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Volume 1, Number 8. November 2010 * Special Election Recap

Scott Rigell Never Stopped Believin’

The Vicious Cycle of American Elections

How Hurt Almost Lost the 5th Rick Boucher: Capped and Traded

The Republican Party – True to Its Core


Bearing Drift Virginia Politics on Demand J.R. Hoeft, Publisher jr@bearingdrift.com Michael Fletcher, Editor-in-Chief mrfletcher58@gmail.com Alan Moore, Editor alan@bearingdrift.com Contributors this issue: DCH Jason W. Johnson Shaun V. Kenney Brian Kirwin Alan Moore Brian W. Schoeneman Ward Smythe Josh St. Louis Guest Contributors Dr. Quentin Kidd

Š Copyright 2010

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In this Issue 4

How the 2010 election helps set-up 2012 J.R. Hoeft

10

Yeas and Nays

12

The Viscious Cycle of American Elections Guest commentary by Dr. Quentin Kidd

14

Scott Rigell Never Stopped Believin' Brian Kirwin

16

How Hurt Almost Lost the 5th Shaun V. Kenney

18

Is Virginia's 8th Congressional District a lost cause? Josh St. Louis

20

How Morgan Griffith Pulled Off Virginia's Upset of the Night Jason W. Johnson

22

Fimian Comes up Short in the 11th Alan Moore

24

The Untouchables DCH

26

The Republican Party - True to Its Core Brian W. Schoeneman

30

Now Thank We All Our God Michael R. Fletcher

32

The Final Ward

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Of Tea, Taxes and Truman: How the 2010 election helps set-up 2012 by J.R.Hoeft The past couple weeks pundits and politicians have tried to explain “what happened” with this past election. I have my own opinions, and you can read my op-ed about how Virginia led the change, but I think what is more interesting is how those most affected are reacting. First and foremost, let’s start with the administration and the big guy himself. The “new normal” Truman? In President Barack Obama’s interview with “60 Minutes” post-election, he hoped that we aren’t entering what he called a “new normal” of high unemployment and debt with our economy. I can certainly agree with that. What I also hope is that we aren’t entering a “new normal” of American presidents passing the buck. Check out these choice Obama clips from the Interview: “One of the challenges we had was that we'd lost four million jobs in the six months before I was sworn in. We lost 750,000 jobs the month I was sworn in; 600,000 the month after that; 600,000 the month after that. So, what you had was the economy continuing to get worse in the first several months of my Administration, before any of our economic policies had a chance to be put into place.”

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“I had a $1.3 trillion deficit waiting for me….” “The bank interventions. TARP, that we inherited from the previous administration….” “I also do think that the American people are concerned that the debt and deficits that have been built up over decades….” “There's a reason why our health care system hasn't been reformed over the last several decades. Why every president talks about it and it never happens. Because it's hard….” “I couldn't get the kind of cooperation from Republicans that I had hoped for.” Regarding the last six months prior to the election Obama said, “I think whatever proposals we put forward were not gonna get a serious hearing. Because it didn't serve short term political purposes.”


Of course, the President never would say that his policies were part of voter angst. The President promised to change the tone in Washington, and says that he and the American people hope: “That Democrats and Republicans aren't shouting across the abyss, but instead are trying to sit down and have a conversation and come up with practical solutions. And we have not seen enough of that over the last two years.” Yet, in trying to fulfill his promise of televising the healthcare hearings: “Trying to coordinate an ongoing conversation on television was, you know, something that we ultimately said, you know, ‘This is just too cumbersome, we can't pull it off.’” President Truman would be proud. The President did take responsibility for something Of course, the President never would say that his policies were part of voter angst. Clearly his adding more than $3 trillion of debt in 21 short months and further raising the debt ceiling (more debt and faster than any president in history), advocating for a national energy tax (which punishes our own energy producers in coal and oil), nationalizing the student loan industry, attempting to nationalize the automobile industry, bailing out Wall Street, and of course, giving us ObamaCare, had nothing to do with voter reaction on Election Day. However, the interview was enlightening because he did finally find some fault with his own performance in office.

understand. And I think that we haven't always been successful at that. And I take personal responsibility for that. And it's something that I've got to examine carefully as I go forward,” the president said. “I think what's still fair to say is that I can do better than I've done in painting a picture for people about where we need to go. That pulls people together as opposed to drives them apart. And that's one of my central tasks over the next couple of years.”

Despite 24 hour news coverage over television, radio, “I think that over the course of two years -- and I newspapers and the Internet – and his appearing on mentioned this during the press conference -- we said media virtually every day either from the White were so busy and so focused on getting a bunch of House or on the road – Democrats lost big in the stuff done that we stopped paying attention to the midterms because the president failed to fact that we yeah, leadership isn't just legislation. That communicate with us? it's a matter of persuading people. And giving them confidence and bringing them together. And setting a Continued on Page 6 tone. And making an argument that people can BearingDrift.com / Page 5


Of Tea, Taxes and Truman Continued from Page 5 I guess we all need to get ready for all-Obama, all-the-time, the next 24 months. It’s the economy, stupid. And those evil Republicans.

November’s losses have left high-level Democrats feeling freer to open up about White House missteps over the past two years — complaints that were repressed when Obama was strong but now are being aired as clues to his team’s isolation as he tries to regain command of the capital after his midterm thrashing.

Of course, as the quotes above partially show, the administration really feels the impetus for the repudiation on Nov. 2 is from factors completely beyond their control. To them, what happened in the Where the administration goes from here is anyone’s guess, but it appears they are going to try to paint the midterms is a result of the economy and those GOP as intransigent the past two years, and now dastardly Republicans. obligated to compromise over the next two years. “I think first and foremost, [the election results were] The President also said, “I think the Republicans were a referendum on the economy. And the party in able to paint my governing philosophy as a classic, power was held responsible for an economy that is still underperforming and where a lot of folks are still traditional, big government liberal. And that's not something that the American people want.” hurting,” said Obama. Note the president said “the party in power.”

He was backstopped by his senior adviser, David Axelrod.

This “distant” and “aloof” behavior is not winning him or the administration any friends with Democrats, and “During the past two years, the other party decided they didn’t want to participate,” said Axelrod. “What it might make their own ambitions of a second term the electorate wants is for both parties to sit down, even more complex over the next two years. work together, and get this economy moving again.” Politico reported that Democrats in the House are getting a bit annoyed with the administration: “This guy swept to power on a wave of adulation, and he learned the wrong lessons from that,” said a Democratic official who deals frequently with the White House. “He’s more of a movement leader than a politician. He needs someone to kick his ass on things large and small and teach him to be a politician.” Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) expressed a much deeper frustration to POLITICO: that the president never had House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s back — and it cost both of them. “They not only failed to defend her and her accomplishments on their behalf,” said Miller of the White House, “they failed to defend themselves.”

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Cantor doesn’t want to see the GOP blow it. Not so fast says the GOP What the electorate said was “stop the spending, do things differently, we’re worried about our children and our grandchildren, and we can’t keep going on as we are,” said Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) in a recent appearance on “Meet the Press.” And that sentiment is echoed by Virginia’s own Rep. Eric Cantor, the man most likely to become Majority Leader: “The broken state of our government is a direct result of years of unsustainable growth and mismanagement -- under the watch of both parties. Righting the ship will not happen overnight, but our work must begin immediately,” he said. “Make no mistake, we are coming to Washington to rein in the deficit, to tear down barriers to job creation and to reform a government that has grown out of touch with the governed.” Cantor also doesn’t accept the administration’s premise that the GOP sat out the past two years. “For the past two years, House Republicans have been committed to developing alternative solutions grounded in the time-tested principles of fiscal responsibility, small government, economic opportunity and reward for hard work,” said Cantor. “Faced with an administration and a Congress that seemed intent on reorienting the role of government in America, time and again we stood up against them. Now it is our responsibility to lead with the same conviction, vigor and determination.” Cantor’s Challenge The Republicans captured a sweeping mid-term election victory the likes we haven’t seen since 1946; Republicans have more congressmen in office than at any time since 1947.

Photo: Jane Dudley

Cantor doesn’t want to see the GOP blow it. “This election marks a great victory for common sense. For the GOP, it's a golden opportunity at a second chance,” he said. “Republicans now have to prove to a suspicious public that we are ready to govern in a conservative manner by returning this country to a land of opportunity, responsibility and success.” And he’s right to call the public suspicious. Whether you look at a USA Today/Gallup poll, or one from CBS or ABC News, among others, no poll leading up to the election had congressional approval over 25%. Last I checked, even with Democrats in the majority, Republicans still were part of the congressional make up. Continued on Page 8

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Of Tea, Taxes and Truman Continued from Page 7 If you drill-down further into these polls, you see that Republicans fare little better, with an approval hovering around 30% – hardly what one would call stratospheric support. So, if Republicans are not the darlings of the electorate, clearly they are not in any position to think too much of themselves and their policies as providing the impetus to victory this November. As the president correctly asserts, this was a repudiation of the “party in power.” While he tries to pass the buck on the previous administration, he fails to recall that Democrats gained a majority in Congress in 2006 and the president himself has been in office for 22 months. This means that for nearly four years, at least one branch of the federal government has been in complete Democratic control. Blaming the country’s failures on the GOP or the previous administration is pretty disingenuous. Again, the polls bear this out. The American people are upset over policy, and were looking for an Alternative: Do you support healthcare? 49% of likely voters had an unfavorable view. Do you support stimulus bills? 68% of Americans said the nearly $800 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was a “waste.” But perhaps the most important issue of all is enthusiasm. Gallup did a very interesting poll about a week out from the election and found that the economy and healthcare were motivating Democrats to vote (51 and 31% respectively), but stated that because the administration took action through the stimulus and the health care reform bill, Democrats had little Volume 1, Number 8 / November 2010

reason to go to the polls. From a GOP perspective, voters were very much fired-up about economic conditions (36%), size/power of government (28%), and healthcare (20%) – all things which, from a Republican’s perspective, need to have something done: in other words, a reason to go vote. Getting help for the future from the Democrats and the Tea Party? This last point on enthusiasm is not to be taken lightly. It had a lot to do with Republican congressional victories in Virginia, as discussed elsewhere in this magazine. While Democrats sat on their hands this election cycle, Republicans “rode the wave” to victory. But will that lack of enthusiasm by Democrats and that injection of the enthusiasm by the Tea Party last into 2012? It very well might. Amazingly, Congressional Democrats are returning both Senator Harry Reid and Representative Nancy Pelosi to their party’s top positions in the U.S. Senate and the House. These two polarizing figures, in addition to the President wanting to be even more of a media maven (I still don’t see how this is possible), will continue to demonstrate time and again over the next two years why further change is needed in Congress and the White House. Like a leopard can’t change it spots, neither can liberals. So, rest assured, we will be blessed as conservatives with two more years of Democrats continuing to advocate those high-dollar, tax-and-spend policies that the Tea Party can’t stand – and the GOP must stand against. But what of the Tea Party? Will they remain motivated and turnout in 2012? Will the GOP stand firm for limited government, lower taxes, personal freedom and responsibility – and, if they do, will the Tea Party remain engaged enough to continue their participation


and loose affiliation? Does the Tea Party even have sufficient numbers to make a lasting movement and counter the ObamaMania we saw in 2008 (and may, at least in some proportion, see again in 2012)? Patrick Ruffini at National Review gives a pretty fair warning: “Yet the Tea Party must take care to avoid the fate of conservatives in the late 2000s, who more or less threw in with the Bush administration, only to get disillusioned by the rise in domestic spending. It’s a fate that threatens also to befall the progressive movement in 2010; the “netroots” went all in for Obama in ’08, only to have to disown his political ineptitude this cycle, and have now largely faded from view. This doesn’t mean that the Tea Party must be cynical and oppositional, but rather that it should use this interlude to further develop its leaders and organizing principles.”

Party like fish in water. Under their leadership, they have been able to harness the energy of limited government loyalists and build the movement to something of a force. But can it continue? Time and again through the nineties, the “independent” voter tried to put their energies into a “third way”, whether that was via the Reform Party or even the Green Party. Will the Tea Party be anything other than disaffected voters?

Ruffini says the Tea Party will be helped by the fact that they were not successful with their endorsed candidates in Delaware, Washington, Colorado and Nevada – that it allows them to continue to mount what he calls “an insurgency” campaign which keeps In Virginia, where we have one of the most robust Tea motivating the base. Party organizations, it is still small by comparison. But more important than the insurgency, the Tea Case in point, on election eve, a sparse crowd of about Party is actively trying to build a movement. 100 gathered in Virginia Beach at a Tea Party rally, while Republican Congressman-elect Scott Rigell and “Power in D.C. must be devolved, and one of the ways you do that is to run out the ruling class, one by one, the GOP Virginia leadership team of Gov. Bob and not just in D.C., but in state capitals and McDonnell, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, Atty. Gen. Ken municipalities. If the Tea Party can begin to control the Cuccinelli, and Chairman Pat Mullins attracted hundreds (many who came to the event from the Tea nomination process — for not just the Republican party, but even the Democratic party, by running more Party rally). conservative options in Democratic primaries — then the movement begins to control the parties, and then Additionally, at the state level, while nearly 4,000 controls the system,” said Ned Ryun, executive director people attended clearly the largest Tea Party of the Tea Party affiliated American Majority in National convention held in any state, it is still led by conservative stalwarts in Virginia who have tried this Review. “I think the national leaders are beside the point; if they go away, the movement still exists. If the before. local leaders go away, the movement dies.” Folks like Pat McSweeney and Jamie Radtke, highly The next two years should prove interesting as these involved in the now two years defunct Virginia questions begin to be answered. Conservative Action PAC, seemed to take to the Tea BearingDrift.com / Page 9


Yeas The President’s Visit – In a last minute attempt to rally liberal supporters in what everyone projected to be a close race, President Obama appeared in Charlottesville in support of one-term Congressman Tom Perriello. Perriello lost to State Senator Robert Hurt 51% - 47%. We look forward to welcoming the President back in the next election cycle.

TARP slapped down the threat of $7.5 trillion of sovereign wealth fund money buying up American assets by warming up the printing press at the Fed.

Rumor has it that in 2012 Jim Webb, the angry Senator, will decline to run for re-election making way for part-time Governor and current-for-a-while Democratic National Committee Tim Kaine. With the success that Kaine had as Governor and most recently at the DNC, we welcome the change.

Prince William County BOS Chairman Corey Stewart tells the federal government to stuff their stimulus package after the PWC School Board signaled their intent to spend the money on new hires (i.e. Recurring expenses). Well played, sir.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch released detained information regarding state employees making $50,000 or more annually. While we were not surprised, it was distressing to find that the highest paid among them were at our colleges and universities. We don’t care how valuable one might presume themselves to be, there’s no justifiable explanation for anyone on a public salary to draw more than $700,000 annually. Bill Stanley and Greg Habeeb quickly announced runs to fill the vacated seats of Robert Hurt and Morgan Griffith respectively. Other candidates are rumored to be in the hunt, but we would be genuinely surprised if any of the challengers would knock out these qualified, top-tier candidates. TARP makes money. The “bailout” roundly criticized by leftists for being too little and conservatives for being too much did precisely as its architects said it would. Government as the lender of last resort now seems to have a muddied record as it is confused with the Obama stimulus plan, but there’s no question that

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Rick Boucher’s slush fund. OK, this isn’t a “yea” necessarily. But we can’t all be as cool as Rick Boucher, can we?

The Veterans of Foreign Wars could have rolled over on their PAC endorsement. Thousands of phone calls later from angry members, and the membership reminded the leadership who was really in charge. VFW members – we salute you.

Nays Governor McDonnell’s father passed away on Election Day at the well-lived age of 94. Our condolences extend to the Governor’s family. So just who was behind those mysterious Kenny Golden and Jeff Clark mailers? Most of Virginia may have lost interest, but hopefully the good government watchdogs of the world (and the Federal Election Commission) will run this one to ground. Survey USA had some of the most wild, whacked, egregiously wrong polling of the campaign season. Seriously, fellas? Third party candidates. EPIC FAIL.


Tom Perriello taps car. Car swerves off road. One person was injured, screams the Richmond TimesDispatch! But don’t fret – the Congressman is OK. The injured person? Gotta wait six paragraphs before we concern our pretty little minds about the plebes… In a shameless attempt to manufacture an October surprise in the Second Congressional District, racist emails from a Virginia Beach GOP surfaced and were promptly promoted by a liberal blog. A prompt condemnation from the Rigell campaign and the resignation of the official deflated the attack. Photos that surfaced of a young First District Candidate Krystal Ball proved to be embarrassing to both the candidate and those who released them. If you follow Virginia politics at all, you know the story. It was unfortunate both that the photos were taken and that they were released. Perhaps more unfortunate has been Ball’s attempt to exploit the issue into her own fifteen minutes of fame. Skeptics would wonder if Ms. Ball released the photos on her own. In spite of referring to Veteran Patrick Murray as a one of the stealth candidate who “haven’t been in office, haven’t served or performed any kind of public service,” the 8th District sent an anti-semitic, ill-tempered Jim Moran back to Congress.

The Libertarian Party of Virginia has to be feeling pretty down right about now. At the very moment their issues are in the very forefront of the American public’s mind, they have neither been able to harness the anti-party sentiment of the Tea Party movement nor were they able to field any candidates that seriously contended with either major party candidate. If this is the best the LP can do, maybe – just maybe – it’s time to pack it in, folks? Chuck Smith got rocked in VA-03, and there’s no reason it had to happen. Shame on those who allowed it to happen. Shame on those who smacked away the hands that tried to help Smith. National Public Radio. Need we say more? Probably not… we’d get removed by the comma cops at Bearing Drift. The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors continues to host the Islamic Saudi Academy, despite all the alleged terrorist activities and concerns from the public. Poor decision.

Tea Party activists are applauding the move that would have DMV issue “Don’t Tread on Me” license plates in the design of the Gadsden flag. But does a ABC privatization crashed and burned, sounding more government produced and sponsored product convey like a Monty Python sketch than a serious policy the right message? We have our doubts. direction. If we can’t get this right, what hope is there for smaller government, folks? On Friday, November 12, a firewall failure at Virginia Information Technologies Agency's Chesterfield Phil Cox threatens House Republicans. House County once again caused disruption in the state Republicans finally issue the whiskey-tango-foxtrot. computer network once again prevented the DMV Phil Cox finds nice new home with the Senate from issuing drivers licenses. Does Sam Nixon wish Republicans. he was back in the House of Delegates?

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Guest commentary by Dr. Quentin Kidd To understand the results of elections today, one has to understand the three major parts that make up the electorate and the forces that motivate those parts. I find this easier to do by looking down from 30,000 feet than by looking up from the forest floor. First the parts of the electorate. Today’s electorate is composed of three parts of nearly equal size, the Republicans, the Democrats, and the Independents (although non-affiliated is probably the more accurate description of this third group). Each part constitutes approximately a third of the whole, although this division is in constant flux.

Democrats or Republicans (we call them the “base” these days) are certainly the most committed partisans and because of this make the parties ideological tents much smaller than they used to be. There is much less moderate influence in either party and much more partisan influence in them.

How do these parts relate to each other? With the Republican and Democratic parties composed of the most partisan elements of the electorate, the politics that comes out of them are by definition more partisan and less compromising. We see this most evidently in Congress, where Democrats and Republicans have found little ground upon which to compromise on all sorts of policy for several years Over the last forty years, the proportions that make now. Electorally, it makes little sense to compromise up the Republican and Democratic electorate have been shrinking, and the proportion that makes up the if in doing so you risk being punished by your increasingly narrow base, or having your base simply Independents has been growing. For instance according to data from the American National Election not show up to support you because their partisan spirits aren’t excited enough. Study, in 1952 nearly 90% of all Americans (not just those who vote, but all Americans) called themselves The effect this increased partisanship has on Republicans or Democrats and around 10% said they Independents is two-fold. First, a lot of had no preference or were Independents. Today Independents are turned off by the hyperaround 65% of all Americans call themselves partisanship of the two parties, and because of Republicans or Democrats and around 35% say this many of them simply don’t vote. A large they have no preference or are Independents. part of the explanation for why voting rates dropped steadily from 1960 through the first This movement towards a greater proportion part of this century was due to the fact that of the population that is less partisanlyan increasing number of people were oriented is important to understand. For calling themselves Independents and not one, it means that partisan cues, always so voting because the increased important in helping voters make partisanship turned them off. decisions, are less important to a growing portion of the population (the Independents). But it also means that those who continue to identify as

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But, for those Independents who do continue to vote, the effect is an almost schizophrenic bouncing back and forth, from the left to the right. And it is this backand-forth of the Independents, which has produced two mid-term “wave” elections in a row, in 2006 and now in 2010. A look at how Independents voted in recent elections show their erratic nature. In 2004, for instance, Independents split their votes between George W. Bush and John Kerry 48%-49%. Since the Republican base was more excited about Bush than the Democratic base was about Kerry, Bush won. In the mid-term elections of 2006, Independents voted 57% to 39% for Democrats and since the Democratic base was more energized than the Republican base, the result was big Republican losses and Democrats gained control of the House and Senate. In 2008, Independents broke for Democrats again 53%-44% and this along with a more energized Democratic base gave Democrats the White House and stronger control over Congress. However, in 2010, Independents went Republican 55%-39%, and this along with a very energized Republican base and a slightly demoralized Democratic base, gave Republicans huge wins in the House and big wins in the Senate. It would seem then that the key to electoral success is to appeal to the Independents. But, this runs right up against what the two parties have to do to appeal to their bases. Republicans and Democrats have different views about the role of government, level of taxes, health care, and many other issues. Their views are positively motivated by their ideologies, and their ideological bases have been shrinking in recent years.

The motivations of partisans are often positive. That is, they are often voting for their party or for an ideological position that is consistent with their partisanship. They may be more or less motivated depending upon the performance of their party in office, but they are generally voting for something. The motivations of Independents, the roughly 1/3 of the electorate that decides the winners, are often negative. That is, they are often voting against the party in power because they do not approve of them for some reason. This is, sadly, the key to understanding the results of elections today in America: what are the Independents upset with and what are they willing to vote against. It is a vicious cycle that appears to have no end in sight.

Dr. Quentin Kidd is an associate professor of political science at Christopher Newport University in Newport News where he specializes in the study of southern politics, civic engagement, and political behavior.

Independent voters are motivated less by positive ideological concerns than by practical concerns about solving problems: Independents are very utilitarian, and as a result they often find themselves voting against something that doesn’t seem to be working. In 2006 the Bush administration’s policies in Iraq seemed to be failing, and Independents voted against them. In 2008 Independents further punished the Bush administration for its handling of Iraq and the economy. In 2010 Independents punished Democrats for not taking care of the economy.

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2

Scott Rigell Never Stopped Believin’ by Brian Kirwin “Don’t Stop Believin’ “ was the anthem playing as Scott Rigell hit the stage to declare his victory for the Second Congressional District. With a musician’s showmanship, he shook hands across the stage, turned to the audience, and raised his hands in victory in perfect time with a drum crescendo. Believing is something Rigell never stopped doing. Judging from his 53%-42% drubbing of one-term wonder Rep. Glenn Nye, you couldn’t fault a few people if they forget the rough road it took to get there. Rigell’s primary opponents kept his nomination under 40%, and many of them campaigned far to the right of Rigell, who didn’t leave much room on his right to begin with. The primary got negative, all focused on Rigell, but all faced on issues and never got personal. Still, the major accomplishment that set the stage for a November victory was not his victory in that primary, but who joined him in his victory. Ben Loyola. Bert Mizusawa. Scott Taylor. Jessica Sandlin. Rigell’s primary Opponents. In what could’ve been a divisive split among factions in the Republican primary, these candidates immediately endorsed Rigell and each one worked event after event, face to face and in media, to support Rigell for Congress. The press presumably would’ve written enough stories about a GOP-Tea Party split from June to November but never got the chance.

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Rigell worked hard over the summer solidifying that base, and expanding it to independents with great success. It proved to be a worthy time investment when the Democrats made the strategic decision to go after that base themselves.


In one day, Scott Rigell showed more leadership than Glenn Nye did in two years. Typical attacks on Rigell from the Democrats were abandoned. Typical defenses of Nye were similarly back-burnered. Democrat strategy, tipped weeks earlier in polling calls to Republicans to test attacks on Rigell, was to peel conservatives from him and direct them to gadfly independent candidate Kenny Golden.

Perhaps it’s human nature to examine a blowout as a collapse of the loser rather than the excellence of the winner. Rigell truly ran an exceptional race that won Hampton and Norfolk as well as landslides on the Eastern Shore and Virginia Beach. Nye won all of these in 2008.

Mailboxes and televisions were full of Democraticfunded ads touting the conservatism of Golden over Rigell, and the most it gave voters was a slight pause.

How similar 2012 is to 2008 will decide if Rigell is our own one-term wonder or a Congressman that has built coalitions to gird a conservative majority for years to come.

By Election Day, Rigell’s work uniting those on the right and center-right showed its power. Conversely, Democrats’ almost singular focus on promoting Rigell-Golden vote splitting left very little messaging about why anyone should vote for Glenn Nye. Nye’s vote percentage in polling never escaped the low 40s and his 42% finish was more due to shouldershrugging Democrats than Tea Party conservatives. Conservatives paid little attention to advertisements supporting Kenny Golden that were “paid for and authorized by the Democratic Party of Virginia.” In the end, Golden’s 4 %, once thought likely to be the difference between a Republican win and a Republican loss, was too insignificant to warrant a footnote. Rigell’s campaign was not without missteps, but they were missteps that were quickly overcome. Early drama from the Rigell camp about which candidates should debate gave way to an “anyone, anytime, anyplace” stance that robbed Golden of his last decent press coverage. Even last-second smears from Democratic bloggers landed nary a scratch on Rigell, who frequently and rapidly responded in classy fashion and built an air of inevitability about this race in the closing weeks.

Rigell has launched a mission of ethics reform for Congress with ideas that have great popularity and promise: term limits, limits on Congressional office perks and franking, and bans on non-defense earmarks. All these ideas have supermajority support and go a long way to attracting the independent, changeoriented voters that made up the 2008 voting population. The longer Rigell wears the reformer’s hat, the stronger his polling will become. The reality that Congressional re-election campaigns begin the day after the election ends was never more clear than when Rigell announced these reforms in a package he will advocate, with the added pledge to follow them whether they are passed into law or not. In one day, Scott Rigell showed more leadership than Glenn Nye did in two years. Perhaps that, more than anything, tells the story of the 2010 election in Virginia’s Second District.

x BearingDrift.com / Page 15


5

How Hurt Almost Lost the 5th …or, why Virginia’s 5th District is fertile ground for a Democratic challenger in 2012 by Shaun V. Kenney

That’s a fairly brutal assessment, but for number crunchers sweating out the last weeks of the campaign, it’s the wall those who understood the numbers knew was coming. Let’s not sugarcoat what happened in 2008 either. Republican Rep. Virgil Goode was a native son and a favorite to win, with a 23 point lead against an unknown and untested Capitol Hill lobbyist and New York City lawyer (who also had a beard at some point… and we hate beards in Southside). Perriello pulled off an impossible win, and he knew he had to fight to keep Virginia’s Fifth in the blue column. This doesn’t mean the GOP ran anything near a flawless campaign. With $250,000 in the bank, the Goode campaign with old timers and 5th District Republicans linking arms and expecting another doubledigit win were indeed rolled by that inexperienced (and underestimated) New York lawyer, who promptly became the darling of the progressive left. Tom Perriello now has a statewide reputation, if not a national one, for his spirited defense of progressive principles while every other Democrat – liberal or progressive – was running for the hills and away from President Barack Obama. In fact, Perriello did what most pundits deemed to be the unthinkable. He brought Obama out to Charlottesville for a rally in the worst political environment for Democrats since 1994. What gives? What did Tom Perriello know that the rest of the world didn’t know? The answer to that is frighteningly simple if you’re a Republican, as the following chart shows. Despite the horrendous turnout for Democrats in the worst year since 1994, and despite the supposedly stellar turnout and the Tea Party tsunami that was about to sweep out every liberal and progressive coast to coast, the revolution simply didn’t happen. Volume 1, Number 8 / November 2010

LOCALITY

2006

2010

% Change

Albemarle

16,106

16,584

103.03%

Appomattox

3,518

3,768

107.11%

Bedford

9,273

8,728

94.12%

Brunswick

1,686

1,573

93.30%

Buckingham

2,593

2,281

87.97%

Campbell

12,372

12,189

98.52%

Charlotte

2,613

2,381

91.12%

Cumberland

1,882

1,657

88.04%

Fluvanna

4,791

4,857

101.38%

Franklin

12,748

11,247

88.23%

Greene

3,386

3,670

108.39%

Halifax

6,516

6,254

95.98%

Henry

7,358

6,205

82.32%

Lunenburg

2,230

2,190

98.21%

Mecklenburg

5,365

5,539

103.24%

Nelson

2,826

2,694

95.33%

Pittsylvania

13,641

13,531

99.19%

Prince Edward

3,027

2,710

89.53%

Bedford City

1,182

1,035

87.56%

Charlottesville City

2,880

2,662

92.43%

Danville City

6,899

6,135

88.93%

Martinsville City

2,307

1,660

88.93%

127,385

121,570

95.44%

Figure 1. Comparison chart of VA-05 midyear elections showing 2006 and 2010 vote totals, including the percentage of 2010 turnout against 2006 results.

In fact, if one compares 2010 GOP turnout with the dreadful 2006 numbers when Democrats captured both the House and the Senate during President George W. Bush’s second term, a pretty frightening scenario plays out.


Republican turnout was actually down almost five percentage points – a pitiful showing for a 2010 environment that was supposed to leave no doubt. Hurt will have to walk a fine line between the natural inclinations of his district and the Tea Party movement who sacrificed much to Seven localities actually performed less than 90% of see Hurt beat Perriello. the 2006 midterm election turnout. Averaged out Not only is the prospect of a serious Democratic across the district, Republican turnout was actually challenger looming in a 2012 presidential year, but down almost five percentage points – a pitiful showing one false step on issues near and dear to the limited for a 2010 environment that was supposed to leave government Tea Party movements could translate no doubt. into a serious and costly primary challenge from the right. There are several lessons to be drawn from this.

Republicans didn’t win in VA-05. In fact, independent of about four localities, GOP turnout was down from Goode’s 2006 win when Republican turnout was depressed. Of those four, only two did better than 5% -- Appomattox and Greene.

First, grassroots organization in Virginia’s Fifth District needs a drastic overhaul. Virgil Goode no longer being the congressman, there is no way to paper over terrible precinct and GOTV efforts with the momentum of Goode’s name. Only a handful of localities really had the sort of focus on turnout and GOTV one would expect in other districts across Virginia. Second, it was apparent on the ground that while the primary candidates smiled at the camera, the brutal way the primary was won for Robert Hurt damaged the willingness of quite a few supporters to join ranks with those who threw the barbs. Moreover, they damaged their candidate’s brand early, and as the primary results proved they did so without much reason.

Lastly, redistricting in Virginia’s 5th may be a difficult battle of demographics. The purpling of the northern part of the district may have been arrested for a time, but there’s no question that Albemarle, Nelson, Fluvanna, Buckingham, and perhaps Cumberland are all flickering blue. The fear that Perriello could very well have built an unassailable Democratic district stretching from Charlottesville to Petersburg may or may not have come true, but those same demographic realities that would have made Perriello secure after redistricting had he won is a ticking clock for whomever inherits this slice of Central Virginia. Can Hurt hold on in 2012 even after redistricting? Not with 2010’s campaign efforts, that’s for sure.

Given the 12 point enthusiasm gap for Republicans going into this election, the fact that Hurt walked away with a four point win is, of course, still a win. This was Third, it is important to remember that the DNA of no near miss against a well funded and well organized Virginia’s 5th is that of a conservative Democrat. Let’s Democratic opponent though. Sloppy campaigning not forget that this is the same 5th District that once from the right and a well-oiled machine on the left elected such left-wing luminaries as L. F. Payne (often still seems to be the norm. Whether Hurt can pilloried as “Left Field” Payne by contemporaries in duplicate his predecessor’s outstanding constituent Richmond). Apart from Virgil Goode switching parties services, or whether 5th District Democrats forget their and running for re-election, this is the first time the 5th own strength – and whether Tea Party anger remains District of Virginia has elected a Republican without directed towards Obama – will be the deciding factors the benefits of incumbency since Rep. John R. Brown as to whether or not “One Term Tommy” stickers will in 1887. be replaced with “One Term of Hurt” stickers in 2012. BearingDrift.com / Page 17


8

Is Virginia’s 8th Congressional District a lost cause? by Josh St. Louis

Will Republicans have to redraw the lines in to get a fair shot in the 8th Congressional District? Many seem to think so. After all, the 8th District has served its purpose over the years as a “Democratic dumping ground.” What will be interesting is to see what will happen with redistricting now that Northern Virginia has two Democrats and only one Republican. 2010 saw a new energy for Republicans. A fierce primary between Matthew Berry and Patrick Murray energized Republicans. However, once Murray won the primary, he had trouble raising money and running an effective campaign. He went through three campaign managers, and was painted by Moran as someone who didn’t know anything about the community. very successfully. Patrick Murray moved to Alexandria two years ago after retiring from the Army. While While some questionable comments made by Moran Murray’s military service is commendable, Moran was about public service gave Murray a boost in donations able to label Murray as someone who has absolutely and media coverage, ultimately Moran argued that no grasp on local issues. his seniority and earmarks were the reason that the 8th district should vote for him again, which they did Republicans need to be seen in the community. They need to be seen as neighbors, not just as people who with a 61% margin. In fact, in what was a great year show up every now and then and ask for your vote. for Republican in Virginia, Murray didn’t even Frank Fannon, an Alexandria City Council member, break 40%. and Dave Foster, a former Arlington County School Board Chairman were both successful because they With all that in mind, let’s look at what it might take for a Republican to be successful in the 8th District as ran on being a member of the community, not as a it is currently drawn. There are two scenarios in which member of the Republican Party. a Republican can win this district. While both candidates technically ran in non-partisan races, their common-sense message of results and Someone “from” the area good government resonated with voters in Northern Virginia. Frank Fannon was a household name for the The word 'from' is in quotes because a candidate past twenty years before he ran for City Council. cannot win just living in the district - the candidate Republicans in the 8th district need to find the must be involved in the community. Unfortunately, Jim Moran used this argument against Patrick Murray candidate that the community knows and trusts.

Volume 1, Number 8 / November 2010


While Murray’s military service is commendable, Moran was able to label Murray as someone who has absolutely no grasp on local issues. Other way to win: Moran retires

Conclusion

Jim Moran is an electoral powerhouse and a Democratic machine. While many Democrats don’t like him, they often just suck it up and vote for him over the Republican, especially when Jim Moran uses the argument, “At least I share your values.”

Unless those two scenarios occur, it appears that Virginia Republicans will have to suck it up and redraw the lines to make a competitive district for Republicans in the 8th District. Inside of the beltway features many government workers and government contractors. As such, a message of smaller governJim Moran is so successful largely due to his earmarks. ment is like telling people, “Hi, I want you to lose your With an open seat, the Democrat running can’t run on job, and you should vote for me.” In addition, federal “accomplishments” for the 8th District. However, it spending has greatly helped the area, including in would also depend upon when Moran retires. If much needed transportation funds for the district. Moran were to retire in a bad Republican cycle, this argument may be a moot point for Republicans However, at least Republicans in the 8th District have anyway. one thing going for them: they’re not the most Democratic district in the state. That honor belongs to Virginia’s 3rd Congressional District.

BearingDrift.com / Page 19


Capped and Traded How Morgan Griffith Pulled Off Virginia’s Upset of the Night by Jason W. Johnson When former representative William C. Wampler stepped on stage at the Bristol Holiday Inn to introduce Representative-Elect Morgan Griffith, the moment seemed surreal for southwestern Virginia Republicans. 28 years earlier, Wampler was unseated by a young, fresh-faced state Senator from Abingdon named Rick Boucher. Ever since that election, Republicans never stopped believing that Rep. Boucher was beatable—even if his landslide victories over every challenger seemed to suggest otherwise. Nonetheless, when the Associated Press projected that H. Morgan Griffith, the majority leader of the Virginia House of Delegates, had defeated the popular incumbent Democratic representative, more than a few Republicans across the Commonwealth (including Gov. Bob McDonnell) were surprised at the outcome. So how did Morgan Griffith—a man who, only six months earlier was little-known outside of his Salem-based House of Delegates district—pull off the Commonwealth’s upset of the night? The answer is cap and trade, just not perhaps in the way that many people think. Virginia’s 9th Congressional District, encompasses most of southwestern Virginia, including the Commonwealth’s coal-producing counties. While the rest of Virginia was part of the Solid South, the 9th District earned the nickname “the Fighting Ninth” for its reputation of competitive elections and electing Republicans. Yet Rep. Boucher thrived in this district, handily defeating challengers for almost three decades, in fact, serving longer than any of the district’s post-Civil War representatives, through his adroit blend of social and fiscal moderation and efforts to attract businesses and technological infrastructure to his economically depressed district. Boucher’s role in drafting and passing cap and trade proved to be the first chink in his otherwise impervious armor. Republicans knew cap and trade was a political nonstarter since (at least) the release of the Heritage Volume 1, Number 8 / November 2010

9

Foundation’s devastating assessment of the legislation. When William Morefield, campaigning against cap and trade, unseated Dan Bowling in a House of Delegates district encompassing the coal-producing counties of Buchanan, Russell and Tazewell in 2009, the GOP had an example of just how toxic the legislation could be in southwestern Virginia. Sensing Rep. Boucher’s cap and trade-induced vulnerability, seven Republicans filed to challenge him, but one of those candidates was unlike any yet faced by Boucher: Morgan Griffith. H. Morgan Griffith has served in Virginia’s House of Delegates since winning a hard-fought campaign in 1993 to represent his hometown of Salem. Griffith’s political acumen propelled him to a leadership role in the House of Delegates when the Republicans won control of the chamber in 2000. While Rep. Boucher had faced challenges from members of the House of Delegates before, none of them had Griffith’s political skills and network of contacts. Thanks to Rep. Boucher’s support for cap and trade, Griffith also had another advantage that none of Boucher’s previous challengers had: the full faith of the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee. The NRCC invested almost $1 million in Griffith’s candidacy,


The vigor of the Griffith campaign and its auxiliaries no doubt caught the Boucher campaign by surprise. which in conjunction with Griffith’s own campaign coffers and contributions from outside groups, Allowed Griffith to compete with a well-funded incumbent over the airwaves. Robust fundraising also propelled Griffith into the ranks of the GOP’s “Young Guns” program.

from Democrats, like Senator-Elect Joe Manchin, via media markets in West Virginia, Griffith’s attacks on Boucher for his role in passing cap and trade seemed less like partisan, election-year antics and more like a legitimate warning about a longtime congressman. Finally, President Obama’s and Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s strong support for the cap and trade legislation served Money alone does not account for Griffith’s stunning to tie Rep. Boucher to these unpopular national come-from-behind victory over Rick Boucher. Morgan Democrats. This, combined with Rep. Boucher’s 2008 endorsement of then-Senator Barack Obama prior to Griffith was an extremely hardworking candidate, aided by an equally hardworking and dedicated corps Virginia’s Democratic Primary—while 9th District Democrats overwhelmingly supported then-Senator of volunteers. Griffith logged more than 200,000 Hillary Clinton—only reinforced the perception that miles on his family’s car, traveling the length and breadth of the district, introducing himself to voters Boucher was no longer the independent voice that he once was and has instead become a reliable vote for at small-town festivals, parades and even the Wythe the leftist Obama-Pelosi agenda, in a year when being County Livestock Market. When Griffith could not an ally of President Obama was not an asset. personally attend an event, he was aided by his campaign’s “Women for Griffith” group, comprised of In January, Morgan Griffith will go to Washington with women from across the 9th—and even from the a mandate to protect southwestern Virginia’s coal neighboring 6th District. Thousands of phone calls industry and the region’s shared conservative values. were made on Griffith’s behalf by the Virginia Tech He will join a team of other freshmen from the College Republicans, who were competing against Commonwealth that includes Scott Rigell and Robert their Wahoo rivals to see who could make the most Hurt. While Rigell and Hurt were long considered calls for their respective candidates (the Hokies won, near-shoe-ins to defeat unpopular incumbents, incidentally). The vigor of the Griffith campaign and its auxiliaries no doubt caught the Boucher campaign prognosticators had no such expectations of Griffith. Yet in the end, his victory seems perfectly in keeping by surprise: whether personal appearances or television advertising, previous Republican challengers with the national mood. Although derided by the have not been nearly as ubiquitous as was Griffith. Martinsville Bulletin as a “loudmouth redneck” and accused by Democrats of “buying” the election, Morgan Griffith was clearly the right candidate, waging the right The final piece of the puzzle—at least that we have campaign, with the right resources, at the right time space to discuss—is Morgan Griffith’s message. Rick Boucher had been a nuisance for southwestern and with the right issue to unseat the heretofore unbeatable Rick Boucher. For that reason alone, Morgan Virginia Republicans for decades, yet without a Griffith has earned his place in the 9th District’s rich concrete issue to use against him, Rep. Boucher history. remained untouchable. Cap and trade provided Republicans with that issue. The coalfield counties of far-southwestern Virginia have long provided Boucher with a firewall, but with cap and trade, residents of these counties had reason to wonder if their champion was still in their corner. Furthermore, with voters in these western counties viewing anti-cap and trade ads

x

BearingDrift.com / Page 21


Fimian Comes Up Short in the 11th by Alan Moore

After a drawn out affair that lasted an extra week, Democratic incumbent Gerry Connolly took the race in the 11th after businessman challenger Keith Fimian conceded. In one of the closest races in the county this race was filled with voting irregularities bordering on fraud, bizarre attack ads by the incumbent, and a last minute major contribution that probably made the difference. On election night both sides went back and forth sharing the lead as vote totals came rolling in. For most of the night Fimian was leading as the more conservative Prince William County vote came in quicker than that of the more liberal Fairfax County. As the night progressed however, Connolly started to creep into the lead. The night ended without a clear cut winner but Connolly had a lead under 500 votes. As the canvassing proceeded in the next few days it became clear there was no path to victory for Fimian. Adding to the intrigue, two voting machines went haywire that night. Vote total reports from two precincts were suspended until the morning with the machines being locked away in a room at the Fairfax County Government Center. Absentee ballots were not counted until the wee hours of the morning, and provisional ballots were not counted until a few days Afterwards. When all ballots were accounted after canvassing, Connolly led by 981 with 111,720 votes to Fimian’s 110,739. The percentage was 49.22%-48.79%, three independent candidates received a combined 4,187 votes.

Volume 1, Number 8 / November 2010

11 The night ended without a clear cut winner but Connolly had a lead under 500 votes. As the canvassing proceeded in the next few days it became clear there was no path to victory for Fimian. Photo: Fimian for Congress

The following Friday, Fairfax County Republican Committee Chairman Anthony Bedell released a statement indicating some unusual discrepancies in the voting. For instance a number of precincts recorded more votes than the number of voters in the poll books. Also, the voting machines failed to register votes from over 800 voters. An op-ed in the Washington Examiner on November 10th indicated the voting systems were horribly out of date and the same models were decertified by the State of New York.


If Connolly thinks he’s invincible then he is in for a rude awakening. This seat may be tightly contested for years. Even with the noted discrepancies there still was an uphill battle involving legal tussles and a recount, which Fimian legally had the right to ask for with such a close margin. After a week of looking at all possible scenarios, Fimian decided to concede. Fimian said, “Over the past several days I have been reviewing the election returns closely. A recount only seeks to arrive at an accurate tally of all votes cast. In our race, we have not seen any obvious errors in the results. And while we believe that there are a small number of ballots containing votes that have not yet been counted, we are confident based on the canvass that it is not enough to change the outcome of this contest.” There are a lot of questions that still remain about this race. Many of them center on Fairfax County Supervisor Pat Herrity’s decision to challenge Fimian in a primary. Some argue that Herrity would have been the better candidate and this was a missed opportunity to flip a seat for the GOP. Others argue that had Herrity not been in the race in the first time that Fimian would have been able to run directly against Connolly earlier with all of his funds dedicated to that endeavor. There was also a question about how hard Herrity worked to see Fimian elected. Case in point, he was ever spotted canvassing for Frank Wolf in the 10th district on Election Day. The tenth was expected, and was, a complete blowout by Wolf, whereas the 11th was considered tight by every prognosticator, politico, and average citizen.

Photo: Connolly for Congress

While the Herrity factor will be debated for years, it doesn’t change anything. Connolly won reelection by the slimmest of margins. The Fairfax GOP will have to wait two more years for another shot at taking this seat. There is some debate how redistricting will effect the 11th. There are rumblings of cutting Connolly completely out of the mix or at least making the district more winnable for a conservative. While that remains to be seen, the fact is that Keith Fimian ran a race as best he could and came up just a little bit short. As for Connolly the writing is definitely on the wall for him. In the last week of campaigning he received over $1 million from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. The DCCC gave him close to $2 million overall throughout the race. Clearly they saw this race as a potential loss and did everything they could to keep it in their column. That money bought them a victory by only 981 votes. By winning by such a slim margin the RNC automatically puts this seat in the targeted races list. If Connolly thinks he’s invincible then he is in for a rude awakening. This seat may be tightly contested for years. BearingDrift.com / Page 23


by DCH In six out of eleven Congressional districts, voters easily returned familiar faces to Capitol Hill. Read on for an overview of those races and get the scoop on the worst website maintained by an untouchable Virginia Congressman.

visible community presence has kept him popular in the mostly rural and suburban district. He is known for constant communication with community leaders and the public about his congressional work. An outspoken Christian conservative and founder of the Congressional Congressional District 3 Prayer Caucus, Forbes is also aggressive in fighting to bring jobs to his district through his roles providing In the 3rd district, 28 Congressional oversight for the BRAC commission year incumbent Bobby Scott (D) creamed Chuck and as founder of the Congressional Modeling & Simulation Caucus. Forbes also maintains the most Smith (R), with 70% attractive, informative and easily navigable of the vote. Scott Congressional website I saw in the Virginia delegation. represents an area stretching from urban Richmond to Newport Congressional District 6 News. Scott opposes In the 6th district, 17 creating jobs by year incumbent Bob developing Virginia's Goodlatte (R) failed to offshore energy draw a Democrat resources and opponent and gained supported the unpopular Wall Street Bailout (TARP). 76% of the vote against He brings home the local bacon, requesting tens of Independent a millions of dollars in earmarks for his district last year. Libertarian candidates. Scott's congressional office has an excellent website The sixth district and makes good use of social media to communicate stretches across his accomplishments to constituents. Western Virginia from Roanoke to Harrisonburg. Congressional District 4 Goodlatte finds that putting Randy Forbes (R), an 8 the nation's fiscal house in order is a top priority for his year incumbent, constituents. Goodlatte's congressional website is poorly walloped Wynne organized and difficult to read, featuring the worst LeGrow (D) with 62% presentation and navigation I found among Virginia of the vote. The fourth delegation congressional websites. However, the district runs from Congressman does have a substantial following on Powhatan to Facebook, where he keeps constituents informed of Chesapeake. While his official activities. Obama won the district with 50% of the vote in 2008, Forbes’ strong constituent service operation and highly Volume 1, Number 8 / November 2010


Now let's talk about redistricting: should it really be so easy for these guys to win?

Congressional District 7 Congressional District 10 Republican Whip Eric In Virginia's Tenth Cantor sailed to a 59% district, thirty year victory over Rick Waugh incumbent Frank Wolf (D). the seventh district easily overcame reaches from the opposition from Jeff Rappahannock to the Barnett (D). Wolf conservative suburbs of gained nearly 63% of Richmond. A nine year the vote in his mostly incumbent, Cantor has suburban and rural enjoyed a quick rise Northern Virginia through party ranks to district. Wolf maintains national stardom. an award-winning Cantor's congressional Congressional website website is navigable but unimpressive; however, he and communicates frequently with constituents via boasts a fast moving campaign Facebook page that email, Facebook and YouTube. His strong constituent 87,000 people LIKE (for comparison, only 33,000 service and leadership on human rights issues help LIKE Speaker Pelosi's official Facebook page). keep Wolf popular among Independents, Republicans and even some Democrats in the tenth district. Congressional District 8 Jim Moran (D) Now let's talk about redistricting: should it really be shellacked Patrick so easy for these guys to win? Where's the fun in that? Murray (R) with 61% of the vote. His compact Northern Virginia district shares a border with D.C.. Voters there love his far left voting record while apparently excusing his questionable ethics decisions, disrespect for the military and anti-semitic comments. Moran maintains a good congressional website but has little social media support. Sadly, staff members appear to maintain his Twitter account, so we don't get the unfiltered Moran perspective on current issues.

BearingDrift.com / Page 25


The Republican Party – True to Its Core by Brian W. Schoeneman How many times have you heard that today’s Republican Party is a far cry from the Party of Lincoln? Or Theodore Roosevelt? Or Dwight Eisenhower? Or even Ronald Reagan? If you’re like me, you probably hear it all the time. One of the frustrations of being a student of history, especially political history, is how some ideas become engrained in common culture and changing those ideas – even if they aren’t based in fact – can be a difficult challenge. I have been trying to educate Republicans on the history of our Party, our true record on civil rights and the value our message of personal responsibility, limited government and constitutional liberty has to a wide audience. I am invariably met with snarky comments from Democrats and liberals who are quick to point out some of the Party’s missteps – the real ones and the exaggerated ones – and invariably I am told that men like Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower and others would never be welcome in the modern Republican Party – that the Republican Party of today would be a foreign creature were we to recreate Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure and bring those leaders to today’s world.

Don't interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties. ~ Abraham Lincoln Volume 1, Number 8 / November 2010

I don’t buy into that one bit. While, obviously, some of the issues have changed over time, the core beliefs of the Republican Party remain the same. Lincoln, Roosevelt, Eisenhower and our many Republican forbears would be more than welcome in the modern Republican Party.


How can I make that assertion? Simple – take a look at the various Party platforms Republicans have adopted in the hundred and fifty six years since the party was founded. In them, you’ll find a variety of ideas and concepts that could as easily come from the Party of 1860 as from the Party of 2008.

The first requisite of a good citizen in this republic of ours is that he shall be able and willing to pull his own weight. ~ Theodore Roosevelt

I’ve reviewed five presidential Party platforms from various points in the party’s history – 1860, 1906, 1952, 1980 and 2008. See if you can pick out which year the following statements were made: 1.) That the maintenance of the principles promulgated in the Declaration of Independence and embodied in the Federal Constitution, "That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed," is essential to the preservation of our Republican institutions; and that the Federal Constitution, the rights of the states, and the Union of the states, must and shall be preserved. 2.) All Americans should affirm that our first obligation is the security of our country. To all those who defend it, we owe our full support and gratitude.The waging of war, and the achieving of peace, should never be micromanaged in a Party platform, or on the floor of the Senate and House of Representatives for that matter. In dealing with present conflicts and future crises, our next president must preserve all options. It would be presumptuous to specify them in advance and foolhardy to rule out any action deemed necessary for our security. Continued on Page 28

BearingDrift.com / Page 27


The Republican Party – True to Its Core Continued from Page 27 3.) Pre-eminently successful in regard to our foreign 4.) It has long been a fundamental conviction of the relations, [the President] has been equally fortunate in Republican Party that government should foster in our dealing with domestic questions. The country has society a climate of maximum individual liberty and known that the public credit and the national currency freedom of choice. Properly informed, our people as were absolutely safe in the hands of his administration. individuals or acting through instruments of popular In the enforcement of the laws he has shown not only consultation can make the right decisions affecting courage, but the wisdom which understands that to personal or general welfare, free of pervasive and permit laws to be violated or disregarded opens the heavy-handed intrusion by the central government door to anarchy, while the just enforcement of the law into the decision-making process. This tenet is the is the soundest conservatism. He has held firmly to the genius of representative democracy. fundamental American doctrine that all men must obey the law; that there must be no distinction 5.) We recognize that the health of our people as well between rich and poor, between strong and weak, but as their proper medical care cannot be maintained if that justice and equal protection under the law must subject to Federal bureaucratic dictation. There should be secured to every citizen without regard to race, be a division of responsibility between government, creed, or condition. the physician, the voluntary hospital, and voluntary health insurance. We are opposed to Federal compulsory health insurance with its crushing cost, wasteful inefficiency, bureaucratic dead weight, and debased standards of medical care. We shall support those health activities by government which stimulate the development of adequate hospital services without

I have only one yardstick by which I test every major problem - and that yardstick is: Is it good for America? ~ Dwight D. Eisenhower

BearingDrift.com / Page 28


Federal interference in local administration. We favor support of scientific research. We pledge our continuous encouragement of improved methods of assuring health Protection. Take a look at those Party planks and statements of belief. Every single one could be incorporated in the 2012 Republican Party platform verbatim and no one would know they came from (1) 1860; (2) 2008; (3) 1906; (4) 1980; (5) 1952.

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same. ~ Ronald Reagan

Of course, over time, the Party has evolved and we have seen different trends emerge, like the shifting of the Party from its northern base in 1860, to a northeast and western base in the first half of the twentieth century, to expansion into the south in the 70s and 80s. Some Party policies have evolved over time, like the move from protectionism and the protective tariff to the concept of global free markets. And while, in the past, both parties had their liberal, moderate and conservative wings, today both parties are more homogenous. No one will argue that the Party of 1856 is exactly the same as the Party of 2010. Political issues change, the people change, and the country changes. Issues that were bitterly divisive a hundred years ago are accepted as common today. And issues we fight over today were rarely even contemplated by our Republican ancestors. But as so many things have changed, so many have stayed the same. Our core beliefs remain the same – an unswerving faith in our Constitution, our desire for a government that does not unnecessarily intrude in the lives of the people, a national government that ensures a strong national defense in peace and in war, and a nation that allows all Americans, regardless of their background, to achieve their full potential. These truths we have long found to be self-evident, since the founding day. So the next time a Democrat tells you Lincoln wouldn’t be welcome in our Party today, set him straight. BearingDrift.com / Page 29


Now Thank We All Our God Does it really matter which settlers were the first to give thanks? by Michael R. Fletcher Across the Commonwealth and across the nation children are tracing their hands and adding construction paper feathers to make turkeys. And while they’re talking about Pilgrims in plain dress and black hats with buckles their parents are salivating over the thoughts of cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. Ah, the traditions of Thanksgiving Day…hardly any of which are based in fact. When most Americans think about Thanksgiving, thoughts turn to the Mayflower, Plymouth Plantation and, yes, the Pilgrims who, according to tradition held feast in 1621 a feast to give thanks to God for his bounty. While, traditions aside, that may be true, it wasn’t the first American Thanksgiving.

Why then, the emphasis on the New England celebration? In spite of the prior celebrations in Jamestown and St. Augustine, Thanksgiving was not celebrated as a national holiday and was mainly observed in New England. Intrigued by the history of the 1621 feast magazine editor Sarah Josepha Hale embarked upon a campaign to make Thanksgiving a national holiday. In her campaign she published recipes and menus for turkey and stuffing and pumpkin pie. Her creations included traditions that related in no way to the truth about the Pilgrims.

Hale didn’t stop there in her quest for a national holiday. In her quest, she wrote to five American Almost two years prior to the New England feast, on December 4, 1619 settlers at Berkeley Hundred on the presidents. Zachary Taylor, Millard Filmore, Franklin James River celebrated a day of Thanksgiving. For the Pierce, James Buchanan and Abraham Lincoln. Her Virginia settlers, the day was required by their charter. letters produced no results until in 1863, while presiding over a nation at war, Abraham Lincoln “We ordaine that the day of our ships arrival at the issued the following proclamation: place assigned for plantacon in the land of Virginia shall be yearly and perpetually kept holy as a day of thanksgiving to Almighty God.” Every year the Virginia Thanksgiving is celebrated at Berkeley Plantation in present day Charles City County. But, much to the chagrin of the Virginians, there is yet another claim to the first thanksgiving. In September 1565, Spanish mariner Pedro Menéndez de Avilés and 800 Spanish settlers celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving to commemorate the successful sea voyage and founding of the town of St. Augustine. That’s well before the English settlers arrived in Virginia in 1607 and even a good ten years before the attempts to settle at Roanoke Island in North Carolina. So it appears that Virginia may still lay claim to the first Anglican Thanksgiving, but certainly not the first celebration on American soil. Volume 1, Number 8 / November 2010


1565

1619

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.

1621

And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union. Prior to the proclamation, only Washington’s Birthday and Independence Day were observed as national holidays. Since the Berkeley celebration and for that matter the St. Augustine celebration took place in what was, at the time of the proclamation, the Confederate States of America, there is some speculation among Virginians that Lincoln acquiesced to Ms. Hale’s request to draw attention away from Jamestown and the celebration there. That there are competing histories of the first occasions of thanks would no doubt be perplexing to the early settlers. They set out not to establish a holiday of excessive eating and endless football. Their celebrations of thanks were just that. Expressing the deep faith that they carried to this country, they thanked their creator and provider for his provision and protection. Indeed as we pause this month to celebrate this holiday, it is not how we give thanks, or what we eat, or what we wear on this day. What matter is the act of giving thanks. The act of being grateful. On that, we should all agree.

BearingDrift.com / Page 31


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