"McDonnell- Out of the Mainstream"

Monday, August 31, 2009

Deeds Campaign on McDonnell's "attempt to run from his record"

"Deeds for Governor Senior Advisor Mo Elleithee released the following statement Monday afternoon in response to Bob McDonnell’s attempt to run from his record."
"It’s not often you see someone claim that they misquoted themselves in their own written work.

"Despite Bob McDonnell’s stunning repudiation of his own agenda and 20 year legislative record, he still hasn’t answered the simple questions that were posed to him repeatedly. What positions has he changed his mind about, when did he change them, and why?

"The fact is for 20 years, Bob McDonnell has promoted a social agenda that is outside of the mainstream. It’s what he wrote his thesis about, and it’s how he’s legislated. He just hoped no one would notice while he was running for governor."

DNC Channels Ted Kennedy on Robert Bork: "In Bob McDonnell's preferred Virginia..."

The DNC channels Ted Kennedy's famous attack on another Bob - Bork.
In Bob McDonnell's preferred Virginia, women would be stigmatized for choosing to work outside the home, access to contraception would be all but banned and women would be denied equal pay for equal work. In Bob McDonnell's preferred Virginia, the medical decisions of women and their doctors would be criminalized and the victims of rape and incest would have no medical recourse. While Virginians want to keep the Commonwealth moving forward, these devastating revelations prove that Bob McDonnell wants to take Virginia backwards.

And to be clear, these were not the musings of young student, but rather a 34-year old married man on the cusp of elected office who would go on to doggedly pursue the extreme agenda he called for once in that office.

By undermining his main argument that he's in the main stream of Virginians, not only has this revelation laid bare McDonnell's real agenda, but is nothing short of a game changer in this election.

Video: "Bob McDonnell's Secret Blueprint for Virginia"

"Adopting those principles I learned at Regent has made me very effective both in the General Assembly and, I think, now as Attorney General. I'm grateful for my training here." - Bob McDonnell to Pat Robertson

Tim Kaine Has "Grave Concern" Over Bob McDonnell's "Troubling" Thesis

A little while ago, Tim Kaine sent out an email expressing "grave concern" over "Bob McDonnell's long-time political philosophy," as revealed in yesterday's now-classic Washington Post story. According to Kaine:
...this political blueprint contains unflattering references to working women, gays and lesbians, and many others. It also contains references to policy positions - such as opposition to contraception and child care availability - that most Virginians would find quite troubling.

All people are entitled to their personal beliefs. After years of working with Bob, I believe this article is an accurate reflection of his sincere and long-standing views. But I do not believe that this philosophy, which Bob has worked strenuously to implement as an elected official, is the right direction for Virginia. In fact, I think it would take us backwards and jeopardize much of the success we have achieved in the Commonwealth in recent years.
I couldn't agree more with Tim Kaine on this one: Bob McDonnell's believes ARE sincerely held, but they're also extreme, divisive, and the totally wrong prescription for our Commonwealth in the 21st century (heck, they would have been wrong in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries too!).

I also agree with Tim Kaine that, at least with Creigh Deeds, nobody will "have to wonder whether he had another agenda." Basically, that's a moderate, "business friendly" Democratic philosophy, one that I wish was more progressive but certainly is in the mainstream of where Virginia's been since Mark Warner came to Richmond. To the contrary, based on his writings, Bob McDonnell makes Jim Gilmore and George Allen look like raging liberals!

As if all that's not bad enough, McDonnell shares something else with George Allen - they both think George W. Bush was a great president (Allen voted 96% with Bush, McDonnell says he thinks Bush economics brought a great "revival" in this country). Brilliant!

Deeds Campaign: "Our phones are ringing off the hook"

Is this deja vu all over again or what? Last spring, the Deeds campaign was widely assumed to be dead in the water. That is, until the surprise Washington Post endorsement of the Senator from Bath County caused a surge of attention and money to flow into the campaign. Now, it looks like history may be repeating itself, with a front-page, above-the-fold Washington Post story that completely demolished Bob McDonnell's laughable - but somewhat effective - attempt to rebrand himself from Pat Robertson Republican to Moderate Fairfax/Hampton Roads Soccer Dad (or whatever). The result? Check this out:
...Is there interest in the story? Judging by the media list who listened in to the call, which included everyone from CNN to Amy Walter of Hotline, absolutely.

"Our phones are ringing off the hook," Elleithee said. "Our e-mail box is filing up. People are wanting to know how they can get more engaged in the race. People are coming up to the campaign office and our canvassers and the candidate and asking how they can help because the stakes are too high."
The Post's Roz Helderman adds, "As the story spreads through the viral world of the Internet, we still have radio silence today from the McDonnell campaign." My guess is they're all huddled together trying to figure out whether: a) McDonnell should disown his Dominionist/theocratic thesis (e.g., by claiming it was sooooo long ago in a galaxy far, far away) thereby looking like a Mitt Romney-esque political opportunist/flip-flopper; or b) McDonnell should stand by his Dominionist/theocratic thesis, thereby looking like a lunatic; or c) McDonnell should do what all good Republicans do at times like this - attack, while simultaneously claiming to be the innocent "victim" of Democratic meanies, and also while simultaneously screaming "THEY'RE RELIGIOUS BIGOTS" or other such hysterical drivel! My guess is that they'll go with "c".

Meanwhile, as the McDonnell campaign figures out what to do with their not-at-all-"moderate" candidate, the Deeds campaign phones will continue "ringing off the hook," as Virginians of all political stripes stand horrified by the far-out-of-the-mainstream belief system (and political agenda) that Bob McDonnell's thesis (and subsequent behavior as a Virginia legislator) so richly reveals.

UPDATE: See Talking Points Memo for more coverage, including Mo Elleithee's comment that McDonnell's paper "served as a blueprint for governing" and also that "most Virginians would agree, that agenda is outside of the mainstream."

UPDATE #2: Also see the Richmond Times Dispatch for another good quote by Mo Elleithee, that the revelations about Bob McDonnell's theocratic thesis is "something that really has the potential to change the dynamics of this race."

Follow Blue Virginia's Bloggers on Twitter

Just a quick reminder that you can follow several Blue Virginia regulars on Twitter:
Miles Grant
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Bob McDonnell's Mentors: Paul J. Morken

The "approval sheet" for Bob McDonnell's CBN University thesis is signed by three people: 1) Herbert W. Titus; 2) Paul J. Morken; and 3) Pamela J. Ruthven. Who are these people? Yesterday, we looked at Herbert W. Titus and his crazy views (e.g., the "female sex" exists "to meet the need of the male sex," "no human law is law at all if it contradicts 'the law of nature or the law of revelation.'").

Today, we'll look at Paul J. Morken, and specifically at a lawsuit Morken filed against Pat Robertson and how Robertson reacted. The following is from an April 22, 1996, Virginian-Pilot article, about a situation that "began when Robertson fired law school dean Herbert Titus in July 1993."
On Aug. 22, 1994, Robertson wrote a long letter denouncing some law professors who had challenged his leadership of Regent. He compared them to Branch Davidians and cult leader Jim Jones. He called them ''fanatics'' and ''inept as lawyers.'' He implied that they were racist, sexist and anti-Catholic.

It got the faculty's attention. It also got Robertson sued for libel by three Regent law professors, each seeking $10 million in damages.


The suits were filed in September 1994 against Robertson personally and Regent University by law professors Roger Bern, Paul Morken and Jeffrey Tuomala...


"No rational person burns down the house he occupies," Robertson wrote. "No rational professional person seeks to destroy the source of his own employment and career advancement. Only cultists after the order of Jim Jones or the Branch Davidians do such things. Hence the complaint merely served to reinforce the view held by leaders at the ABA that the Regent Law School was in the grip of extremist fanatics."

Robertson wrote that the ABA wanted assurances that the law school was "not a fundamentalist cult opposed to women, blacks and people, such as Roman Catholics, who did not fit the narrow definition of Christianity held by the present dean (Titus) and certain of his faculty members."

He also wrote of the complaining faculty, "I have never encountered a group of supposedly educated people who were so myopic, so lacking in common sense, or so inept as lawyers."

He wrote that Regent "will never rise to greatness if it must depend on third-rate minds to get there." Eventually, two of the professors, Bern and Morken, were fired.
In sum, Morken was fired by Pat Robertson, who called him irrational, a cultist "after the order of Jim Jones or the Branch Davidians," "lacking in common sense," "inept," "myopic," and a "third=rate mind." Morken then sued Robertson, a lawsuit that eventually (in April 1998) was settled as jury selection was underway. The terms of the settlement were not disclosed. That's the story of the second person who signed Bob McDonnell's Dominionist, theocratic thesis. Great stuff, huh?

Whipple Clip Dozen: Monday Morning

Tom Whipple starts a new work week of the "Whipple Clips." Thanks!


Comments from Washington Post Article on McDonnell's Theocratic Thesis

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Here are just a few of my favorite comments so far from the Washington Post story on Bob McDonnell's theocratic, Dominionist thesis/political action plan. There are 280 comments as of 5:45 pm Sunday. Just a weeee bit of interest in this story? :)

*"O.K. sir. So your views have changed. How about another thesis addressing the exact points the first thesis addressed and attached as an addendum to your first thesis? That way the voters can compare and see which McDonnell they're getting."

*"Virginia Voters, just ask," Was he lying then or is he lying now?"
He's a liar in either case. After referencing his writing and his record, it appears he's lying NOW!!"

*"He's changed his views all right----just before the election. Haven't heard him repudiate them, so he must still hold them."

*"McDonnell's views may have changed over 20 years, but apparently not that much, if he's still in favor of destabilizing gay families and making their lives more difficult for no legitimate reason."

"It is disgusting to think someone like this can be considered for holding a high office in American in 2009."

*"Good grief! Another self-righteous, hollier-then-thou, republican who thinks anyone who does not share his religious beliefs has embraced the devil and should burn in hell. His views towards women are truly frightning."

*"McDonnell for the rest of the campaign should be asked continually about these radical beliefs. And let me tell you no matter how many times the leopard tells you he's changed his spots will always remain the same!"

*"I guess he was against a lot of stuff before he was for it, huh? I want to know is how old he thinks the earth is."

*"As a VA resident, it makes my blood run cold to think that a throwback like this could be elected. I do not believe for a moment that his views have changed in the slightest. People like this never change."

*"...I've voted in every Presidential election since '79 and Obama is the 1st time voting for a Democrat. GOP you've earned my disdain by running sock-puppet candidates like Pastor Bob. If I want ol' timey religion I'll go to church. I don't need it in the Governor's mansion."

*"We don't want any more right wing kooks running Virginia. George Allen got what he had coming, after he was exposed for the racist nitwit that he is. Virginia is moving into the future- why would we want some religious extremist nut running things?"

*"Remember, a tiger cannot change its stripes, and neither can a cynical politician."

*"Hasn't McDonnell heard of religious freedom? Why would any woman want to vote for a person that would make her a second class citizen. Republicans claim to oppose government intrusion into citizens' lives, but the legislation they introduce indicates otherwise."

*"McDonnell seems to be a hypocritical extremist, or maybe an extreme hypocrite. Or maybe just a wolf in sheep's clothing--at least until his mindless and radical 1989 theocratic screed from Regent University floated to the surface."

Photos, Report from Creigh Deeds Canvass Kickoff in Chantilly

Photos and report courtesy of Sully District Democratic Committee Chairman Mary Lee Cerillo. Thanks!
I have just returned from Eleanor Lawrence Park in Chantilly, Virginia which is in Sully District where Creigh Deeds had a kickoff for approximately fifty plus canvassers in Sully District. Delegate Chuck Caputo was also present at the event and spoke to canvassers about the importance of Moving Virginia Forwards. We can not afford to have Virginia go back in time fifty years. Judging from the article in today's Washington Post that could very well happen if Bob McDonnell is elected Governor. It was a wonderful sight to see that so many people showed up to show support to Creigh Deeds on such a hot Summer August day!!! Go Creigh Deeds.

Bob McDonnell's Mentors: Herbert W. Titus

The "approval sheet" for Bob McDonnell's CBN University thesis is signed by three people: 1) Herbert W. Titus; 2) Paul J. Morken; and 3) Pamela J. Ruthven. Who are these people? Let's start with Herbert W. Titus.
[Titus] serves as general counsel to the American Health Legal Foundation and the Michael New Defense Fund, as well as Senior Legal Advisor to the Liberty Committee. He also does research and legal writing for the Free Speech Coalition and other similar organizations dedicated to the restoration of constitutional law and liberty in the nation.


Mr. Titus has written numerous articles, book chapters and constitutional studies and analyses. He is the author of God, Man & Law: The Biblical Principle, a widely-acclaimed text on American common law. He has also produced Family to Family Forum, a seminar series featuring audio and video tapes, as well as printed materials, teaching the practical application of common law principles to current public policy issues.
A few things jumped out at me here.

First, there's the American Health Legal Foundation, which writes stuff like this:
As Lenin recognized, medicine is the keystone in the arch of socialism. The keystone in the arch of government-controlled medicine is a comprehensive data base. And the essential linkage element for a relational data base is a unique identifier, such as the Unique Health Identifier (UHI).
Cuckoo. Cuckoo. Cuckoo.

Second, there's the "Michael New Defense Fund", which supports former Army Specialist Michael New, who was "court-martialed for deliberately disobeying an order to report to duty with unauthorized United Nations symbols and blue cap, and to deploy under a general from Finland for deployment to Macedonia, pursuant to then President Clinton's unilateral policy to deploy American soldiers under UN command." Yeah, and the U.N.'s black helicopters will be coming soon for him I'm sure...

Third, there's the "Liberty Committee", which rails against "activist federal judges telling our children that they can't say the Pledge of Allegiance," "federal courts telling you that there is a right to pornography in schools but God must be kept out of the classroom," "federal courts forcing partial-birth abortion on America as a 'constitutional right' by striking down state laws duly enacted by the people to ban that gruesome procedure," and "federal courts declaring that homosexuals have 'special rights' that you and I don't have, or forcing racial quotas and affirmative action on jobs and higher education." Remember, Herbert W. Titus - Senior Legal Advisor to the "Liberty Committee" - was one of Bob McDonnell's top mentors at law school.

Fourth, there's the Free Speech Coalition, which claims that "[s]ince the beginning of this Republic, there has likely never been a time when public officials have spoken so freely about restricting the free speech and First Amendment rights of American citizens whom they represent." Wow, you mean it's worse today than in the McCarthy era, or under the Alien and Sedition Acts, etc?

Fifth, there's Titus' book, "God, Man & Law: The Biblical Principle." I haven't been able to find a searchable version of this book, but I presume it's very similar to Titus' "Biblical Principles of Law", which rails against "the so-called women's liberation movement," including "feminist cries for equal rights, comparable pay for comparable work, tax-supported day care centers" and pretty much anything that would "favor women who desire to establish an economic life independent of their families." Oh yeah - and I bet you never knew this - but, according to Titus, the "blueprint of these efforts in the 1970's and 1980's was written by Lenin in 1920," all part of a diabolical "blueprint for the emancipation of women" that "included 'the abolition of private ownership of land and the factories," and which constituted an "attack upon the Christian family." Yeah, keep'em barefoot and pregnant, that's what my great great grandpappy always said. (snark)

Also in Titus' "Biblical Principles of Law", which rails against homosexuality ("If homosexuality is the product of one's genes and environment, then so is theft, murder, and rape"), "sexual intercourse with animals," the Equal Rights Amendment, etc. Titus also claims that the "female sex" exists "to meet the need of the male sex." Last but not least, Titus claims that there are "three essential ingredients of law: 1) It is created by god; 2) It is revealed by God; and 3) It is imposed by God without regard to time, situation or person, or place." Given all this, Titus concludes, "no human law is law at all if it contradicts 'the law of nature or the law of revelation.'" Hey, that gives me an idea: I bet the Bible never mentioned coming to a complete stop at a stop sign; maybe I could argue that and get my money back from the ticket I got a few months ago for breaking that particular "human law?" Ha.

Sixth, there's the "Family to Family Forum" series, about which I'm intrigued but so far haven't found any information. Anyone have any leads on this one?

Finally, it turns out that Herbert W. Titus is "an original drafter of the Constitution Restoration Act, which sought to take out of federal court jurisdiction cases that involved public officials that acknowledged God as the sovereign source of law, liberty, or government, and provided for the impeachment of federal judges who disregarded the act." This is truly extreme stuff, but check it out for yourself, including this beauty: "To the extent that any decision of the United States Supreme Court or that of any federal district court made prior to or after the effective date of the Act prohibits the acknowledgment of God as the sovereign source of law, liberty, or government, such precedent would not be binding on state courts." I believe this is known as a "theocracy."

In short, Herbert W. Titus is a Dominionist who wants to establish a Christian Theocracy in the United States of America. Oh, and he was also one of Bob McDonnell's top mentors at "CBN University," aka "Regent University."

PPP Preview

From PPP, which is polling Virginia this weekend:
A couple early observations from the Virginia numbers:

-George Allen appears to be more popular than Barack Obama with the 2009 electorate.
-Creigh Deeds seems to be doing marginally better than a month ago but is still down by a good bit.
Based on these comments, it appears that this year's Virginia electorate continues to skew more conservative and Republican than last year's Virginia electorate, the one that elected Barack Obama and gave Democrats a 6-5 majority in Virginia's House of Representatives delegation. The question remains, will this Republican "enthusiasm gap" erode or disappear by November 3?

Also, will today's Washington Post story scare the you-know-what out of Democrats and motivate them to start paying attention to this race? The PPP results likely won't include much if any impact from the Washington Post story, although perhaps today's polling - the final day "in the field," I believe - will pick up some movement. We'll see soon enough.

UPDATE 9:30 pm: PPP tweets: "Creigh polled much better today in the wake of the WaPo story than he had Friday and Saturday..." PPP adds, "Unfortunately we had already done about 90% of the interviews and were just doing callbacks to hard to reach people today...So we can't read too much into it. Wish we had been scheduled to poll Va. a week later and hope someone else does it soon."

Bob McDonnell's "Moderate" Makeover Melts Down!

So much for Bob McDonnell's "moderate" makeover.
At age 34, two years before his first election and two decades before he would run for governor of Virginia, Robert F. McDonnell submitted a master's thesis to the evangelical school he was attending in Virginia Beach in which he described working women and feminists as "detrimental" to the family. He said government policy should favor married couples over "cohabitators, homosexuals or fornicators." He described as "illogical" a 1972 Supreme Court decision legalizing the use of contraception by unmarried couples.
And on and on it goes. But wait, you ask, wasn't this just some crazy thing McDonnell wrote 20 years ago that has no relevance to McDonnell's actual political beliefs and actions? Unfortunately for McDonnell and his hope to ever be governor of Virginia, the answer to that is clearly "no." From the Washington Post article:
The 93-page document, which is publicly available at the Regent University library, culminates with a 15-point action plan that McDonnell said the Republican Party should follow to protect American families -- a vision that he started to put into action soon after he was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates.

During his 14 years in the General Assembly, McDonnell pursued at least 10 of the policy goals he laid out in that research paper, including abortion restrictions, covenant marriage, school vouchers and tax policies to favor his view of the traditional family. In 2001, he voted against a resolution in support of ending wage discrimination between men and women.
Look, let's face it, Bob McDonnell's not just outside the mainstream of American politics generally, he's even outside the mainstream of the Republican Party. Women shouldn't work? Contraception should be illegal? The government should micromanage our private lives? Heck, even Sarah Palin probably doesn't agree with all this crap. I mean, this is not just bonkers, it's "Sideshow Bob" Marshall bonkers (now THAT is bonkers!). Oh, and speaking of "Sideshow Bob," here's what he says in today's Washington Post article about the guy we might start calling "Keep'em Barefoot and Pregnant Bob."
Del. Robert G. Marshall (R-Prince William), who has shared most of McDonnell's conservative positions over the years, said there is no question that the candidate is playing down his conservatism today. Marshall said McDonnell risks alienating two groups of voters: moderates who might view him as hiding his true beliefs and conservatives who might think that he is no longer conservative enough.

"If you duck something, that tells your opponents that you think your position is a liability," said Marshall, who is backing McDonnell. "Why else wouldn't you acknowledge it? But I'll tell you, I've got precinct captains who are annoyed that he's not answering these questions. He doesn't have to bash people in the head with it. But he doesn't have to put it in the closet, either. There's a balance you can take."
For once, I agree with Bob "sometimes incest is voluntary" Marshall: "Barefoot and Pregnant Bob" should come clean, admit that he has a plan to remake Virginia into a Pat Robertson-inspired theocracy, and generally come out of "the closet," as his political soulmate "Sideshow Bob" puts it. Of course, as "Barefoot and Pregnant Bob" knows, that will make him utterly unelectable, but given that his "moderate" makeover has completely melted down now, he's probably unelectable anyway.

P.S. The Washington Post has helpfully (well, not to Bob McDonnell, but to all the rest of us) posted the entire thesis here. In it, you can read what "Barefoot and Pregnant Bob" describes as his version of "fundamental Republican Party principles concerning the family and the role of government" and how Republicans should "take bold action to restore the family to a position of strength in modern society." Yeah, by taking "modern society" back to the Middle Ages. Greeeaaaat.

UPDATE: The "hard copy" version of the Sunday Washington Post has this story on page A1, above the fold, to the left of the Ted Kennedy funeral news.

Whipple Clip Dozen: Sunday Morning

Thanks to Del. Bob Brink (D-48) for doing the Whipple Clips today.


Video: Ted Kennedy Funeral Motorcade Approaches Arlington National Cemetery

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Unfortunately, when they got closer to Arlington National Cemetery, they most likely saw these two lovely women. Ahhhh...the First Amendment.

Albemarle County Supervisor Candidate Has Some...Uh, "Interesting" Views on Segregation

This has got to be a joke, right?
[Albemarle County Board of Supervisors candidate] Rodney Thomas has lived in Charlottesville all his life. He went to Lane High School and as a freshman, was president of the Young Republican Club in 1958, the year Governor Lindsay Almond closed the school rather than integrate it.

"We got along fine," he says of African-American students. "I think it was a pure government thing to force down people throats. Blacks had the best school.
We loved to go over there [to Burley]."
Yeah, great times back then, back in the days of "massive resistance," segregation, Jim Crow, etc. Of course, what else would you expect from someone who is "listening to 'The Schilling Show' when a reporter arrives" and who is currently reading "The Hunt for Confederate Gold" by Thomas Moore.

Who is Thomas Moore, you ask? Over at the New Dominion Project, Aimee Fausser reports that "Thomas Moore (also of Charlottesville, VA) is Chairman of the Southern National Congress" (among other things, this group believes that "the Southern people are a distinct people") and that he wrote the following:
This unfolding tragedy is enveloping all Americans. But we Southerners are the special target of the Regime. Why? To start with, we're the last Christian nation on the planet and we retain some residual commitment to the ideals of Christian liberty held by great Southerners like Patrick Henry, John C. Calhoun, and Jefferson Davis. Second, we're a distinct nation, a separate people, and the last true civilisation in the West. Our culture preserves the vestiges of the once-great civilisation centered on the British Isles and Northern Europe. The imperial elites hate us for this reason as much as any other, because their program of ultimate control depends upon breaking down all such local loyalties, distinctions, and identities with the corrosive acid of "multi-culturalism" and "diversity."
Yes, that's right, what we have here is an outright, unabashed racist. And the guy reading the outright, unabashed racist's book and listening to far-right-wing talk radio when a reporter comes to interview him? Well, he's the 2009 Republican candidate for Albemarle County Board of Supervisors from the Rio Magisterial District. Great stuff, huh?

P.S. In a bizarre sidenote, Rodney Thomas is "on the regional board of the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership." Uh, Sorensen dudes? You might want to look into that one.

Jim Webb: "Come through for Creigh today, as you did for our campaign so many times in 2006."

I received this earlier today from Jim Webb.
Dear Friend,

People across the country are watching the Virginia Governor's race closely. Political observers and pundits want to make the results a referendum on President Barack Obama's presidency.

For me, it's different. For me, this election is about the people of Virginia. For me, it's about electing a leader, a friend, and a person I believe will help move our Commonwealth forward.

It's about electing Creigh Deeds the next Governor of Virginia.

Creigh faces a crucial fundraising deadline on August 31. Please make a contribution to his campaign before Monday's deadline.

Creigh didn't grow up with much in Bath County out in Western Virginia. It's this humble background that has always driven him to make a difference -- for himself, for his family, and for Virginia.

As Creigh says, "This election is about bringing prosperity, economic opportunity, and hope to every corner of the Commonwealth."

Who better to help Virginia come out of this economic recession stronger than Creigh Deeds, who spent 20 years in the Virginia legislature fighting for economic opportunity and our shared priorities?

During these tough times, Virginia needs a Governor like Creigh. Please consider a donation to his campaign today.

When Creigh pulled off his stunning come-from-behind victory in the June primary, I made a commitment to do everything possible to elect Creigh. It's why I am serving as Chair of Veterans for Deeds. It's why I have and will continue to hit the campaign trail with and on behalf of Creigh.

And it's why I'm asking you today to help Creigh. You and I know what it's like to defy the odds and do something special in Virginia. We did it together in 2006. I know we can do it again this November.

Come through for Creigh today, as you did for our campaign so many times in 2006. Contribute to his campaign before the August 31 fundraising deadline.

Thank you for your support.


Jim Webb
U.S. Senator

Edward Kennedy Jr.'s Powerful Eulogy

I can't imagine a more powerful, moving, humorous and well-delivered eulogy than Ted Kennedy's son Edward Jr.'s. If this doesn't bring tears to your eyes - it most definitely did to mine - you must be related to The Grinch or something. In particular, I thought the story about Senator Kennedy helping Edward Jr. believe he could climb the icy hill - literally and figuratively - after his leg was amputated because of bone cancer at 12 years old.

"I know you can do it, there is nothing that you can't do. We're gonna climb that hill together, even if it takes us all day." Senator Ted Kennedy to his son

"Although it hasn't been easy at times to live with this name, I've never been more proud of it than I am today." - Edward Kennedy, Jr. at Senator Kennedy's funeral

Ted Kennedy Funeral: Streaming Video

UPDATE: President Obama's eulogy.
Through his own suffering, Ted Kennedy became more alive to the plight and suffering of others – the sick child who could not see a doctor; the young soldier sent to battle without armor; the citizen denied her rights because of what she looks like or who she loves or where she comes from. The landmark laws that he championed -- the Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, immigration reform, children’s health care, the Family and Medical Leave Act –all have a running thread. Ted Kennedy’s life’s work was not to champion those with wealth or power or special connections. It was to give a voice to those who were not heard; to add a rung to the ladder of opportunity; to make real the dream of our founding. He was given the gift of time that his brothers were not, and he used that gift to touch as many lives and right as many wrongs as the years would allow.


But though it is Ted Kennedy’s historic body of achievements we will remember, it is his giving heart that we will miss. It was the friend and colleague who was always the first to pick up the phone and say, "I’m sorry for your loss," or "I hope you feel better," or "What can I do to help?" It was the boss who was so adored by his staff that over five hundred spanning five decades showed up for his 75th birthday party. It was the man who sent birthday wishes and thank you notes and even his own paintings to so many who never imagined that a U.S. Senator would take the time to think about someone like them. I have one of those paintings in my private study – a Cape Cod seascape that was a gift to a freshman legislator who happened to admire it when Ted Kennedy welcomed him into his office the first week he arrived in Washington; by the way, that’s my second favorite gift from Teddy and Vicki after our dog Bo. And it seems like everyone has one of those stories – the ones that often start with "You wouldn’t believe who called me today."

UPDATE #2: I'm told that Rep. Gerry Connolly was invited to and is attending the funeral service for Ted Kennedy in Boston today. I wonder if Jim Moran is there as well.

UPDATE #3: I found out that Jim Moran was at the funeral. Now, I'm curious to know if Brian Moran was there as well.

Barack Obama: Thoughts on the Fourth Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina

As we rebuild and recover, we must also learn the lessons of Katrina, so that our nation is more protected and resilient in the face of disaster. That means continuing to rebuild hundreds of miles of levees and floodwalls around New Orleans, and working to strengthen the wetlands and barrier islands that are the Gulf Coast’s first line of defense. In Washington, that means a focus on competence and accountability – and I’m proud that my FEMA Administrator has 25 years of experience in disaster management in Florida, a state that has known its share of hurricanes. And across the country, that means improving coordination among different agencies, modernizing our emergency communications, and helping families plan for a crisis.

On this anniversary, we are focused on the threat from hurricanes. But we must also be prepared for a broad range of dangers – from wildfires and earthquakes, to terrorist attacks and pandemic disease. In particular, my Administration is working aggressively with state and local governments – and with partners around the world – to prepare for the risk posed by the H1N1 virus...
Source: White House

Whipple Clip Dozen: Saturday Morning

Thanks to Tom Whipple, up early on a Saturday morning to bring us the "Whipple clips."


John Kerry Speaks at Ted Kennedy Memorial Service

Friday, August 28, 2009

"The Dream Shall Never Die"

h/t: Daily Kos

Senator Webb Talks Myanmar (and Afghanistan)

Jim Webb was featured on Public Broadcasting System's NewsHour last evening in a conversation with Margaret Warner amplifying his New York Times OpEd discussion. The video of the NewsHour segment is available online as is the transcript.

In the final minute and fifteen seconds Warner asks, and he responds to, questions about his measure of the Afghanistan war.

Great New Ad: Bob McDonnell Rewrites His Record

I'm glad to see the Democratic Party of Virginia calling Bob McDonnell for attempting to airbrush his out-of-the-mainstream record on abortion and other "social issues." Go Creigh!

Should WalMart Build in The Wilderness?

This Tuesday, as AP reports, "[t]he Orange County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 to grant the special permit to the world's biggest retailer after a majority of more than 100 speakers said they favored bringing the Walmart to Locust Grove, within a cannonball's shot from the Wilderness Battlefield." WakeUp WalMart has more, including their intention to "keep fighting" against Walmart building so close to the battlefield.

Meanwhile, the Wilderness Battlefield Coalition - "an alliance of national, state and local organizations with an abiding interest in the preservation of the historic Wilderness Battlefield in Orange County, Virginia - argues that it is inappropriate to build a 138,000-square-foot Wal-Mart supercenter right next to the Wilderness Battlefield and National Park, site of one of the most important battles of the Civil War. Here's more background information from the Wilderness Battlefield Coalition.
The Battle of the Wilderness, fought in early May 1864, was one of the most important battles of the Civil War. It marked the first clash between legendary generals Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant. More than 160,000 men were engaged in the struggle; when the guns fell silent after two days of intense fighting, nearly 29,000 Americans had been killed, wounded or captured.

In 1993, the congressionally-chartered Civil War Sites Advisory Commission identified the proposed site of the Wal-Mart supercenter as entirely within the historic boundaries of the Wilderness Battlefield. The same study ranked the Wilderness as both one of the most significant battlefields of the Civil War and as one of the Civil War sites most in need of preservation. Just this year, the Virginia Department of Historic Resources (DHR) and the National Park Service (NPS) reaffirmed that the Wal-Mart site is on battlefield land.

As proposed, Wal-Mart’s plan for commercial development on the battlefield alone is nearly quadruple the existing development at the Route 3 and Route 20 intersection. In addition, building on the battlefield and at the gateway to the National Park would undermine the overall visitor experience to the Wilderness Battlefield and would be incompatible with this unique and historic place. The Wilderness Battlefield is a national treasure. Any development in the area should pay respect to the soldiers who died there and the importance the battle played in our nation’s history.
Maybe I'm missing something here, like the (supposedly) urgent need to build retail right on top of a battlefield where 145,000 Union and Confederate soldiers fought and more than 29,000 were killed or injured. Can't this store be located a mile down the road or something? What do you think?

P.S. Cregh Deeds weighed in on this, "imploring [Wal-Mart President Michael T. Duke] to move the retailer's Supercenter away from the Civil War battlefield."

Tweet of the Day: Jeff Frederick

Gotta love this one from the former director of the RPV. Ha.

DGA calls on McDonnell to stand by his ads

From the DGA, one day after Blue Virginia asked the question, "Is Bob McDonnell Violating Campaign Finance Law?" As of now, it appears that McDonnell is - at a minimum - trying to "play cute" with the law, to basically get around the spirit of it while (possibly) abiding by the letter of it. Is that the kind of attitude towards ethics and legality we want in our next governor? Nope, didn't think so.
Washington, D.C. – The Democratic Governors Association is calling on Bob McDonnell to stand by the misleading attack ads that his campaign helped produce.

McDonnell’s negative ads are paid for by the Republican Governors Association (and sponsored by a group whose name they copied), but McDonnell’s name appears nowhere in the ads.

“Bob, we know it’s your ad. Your campaign staff took the footage. You’ve admitted you’re working with the people who bankrolled the ad, and they’ve admitted that they’re coordinating with you,” said Emily DeRose, spokeswoman for the DGA. “How could anyone honestly say that the ad is not authorized by your campaign?”

McDonnell’s fingerprints are all over the ad.

*Tracker Paul Logan is paid by the McDonnell campaign, according to the Virginia Public Access Project. Logan is pictured here (upper right) taking footage at the event that was used in the ad.

*The Republican Governors Association, which bankrolled the ad, solicits contributions on its web site by claiming that: “The RGA is able to coordinate with Bob McDonnell’s campaign.”

*McDonnell himself claims to be working with the RGA. He told reporters in April that: "The Republican National Committee, the Republican Governors Association, a number of other people around the country are very motivated to help us," McDonnell said. "They're going to do some significant things for us. I'm certainly not on my own."

“As the state’s top law enforcement officer, Bob McDonnell took an oath to uphold the Constitution and the laws of the Commonwealth. He knows exactly why these disclosure laws were written – so voters would know who is really behind the ads they’re seeing,” DeRose said. “Bob’s trying to play cute with the rules, but he should be held to the highest standard of ethics if he wants to be governor. He should stop hiding behind this group to do his dirty work and stand by these ads.”

Skirting campaign finance rules is a pattern with McDonnell.

In his 2005 race for attorney general, McDonnell’s behavior was so egregious that the state Legislature had to rewrite disclosure rules. McDonnell used the Republican State Leadership Committee to funnel $1 million into his race without disclosing their donors. Newspapers congratulated the General Assembly for “quickly plugging the hole in campaign finance laws that masked major financiers of Attorney Gen. Bob McDonnell’s November election.” [The Virginian-Pilot, Feb. 23, 2006]

Cook Report update on VA-05

Excerpts from the Cook Political Report (subscription required) on VA-05:
Republicans view Perriello as a fluke and are heartened by Goode's decision to forgo a rematch in 2010....Although there are plenty of Republicans in the mix, the most likely GOP candidate at this point is state Sen. Robert Hurt of Pittsylvania County, who represents over a quarter of the district in the general assembly...

Perriello has cultivated an underdog appeal that plays well with many constituents who may not be as liberal as he is. He emphasizes ethics and was one of just 29 Democrats to vote for a May resolution sponsored by GOP Rep. Jeff Flake calling for an investigation into the failed PMA lobbying group. He is also likely to be well-funded... But Republicans have already pegged Perriello high on their target list, and a likely drop in turnout among base Democratic groups that were unusually energized in 2008 is a serious threat in its own right.

This is one of the few districts McCain carried in 2008 represented by a Democrat who may vote for Obama-backed major initiatives on both energy and healthcare. Look for this race to join the toss up column at some point in the cycle.
All I can say is, for anyone who underestimates Tom Perriello's chances of reelection, just remember that in 2008, all the "experts" - using the term EXTREMELY loosely - said that there was "no way" Perriello could beat Virgil Goode. Fortunately for Tom and for his district, there were a number of activists and supporters - myself included - who always felt that Perriello could win. Call it naivete, I don't care, but the minute I talked to Tom Perriello and then met him in person (in January 2008), I knew we had a special person and an impressive politician on our hands. I also knew that Virgil Goode would be in for the race of his life. We'll see if Robert Hurt or any other Republican can do any better than Virgil. Personally, my money remains on Tom Perriello! :)

Whipple Clip Dozen: Friday Morning

Another workweek of Whipple Clips completed by Tom. Thanks.


Creigh Deeds' New TV Ad: "Leadership"

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I like this ad. It starts off by tying Bob McDonnell to George W. Bush (the "bush and mcdonnell economy") then explains why "Creigh Deeds is different" and specifically ties him to Mark Warner. Smart.

Mark Warner WILL NOT Vote Against Public Option

Last night, at John Bell's fundraiser, Senator Warner said to a group of people that, in the end, he would not vote against health care reform containing the public option. I didn't report that immediately for two reasons: 1) I wasn't there when he said it, but heard it secondhand; and 2) I wasn't sure if it was on or off the record. Well now, after just getting off the phone with Senator Warner's office, I can confirm that this is correct information - in the end, the public option is not a "make or break" for Warner one way or the other and he WILL vote for a health care reform bill with a public option in there. Good news.

Eric Cantor and Frank Wolf: "What Were You Thinking?"

Great work by Americans United for Change.

District-by-District Benefits of Health Care Reform in Virginia

This is amazing work by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.
The Committee has prepared, for each member, a district-level analysis of the impact of the legislation [H.R. 3200, America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009, District by District Impact]. This analysis includes information on the impact of the legislation on small businesses, seniors in Medicare, health care providers, and the uninsured. It also includes an estimate of the impacts of the surtax that is used to pay for the legislation.
To see the impact on your district, click on one of the following links.

*Robert J. Wittman (VA-1)
*Glenn C. Nye (VA-2)
*Robert C. "Bobby'' Scott (VA-3)
*J. Randy Forbes (VA-4)
*Thomas S. P. Perriello (VA-5)
*Bob Goodlatte (VA-6)
*Eric Cantor (VA-7)
*James P. Moran (VA-8)
*Rick Boucher (VA-9)
*Frank R. Wolf (VA-10)
*Gerald E. Connolly (VA-11)

Here's an example. For the 5th CD, represented by Tom Perriello, benefits include: "up to 15,200 small businesses could receive tax credits to provide coverage to their employees; 12,500 seniors would avoid the donut hole in Medicare Part D; 1,190 families could escape bankruptcy each year due to unaffordable health care costs; health care providers would receive payment for $48 million in uncompensated care each year; and 73,000 uninsured individuals would gain access to high-quality, affordable health insurance." Not bad, and that's just one district!

Is Bob McDonnell Violating Campaign Finance Law?

Is Bob McDonnell violating campaign finance law? If so, it’s all about having the proper disclaimers - or, more to the point, lack thereof - on the ads being run by the Republican Governor's Association (RGA) on McDonnell's behalf. A few points:

1. Nobody in their right mind believes that the RGA and McDonnell aren’t coordinating. The RGA paid for McDonnell's media effort this past spring by giving millions of dollars directly to his campaign. In the National Review, in fact, an RGA spokesman contrasted the group's work in New Jersey (where no coordination is allowed) with what they’re doing in Virginia.
... "In New Jersey, the campaign-finance laws are such that we have to run an independent expenditure campaign," says [RGA Communications Director Mike] Schrimpf. "We cannot coordinate, at all, paid media with Christie's campaign. In Virginia, we can contribute directly to Bob McDonnell's campaign. We gave him $2 million early on in the race, and helped him get on TV during May sweeps while the Democrats were still in their primary. I think it's paid off in the polls."

2. The RGA admits to coordination on its website. Check out, in particular, the last paragraph of the Virginia section, where they state point blank: "The RGA is able to coordinate with Bob McDonnell’s campaign." Wow. They're not even trying to hide it.

3. McDonnell is saying the same thing here:
At the Shad Planking political event in April, McDonnell told reporters he expected outside help. "The Republican National Committee, the Republican Governors Association, a number of other people around the country are very motivated to help us," McDonnell said. "They're going to do some significant things for us. I'm certainly not on my own."
4. If Bob McDonnell has coordinated wit the RGA - which it certainly appears that he has - the anti-Deeds attack ads would need to have McDonnell's name and disclaimer on them. They don’t. Perhaps the RGA is treating the ads as an in-kind contribution to McDonnell? [NOTE: Even if this was an in-kind contribution, that’s the same thing as coordinating and would still need the disclaimer] Regardless, what's clearly going on here is that McDonnell wants someone else to do his dirty work for him while he pretends to be positive, "moderate," reasonable, etc. Also cleeeeevvvver.

5. In this context, I think it's worth bringing up all the problems McDonnell caused with the RSLC in the 2005 Attorney General's race - also against Creigh Deeds - when McDonnell also tried to disguise donors and hide behind other organizations. See the Washington Post 10/21/05 editorial, "Virginia's Hidden Money", for more on this.
DEL. ROBERT F. McDonnell of Virginia Beach, a Republican, is the front-runner in Virginia's race for attorney general. If he wins on Nov. 8, he'll become Virginia's foremost law enforcement official. Yet as things stand, he would enter office tainted, complicit in ignoring the state law that insists the public should know where candidates get their cash. If he approaches this law with a wink and a nod, why should he be trusted to enforce the others?

Last week in this space we asked the McDonnell campaign to determine and disclose the identities of contributors who have channeled money to Mr. McDonnell through the Republican State Leadership Committee, a tax-exempt group that has been active in other states. This is no small matter: Mr. McDonnell has received more than $1 million from the RSLC, much of it in the past few weeks; among other things, this money has paid for a blitz of TV advertising in Northern Virginia. At the same time, the Virginia Board of Elections said groups such as the RSLC's Virginia committee should itemize contributions exceeding $100 and report any contributions above $10,000 on the board's Web site within three days.

The response from the RSLC and Mr. McDonnell? Silence.
6. Unfortunately, Bob McDonnell went on to become Attorney General of Virginia, and "silence" was all we ever got from him on this subject (even though he took an oath to enforce the state’s laws). Fortunately, as the Virginian-Pilot explained on February 23, 2006, the General Assembly took action and "plugg[ed] the hole in campaign finance laws that masked major financiers of Attorney Gen. Bob McDonnell's November election." The Virginian-Pilot added that "a state that touts public disclosure as the best way to guard against campaign abuse makes a mockery of its own standards when groups such as the RSLC can escape the dragnet."

Yet that's exactly what Bob McDonnell did in his run for Attorney General in 2005 - and got away with it - and now appears to be doing again in 2009. As the Virgnian-Pilot wrote on November 2, 2005, "The fact that the names of the donors to RSLC were not known until after the campaign was over 'violates at least the stated spirit of Virginia law.'" After that, why on earth we would trust Bob McDonnell with a position of even higher authority is completely beyond me, especially when the same slimy thing appears to be taking place this time around!

Video: John Bell Speaks on Importance of Beating Bob Marshall

To learn more about John Bell or to help his campaign against "Sideshow Bob" Marshall, please click here. I urge everyone to volunteer and donate to Bell, an impressive candidate running against...well, anything but.

P.S. Other than Mark Warner and John Bell, others present last night included Jay Fisette (Arlington County board), Scott Surovell (running to Kris Amundson's old seat), Krystal Ball (running for the Democratic nomination in the 1st CD), Charlie Conrad (president of the Virginia Partisans), and many others (including YD's like Kip Malinosky, Josh Anderson, Jim McBride, etc., etc.. Great event.

P.P.S. Again, sorry about the low lighting, but there was...yes, LOW LIGHTING outdoors last night next to the Potomac River in Mt. Vernon. Also, my Flip video camera doesn't allow for light correction, so maybe time to invest in more expensive video equipment? It's a thought...

Video: 9-Year-Old Aaron Reid Recites Barack Obama's Victory Night Speech

From last night's John Bell fundraiser, is this amazing or what by 9-year-old Aaron Reid? It's so cool that Barack Obama's words and story have inspired people of all ages!

Also, once again, sorry about the video quality, but the Flip video camera - while excellent - doesn't seem to have any way to compensate for low lighting, which we certainly had last night standing outside right near the Potomac River in Mt. Vernon.

Video: Mark Warner Speaks About The Need to Act on Health Care, Economy, John Bell, Creigh Deeds

At last night's fundraiser for John Bell, Mark Warner spoke about health care reform as an economic, budgetary and moral necessity/imperative; about the "outrageous, over the top...beyond the pale" comments by "the other side," the town hall meetings (and people who say "keep government out of health care..protect Medicare!"); etc

Other than health care, Warner talked about how close we came to Great Depression Part II and how we avoided it by "the actions that this president has taken." "If any economic prognosticator had been January or even mid March when the Dow as at 6,500...would you accept an American economy that by Labor Day had the stock market up 50%, banks repaying their TARP funds, and the housing market running two months of actually positive news and stabilizing, you would have been called wildly optimistic, but because of this president and because of the some of the tough things this Congress had to do, that's where we're at; we're not out of the woods, unemployment's still too high, but lord knows we are in a much better place because we've got a president who treats us all as adults and talks to intelligently and doesn't try to hide the ball in terms of the problems we face and lays out rational solutions..."

On the Deeds-McDonnell election, Warner said "we can't be tired any longer" and in part because the "other side feels like they've got the wind at their back." Warner pointed out that if Creigh Deeds isn't elected governor (and we don't "take back these seats in the House [of Delegates]"), all the progress we've made the past 8 years could be lost.

P.S. Sorry for the video quality, it was dark outside and Flip video cameras don't have any way to compensate.

Video: Mark Warner Speaks About Ted Kennedy

This video was shot last night at a fundraiser for John Bell (running against Del. "Sideshow Bob" Marshall in the 13th district). Sorry about the darkness, but it was, well, DARK outside. :) I will the rest of the Mark Warner video a bit later, plus video of John Bell and also of an amazing kid (9 years old, I believe) named Aaron Reid who delivered Barack Obama's 2004 convention speech from memory.

By the way, the fundraiser appeared to be very successful, with a great deal of enthusiasm for John Bell - and for beating "Sideshow Bob," as I call him. The main things John needs right now are: 1) volunteers to knock doors, make phone calls, etc.; and 2) $$$ to do...well, everything campaigns do. :) I urge everyone to support John Bell and help rid the General Assembly of an embarrassment, someone who has asserted that "sometimes incest is voluntary" and that, with regard to rape, "the woman becomes a sin-bearer of the crime, because the right of a child predominates over the embarrassment of the woman." Marshall also compared the economic recovery package to slavery, saying "It is as much a chain as ankle bracelets were as to African-Americans in the 1860s in this state. It’s just invisible. But it is a chain of death that we’re not going to escape." And he had this to say about the "morning-after pill": "we have no business passing this garbage out and making these co-eds chemical Love Canals for these frat house playboys in Virginia." Motivated yet? :)

Whipple Clip Dozen: Thursday Morning

Thanks to Tom Whipple for these.


McDonnell's Transportation Plan Is a Joke

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I've been spending some time lately with Bob McDonnell's transportation plan, and like just about everything else in the McDonnell campaign, it is mostly vapor.

What is interesting about the transportation plan, however, is that unlike the distortion Bob uses to misrepresent his record in so many other areas (Choice, gay rights, education, etc., etc., etc.), in his transportation plan he doesn't even bother making a pretense that he is at all serious about the issue.

Bob, for example, has a few suggestions for funding our critical transportation improvements, a problem that has vexed the Commonwealth for years, that demonstrates his unseriousness:

1. He wants to expedite approval of $3 billion in transportation bonds that have already been authorized. One problem area, of course, is that bonds aren't free -- the Commonwealth will need to pony up interest payments every year for investors. Where will that money come from, given that we are already running a budget deficit? Don't fear -- Bob explains (and I am not making this up) he "will find a suitable additional revenue stream to pay debt service" if the anticipated revenue stream is insufficient.

Well, that's good enough for me. It's the follish politician that gets more specific than that!

2. Bob is also proposing issuing bonds in an amount that he recognizes might jeopardize the Commonwealth's Triple-A rating, although Bob says "every effort will be made" to avoid this.

Every effort? Is this a joke. Virginia, that Triple-A rating is money in the bank for the Commonwealth. It would be governmental malpractice to lose that rating. How about, "Virginia will not lose its Triple-A rating, period."

3. Bob notes the law requires the Governor to set aside a portion of new revenue growth for infrastructure improvement in the budget following the increase. Of course, thanks to George W. Bush's wonderful economic legacy, we won't be seeing this for a while.

4. Dedicate a portion of the -- again, I am not making this up -- budget surplus to transportation. hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

5. Push the Federal Government to spend Stimulus funds quicker. Wait a second, I thought the stimulus was a waste and could not possibly do any good. And what about state's rights? What is Bob talking about here? I'm getting a headache.

6. Bob's plan for pursuing private partnerships is 750 words, but for all the verbiage, it amounts to the following: It would be great if we could get private companies to fund this for us. Does anyone know how to do that?

Sure, there are some legitimate ideas in Bob's plan worth pursuing -- even a broken clock is right twice a day as the saying goes -- but these are relatively tiny sources of funds, or highly speculative, and we'd be lucky to raise enough money to repave my driveway.

Look, everyone knows what is going on here. Bob is ideologically opposed to raising taxes in any circumstances, even when the increase would be modest in its impact on individuals and hugely beneficial in its effect upon the Commonwealth -- like a few pennies on the gas tax. And like any economic policy steeped in ideology, it is illogical and dangerous, and if we elect Bob to be governor, it will be a disaster for the Commonwealth, most significantly NoVA and Hampton Roads.

What Virginia needs is a Governor like Creigh who is willing to face this problem head on and fix it in a serious and effective way, not just tell people what they want to hear, i.e., that government can fix your problems at no cost. As we saw with Bush, that simply leads to economic failure.

But Bob, apparently, expects the citizens of Virginia, to do this:

Tropical Storm Danny Coming Our Way?

A bit too close for comfort, especially to the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. Stay tuned to the National Hurricane Center as this develops.

UPDATE: It looks like things could get a bit rough off the coast of Virginia Beach on Friday night and Saturday.

RGA Ad Attacks Teachers, Bob McDonnell?

I think that NLS has a good point here about the latest anti-Deeds attack ad by the Republican Governor's Association, which apparently is funding Bob McDonnell's campaign.
So "more than" 80% of this new spending is from raising teacher salaries the national average. Who else supports doing that? Look back to just three months ago...

"Democrats R. Creigh Deeds, Terry R. McAuliffe and Brian J. Moran and Republican Bob McDonnell committed to raising the pay of Virginia teachers to the national average of more than $50,000 a year."

So the RGA is attacking Deeds for being a "big spender" when over 80% of his "spending" was on something Bob McDonnell supports?

By the way, aside from (essentially) attacking teachers and inadvertently Bob McDonnell himself, this RGA ad buy is a slimy way for McDonnell to do his negative advertising against Deeds. It’s abundantly clear that the RGA and Team McDonnell have coordinated in the past and they’re still coordinating – so why doesn’t Bob have his name on these ads?!? You'd think the former chief law enforcement official in Virginia might actually care about this, not to mention someone whose efforts to hide his campaign financing in 2005 led to Virginia writing new laws about it.

Other than that, we have the utter hypocrisy of McDonnell taking millions of dollars from the RGA while ranting and raving against a similar pro-Deeds outside effort, Common Sense Virginia. For instance, last spring, McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin attacked Common Sense Virginia, saying, "This is an outside group attempting to scare voters and employing negative politics" and also "These out-of-state special interests have no real interest in the future of Virginia’s workers."). Pot, meet kettle.

No Screaming at Greenspring. But...

Well, at least there didn't appear to be any screaming or Randall Terry-style insanity (click on the link, you won't believe this!) at Gerry Connolly's Greenspring Community forum yesterday, but there still is a lot of ignorance (and misinformation, disinformation, etc.) about what health care reform entails. First and foremost, it's this notion - as one resident said (incorrectly) - that this reform means we'll be "throw[ing] out our present health care [system]" and institute "a whole new government system." As Gerry Connolly correctly noted, the Democratic reform plan will build on our current (private) system and not "federalize" healthcare, yet the myth persists (thanks in large part to lying demagogues like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, etc.).

Another fear, that somehow health care reform will harm seniors' Medicare coverage, is also flat-out false, as the executive director of Virginia's AARP pointed out to Greenspring residents. Unfortunately, as the pro-reform senior interviewed in this story says, that probably won't change the minds of people who have "closed minds" and simply "don't want to pay taxes." Which is why, in the end, Democrats are probably going to have to do this largely or totally by themselves. It would be better if we had a reasonable Republican Party at this point, but the fact is we don't.

Creigh Deeds on Ted Kennedy: "A Very Sad Day for a Storied Family"

Earlier this afternoon, the Deeds campaign issued the following statement on Ted Kennedy's death:
It’s a very sad day for a storied family," said Sen. Deeds. "Senator Kennedy had a huge impact on the work of the United States Senate for many years. He had a long legacy of working in a bipartisan manner to get things done in the Senate, especially in the areas of health care and public education. My condolences and prayers go out to the Kennedy family."

Jim Webb: "We Can't Afford to Ignore Myanmar"

I have really mixed feelings about Jim Webb's NY Times op-ed on Myanmar, but it's definitely worth reading. Having returned from meetings in Myanmar earlier this month, Webb makes the case that we "can't afford to ignore Myanmar." One of the main reasons Webb sites is China, namely that we "have allowed China to dramatically increase its economic and political influence in Myanmar, furthering a dangerous strategic imbalance in the region." Webb also notes that "Russia is assisting the Myanmar government on a nuclear research project." Finally, Webb believes that sanctions haven't worked, and that it would be "bad for us to fold our arms, turn our heads, and pretend that by failing to do anything about the situation in Myanmar we are somehow helping to solve it."

So, what do we do according to Webb?

1. "[W]e must focus on what is possible"
2. "We must talk to Myanmar’s leaders."
3. "[O]ur government leaders should call on China to end its silence about the situation in Myanmar, and to act responsibly, in keeping with its role as an ascending world power."
4. "[W]ith respect to reducing sanctions, we should proceed carefully but immediately."

This is pure realpolitik, and I understand that's how international relations often works. The idealistic side of me, though, the part that wants America to stand for Democracy, liberty, and human rights, isn't thrilled.

Emotional Joe Biden: "Teddy spent a lifetime working for a fair and more just America"