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As Goes Virginia…..

December 27, 2011 1 comment

UPDATE: Via Bearing Drift, it has been learned that Rick Perry has launched his own legal challenge. Actually, it’s beyond launched–the suit has already been filed in the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Virginia. Their argument seems to be that the requirement that voters be registered to vote or eligible to register in Virginia unconstitutionally restricted his ability to recruit signature gatherers. (Focus on seems to be–I’m not a lawyer) They cite a number of other cases in which registration requirements were struck down. We seem to finally have a number for Perry–6k signatures. This isn’t even close to the 10,000 valid required. We’ll see how this pans out–he may get relief from the court, but I imagine the jeers will be even louder from the blogosphere than they were before. Also, one correction–any legislative fix will require 80 delegates, not 60 as I wrote earlier. That means they’ll need 13 Dems to cross over (12 if Putney votes with the GOP).

This is a Virginia-centric blog, so of course, one would expect me to view the entire political landscape through the prism of the Old Dominion. And sometimes, that can be a rather jaundiced view. However, a funny thing happened over the weekend….Virginia became kinda important. Or at least we think we did, or maybe we became less important….at any rate, people were talking about us.

That came when, in the early hours of Christmas Eve, it became known that the ballot for the March 6th Republican Presidential Primary would feature only former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and Texas Congressman Ron Paul. Volunteers at RPV’s Obenshain Center had been working since the morning of December 23rd. Paul and Romney got through easily, but on that evening it was discovered that Texas Governor Rick Perry wouldn’t make it. That pretty much left Gingrich for those who don’t much care for either candidate, and the supporters of those two to root for Gingrich to fail. Facebook and Twitter lit up with conversation rivaling election night itself. Granted, some of this was likely due to the fact that “Ron Paul” is something of a fighting word for both Ron Paul detractors and supporters, but it was still pretty amazing for the night before Christmas Eve. Ultimately, around 3 a.m., word came out that Gingrich had indeed fallen short. Huzzahs rang out from those who don’t much care for Gingrich, while everyone else who doesn’t much care for Romney or Paul found themselves rather disgruntled. To add tragedy to all of this, one volunteer died in an automobile accident after a day of working to verify signatures.

So what now? Well, let’s first look at this close to home. The very first reaction to this was the first thing that comes to the mind of any loser (or to the mind of any candidate too lazy/principled to fill out paperwork *cough*AlAsbury*cough*): Write-in Time! However, despite the fact that it is discussed every time a primary comes up, write-ins are not allowed in Virginia primaries. Newt Gingrinch, a Virginia voter, was out of the loop on this, along with Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who suggested such a thing in his post-Christmas newsletter. What’s left for Gingrich? Well, there could be a legal challenge, but the Washington Post talked to observers who suggest this as unlikely. The other possibility would be an emergency change in election law that would allow write-ins. But the RTD notes this too is a problem: the GA doesn’t convene until Jan 11th, and ballots must be printed by Jan 21st. Emergency legislation requires a supermajority of (updated) four fifths–32 Senators, and 60 80 Delegates. Those are high barriers, and with a very slim Republican majority based solely on the fact we hold the LG’s chair, very unlikely to be reached.

Read more…

Coburn unveils Stimulus Silliness

December 9, 2009 Leave a comment

Via the Cato Institute we learn that the Senate’s often provocative fiscal watchdogs, Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and Senator John McCain of Arizona, have released a new 100 page report detailing some of the sadly goofy uses of stimulus funds. Some of the lowlights of your (and your children’s, and their children’s) tax dollars at play work include:

  • “Almost Empty” Mall Awarded Energy Grant ($5 million)
  • Water Pipeline to a Money-Losing Golf Course ($2.2 million)
  • Grant to Fund Search for Fossils . . . In Argentina ($1.57 million)
  • Bobber the Water Safety Dog Costumes ($21,116)
  • Developing the Next Generation of Football Gloves ($150,000)

And so much more.

The always hilarious Norm points out that some of the projects lead to this being a “stimulus” in more ways than one:

The National Institute of Health (NIH) is using stimulus funds to pay for a year-long $219,000 study to follow female college students for a year to determine whether young women are more likely to ― “hookup” — the college equivalent of casual sex — after drinking alcohol. Researchers will recruit 500 female students prior to their first year of college and contact them monthly over the course of a year to document sexual hookups, noting when there is alcohol involved. It is part of the $7.4 billion the NIH received in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to support ―scientific research.

Maybe with all that TARP money rolling back in U.S. Senator Mark Warner and his Dem cronies can set up yet another package to help me get a date….

2012 Odds and Ends

December 8, 2009 Leave a comment

I take a great interest in primary fights and how they help define our party. This is certainly the case with the 2012 fight. However, not every little thing I read is going to lend itself to a full post, and sometimes I’ll post a compendium of recent news from the various contenders. This is one of those times.

–Former PA Senator Rick Santorum told ABC News yesterday that he is “absolutely” looking at running in 2012. I still believe that Santorum is not the candidate we need right now, but he will certainly shake the race up for social conservatives if he gets in. However, he also mentioned fiscal issues as part of his “traditional values” platform:

“I think I’ve been very clear that you know, we need to stand foursquare on the traditional values. When I say traditional values people think, ‘Oh that means, you know, social conservatism and the family. It also means the free enterprise system and that government shouldn’t be large and controlling things — I mean, those are all core Republican principle.

–Sarah Palin signed books in Fairfax (a county where she and Senator McCain were clobbered in 2008), and the enthusiasm that has been noted at previous stops continued in full force. From the WaPo:

Palin fan Greg Williams, 46, of Springfield said he hasn’t felt so strongly about a politician since Ronald Reagan. He spent Friday night in a tent rigged with a tarp to keep out the rain, to make sure he got his chance to see her Saturday. He joined several other campers until about 7:30 a.m., when Fairfax County police made them break down their tents so people near the front of the line could cross the street and stand closer to the store entrance.

One has to wonder how Palin would have been received at the Advance. As Chairman Mullins pointed out, though, this past weekend was for Virginia, though two names that have been floated for 2012 spoke: Minority Whip Eric Cantor (and as even he’ll say, far too prematurely) Bob McDonnell. However, I expect we’ll see her raising money for a Virginia politico very soon. Palin also experienced a good weekend in the polls. CNN has Palin at 46% favorable to 46% unfavorable. This is up from 42% in mid-October.

–Mitch Daniels was in Chicago raising money for Indiana pols. That prompted Race42012 to right this about the burgouning My Man Mitch movement:

While Public Policy Polling has yet to post the results of its online poll of second-tier Republican candidates from earlier this week, Daniels was coming in a strong second just before the polls closed, beating better-known Republicans like Dick Cheney and Rudy Giuliani while only Pawlenty edged out Mitch for the top spot. Daniels’ assumed, effortless conservatism combined with his ability to apply his philosophy to the issues of the day, all packaged in a personality that provides voters with a stark contrast with President Obama, may mean that Mitch Daniels is in the perfect position to re-assemble the Fred ‘08 movement, only this time led by a candidate who can actually go the distance.

–Finally, outgoing Minnesota Governor and 08 Veep mention Tim Pawlenty has hired a finance director. Pawlenty would certainly make for a solid choice policy wise, but does he really have the charisma for the national stage? One can make a case that Daniels would make it because of his down to earth nature and modesty that real people can relate to. Pawlenty, though, seems to have the ambition and policy chops without a real defining character trait–probably the reason he was passed over for Palin in 2008.

–Finally, Race for 2012 has a chilling recount of Huckabee’s clemencies as governor, including an unusual 12 murderers. In his time in office Huckabee granted more clemencies more than every surrounding state combined.

Why Tweet?

December 8, 2009 Leave a comment

Two disparate but related posts led me to ask this question today. First, there was Fisherville Mike’s short post linking to an article about Sarah Palin’s use of Facebook. It was this line that got me thinking:

Politicians shouldn’t tweet like they’re teenage girls – Newt Gingrich talking about dinner with James Carville, or Nathan Daschle telling how he’s relaxing in the hot tub. Go ahead and have a life; we just don’t care to hear about it.

Mike hit the nail on the head. People are naturally social animals–indeed, there’s a whole category of mental illness used to describe behavior in which people have abnormal social patterns: personality disorders. The flip side of this coin, though, is that social networking tools like Twitter and to an even greater extent lead us to believe that everyone we care about (or have in our social network because we think they can help us (you do it–admit it) cares about everything that we do–the phenomena of people posting their every little move on Twitter and Facebook is really no different from the Salahi’s gatecrashing at the White House–the goal is relevance in an increasingly growing and shrinking world. Both Twitter and FB have their place. In particular, I think that Twitter is custom made for short posts from political events and to spread pithy thoughts about major news. I’ll admit that even I am guilty of an occasional vanity tweet, but the fact of the matter is that in the wrong hands these tools are just another way for drama makers and attention seekers to get an audience they don’t deserve.

The other post was from Krystle about a curious new device created by tech types at Hasselt University. It’s essentially a Fisher Price activity center with a board inside that sends tweets when toddlers press family member’s pictures.

Is it me or has this hit a new level of insanity? Can we just let kids be kids? Children can utilize technology without impacting their social skills towards addiction or even imposing the mantra of acronyms into their learning. It’s bad enough that children are growing up faster each day through the various influences in the media and on the internet. Twoddler is actually taking away from a child’s creativity by drawing them towards a technology addicted lifestyle. I guess this is the sign of the times and further distancing simplicity outside of childhood.

Again, the device is simply a prototype, but I would expect that it won’t be too long before social networking is integrated into new toys. I find this dangerous from two perspectives. First, despite its name, social media ceates a new wrinkle in interpresonal interaction by allowing people to connect from long distances. It does this, however, through a screen, a screen that cannot capture the depth of an individual’s true emotions. It is necessarily limited to text and sometimes graphics. It seems that as we move through phases of technology, we lose a certain depth of communication. The telephone eliminated facial expressions, text messaging made it very difficult for some turns of phrase and irony to be readily understood, and the invention of text messaging further garbled the mix. Children should be raised in a manner that allows them to use the whole of their social tools. While social media is here to stay and will become an increasingly part of our social interaction, it doesn’t mean that children need to have it pounded into them from three months of age. If we foist adult ideas upon children, we’ll end up with a generation with limited imagination and verbal abilities, thinking that they’ll always have the comfort of the screen to mediate awkward social interactions.

And another thing–why Twitter? I view twitter much the same way as I view XM radio–an intermediary technology. Twitter is a curious little thing–part social network, part micro-blogging tool. But these features are both being quickly supplanted by Facebook and the increasing integration of social media into smart phones, combined with the increasing use of data plans on said phones. Another reason not to barrage children with social media from an early age–it is a constantly shifting universe that requires discretion and understanding of the various pros and cons to each platform. I may sound like a hypocrite here, since my twitter use has actually increased with the purchase of a new phone–this is because I don’t have data service to use Facebook but I DO have a QWERTY keyboard. Again, it works for me. That will be the key to success for the next generation in using social media–careful selection for the individual.

Three Must Reads

December 6, 2009 Leave a comment

I’m not entirely sure how to categorize all three of these posts, but I do know this: any conservative who is serious about their principles not only in politicking but in governance should read them.

First up–Part one of Shaun Kenney’s ongoing series about his jump into the wild world of elective office:

This will be the first in a series of observations I will offer for my friends and readers as I start explaining my personal observations during the orientation process.  It’s an education, and it hasn’t been without it’s political lessons.  Like anything, there are honest brokers and turf-seekers, there are folks with whom you agree and folks whom you disagree.  The two sets often mix and match… and naturally the omnipresent factors of miscommunication, laziness, and old fashioned human nature conspire to create the bureaucratic haze so common in any large organization.

The second: RedState’s call to action to get involved, somehow, ANYHOW in the coming election season:

Well, we’re 27 days away from a new year.

The year.

The year we’ve been talking about for 14 months.

I have a question for you. What are you prepared to do?

Are you going to just sit by, worry, be anxious and complain about how everything is being messed up in our country?

Or are you going to do something about it?

…..

We are not all called to be the candidate. We are not all called to finance the campaign. We are not all called to traipse around the countryside and put up signs in the craziest of places. And we are not all called to make phone calls and stuff envelopes.

But, I do believe that we, as people interested in and passionate about this thing called liberty, do have a responsibility to be involved in some way.

And finally, but of most interest to political professionals, Virginia Conservative’s ongoing tale of his time in the 93rd, with these words of caution to any field organizer, paid or volunteer:

So where is a good place to look for volunteers?  How about the city and county Republican committees?  After all, these people have shown at least a marginal level of interest and commitment.  Sadly, committees are not a good source of volunteers.  First of all, the average age of committee members are much higher than your average age of volunteers.  Once you reach seventy years old, you’re much less likely to be physically able to go door-to-door.  Second, some people have the mistaken impression that committee membership is sufficient involvement to elect like-minded candidates.  How many undecided voters can you reach in a committee meeting?  Now don’t think that I must hate committees just because I can’t wring them dry for volunteers.  Certainly not!  They are indispensable and many committee leaders are the hardest working, most motivated, and most dependable people you will ever meet.  Seek out the committees for help, but if your search begins and ends there you will be woefully short of help.

A Few Tweaks

December 6, 2009 1 comment

As you’ve probably noticed, I’ve decided to switch my format. I’m still scoping out moving things over to wordpress.org, but for right now I think this theme does a better job of organizing things. It gives me a bit more room on the column to bring back an old feature–a listing of area political events. If you have something you’d like me to promote, send it to me at craig.orndorff@gmail.com. Please include the date, time, location and sponsoring organization. It also allows me to feature my twitter feed, which thanks to my new phone with QWERTY keypad I’m utilizing more and more these days.

Also, this design allows me to feature my tagline, which was inspired by a high school classmate’s joke about me blogging my way up from a cardboard box in DC. It tickles me to no end–and after all, isn’t the fundamental principle of blog design vanity?

A Blog to Watch

November 24, 2009 Leave a comment

The Virginia Conservative is already one of the best blogs in the Valley. Always intriguing, often witty, VC brings a great deal to the table. He very closely hews to the type of blogging I strive to her: taking a story, analyzing it and offering a unique spin, not just the regurgitation of standard talking points or (god forbid) the verbatin reprint of press releases. To wit, there was his classic post where he link Pepsi’s Throwback soda to Ron Paul’s stance on subsidies:

But…this isn’t a food review blog?  What does this Pepsi product have to do with politics?  Representative Ron Paul has the answer.  In his bestselling work, The Revolution: A Manifesto, he discusses this topic.  The reason for the switch is one of cost.  It is cheaper for soft drink manufactures to use the corn syrup.  But wait, you say…in other countries they use sugar, why would it be more expensive in the U.S.A.?  The answer is subsidies and quotas.  Not only does the federal government subsidize corn growers, as Ron Paul tells us, “The United States government limits the amount of sugar that can be imported from around the world.  These quotas make sugar more expensive for all Americans, since they now have fewer choices as a result of diminished competition.  The quota also put at a competitive disadvantage all those businesses that use sugar to produce their own products.  That’s one reason that American colas use corn syrup instead of sugar:  American sugar, thanks to the quotas, is simply too expensive.”  (p. 72).

Now, he’s announced the beginning of a series of posts looking back on his time working in the 93rd Delegate race during this past election. House watchers will recall that the seat was one of two that switched from Republican to Democratic control and was the only one in which a Democrat knocked off the sitting Republican. This series will be one to watch not just for those interested in knowing the full story behind Delegate Hamilton’s quick fall from grace but also to consultants everywhere who want insight on how to deal with a race that explodes almost overnight.

A View From Blogs United

November 23, 2009 Leave a comment

Krystle from CCC has a post up at Bearing Drift reviewing Blogs United, a bipartisan new media conference held down in the Beach this weekend. I wasn’t able to make it (it’s my first week back, people!) due to some previous engagements, but it sounds like a great effort. Krystle also posted a great overview of those congressional candidates who were in attendance.

I hope to get out there and do some event coverage soon. Anyone want to convince me on the Advance? Or should I save my pennies for CPAC, the mecca of conservatives? I would hold something for bloggers in the Northern Valley, but alas, it would seem that one IS the loneliest number after all. SWAC certainly is a bustling hub, though.

Palin Phenom Runs through Roanoke

November 22, 2009 Leave a comment

Although readers of this blog know that I remain skeptical of Sarah Palin’s long term political future, I still like her and her politics. I believe that she has strayed a bit too far from her initial image as a conservative reformer, though this was largely due to both the media’s attacks and the ensuing defense by conservatives. However, I still admire both her personal tenacity, her “tell it like it is” mentality, and her fiscal conservative credentials.

I was going to try to hit her book tour stop in Roanoke, but alas, I had the date wrong and a previous engagement doing some new media work for a local historic site. More on that later, but there’s hard evidence that Sarah remains a true phenomenom amongst Virginia conservatives. From Roanoke.com:

By 9 a.m., an hour before Sarah Palin’s scheduled arrival, 700 people had received wristbands for Palin to sign their books (the crowd was divided into seven groups of 100). About 300 or more people are still waiting for wristbands, though they won’t be given them until Palin starts signing copies of her “Going Rogue” memoir.

Debbie Turner, 53, of Wytheville, was one of the last people to get a wristband. “She’s fresh, she’s new, she has the same ideals that I have, and she’s my hero,” Turner said on why she wants to meet Palin. “They talked about change last year, and she’s the change we need.”

……

1:14 p.m.: With more than 1,000 people lined up outside the Valley View Barnes & Noble Sunday, the Panera Bread restaurant across the parking lot braced for a surge.

The store added five extra workers on each shift and ordered 40 percent more food for the day, said Russell Kidd, regional manager.

This Panera’s up about 30 percent in sales today, with “quite a chunk” of customers coming from the Palin signing, he said.

Almost every table was full in the restaurant at 1 p.m.

The restaurant opened an hour earlier than usual, at 6:30 a.m.

Read more…

A Day of Two Firsts

I just wanted to toot my own horn for a second and note that 1) last week (Monday through today) was the busiest I’ve ever had here on the blog, with a daily average of 86 hits and 2) that I have passed 5,000 hits! I hope that those of you who are regular visitors will continue your patronage and tell your friends about the blog.

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