The first press clippings are coming out about the Advance. What’s curious is that the DPV Central Committee just happened to meet in Staunton on the same day, and writers can help but compare the two events. But first, the Advance, from the RTD:
In a celebratory mood, Virginia Republican activists hailed their conquering heroes yesterday after several years of discouraging defeats.
“Isn’t it great to have an Advance where we can actually celebrate?” said Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling. “The last few years have been like wakes.”
“We’re happy, hopeful and energized,” said Del. Benjamin L. Cline, R-Amherst, who for the first time carried the college town of Lexington.
McDonnell, who drew a standing ovation and loud huzzahs, spelled out why he thought the VRepublicans won: “We stuck to our conservative principles, while providing practical solutions.”
McDonnell said voters wanted solutions to the everyday economic problems confronting them, and the Republicans offered those solutions. McDonnell said that by 2014, when he leaves office as Virginia’s 71st governor, he wants Virginia to be the energy capital of the East Coast; government to be careful about spending taxpayers’ money; more “privatization, innovation and consolidation;” merit pay for teachers; and all highway rest stops reopened.
The Post was also there on Day One:
Tonight was mostly about socializing.
Republicans walked from one hospitality suite to another where they sipped drinks from open bars, munched on cheese and crackers and picked up more stickers.
Most suites were hosted by 2010 congressional candidates including Scott Rigell , Ken Golden and Ben Loyola who are vying to replace U.S. Rep. Glenn Nye (D) and Feda Kidd Morton running for U.S. Rep. Tom Perriello’s (D) seat. Keith Fimian, who is opposing U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly for a second time, also made the trip.
And Day Two:
McDonnell, visibly relaxed and seven pounds heavier since the election, individually thanked many of his supporters and volunteers.
“The Republican resurgence has begun in the Commonwealth of Virginia,” he said.
McDonnell talked about how Republicans won the election — by offering solutions to everyday problems — but his loudest applause came when he promised to uphold the conservative issues he rarely talked about on the trail.
“I was a pro-life attorney general for Virginia and I will be a pro-life governor,” he said. “I was a Second Amendment attorney general for Virginia, and I will be a Second Amendment governor.”
As I mentioned, the Dems held a meeting, but the mood wasn’t nearly the same for Creigh Deeds’ victory, I tried my best guys, I really did, I’m sorry speech. From the WaPo:
Looking rested and wearing an open collar shirt under his blazer, Deeds was greeted warmly by his fellow Democrats and spent long moments huddled with longtime senate pals Mary Margaret Whipple and Dick Saslaw. The crowd of more than 100 gave Deeds a standing ovation when Gov. Tim Kaine recognized Deeds as “one of the finest people I know in public life.”
Still, quietly, a few activists said they blame Deeds for the breadth of the party’s losses in November, believing his hesitancy to embrace the agenda of Democrats at the national level left the party unenthusiastic about his effort.
And of course, leave it up to Virginia Democrats to throw more bad after bad:
With many party members convinced November’s losses came because Democratic office seekers did not clearly enough set out policy positions that distinguished them from Republicans, the party took the unusual step of adopting a resolution on a policy issue: With little discussion the central committee voted to encourage all of Virginia’s Democratic members of Congress to support a health care reform bill that includes a public option.
Seriously?? Adopt THAT in a part of the state that CLEARLY repudiated you? When the Republicans just succesfully reamed you by showing what a charade your “reform” package is? Of course, in their words of their House leader:
“A lot of it was apprehension about what’s going on in Washington, make no mistake about it,” Armstrong said.”People say they want change–right up to the moment it shows up.”
That’s right–If I ordered a $20 dollar steak and got a bill for $100, I’d be pretty pissed off too.
But perhaps my favorite line comes from the WaPo blog’s preview of the weekend: “GOP prepares to Celebrate, Dems to Commiserate“
The snowfall in the Valley today cut my day at Belle Grove short–not short enough for me to catch the RPV Luncheon live, but enough for me to review the tape. Special kudos to the RPV New Media Committee for making this possible. New media has penetrated every aspect of the Advance moreso than any year (although I’ll note that many of the Commonwealth’s finest twitterers and bloggers have been a bit quiet today–though some of them may be fleeing back home to beat the snow). Here’s the feed for your purusal–I’ll note that a good chunk of the video is a a review of some of Tim Murtaugh’s greatest hits and other gootage from the campaign, so you may want to fast forward to catch the speeches from each of our statewide victors.
My thoughts below the fold
Well, I’m not there, of course–but I may not be going much of anywhere today, with between 4 to 6 inches of snow forecasted for the Valley today. If I end up being home later today, I’ll try to live-blog my thoughts on the luncheon and the gala, which are being streamed via video by RPV (courtesy of help from Greg Leticeq, proprieter of BVBL). Greg hinted at bold proposals to come from Eric Cantor at the Dinner tomorrow evening, so it may well be worth your while.
What we’re hearing:
–Mark Obenshain’s suite featured only coffee and sweets and is getting a bit less attention than others (Edit: as someone who is over alcohol in politics, I find this to be a refreshing departure)
–Eric Cantor’s suite is packing them in. Other Congresscritters in attendance: Forbes, Wittman, and Goodlatte–wait a second–the whole dang delegation is there! (Edit: Forgot Wolf! Will verify if he was around) They’re all usual suspects….still waiting word on if any contenders from the 5th outside of Morton showed up
–Krystle’s post may have very little to do with the Advance, but it still makes me feel downright alright about occasionally “shopping” (read: buying Red Bull from the corner store) in flip flops and flannel pants. As long as it leads to you all enjoying this blog, I’m alright with it. I couldn’t agree more with her thesis (despite the fact that I am on the opposite end of both the gender and size spectrum from Lady Krystle)
In my inbox today comes word that State Senator Mark Obensahin, who represents my neck of the woods, will be hosting a “sweet” hospitality suite at the Advance:
A celebration of Election Day’s sweet victory with sweets – featuring ice cream and a coffee bar – and sign up for drawings for ten copies of Craig Shirley’s “Reagan’s Revolution” and ten copies of Ron Maxwell’s critically acclaimed Civil War films “Gettysburg” and “Gods and Generals”
These sorts of family-friendly events have become the rage at the last couple of Republican Advances/Conventions and are a welcome change from others were booze is more the norm. They’re also smart politics with the religious right and homeschoolers continuing to flex their respective muscle at these events.
The bigger story here though is that Obenshain is venturing out on his own to do a hospitality suite. Hospitality suites are historically a way for potential candidates and leaders to both thank activists for their support and get their attention in an intimate setting. Obenshain had been touted by some as a possible candidate for AG in 2009. However, he yielded to Ken Cuccinelli. Word has it that the Senator was worried about putting his family through the challenging grind of the campaign as his children enter late adolescence (one is finishing high school and another is a freshman at JMU). This is a position to respect.
Additionally, it gives Obenshain time to continue to build his already stellar credentials as a law and order type (he and Todd Gilbert have led the fight against crystal meth and the expansion of the death penalty to those who order capital murders) as well as a reliable voice for fiscal conservatism (VDOT, anyone?).
Given this record, his stellar service to the party (he was a constant source of support for me during my time in Harrisonburg), and his current role as an advisor to AG-elect Ken Cuccinelli during the transition, Senator Obenshain will be one to watch in the next four years. If nothing else, I can guarantee you he will be a strong voice for fiscal sanity in the Senate (a space where it is often hard to find) and an advocate for the sort of pragmatic plans with strong conservative foundations that Bob McDonnell advocated on the trail.
Ok, my loyal band of readers/people brought here by my Facebook ramblings, here’s the skinny. As someone who is currently unemployed yet trying to pick up some freelance work while returning to school, I really only have the cash/time to cover one major conservative event in the next few months. Worry not–I have some exciting plans to see what I can cover for free (or at least only the investment of mileage), but I want some input to see what’s most worth my time.
Here’s what I have it narrowed down to: CPAC 2010 or the Advance this weekend. Both events have their upsides: the Advance is sure to be an exciting affair as Republicans look back at what they did right this cycle and as the jockeying begins for 2013, while CPAC offers the same jockeying on the national stage for 2012 in addition to (hopefully) the beginning of a conservative policy resurgence.
So what most tickles your fancy? I can’t say that my decision will be completely based on the results, but it would at least give me some understanding of what subjects I dwell on here are most popular amongst my readers.
So have at it–which major event should I attend?
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.