Jim Gilmore

Jim Gilmore To Lead Free Congress Foundation: Not the Breaking News People Thought, But Good Nonethesame

This is an interesting tidbit: Former Governor Jim Gilmore announced Monday that he had been elected the new president and CEO of the Free Congress Foundation, the influential conservative think tank founded by the legendary conservative leader, strategist and grassroots activist Paul Weyrich (see New York Times), who died last December. Weyrich was one of the architects of the conservative renaissance that eventually brought about the Reagan and Gingrich Revolutions. When the announcement hit my inbox, I was eager to post it. This is big news — a Virginian taking the lead at a conservative hallmark, in the shoes of a true legend (Washington Times). But in his letter, the former governor included a link to a December 10 column by John Gizzi of Human Events in which he explains why he is taking the position and his goals, etc. That was more than two weeks prior to Monday's e-mailed letter. Figuring it was old news, I ignored it. Yet, the announcement still exploded in the media, new and mainstream. There's articles everywhere. Interesting how news can still trail real time, no matter how electronic and digital we become. It just goes to show that good reporting still beats all.

So, we join in the congratulations to former Governor Gilmore in his new position. He is a good, hard working, earnest man. He will have a national platform and a well schooled staff to put forth and advance conservative ideas and solutions to problems America faces in the economy, foreign policy and cultural and social issues, of which Weyrich was a determined traditionalist. In the age of Obama, there can be no shortage of limited government conservatives working in the vineyard.

Convention Quotes Of The Day

Going through my voluminous official convention bloggers notebook (i.e., a bunch of disparate pieces of scrap paper and the back of a grassroots training guide), I came across a couple of Quotes of the Day I wanted to post. Friday QOD:

From former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie, chairman of Bob McDonnell's gubernatorial campaign, on Friday afternoon at a VIP briefing, talking about the liberal Congress and President Obama's desire to stick Americans with suffocating higher taxes:

"You know taxes are going to go up and if you don't pay them, President Obama is going to put you in one of two places: In jail — or in his cabinet."

On a serious note, during the briefing Gillespie said internal polling is good by name (McDonnell vs. any of the three Democrats). However, polling by party shows a close race. In other words, once the Democrat nominee emerges Tuesday night, it's likely he will be able to parlay that party brand into better numbers across the electorate.

By the way, it's amazing this lil' ol' Commonwealth is home to four recent or current national party chairmen, all of whom bring that experience to Virginia politics: Republicans Jim Gilmore and Gillespie and Democrats Terry McAuliffe and Governor Tim Kaine.

As you can imagine, on Saturday, with so many good speakers and speeches, there were some great quotes. I blogged this one live, from attorney general candidate Dave Foster:

Saturday's QOD:

"Growing up my parents told me anyone can grow up to become president of the United States. Last year, we proved that."

However, the blogger that I am, Republican Party of Virginia Chairman Pat Mullins stole my heart with this, as I blogged live:

"I'd rather read conservative bloggers than the Washington Post!" 

Twice he mentioned Bloggers Row in his speech — the second time in recent months I've been in a recognized bloggers bunch. The first was while in the Senate gallery during Veto Session as part of Lt. Governor Bill Bolling'sAnnual Bloggers Day at the Capitol. Lt. Governor Bolling asked Senator — and now GOP attorney general nominee —Ken Cuccinelli (R-37, Fairfax) to make the morning hour introduction of us. (At the time I whispered to my colleagues if the LG was sending a signal as to his AG preference.) But whether you're in a high-tech convention setting or a stately capitol, it's always nice to take a bow.

Tomorrow, We Will Choose . . .

Tomorrow, the citizens of the freest nation in the world will once again choose their leader. This time, however, it seems certain that the choice is not just about a person or a party, but about the very essence of our nation.Tomorrow, we will choose between a candidate that has a quarter century record of voting to protect human life in its most vulnerable form, or a candidate that believes it is in the nation's best interest to allow newborn children who survive late-term abortions to simply die. Tomorrow, we will choose between a candidate that believes the definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman is worth defending, or a candidate that believes the definition of marriage is malleable.

Tomorrow, we will choose between a candidate that believes parents should have the option to send their children to whatever school they wish, public or private, or a candidate that believes teaching sex education to kindergartners is good for America.

Tomorrow, we will choose between a candidate that believes hard working families should be free to keep more of their hard earned incomes, or a candidate that believes continuing to allow families that freedom is bad for America and that income should be redistributed as the government sees fit.

The differences between John McCain and Barack Obama are staggering. You can read more about these differences at The Family Foundation Action Web site (click here). (Also while there, review the Congressional voter guide that shows the vast differences between candidates for U.S. Senate, Jim Gilmore (click here) and Mark Warner (click here), and Congressional races.)

But in truth, this election is not simply about the issues listed above. It is about freedom.  It is about the freedom to make decisions about our families, our incomes and our faith that the government has no business being involved with. It is about whether or not the document that "holds these truths to be self evident" is still relevant in our society. 

We are not ready to give up on the Founding Fathers vision! We are not ready to turn our lives over to a bureaucrat in Washington, D.C., to determine what my health care needs are, how we can or cannot live our faith in the public square, how our families' income should be spent, or how the very institutions on which society is based are defined.

This nation and its Judeo-Christian heritage are worth getting up early, standing in line, bringing a family friend or neighbor or fellow church member along with us, and casting our ballots for the candidates who believe in the sanctity of human life and the sanctity of marriage and the freedom to prosper. This nation is worth ignoring the prognosticators, the polls, and the media's overwhelming and blatant disregard for facts and truth — and the blatant and below the belt attacks this year on candidates of faith, who respect life, traditional marriage and traditional values.

In short, it is worth your vote. Please, tomorrow, vote. Vote for the God ordained values and truths that our society must protect in order to survive. 

Tomorrow, pray, vote, then go home and pray more.

Explanations Needed

If former Governor Mark Warner is so sure that he left Virginia in such good shape, then why have we had such budget messes each year since we tearfully waved him good-bye? Furthermore, since he claims former Governor Jim Gilmore left office with a budget deficit (although it was balanced), then does he think the budget of his hand-picked successor, Governor Tim Kaine is a true debacle?

Lastly, if his record setting tax increase was the cure for the flu last time, why isn't he recommending one this time? (State tax increase, that is; we know he's calling for a federal tax increase.)

Live From Roanoke! Jim Gilmore And Mark Warner In Senate Debate Tonight

We had some comments earlier this week on the vice presidential debate, such as posing questions we'd like to hear asked. We only had two. Alas, neither were asked. In just a few hours, live at 7:00 from Roanoke's new Taubman Museum, former governors Jim Gilmore, the Republican nominee, and Mark Warner, the Democrat nominee, will have their only live televised statewide debate in their campaign for Virginia's open U.S. Senate seat. (George Allen and Jim Webb even debated on NBC's Meet The Press.) It will be worth watching. Record it if you must. In some areas it will be replayed later and C-SPAN is televising it and may repeat it as well. Others are Web streaming it.

Since Jim Gilmore has repeatedly asked for several live debates, as is the Virginia tradition, and since Mark Warner bailed out of one and only agreed to this one late in the game, we'd like to hear any one of these questions to Mr. Warner:

1. Mr. Warner, you claimed at the time, and still do, that your record setting tax increase was necessary because you had cut state government spending as far you could and needed the state revenue to keep the budget in balance. If so, why does the State Department of Planning and Budget Web site (click here) show that state spending under your administration went from $12.1 billion in Fiscal Year '03 general fund spending to $12.4 billion in FY '04 and then to $13.8 billion in FY '05. What exactly did you cut before you burdened Virginia's families with higher taxes?

2. If you tax increases left Virginia in such great fiscal shape, why has Governor Tim Kaine felt it necessary to try to raise taxes still more every year since?

3. Mr. Warner, when you were governor, you vetoed a bill to allow off shore drilling in Virginia. Now you say you are for it. Why should we believe you are for meaningful off shore drilling that will create thousands of jobs and bring in millions in revenue for Virginia?

4. Mr. Warner, you say you are a "moderate" who is willing to reach out and be bi-partisan. Yet you have not shown one area of disagreement with Barack Obama, who was listed as the most liberal senator in the U.S. Senate by the non-partisan National Journal (more liberal, even, than the avowed socialist Bernie Sanders of Vermont). Please list some major policies where you disagree with Barack Obama and agree with John McCain.

5. To both: What year was Franklin Roosevelt elected president and when did he first go on television?

We're not expecting any of the questions to be asked, but the candidates are welcome to come here and respond.

Stations Showing The Debate Live Tonight Charlottesville: WVIR 29 NBC Johnson City, Tenn.: WJHL 11 CBS Harrisonburg: WHSV 3 ABC Norfolk: WVBT 43 Fox Norfolk: WHRO 15 PBS Richmond: WWBT 12 NBC

Richmond: WTVR Digital 6.2 CBS (Comcast Channel 206) Roanoke: WBRA PBS Roanoke: WSLS 10 NBC  National: C-SPAN Streaming live online at News8.net Streaming live online at NBC4.com

 Streaming live online at WTVR.com

Streaming live online at WJLA.com

Stations Re-Broadcasting The Debate Washington, D.C.: News Channel 8 at 11:00 p.m. Friday Washington, D.C.: WRC 4 NBC at 7:00 a.m. Sunday

Russ Potts Sighting!

For those of you who have missed the vulnerable former state senator and candidate for governor Russ Potts, current candidate for the U.S. Senate Mark Warner enticed him to crawl out from under his rock yesterday for an endorsement. Potts, known by conservative Virginians for his blatant hostility to anything pro-life or pro-family as the past chairman of the Senate Education and Health Committee, was more than happy to take "Potts shots" at former Governor Jim Gilmore, Warner's opponent. Since his failed candidacy for governor in 2005, Potts has yet to see a Republican he likes.

One would assume that Warner already had the massive Potts vote locked up, all 2 percent of it, in his run for the U.S. Senate, but I guess he wanted another "radical centrist" to add to his list of endorsements. Of course, anyone familiar with Potts (or Warner for that matter) knows there is nothing "centrist" about him. He's just a frustrated and bitter former state senator who was pummeled in his statewide run and saw the writing on the wall in his own district, forcing him to resign. 

Here's hoping that life is better for Russ under that rock and that from here on out he stays under it.

Constitutional Rights Upheld, Another Victory For Religious Liberty

A federal court recently ruled in favor of Christian students in the Williamsburg-James City County School District after that district's superintendent unfairly charged them a fee for use of the district's facilities (read Richmond Times-Dispatch article here). The district school board ignored advice from Liberty Counsel, a Christian legal group, and now will have to cough up more than $20,000 in taxpayer money for legal fees to pay for its discrimination. The case was brought by the Child Evangelism Fellowship of Virginia after it was forced to pay fees for use of school facilities when other groups were allowed free access. Liberty Counsel warned the school district that it was discriminating, but the school district refused to listen. Liberty Counsel then brought suit and won in federal court.

Once again a school administration chose to act against religious liberty in the face of not only advice from a premier legal group, but also the United States Constitution and previous court rulings. It is unfortunate that the school administrator's decision will cost the taxpayers of that school district more $20,000 in  case it was destined to lose in addition to refunding the fees Child Evangelism Fellowship was forced to pay.

As The Family Foundation fought to pass legislation this year to protect the religious liberty rights of students in the classroom we were confronted over and over with the argument that "there isn't a problem" and that "religious expression thrives in Virginia."  We know this is not true. This case proves the point.

Unfortunately, some school administrators are outright hostile to religious expression, to the point of ignoring several cases that have well established "equal access" in case law, including cases that go back to the early 1980s, as well as the high profile Good News Club v. Milford Central School in 2001 (read case synopsis here). Exactly what are these school board attorneys advising if even non-legal experts are aware of this case law?

In Milford, the United States Supreme Court held that an outside religious club could meet at an elementary school after school hours because the school permitted other non-religious groups to meet at the same time and there was no perceived endorsement of the club's religious activity. 

However, unfortunately, many school administrators simply are ignorant. Virginia schools work under religious liberty guidelines drafted by then-Attorney General Jim Gilmore in the mid-1990s as well as the new Religious Liberty law we worked to pass during the 2008 General Assembly. Additionally, we currently are working with Attorney General Bob McDonnell's office in hopes that it will update those decade-old guidelines. 

Is Mark Warner Afraid Of Barack Obama?

A couple of nights ago, as I nervoulsy was cheering on whatever American individual or team on the brink of elimination or medal at the Olympics, I got a call with a pleasant sounding woman on the other end. She wanted to know if I'd participate in a survey regarding the presidential campaign. I obliged, but wanted to know who was conducting it. She said she could tell me at its completion, and so we started. Here are the question predicates pretty much verbatim (they each had a scale or a modifier at the end, which isn't relevant here). I scribbled them down as soon as I hung up:

  1. Are you following the presidential campaign closely?
  2. Who are you likely to vote for?
  3. How likely are you to vote for that candidate?
  4. If not, would you vote for Barack Obama?
  5. In the U.S. Senate race, are you more likely to vote for Jim Gilmore or Mark Warner?
  6. Are your neighbors ready for a black president?
  7. Is experience or change more important in a presidential candidate?
  8. (This was a long winded push-poll question about the evils of pro-life candidates ruining women's lives versus the freedom loving pro-abortion, uhhhh, "pro-choice" candidates.)

I live in a very liberal, pretty upscale area, smack dab in the middle of Governor Tim Kaine's former fiefdom of Richmond's Fan District (when he was a Richmond city councilman just a few years ago; you know, at the same time Obama was an Illinois state senator). So I found the question about my neighbors' attitudes on a potential black, pro-abortion president, interesting. Surely the pollsters know what neighborhoods they are calling.

Surprise! At its conclusion the nice woman identified the poll as being paid for and authorized by . . . drum roll, please . . . "The Democratic Party of Virginia."

Well, I'lllllllllllllllllllll be. If it's all such a slam dunk, why are Tax Governor Warner and his apparatchiks so concerned?

Breaking News: National Political Pundit, Former Gingrich Press Secretary Rich Galen Agrees To Interview Here! More Surprises In The Works

I'm hanging out at the state GOP Convention this afternoon, yada yada yada, rules fight (Gilmore forces won) yada yada yada, just looking for some people to hang out with, when the session's keynote speaker is introduced. I forgot there was one. Turns out it is Fox News and CNN political pundit, GOP consultant, and former Newt Gingrich and Dan Quayle Press Secretary Rich Galen (bio here), whose mullings.com is perhaps the most important national political blog. After the session is over I'm talking with some friends and I see him just walking through the crowd talking to folks. I thought big shot national speakers get whisked in and out by drivers supplied by the hosting organization. Who knew he's just hang out and talk with the grassroots? But his speech was all about the importance of the grassroots so it should have been no surprise.

Just watching him talk with a group, a light went off in my head. Why not be bold. So I tracked him down through the crowd as he left the hall into the hallway. I introduced myself to him, told him how I've always enjoyed his commentary, that I blog and would you consider doing a blog interview at familyfoundation.org?

Without hesitation Mr. Galen said, "Yes. Just call me. I'll be glad to do it." He gave me his card and we talked about this blog and The Family Foundation and he seemed somewhat impressed. He reiterated his intentions that he'd blog with us and reminded me to call him.

Wow! Just call him? Don't big time pundits have secretaries and layers of people to get through? So cool!

Later I met the state coordinator of Catholics For McCain. She wanted me to sign a card. I don't do anything without a quid pro quo. "What's in it for me?" I thought. Hmmm. Well, why not? So I blurted out, "I'll sign it only if you get Senator McCain to do an interview on our blog." She said she'd try "but in case I can't . . ." (which, by her hesitation, seemed a pretty big ask) she started to murmur what became a counter offer: "How about Senator Sam Brownback? He's the national chairman of Catholics For McCain."

"You can get Senator Brownback? You got a deal!"

I signed her card, she gave me her number, and low and behold the wheels are turning to get Senator Brownback (R-Kansas), a former presidential candidate himself, here on this very blog. We'll let you know when the details get worked out for both Rich Galen and Senator Brownback. That's not all. There could be more surprises ahead. Keep checking back with us.

Gotta go. Hospitality suites await. More contacts to make.