FCDC JJ Dinner Straw Poll Results

Sunday, May 31, 2009

I just got back from the Fairfax County Democratic Committee (FCDC) Jefferson-Jackson Dinner. Here are the straw poll results. Keep in mind that Brian Moran and Jody Wagner were strongly favored to win this straw poll among the Fairfax County Democratic establishment, so take the results with however many grains of salt you prefer. Also, keep in mind that it cost $150 per person to attend the dinner, $300 per person if you wanted to attend the VIP reception, so this wasn't exactly the average people of Fairfax last night.

Brian Moran: 166 (40.9%)
Creigh Deeds: 123 (30.3%)
Terry McAuliffe: 117 (28.8)

Lieutenant Governor
Jody Wagner: 260 (65.7%)
Mike Signer: 136 (34.3%)

I'll be uploading some video, depending on whether technology cooperates or not.

A few other random thoughts on the dinner.

*This is the last major Democratic candidate event prior to election day on June 9. Yes, we're finally coming down the home stretch.
*The schedule of the dinner got scrambled because Mark Warner, who was supposed to be the keynote speaker, had to leave for some reason. Jim Webb filled in and did an excellent job, with his call for Democratic post-primary unity very well received.
*I talked to a lot of people I haven't seen in a while, and it was definitely good to catch up.
*It was great seeing Jon Bowerbank at the dinner. Even though Jon's no longer a candidate, he still appears very interested in public service and in staying involved in Virginia Democratic politics. Good for him.
*All the candidates seemed tired, as did the crowd, which didn't seem as "into it" as at last year's FCDC JJ dinner, for instance. This has been a loooong campaign, following a loooong presidential primary and election season in 2007/2008. I heard a few people saying they just wish we could take a break from politics for a while.
*Just about everyone who saw or read about the Republican convention yesterday seems to feel that they've got a divisive, extreme ticket, but also that they are skillful politicians and will be tough to beat. We have to make sure that Virginians know how far out of the mainstream Bob McDonnell, Bill Bolling and Ken Cuccinelli really are.

Choice Quotes by Sean Hannity

As if its nomination yesterday of the "the most divisive ticket in modern Virginia history" (as the DPVA called it) wasn't bad enough, the Republican Party of Virginia also gave a prime speaking role to conservative radio and TV "star" Sean Hannity. With that in mind, here are some of Hannity's classic quotes from his long and illustrious (ha) career.

*"Anyone listening to this show that believes homosexuality is a normal lifestyle has been brainwashed. It's very dangerous if we start accepting lower and lower forms of behavior as the normal."

*"It doesn't say anywhere in the Constitution this idea of the separation of church and state."

*"I'll tell you who should be tortured and killed at Guantanamo: every filthy Democrat in the U.S. Congress."

*"Democrats should 'stay home on Election Day ... for the sake of the nation.'"

*Referring to Rep. Keith Ellison's (D-MN) intention to use a copy of the Quran to take his Congressional oath of office, "Would they allow him to choose Hitler's Mein Kampf, the Nazis' bible, for his oath? And if not, why not?"

After reading those quotes, anyone who still believes that Sean Hannity is anything other than a right-wing extremist probably also believes that Bob McDonnell and Ken Cuccinelli are flaming liberals. So why did Bob McDonnell et al. invite Hannity to speak at their convention yesterday? Do they condone the sentiments expressed by Hannity? I'll take their silence as approval.

"Too Conservative" Cooch "will be painted as an extremist and it will stick"

Too Conservative's "Loudoun Insider" is not a happy camper over the RPV's nomination of Ken "Cooch" Cuccinelli as their Attorney General candidate this year.
Cuccinelli. Ugh. He will be painted as an extremist and it will stick. He got 54% of 6,800 people so that gives him around 3,500 hard core fanatic followers that will supposedly turn the Virginia Democratic tide against itself. With all the talk of NoVA strength on his part he wil be demolished in Fairfax and Loudoun counties. Check the last election results in Loudoun to see how his type does in Loudoun these days - the days of Dick Black are long gone thanks to the old LCRC growth mentality. Southside Virginia? You’ve got to be kidding - he’s dead meat there. Shenandoah Valley, he’ll do okay. Hampton Roads/Norfolk - who knows, depends on how certain issues play out. He’ll bring out the hard righters for sure but their numbers simply aren’t enough in the new Virginia.
Here's to hoping this analysis is correct, and that we won't have a true right-wing extremist (however "nice" he is personally) as our Attorney General come January 2010.

UPDATE: Over at Bacon's Rebellion, the question is "Could Virginia Become a Christian Theocracy?"
...The GOP, meeting in Richmond over the weekend, nominated hard right former attorney general Bob McDonnell for governor and state Sen. Ken Cuccinelli for attorney general. McDonnell is a grad from Regent University Law School, a creation of televangelist Pat Robertson who has for decades projected his own version of Christ-driven government. Cuccinelli is a pro-life fanatic, who, according to The Washington Post, is unwilling to follow fellow Republicans' advice and tone down any divisive social conservatism that turns off voters.

UPDATE #2: Check out the comments section of Too Conservative, there are some great lines in there. Like, "If Terry M. wins the Dem nomination, he will spend millions making Cuccinelli the face of the GOP." And, "The Convention was a disaster for the GOP. How do we win independent voters with a 'Don’t Tread on Me’ message. Did you see the flags? Those nuts want to secede from the United States for goodness sakes!" Also, "The Dems will make McDonnell and Bolling wear Cuccinelli for the next five months."

UPDATE #3: Meanwhile, check this out. "Karyn Moran, Dorothy McAuliffe and Leslie Byrne spoke for Govs. Leslie had the best line -- called McDonnell 'Pat Robertson's love child!'"

Petraeus: "We have taken steps that have violated the Geneva Convention"

OK, now cue chickenhawk Rush Limbaugh's attacks on another decorated General, this tim David Petraeus, to go along with his attacks on Colin Powell. ;)

Brian Moran's WTOP Interview: Not Pretty

For those of you still thinking about voting for Brian Moran, I strongly urge you to listen to his WTOP interview this past Friday with Mark Plotkin. To put it mildly, it's not pretty. In short: as long as Brian can stick with a talking point, he is fine. As soon as he is asked a follow-up question, however, he is lost (I actually felt sorry for him listening to this thing).

On Marshall-Newman, for instance, Brian says he’s for repealing it but - in spite of his many years in the legislature - doesn't appear to know how to do that. Specifically, Moran misstates the process for amending the Virginia Constitution. Moran appears to think that the vote has to take place two calendar years in a row, perhaps because that is how it happened to work out for the Marshall-Newman amendment. However, the Virginia Constitution actually requires an intervening House of Delegates election between legislature votes. In enacting Marshall-Newman, the sequence went like this:

2005 Session: first vote to put amendment on the ballot
November 2005 – House of Delegates election
2006 Session – second vote to put amendment on the ballot
2006 Election – vote to approve Marshall-Newman

So, even though Moran got the process wrong (it's not "two consecutive years," it's two consecutive legislative session with an intervening House of Delegates election), technically he got it right that the amendment could be overturned (by another amendment) in four years. Of course, this assumes that the votes would be there to do such a thing, which they most certainly will not be (it's not even close in the House of Delegate, probably not in the State Senate either) barring a miracle. In this case, the sequence would go:

2010 Session - first vote to repeal Marshall-Newman (which absolutely positively won't happen, unless progressive Demorats take over the General Assembly this year, but this is how it would go)
2011 – Intervening HoD election
2012 Session – second vote to repeal Marshall-Newman (also extremely unlikely, barring a progressive Democratic majority in both Houses of the General Assembly by then)
2012 Election – vote by Virginians to accept or reject the amendment

In other words, this process - assuming all of the above took place, which it absolutely, positively, 100% certainly will not - would stretch from 2010 through 2012, when the issue of gay marriage would once again be on the ballot in Virginia. Again, I can't stress this enough (and it pains me to say it, because I very much wish it would), but this is not going to happen. Given that fact, for a gubernatorial candidate to pledge that he will spend significant time and political capital over the next four years on repealing Marshall-Newman is simply foolish. Or naive. Or something.

The bottom line is that either Brian Moran hasn’t really thought this one through, or he has thought it through and is simply pandering to Democratic primary voters who hate Marshall-Newman (again, I put myself strongly in that camp, and look forward to the day when we get this abomination out of George Mason's constitution; but it won't be in the next 4 years, that's a certainty no matter who the governor happens to be).

By the way, at the William and Mary debate, where the issue was first raised, Terry McAuliffe got this procedure exactly right in explaining why he would not burn time on it. Here's what Terry said at that debate:
In order to change it here, you know, it has to pass two sessions of the legislature with an election in between. That's a hard thing to try to get done. Let's deal with the reality of what we have to do. I've always been for contractual rights for all individuals. We should not have any discrimination against anyone. I've said that as chairman of the party, and in all the things I have fought for. I believe when it relates to gay marriage, it's a religious issue, and we ought to treat it as a religious issue. To think that I can actually change it, to go and try to deal with a constitutional amendment with what we need to do, that's not going to happen because as I said you have to have two votes in the General Assembly with an intervening election.
Exactly right. Which is what makes Brian's rude, condescending comment to Terry in the Annandale debate - "I don't have time to teach you the legislative process, nor do Virginians have time for you to learn" - so insufferable. It's also what makes Brian's inability to explain this properly on Mark Plotkin's show this past Friday so (unintentionally) hilarious. As it turns out, Terry McAuliffe - the one who hasn't spent half his adult life in Richmond - understands the process of amending the Virginia constitution better than Brian Moran does, at least as evidenced by their statements on Marshall-Newman.

On another subject, listen to Plotkin ask Moran about campaign finance reform. First, Moran says, sure, let's have limits. Then Moran is asked what those limits should be, and it's obvious he doesn’t know what he is talking about. So, Moran backtracks to explaining how the system is based on disclosure (but he seems to say "foreclosure"). Ee gads.

Then there's the Wise County coal-fired power plant issue. Once again, in addition to constantly trying to change the subject - to the proposed Surry County plant, which is not a Dominion Power plant, and away from Dominion's Wise County station, currently under construction, Moran misstates his vote on this subject, claiming that it was only to use "Virginia coal." Sorry, but that's simply not true. In fact, here is the real story: a vote for "a coal-fired generation facility that utilizes Virginia coal and is located in the coalfield region of the Commonwealth." Gee, I wonder what that plant could be. Ha. But seriously, if there's any doubt what the intent was here, see Dominion Power's take on it, which is "Dominion supported SB 651: Includes new coal-fired power station in southwest Virginia" Is that clear enough? If not, how about Brian Moran's own statement on April 19 that he did not regret his vote for the Wise County coal-fired power plant? Case closed on that one.

The interview goes on and on like that, with another awkward moment coming when a caller (who says he's a Democrat and a "fan of Brian Moran's") blasts Brian for the "negative things he's said about some of his opponents" and "outright negative attacks by his campaign" Brian responds by (completely implausibly) claiming, "I'm not familiar with what you're referring to" (and rambles about his endorsements and voting record). Mark Plotkin then cuts in, saying:
...but you have paid for TV and radio ads which talk about one of your opponents, Terry McAuliffe. I've been to debates, yyou've been the most fierce against him. And, are you worried that by attacking him, first of all if he should be the nominee you irreparably damage his candidacy in the general and also that people will say a pox on Moran and McAuliffe...I'm gonna vote for Deeds?
On and on it goes. As I said, it's not pretty.

Sunday Newspaper Commentary on June 9 Primary

This morning's papers have a fair amount to say about the Democratic gubernatorial and lieutenant governor campaigns. Here's a sampling.

*The Bristol Herald-Courier, as expected, endorses Creigh Deeds, citing his long record of "trad[ing] horses with legislators in the General Assembly" (personally, I'm not sure if spending years in Richmond "making sausage"/"horse trading" is such a great thing, but we'll see what voters decide on June 9). As a McAuliffe supporter, however, what makes me smile is what the paper has to say about my candidate:
McAuliffe, the former DNC chairman, has brought rock star enthusiasm into the primary race.

No one can deny McAuliffe’s enthusiasm and drive – he is running as if he already were governor, complete with a staff of more than 100 people and multiple daily updates on his appointments and availability.

We don’t support the criticism that McAuliffe, who has lived in McLean for about 17 years, is a carpetbagger. Residents of Southwest Virginia – too often forgotten by the wealthier, more populous regions – should look inward before dismissing residents from other parts of the state. For all of us, our hometown is an accident of birth.

*Mike Signer's campaign manager tweets: "Signer wins endorsement of 2 s-side newspapers "by a mile" the Mecklenburg Sun and South Boston News and Record. First newpapers to endorse and it's for Signer!"

*The Washington Post endorses Jody Wagner for LG, citing her experience as finance secretary under Tim Kaine. The Post has nice words for Mike Signer as well, writing that he "isn't afraid to broach subjects many politicians consider taboo, including the need to grant ex-felons voting rights."

*Last but not least, the always perceptive but also tart-tongued Jeff Schapiro writes that Brian Moran is now "on fringe of Dems race." Here's an excerpt:
For Moran, what seemed a plus now is a problem: geography. Northern Virginia was Moran's for the asking -- until the former delegate from Alexandria had to compete there with another local: McAuliffe of McLean.

Adding insult to injury: Moran's de facto hometown newspaper, The Washington Post, gave its editorial endorsement to Deeds, a state senator from rural Bath County. The Post's backing legitimized Deeds in The Land of Many Democrats as electable and solutions-oriented.

NoVa was supposed to be Moran's strength. Instead, it's proved his weakness.


As for Moran, face it: The guy has a great head of hair.
Ouch. By the way, speaking as someone who hasn't had a "great head of hair" in years, I'd say that latter point is nothing to scoff at. :)

Do Primaries "produce the winners" Over Conventions?

Over at Ox Road South, Chap Petersen has an article examining the history of conventions and primaries in Virginia. His conclusion, in a nutshell, is that primaries are superior to conventions in terms of results come general election time. Here's Chap:
Over the past twenty years, the parties which select their nominees by primary generally win in general elections. That result does not necessarily occur immediately. For example, it took two years after the Dem primary in 04 for the results to sink in and really be utilized.

However, by 2006, the Democrats had a much better idea where their potential voters lived and how to reach them. This process then exploded in 2008, when nearly a million people came to vote for Hillary or Obama. That list was crucial for organizing the state for Obama in the general campaign.

Conventions are less costly and limit participation to party regulars. There are arguments for and against that. But the record is clear that primaries, in the long term, produce the winners.
Obviously, this analysis bodes well for Virginia Democrats as we head into the last week of our 2009 primaries for Governor and Lieutenant Governor. This year, Virginia Republicans chose to go with a convention - attended by over 10,000 people - in order to select their statewide nominees. In addition, Republicans cut a deal before the convention so that Bob McDonnell and Bill Bolling would not fight each other in a primary, but would agree to the pecking order (McDonnell for Governor, Bolling for LG) beforehand. That left only one real race, for LG, and even that one was pretty much a joke as Ken "Cooch" Cuccinelli is wildly popular among the socially conservative "base" that attends Republican conventions.

Meanwhile, Democrats went with a primary, including one for governor for the first time since 1977. True, primaries cost money and can lead to blood on the floor, but they also do a number of other things: 1) they earn tremendous amounts of media and exposure that conventions don't do; 2) they give candidates an opportunity to present and hone their cases to the voters; 3) they give voters and opportunity to get involved (e.g., Webb's "ragtag" army in 2006, Obama's people-powered "movement" in 2008); 4) they force campaigns to build up their organizations, field staffs, fundraising operations, etc., which then can be used in the general election campaign; 5) they can turn unpolished and/or inexperienced candidates into much better ones, as happened with Jim Webb in 2006 and Barack Obama in 2008; and 6) despite the bitterness that often accompanies the intra-"family" fights that primaries essentially represent, you also get the "whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger" side of the coin, in which candidates are "vetted" in public, prior to the general election.

On that last point, I'd point to the 2006 Virginia primary for U.S. Senate, in which Jim Webb was accused of being a racist, misogynist and sexist, but survived it and was stronger to take on George Allen. I'd also point to the 2008 Democratic primary for president, which involved the airing of attacks on Barack Obama regarding Tony Rezko, William Ayers, and Jeremia Wright (as well as his "lack of experience," etc.). Not only did the attacks on Obama not destroy his candidacy, I would argue that they toughened him up for the general election against John McCain. Could Obama have beaten McCain in the fall without getting through the primary in the winter and spring? Given the economy, it's certainly possible but my guess is that it would have been a lot harder. Could Jim Webb have beaten George Allen if he hadn't first faced Harris Miller in a primary? I strongly doubt it.

Perhaps most importantly, consider the numbers of people who get involved in seriously contest primaries versus either conventions or lackluster/uncontested primaries. This year, in contrast to the 10,000+ people who attended the Republican convention this past weekend, Democrats will have hundreds of thousands (200,000? 300,000? 400,000?) of voters cast ballots on June 9. Heck, just in terms of volunteers alone, Democratic candidates practically match the total number of Republican convention attendees (e.g., Terry McAuliffe claims "thousands" of volunteers across the Commonwealth). After June 9, that will quickly start paying dividends for the Democratic nominee, as will the voter lists, campaign organization, and battle-tested candidate the primary produced.

In the end, primaries are like Democracy itself - rough, messy, nasty, even vicious at times - but in the end I agree with Chap Petersen that they more frequently produce better outcomes for the party that holds them - "the winners," as Chap writes - than conventions. Or, to paraphrase Winston Churchill, one could argue that primaries represent "the worst form of [choosing a nominee] except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time." We'll find out starting in just over a week.

P.S. Also read Karen's thoughts on this subject at "Anonymous is a Woman." (her conclusion is that "the good senator from the 34th District is on to something" with his analysis)

Matthew Yglesias on "The Growth/Oil Hammer"

Saturday, May 30, 2009

With oil prices heading back up again, this article by Matthew Yglesias is well worth reading. The key point is that soon enough, "we’ll be right back where we were in the summer of 2008 where sky-high gas prices were clobbering everything." Even worse, "we haven’t really done anything over the past year to leave ourselves better-prepared for that situation." As the economy and oil demand recover from the recession, what could very well happen is that spare world oil production capacity will begin shrinking, as will oil inventories in terms of days forward consumption, and the price will be back above $100 per barrel before you can say "addicted to oil." What happens when oil goes back above $100, $120, $150 per barrel? Here's Matthew Yglesias on one possibility:
...A spike in oil prices will put a stop to [rising real incomes for the "employed majority"] and further hammer consumption. And the ensuing rise in inflation, though it’ll be non-core inflation, will probably make the Fed queasy about expansionary monetary policy.

Which is to say that if the recession ends, then it seems likely that we’ll slip right back into a new recession...
To make matters even worse, we'll find ourselves once again in a position where ungodly amounts of money are going to petrodictatorships and other state and non-state actors who are NOT OUR FRIENDS. In other words, our oil addiction is a disaster both economically and strategically (not to mention environmentally). What should we be doing about this situation? First off, despite what know-nothing/pander-bear politicians like Bob McDonnell think, we can't "drill baby drill" our way out of this mess. That means we need to slash our oil consumption drastically and rapidly. How do we do that?

1. Crank up fuel economy (CAFE) standards to 35, 40, 50, even 100 miles per gallon as rapidly as possible.

2. In order for people to actually want to BUY these fuel-efficient vehicles, slap on a steep, but completely revenue neutral, carbon tax. What this would do is to raise the price of energy while simultaneously returning the money to people -- particularly lower and middle-income people. The end result will not be any additional government revenue, since that isn't the goal. Instead, what we're trying to achieve is getting off of oil as rapidly as possible. The cool thing about a carbon tax is that it rewards those Americans who move most aggressively to slash their oil consumption (they'll end up actually MAKING money on this deal), while it simultaneously punishes laggards (who will lose money). It's the individual's choice, but within the context of energy prices that reflect the real price of the energy, including externalities. The bottom line is that - as Tom Friedman and many others on both the "left" and the "right" have pointed out - we've got to get the price signals right, or all else will fail.

3. As former Vice President Al Gore has proposed, convert the U.S. power generation sector to non-carbon-based energy and switch out - over a decade or so - the U.S. vehicle fleet from gasoline and diesel to electricity. Voila, no more dependence on Saudi oil, no more boom-and-bust economic cycles caused by fluctuating oil prices, no more petro-dollars countries and terrorist groups that don't like us.

4. Remove all subsidies that encourage the sprawl pattern of development. One of those, of course, is artificially low energy prices, which the revenue-neutral carbon tax will help deal with. Other than that, we should be pouring money into smart growth, not sprawl.

5. Once we stop subsidizing sprawl, we can use that money to build an ultra-modern, 21st-century network of high-speed rail, commuter trains, trolleys, bike paths and other mass transit options so that people have numerous alternatives to the automobile. This, along with the higher price of energy, will in turn make our urban areas far more attractive places for people to live and work, further reducing oil consumption.

No, this won't be easy. Yes, it will be disruptive. But I'm convinced that if we want to maintain our national security, our quality of life, and our planetary health for decades/centuries to come, this is the way we must go. The question is, do we have the will as a nation to do it? I'm dubious, but far less so with Barack Obama as President than with the two oil guys (Bush and Cheney) who preceded him.

Twitter Sucks!

For some reason completely unbeknownst to me, Twitter has suspended my lowkell account. No explanation, nothing. I've emailed them, but who knows how long it will take them to respond. I'm really pissed, because I used Twitter a lot and it's completely Kafka-esque for them to do this. Unfortunately, as much as I'd like to just tell Twitter to take a flying leap, I use it a lot and kind of need it. So, I've set up a new account as If you subscribed to my old account, or even if you didn't, please feel free to subscribe to my new account. That is, until Twitter decides to arbitrarily suspend that one too. Grrrrrrrrrrr.

UPDATE: With no explanation, I can now (apparently) use my lowkell account again. Meanwhile, in other news, Twitter has been down for much of the past couple of hours. Has thing grown too fast for its system to handle?

UPDATE #2: According to Twitter's status page, "Accounts affected by the “best video” exploit have been suspended for cleanup and will be restored shortly. Don’t worry, they’ll be back!" Apparently, that's what happened to my account; I just wish Twitter had let people know more directly, not just on an obscure "status" page I only found by searching around...

Susan Boyle in Finals of Britain's Got Talent

UPDATE: Susan Boyle finished second to Diversity, which is an absolutely amazing dance group you've got to see to believe. Actually, all the top four acts were awesome, far better than anything (except for Adam Lambert) I've ever seen on American Idol. Why is so much more talent on Britain's Got Talent than on American Idol, anyway?

"The Most Divisive Ticket in Modern Virginia History"

This is so true. We are going to destroy these guys.
DPVA Statement on 2009 GOP Ticket

McDonnell-Bolling-Cuccinelli: 'The Most Divisive Ticket in Modern Virginia History'

RICHMOND - Levar Stoney, Executive Director of the Democratic Party of Virginia, released the following statement Saturday regarding the Republican ticket of Bob McDonnell, Bill Bolling and Ken Cuccinelli:

"Today, Virginia Republicans have chosen the most divisive ticket in modern Virginia history. Bob McDonnell, Bill Bolling and Ken Cuccinelli all have long careers of pushing divisive social issues instead of getting things done for Virginians.

"Virginians want leaders who deliver results, not more roadblocks. The 2009 Republican ticket is a winner for far right-wing ideologues who block progress in Richmond, but it's a loser for working Virginians.

"We need a governor who will continue the common-sense approach of Governor Warner and Governor Kaine. But Bob McDonnell, Bill Bolling and Ken Cuccinelli have all spent decades fighting the bipartisan progress that Virginia has made under Mark Warner and Tim Kaine.

"All three voted against Governor Warner's bipartisan budget that turned our economy around and made Virginia the best state for business. All three opposed Governor Kaine's bipartisan smoking ban in 2009. And, most recently, all three rejected $125 million in unemployment funds to put Virginians back to work. Attorney General candidate Cuccinelli even accused President Obama of 'put[ting] a gun to the head of this General Assembly' by providing federal funds to help unemployed Virginians.

"While we have plenty of disagreements, we congratulate Bob McDonnell, Bill Bolling and Ken Cuccinelli on their nominations. We look forward to a spirited race to November."

RPV Convention Now Voting

My predictions: Bolling, Cooch and Mullins will win easily.

Jim Gilmore: Nasty, stupid, loser. Besides that, he's great!


Bearing Drift tweets: "Bolling by acclimation. Cuccinelli by acclimation. Mullins by acclimation."

Brian Patton tweets: "Glad to hear Steve Shannon just won the AG's office! (John Brownlee would have been tough)." :)

This is about as right-wing extremist a ticket as Republicans could possibly nominate. Now, all Virginia Dem's have to do is let the public know what these people are all about, and we win. No, I realize it's not that simple, but almost. :)

Terry McAuliffe Welcomes Bob McDonnell to the Race

Excellent statement by Terry McAuliffe "welcoming" Bob McDonnell into the race for governor. Go Terry!
"I want to congratulate Bob McDonnell on formally becoming the Republican nominee today. If I have the honor of becoming the Democratic nominee, I look forward to talking about the differences in our records - I am the only candidate for governor with experience creating thousands of jobs, the only one who hasn't been mired in the partisan bickering in Richmond, and the only one who will bring the same executive style leadership that Governors Warner and Kaine brought to the office.

"I'm proud of my experience and my record, but this weekend, Bob McDonnell, surrounded by Mitt Romney, Sean Hannity, and other Republicans has tried to reinvent his. They've all tried to hide his long divisive ideological record, and portray him as someone who now is a moderate.

"What they didn't tell Virginians is that Bob McDonnell has a partisan, right wing agenda. Whether it was his vote against Mark Warner's budget reform, his efforts to stymie Tim Kaine's transportation reform, or his opposition to accepting $125 million of Virginians' federal tax dollars that would have helped thousands of Virginia families, Bob McDonnell has shown that he is more interested in playing partisan political games than getting things done for Virginia.

"In the fall there is a clear choice: a governor who is in line with the progressive agendas of Mark Warner and Tim Kaine. Or someone who will turn back the gains made over the past eight years and take Virginia back to the Gilmore era.

"This election is too important. We have to think about what direction we want our commonwealth to take. President Obama has laid out a bold and progressive agenda for a brighter tomorrow, and we have to give him a partner in Virginia."

RPV Convention Live Video Stream, Snarky Commentary

What are your "new ideas," Bill Bolling? You mean saying "no" to everything? Sadly, that's not a "new idea" for your party; you guys did it to both Mark Warner and Tim Kaine and we'll never forget it. You guys also turned down $125 million in OUR OWN TAX DOLLARS in federal stimulus funds to help Virginia's unemployed. We won't forget that "new idea" either.

I doubt Bono is happy having his music played at a Republican convention...

Ryan Nobles tweets: "8 people to introduce @BobMcDonnell. It kind of reminds me of that SNL skit at the wedding where everyone tries to give a toast." How true. :)

The scariest words in the English language? "...and your next governor, Bob McDonnell." Be afraid. Be very afraid. And make sure it doesn't come to pass.

"He is ready" drive Virginia back into the ditch Jim Gilmore left it in. No thank you.

Creedence Clearwater Revival song "Around the Bend" pipes in Bob McDonnell. Is the line, "Leave the sinkin' ship behind" ironic or appropriate in this context? :)

Shocker: Bob McDonnell accepts nomination as Republican gubernatorial nominee. I'll tell ya, I didn't see THAT one coming! :)

McDonnell refers to the party of Lincoln and Reagan? Hmmmm...something tells me those guys wouldn't agree on much.

McDonnell says unemployment is at a multi-year high here in Virginia. So why did he reject federal money to help Virginia's unemployed?

Oxymoron alert: "Innovative, workable conservative solutions." And those would be? [sound of crickets chirping]

Republican cliche alert: "I looked from the soil of freedom...into the heart of darkness."

"After that landslide victory..." Uh, guys, I think that was a joke you were supposed to laugh at. :)

Oh yes, please protect my (heterosexual) marriage against TEH GAYS!!!

Here we go again with Palin's "drill baby drill!" McDonnell really believes we have a lot of oil offshore, except that it's all based on garbage "analysis" by a climate change denier who can't get any of his facts or extrapolations correct.

"Conservation is a conservative value." Nice words, but it would be even nicer if they weren't just hot air, Bob.

"We will widen I-66 inside the Beltway." There goes the Arlington vote. :)

Yes, there WILL be a clear choice for Virginians this November.

Love how Bob stole Terry's "big ideas" line and also the Democrats' "party of no" mantra used against Republicans. Verrrry clever. ;)

Just substitute the word "Republican" for "Democratic" (and "no" for "yes") and this part of the speech kinda/sorta makes sense.

Biggest cheer so far - along with "drill baby drill" - comes for the line about defending Americans, "born and unborn." Another big cheer for guns.

How many times can McDonnell mention suburbia and Fairfax County?

Oh great, Sean Hannity coming up next. Should I take a hot shower now or after his speech?

Hahahaha, Hannity says Eric Cantor's doing a great job in DC against Nancy Pelosi. That's why his approval ratings are far lower than Pelosi's and why his "listening tour" has been widely ridiculed. What. Ever.

Hannity bashes "Princess Pelosi" again. Why are so many leading Republicans misogynistic?

OK, here we go with the crazy "socialism" talk and faux-concern for "hard working Americans." Suuuuuure, we believe you Sean.

More government bashing by the party that doesn't believe in government. So...why would we elect them to run the government? Hmmmmm.

Please, keep bashing Barack Obama and see how that works out for you, guys! :)

Cheap shot after cheap shot, demagoguery and more demagoguery by Hannity...and the crowd loves it! That says it all about the RPV.

Now, like clockwork, cue the Reagan Worship, even though Reagan raised taxes, presided over huge budget deficits and rapid government spending increases, and a scandal (Iran-Contra) which led to a number of his administration officials going to jail.

Oh my god, not the New Deal or the Great Society, what horrors! :)

Wait a minute, Hannity's advocating that we live "free of government?" He's an anarchist, in other words?

Here we go with the supposed "liberal media", also known as the corporate/conservative noise machine.

You stand against evil? So, you're against torture then?

The Republicans can be the party of fiscal responsibility after they just spent 8 years proving, "no we can't!"

Hannity makes it clear he sees Terry McAuliffe as the Democratic nominee. The crowd agrees. Go Terry! :)

Uh Sean? Even T. Boone Pickens knows we can't "drill our way out of it."

Linking immigration to nuclear terrorism - subtle!!!

Bashing public education...yep, that's the Republicans 4U.

Big cheer for Sonia Sotomayor bashing. Oh well, there goes the Hispanic vote! :)

Republicans: We don't take away your fears, we stoke them! LOL

Feeling inspired and uplifted yet? No? What, do you hate America or something? Ha.

Bolling: I've always stood against Warner and Kaine. Mazel tov!

Bolling: Throwing out the usual social conservative red meat for his "base." Tax credits for home schooling, leading the fight to save marriage, etc. Zzzzzzzzz.

Muldoon: Anti-establishment rant time (and LOTS of Bolling bashing). Enjoy! :)

Wow, Muldoon makes Bolling look semi-sane and semi-reasonable. Please, please Republicans, nominate this guy!!! :) (unfortunately, not much applause for Muldoon)

A global warming denier who believes in rolling back 1-gun-a-month and the smoking ban? What more could conservatives ask for? Go Muldoon!!! :)

AG candidates. Brownlee enters to the "Gunsmoke" theme. Shocker - more conservative red meat, pretty much the far right can you go? For instance: "We will abolish the triggerman rule!" Oh joy.

Muldoon: Must have a prosecutor because...well, because I'm a prosecutor! LOL

Muldoon claims he can compete everywhere in Virginia. Yet another mention of Fairfax County.

Is it my imagination, or is every one of these candidates crazier than the last one?

Cooch gets huge applause. I think this is the Republican nominee for AG. "I don't see any socialists here." Well, alrighty then! :)

The same old conservative red meat, but much bigger cheering for Cooch than for Muldoon. "We are in the minority...because Republicans abandoned their core principles."

Cooch = Mr. Death Penalty, Mr. Anti-"Illegal Immigration," Mr. "Right to Life," Mr. NRA.

Based on the reaction from the crowd, I'll be shocked if Cooch doesn't win in a landslide.

Dave Foster enters to...near dead silence from the crowd (crank up the music by progressive Democrat Bruce Springsteen).

Foster's big claim to fame was getting elected in liberalliberalLIBERAL Arlington. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

"Yes we will" - drive the state into the ditch again like Gilmore did? Zzzzzzzzzzz.

The freak show continues as Jeff Frederick protege Bill Stanley (running for RPV chair) comes onstage.

I don't hear anyone cheering Bill Stanley as he trots out a long litany of anti-liberal straw men and cliches.

Bearing Drift tweets: "Stanley's not firing anyone up, a lot of milling about and bathroom running. Polite applause."

Stanley: I love you, the grassroots activists, I'll fight for you (tepid applause).

Pat Mullins comes on stage. Not much applause for him either, but the crowd likes the Ollie North and George Allen mention. Ugh.

Yet another mention of Fairfax County. Crowd seems to be in a stupor.

Mullins listing endorsements, crowd almost silent. Will expand "new media" and work through conservative bloggers. We'll see how that goes.

"If we sound like Democrats, we won't win." "I'm excited I'm not a Democrat." Crowd likes this.

Bashes media, Tim Kaine ("part time governor," blah blah blah). "Shame on you, Tim Kaine, give up one of those part-time jobs."

Bashes Terry McAuliffe for hiring union workers.

Mispronounces Perriello, but the gist is that they're "comin' after" Democratic Congressmen next year. Woo-hoo! :)

"It's time to quit beating up on ourselves, it's time to move forward."

Teacherken (Deeds Supporter) Defends Terry on Nader "Story"

I can't do better than this by Teacherken on the Nader "story" (and crazed charges of "bribery," etc.) so I'll just post it, with some bolding added by me for emphasis. Thanks as always to Teacherken - a Deeds supporter, by the way - for being a leading voice of sanity and fairness in the progressive blogosphere.
Republicans were paying to get Nader on the ballot, particularly in Pennsylvania, whose court called Nader's application about as corrupt as anything they had experienced in the same cycle, the Dem Party of Virginia worked to keep Nader off the ballot, and it turns out he apparently had not met the standard.

Remember, Nader's original purpose in 2000 was to get ballot access for the Greens. He had said he would not campaign in any state where it would make a difference. But somehow when he failed to get into the debates (not coming close to the thresholds set for participation) he blamed Gore and went out to take Gore down. One need only look at two states, either of which would have flipped the election, FL and NH.

McAuliffe was doing nothing more than protecting the Dem party, in this case AFTER Republicans were trying to help Nader as a means of hurting Dems. Kind of like Roger Stone helping run Al Sharpton's campaign. . .

And it is really no different than offering to pay off debts of a former competitor who supports you, which Howard Dean did for Braun, and which Hillary Clinton did for Vilsack.

This attack is thrown out there because Nader is trying to sell books. And it is being trumpeted largely by people strongly opposed to McAuliffe, many of whom are openly supporting Moran and who resent McAuliffe's entry into a race they thought they had locked up in a 2-way.

FWIW, I am not supporting McAuliffe, but rather Creigh Deeds. I will criticize Terry on some issues, for example, the way he is handling the payday lending bill in 2002. But this is a cheap shot. Some people want to throw as much as possible at Terry to try to paint the image that he is corrupt, when to date they have pointed at nothing illegal or immoral.

And to put it bluntly, associating him with the corruption around Murtha and the others associated with PMA is totally uncalled for. A Dem Congressman from Indiana is clearly in trouble. And there are whiffs around Jim Moran as well, but to date that has nothing to do with Brian.

What Terry did with respect to Nader was well within the bounds of normal political activity as it has been practiced for more than a few decades.

And quite frankly, I think it redounds to Terry's credit that he tried to prevent Nader from possibly messing up another presidential election.

Romney: Republican Comeback Begins in Virginia

This is exactly why we need to stop the Republicans right here, right now. And this is why we need to nominate the person with the strongest campaign, ready to hit the ground running on June 10 and take on Bob McDonnell full force. That, of course - based on what we've seen the past few months - is Terry McAuliffe.

On another note, check out the snippet from Ben Tribbett on this video. Nice job by Ben!

Pres. Obama's Weekly Address: Sonia Sotomayor

There are, of course, some in Washington who are attempting to draw old battle lines and playing the usual political games, pulling a few comments out of context to paint a distorted picture of Judge Sotomayor’s record. But I am confident that these efforts will fail; because Judge Sotomayor’s seventeen-year record on the bench – hundreds of judicial decisions that every American can read for him or herself – speak far louder than any attack; her record makes clear that she is fair, unbiased, and dedicated to the rule of law. As a fellow judge on her court, appointed by Ronald Reagan, said recently, "I don’t think I’d go as far as to classify her in one camp or another. I think she just deserves the classification of outstanding judge."
Full transcript here

Washington Post Delegate Endorsements

Well, you win some and you lose some. With regard to the Washington Post's delegate endorsements, I agree with two and disagree with two. Here's my reaction, district by district.

35th District: Citing Mark Keam's "compelling life story" and "impressive resume," the Post concludes that "Mark Keam deserves to be the nominee" to replace Del. Steve Shannon, who is running for Attorney General. I strongly agree with this one, having endorsed Mark Keam myself. Excellent choice by the Washington Post on this one - Go Mark!

38th District: The Post gives the slightest edge to Bob Hull over Kaye Kory (actually, they all but admit it's a tie between the two), who I support, based on Hull's "experience." The problem with that "experience," which the Post doesn't note, is that Hull is not well liked by his Democratic colleagues in Richmond (actually, from the ones I've spoken with, that's an understatement). In addition, Hull has some questionable votes and views (e.g., that Dominion "Global Warming Starts Here" Virginia Power is a responsible, responsive company!). As to Kaye supposedly not having "a clear vision of what she would do in Richmond," that's utterly ridiculous. On all of those points, see my endorsement writeup and you'll understand what I mean. Go Kaye!

47th District: This one is the Post's biggest mistake, with the Post overlooking the two "most liberal candidates" in the race, Miles Grant (who I support) and Adam Parkhomenko, both because they "lack legislative experience" in Richmond. What the Post overlooks is the fact that the candidate they end up endorsing, Patrick Hope, has no legislative experience in Richmond either and will also "face a steep learning curve." In fact, the only 47th district candidate the Post cites as having Richmond experience is Alan Howze, yet they don't endorse him.

The bottom line here is that the Post doesn't really seem to understand the candidates in this race, probably hasn't had a reporter at any of the debates or forums (I've attended three of those so far and have followed this race very closely), and most likely just went with the candidate supported by elected officials they know and like (e.g., Mary Margaret Whipple). In sum, if you're an undecided voter in the 47th district, the Post endorsement is completely unhelpful in making up your mind. Instead, I urge you to read their interviews online (here is the one I did with Miles), to check out their websites, to read their literature, and to watch the videos I've taken of their performances at debates. Then, you can make an informed choice, not just go with the Post's muddled "reasoning." Oh, and GO MILES!!!

52nd District: The Post endorses Luke Torian over Mike Hodge in this race for Jeff Frederick's vacated seat (Frederick is retiring). Although both Torian and Hodge are impressive people, everything I've heard is that Torian is the strongest candidate to win in November (and also will win the primary easily). The fact is, as the Post writes, either Torian or Hodge "would be a major upgrade from Mr. Frederick." In the end, I don't feel strongly about this primary, largely because I haven't focused on it or spoken with the candidates, but I have no problem with the Post's endorsement of Torian.

P.S. By the way, in 2005, the Post favored Jim Lay, a former Republican (the Post loves "moderate" Republicans!) and possibly Libby Garvey over David Englin (who they dissed as a "novice") in the 45th House of Delegates disrict primary. We can all see how that one worked out. Also, I'd just point out that the major 2008 Democratic presidential candidate with the least experience in Washington, DC was probably Barack Obama. Certainly, Hillary Clinton had more, as did Bill Richardson, Chris Dodd, Joe Biden, and John Edwards. We can see how that one worked out as well! :)

JR Hoeft: Cooch Needs to Win on First Ballot or He Won't Win At All

Friday, May 29, 2009

According to JR Hoeft of Bearing Drift, "Folks are telling me that if it goes past the first ballot, it's not gonna look good for Ken Cuccinelli; they're saying that he's gotta win on the first ballot or he's not gonna win at all." Also, there might be a battle (by Bill Stanley) for convention chairman. Verrry interesting.

P.S. From my perspective as a Virginia Democrat who very much wants us to win this November, I enthusiastically say, "Go Cooch!"

UPDATE: As it turns out, JR was wrong that Cooch was in any jeopardy, as he won in a landslide on the first ballot. There was no drama in the RPV chairman race either. Frankly, the most drama yesterday was whether Sean Hannity would attack Nancy Pelosi by calling her "queen" or "princess." Yawwwwwwwwwwn.

Speaking of "Cuckoo"

You thought Newt Gingrich was cuckoo? Well, hold your horses there buckaroo, cuz it keeps getting better and better. Ah, Republicans, gotta love 'em.

By the way, I wonder what Bob McDonnell, Bill Bolling, the Cooch, Mitt Romney et al. agree with Tom Tancredo and Rush Limbaugh or not. Somebody should definitely ask them.

Gingrich: Civil War Was For Naught if Sotomayor Confirmed

OK, Newt Gingrich is officially certifiable.
Gingrich has now sent out a fundraising e-mail, asking for help to send blast faxes to every member of the Senate demanding that the Sotomayor nomination be defeated. He even says that she shouldn't even get a vote in the Senate, but should just have to withdraw.

Gingrich warns that all of American civilization is at stake here. "If Civil War, suffrage, and Civil Rights are to mean anything, we cannot accept that conclusion," he writes. "It is simply un-American. There is no room on the bench of the United States Supreme Court for this worldview."
Remember, even arch-conservatives Jesse Helms and Rick Santorum voted for Sonia Sotomayor when she was confirmed to the secnd circuit court. That's right, Newt Gingrich apparently is determined to stake out territory even further to the far right than Jesse Helms and Rick Santorum. And the comment about the Civil War, suffrage and Civil Rights not meaning anything if Sotomayor is confirmed? There's only one conclusion here: Newt Gingrich is Cuckoo. Cuckoo. Cuckoo.

McAuliffe TV Ads to Run in NOVA Starting Sunday

With Terry McAuliffe starting TV advertising in the expensive DC/Northern Virginia media market this Sunday, the question is whether Brian Moran or Creigh Deeds will do so as well. As for Brian Moran, I wonder whether his brother Jim might transfer a few hundred thousand $$$ for that purpose. So far, there's no sign of it on VPAP. According to the FEC Disclosure Database, Rep. Moran had $397,768 "cash on hand" as of 3/31/09. We'll see.

New Virginia Republican Logo Sums It All Up

Buy a t-shirt with this fine logo on it right here. I like it! :)

P.S. This isn't really the RPV's logo, it's actually by a leading Virginia Republican blog, Bearing Drift. Still, I think it's very funny.

P.P.S. Apparently, they modeled it after this.

Politico: "McAuliffe blazes different Va. trail"

This article in Politico is fascinating, mainly because I'm surprised at how many high-profile Virginia Democrats are speaking out so candidly about the Democratic gubernatorial primary before it's over, as if they're doing an "after action report" or something. For instance:

*Rep. Gerry Connolly "noted that McAuliffe has gained traction because 'the other two have been running for the last three years and neither one of them had created a commanding lead.'"

*Rep. Bobby Scott says that Terry McAuliffe is "simply 'running a much stronger grass roots campaign.'"

*Former Lieutenant Governor Don Beyer says, "Neither Brian nor Creigh hit it the way Mark Warner did in 2001."

*Former Jim Webb communications director Kristian Denny Todd says that "Brian, at every turn where he should have been demonstrating strength, has failed."

*From "a senior Virginia Democrat who demanded anonymity":, "There’s a growing sense about the Moran campaign that Brian is a very nice guy but he just kind of fell apart when Terry entered the race"

*The article also quotes "other senior Democrats" saying "in private" that "Moran, especially, has again and again missed opportunities."

Again, I'm not surprised that senior Virginia Democrats are thinking and saying this stuff privately, only that they would say it publicly 11 days before the primary.

President Clinton Radio Ad for Terry McAuliffe

Marc Fisher Calls it a Day

Now this is someone in the corporate media who I do NOT want to see go. From Marc Fisher of the Washington Post:
Today's is my last column, and as I scan the archives, I see stories of public arrogance and private foibles, but mostly, I see stories of people poking their way through life -- a quest I've tried to capture here a few times each week.


Newspapers are in a fight to survive, desperately searching for new ways to reflect the world to an audience that is less trusting, more distracted and diffuse. For many people now, digital connections seem to trump geography as the central definition of home. But those electronic ties don't fulfill all our needs. Where we live still matters. Starting next month, I'll be putting together a group of writers whose job it will be to tell the truths of Washington in compelling and essential ways, combining traditional storytelling with new forms that involve and engage the people who live here.
I wish Marc Fisher success in his new endeavor(s), and will definitely miss his writings in the Washington Post. Maybe it really is time to cancel my subscription now?

Top McAuliffe Strategist Responds to Ralph Nader "Story"

I asked McAuliffe campaign senior strategist Mo Elleithee for his thoughts on the Ralph Nader "story." Here's what he had to say:
Back in 2003-04, Republican donors were aggressively funding Nader’s candidacy. The Democratic presidential candidates, and most party leaders were concerned that he would once again siphon enough votes away from the Democratic nominee in the general election to hand it to George W Bush.

So Terry, as DNC chair, engaged in a conversation with Nader to try to convince him not to run, or at the very least to not compete in the targeted battleground states. He made the case that if Nader truly cared about these issues, he was putting it all at risk by again potentially handing the election to Bush. He never offered him any money. He DID offer to make Ralph a part of the DNC surrogate operation, send him around the country to talk about his issues — which would have been a DNC funded operation, just as it was with a number of high profile surrogates to help with GOTV efforts.

I think most Democrats would agree that our country would be better off had Nader not run in 2000 or 2004. Nader has a history of frivolous attacks and accusations — he even filed lawsuits after the 2004 election against the DNC, the Kerry campaign and Terry personally. All three were thrown out.

I don’t think most Virginians are interested in looking backwards, and I don’t think they have much interest in Ralph Nader’s attempts to grab headlines — they care about who’s going to get our economy back on track. So that’s what Terry’s going to stay focused on.

And it might also be worth nothing that in the challenge filed by Democrats to Nader’s nomination papers in Pennsylvania, which was successful, the Pennsylvania trial court found that Nader’s “signature gathering process was the most deceitful and fraudulent exercise ever perpetrated upon this Court. The conduct of the [Nader campaign]. . . shocks the conscience of the Court.” In re Nomination Paper of Ralph Nader, 865 A.2d 8, 18 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2004), affirmed by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, In re Nader, 905 A.2d 450 (2007).

This is the Ralph Nader that Terry was fighting in 2004, and why I don't find his current allegations very credible.
All I have to add is "thank you" to Terry McAuliffe for trying to stop four more disastrous years of Bush, Cheney, etc. I just wish John Kerry had won the election in 2004, and that Al Gore had become president in 2000 (I won't say "I wish he had won the election" because he DID win the popular vote and should have won the electoral vote if not for the Supreme Court's shenanigans).

P.S. I put "story" in quotes because this is a perfect example of the idiot corporate media having no clue what constitutes "news" or how to do critical analysis. Apparently, they'll just print anything by anybody and call it "news." And they criticize the blogs for being irresponsible?!?

UPDATE: A friend/Blue Virginia reader reminds me that the Democratic Party of Virginia challenged Ralph Nader's signatures in 2004. The person, who is heavily involved in Virginia Democratic politics, adds:
The challenge held and [Nader] did not win a spot on the Virginia ballot. the challenge was not to suppress votes/voters...He submitted fraudulent petitions with invalid signatures and did not meet the letter of the law for ballot access. They are trying to change the subject and make this all about poor Ralph.

Arlington Environmental Leaders Endorse Miles Grant for Delegate

Great news from the Miles Grant for Delegate campaign. In short, if you live in the 47th House of Delegates district and you care about the clean energy and the environment, you should definitely vote for Miles Grant on June 9. Go Miles!
ARLINGTON, VA (May 29, 2009) – More than a dozen top Arlington environmentalists announced their support today for Miles Grant in the Democratic primary for House of Delegates in Arlington’s 47th district. The endorsements come the same week the Sierra Club endorsed Grant’s candidacy.

“Miles is the only candidate in the race who’s been an activist on environmental issues, both here in Arlington and across Virginia,” said Phil Rizzi, current board member and former chair of Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment. “From fighting for clean energy to standing up for Arlington against I66 expansion, Miles has led the charge on building a more sustainable community here in Arlington. He will carry that fight to Richmond and work to make not only Arlington but all of Virginia a better place to live, work, and play.”

Other environmental leaders endorsing Miles Grant for Delegate include (affiliation is listed for identification purposes only):

* Elenor Hodges, executive director, Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment
* Jason Rylander, staff attorney, Defenders of Wildlife; former president, Arlington Coalition for Sensible Transportation
* Scott Sklar, clean energy activist; president, The Stella Group, Ltd.
* Alan Schreck, board chair, Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment
* Phil Rizzi, board member & former chair, Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment
* Diana Dascalu-Joffe, clean energy activist
* Lisa Gomes-Casseres, board member, Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment
* Tony Iallonardo, senior communications manager, National Wildlife Federation
* Leslie Keller, former board member Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment; founder, H-B Woodlawn High School environmental club
* Rick Keller, Energy Issues Chair, Mount Vernon Group, Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club
* Margaret Kertess, program manager, Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment
* Cindy Lewin, senior vice president and general counsel, National Wildlife Federation
* Joe Mendelson, director of global warming policy, National Wildlife Federation
* Steve Offutt, Chair, Wharton Club of DC Green Business Roundtable; former board member, Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment
* Kevin Shea, board member, Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment
* Richard Stern, former board member, Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment

“From running a carbon-neutral campaign to my pledge not to take money or gifts from Dominion Virginia Power or its employees, my commitment to conservation is helping guide my campaign,” said Miles Grant, Democratic candidate for House of Delegates in Arlington’s 47th district. “I’m proud to have my fellow Arlington environmentalists and the Sierra Club standing behind my campaign because they know I’m the most progressive candidate on issues like clean energy, climate action, and protecting the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.”

Miles Grant is a former board chair of Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment. His hundreds of hours of environmental volunteer work helped earn him the 2007 James B. Hunter Arlington Community Hero Award. Grant works for the National Wildlife Federation and blogs on environmental issues at

Learn more about Miles Grant for Delegate at

Eugene Robinson on Sonia Sotomayor

I strongly recommend that you read Eugene Robinson's column in this morning's Washington Post. The subject is the "proud and accomplished Latina," Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, and the Republicans' wild accusations of "racism" on her part. Here's Robinson:
Gingrich's outburst was in reaction to a widely publicized, out-of-context quote from a 2001 speech in which Sotomayor mused about how her identity might or might not affect her decisions as a federal judge. Far from being some kind of "racist" screed, the speech was actually a meditation on Sotomayor's personal experience of a universal truth: Who we are inevitably influences what we do.

Each of us carries through life a unique set of experiences. Sotomayor's happen to be the experiences of a brilliant, high-powered Latina -- a Nuyorican who was raised in the projects of the Bronx, graduated summa cum laude from Princeton, edited the Yale Law Journal, worked as a Manhattan prosecutor and a corporate lawyer, and served for 17 years as a federal trial and appellate judge.

Given that kind of sterling résumé -- and given that she has, according to presidential adviser David Axelrod, more experience on the federal bench than any Supreme Court nominee in at least 100 years -- it's understandable that Republican critics would have to grasp at straws.
My hope is that Republicans continue to "grasp at straws," and even better to attack this superbly qualified, impressive Hispanic woman judge. Do that harshly, as Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh (and Tom Tancredo) have been doing, and they risk consigning themselves to also-ran status for generations to come. Whatever they do, Sotomayor will be easily confirmed, so it's really just a political choice for Republicans to make. Here's hoping they make the wrong one.

RPV Convention This Weekend

For coverage of the RPV convention this weekend, see Bearing Drift and the Bob McDonnell blog. Also watch the upstreaming video of all the action by clicking above.

What's at stake this weekend, as 10,000 or so Virginia Republicans gather at the convention center, is nothing less than the future of Virginia Republican Party after several rough years, both at the state level as well as nationally. Against the backdrop of two Democratic U.S. Senators, a Democratic-controlled House of Representatives delegation, a State Senate in Democratic hands, a dwindling Republican majority in the House of Delegates, a victory for Barack Obama in Virginia last November, and a party in disarray ideologically and just about every other way, Virginia Republicans certainly have their work cut out for them.

This weekend, they will be selecting a new party chair to replace the ousted (in a coup, essentially) Jeff Frederick (the choices are acting RPV chief Pat Mullins and attorney Bill Stanley). In addition, Republicans are going to be selecting their nominees for lieutenant governor (candidates are current LG Bill Bolling and also SWVA lawyer Patrick Muldoon) and attorney general (candidates are U.S. Attorney John Brownlee of Roanoke; state Sen. Ken Cuccinelli, R-Fairfax; and former Arlington School Board chairman Dave Foster). Finally, they're going to be coronating the newly "moderate" (but previously far-right) Bob McDonnell as their nominee for governor.

Leading into the convention, which begins tomorrow, the Pilot Online reports, "signs of a discord persist," as "some conservative activists will hold their own banquet a few miles away in downtown Richmond." Over at the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Jeff Schapiro writes about "allegations of dirty tricks in the nominating contest for attorney general," a party that "has suffered from infighting for the past year," and also one that needs "to pick up some badly needed cash for its treasury."

Personally, I'm rooting for Ken Cuccinelli to be the Republicans' pick for AG, as I believe he's the candidate that's easiest for us to defeat, and also the one who will facilitate our ability to label the entire Republican ticket as "extreme" (which it most certainly will be with McDonnell, Bolling and Cooch as the nominees). I also hope for some serious fireworks on the choice for party leader, with the end result hopefully being a divided party and a Jeff Frederick clone as head of the RPV. We'll see if Virginia Republicans are smarter than that, but their track record the past few years provides no sign that this will be the case. Stay tuned.

PPP on Virginia Primary Turnout and Undecideds

Public Policy Polling has two interesting articles on the Virginia Democratic gubernatorial primary, one on possible turnout and the other on undecided voters. The main conclusion of the first article is that PPP "would expect turnout to be closer to 300,000 than 200,000" and that this is " definitely where McAuliffe's money might end up making the difference," as he has "been able to connect with lower intensity voters, particularly over the airwaves, in a way that the other candidates have not."

The second article examines undecided voters - the 66% who "don't know enough about Creigh Deeds or Brian Moran to have an opinion about them one way or the other" and the 55% who "don't know enough about McAuliffe." According to PPP, remaining undecideds are "disproportionately African American," "disproportionately not from northern Virginia," "more conservative and less liberal than primary voters as a whole." The first group leans heavily towards Terry McAuliffe, which is why endorsements by the Richmond Crusade for Voters and the Richmond Free Press are so important in the closing days of this campaign. The second group, "not from northern Virginia" voters, are likely to go for Creigh or Terry, according to PPP, and the fact that there are a lot of them is "bad news for Brian Moran." Finally, PPP says that the "more conservative and less liberal than primary voters" are more likely to "help Deeds, who does best with conservatives and worst with liberals, and hurt McAuliffe who does the best with liberals." The question on that last one is whether Deeds has the resources - money, field staff, etc. - to get out those voters.

All in all, on both the turnout and undecided pieces, I tend to agree with Josh Chernila's analysis of PPP's writeup, that it's "Good News for Deeds, McAuliffe...Moran? Not so Much." We'll see what happens in 11 days...

Chesapeake City Committee Straw Poll Results

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Chesapeake City Democratic Committee held a straw poll at the regular meeting tonight. 31 members present:


Lt Governor

Gerry Connolly Endorses Mark Keam for Delegate

Earlier today, I wrote about a backlash prompted by Roy Baldwin's attacks against Mark Keam in the 35th House of Delegates district race. Well, here is first part of the backlash:
U.S. Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.) has endorsed Mark L. Keam in the four-man race for the Democratic nomination in the House of Delegates' 35th District.


"Mark Keam is a standout," Connolly said in a statement tonight. "He has the experience, energy and character to be an effective leader in the House of Delegates. He will fight for Fairfax and Vienna in Richmond, helping us get our fair share of transportation and education funding. I fully endorse his election."
I've heard that part of what prompted Connolly's endorsement was his anger at Baldwin's attacks against Keam. Also, I fully expect more endorsements of Keam coming soon.

X Curmudgeon Endorses Terry, Miles

Another day, another endorsement by a blogger for the supposedly non-netroots candidate, Terry McAuliffe. On Tuesday, it was NLS, the largest Democratic blog in Virginia. Today, it's a smaller blog, X Curmudgeon, which writes:
Of the three Democratic candidates, we think McAuliffe will do the best job running against McDonnell. McAuliffe has demonstrated his ability to raise scads of money, which will be needed in this race. Don't think McDonnell will somehow limit himself to Virginia donors--there are only two gubernatorial races this year, and the GOP is going to go all out to win in Va.; it will be a national race.

More importantly, however, McAuliffe has run a clean, upbeat, well-oiled campaign. Everything seems to be professionally done (sometimes overdone), there is great attention to detail, and the campaign has been strategically sound.

Equally important--and a question mark for us at the beginning of the campaign--T.M. has shown a good deal of substance on the campaign trail. We don't think he'd just be an empty suit in the Governor's Mansion if elected.


Three-four months ago, we couldn't have seen ourselves endorsing Terry McAuliffe. But come November, we're going to need his energy, the money he can raise, and the enthusiasm he can generate.
No arguments here.

In addition to endorsing Terry, X Curmudgeon also endorsed Miles Grant for Delegate in the 47th district, writing, "we're most impressed with Miles Grant, who has run a good campaign, made effective use of technology to reach out, and whose record on environmental/energy issues is impeccable." No argument here either; I kinda like this blogger! :)

Baldwin Attacks on Keam Backfiring?

I'm hearing strong rumors that the attacks against Mark Keam by Roy Baldwin in the 35th House of Delegates district race are backfiring big time. Stay tuned for more, or as Ben Tribbett likes to say, "DEVELOPING...." :)

P.S. While we're waiting for this story to "develop" (ha), the Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club has issued another dual endorsement, this time of Mark Keam and Roy Baldwin (why endorse two candidates out of four is beyond me). Bob Pearson, Political Director for the Great Falls Group of the Sierra Club, said, "I was impressed by Mark’s knowledge of environmental law and his outreach effort to citizens on these issues" and also that "The Sierra Club endorsed Mark because of his progressive environmental platform and his understanding of current issues such as renewable energy, open space protection and Smart Growth initiatives." Radio Ad for Terry McAuliffe

Gallup: "Positive Initial Reaction to Sotomayor Nomination"

According to Gallup, "Americans' first reactions to the news of President Obama's nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court are decidedly more positive than negative, with 47% rating the nomination as 'excellent' or 'good,' 20% rating it 'only fair,' and 13% rating it 'poor.'" Also, check out the chart below to compare initial reactions towards Sotomayor and towards previous Supreme Court nominees. A "+14" rating is not bad at all, well above Samuel Alito's ratings for example (and similar to John Roberts').

Miles Grant: "I come from a family of teachers"

Along with four other candidates (Andres Tobar, Patrick Hope, Adam Parkhomenko, Alan Howze), my friend and fellow blogger/enviro activist Miles Grant is running for House of Delegates from the 47th district (Arlington). Last night, there was a candidates forum in the Arlington neighborhood of Lyon Park. I'd estimate at least 60 people in attendance, not too shabby at all. I took a bunch of video; here's one of Miles talking about education and how he comes from a "family of teachers." Please click here for Miles speaking about fighting for what you believe in, here for Miles on progressive taxation, and here for Miles on health care. Also, I enjoyed putting this together - enjoy!

P.S. Miles rocked last night and should definitely be the top choice for all 47th District progressives. I'd also give "most improved" award to Adam Parkhomenko>, who is a far FAR better speaker (and candidate) as this campaign comes to a close than he was at the beginning.

Bob McDonnell a Jobs Governor? "You've gotta be kidding"

Richmond Free Press Endorses Terry for Governor

It's not online yet (hopefully it will be soon or someone will scan it and email it to me at, but this is an impressive endorsement from Virginia's most respected (and largest) African American newspaper:
Big endorsement! Richmond Free Press, VA's largest Af Am newspaper, endorses @Terry_McAuliffe 4 Gov & @jodywagner 4 Lt. Gov.
Great news for Terry McAuliffe, as (already strong) African American support for his candidacy appears to be gaining momentum as we get closer to election day (in addition, there was the Richmond Crusade for Voters' endorsement of Terry several days ago). It's also good news for Jody Wagner, and bad news for the candidate I support for LG - Mike Signer. Oh well, can't win 'em all.

UPDATE: Got the images, thanks! Please click to "embiggen."

UPDATE #2: The Free Press writes that in order to "keep up the Virginia momentum for President Obama's audacious program of hope and change...we must elect the strongest Democratic candidate with the ability to defeat the Republican candidate in the Nov. 3 General Election." The newspaper adds:
We think Terry McAuliffe is the best candidate in the Democratic primary.

We see Terry McAuliffe as the one who can win, keep up the momentum for hope and change and continue the tradition of the smart, fair-minded, resourceful leadership best exemplified by President Obama.

UPDATE #2: The full text of the endorsement is available here.

Southern Political Report: "Does McAuliffe's rise imperil Virginia GOP comeback?"

Check out this excellent article, "Does McAuliffe's rise imperil Virginia GOP comeback?", by Hastings Wyman of the Southern Political Report. Key points:

*Terry McAuliffe "shows signs of making it difficult for the Republicans to make a much-needed comeback in November."

*"...the speed with which McAuliffe came from third place to first against two experienced politicians may make defeating the ex-DNC chair more difficult to defeat than Republicans realize."

And perhaps the most important point:

*"When the June 9 vote is over, if McAuliffe is the nominee, he’ll have his large, experienced staff ready to go, with more than sufficient funding, possibly making it as difficult for McDonnell to take advantage of McAuliffe’s weaknesses as Deeds and Moran have been so far."

Exactly, that's crucial. We need to hit the ground running against Bob McDonnell on June 10, and Terry McAuliffe's the only one who can do that with the level of force that's going to be required.

P.S. I also like the quote about Bob McDonnell's narrow lead in the polls, that "a single digit lead can easily disappear in a whirlwind of modern campaign technology, a whirlwind that McAuliffe’s campaign is well-positioned to produce."

"Liberty University may have violated federal tax law"

It's about time the IRS looked into Liberty's tax exempt status:
Americans United for Separation of Church and State said it would ask the Internal Revenue Service to investigate Liberty University’s tax-exempt status because the school revoked its recognition of the College Democrats club.


Americans United for Separation of Church and State said in a letter to the IRS that “Liberty University may have violated federal tax law in denying recognition to this club while extending it to a Republican organization.”


“By banning a Democratic club while permitting a Republican club to exist and offering funding to the latter but not the former, university officials appear to be operating in violation of federal tax law,” [Americans United for Separaton of Church and State Executive Director Barry] Lynn’s letter said.
I certainly hope the IRS thoroughly investigates this school. In the meantime, I strongly urge the Liberty Dem's to NOT BACK DOWN and certainly DO NOT APOLOGIZE. You've done nothing wrong, and in fact you've done everything right. Stick to your guns!

"McAuliffe has the potential to do a lot more"

The headline of this diary is a quote from today's Washington Post profile of Terry McAuliffe that really captures Terry's approach and the style he would bring to leading Virginia. Here's a bit more:
"Maybe it's my prejudice from being from Southwest Virginia, but I start out saying I'm for Deeds," said Richard Young, 68, a Roanoke native.

Young said this while standing outside his Arlington house, watching McAuliffe work on his roof. As part of his campaign, McAuliffe has toiled at jobs ranging from waiter to firefighter, and on that day, he decided to join a crew that was working on Young's solar heating system.

McAuliffe said Young should get state tax credits, in addition to federal ones, for his "green" efforts. He then did something Young hadn't expected: He worked. He went from the roof to the basement and stayed about three hours, long enough to make Young question his vote.

The other two candidates "deserve it more," Young said a few days later, but "McAuliffe has the potential to do a lot more."

"He came and he really stayed," Young added. "It wasn't just a photo op. That surprised me."
Great stuff, highlighting Terry's tremendous energy and - yes - "hustle" (as in "Charlie Hustle"). I would say "Go Terry!", but I don't think he needs any encouragement. :)

P.S. I know that a few Terry haters out there will insist that McAuliffe supporters like myself (and thousands of others) must have some nefarious motives to back his candidacy. What they apparently can't understand is that when people like Richard Young and I met Terry, we were amazed at his drive, determination, energy, intelligence and seriousness (despite his image as a "huckster" or whatever). When I first chatted with Terry last fall, I almost immediately saw that he had "the potential to do a lot more." I also liked him almost immediately, despite coming in expecting not to like him (largely based on what I'd read on the "progressive" blogs). Today, after watching Terry build a superb campaign the past 5 months, one that reflects his personality, I see it now more clearly than ever: the guy's simply "got it." I also see a strong progressive on the issues I care about (environment, energy, education, infrastructure, etc.). Last but not least, I see in Terry a fighter who can take on Bob McDonnell and - to steal one of Brian Moran's lines - "beat him like a drum." I'm very much looking forward to the drumbeat beginning on June 10. And, knowing Terry, it will bright and early on the 10th, in spite of the previous night's celebration.

UPDATE: Check out this excellent column in the Collegiate Times as well. I couldn't agree more, "One meeting with McAuliffe is all an observer needs to fully comprehend this contagious energy." In addition, I agree with the author that Terry has "displayed a highly sophisticated knowledge of the issues most important to Virginians, which helps to invalidate the outsider image that has been perpetrated by some of his detractors."