating to see the speakers on the pro gay agenda always bolt from the scene, while Bob Marshall would stand and politely discuss concerns with citizens from all sides of the political spectrum.

    Bob Marshall is a former Democrat, who has strong beliefs based on his faith and on our Constitution. The part that I wish everyone on the Republican and Democrat side could know is that we have few men like Bob Marshall in the political arena these days. He is a principled man who genuinely likes his fellow citizens and even when someone disagrees with him, Bob Marshall can be relied upon to help his fellow citizen, and he will help anyone among us, with the same zeal that he applies to his daily work in the General Assembly.

    Bob Marshall will be a great U.S. Senator, who will be our Champion of the Constitution and who will be a reliable, attentive friend in our Senate, to all Virginians.

  2. He scares the Hell out of the Democrats because he is so effective.

    Who said anything about being “scared”? As I’ve said quite clearly, I’d be thrilled to see him win. Hell, he’s promised to give up his seat if elected chair — that’s one more seat in the “D” column.

    No wonder Mr. Hager is now deemed a “nice guy” by you and other Democrats. I guess that in the Democrat dictionary, nice guy is a synonym for, someone who will let Democrats win.

    Uh. No. I say that he’s a nice guy because, when we’ve talked now and again over the years, he’s always been pleasant and friendly.

    Republicans have stated or implied routinely over the years (as you are now) that my unsolicited advice is offered in bad faith — that y’all should do the opposite of whatever I suggest. This reminds me of “opposite day,” in elementary school. It’s just goofy.

  3. Mr Ballance… uh wow…

    All I can say is please don’t Bogart that doobie.

    The names you reference are familiar to me, but as a voter in the 13th house district, I gotta say your experience with Delegate Bob is vastly different than my own. Just wow.

    I hope Bob wins the Senate nomination because I want the whole state to see him and his policy stands up close.
    I am sure that having once seen them, Virginians will do the right thing and let Bob stay home and make babies however he likes.

    One giant eye roll.

    I share your interest Waldo, I’d like to see Virginia’s Republican party get back to main street and leave the lunacy behind. I am not sure it will happen, but I keep hoping.

  4. Waldo, I enjoy your repartee’ but I have seen so many times where Democrats reserve their use of faint praise for those who have become “collegial.” To Republicans, our guys have been stabbed in the back when they have reached across the aisle so many times that if they hear a Democrat describe them as “collegial” then they presume that they are seen as total push-overs or otherwise politically dead.

    Scott proves the point that there is a lack of legitimate criticism of Bob Marshall’s positions. He makes the tired crack alluding to Bob being crazy and infers that anyone who disagrees with his baseless assessment are on drugs. Don’t confuse Bob Marshall’s innovative and independently researched positions as flippant or wacky, just because you have never heard them in the form of the eight second sound bites ejaculated from the television news anchormen.

    I have supported Democrats, Republicans and some Libertarians over the years as a campaign worker and fund raiser. There are some real megalomaniacs out there in our political landscape. It costs so much to run, most believe that you have to be rich, an egomaniac or both. A good and honest man doesn’t come along in politics often, so when they do, they should be treasured.

    Bob Marshall is one such rare statesman. I like his measured approach on environmental issues. I especially like the way that I have witnessed him hold civil discussions with citizens from all social stations and even when they disagree, the citizens come away remarking what a good listener Bob Marshall is and how he offered several helpful ideas. I like the way Bob Marshall promotes thoughtful and civil discourse on the issues and the way he does not stoop to the, now typical, sound bite platitudes or mud slinging at his opponent.

    Bob Marshall has shown how he will be our Champion of the Constitution in the Senate, by pushing our leviathan government back to within its Constitutional limits. When the federal government is made to play by its Constitutional rules, all citizens win, because all citizens will be heard.

    Bob Marshall is not a Bush-Neocon Republican. He is a Republican who believes in his pledge to uphold and defend the Constitution. He has proved that he does his homework on the issues and often crafts innovative, original solutions to problems. He may not always offer the solution that lobbyists or special interest groups want, but Bob Marshall always devotes his energy to the greater good of our citizens.

    Each of us may not agree with him on every issue, but there is no doubt that he has carefully researched his every position, and that he will always offer solutions based on Constitutional law and in the best interests of our People.

  5. Waldo, I enjoy your repartee’ but I have seen so many times where Democrats reserve their use of faint praise for those who have become “collegial.” To Republicans, our guys have been stabbed in the back when they have reached across the aisle so many times that if they hear a Democrat describe them as “collegial” then they presume that they are seen as total push-overs or otherwise politically dead.

    Well, then I have good news for you: I haven’t described Hager as “collegial,” and I’ve praised him strongly, not faintly.

  6. To Republicans, our guys have been stabbed in the back when they have reached across the aisle so many times that if they hear a Democrat describe them as “collegial” then they presume that they are seen as total push-overs or otherwise politically dead.

    Stabbed in the back eh? This from someone who found Ollie North, a terrorist arming criminal- suitable for high office and defense of the Constitution? Breathtaking.

  7. J. Tyler,

    You are describing Bob Marshall as a gentleman. That may very well be true and I’ll take your word for it. Marshall’s trouble in terms of a run for state-wide office is not his character but the simple fact that his actual policy positions are dramatically out of step with those of most Virginians and most of the voters consider many of those positions unpleasant and bizarre, however well-researched they may be. Someone who believes that sexual activity for any purpose other than reproduction should be banned is a man of the 19th century and the public is certainly not going to embrace such a leader who seeks to severely curtail their personal freedoms.

    Of course, his other problem is that he runs something like 20 points behind Mark Warner in poll after poll. Marshall is what you call a sacrificial lamb in this race. A real top-tier challenger for a Senate race would usually be someone who has held either a federal office (former Congressman or cabinet official) or a state-wide office such as Attorney General or Governor. The very fact that Bill Bolling didn’t even consider a run speaks volumes. No matter what the quality of his character, Bob Marshall is about as weak a Senate nominee as one is likely to find. Your basic edition member of the House of Delegates just does not have a snowball’s chance in hell against a wildly popular former Governor who consistently polls with double digit leads well over 50%.

  8. Scott: air-popped popcorn is actually very low in calories, so long as you stay away from the butter.

  9. J. Tyler – I don’t think Bob Marshall supports television news anchormen ejaculating anything, including 8 second soundbites.

  10. Fun drinking game during the General Assembly: Take a shot of bourbon every time Bob Marshall utters the word “fetus.” You’ll be on the floor passed out before the Noon Hour ends.

  11. What exactly is the pro gay agenda?

    Is that anything like the pro black agenda? You know, the one a few decades back that resulted in some folks being unable to bolt from the scene because they were too busy hiding inside an earthen dam?

  12. “I have supported Democrats… over the years as a campaign worker and fund raiser.”

    Name them.

  13. Gilmore is way to the right fiscally, having left the state in a financial shambles at the end of his term as governor … citizens of Virginia well remember how badly Gilmore screwed up localities’ coffers

    You seem to subscribe to the Big Lie Theory — that a lie, repeated often enough, becomes the truth. Warner’s office adopted that strategy from Day 1 regarding the state’s fiscal numbers, and they apparently did a damn fine job in making suckers believe their Big Lie.

  14. Just for fun, let’s ignore for a moment the veracity of the claim. Doesn’t it remain factually accurate that the blame placed on Gilmore by localities throughout the state weighs heavily against his candidacy in the minds of voters?

  15. To whatever extent uninformed people still believe the thoroughly de-bunked Big Lie, yes, that would weigh against Gilmore’s candidacy.

    Over the past several election cycles, however, the truth has come out regarding the Big Lie, and more and more voters now know that there never was any fiscal crisis, and Governor Warner pushed through the largest tax increase in the history of Virginia when he already had a $2 Billion (that’s billion, with a ‘B’) surplus.

    And gee, who was in charge of the state immediately preceding Warner, thus responsible for creating that surplus? Allen, Gilmore, and a Republican controlled General Assembly…. hmmmmmmm.

  16. I. Publius,

    I’d love to see references for the budget-surplus number you cite.

    (And not just partisan/blogger links–something like a non-partisan/independent fiscal analysis would be useful.)

  17. Are you kidding? That’s so well known and accepted that you should feel foolish for even asking. Try using the Google thingie. It works pretty darn well.

  18. It may be well known and accepted among the sort of folks with whom you talk about such things, but you should understand that precisely the opposite is well known and accepted among the sort of folks with whom we talk about such things. As you can imagine, googling for anything about Warner and Gilmore is useless for information going back that far, largely because the results are drowned out by talk of the current race. If this is something “well known and accepted,” then it should be pretty easy to provide a link to an independent fiscal analysis, shouldn’t it?

  19. I found this Post story, through the wonder of LexisNexis. Here’s the longest excerpt that I suspect I can call “fair use”:

    Gilmore Estimates $1 Billion Shortfall;
    Final Budget to Prepare for Deeper Recession
    By R.H. Melton
    Metro, Pg. B01

    RICHMOND, DECEMBER 3— Virginia Gov. James S. Gilmore III (R) issued a more pessimistic fiscal forecast for state government today, estimating a $ 1 billion shortfall that he said could be an omen of a worse recession than he first feared.

    Gilmore said he was relying on the “most conservative” numbers available to revise the forecast he made Nov. 15, when he announced that Virginia was in a full-fledged recession and faced an $ 890 million shortfall.

    Gilmore said he had been persuaded by an advisory panel of business leaders to adopt essentially a worst-case scenario of a nearly year-long recession, which he plans to incorporate into the final state budget he presents to the General Assembly on Dec. 19.

    The governor’s latest and gloomiest forecast of state revenue widened the projected budget hole by $112 million, probably setting the stage for a round of potentially deep cuts in state spending, which is now about $ 25 billion annually, Gilmore and lawmakers said.

    Then, from a few weeks later in the Washington Times:

    Gilmore to call for cuts in all state departments
    By Daniel F. Drummond
    Metro, Pg. B1

    DECEMBER 19—Gov. James S. Gilmore III today will tell legislators during a formal presentation of his two-year, $51 billion budget that Virginia is expected to have a $2 billion revenue shortfall over the next two fiscal years.

    Mr. Gilmore, a Republican, is expected to tell the House of Delegates and Senate budget committees that across-the-board spending cuts of 5 percent to 6 percent at all state agencies are needed, sources said. About $500 million of the nearly $1 billion “rainy day” fund also is expected to be tapped to fill the gap as part of Mr. Gilmore’s final budget.

    In addition, Virginia’s economy is projected to recede by 1.4 percent through June 30, the end of the current fiscal year. The economic report comes on the heels of Gilmore administration announcements that the state faces a $1.3 billion revenue shortfall this fiscal year.

    I’m not holding back any stories that claimed anything to the contrary. I read abstracts for ~100 stories between January 1, 2001 and January 1, 2002, the period in which the budget was being debated. The search terms were “warner gilmore budget,” with 660 results in all.

  20. I.Publius,

    I can’t say I’ve ever felt foolish for asking a direct question that could be answered quantitatively.

    I have, however, felt foolish in hindsight on a number of occasions for accepting qualitative answers to quantitative questions.

    (Though I’m not sure either fact is relevant here given that your answer was neither qualitative nor quantitative; indeed, it wasn’t even an answer: it was an ad hominem swipe.)

  21. Rehabilitating the image of Ronald Reagan into fictional superhero worked pretty well for the Newtniks of the mid-1990’s and has apparently emboldened the oft-wedgied I. Publius to attempt the same with Jim Gilmore. Unfortunately dear boy, your calculus doesn’t work – Gilmore left too much evidence, many aggrieved victims, and he remains embarrassingly alive and talkative.

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