Jim Moran

PolitiFact Or PolitiBiased?

In the summer of 2012, the Republican Party of Virginia issued a scathing 86-page critique of PolitiFact alleging bias against Republicans and conservatives. This critique was made in the summer leading up to the election of Tim Kaine to the U.S. Senate. PolitiFact's legitimacy is directly tied to the perception that it is providing an unbiased fact-check of politicians. As you would expect, PolitiFact swiftly responded to the complaint:

The party takes issue with the fact that 26 of our last 36 rulings have concerned Republican candidates and elected officials. But Virginia is largely controlled by Republican politicians. The governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general belong to the party, as do eight of the 13 members of Virginia's congressional delegation, including House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. Both houses of the General Assembly are run by Republicans. In addition, the GOP fielded four candidates in its primary for the U.S. Senate this spring and sponsored three debates between them. Democrats, in contrast, handed their nomination to an unopposed Tim Kaine.

Well, times are a changing. Virginia now is largely controlled by Democrats. The governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general belong to the Democrats. Pending the outcome of the 6th Senate District special election (currently in recount mode with Democrat Lynwood Lewis holding a 9-vote lead over Republican Wayne Coleman), Republicans may control only the House of Delegates. With the retirement of U.S. Representative Jim Moran, it seems that every Democrat in Northern Virginia has declared for his federal seat. Quite a different political environment from just eighteen months ago. It's time to put PolitiFact to the test and see how fairly they review and critique liberals and Democrats.

On Sunday, PolitiFact launched its "Macker-meter" to track whether Governor Terry McAuliffe keeps his campaign promises. PolitiFact is going to track 17 promises "the Macker" made on the campaign trail. Of course, they tracked 48 promises for former Governor Bob McDonnell. Don't worry, PolitiFact has an explanation for this discrepancy of what they will monitor:

McDonnell — a 17-year veteran of elective office when he ran for governor — put out more than a dozen nuanced policy papers during his campaign. We could not find the same level of detail from McAuliffe, a first-time elective office holder who was criticized during last year's campaign for being light on policy.

In other words,  Governor McAuliffe gets a pass because it is his first-time being elected to office. But he is not the political novice PolitiFact describes. They conveniently leave out his failed run for governor four years earlier and his decades of well publicized political experience.

PolitiFact also released its first promise check. Governor McAuliffe received a "promise kept" for signing an executive order putting restrictions on gifts, but because his executive order is only valid for one year, they will check back to see what happens next year. I may be mistaken, but I recall that promises Governor McDonnell didn't fully complete were given scores of "in the works" and PolitiFact checked back before determining if it was a promise kept. Double standard? Time will tell.

Regardless, this is great news for Governor McAuliffe. By failing to espouse specific, nuanced policy positions during the campaign, he will be lightly judged by PolitiFact. We'll leave the question of why the press corp did not call for the governor to task for failing to provide a detailed policy plan prior to the election for another day.

Quote Of The Day 1-16-14

Our Quotes Of The Day don't always come from the House or Senate floor, or from committee meetings. These days, they come from tweets. Continuing in our bipartisan manner, we found this last night from Delegate Scott Surovell (D-44, Fairfax): Surovell Tweet (1)

Notice TFF's and your my own logos on, ahem, the right.

First it was the rush of NOVA Rs (Senator Dick Black and Delegate Barbara Comstock) to enter the race to win the 10th House District seat opening up due to U.S. Representative Frank Wolf's retirement. Then, yesterday, Jim Moran announced he was retiring from his 8th District seat, prompting reports that several NOVA Ds will jump into the fray. Ah, yes. The General Assembly as the farm system for Congress.

VA-5 Update: Perriello Behind Clark Mailers?

The sadly ironic touch to Democrat Congressman Jim Moran calling his 8th district Republican opponent Patrick Murray a "strawman" is that it has been documented that liberals have, in fact, set up "independent TEA Party backed" candidates to draw away votes from Republicans. There are documented cases in Florida and elsewhere, including, apparently in Virginia — particularly in the Southwest's 9th Congressional district and in the Southside-Central 5th Congressional district. While Jeff Clark polls around 1 percent, incumbent Democrat Congressman Tom Perriello has run television ads promoting Clark as the true conservative in the race to blunt Republican Robert Hurt's appeal to independent voters. (Unfortunately, most media have played along the last three months, prefacing his name with "TEA Party backed.") 

While Mr. Perriello has acknowledged paying for those ads per the law, direct mail pieces promoting Clark without a disclaimer have flooded the district (see Danville Register & Bee). But a little detective work has uncovered some telling clues as from where they originated — namely, that the bulk mail permit is the same as that of the Maryland company that handles Mr. Perriello's constituent newsletter.

The pieces also have a union label and the company in question is a union shop. Don't think too many Virginia TEA Party candidates are using Maryland union shops for their direct mail campaigns (read the evidence here).

Any mailer or advertising without a disclaimer is afoul of election law. We thought liberals were all for campaign finance and disclosure reform? Surely, it's a last ditch desperation roll of the dice for Mr. Perriello. Win or lose, his campaign should be investigated for his double standard if not for potential illegalities.

VA-8 Update: Will This Be The Out-Of-The-Blue Shocker?

Every wave election has a result that, no matter how big the tsunami, catches everyone off guard. Many are saying today will bring one of those tidal waves. Predictions range from a GOP House pickup of anywhere from 60-80 seats. If so, where will the shocker come from? In Virginia, the spotlight has been on the 2nd, 5th, 9th and 11th Congressional districts. But there is some late buzz on a possible upset in the reliably deep blue Alexandria-based 8th district. There, long-time extreme left wing Democrat Jim "We'll Take Everything You Have" Moran, who has a history of fighting with colleagues and constituents alike, taking questionable loans and bashing Israel, is facing Republican Patrick Murray, a retired Army Colonel and aide to former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton.

The race, closer than most expected, was thrust into the spotlight recently when Moran blurted out another one of his infamous insults. This time the professional politician accused conservative candidates of being nothing more than "strawmen" with no real public service to their country, including his opponent (see Government Executive), in the process insulting every soldier, sailor, Marine, airman and guardsman. Outragously, the man who's drawn a lifetime of checks as an elected official, accused Murray of being on the public dole — for his military service (see Murray's response on Fox News Channel). Immediately, Murray's campaign was flooded with ex-military volunteers.

Further boosting Murray was an impressive debate performance (see YouTube) and a Murray internal poll remarkably had Moran with only a 2.5 point lead. Match that with record turnouts in the 8th and 11th districts (also boosting Keith Fimian) June primaries, where only recently Northern Virginia Republicans caucused in drugstore photo booths, and some special election wins last year, and anything can happen.

As Virginia Senator Mark Obenshain (R-26, Harrisonburg) wrote today (see complete letter):

In a wave election — and this has all the makings of one — you tend to get a stunning upset or two, with a race no one thought was close, perhaps one no one even bothered to poll. I fully expect the pundits to be scratching their heads at the results in a couple of districts — and why shouldn't they be right here in Virginia?

Why shouldn't it be, say, Chuck Smith in the third district, or Patrick Murray in the eighth?

Finally, here's some up-to-the-hour on-the-ground eyewitness testimony as recorded on Kathryn Jean Lopez at The Corner at National Review Online.

Kathryn, I voted for Patrick Murray this morning, and I’m feeling bullish about his prospects based on what I saw at the polls. The lines were longer than ‘08 (though I went a bit earlier this year, at 10:00 AM). I heard a couple going over the sample ballot and agreeing to vote “no” on all the bond issues — Arlington hasn’t been denied a bond in 31 years. I heard an elderly woman say very sharply to the Moran volunteer’s offer of literature, “No THANK you!”, and then I heard a man tell the poll worker that he hasn’t voted in forty years because he thinks they’re all bums. And last, on my way out, I heard that same Moran volunteer call after another woman, “Well at least we can agree that it’s cold out!” But the sweetest moment of all was when I sat down to write this: a good friend of mine from Alexandria called to tell me that for the first time in his life, he voted for a Republican. He hadn’t even told his wife yet .... Happy election day

The final straw? Rep. Moran's insult, saying military service wasn't public service, and calling conservative candidates strawmen, may spell his doom in a wave election. It may be what we're talking about tomorrow.

FRC Congressional Scorecard: How Did Virginia's Delegation Fare?

FRC Action yesterday released its Congressional Scorecard for the 111th Congress. It was excellent for some Virginia lawmakers, a disaster for most. More about that below. First, here's FRC Action President Tony Perkins' explanation of the scorecard's methodology:

From January 2009 through August of this year, Congress voted on an increasingly bold liberal agenda that covered everything from international abortion funding and "hate crimes" to a record ten votes on ObamaCare and the confirmation of two controversial Supreme Court justices. FRC Action has compiled those votes in its annual scorecard for the 111th Congress.

Taking into account 16 votes in the House and 24 in the Senate, we honor 110 Congressmen {5 from Virginia} and 17 Senators as "True Blue" — men and women who voted consistently with FRC Action's position on a cross-section of issues affecting the family.

To download a PDF copy of the scorecard, click here. The scorecard details the specific votes and issues scored and provides an informative background on the 111th Congress itself, as well as other worthwhile information. We hope you take some time to look it over, especially during this crucial election season, to inform yourself on how your Congressman voted on issues important to the family, traditional values and economic and religious liberty. (Not ironically, see how similarly Virginia's Congressional delegation fared from the Club For Growth, which monitors taxes, spending and economic matters.)

Quick thoughts: I never thought I'd see the day when a congressman who voted against Christmas (Bobby Scott) could receive a better score from a family values organization than other members from a Virginia delegation, but both Gerry Connolly and Jim Moran got goose eggs. As for our two senators, Jim Webb followed the Connolly and Moran lead, while that self-proclaimed "raging centrist" Mark Warner had the second lowest score of the 13 Virginians in Congress: A "whopping" 4%! I guess it's true. This really is what he thinks of us.

House (see page 7)

1st District: Robert Wittman (R): 100%

2nd District: Glenn Nye (D): 37%

3rd District: Bobby Scott (D): 6%

4th District: Randy Forbes (R): 100%

5th District: Tom Perriello (D): 12%

6th District: Bob Goodlatte (R): 100%

7th District: Eric Cantor (R): 100%

8th District: Jim Moran (D): 0%

9th District: Rick Boucher (D): 25%

10th District: Frank Wolf (R): 100%

11th District: Gerry Connolly (D): 0% 

Senate (see page 11)

Jim Webb (D): 0%

Mark Warner (D): 4%

The Score On Virginia's Congressional Delegation

In this day and age of unfathomable government largesse, and slick and sophisticated high-tech communications that allow politicians to paint themselves as anything but the people responsible for the unimaginable and crippling debt we face, it's good to know certain reliable and principled organizations keep watch on those in Washington spending America into third-world oblivion. Just as The Family Foundation Action keeps score on state lawmakers on a range of issues, the Club For Growth keeps score on the porkers in D.C.   It released its 2009 Congressional Scorecard last week and we peeked at how Virginia's delegation fared. Not to well, we're afraid. Here's the score on Virginia's 11 U.S. Representatives:

Bob Goodlatte, R-6th District: 99% (Rank-10)

Eric Cantor, R-7th District 92% (Rank-42)

Randy Forbes, R-4th District 81% (Rank-112)

Rob Wittman, R-1st District 80% (Rank-116)

Frank Wolf, R-10th District 72% (Rank-142) 

Glenn Nye, D-2nd District 44% (Rank-183)

Rick Boucher, D-9th District 22% (Rank-219)

Tom Perriello, D-5th District 11% (Rank-250)

Gerald Connolly, D-11th District 9% (Rank-256)

Jim Moran, D-8th District 6% (Rank-282)

Bobby Scott, 4% (Rank-297)

Senators Mark Warner (13%) and Jim Webb (10%) ranked 54th and 59th, respectively, which in the Mainstream Media qualifies them as "moderates." What's scary is that there are 41 U.S. senators who scored lower than Senator Webb's 10%. It's as frightening as the 138 who rank lower than resident Virginia radical liberal Rep. Bobby Scott — 138 U.S. representatives are worse than him! 

Change, anyone? With this crew actively participating in America's bankruptcy, change is about all that's left. (Click here to get the Club For Growth's score for all 535 members of Congress, the votes on which they were scored and other methodology.)