Kaine Won't Run For President, Senate; Would Consider Running For Governor Again

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Verrrrry interesting.
Kaine said he probably would not run for office again, but left the door open to it.

He said he considers the job of president the only higher office than governor but ruled that out because "you have to give up way too much to do that job."

He said he would not run for senator because "there are other best uses of my skills,'' but he could, one day, run for governor again. "Never say never," he said.

Former RPV Chair Parrots Dick Cheney's "big lie"

In this morning's Washington Post, Eugene Robinson editorializes on "Dick Cheney's lies about President Obama." Among other things, Robinson calls Cheney's remarks "corrosive and nonsensical," "like the pearls of wisdom one hears from homeless people sitting in bus shelters," a "histrionic Rottweiler-in-Winter act," a "shrill screed," "outright mendacity," "the big lie," and "completely off the rails." What prompted this torrent of (accurate) adjectives from Eugene Robinson was Cheney's "flat-out untrue" statement, "As I've watched the events of the last few days it is clear once again that President Obama is trying to pretend we are not at war." There are so many problems with this statement, it's hard to know where to start. But first and foremost, as Eugene Robinson points out, the problem is that it is "[f]lat-out untrue."
The fact is that Obama has said many times that we are at war against terrorists. He said it as a candidate. He said it in his inaugural address: "Our nation is at war against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred." He has said it since.

As Cheney well knows, unless he has lost even the most tenuous grip on reality, Obama's commitment to warfare as an instrument in the fight against terrorism has won the president nothing but grief from the liberal wing of his party, with more certainly to come. Hasn't anyone told Cheney that Obama is sharply boosting troop levels in Afghanistan in an attempt to avoid losing a war that the Bush administration started but then practically abandoned?
Either nobody's told Cheney or he has his fingers in his ears, singing "la la la la la I can't hear you!" Same thing with former Republican Party of Virginia chair Jeff Frederick, who chimes in with this gem:
Is Obama pretending that US is not @ war w/ terrorists,thus resulting in near Christmas bombing of airliner? Are we less safe w/ BO in chrg?
There are many ways one could respond to this wretched drivel, including with peals of mocking laughter. For now, I'll just quote two excellent responses on Twitter. The first comes from Kyle Blankenship, who writes that we should "just be glad @JeffFrederick isn't competent enough to actually DO anything other than TALK a big game." The second comes from Trent Armitage, who snarkily comments, "I guess being out of office has not made @JeffFrederick any less crazy."

By the way, I'd just remind everyone that the organizers of the latest terrorist plot against America were released from Gitmo by...that's right, the Bush Administration. Oh, and when they were released, you know where they went? That's right, an art therapy program in Saudi Arabia. Can you imagine if "liberals" had done that? My god, what would Dick and Jeff be saying then? Ha.

"Biscuit Run" To Become a State Park

This is great news, thanks to Governor Kaine for his efforts in preserving Virginia open space during his time in office. I would certainly hope that Bob McDonnell will continue along the path that Governor Kaine has laid down in this area.
~ Purchase brings state closer to reaching 400,000 acre open-space goal ~

RICHMOND – Governor Timothy M. Kaine today announced the purchase of approximately 1,200 acres in Albemarle County known as “Biscuit Run” to be held by the state as a site for a future state park.

“When developed as a state park, this extraordinary piece of land will benefit the citizens of Albemarle, Charlottesville and the Commonwealth for recreation, natural resource protection and the preservation of open space in a fast growing area,” Governor Kaine said. “This property is a real jewel and I am very pleased to add it to the long list of properties preserved during my Administration.”

This purchase will add to the goal of 400,000 acres of open space preserved during Governor Kaine’s Administration.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the state to acquire such a valuable property which offers spectacular mountain views, abundant flora and fauna and is in the viewshed of Mr. Jefferson’s Monticello estate and farms,” said Secretary of Natural Resources L. Preston Bryant, Jr.

“The need for a state park in this region has been identified for more than 20 years in Virginia’s official Outdoors Plan,” said Joseph H. Maroon, director of the Department of Conservation and Recreation, which operates 35 Virginia State Parks, none in the immediate Charlottesville area. “This purchase brings us closer to meeting the recreation and conservation needs of the region and the Commonwealth and will bring additional tourism and outdoor recreation dollars to the area.”

Funding for the purchase was provided by a combination of federal grants and existing state bond funds available through the Virginia Public Building Authority and the State Parks and Natural Areas bond, voted on by the public in 2002. The ability to apply for state land preservation tax credits allowed the sellers to offer the property to the state at a greatly reduced price.

The property is south of Interstate 64 between state Rt. 20 and Old Lynchburg Road minutes from downtown Charlottesville and surrounds a stream named Biscuit Run. The property is also adjacent to polo fields owned by the University of Virginia. In 2007, the property was approved to be the largest planned residential development in County history. However, the project stalled because of the economic downturn and declining housing market.

“I am delighted with the transfer of Biscuit Run to the Commonwealth of Virginia,” said Lindsay G. Dorrier, Jr. of the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors. “Albemarle County has some of the most beautiful land in the state and with this transfer, nearly 1,200 acres of land will be preserved for generations to enjoy. We look forward to working with the state to plan the state park in the coming months.”

The property will not be open to the public until a master plan is developed with public input and funds are made available for development of park facilities and staffing.

In 2009, the Virginia State Park System received a record 7.4 million visitors and had a $180 million economic impact on localities.

Whipple Clip Dozen: Thursday Morning

Thanks to Tom Whipple for the last-day-of-the-aughts "Clips."


Rachel Maddow Takes Down Republican Hypocrisy on Underwear Bomber

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Great job by Rachel Maddow -- nothing left to say, right? Actually, there is; check out this video of Rep. (and former Navy Commander) Eric Massa (D-NY) rebutting Draft Dodgin' Dick Cheney. I love it when Democrats push back hard against Republican hypocrisy, doubletalk, smears and lies.

Virginia ACLU Executive Director: Ex-Felon Disenfranchisement "related to Jim Crow"

The ACLU weighs in on the ex-felon disenfranchisement issue:
“The entire felon disenfranchisement issue is very connected to race,” says Kent Willis, executive director of Virginia’s chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. Willis cites as examples Virginia’s 1901 constitutional convention that instituted the poll tax and literacy tests for voters, in addition to the disenfranchisement of felons. The three “are all related to Jim Crow,” Willis says. It still affects African Americans significantly more than anyone else. Of the 300,000 people in Virginia who are disenfranchised, Willis says, roughly 50 percent are African American.


"The sad truth is that the governor holds complete control over who gets their rights restored," he says, noting that there is no process in state law that dictates criteria for voting rights restoration. "It’s completely arbitrary and that’s the process we’re trying to change."
In sum, if Governor Kaine has "complete control over who gets their rights restored," if this policy is "related to Jim Crow," and if Kaine himself said recently, "I very strongly believe that people who have paid their debt to society should have voting rights restored," then why on earth doesn't he do it? I'm baffled.

h/t: Not Larry Sabato

UPDATE: Just to clarify, in no way/shape/form do I believe that Tim Kaine is in the least bit racist. The entire point here is that voter disenfranchisement has its roots in Jim Crow racism, and to this day it continues to disproportionately impact African Americans. That's one huge reason why Governor Kaine should issue a blanket reinstatement of voting rights, at least for non-violent ex-felons, because we need to remove this disgraceful stain of racism from Virginia once and for all.

Mo Elleithee: Republicans "playing politics with terrorism"

Virginia's #2 most important political operative of the decade, Mo Elleithee, nails it:
There’s no question that Republicans, and especially Dick Cheney, are playing politics with terrorism.

How hypocritical and off-base are their attacks? Let us count the ways.


In 2001, following the attacks of 9/11 and the attempted shoe-bombing attack in December, Democrats didn’t criticize President Bush. We were united as a country. Everyone agreed that our security was more important than politics.

It is sad that eight years later, Republican leaders seems to have forgotten that lesson.
Yes, it's sad, but Republicans appear to be consumed with "Obama Derangement Syndrome," so it's also sadly unsurprising. (begin snark) Of course, wouldn't you be deranged if a Republican president had just saved the economy from complete meltdown and was trying to get you affordable, quality health care? Yeah, I know, it's horrible! Makes me froth at the mouth just thinking about it. (end snark)

Good Riddance, Decade From Hell

A few weeks ago, Time Magazine dubbed the 2000's the "Decade from Hell." Here's what Time had to say:
Instead, it was the American Dream that was about to dim. Bookended by 9/11 at the start and a financial wipeout at the end, the first 10 years of this century will very likely go down as the most dispiriting and disillusioning decade Americans have lived through in the post–World War II era. We're still weeks away from the end of '09, but it's not too early to pass judgment. Call it the Decade from Hell, or the Reckoning, or the Decade of Broken Dreams, or the Lost Decade. Call it whatever you want — just give thanks that it is nearly over.

Calling the 2000s "the worst" may seem an overwrought label in a decade in which we fought no major wars, in historical terms. It is a sadly appropriate term for the families of the thousands of 9/11 victims and soldiers and others killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. But the lack of a large-scale armed conflict makes these past 10 years stand out that much more. This decade was as awful as any peacetime decade in the nation's entire history. Between the West's ongoing struggle against radical Islam and our recent near-death economic experience — trends that have largely skirted much of the developing world — it's no wonder we feel as if we've been through a 10-year gauntlet. Americans may have the darkest view of recent history, since it's in the U.S. that the effects of those trends have been most acute. If you live in Brazil or China, you have had a pretty good decade economically. Once, we were the sunniest and most optimistic of nations. No longer.
No argument here, this decade was awful. I'd add that it began with the Supreme Court handing an election to George W. Bush, despite the fact that Al Gore won 544,000 more votes than Bush. We then suffered through 8 terrible years of what was, arguably, the worst presidency in U.S. history. We experienced the horror of the 9/11 attacks, including one plane that hit us right here in Virginia. Now, of course, we're dealing with the terrible recession bequeathed to us by Bush, plus the enormous debt Bush accumulated over his 8 years in office by giving huge tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans while simultaneously invading and occupying Iraq. Finally, as the decade comes to a close, we are witnessing the rise of a nasty, right-wing populist movement, the likes of which we haven't seen since...the 1930s? the McCarthy era? Wonderful, huh?

So, I'm trying really hard to think of a worse decade for this country than the one we've just endured, and the only one that's coming to mind is the 1930s, which saw the Great Depression, the rise of Fascism, and the start of World War II. Other than that, I can't think of a consistently worse decade than the 2000s. Yes, the 1960s were tumultuous, but many good things (civil rights, women's rights, economic growth) happened in that decade as well as bad things (Vietnam, racial problems). Also, the 1970s were a bad decade - Watergate, stagflation, the Iranian hostage crisis, a lost war in Vietnam - but I'd still argue that this past decade was worse on balance, given the magnitude of crises - the economy, debt, terrorism, war, global warming, nuclear proliferation, etc. - we're currently dealing with.

Here in Virginia, we moved from a "red" state to a kinda-sorta "blue" (or, more likely, "purple") state, then back to a "red" state once again. We saw Jim Webb defeat George Allen and a Democratic presidential candidate win the state for the first time in 44 years. We went from good economic and budgetary times to extremely difficult economic and budgetary times. We found ourselves mired worse than ever in transportation gridlock, with the 2002 defeat of one possible funding source (tax referenda in NOVA and Hampton Roads) and the abuser fees/regional authorities fiasco of 2007 (so much for those sources of transportation revenues). We were attacked on 9/11. And, last but not least, we experienced the horror of April 16, 2007 in Blacksburg. All in all, I'd say this was a difficult decade here in Virginia, with bright spots but also plenty of dark ones. It could have been worse, but it also could have been a lot better.

Anyway, what do you think? Were the years 2000-2009 the worst decade in U.S. history since the 1930s? Or were they not really all that bad? Make your case in the comments section, and let's hope for a peaceful and prosperous second decade. Happy New Year.

"The $250,000 primary"

Norm Leahy has more about how "[t]axpayers in the 5th congressional district will have to fork over about a quarter of a million dollars to cover the costs of the Republican primary." Yeah, those Republicans really care about your tax money. Not!

Dem's Did Not Criticize Vacationing Bush Over "Shoe Bomber"

The contrast between Democrats and Republicans could not be greater:
...the similarities between last Friday’s incident and the attempted shoe bombing in 2001 are striking.

This year’s came attack came on Christmas. The attempt eight years ago took place on December 22. Obama was on vacation in Hawaii when the suspect, Omar Abdulmutallab, allegedly used plastic explosives in his try to blow up the Amsterdam-to-Detroit flight. Bush was at Camp David when Reid used similar plastic explosives to try to blow up his Paris-to-Miami flight, which diverted to Boston after the incident.

Like the Obama White House, the Bush White House told reporters the president had been briefed on the incident and was following it closely. While the Obama White House issued a background statement through a senior administration official calling the incident an “attempted terrorist attack” on the same day it took place, the early official statements from Bush aides did not make the same explicit statement.

Bush did not address reporters about the Reid episode until December 28, after he had traveled from Camp David to his ranch in Texas.

Democrats do not appear to have criticized Bush over the delay. Many were wary of publicly clashing with the commander-in-chief, who was getting lofty approval ratings after what appeared to be a successful military campaign in Afghanistan. The media also seemed to have little interest in pressing Bush about the bombing, or the fact that the incident had revealed a previously unknown vulnerability in airplane security – that shoes could be used to hide chemicals or explosive devices.
As usual, Republicans are willing to say anything in order to try and score political points. In this case, Republicans are bashing Barack Obama, despite the fact that this attempted terrorist attack was a systemic problem of the type that occurred during the Bush Administration as well, and despite the fact that one of their own has played a major role in blocking confirmation of a new Transportation Security Administration head. Meanwhile, guess which administration released two of the Al Qaeda leaders behind the Christmas Day "underwear bomber" plot:
Two of the four leaders allegedly behind the al Qaeda plot to blow up a Northwest Airlines passenger jet over Detroit were released by the U.S. from the Guantanamo prison in November, 2007, according to American officials and Department of Defense documents. Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for the Northwest bombing in a Monday statement that vowed more attacks on Americans.

American officials agreed to send the two terrorists from Guantanamo to Saudi Arabia where they entered into an “art therapy rehabilitation program” and were set free, according to U.S. and Saudi officials.
That's right, the Bush Administration released the Al Qaeda leaders into Saudi "art therapy," and Republicans have blocked a new head of the TSA, yet those same Republicans are now criticizing Obama for the attempted Christmas Day terrorist attack. I swear, if Barack Obama cured cancer and heart disease, Republicans would bash him for not curing the common cold as well (or for not having cured cancer and heart disease sooner, leading to the deaths of millions of Americans). It's pathetic and wildly irresponsible, but that's Republicans for ya.

P.S. Also, what's with the Republicans talking down our national security? Of course, these are the same people who have just spent the past year talking down our economy, which is now well on the way to recovery, so what else would you expect?

Whipple Clip Dozen: Wednesday Morning

Thanks to Tom Whipple for the Wednesday "Clips."


Most Significant Virginia Democratic Campaign People of the Decade

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The following are (what I believe to be) the "most significant" Virginia Democratic campaign people ("staff" or "consultant," not candidate or elected official) of the decade. In rating "significance," I looked at the number of campaigns the person served on, the level of authority/responsibility they had, the importance of the elections they competed in, and the overall scope of their work. I also noted wins and losses in the entry for each individual but didn't really rank them according to their won-loss record. In addition to my own judgment, I asked a variety of Virginia Democrats what they thought of the people on the list, who they would add or subtract, etc.

Overall, I believe there are too many factors to simplistically say "they lost, they're an idiot; they won, they're a genius." Also, it should go without saying that this list isn't comprehensive, particularly in the earlier part of the decade where my knowledge is much more limited, so if you have any suggestions of people who should be added, please say so in the comments or send me an email. Also, please note that I haven't included committee chair (e.g., the excellent Peter Rousselot, who is retiring in early January) or leading bloggers (e.g., Ben Tribbett consulted and/or worked on numerous campaigns, for instance providing major assistance to Chap Petersen in his 2007 victory over Jeannemarie Devolites Davis). I also haven't included myself (I founded Raising Kaine, drafted James Webb and worked as his netroots coordinate; also consulted to Jon Bowerbank and Judy Feder). Anyway, enjoy (or not)! :)

Mike Henry: A major presence in Virginia politics during the decade, Henry managed Steve Shannon's AG campaign in 2009 (lost), Terry McAuliffe's primary campaign for governor in 2009 (lost), Mark Warner's U.S. Senate race in 2008 (won), Hillary Clinton's Virginia primary campaign in 2008 (lost), Tim Kaine's run for governor in 2005 (won), and the Democratic Coordinated Campaign in 2001 (the year Mark Warner won the governorship and Tim Kaine won the lieutenant governorship). Henry had a rough 2008 and 2009 in terms of wins/losses, but overall played (and often won) at the highest levels of the game for longer than pretty much anyone on Democratic Virginia political campaigns during the decade. [Note: Henry earned $530,861 during the decade on a variety of campaigns (Kaine for Governor, McAuliffe for Governor, Shannon for AG, Warner for Governor, etc.).

Mo Elleithee: Another major presence in Virginia during the decade. Mo served as senior strategist on the Creigh Deeds campaign (loss), on Terry McAuliffe's primary campaign for governor (loss), and on Jody Wagner's LG general election campaign (loss) in 2009. Mo did help Jody Wagner win the Democratic nomination for LG, of course. Overall, though, 2009 wasn't the greatest year for Mo. :( On the other hand, Mo served as communications strategist to the DPVA in 2007, when Democrats won back the State Senate and picked up 4 seats in the House of Delegates. On yet another hand, Mo was a strategist for Harris Miller's losing (and super nasty) 2006 U.S. Senate campaign against Jim Webb. On yet ANOTHER hand, Mo ran the DSCC's independent expenditures campaign against George Allen in 2006. I've long run out of hands, but Mo was also Communications Director on the victorious Kaine for Governor campaign in 2005, and Press Secretary on the winning Mark Warner Governor campaign in 2001. Overall, it's hard to find anyone with more top-level Virginia campaign experience - and knowledge of state politics - than Mo Elleithee.

Mame Reiley: Chaired Brian Moran's disastrous 2009 primary campaign, but also was a top advisor/political director for Virginia's most successful politician, Mark Warner, from 2001 to 2007. In addition, Reiley consulted to Dominion Power and served on the board of MWAA (Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority). Overall, Reiley has been a major presence in Virginia politics during the decade.

James Walkinshaw: Ran Gerry Connolly's victorious congressional primary and general election campaigns in 2008, as well as Connolly's successful reelection campaign for chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in 2007. Walkinshaw also ran Andy Hurst's campaign against Tom Davis in 2006 and Bruce Roemmelt's House of Delegates campaign in 2005, which didn't manage to unseat "Sideshow Bob" Marshall. Both lost the general election but did better than expected. We'll see how it goes in Connolly's 2010 reelection race, but for now, Walkinshaw definitely looks like a rising star in Virginia politics.

Joe Abbey: Managed both Creigh Deeds' disastrous general election campaign and also his successful primary campaign in 2009. Was deputy campaign manager for Mark Warner's crushing victory over Jim Gimore in 2008, as well as campaign manager for Chap Petersen's big win over Jeannemarie Devolites Davis for State Senate in 2007. Abbey also served as field organizer for the DPVA in 2001 and managed Sen. Toddy Puller's winning campaign in 2003. A mixed bag considering the Deeds disaster, but overall successful considering the other races.

Steve Jarding: Was senior strategist on two losing Virginia campaigns - Brian Moran and Jon Bowerbank - in 2009. Also, served as senior strategist on Jim Webb's victorious 2006 U.S. Senate campaign and campaign manager for Mark Warner's winning 2001 governor's race. An important player during the decade, from beginning to end.

Elisabeth Pearson: Managed Jody Wagner's victorious primary for LG in 2009, but also her losing general election run against Bill Bolling. Managed the Coordinated Campaign in 2008 (big wins, definitely deserves kudos, especially compared to the 2009 Coordinated disaster), served in various capacities on the Coordinated from 2005 to 2008. A successful run, overall. [Note: I've heard that Pearson will be the next DPVA executive director]

Levar Stoney: Served as Deputy Finance Director/Scheduler for Creigh Deeds AG campaign (loss) in 2005, DPVA political director (mostly wins) from 2006 to 2008, and DPVA executive director (mostly wins) in 2008-2009. Unfortunately, Stoney also served as political director on the Deeds campaign (don't ask) in 2009. Overall, mostly successful except for the Deeds connection.

Pete Brodnitz, Benenson Strategy Group: Polled for Terry McAuliffe (lost the primary) and Jody Wagner (won the primary, lost the general) in 2009. Also polled for Tom Perriello in 2008 (win), the DPVA in 2007 (gained seats), Jim Webb in 2006 (win), Tim Kaine in 2005 (win), and Rick Boucher (all wins). A winning track record overall.

Steve Pazmino: Earned $614,778 from 2000 to 2009, fundraising for the Democratic Senate Caucus, the DPVA, etc.

Mitch Stewart: Ran Barack Obama's incredibly impressive 2008 Virginia campaign, the end result of which was the first Democratic presidential victory in Virginia since 1964.

Delacey Skinner: Communications director for the McAuliffe campaign in 2009 (loss). Communications director for Governor Kaine from 2006 to 2008. Press secretary on the victorious Kaine for Governor campaign in 2005.

Susan Swecker: Top advisor to Creigh Deeds' debacle in 2009, also managed Deeds' 2005 loss for Attorney General and the Kerry campaign in Virginia. As if that's not bad enough, Swecker was director of the House Democratic caucus in 2001 when we lost 14 seats. Not good. [Note: one person who reviewed this list - a fairly high-ranking member of the DPVA - commented that "Susan Swecker is an arrogant, pig-headed 'has been' who should hang it up."]

Monica Dixon: Top advisor to Mark Warner prior to the Deeds campaign debacle in 2009. Good on the Warner part, not good at all on the Deeds part.

Larry Roberts: An important behind-the-scenes player, served as Tim Kaine's campaign chair in 2005 and also as a top advisor to Governor Kaine since then.

Amy Reger: DPVA executive director from 2006 to 2008 (took over from Lindsey Reynolds). One comment I received was that "Amy Reger did a very innovative and good job during her stint as DPVA executive director, and really had the right focus on the importance of field organizing." A successful tenure overall, particularly in 2007.

Dave “Mudcat” Saunders: Worked as a senior strategist for Jim Webb in 2006 (win) and Mark Warner in 2001 (win).

Abbi Easter: Worked for Donald McEachin the entire decade, including his run for Attorney General in 2001 (McEachin won a 4-way primary in June, lost by 60%-40% to Jerry Kilgore) and his victories in 2005 and 2007 for House of Delegates and State Senate, respectively. Easter also worked on the Webb for Senate campaign, running the Metro Richmond office, and is on the DPVA state steering committee.

John Rohrbach: Internet/technical consultant for Terry McAuliffe and Jody Wagner in 2009, Mark Warner in 2008, Harris Miller in 2006, and Tim Kaine in 2005. John does excellent work, even if his candidates had a mixed win/loss record.

Jessica VandenBerg/Maverick Strategies: Consulted to Jon Bowerbank in 2009 (loss). Managed Jim Webb's winning U.S. Senate campaign in 2006.

Kristian Denny Todd/Maverick Strategies: Consulted to Jon Bowerbank (loss) in 2009, Senior Communications Strategist for Jim Webb (win) in 2006.

Geoff Garin: Worked as a pollster for the DSCC's 2006 independent expenditures campaign on behalf of Jim Webb. Also polled for Mark Warner in 2001. Two campaigns, two wins.

Matt Felan: Has earned $532,313 during the decade, fundraising for Moving Virginia Forward, Kaine for Governor, Ward Armstrong's "Strong Majority PAC," and Deeds for Governor.

GMMB Media Consultants (David Smith, Susan DiLiddo Michels, Jim Margolis): Consulted to Terry McAuliffe in 2009 (loss), Mark Warner in 2008 (win), Jim Webb in 2006 (win), and Mark Warner in 2001 (win). Also worth noting, GMMB earned $2.5 million from 2000 to 2009, one of the top "vendors" in Virginia politics.

Charlie Kelly (second from right in photo, to Matt Felan's left): Managed Phil Kellam's 2006 losing race against Rep. Thelma Drake. Ran Kaine's Moving Virginia Forward PAC beginning in 2008, taking over from Matt Felan. Prior to that, Kelly was the PAC's political director. Currently at the DNC.

David Dixon: Top consultant to Creigh Deeds in 2009 (loss). Ugh. (but also worked for Mark Warner in 2001 - good).
David Petts: Gave horrible polling advice to Creigh Deeds in 2009 (loss), but made a ton of money doing it. Ugh.
Kevin Mack: Direct mail for Creigh Deeds in 2005 (loss) and 2009 (loss). Ugh.

Dominic Gabello: Served as Brian Moran's political director in 2009. Although the campaign was a debacle, I've only heard good things about Gabello's work. Also worked for Mark Warner (2003-2006), both as "field director" for One Virginia and Northeast Political Director for the Forward Together PAC, and was Virginia YD's president from 2005 to 2007.

Matt Mansell: Ran the Democratic House caucus in 2007 (gains) and 2009 (disastrous losses), also deputy director in 2005 (gains).

Larry Byrne: Heavily involved in Leslie Byrne's (unfortunately) unsuccessful 2008 primary for Congress against Gerry Connolly. Also, served as Jim Webb's field director in 2006 (win) and advised Leslie Byrne on her 2005 near-miss run for LG against Bill Bolling.

Jessica Barba: Worked as Tom Perriello's communications director in 2008 (and also since then in his Congressional office). Did an excellent job, as did Perriello's entire team, in the upset victory over Virgil Goode.

Joe Montano, Susan Mariner, Isaac Sarver: All did great jobs as "50 State Organizers" for the DNC in 2007 and 2008. Montano also served as Creigh Deeds' NOVA political director in 2009. Mariner also was South Hampton Roads Political Director for Terry McAuliffe in 2009. Sarver also worked as field director on the Carole Pratt for Delegate campaign in 2009.

Jared Leopold: Was spokesman for Creigh Deeds in 2009, famous for appearing in a couple of disastrous post-debate press "scrum" videos. Leopold was DPVA Communications Director (where he did an excellent job) prior to the Deeds Disaster. One person who commented on this list told me, "In 2008, Jared Leopold was the Communications Director for the Coordinated Campaign, where he did a much better job than he did for Deeds in 2009."

UPDATE: Although she wasn't really a "campaign person," I probably should have had Lindsey Reynolds on this list.
Lindsey Reynolds began her career in Virginia Democratic politics in 1998, as the legislative assistant to Stanley C. Walker of Norfolk, then President pro tempore of the Virginia Senate. In 2000, she became the finance director for the Joint Democratic Caucus, and in March 2002, she joined the state party as its finance director. A year later, Reynolds was named executive director of the Democratic Party of Virginia. She served as both the executive director/fundraiser for the party and Joint Caucus fundraiser until May 2004, then continued as the executive director and fundraiser for the Party. Reynolds is a 1998 graduate of Virginia Wesleyan College, with a B.A. in political science, 1998.
Also, while we're at it, we could add Larry Framme, Kerry Donley, and Dick Cranwell on here. I'm sure I missed others as well...

Kaine: Obama Will Win Virginia in 2012

Question: It's still a few years out but it's never too early to ask, do you think that Virginia will go Democratic in the 2012 presidential election?

Kaine: Yeah, I definitely do. I think the president's doing a great job, I think the passage of the health care bill, which has been slow, tortuous, just gonna be a great thing. I think about the 1.2 million Virginians who are uninsured that I've had to really worry about over the last 4 years, and I see so much good in this bill for them. And I think the passage of the bill is gonna create a great tailwind for Democrats right away and it will be part of a wonderful record of accomplishment that this president has been able to rack up in the first year that I think is gonna grow. And I think, while it is gonna be competitive, Virginia has gone from a very red state to a completely competitive state. I think the president will Virginia again.
Is Tim Kaine being overly optimistic (as he sometimes tends to be), or is his prediction a good one? Time will tell, and a lot can happen between now and then, but I feel fairly optimistic that Barack Obama will win Virginia - and the White House - in 2012.

Courtesy of Politico

A Backhanded Way to Protect Americans

Just before leaving for Christmas with my family in Massachusetts, I realized I didn't have a quart-sized bag for the liquids in my carry-on luggage. I tried to shove them in a sandwich bag, which promptly broke. So I said screw it, none of it's worth more than a few dollars, I'll just leave them out in the bag and if they say anything, I'll gladly throw them out and buy new ones when I get there.

Security didn't say a word.

So when I heard an Al Qaeda operative managed to smuggle a device on board a plane and light light it on fire, I wasn't exactly shocked. As Andy Borowitz tweeted, "Next time you want to sneak shampoo onto a plane, just hide it among some bomb-making supplies."

Look, I don't care exactly what procedures the Transportation Security Administration wants us to go through as we get on board the plane. I'll recite the Pledge of Allegiance on my tiptoes if it'll get me to my plane more securely and quickly.

But security officials seem more determined to prevent the last attack than the next one -- having us take off our shoes to defend against the Shoe Bomber and giving us pat-downs to defend against the Crotch Bomber. A friend told me at least the TSA agents use the back of their hands to pat down your groin. Let's face it: If someone has to backhand your junk before you can get on a flight, the terrorists have already won.

The real problem remains communication:
Abdulmutallab had been refused entry to Britain and placed on a security watch list after he applied to study at a bogus college, Britain's Home Secretary, Alan Johnson, said Monday. But earlier, from 2005 until June 2008, Abdulmutallab had studied mechanical engineering at the high-ranking University College London.

Johnson said authorities are trying to establish what communication if any occurred between Britain and the U.S. He said security agencies are trying to determine what sort of activities Abdulmutallab engaged in while in the U.K., and when he became radicalized.
As The Daily Show pointed out a couple of weeks ago, the TSA has shown signs of bumbling and hasn't had an administrator since President Obama took office, thanks to Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC).

Backhanding random crotches won't catch the next terrorist. Getting the TSA an administrator -- one who'll ensure proper international & inter-agency communication -- just might.

Chap Puts Me In His "Decade of Zeroes"

I'm not sure that being put on a "Decade of Zeroes" list is much of an honor, but coming from a great guy like Chap Petersen, I guess I'll take it. :)
Most Talented Blogger: Lowell Feld. The man who created "Raising Kaine" is still at it five years later. Great eye for the absurdity of politics. (honorable mention to Vincent Harris on the conservative side).
Thanks Chap, I honestly can't believe I'm still doing this "five years later." Unfortunately, my post-RK plan to get back to working on energy issues hasn't quite worked out yet. In addition, I've pretty much concluded that I'm addicted to politics and writing, so here I am. Plus, there's got to be a runnerup to the "Most Influential Political Blog," Not Larry Sabato, which you aptly describe as "Everybody hates on it but everybody reads it." The question is, will they still be reading NLS and will I still be writing Blue Virginia when you run for Governor Attorney General whatever it is you're running for in 2013? :)

Columnist Mike Williams: "Fairness for Felons"

I'm not sure what the weird music is, but other than that, I agree with "Mike's Take" on restoration of voting rights for ex felons. Before he leaves office in 2 1/2 weeks, Tim Kaine should issue a blanket restoration for anyone who has "done their time" and "paid their debt to society." Kaine himself says he would like to do this, but erroneously claims that he doesn't have the authority. Just issue the order, governor, and bring Virginia into the 21st century along with almost every other state in America.

Jim Gilmore and "Wingnut Welfare"

Kyle Blankenship believes that Jim Gilmore's appointment as head of the Alexandria-based "Free Congress Foundation" is an example of "Wingnut Welfare." It's a catchy phrase, and it almost certainly applies to Gilmore. The "Welfare" part is self explanatory. As to the "Wingnut" part, let's just say that Gilmore could only be considered a moderate by the "Sideshow Bob" Marshall/Ken Kookinelli wing of the Republican Party. Thus, as governor of Virginia, Gilmore "signed into law legislation establishing a 24-hour waiting period and informed consent for women seeking an abortion" and "went to court to try to prevent the removal of a feeding tube of coma victim Hugh Finn." In addition, Gilmore's your standard-issue right-wingnut in terms of environmental issues ("drill baby drill!"), unions (opposes making it easier for people to join them), and something he calls "government-run health care" (apparently, Gilmore wants to eliminate Medicare and ditch Tricare), etc., etc.

Given all this, you'd think that Gilmore would fit in at the Free Congress Foundation, but I wonder if that organization might prove too wingnutty even for Gilmore:
FCF has also been willing to spark controversy on other fronts. It rejects what it calls Political Correctness, dubbing it "cultural Marxism" and blaming it on the Frankfurt School of left-wing thinkers. Accordingly, it has been more willing than many other conservative groups to endorse or entertain views that some, especially on the left, would consider offensive and evidence of bigotry. It is arguably hostile to Islam as a whole, rather than confining its criticism to extremist Islam or Islamism. With regard to Judaism, in his column of April 13, 2001 (Good Friday) titled Indeed, He is Risen!, Weyrich argued that "Christ was crucified by the Jews.... He was not what the Jews had expected so they considered Him a threat. Thus He was put to death."
Right, well, hmmmm. Anyway, as if all that's not wingnutty enough, FCF has also been opposed to the "War on Terror," the war in Iraq, free trade, arms control, and the USA PATRIOT Act. Does Jim Gilmore agree with all of this, or will he move to shift direction at his new wingnut home? If the latter, will Gilmore's prominent new role "affect the political/ideological landscape of a Republican Party and conservative wing dominated by advocates of an expansive and expensive U.S. military engagement abroad -- for what critics and some advocates call 'nation-building' -- who support a war on 'Islamo-fascism?'" I don't know, but it will be fascinating to watch as Gilmore settles in to his new "Wingnut Welfare" role.

I Agree With Bob McDonnell

It's unlikely we'll have many more headlines like this one the next four years, but on this issue, it's true: the current state budget system does need to be reformed. (bolding added by me for emphasis)
On Friday, Dec. 18th, Gov. Tim Kaine proposed his biennial budget for Fiscal Years 2011 and 2012. The governor made his proposal with only 28 days left in his single four-year term, carrying out his obligation as determined by our current budgetary calendar.

Unfortunately, the current budget development process leads to a situation, repeated every four years, in which the consideration, debate and adoption of one governor’s proposed budget takes place during the administration of his successor. Thus, one out of every two budgets submitted requires no subsequent accountability or management from the governor who proposed it.

The current system also requires a new governor to potentially submit sweeping changes to a budget just days after taking office with limited preparation and input. A sitting governor usually takes many months to analyze and develop a comprehensive state budget. It is likewise burdensome on the General Assembly to have to review and consider the potentially divergent budget recommendations of two governors in such a short period of time.

Regardless of who is governor, or the political parties they represent, such an arrangement does not serve the public’s best interest nor does it create a fiscally prudent planning process. It needs to be reformed.

As governor, I will propose action be taken to move the budget development process to odd-numbered years, from the current even-numbered year arrangement. Thus an incoming governor would only make necessary changes to the second year of his predecessor’s budget, and would then be in office for the drafting of two full budgets of his or her own, and would be held fully responsible for the implementation and oversight of those budgets. There is broad support for reform. Gov. Kaine and I, as well as key General Assembly leaders, support this change. Gov. L. Douglas Wilder’s Commission on Government Efficiency and Effectiveness made this same proposal during the Warner administration. I have spoken with many business leaders and citizens who support this policy change. It is a nonpartisan recommendation that will ensure a much more orderly budget process. As a candidate for governor I recommended this change as part of the government reform package Lt. Gov. Bolling and I jointly announced in September.

It is important, especially in tough fiscal times, to continue to look for positive reforms in all areas of government, to make it simpler and more efficient and to get results. This is one which will lead to a smoother budget process for the benefit of all involved. I look forward to working with the members of the General Assembly to adopt this reform in the near future to begin with submission of a full two-year budget in 2011.
This proposal makes a great deal of sense, and is supported by "key General Assembly leaders," "former Gov. L. Douglas Wilder’s Commission on Efficiency and Effectiveness," "[t]he business community," and Governor Kaine. Let's do it. Oh, and while we're at it, let's change the one-term limit for Virginia governors; that's also antiquated, counterproductive, and well past due for a change.

Frank Anderson Tells His Story

Monday, December 28, 2009

For those who haven't been following this story, Frank Anderson is the guy who was denied restoration of his voting rights by Governor Kaine. Anderson's crime was burglary, back in 1998, for which he served two years and two months in prison. Here's the rest of the story.
...Since that time I have completed probation, paid all my fines, held steady jobs, not been convicted of any other crimes, volunteered on numerous Democratic campaigns in Virginia (starting with Kaine for Governor), registered hundreds of voters and earned my associate's degree. Through my work in voter registration, I learned about how people like myself can get their rights restored. I filled out the Application for Restoration of Rights and submitted it along with my criminal records. That December, I received a letter telling me the application was denied, with no explanation. There is a two-year waiting period to reapply and there is no appeals process.

Over the past year I've been looking for other avenues to get my rights restored, since the decision is ultimately up to the Governor and not the Secretary of the Commonwealth. I started working with a coalition of groups and activists ( concerned with restoring rights to the 300,000 disenfranchised convicted felons in Virginia. Finally on December 16, 2009 I received an email from Bernard Henderson, Senior Deputy Secretary of the Commonwealth...
Anderson then recounts how Governor Kaine denied the restoration of his voting rights due to speeding tickets. As Anderson notes, Kaine has the power to deny restoration of voting rights for any reason, just as "the Governor has the complete power to overturn the unfair requirements for restoration." Also, as Anderson correctly points out, "there is nothing stopping [Kaine] from issuing an Executive Order that restores rights to all ex-felons in Virginia who have completed the terms of their sentences." It's truly infuriating, as Frank Anderson explains.
...Governor Kaine, who I helped get elected, who is the Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, a civil rights lawyer and a man of faith, should believe in fundamental rights and the concept of redemption. Unfortunately he seems unwilling to take this step to undo Virginia's regressive policy. Yes, Governor-Elect McDonnell could try to overturn it. So what? Which side of history do you want to be on? Kentucky, or the rest of the United States that have more sensible processes for ex-felons to regain their voting rights? What possible legal or political drawback is there to setting up a precedent by which convicted felons, who have fulfilled all their obligations and stayed out of trouble for over three years, can become full citizens again?
The short answer: none. The longer answer: absolutely none. Sadly, Virginia joins Kentucky as the most restrictive states in the country with regard to restoring felons' voting rights when they complete their sentences. The fact that this Jim Crow-era law is still on the books in Virginia as we head into the second decade of the 21st century utterly boggles my mind. Even more mind boggling is the fact that a Democrat who many of us worked our asses off to elect as governor - and who is now chair of the Democratic Party! - is unwilling to do what Republican Charlie Crist did in Florida. What. The. Hell.

PPP: George Allen 44%-Jim Webb 43%

PPP reports:
Last week George Allen opened the door to a possible rematch against Jim Webb in 2012. Two polls we've conducted in the last year indicate such a contest would be about as much of a toss up as you can have.

When we looked at it in July of 2008, Webb led Allen 45-43. This August, in numbers we're now releasing publicly for the first time, Allen led Webb 44-43.
Darn, I guess we didn't drive a stake through his (metaphorical) heart after all...

President Obama Statement on Christmas Day Terrorist Attack, Iran Violence

Aside from Obama's comments on the terrorist attack ("This was a serious reminder of the dangers that we face and the nature of those who threaten our homeland"), he also had the following to say about the unrest and violence by Iran's theocratic dictatorship.
Before I leave, let me also briefly address the events that have taken place over the last few days in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The United States joins with the international community in strongly condemning the violent and unjust suppression of innocent Iranian citizens, which has apparently resulted in detentions, injuries and even death.

For months, the Iranian people have sought nothing more than to exercise their universal rights. Each time they have done so, they have been met with the iron fist of brutality, even on solemn occasions and holy days. And each time that has happened, the world has watched with deep admiration for the courage and the conviction of the Iranian people, who are part of Iran's great and enduring civilization.

What's taking place within Iran is not about the United States or any other country; it's about the Iranian people, and their aspirations for justice, and a better life for themselves. And the decision of Iran's leaders to govern through fear and tyranny will not succeed in making those aspirations go away. As I said in Oslo, it's telling when governments fear the aspirations of their own people more than the power of any other nation.

Along with all free nations, the United States stands with those who seek their universal rights. We call upon the Iranian government to abide by the international obligations that it has, to respect the rights of its own people. We call for the immediate release of all who have been unjustly detained within Iran. We will continue to bear witness to the extraordinary events that are taking place there, and I'm confident that history will be on the side of those who seek justice.

Iran's Theocratic Dictators Make a Fatal Error? Let's Hope!

According to this, "two critical lines...were crossed yesterday" in Iran.
...The first was widespread savagery and violence by the junta on the day of Ashura. This breaks a profound taboo, violates the integrity and core meaning of the religious festival, and places the regime symbolically as the enemy of Shia Islam. This has offended not just the urban elites but the pious poor and rural population.
The second was "the calculated assassination of Ali Mousavi, the rightful president's nephew," which "creates a martyr connected to the leader of the Green Movement, and provides a cycle of more mourning and potential for unrest." Not smart. In fact, it could be a fatal error by the Iranian theocratic dictatorship according to this analysis.
Killing for any reason is forbidden on Ashura. So in addition to ten dead protesters, it is absolutely insane that Khamenei then assassinated Moussavi's nephew. Ali Moussavi was run over by a car and then shot in the street. Government officials confiscated his body to prevent a funeral.

Hundreds of people have been arrested, and at the end of this, dozens could be confirmed killed. Killing Moussavi's nephew on Ashura was probably one of the dumbest decisions the regime could've possibly made. Protesters have largely switched from chants against Ahmadinejad to chants against Khamenei himself. There is, of yet, no "revolutionary alternative" to the Supreme Leader, and he controls the military and the security forces, but basically he is fucked in the long term, and a lot of Iranian dissidents are about to be locked up and killed.
Remember, it was just such a cycle of violence and mourning that ultimately brought down the Shah of Iran in January 1979. Will history repeat itself in Iran 31 years later? It looks like we're about to find out.

Governor Kaine: Remove Virginia's Voting Rights Disgrace Now!

This is unacceptable. It is also a perfect example of why Governor Kaine needs to issue an immediate, blanket restoration of voting rights for people who have "done their time" and "paid their debt to society." And no, Kaine's excuse that he would love to issue a "blanket restoration" but doesn't have the authority to do so is nonsense, as the Virginia Organizing Project has demonstrated. Specifically, "Article V, Section 12 of the Constitution grants the Governor plenary authority to 'remove political disabilities consequent upon conviction.'" No more excuses, Governor Kaine, just make it happen before you leave office in 2 1/2 weeks!

P.S. See here for more on this subject.

Matalin: Bush "Inherited" Recession, 9/11

As Think Progress writes:
In reality, the terror attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center occurred on Sept. 11, 2001 — eight months into President Bush’s first term. Also, the 2001 recession technically began in March of 2001, well after Bush assumed office. Last month, former Bush administration spokesperson Dana Perino claimed that “we did not have a terrorist attack on our country during President Bush’s term.” Former Bush administration officials seem intent on misrepresenting history to pretend that the country never suffered its worst terror attack in history under Bush’s watch. It’s a peculiar talking point, even considering the other efforts to whitewash Bush’s disastrous record.
Add "we inherited" to the Republican/Tea Partier "Big Lie" "whoppers of 2009": "death panels," "socialized medicine," global warming denial (and hysteria over the costs of dealing with it), etc., etc. Sadly, the "Big Lie" will never end, and sadly, we have to spend time and energy countering it.

Whipple Clip Dozen: Monday Morning

Thanks to Tom Whipple for the Monday "Clips."


Music to Start Your Monday: "Listen to Her Heart"

From last night's CD release party by upcoming rock star Dana Wells at Jammin' Java in Vienna, Virginia, here's a cover of Tom Petty's "Listen to Her Heart" to start your Monday. Enjoy!

My Former Boss Issues a "Declaration of Energy Independence"

Sunday, December 27, 2009

I'm about to start reading former EIA Administrator Jay Hakes' book, "A Declaration of Energy Independence." Hakes was my boss from 1993 to 2000, and definitely one of the most knowledgeable people on energy issues you'll find anywhere. This video is of a lecture Hakes gave this past fall at Arizona State University. I just watched it, thought it was highly informative, and recommend that you check it out. Enjoy!

Police Clash With Protesters in Iran: "A Pivotal Moment?"

With deadly, anti-government protests raging in Iran today, I thought that some background from Stratfor might be helpful. This video is from three days ago, in the aftermath of Grand Ayatollah Hussein-Ali Montazeri. The video discusses what might happen leading up to Ashura, the important Shi'a day of mourning which marks the martyrdom of Husayn ibn Ali, grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, at the Battle of Karbala in 680 AD. According to Stratfor, today could be a "pivotal moment" in Iran, in which "there's very serious serious potential for a lot of destabilization." Between the continuing anti-government unrest in Iran and the potential for international sanctions or even military strikes against the country's nuclear program, it's highly likely that we'll be hearing a lot about the Islamic Republic in 2010.

P.S. This almost goes without saying, but...GO PROTESTORS!

Del.-Elect Scott Surovell and "The War on Fairfax"

Over at Virginia Tomorrow, Bob Holsworth appears to have noticed Delegate-elect Scott Surovell's rant about "The War on Fairfax". In short, Chap Petersen's law partner (and my friend) Scott Surovell (D-44th) is mad as hell - at "the attack on the poor and Fairfax County’s Middle Class" - and he's not going to take it anymore. Scott Surovell: Born Fighting? :) Here's Bob Holsworth.
4. Surovell v. Kaine (and probably McDonnell too)

If you haven’t read Delegate-Elect Scott Surovell’s analysis of the outgoing Governor’s budget and what it may mean for NOVA, you should. Writing from a regional, NOVA-centric perspective, the newly elected Democratic delegate labels the Kaine budget the first volley in what he perceives as the emerging War on Fairfax. Surovell contends that the recommendation to delay K-12 “rebenchmarking”, proposed Medicaid cuts, and the tuition increases that will result from dramatic funding reductions to colleges and universities are an attack on the NOVA middle class. Surovell’s commentary is instructive for a number of reasons. It articulates a NOVA v. Richmond sentiment that is becoming increasingly prominent; it indicates that regional concerns often trump party loyalty in Virginia politics; and it establishes Surovell as a freshman delegate who is not simply heading to Richmond to go along to get along.
Keep in mind that Scott Surovell's not just some hotheaded young rabblerouser, that he's also one of the smartest, hardest working, most articulate people you'll ever know. Plus, he's a proud progressive, a born leader, and a fierce defender of Fairfax. Given all that, it should be verrrrry interesting (and highly entertaining) to watch Scott Surovell when he gets down to Richmond. Stay tuned!

Whipple Clip Dozen: Sunday Morning

Thanks to Del. Bob Brink (D-48) for the Sunday "Whipple Clips."


Kaine Praises McDonnell Campaign, Says Deeds Got "Bad Advice"

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Although Tim Kaine says the 2009 gubernatorial campaign is now "water under the bridge," it's obvious that he's not pleased with the way the Deeds campaign was run.
Mr. Kaine praised Mr. McDonnell for the campaign he ran and while he stopped short of criticizing Mr. Deeds' campaign, he said the Democrat acted on bad advice.

"I saw it coming as soon as the primary was over,"
Mr. Kaine said about the Democrat's eventual defeat. Mr. Kaine said Mr. Deeds ran a great primary campaign but "his advisers told him to switch his campaign from what he did in the primary."

"I think they gave him bad advice,"
he said.

"I was very involved. I was extremely involved in trying to convince them from the first poll I saw, trying to convince them to do otherwise," Mr. Kaine said, adding that it was now "water under the bridge."
Of course, it's easy to blame Deeds' top advisers - and, no doubt, they deserve it - but, as Jim Webb says, "the fish rots from the head down." So, just as Creigh Deeds is ultimately responsible for his horrible campaign, Bob McDonnell gets ultimate credit for the well-oiled (albeit fundamentally dishonest) campaign he presided over.

By the way, I find it interesting that Tim Kaine's still commenting on the 2009 campaign, both in this interview as well as to Bob Lewis, to whom "he speaks warmly of McDonnell, generously praising his victorious campaign." Apparently, Kaine is rankled his legacy will not include a Democratic successor, in addition to his frustrations over transportation, universal pre-k education, and enormous cuts to state services and personnel. All in all, other than helping elect Barack Obama and signing a smoking ban into law, it was a frustrating four years for Tim Kaine...

Top 10 Virginia Political Stories of the Decade

Defining the decade as 2000-2009 and not the more technically correct 2001-2010, here are my "Top 10 Virginia Political Stories" of the past 10 years.

1. 2006: Jim Webb Beats George Allen, "Macaca" Enters the Lexicon
Former Reagan Administration Navy Secretary James Webb switches party, is "drafted," and ultimately defeats incumbent U.S. Senator George Allen after a historic campaign. Among other things, the contest features a heated Democratic primary (against lobbyist Harris Miller) and then the near-complete meltdown of George Allen, who - among other things - introduces the word "macaca" into the lexicon. Also, a shoutout to Jim Webb's 10,000-strong, grassroots/netroots "ragtag army" is most definitely in order here, because Webb most definitely wouldn't have overcome George Allen's huge money advantage without it.

2. 2008: Barack Obama Carries the Commonwealth
Barack Obama becomes the first Democratic presidential candidate since LBJ in 1964 to carry Virginia. Final result: Obama 1.96 million (53%)-McCain 1.73 million (46%) votes. [Also worth nothing, the Virginia Democratic primary on February 12, 2008 was a crucial victory for Barack Obama on his path to the nomination]

3. 2005: Tim Kaine Elected as "Mark Warner Part II."
Mark Warner's Lieutenant Governor, Tim Kaine, trails for much of the summer and fall against Attorney General Jerry Kilgore, before surging the last few weeks and winning by 6 points (52%-46%) on election day. Highlights of the campaign include Kilgore's infamous "Hitler ad," which is widely seen as having gone way beyond the bounds of acceptability. Kaine runs as "Mark Warner Part II," and also ties Jerry Kilgore to the increasingly unpopular George W. Bush. Also worth noting: the Virginia pro-Democratic blogosphere comes to the fore, with blogs like Raising Kaine, Not Larry Sabato, and Waldo Jaquith leading the way.

4. 2001: Mark Warner Defeats Mark Earley for Governor
Less than two months after the 9/11 attacks, which included a plane slamming into the Pentagon, Mark Warner defeats Attorney General Mark Earley 52%-47% to become governor of Virginia. Warner goes on to become one of the most popular and most successful governors in Virginia history, then is elected to the U.S. Senate in 2008. By the way, I would have put this one higher, except that at the time (after the 9/11 attacks and the invasion of Afghanistan) I don't think most people were particularly focused on Virginia politics.

5. 2000: George Allen Defeats Chuck Robb for U.S. Senate
Former Lieutenant Governor, former Governor, and two-term U.S. Senator Chuck Robb is defeated by former Governor George Allen by 4 points (52%-48%), on the same day that George W. Bush defeats Al Gore by 8 points (52.5%-44.4%). Robb had previously survived a tight race against Oliver North in the "Republican Revolution" year of 1994, but he couldn't quite make it in 2000.

6. 2009: Bob McDonnell Annihilates Creigh Deeds for Governor
Creigh Deeds is trounced by Bob McDonnell, 58.6%-41.3%, in one of the worst defeats in Virginia gubernatorial history. Prior landslides include George Allen by 17 points (58%-41%) over Mary Sue Terry in 1993 and Jim Gilmore over Don Beyer by 13 points (55.8%-42.6%). Deeds unsuccessfully attempts to make McDonnell's Regent University thesis an issue, while McDonnell focuses on economic issues at a time of serious recession. Deeds also turns off many "base" voters by proclaiming that he's not a "Barack Obama Democrat," as well as by stating his opposition to "cap and trade" legislation and to the "public option."

7. 2009: Brian Moran, Creigh Deeds and Terry McAuliffe Battle for Democratic Gubernatorial Nomination
Having been in the middle of this one, first as a pro-Brian Moran blogger, then as as a pro-Terry McAuliffe blogger, I can tell you it wasn't fun. Friends divided against friends. People accusing other people - with zero evidence, of course - of having "sold out." Moran and McAuliffe knocking each other silly, allowing underdog (and Blue Dog) Creigh Deeds to swipe the nomination. This Democratic primary, the first on the governor's side since 1977 (turnout: 319,168), was one for the ages.

8. 2005: Bob McDonnell Beats Creigh Deeds In a Recount For Attorney General
In the end, this race came down to a recount in which Bob McDonnell defeated Creigh Deeds by 323 votes out of 1,940,236 cast. It doesn't get much closer than that, and it made all the difference, as Bob McDonnell became Attorney General, a strong contender for the Republican gubernatorial nomination in 2009, and ultimately governor of Virginia. Meanwhile, as we all know, Creigh Deeds would decide to take on McDonnell again, this time for governor in 2009. Not a wise decision...

9. 2008: Tom Perriello Unseats Virgil Goode for U.S. House of Representatives.
At the start of this race, almost nobody thought that some unknown guy named with a last name people couldn't pronounce would defeat Congressman-for-life Virgil Goode in the 5th Congressional district. I'm proud to say that I was one of those delusional people, and in the end, Tom Perriello proved people like me right and all the "sayers of nay" wrong. :) Seriously, though, this was probably the biggest upset for Congress in the decade. Now, we'll see if Tom Perriello can hold this seat in November 2010, and if the naysayers are proved wrong once again.

10. 2005: Bob McDonnell and Bill Bolling Each Win Republican Nomination
Bill Bolling beat Sean Connaughton 58%-42%, and Bob McDonnell defeated Stephen Baril 66%-34%, starting both Bolling and McDonnell on the road to victories in 2005 and 2009. Now, Connaughton will be McDonnell's Transportation Secretary, while Bolling will be lieutenant governor and probably run for governor in 4 years. And the rest is history, as the saying goes...

Whipple Clips Dozen: Saturday Morning

Thanks to Tom Whipple for the day-after-Christmas "Clips."


Ask Senators Warner & Webb to Keep Christmas Cold

Friday, December 25, 2009

Cross-posted from The Green Miles

Merry Christmas! The Green Miles is in Holyoke, MA this morning, drinking organic coffee (Newman's Own Nell's Blend!) with my mom & cousins. And of course, celebrating the passage of the health insurance reform bill in the Senate. We all have friends & family members who'll be helped -- either through help paying for insurance or through new protections on pre-existing conditions.

With the health insurance reform debate in Congress now in its final stages, I had a party in Arlington this week to look ahead to the Senate's clean energy & climate debate. Just as with the health debate, industries making huge profits will be pressuring Virginia Senators Mark Warner & Jim Webb to kill reform & preserve the status quo. We talked about ways to let Warner & Webb know that Virginians are behind clean energy solutions.

We started by recording some YouTube clips asking for action, which my friend Chris posted to Repower America's Wall. I decided to add a little season to my greetings:

If you're on Twitter, you can ask Sen. Warner to support clean energy & climate legislation by signing our petition to Keep Christmas Cold.

A Glimpse at Future Healthcare from Pandora

Good news and bad news from the year 2154. The good: continued medical advancements allow the regeneration of crippled extremities. The bad: access to such care is apparently still limited to the privileged, there is no public option, and veterans’ benefits fall short of making them whole again.

James Cameron’s creation is catching flak from many corners. Much of the criticism is presumptuous and out of context. It is true that what you see depends upon where you stand and we stand in the middle of perplexing times. So what is really a fairly simple storyline depicting a clash of cultures consistent with recurring historical themes and created as a framework upon which to hang some magnificent special effects has taken on meaning from the confusion of this moment in time. Without seeing the film, detractors have characterized it as anti-military. Sorry, don’t see it that way.

Though not a movie review, I must point out that a deficient screenplay is saved by the production quality. Also, the screenplay was not inspired by the situation in Southwest Asia or the global warming debate, but is a product of the aspirations of an innovative filmmaker who conceived the project two decades ago looking for a universal theme. That a perspective transcends time and takes on immediacy at another moment speaks to the resilience of the theme. What Cameron has given us is Exxon Mobil in combination with Xe nee Blackwater some century and a half from now.

And it wasn’t global warming or the “war on terrorism” that haunted me through Avatar, it was that a century and a half from now a paraplegic Marine Corporal has to travel light years and subjugate himself to the beneficence of the military industrial hierarchy for a chance to get his legs back. He cuts a deal with a Xe-like paramilitary organization for healthcare benefits. Apparently there will still be no equity for veterans or equal access to healthcare in the 22nd century either. Maybe that’s the message that really eats at some who object to this story’s theme; or should be.

President Obama: "Celebrating Christmas and Honoring Those Who Serve"

You can also reach out directly to our forces around the world. Kids can make a card that will bring a smile to an American far from home. Adults can send a care package or a pre-paid phone card that makes the tour at little easier. Every American can do something to support our troops, even if it’s as simple as just saying thank you. For more ways to let our troops know you care, go to

So to all our men and women in uniform spending the holidays far from home—whether it’s at a base here in the states, a mess hall in Iraq or a remote outpost in Afghanistan, know that you are in our thoughts and our prayers. And this holiday season—and every Holiday season—know that we are doing everything in our power to make sure you can succeed in your missions and come home safe to your families.
The full transcript is here.