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Browsing Posts published in May, 2008

This is a quick and dirty report from today’s Republican Party of Virginia (RPV)Convention. I’ve got lots of video and photos but am likely to fall asleep in the middle of this post so a barrage of partially coherent text is the most I can deliver tonight.

[Bearing Drift has a semi-complete report of vote totals].

Jeff Frederick RPV Chair
New Chair of the Republican Party of Virginia, Jeff Frederick!

The good news: Jeff Frederick trounced John Hager in the battle for RPV Chairman. Hager trotted out a long list of endorsements and short list of accomplishments and asked, basically, to be allowed to keep that ol’ sparkling positive momentum moving forward.

Frederick told the hard truth, that the Virginia GOP is on a serious losing streak, the public tide has long since turned against the party, and that a harsh reckoning was coming. We can make the change now, he said, or wait until we lose more elections and become a true minority party out in the wilderness, and then make the change. But the party is going to change one way or the other. He also said the very screwy events of yesterday, on which more later, would never occur again with him leading the RPV.

It was a pretty convincing speech, because no matter how many arrived intending to vote for Frederick, it was impossible to listen to his argument and not see immediately that there really was no other choice.

Because of the huge margin of defeat Hager apparently did not want the vote numbers released, and opted instead to nominate Frederick by acclamation. A friend of mine who stayed throughout the counting and saw many of the results said it appeared Frederick won at least 2/3 of the total votes. (Check the comments to this Virtucon post for final tallies for all the Districts in the Chairman race. Jeff Frederick indeed won convincingly.)

In the not-so-good-news department, I think a lot of people walked out of that Convention center thinking Bob Marshall had been robbed, the vote tally for nomination for the Senate seat was falsified, and that Jeff Frederick has just inherited a thugocracy. It was a very fishy chain of events.

Bob Marshall at RPV Convention
Bob Marshall had a huge crowd of supporters and about double Jim Gilmore’s decibel level of cheering. His rousing speech reminded why we want a candidate who has formed his own positions and can articulate them masterfully.

First, as Blog Fu alludes to, the seating arrangements bespake the singular concept that “the Republican Party of Virginia is run by assholes.” The stage was at one end, with the districts seated in numerical order from the front of the room to the back. 1st District next to the stage, 11th District in the back of the room. Except that Gilmore’s and Hager’s home district, the 7th, was also right next to the stage. So the order of seating was 1st, 2nd, 7th, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th. Those of us in the 10th District were almost 50 yards from the stage. Ok, fine, so the Convention is slightly “weighted” toward two of the four candidates.

Then, here is how the vote tally process was conducted. All the ballots were issued and collected separately by each District chair, turned over to RPV staff who ran them through scanners under everyone’s watchful eyes, and then the straight numerical results were given back to the District chairs, who then had someone calculate by hand the “weighted” totals (different counties’ votes are worth different amounts). Here is the operation conducted by the 10th District guy doing the tallying:

10th District Vote Tallying
This Gilmore – Hager supporter tallied the 10th District votes. This guy may have the wisdom of Solomon and ethics of Gandhi for all I know, but leaving him and all the other District talliers on an island to do all the calculations with no oversight or review seemed like a strange and overly loose protocal for choosing a U.S. Senate nominee.

I was going to make an abacus joke about this and rag on the low-tech nature of the process, but it’s not so much an abacus joke as a “ten thousand typing monkeys” joke. In this case the tallier, an obvious Gilmore supporter, was doing calculations in pen, running them through a calculator, scratching out results, starting over and redoing the operations. It took close to half an hour for him to come up with final numbers, and in the meantime many people stopped to look, incredulously. There was no oversight whatsoever, no opportunity for the other campaign to check the numbers, no independent authority verifying the numbers. This guy literally could have been pulling numbers out of thin air and no one would have been able to call him on it. The talliers CERTAINTLY could have made mistakes – which actually seems quite likely given the number of different calculation required. Someone asked 10th District Chairman Jim Rich about this extremely loose procedure and Rich replied that the fellow was Rich’s assistant who has done this many times, and that Rich trusts him. When the time came each District chair reported the numbers as unassailable gospel truth, and that was that.

When the Oscars are awarded each year, the vote tally is conducted by a third party and delivered to the awards ceremony under lock and key in the care of a company like Ernst and Young. If the RPV procedures were used, it would be the equivalent of the vote tally conducted and results delivered by Pixar Animation Studios.

So bear that in mind while considering how the vote reporting went. The Secretary came to the podium to call on each District chair to read their respective results, starting with the 1st District. They did so, until it came to the 7th District’s turn, and the chair announced “The 7th District will pass.” This elicited some vocal reactions from the audience, but the Secretary continued through the rest of the Districts, and then, at the very end, the 7th District chair read his results. The final tally gave Jim Gilmore a victory by 65.8 votes. The total was announced, Bill Bolling immediately called Bob Marshall to the podium to speak, and it was over.

A number of people, myself included, were dumbfounded that such a tiny margin of victory (65 out of 10,300 weighted votes) could be accepted so readily when the tallying process was so manifestly open to inaccuracies or, worse, manipulation. The 7th District talliers, a cynic might suggest, could have been keeping a running total, waited strategically until the very end, and then simply made up a vote total to ensure Gilmore of victory. There was no opportunity to challenge. I personally think it was a blunder on Bob Marshall’s part to not have asked for a roll call vote or other review of the ballots in the 7th District. I know that Bob Marshall is a stand up guy who would do the “honorable” thing for the greater good, and I am sure the Marshall campaign will never breathe a word about anything possibly untoward about the vote counting, but he left a lot of supporters from Loudoun County wondering “why was the RPV allowed to get away with that?” If Bob Marshall’s choice is to let it go, that’s fine. I’m a hothead; he clearly is not. But I hope he will at least give us another shot at getting him into the U.S. Senate.

I have video of much of the above and will post it in the next few days. I think it will demonstrate – especially when you see how the 7th District announced their vote totals – that this was a questionable series of events.

There were numerous reports that during yesterday’s Convention activities some more very questionable parliamentary moves (or, more accurately, “non-parliamentary moves”) took place, including Jim Rich getting Jo-Ann Chase bounced from the list of at large candidates to the Republican National Convention. These are just hearsay reports at this time and I hope to get more details, but today the rumors were swirling that RPV leadership was demonstrating that “a fix is in.” The final result in the Senate contest confirmed the rumors for many attendees. All in all, it seemed like a dirty affair.

Then, to top it off, the moment Bob Marshall left the stage after not quite conceding but announcing brightly that the task ahead is to “beat Mark Warner,” a very, very LOUD video promotion for Jim Gilmore was played, telling his life story and stretching over 10 minutes. This was annoying because everyone knew that the vote for RPV Chair still had to occur, so time was really starting to drag. But its annoyingness was nothing compared to Jim Gilmore following the video with a 20+ minute speech in which he did what Jim Gilmore does best, which is to deliver a litany of “conservative principle” cliches and tired phrases. Cherry on the sundae was a Ronald Reagan anectdote, reminding everyone that the types of folks who put the “lame” in “lame ass Republicans” were solidly in control of the Virginia GOP. I think Jim Gilmore and his “Let’s Pretend It’s 1999″ -themed campaign is going to get clobbered this fall. He definitely will not have a lot of the people at today’s Convention out working for him.

Endorsements For Jim Gilmore
Jim Gilmore had something like 20 people give endorsements, “seconding” his nomination, which took forever, wasted our time, said nothing about his personal value but broadcasted loud and clear that business as usual is alive and well in the Virginia GOP. Every dog catcher in VA supports Jim! Yee Hah!

On a positive note, the asshats who WERE in charge of the RPV are no longer in charge. The second ballot of the day, in which Jeff Frederick triumphed overwhelmingly in the race for RPV Chair, may well turn out to be the more significant one. Someone observed that it seems quite incongruous that Frederick clobbered Hager and Marshall lost – when so many people had come with the express purpose of voting for both Frederick and Marshall. The insinuation was, they cheated on the Marshall ballots but could not cheat on both.

I honestly don’t know. But I do hope that having a good guy like Jeff Frederick leading the RPV will inspire some of the disaffected and newly cynical from the results of today’s Senate contest to get involved with the Virginia Republican Party and push the thugocracy aside. Jeff needs to do some housecleaning, and publicize it. With Jeff at the helm, there is real reason for hope, and maybe we can convince Bob Marshall to take another shot.

Ken Cuccinelli Endorsement Speech For Bob Marshall
State Senator Ken Cuccinelli gave one of the best speeches I’ve ever seen Ken give in endorsing Bob Marshall for U.S. Senate. I hope to get the full audio and video posted soon. It can serve as a lasting reminder of why we need Bob Marshall in higher office.

UPDATE: Blog Fu weighs in on Bob Marshall’s future:

A year ago, Bob Marshall was a curious oddity in Virginia politics, a conservative leader who would rather have everyone hate him than compromise his principles. He is no longer an oddity. He is the voice of Virginia’s Republican future. When that realization sinks in within the compromise-on-anything Republican leadership of Virginia, this could cause a seismic shift in Republican politics, and completely transform the political landscape in Virginia.

It’s about time.

sv_johnlydon.jpg

I remember the first time I heard the Sex Pistols was on the old WHFS radio station, 102.3 FM “Home Grown Radio” in the 1970s. (Probably one of the best radio stations of all time, and not just in the DC area). My uncle bought me Never Mind The Bollocks for Christmas in 1977 – a well-worn LP I still own. Publicly, I hated the Pistols. I even won a National Council of Teachers of English writing award for an essay I wrote condemning the Sex Pistols as the dirty underside of the punk movement of which I held the Talking Heads up as the “intellectual” and respectable representatives. But like most everything I said as a teenager, that was total BS, because I played the record over and over, through high school and college. The sound was so tinny and unfiltered and unique, it was compelling.

In the 1980s Pistols lead singer Johnny “Rotten” Lydon formed Public Image Limited, a band with a completely different, suave, jazzy sound, and in my book one of the 10 or 15 best rock groups ever formed. The Sex Pistols were an angry teenagers’ band; PIL was a musicians’ band. By that time of course I had graduated to cassettes and PIL was on every party tape I made.

Well, I haven’t really done music per se for a decade or so, so I could not tell you what has been going on in the interim since my party-tape days ended. But I must say this interview with Lydon is one of the more intriguing historical pieces I’ve read in recent years.

Lydon and his wife, he tells me, were due to fly to New York on Pan Am flight 103 on 21 December, 1988. They missed the flight by minutes because Nora had packed late. Hours after take-off the plane exploded over the Scottish town of Lockerbie, killing all those on board. ‘It was just chance. Sheer chance that we weren’t on board. Sheer chance that we weren’t both blown to bits. That, I can tell you, was one very sobering experience. I mean, that has an effect on you.

Read it all. If you are an old, wistful, new wave codger like me, you will definitely appreciate it. He has quite a story to tell.

New Toy

2 comments

In keeping with our tradition here at NVTH of staying at least two years behind any given technological curve, I can hereby announce I am marching boldly into 2006 by incorporating Twitter into this Web site. What this means is, I can now send messages from my cell phone to the Twitter Web site, and theoretically they will be forwarded here to the “Twitter Updates” script at the very bottom of the righthand column.

I had to put it at the bottom so in case Twitter is down, as seems to be the case right now, the rest of the blog will still load in your browser.

Anyway, the point of Twitter is to be able to constantly broadcast the answer to the question “What are you doing?” I’m not totally clear on the appeal of that concept, because I can’t imagine anyone caring a whit what I happen to be doing at any particular time, and I know I sure as hell don’t care what any of you are doing at any particular time, but there it is.

One possible use I do see is being able to flash updates on things that people might happen to care about, like “I just saw a boatload of Chinese soldiers disembarking under the Woodrow Wilson Bridge” or possibly results from tomorrow’s RPV Convention.

Unfortunately, none of it will be too easy because I literally do have to use a cell phone – don’t have a Blackberry so the fastest I can create messages is by plodding through the telephone keypad.

So if Twitter is working, and I have anything of value to share, you might find some information of interest at the bottom of the right column of this blog, so please check back periodically.

UPDATE: Here is a video about Twitter.

The wife is in Baltimore where there is much cooler stuff going on than we typically get in the suburbs here. Hopefully some of the coolness will rub off on her and then by extension on me.

Looking through our referral logs last night I learned that approximately 33% of our traffic at NVTH Blog is because of people googling this photo I took of Michelle Malkin last year. (Here is a larger version for those of you with poor eyesight.) Now, is that really “googling” or should it be termed “g-ogling?”

Anyway, special thanks to Michelle for wearing that skirt and those boots at the NRI Summit. We’ll take the traffic any way we can get it.

UPDATE: On second thought it looks like there’s just something weird going on right now. That photo is a year and a half old and in the past 24 hours there has been a huge increase in the number of requests from images.google.com. Michelle’s birthday maybe? I’m stumped.

[UPDATE: Whoops sorry for the typos, this was a LATE night post and I left off a critical piece of HTML code which negated a paragraph or two. All fixed now.]

Our government is out of control at every level, but by putting just a few competent people in office we can make a big difference.

I and some friends are waking up at an obscene hour this coming Saturday to drive down to the Republican Party of Virginia (RPV) Convention to vote for Bob Marshall as the nominee for U.S. Senate and Jeff Frederick as RPV Chairman. Here’s why.

The Republican Party is seriously screwed because so many of its elected officials don’t stand for much except slogans meant to keep them in power.

“Conservative Values.” “Move Republicans Forward.” “Ronald Reagan.” Blah blah blah. Guys in suits saying the same old crap.

In 1994, Republicans swept into power because they presented policy ideas that resonated with the American people. Since then, and especially during the Fat Tuesday era which has been the Bush presidency, they tossed those policies, grabbed money and attempted to consolidate power.

Yes, that is what politicians always do. And that is why they are usually eventually swept out of power. For Republicans, the party has now become the sickness, because everyone sees that mere GOP identification means nothing more than an appeal to keep “our team” in control of the machinery of government and, by extension, the publicly funded spigot of cash.

The reason Republicans continue to go down in electoral flames is, in large part, because their marketing message is boilerplate of what brought them success in the 1990s (or maybe 1980s). Hey, it worked then, why shouldn’t it work now? What many of them seem to miss is that reality – you know, that place where most people actually live – changes. So the message does not just need to change, it needs to be meaningful relative to the issues of the day.

On top of that, I would submit, the Republican “brand” has been so damaged that Republican candidates who wish to succeed should formulate their messages on the basis of policy alone without regard to the historical legacy. Maybe even poke a stick in the Party’s eye. Today, the past don’t sell.

Bob Marshall vs Jim Gilmore for U.S. Senate

Bob Marshall is my choice for GOP nominee for U.S. Senate because he is anything but a party line politician. He has been a longstanding proponent of enforcement of U.S. immigration laws at the state and local levels – when this has NOT been the Virginia GOP standard by any stretch of the imagination. (more here.)

He sent the Help Save Loudoun Honest Business Inititative to Virginia Attorney General Bob McDonnell’s office for an official opinion (a story for another day). If these “Honest Business” policies, which are currently in place in various states and localities throughout the U.S., were implemented in Virginia, our illegal immigration problem here would inevitably disappear. All of you who are seeing this problem in your neighborhoods should be rising in support of Bob Marshall, because he is one of only a handful of elected officials working to solve it.

Most significantly, Tom Tancredo endorsed Bob Marshall, and reflected on what he saw of Jim Gilmore during the recent presidential primary campaign:

“Jim Gilmore says he’s against amnesty, but he has a long record that suggests otherwise,” Tancredo said. “Less than a year ago, while campaigning for the presidency in Iowa, I witnessed Gilmore give a speech supporting a policy that sounded like amnesty to me.”

Gilmore has basically said illegals simply need to “register” and this will solve our problem. From my front porch, seeing the illegal boarding houses on my street, I don’t see “registration” as anything like the solution.

On other issues, Bob Marshall is similarly impressive. He co-authored the “Marriage Amendment” which passed by a wide margin in 2006, assuring that legal marriage in Virginia would only be between one man and one woman. Following that huge ballot box success, Marshall was in the crosshairs of liberal activists – but against heavily funded opposition he won his legislative seat in 2007 by a wider margin than he had won in 2005.

Visit Bob Marshall’s Web site to learn more about his positions.

I think Jim Gilmore would be toast against the Democratic nominee Mark Warner in the general election this fall. Whether justified or not, Gilmore left office with a bad public reputation and Warner left with a good reputation – despite the fact Warner lied about his pledge not to raise taxes. It’s not fair, but it’s Gilmore’s problem. On top of that, Gilmore is the quintessential “vote for me because I am a good Republican” marketer. I think that message is death.

Bob Marshall is a quirky politician, in the sense that he actually thinks independently, who has successfully run against the popular grain, is not running on any cliche Republican mantras, and really represents what Virginians need from their public officials of any party. He is running on policies and principles, not slogans. He is a true citizen-legislator. More people like Bob Marshall in Washington, DC, could turn this country around.

I think an outsider like Bob Marshall, the regular guy with the ubiquitous camera around his neck, speaking frankly, might have a chance of winning in a “Democratic year.”

Jeff Frederick vs John Hager for Chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia

Let’s start with the positive: Jeff Frederick is one of the best people we have in elected office in this country right now. It is tempting to make the case via what his idiot enemies are saying about him, but we won’t take that route. Please just note the following from the Help Save Loudoun PAC review of Jeff Frederick:

“We are a nation of legal immigrants, and my mother is proud to be among that group. Like so many legal residents and naturalized citizens, she followed the rules, obeyed our laws, and did her best to assimilate into American culture.”

The first and only Latino elected to Virginia state government, Jeff Frederick made national news in 2005 when he called on then-Governor Mark Warner to declare a state of emergency in Virginia because of illegal immigration.

In 2007, he proposed legislation to prohibit any form of state funding to Virginia “sanctuary” jurisdictions – counties, cities, or towns with policies in place that disregard a person’s illegal status for the purposes of providing services or engaging in law enforcement activities.

In 2008, his sponsored bills included calling for officers of correctional facilities to inquire of the alien status of inmates, that individuals applying for vehicle registrations and certificates of title shall be required to prove legal residency, and that contractors shall not knowingly employ unauthorized aliens.

I have gotten a ton of John Hager’s mail and it is all in the theme “I am a good Republican so vote for me.”

One mailing, which seemed pretty expensive, had Hager in a big photo with Attorney General Bob McDonnell. I have talked with Bob McDonnell, and he seems like a nice guy, but his office has been absolutely abysmal on immigration enforcement in Virginia. McDonnell’s office has said, essentially, that what Arizona, Oklahoma, Georgia, and the Town of Herndon have done is impossible for the state of Virginia to do.

I have serious reservations about Bob McDonnell’s commitment to prosecuting immigration crimes in this state. Apart from Senator Ken Stolle, Bob McDonnell is probably the top Republican part-of-the-problem on the illegal alien crisis in this state. Thus I am not too impressed with Hager right off the bat.

Then, what else I have seen from John Hager has been ridiculous. The message in his direct mail has been “I took office 9 months ago and I have talked with many Virginia GOP leaders.”

Hey, John, that’s just peachy, but you are rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. I don’t care who you have talked to, and I don’t care about your goal of “moving Virginia Republicans forward.” Since you took office, Virginia Republicans have gotten creamed in actual elections.

And I won’t even get into John Hager’s whiny complaints that Jeff Frederick has had the audacity to criticize a “fellow Republican.”

“Fellow Republicans” are part of the problem, John. You guys who spout the same old bromides are killing the party.

So I want to see a guy like Jeff Frederick moved into a leadership role who is willing to oppose the tide and shake things up lead the RPV. It is the only hope. As a young, independent-minded and proven effective legislator, Jeff Frederick has made a real impact in the Virginia General Assembly. He has shown a willingness to buck the party line. We need the energy of a Jeff Frederick to remake the Virginia Republican Party.

Priceless commentary from Mark Krikorian:

When will the long national nightmare of mechanized harvesting come to an end?