[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.