Let's talk about the "politics of personal destruction," as Bill Clinton called it. As many know, I was a target of it; as one famed Virginia reporter once said, I was an "easy target" for those who played that game. Her words, not mine: and in that regard, it got me to thinking about Patrick Moran.
In politics, it is easy to kick a guy when he is down. Surely that applies to Patrick Moran right now, as he had to resign from his dad's campaign with the Virginia political world laughing at him for being beyond dumb.
Do I actually think he would have ever actually participated in any way in the voter fraud scheme being faked by the "reporter?" No. Did he break any laws? No.
But was he monumentally brain dead during the video? Yes, you can't deny that. It was painful to watch, knowing the fanatics had successfully targeted him, posing as "undercover reporters" or whatever that group of fanatics claims to be.
That is why Patrick Moran had to resign. It was his own fault. No excuses.
BUT, AT THE SAME TIME, it is why I decided to write this post, since the new 24/7 hidden-camera ready world we now inhabit empowers the fanatics behind this targeting of Patrick Moran to target and ruin all of us for far lesser stuff.
Patrick has no one to blame but himself for not realizing the state of politics today.
As Think Progress points out, polls show that Americans trust Obama more than Romney on international affairs. So along come the best two on foreign policy the GOP has left: Warmonger John McCain and his dazed and confused grasp on reality; AND Condi Rice, who so assertively deceived us on weapons of mass destruction. Yeh, they've got the cred (snark).
Who doesn't remember her trying to scare the hell out of everyone with worries about a "mushroom cloud." When she did that, she essentially proved they had no real evidence of mass destruction. They had to rely instead on fear, not evidence. McCain's supposed cred is permanently tarnished by his failing to find a potential war he could not support. And Condi's obsolete Cold War model of the world is every bit as bad.
I almost feel sorry for the poor, pathetic Republicans if this is what they've got. (Don't worry, I said almost. And were I to, I wouldn't feel very sorry for them.)
To make matters worse, as the video above shows, on CBS this morning, Condi could not say anything President Obama has done "wrong" in foreign policy. That's the best they've got. So, there you have it. They GOP has no real case, except made up stuff. They should shut down the convention and go home.
About 150 Montgomery County Democrats happily gave up their Friday evening to welcome former governor and US Senate candidate Tim Kaine to Blacksburg yesterday. The event featured a lengthy opportunity for local Dems to personally greet the former governor, share their thoughts, and hear his vision for the 2012 campaign. It was also a great opportunity for collecting signatures for the petitions to get Kaine on the ballot. (What is the matter with GOP presidential wannabes that they cannot meet the Virginia standard? What a bunch of whiners!) You won't hear Tim whining about petitions!
Kaine's visits are different from most other pols. There is a presence, confidence balanced by humility, knowledge, enthusiasm, optimism and earnestness unparalleled by other state-wide candidates. Each and every person is treated with unparallelled respect. He not only answers questions but shows his vast expertise in both Virginia and national issues. I mentioned some time ago,during the RaisingKaine days, that his willingness and ability to listen, really hear and discuss issues had no equal, much less superior. These skills will serve him well throughout his race to November, 2012.
As just one example... (please follow after the fold):
Update 11/23: - DPVA 1st Vice Chair Gaylene Kanoyton has been contacting all of the petition signers this morning telling us we can expect to hear from Moran soon. So at least somebody's paying attention.
Strategic Forum & Work-Groups (Peninsula Room)
Begins 20 minutes after Central Committee adjourns and will end at 2 PM. This session provides an opportunity for Democrats to offer ideas, share their opinion and engage in productive discussion about the Democratic Party in both an open forum and in breakout groups. This session will also review the progress of the DPVA Strategic Plan adopted in 2010.
That sounds great! Oh, but wait. I'm sorry - you weren't invited. This very special "opportunity for Democrats to offer ideas" is only available to the members of Central Committee and local committee chairs. And I don't know about you, but even if I was invited, 10 days notice for a meeting in Hampton is a tough sell for a working, family person.
So once again, we see that DPVA's planning and strategy is "open" only to insiders and party elites. So much for grassroots input!
(I fully support this, not that the DPVA gives a crap about that (in fact, support from the "evil bloggers" will almost certainly prompt them to get their backs up and do the exact opposite). - promoted by lowkell)
Ahead of the December 3rd DPVA Central Committee meeting, it's important that we voice our displeasure with the current state of the Party. We all know a change is needed. Some have blogged here that they think Brian Moran should resign. Some have argued for less radical, but still fundamental changes. Whatever you believe, we need to make sure that our voices get heard. Sign the petition and let them know you're unhappy.
Most of us can't be on the Central Committee. But that doesn't mean we can't help set the agenda at the upcoming yearly meeting. Don't let them coast. Don't let them off the hook. Don't let another year go by without the substantial shift in policies and conduct that we need from DPVA.
At the beginning of the legislative session, the Republicans will control every branch of Virginia's government for the first time since Reconstruction. This is unacceptable! No matter where you land on how drastically things should change, we can all agree that something substantial needs to be done.
There's a spirited debate going on at Tim Kaine's Facebook wall right now, with some commenters pushing back on his seemingly rose-colored post, "Congratulations to Democratic candidates across the Commonwealth. Voter turn-out made the difference in key races!"
Here are a few winners and losers (note: this list is FAR from comprehensive, and was put together on little sleep, so take it for what it's worth - probably not much!) from last night that I think are worth highlighting. I'm starting with the "Losers" list this time, because frankly, everyone in Virginia today is a loser after the, uh, less-than-stellar results last night.
Losers 1. Brian Moran. Wow, where do we even start? How about Brian's run for DPVA Chair, when he promised to recruit a Democratic candidate in every district around the state. Utter fail, with just 27 House of Delegates districts having a contested race between a Republican and a Democrat, and Democrats almost completely on the defensive in the State Senate due in part to lousy recruiting. Great job. Second, Brian's messaging was essentially non-existent, with absolutely no reason articulated for why people should vote FOR Democrats, not just AGAINST Republicans. For instance, Brian sent out an email this past Saturday saying, "We are planning to leave it all on the field between now and November 8th to elect as many Democratic candidates [as???] we can." Other than the typo, who the he** is Brian to talk about "leaving it all on the field" when it was his ultimate responsibility to have enough players on the field in the first place, and he failed to put those players out there?!? Third, Moran's continued conflict of interest with his "day job" (ripping off minorities, veterans, and young people, all while suing the Obama Administration and running TV ads against it) sent out mixed messages (at best), took up a huge amount of his time, and further weakened (not to mention morally compromised) an already weak DPVA. Finally, Moran wasted precious time and resources that should have been put into candidate recruitment, GOTV, building a grassroots infrastructure, etc, instead playing the "inside DPVA" game where the same people basically talk to the same people, but doing precious little build up a serious farm system and a grassroots/netroots infrastructure. Utter fail. Uninspiring, incompetent, corrupt: Get this guy OUTTA HERE NOW!!!
Feel free to use this as an open thread to discuss today's elections and the results as they come in. I'll start posting returns as soon as they are available. Also, you can follow the returns at the Virginia State Board of Elections website and at VPAP. If you hear anything interesting, please post it in the comments section. Thanks!
UPDATE 6:27 am: In Prince William County, Corey Stewart defeated Dr. Babur Lateef by 31 points (58%-27%). Supervisor Frank Principi also won easily (61%-39%), over Chris Royse in the Woodbridge District.
UPDATE 6:20 am: In Fairfax County, in contrast to Loudoun, Democrats did fine, with Sharon Bulova, John Foust, Penny Gross, and Linda Smyth cruising to reelection over Republican opponents. On the School Board, it looks like whatever revolt there was basically fizzled, as it appears that incumbents and Democratic-endorsed candidates overwhelmingly won yesterday. Also, Stan Barry won easily (54%-45%) for Sheriff over Bill Cooper.
UPDATE 6:17 am: The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors will be all Republican (York, Volpe, Buona, Clarke, Williams, Higgins, Letourneau, Reid, Delgaudio). Terrible news for the environment and everything else, including sanity.
UPDATE 6:07 am: In the House of Delegates, Ward Armstrong lost 53%-47% after spending a gazillion bucks. "Sideshow" Bob Marshall cruised to reelection (60%-40%) once again, while Mark Dudenhefer easily defeated (56%-44%) Esteban Garces. Adrianne Bennett didn't come close to Ron Villanueva (57%-43%), and Pam Danner didn't come particularly close (55%-45%) to Republican attack dog Barbara Comstock. David Bulova had not problem (58%-42%) dispatching Brian Schoeneman, and Dave Albo crushed (62%-38%) Jack Dobbyn. Scott Surovell cruised (58%-40%) to reelection, as did Luke Torian (61%-39%). Connie Brennan lost by 12 points to the execrable Matt Farriss, while William Barlow lost by 11 points to Rick Morris. Jim LeMunyon defeated Eric Clingan, touted by some as a potential threat to LeMunyon, by 19 points. Guess not. Robin Abbott lost by 3 points to Mike Watson, while Mike Kondratick came within 50 votes (5,431-5,381) of David Ramadan. Recount?
UPDATE 6:00 am: Janet Oleszek appears to have lost, 12,489-12,117, in Braddock District. So close, but yet so far. Also, frothing-at-the-mouth crazy Dick Black will now be frothing-at-the-mouth-crazy Senator Dick Black. It looks like "Sideshow Bob" will have company in Richmond! Chuck Colgan, after all the angst about his seat, ended up winning easily, 55%-45%, as did Dave Marsden (54%-46%) over Jason Flanary, Toddy Puller (55%-45% over Jeff Frederick, Phil Puckett (53%-47%) over Adam Light and George Barker (53%-47%) over Miller Baker.
Polls in Virginia today are open from 6 am to 7 pm. Make sure you get out and vote for Democrats up and down the ballot, that is if you don't want monolithic, 1-party Teapublican (mis)rule - not to mention draconian restrictions on a woman's right to choose, guaranteed gridlock on the roads, guns in schools, nasty anti-immigrant measures, etc., etc. - over Virginia for the next two years.
Please feel free to use this thread to tell everyone what you're seeing in your neck of the woods. Thanks.
P.S. Potentially vulnerable Democratic Senators include Barker, Houck, Reynolds, Puckett, Miller, Edwards, Marsden, Colgan, and possibly even Puller. Other interesting Senate races to watch include Dodson vs. Garrett (22nd), Smith vs. Bell (19th), and possibly (hopefully!) Mitchell vs. Black (13th). In the House, keep an eye on Garces vs. Dudenhefer (2nd), Armstrong vs. Poindexter (9th), Langrehr vs. Yost (12th), Bennett vs. Villanueva (21st), Danner vs. Comstock (34th), Brennan vs. Farris vs. Wall (59th), Barlow vs. Morris (64th),Clingan vs. LeMunyon (67th), Kondratick vs. Ramadan (87th), and Abbott vs. Watson (93rd). Finally, keep an eye on the Braddock district race between Janet Oleszek and John Cook (plus independent candidate Carey Campbell) and the race for control of the Fairfax County School Board. Should be interesting.
The following statement is from Tiffany Joslyn, President of the Virginia Partisans ("The PAC of LGBT Democrats of Virginia").
Equality-Minded Virginians: Don't Be Fooled, Vote for Janet Howell and Her Fellow Democrats Tuesday November 8th
Tomorrow, Tuesday, November 8th is a critically important day in Virginia-it is Election Day. Every Election Day is important, but this Election Day bears special significant; not only is every seat of the state legislature up for grabs, but the fate of whose party will control the State Senate for years to come is at risk. Against a backdrop of conservative Republicans controlling both the Governor's Mansion and the House of Delegates, maintaining Democratic control of the State Senate is absolutely essential for the future well-being of the Commonwealth. But, even more importantly, preserving the Democratic majority in the State Senate is necessary to protect every single LGBT person and their families in Virginia.
It is for this singular reason that I call on every Virginian who cares about equality to join me in voting for Senator Janet Howell and her fellow Democrats tomorrow.
I would be remiss if I did not also address the shameful, and entirely manufactured, claims initiated by Senator Howell's opponent, Patrick Forrest; further exaggerated and mischaracterized by the Victory Fund and Log Cabin Republicans; and, sadly, reported as such without any semblance of fact-checking by the media.
This is really becoming a pattern with Caren Merrick - say something in public, say or do something completely different when (she thinkgs) nobody is watching. In this case, first check out Caren Merrick speaking a few weeks ago at a debate in Arlington, stating point blank in response to a question from Omar Samaha regarding background checks on all gun sales, "We should have background checks." That's pretty clear, right? It sure seems like it, but of course, this is the same person who promised three times to release her NRA questionnaire before the election, then refused to do so until 5 pm the night before the election (when almost nobody will have a chance to see it prior to voting).
Well, now we've got Merrick's NRA questionnaire, and it's obvious why she didn't want to release it in an urban/suburban district where the vast majority of people favor reasonable gun safety measures, such as background checks, trigger locks, putting serial numbers on cartridge cases, etc. It turns out that Caren Merrick is on the opposite side of the vast majority of 31st Senate district residents on all those things. That's how she earned her A- rating from the NRA, by answering their questions "correctly."
But getting back to the lie: Caren Merrick told Omar Samaha that she supported background checks on private gun sales. Well, in this questionnaire, Merrick checked "no" to the question about background checks at gun shows for firearms transactions. It also turns out that Merrick supports eliminating Virginia's "state instant check system." So much for what she told Omar.
There's lots of other stuff in Merrick's questionnaire you'd almost certainly be interested in seeing before you vote tomorrow, so check it out. But just remember three things. First, it took tremendous pressure to get Caren Merrick to keep a promise that SHE made, three times in public no less, to release her NRA questionnaire prior to the election so everyone could look at it. Second, when she did finally release the survey, after muchprodding, she did so just 13 hours before polls open, making it almost impossible for voters to know where she stands on these issues. Finally, Merrick outright lied to Omar Samaha about background checks for private gun sales.
I'd say there is about a 75% chance the GOP takes the Senate outright, a 15% chance of a 20-20 split, and Democrats have a 10% chance to hold the Senate if every close race breaks their way on election day.
How about you? Discuss! :)
P.S. If this forecast turns out to be true, which I am hoping it doesn't, any thoughts for my post-election "winners and losers" list?
Check out the press release below from Virginians for Responsible Gun Laws. Frankly, at this point, it isn't even about the issue - guns - anymore. Instead, with just 18 hours until polls open, it's about Caren Merrick having promised PUBLICLY, on multiple occasions, to release her NRA questionnaire by election day, and STILL not having done so with polls about to open. If we can't trust Merrick on keeping a simple promise, made publicly at two debates and in the Washington Post, how can we trust her on anything?!? Answer: we can't.
General Assembly Candidates Still Continue to Duck Voter Questions on Gun Violence Prevention Issues
RICHMOND, November 7, 2011-Many among the families united by the April 16, 2007 massacre at Va Tech made a recent appeal to General Assembly candidates to provide details on their positions on a range of important gun violence prevention issues. Unfortunately, many of these candidates still have not responded to this request to share information with the voters in their districts. Each of the candidates seeking to represent the residents in these communities (State Senate Districts 13, 31, 32, 33, 34, 36 and 39) received an October 25 letter (a copy of which is provided below) as well as follow-up inquires, including phone calls and e-mail messages, asking for this information.
"These candidates are all interviewing for a job to represent us," said Omar Samaha, whose sister Reema died in the 2007 Va Tech attack. "We believe the candidates owe it to their future constituents to make a full and complete disclosure of where they stand on these issues that will affect our safety. Importantly, if a candidate has shared detailed information to outside special interest groups, then this same information should be shared with us, the voters. That is why we are calling on those candidates who completed a survey for either the National Rifle Association (NRA) or the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL) to make that information public."
"Dick Black Hung Up On Me" Black Ignores Calls from Concerned Citizens
Ashburn, VA - Last night, the Shawn Mitchell for State Senate campaign released a call to voters in the 13th District from Omar Samaha, brother of Virginia Tech victim, Reema Samaha. Samaha reached out to Dick Black via phone on October 31st but when he began asking questions, Black hung up on him. This call is in addition to Shawn Mitchell asking career politician Dick Black, in a candidates forum in Prince William county on October 20th, to release his answers to the extreme Virginia Citizens Defense League survey, which Black has refused to do for more than two weeks.
"Hi, my name is Omar Samaha. On April 16th 2007, my life changed forever. My sister Reema was shot and killed by a severely mentally ill man as she sat in class at Virginia Tech. Gun violence ripped apart dozens of families that fateful day. After the VA Tech massacre many of us worked with then Governor Kaine and the General Assembly to make sure that people with dangerous mental health conditions, felons, domestic abusers and terrorists could not get firearms. I am proud to say that the Virginia State Police now have the best system in the entire country for identifying those who are not permitted to have guns. That is why I am so concerned that Senate Candidate Dick Black wants to dismantle this life saving system and again allow dangerous individuals to get firearms. When I tried to discuss this issue with Dick Black he hung up on me. Now it's time for voters to hang up on him. Please get out on November 8th and Vote. Thank you. Paid for and authorized by Shawn Mitchell for State Senate...
Thanks to Dominic Gabello, Ashley Mitchell, and Allison Jaslow for the excellent photos (more on the "flip"; also, click to "embiggen") from today's Loudoun County Democratic GOTV rally. Looks like a good crowd and some great Democrats -- former Rep. Tom Perriello, Sen. Jim Webb, former Gov. Tim Kaine, State Senate candidate Shawn Mitchell, State Senator Mark Herring, and House of Delegates candidate Mike Kondratick. Go git'em!
The Free Lance-Star published an article today about the debate last night between Senator Edd Houck and Bryce Reeves. During the debate, Reeves expressed his support for compromising the security of Virginia's colleges, including the University of Virginia, by forcing them to allow people to carry firearms on campus:
The candidates also differed on whether people on college campuses should be allowed to carry guns.
Reeves said he has a concealed-carry permit and is in favor of allowing guns on campus. Houck said he opposes that, and supports the current law allowing colleges to make their own rules on the issue.
Asked about his thoughts on consolidation of wealth in the top 1 or 2 percent of people, Reeves said those are "job creators."
"I think those folks work very hard for their money," he said. "Those folks at the top 1 percent are job creators."
Houck said some of those people, like the Koch brothers, have made their money by outsourcing American jobs to other countries, something he opposes.
"If this is how they make their money, at the expense of all these American jobs, it's wrong," Houck said.
Reeves is far too extreme to represent Albemarle in the Virginia Senate. Help Senator Houck carry election day by volunteering and helping GOTV. Email email@example.com or (540) 710-6383 for ways to help!
“The same Dick Black who opposed criminalizing certain kinds of Rape, tried to make it illegal for adult women to obtain birth control, and who Republican leaders have called an embarrassment, isn’t even waiting until he gets elected to waste taxpayer money on his personal agenda. Black has backed millions in cuts to schools, but wants to spend money on lawyers to advance a frivolous lawsuit. Just imagine what he’ll do if he’s elected. Jobs should be Richmond’s first priority, not Dick Black’s extreme agenda.”
(Well said. Eugene Delgaudio is utterly unfit for anyone's vote on Tuesday. Anyone who isn't a rabid, anti-gay bigot, that is. - promoted by lowkell)
I could never, had I been asked to imagine the most ridiculous and easily verifiable lie that Eugene Delgaudio might invent, have imagined something as ridiculous and easily verifiable as this:
When contacted by the Loudoun Times-Mirror for comment about the exposure of his "Blood Door" email, Mr. Delgaudio told the reporter that the Photoshopped image he had sent to his mailing list was the original and that his image had actually been Photoshopped, by the very people who caught him in this behavior, to make it "look like blood."
When the reporter told me this, I said I thought that was interesting, and suggested that she search on Google images for "blood door." She did.
Lately, Barbara Comstock has taken to declaring how she is focused on supposedly sensible, bipartisan solutions for Northern Virginia, a strange posture for the woman who headed the RNC’s effort to destroy Vice President Al Gore’s reputation and was a close associate of the infamous Monica Goodling – of DOJ US Attorney scandal. For details on this part of Comstock's history, see here.
But as we already know, Barbara Comstock is anything but a moderate. For the gory details of her extreme voting record, see here.
Upon closer scrutiny, Comstock’s record gets even worse: She has identified herself as a dedicated admirer of Judge Robert Bork, one of the most extreme arch-conservative legal thinkers, whose views were so far out of the mainstream that his Supreme Court nomination was rejected by a 58-42 vote in the 1980s. Comstock was the chief patron of a bill in the House of Delegates, HR 67 honoring Judge Bork – despite his reputation. See here
What makes Bork so extreme that it calls her judgment into question? Based on articles at ThinkProgress and here, controversial stances Bork has taken include:
How crazy is this comment (made at a debate at the Greenspring Retirement Community on October 4th in Springfield) by Teapublican State Senate candidate Miller Baker? Let us count the ways.
1. The Iraq War involved an invasion of another country on pretenses that turned out to be highly questionable at best. It has resulted in tens of thousands of U.S. coalition military casualties (both killed and wounded), and very well could end up costing America more money than World War II!
2. Health care reform, what Miller Baker falsely calls "Obamacare," was modeled closely after the Republican 1993 plan and also off of Mitt Romney's health care reform in Massachusetts. That includes the "individual mandate," which was/is a conservative idea to promote individual responsibility, and as an alternative to the employer mandate, which Republicans dislike(d).
3. The purpose of health care reform, unlike the Iraq War to which Miller Baker bizarrely compares it, is of course is to expand access to life-saving health care to tens of millions of Americans. According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, for instance, "by 2019, the two pieces of legislation combined will reduce the number of nonelderly people who are uninsured by about 32 million." In addition, "About 95 percent of legal nonelderly residents will have insurance coverage in that year, compared with a projected share of 82 percent in the absence of that legislation and 83 percent currently."
4. Also, according to the CBO, "According to our latest comprehensive estimate of the legislation, the net effect of changes in direct spending and revenues is a reduction in budget deficits of $210 billion over the 2012-2021 period." That's right, the CBO says that what Miller Baker childishly calls "Obamacare" will reduce U.S. deficits by hundreds of billions of dollars, while repealing it - as he and his teahadist friends want to do - will conversely crank up the deficits by hundreds of billions of dollars. Brilliant!
In sum, Miller Baker is wildly wrong and/or utterly ignorant on the impacts of health care reform legislation. As for his comparison to the Iraq War, that is both completely off base and also wildly offensive, crazy and bizarre. If there were any doubt prior to this that Miller Baker was an off-the-right-wing-deep-end Tea Party extremist, there certainly isn't any now. Next Tuesday, 39th district voters need to reject this brand of lunacy: Vote George Barker, keep sanity and competence in the Virginia State Senate!
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