Jim Webb

Contact Senator Webb ASAP: Senate May Vote On DADT Today!

The United States Senate is likely to vote later today on a stand-alone bill that would repeal the military's longstanding "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" policy involving the enlistment of open homosexuals into our country's armed forces.

Please contact Senator Jim Webb immediately and urge him to vote against repeal!

Despite not having yet passed a budget or dealing with the tax code, liberals in Washington are obsessed with the one issue that didn't show up on the American people's list of priorities prior to Election Day. This blatant "in your face" to Americans that voted dozens of liberal out of office needs to be rejected.

Senator Webb, a military veteran, has expressed concern over repeal of DADT. He needs to hear from Virginians this morning on this important vote!

Please contact Senator Webb's office as soon as possible at 202-224-4024 or click here to e-mail him and urge him to vote against the "Don't Ask, Don’t Tell" repeal.

TEA Party Queen Looks Into Options

Is Jamie Radtke making moves that would confirm our pre-recent-election speculation that she is interested in running for office? It all started after her very successful Virginia TEA Party Convention (see Lynn Mitchell in the Washington Examiner) in October that prompted Virginia politics commentator Dr. Bob Holsworth to write on his Virginia Tomorrow blog that she would be a formidable candidate for office one day. But, we wondered, which office?  Then, late last week, she resigned as chairwoman of the Virginia TEA Party Patriots Federation, according to Anita Kumar at the Washington Post's Virginia Politics blog, in order to explore a possible a campaign for the U.S. Senate seat now occupied by Jim Webb. This followed her victory in a poll at Bearing Drift over more established and likely candidates, including the previous holder of that seat, George Allen, as well as Prince William County Board Chairman Corey Stewart, and Delegate Bob Marshall.

According to the Post, Radtke, as we thought, was thinking of a Virginia Senate run. But after the success of the convention, she has been encouraged to think globally, as it were. Is it all a head fake, to build visibility for a 2011 state Senate GOP primary run after all? Could that also be said for Stewart's recent interest in the job, since he long has eyed the Lt. Governor's post? (See his provocative interview at tbd.com.) Then there's the possibility, as reported by the Post and Bearing Drift that former Congressman Tom Davis may seek the GOP nomination as well.

So, will Virginia join some states from this year's election and throw a Boston Tea Party in two years or settle for a traditional, genteel tea party, complete with appropriate china? For the junkie, 2012 can't get here soon enough. For some of us, can't we just get through the General Assembly and the 2011 elections, first?

FRC Webcast Tomorrow On "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Repeal; New Radio Ad In Virginia

Despite a recent election where Americans rejected their radical agenda,  Congressional Democrats, during a lame duck session, are trying to force an end to the "don’t ask, don’t tell" policy regarding open homosexuals serving in the military. While the economy still struggles and nearly 10 percent of Americans are out of work as we approach Christmas, Congress focuses on repaying their shrinking base.

To learn more about this battle, Family Research Council Action (see Tom McClusky at FRC's The Cloakroom blog) will host a live national video Webcast tomorrow, December 2, at 1:00 p.m., entitled, Mission Compromised: How the Military is Being Used to Advance a Radical Agenda.

Veteran military commanders, Members of Congress, and policy experts will join FRC President Tony Perkins . . . 

to assess the Pentagon's study on the impact of open homosexuality on combat effectiveness and readiness. ... and discuss the report's shortcomings and plans by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to rush a vote during the lame-duck session of Congress without thorough hearings and testimony by battlefield commanders (see entire alert).

According to FRC, the Defense Authorization Act, on which the U.S. Senate may soon vote, not only would force open homosexuality on the military if enacted, it also will turn military medical facilities into abortion centers. Since the vote is expected to be very close, it's vital that you encourage your friends and family to tune into this live Webcast. Participants also will learn how they can help to stop this last ditch attempt by outgoing liberal senators to force a liberal social agenda onto the military.

In addition to briefing on the significance of this legislation, guests will answer viewer questions via SMS text or e-mail. Guests include: Gen. Carl Mundy, former Commandant of the Marine Corps; Sgt. Brian Fleming, Afghanistan war veteran and Purple Heart recipient; Douglas Lee, Chaplain (Brigadier General, Ret.); Lt. Col. Bob Maginnis, (Ret), Senior Fellow, National Security, Family Research Council; Cathy Ruse, Senior Fellow, Legal Studies, Family Research Council; and Peter Sprigg, Senior Fellow for Policy Studies, Family Research Council.

Please register now (click here) and help spread the word about the live Webcast on December 2.

Virginia U.S. Senator Jim Webb is a key vote in this fight. (Virginia's other U.S. Senator, Mark Warner, has indicated he supports repealing "don’t ask, don’t tell"). Because of the nature of this crucial vote, we have partnered with CitizenLink (see "DADT" article by Catherine Snow) and FRCAction on this ad running now throughout the commonwealth. Please listen and share this link with as many people as you can.

Click here to listen to the new ad on the U.S. Senate's vote to allow homosexuals to serve openly in the U.S. Armed Forces.

2010 Down, 2012 To Go

The 2010 mid-term elections weren't a day old when the Republican Party of Virginia  launched a new Web site targeting the 2012 campaign of U.S. Senator Jim Webb and to flip the commonwealth's electoral votes back to the red column after a 40 year streak was interrupted in 2008. It's called ObamaAndWebbAreNext.com. While it is true that this past election is only a first phase of a two-part cycle needed to restore limited constitutional government, it's also true Virginia faces important legislative elections next year for the House of Delegates and the Virginia Senate, no to mention two special elections late this year or early 2011. The electorate probably needs a bit of a respite, then first things first.

Super(congress)man Bobby Scott

We all hear politicians talk themselves up, about how they got this bill passed and that amendment added, yada, yada, yada. But at last night's Crusade For Voters candidate forum in Richmond, Congressman Bobby Scott, the Democrat who represents the 3rd district broke new ground. Responding to his Republican opponent Chuck Smith, he touted his credentials as the best friend children ever had in Congress and claimed that he got legislation into the health care bill that protected children. Now, that's very interesting . . . the bill was crafted entirely in the Senate. So, unless Mr. Scott inconspicuously swapped jobs with Mark Warner or Jim Webb, it's inconceivable that he drafted one dotted "i" of the health care bill. Mr. Scott must be a new breed of legislator: Supercongressman, able to leap either chamber in a single bound.

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%

Alert: Senate Votes Tuesday To Turn Military Bases Into Abortion Centers, Allow Open Homosexuals

FRC Action President Tony Perkins just sent out an urgent appeal on legislation before Congress that is a high priority on the homosexual lobby's agenda: Ending the military's "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy and allowing open homosexuals into the U.S. Armed Forces. But it's worse than that. there's a major payback to the abortion lobby as well. In what is supposed to be a Defense Department authorization bill, the leadership of the most left wing Congress ever also have included language that would make American military medical centers, both domestic and overseas, full-service abortion centers — Planned Parenthood on steroids. If this is what the American public so desperately desires, why won't the leadership put these measures in stand alone legislation for an up or down vote? Why, instead, is it attempting to hijack the authorization process for our military during a time of war? As Tony requests, we hope you call our senators, Mark Warner and Jim Webb at (202) 224-3121, as soon as possible and ask them to oppose this bill. The vote is Tuesday.

Here's Tony's take:

With the economy still in the doldrums, and a massive job-killing tax increase scheduled for January looming over our heads, you would think that legislation to help average Americans find jobs in the private sector would be the top priority for the Democratic leadership in Congress. If you thought that, you would be wrong.

This Tuesday the Senate will vote on a bill that would overturn the 1993 law which codified the military's longstanding prohibition of homosexual conduct in the ranks. The language that would force open homosexuality upon the military is found in the defense authorization bill — along with another anti-family provision that would turn U.S. military medical facilities here and around the globe into abortion centers.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has arranged it so that pro-family senators do not have an opportunity to offer any of their own amendments to counter his political abuse of our military. This means the only way to stop this monstrosity is to vote against proceeding to the bill.

This bill is not necessary to fund our military — an appropriations bill does that.

Senators should reject Reid's distorted priorities by voting against advancing this bill at every step. Call your senators today at (202) 224-3121 and tell them to stop using the military to impose this administration's radical homosexual agenda.

Thank you for taking action today and God bless you.

Senator Hagan Gets Schooled On Health Care By More Knowledgable Constituents

Nothing better illustrates the arrogance of the extremists in Congress who rammed into law government-run health care than these videos (thanks to my cousin B.J.). U.S. Senator Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) tries to tell constituents how great the new system will be until a much more informed mother of two disabled children, who has real life experience and who has read the bill, confronts her. Here's the take at Freedom's Lighthouse. The senator's office had ignored the woman's communications and now woe be unto the senator. The power of the constituent's intensity and focus is remarkable, not to mention her knowledge. She illustrates how she has been able to get coverage for her children up to now, but with the new law, it won't be there — her husband's company is cutting back on coverage because of the new law's taxes and the government agencies created to do so won't pick up the slack.

The senator is alternately in denial and unaware of the facts. But most of all, the woman defines America and its independent spirit and bluntly tells the senator (to applause) that she and her colleagues are redefining and diluting that spirit contrary to all common sense. Words can't describe it. Watch for yourself:

 

A working mom of three read the bill and understands it. Is that too much to ask  of Senator Hagan and the liberals who voted for it?

If that isn't enough, some college students — Students For Life — pin the senator on taxpayer funding of abortion in the law. Of course, the senator denies it. But it's there.

 

First a mom, then college students for life, school a sitting U.S. senator on what's in the bill, and that includes abortion funding.

These North Carolinians stood up to Senator Hagan and, quite frankly, embarrassed her (as inevitable as that is when defending the indefensible). Now, will Virginians be as bold to Senators Jim Webb and Mark Warner?

Lindsey "Call Me Billy" Graham Invokes Jesus To Vote To Confirm Kagan

It's bad enough when Nancy Pelosi bungles the Gospel into an incomprehensible defense of her disingenuous and destructive public policy and legislative pursuits. Anything to rationalize the righteousness of ramming through unconstitutional laws against the will of the people. But when U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) (see LifeNews.com) invokes Jesus' Golden Rule on the Senate floorto excuse his incomprehensible decision to vote to confirm Elena Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court, he not only ignores his constituents (see NewsMax.com), he shirks his responsibility to the U.S. Constitution by granting someone who doesn't believe in it as written the power to redefine America (see TheRightScoop.com). The irony of invoking Jesus to put on the Supreme Court someone who believes in partial birth abortion and who, by virtue of that position, will have a huge say in determining the legality of that infanticidal practice, is abominable. But listen closely. In untwisting his verbal pretzel, Senator Graham is really saying that we must treat Barack Obama as he would treat us. If that's true, then surely there was no reason to vote to confirm Ms. Kagan.

His bumbling foray into non-germane, nonsensical and impromptu theology is appalling and confounding. By contrast, his South Carolina colleague, Senator Jim Demint, voted against her confirmation (Miami Herald). The blowback from this, another in a long line of disappointments from the senator, is that a primary challenge in 2014 now is more likely, according to the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza at The Fix Blog. By the way, both of Virginia's senators, Jim Webb and Mark Warner, predictably, voted to confirm her.

Here's the video, but CSNNews.com has much more:

Senator cum preacher Lindsey "Call Me Billy" Graham on the Senate floor explaining how Jesus inspired him to vote to confirm Elena Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court despite her disregard for constitutional principles.

DISCLOSE Act Defeated For Now

We've kept you updated on the so-called DISCLOSE Act over the last couple of days. The hideousness of the bill's free-speech restrictions and its partisan purpose are easily understood simply by reading no further than the sponsors line (see Eliza Carney at National Journal): U.S. Representative Chris Van Hollan (D-Md.) and U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), the current House Democrat Campaign Committee chair and the two-time Democrat Senate Campaign Committee chair, respectively. As the Wall Street Journal reports, this bill is Senator Schumer's tool to take over as Majority Leader. Fortunately, last night, if barely, the Senate failed to invoke cloture, losing on a 57-41 vote (60 votes were needed). All Republicans voted no with the exception of Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada), who voted with the GOP for a procedural reason. Virginia's two Democrat Senators, Mark Warner and Jim Webb, predictably voted to stifle free speech. (See and hear what  Senator Warner thinks about people with opposing views.) One Republican, Senator John Ensign (R-Nevada) was absent, but presumably on the correct side.

With the Senate about to take its August recess, the bill may be dead for the year. But there's no guarantee the Dems won't go after their favorite Republicans — Senators Scott Brown of Massachusetts, and Maine's Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins — or try a parliamentary trick to pass it. Anything to maintain their grip on absolute power.

More from FRC Action Senior Vice President Tom McClusky:

The Senate's rejection of the DISCLOSE Act is a victory for free speech rights and for the democratic process. Liberals in Congress failed in their attempt to push through legislation which only amounts to Democrat incumbent protection legislation disguised as campaign finance reform.

Instead of addressing the problems often found in the financing of campaigns, the DISCLOSE Act would add to the already onerous burdens placed on organizations that act within the law by going after their donors and exposing them in public forums. The exceptions, or "carve-outs," in this unconstitutional bill demonstrate the hypocrisy of its supporters. They provide special treatment for select special interest groups in a bill supposedly designed to crack down on the power of special interests.

While You're Contacting Webb And Warner, Mention The "DISCLOSE Act" As Well

While contacting Senators Mark Warner and Jim Webb over the Elena Kagan confirmation, bug them about the "DISCLOSE Act" as well. The DISCLOSE Act is one of the most anti-free speech pieces of legislation ever crafted and the Senate is close to bringing it up for a vote. The House already passed it. But don't take our word for it. The legislation's authors know its restrictions are unconstitutional because it blatantly put in a clause that prevents courts from hearing claims against it until after the November mid-term elections (see FRC.com)! The bill puts restrictions on what organizations can do and say during campaigns and, worse, must make public its top donors, making them subject to harassment by opponents, such as was done in California to people who donated to that state's pro-marriage amendment campaign in 2008.

One of its many provisions would curb what people or companies with contracts with the federal government can say or do in support of a candidate or issue in an election. That caused the National Association of Manufacturers, one of a long line of opponents, including National Right to Work, National Right to LifeFamily Research Council, FreedomWorks,  the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and dozens more, to oppose the bill. More of its constitutional infringements are described here, by Hans von Spakovsky, at The Heritage Foundation's The Foundry Blog.

But wait. I was taught by a favorite (liberal) college professor never to generalize, so I won't. Not all organizations are constrained by this bill. You see, the Congressional liberals who wrote it neatly exempted labor unions and other liberal leaning groups, such as the AARP (See Fox News Channel's Speaker's Lobby Blog). Incredibly, in what many conservatives call a sell-out, the NRA also backs the bill after it bolted a coalition to receive its own carve out. The NRA's support was seen by many the reason it escaped the House. More inside D.C. special interest deal making. Wasn't that going to change with the liberals in charge?

Congresional liberals are running scared. Their agenda is massively unpopular with the public, they are behind in public opinion polls and are on the verge of squandering huge majorities in both chambers of Congress. A recent Supreme Court ruling opened up the gates for more free speech and loosened the strings (see the Chamber's explanation) on what activities businesses and other organizations can engage in during campaigns, further equalizing the advantages liberals have in the mainstream media, unions and the education establishment, to name a few. The DISCLOSE Act is a last chance, desperation play with the clock running out to preserve its grip on power.

Since the vote is imminent, phoning Senators Webb and Warner may be the most efficient method of voicing your displeasure with the DISCLOSE Act. They an be reahed at the U.S. Senate switchboard at 202-224-3121. Please let them know you wish them to oppose S. 3628, the DISCLOSE Act.

Tell Warner And Webb To Vote "No" On Kagan

Last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved Elena Kagan for a place on the U.S. Supreme Court. We urge Virginians to contact U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Jim Webb now and urge them to vote "No" on her confirmation. A few days ago, The Family Foundation signed on to a letter written by Americans United for Life that will be sent to senators urging them to conduct a thorough investigation regarding Ms. Kagan prior to voting on her confirmation.

While there are several reservations about her qualifications for the court, it is her judicial philosophy that gives us the most pause. At 50 years old (16 years younger than the average age of the current Supreme Court justices), Ms. Kagan's impact, if confirmed, will last much longer than most justices. Therefore, it is even more critical that her judicial philosophy is properly vetted, her integrity examined, and her commitment to respect the constitution and the laws of our nation determined. Failure to uphold the law is refusing the people their freedom to self-govern.

Ms. Kagan has done precisely that. As Solicitor General, she failed to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in Gill v. Office of Personnel Management (see PointofLaw.com). The Department of Justice, along with Ms. Kagan, stated that it does "not believe that DOMA is rationally related to any legitimate government interests in procreation and child-rearing." Not only is this utter disrespect for the God-given institution of marriage, but also a disowning of the binding laws of our land. Take a guess at how Ms. Kagan would rule on a Supreme Court challenge to DOMA . . . or any other enshrined law of the land for that matter?

Additionally, Ms. Kagan is implicated, despite her recent denial in Senate testimony, in unethical actions while she was an adviser to then-President Bill Clinton, where she manipulated and even rewrote memos from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. That organization wrote that there was never a defense for partial birth abortion, but she altered ACOG's definition of partial birth abortion in order to nullify the meaning of the memos (see LifeNews.com). 

It is markedly clear from her actions as solicitor general on the DOMA issue, her integrity in her relations with ACOG, and her contempt for the military (as Harvard Law School Dean, she banned the Pentagon from recruiting on campus) that Elena Kagan will be an activist justice making law, rather than a justice interpreting the law. This approach, and her leftist agenda, is contrary to how the majority of Virginians view the role of the U.S. Supreme Court. It is about time that our two U.S. Senators live up to their self-labeled titles of "radical centrist" and "moderate," show some independence, and vote with the majority of Virginians and not simply as puppets of Harry Reid.

Please contact Senators Mark Warner and Jim Webb and urge them to vote "No" on the confirmation of Elena Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court. Click here to contact Senators Warner and Webb.

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.)

Senators Webb And Warner: Virginia's Proud Porkers!

Virginia's two U.S. Senators, Jim Webb and his junior, Mark Warner, (click to contact), despite their protestations to the contrary — and sophistry about being "raging moderates" — proved they are not "fiscal conservatives" when they voted Tuesday night against a modest reform that would have banned earmarks for one year. But when you also have voted for a half-trillion dollars in new taxes and $1 trillion in new spending in a government takeover of the health care industry, what's several billion dollars more? The issue was an amendment by U.S. Senator Jim Demint (R-S.C.) to ban earmarks for one year. House Republicans last week adopted a policy as a caucus that no member would offer an earmark for a year until earmark reform could be worked out. House Democrats followed suit with a vague promise of their own to ban earmarks (but who needs an earmark when you can ram through a trillion-dollar health care takeover), but I digress. The vote was 68-29 against the Demint amendment, with 15 Republicans joining all but four Democrats (see the list) to defeat it. However, it was the first time a majority of Senate Republicans supported the measure. Politico.com reports on the vote here, in an article entitled "The Senate's proud porkers."

So, while their political brethren in Richmond went on a fiscal diet, actually cutting spending down to 2006 levels in the recently passed Virginia budget, Senators Warner and Webb continued to pig out in Washington. Should make them a hit at the annual Virginia Pork Festival in Emporia, should they attend. But some would say the pork festival is in Washington and is an on going affair — with Virginia's two senators among those having the most fun.

Senator Jim Demint asked Congress for a timeout on pork spending. Senators Webb and Warner, though, were having too much fun at the trough to stop.

Dr. Bob Holsworth Interview, Part, 2

This is the second and final installment of an interview with nationally known political scientist Dr. Bob Holsworth. The former Virginia Commonwealth University dean is a regular commentator on Virginia and national politics. His writes for national and state publications, as well as on his widely read blog, Virginia Tomorrow, and is a frequent guest on television and radio. He also is an in-demand public speaker and heads his own consultancy. In yesterday's first installment, we covered the current session of the General Assembly and touched on national politics. Today, we look at Virginia's version of health care legislation, the upcoming 2010 mid-term elections, discuss U.S. Senator Jim Webb's 2012 prospects, and examine the Tea Party movement in Virginia. FamilyFoundationBlog: Which is the most interesting GOP Congressional District nominating contest — the 5th, 2nd or 11th — and why? How do you see those campaigns playing out?

Dr. Bob Holsworth: All of these races are very interesting because each of them is competitive. The number of entrants indicate that Republicans believe that 2010 may be a once in a generation opportunity, a year that could potentially rival 1994 in terms of GOP success. At the moment, the battle for the 5th District nomination to challenge Tom Perriello might be the most fascinating, if only because of the number of forces that are, or potentially are, in play, including ones that may have national implications.

There's Robert Hurt, a highly respected member of the Senate who has considerable support from the party's national establishment, but who is also being challenged largely by a set of conservative activists who maintain that Hurt has not been sufficiently supportive of low-tax, small government principles. One question that is being raised is whether the anti-Hurt forces will actually coalesce behind a single candidate or divide their vote in a primary? Recently, things have even gotten more complicated. At least one of the candidates currently in the nomination contest says that he is considering dropping out and running as an independent.

Moreover, Virgil Goode has said that he has not made up his mind about a possible challenge and could even run as an independent Republican. A poll out today says that in a three way race between Hurt, Perriello, and Goode, the former Congressman is in a tie with Perriello with Hurt running third. In any event, I think that a lot of national media will be looking at the 5th to see if the GOP can negotiate its internal tensions productively, something that will have to achieved if a candidate who is hard working and energetic as Tom Perriello is to be defeated.

FamilyFoundationBlog: Is there a credible Republican candidate in the wings to challenge Rick Boucher in the 9th Congressional District? Is Representative Boucher vulnerable?

Dr. Holsworth: It is usually very, very difficult to defeat a long-term incumbent such as Rick Boucher who has been widely applauded for his constituent service, even if a number of his votes may not be consistent with majority views in his district. But if there is a year in which Boucher is vulnerable, 2010 may be it. The problem for the GOP here is very different than in the 2nd, 5th and 11th — it's not clear that the Republicans can recruit a strong challenger. Terry Kilgore and William Wampler have said no, though Eric Cantor was in town yesterday to see if "No" really means "No." Morgan Griffith has said, however, that he is seriously considering entering the contest. If he does, he'll be a formidable challenger — he's tough, politically very skilled, and a very hard worker. But even with Griffith, this would be a tough race, because Boucher has built up a lot of support in the localities that make up the district. But if Morgan enters, it'll be a great race.

FamilyFoundationBlog: How do you see the Tea Party movement in Virginia? Are these people disgruntled conservatives who normally vote Republican showing displeasure at the party (and who may have sat out in 2008) or are they new people getting involved for the first time who can make a difference in upcoming elections?

Dr. Holsworth: I think that it's difficult to say that there is one kind of person attracted to the Tea Party. I think that there are a number of Republican conservatives disgruntled with what Glenn Beck calls "Progressives." I also think that there are many of the same kind of independents who were initially attracted to Ross Perot in 1992 — "the government is broken, we're mad as hell and we're not going to take it anymore." And I think that there are also some people who may not have been very much involved in politics before, but have become mobilized by what they consider to be an inappropriate and ineffective response by the federal government to the economic downturn. It seems to me that they represent sentiments that are fairly broadly distributed at the moment throughout the general population and political figures would be foolish to ignore their perspective in 2010. At the same time, it is not so clear how their influence inside GOP nomination battles will play out and whether this will be positive or negative for the GOP in the general elections. This is one of the reasons why I'm watching the 5th District very closely since it has what appears to be a large and relatively organized set of Tea Party activists.

FamilyFoundationBlog: Are you surprised at how quickly and smoothly the Health Care Freedom legislation has moved through the General Assembly, especially in the Senate?

Dr. Holsworth: Yes. At least until you see that the five Democratic legislators sit in districts where (Governor Bob) McDonnell ran strong and where their own seats could be in jeopardy.

FamilyFoundationBlog: Speaking of health care, as well as all the new government spending Tea Party activists abhor, do you think Senators Webb and Warner have endangered their re-elections by voting for these programs? Will the new conservative movement stay active that long?

Dr. Holsworth: 2014 for Warner is a long, long way off. Webb will obviously have a serious Republican challenger. Webb will not be easy to pigeonhole because there will be numerous instances in both foreign and domestic policy where he will part company with the administration and the Democratic congressional leadership. A big question regarding Webb is how his progressive economic populism be viewed. Will he seen as too liberal for Virginia economically or as authentic guy willing to stand up for the voiceless?

FamilyFoundationBlog: Dr. Holsworth, thank you very much for your time. Your thoughts are always informative and I know our readers have learned a lot.

Text Of Lt. Governor Bolling's Letter To Senators Warner And Webb

Here is the text of the letter sent today by Lt. Governor Bill Bolling to Virginia's two United States Senators, Mark Warner (contact) and Jim Webb (contact), concerning their votes in favor of the Senate health care bill last night. In the letter, Lt. Governor Bolling outlines his opposition to the legislation and why it is bad for Virginians, and asks the two senators to vote against its final passage. A news release from Lt. Governor Bolling is posted here.

December 21, 2009

The Honorable Mark Warner

The Honorable Jim Webb

RE: Federal Healthcare Reform Legislation

Dear Senators Warner and Webb:

I have been following with great interest the important debate currently taking place in Washington with respect to the proposed reform of our nation’s healthcare system.

While I certainly agree that we face serious problems with respect to the affordability and availability of healthcare for many Americans, it is important that any reform legislation address these issues without creating other problems for American consumers and businesses or jeopardizing the quality of our healthcare delivery system, which is currently the best in the world.

For many reasons, I strongly oppose the healthcare reform legislation that is currently pending before the United States Senate and I encourage you to vote against this legislation and any procedural votes that would allow this legislation to come to a final vote.

In my judgment, the legislation currently pending in the Senate will ultimately increase the cost of healthcare and result in higher health insurance premiums and higher taxes for the vast majority of the American people.

In addition, I believe that this legislation will jeopardize the quality of healthcare that is currently available in our country and take important healthcare decisions out of the hands of consumers and turn these decisions over to government bureaucrats.

Perhaps most importantly, I am concerned that the cost of this legislation will be much higher than currently estimated, and it will inevitably add significantly to the cost of our federal deficit, which is, quite frankly, out of control and threatens the long term financial viability of our nation.

If these concerns were not reason enough to vote against this misguided legislation, I am writing to you today to let you know that I am outraged by reports that surfaced this weekend regarding concessions that were made to Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson to secure his vote in support of this legislation.

As you know, one of our major concerns with this legislation is the potential impact it could have on the cost of Medicaid for Virginia’s state government. Many reports have suggested that this legislation could result in much higher Medicaid costs for state governments across the nation, costs that state governments simply cannot bear.

Against this background, I was amazed to hear that the Senate’s Democratic leadership had made concessions to Senator Nelson that would hold his home state of Nebraska harmless as to any additional Medicaid costs that might come about as a result of the enrollment of new Medicaid recipients after 2017.

I find these reports particularly troubling since they come on the heels of similar concessions that were given to Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana to secure her vote in support of this legislation just a few weeks ago.

In addition to the “pay offs” that were offered to Senators Nelson and Landrieu, unconfirmed media reports over the weekend have revealed that other Senators may have negotiated similar special treatment deals for their states. If these reports are accurate, this type of quid pro quo is unacceptable, and you and your colleagues should object strongly to the practice, which I have no doubt the American people will find offensive as well.

If the Senate’s leadership is so desperate to obtain votes to secure the passage of this legislation that they would make these types of concessions to these Senators, I would ask that you demand that the same concessions be extended to Virginia, and for that matter, to every other state in the nation.

Allowing key provisions in this legislation to be used to essentially buy votes from Senators Landrieu and Nelson at the expense of other states such as Virginia should be as offensive to you as it is to me, and it should give you all the reason you need to oppose this misguided legislation.

Thank you for your service to the people of Virginia and for considering my views on this important issue.

Very Truly Yours,

William T. Bolling

Lieutenant Governor

Commonwealth of Virginia

Lt. Governor Bolling Writes Senators Webb, Warner Concerning Their Votes On Health Care Bill

Below is the text of a news release issued today from the office of Lt. Governor Bill Bolling concerning the votes by Senators Warner (contact here) and Webb (contact here) in favor of a procedural motion that will allow the Senate health care bill to proceed to a final up or down vote, where it is all but assured of passing. The text of the letter referenced in the news release is posted here.

BOLLING CALLS ON WARNER AND WEBB TO VOTE AGAINST FEDERAL HEALTHCARE LEGISLATION

RICHMOND – Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling today sent a strongly worded letter to Senators Jim Webb and Mark Warner expressing outrage over special concessions given to certain states to obtain support for federal healthcare legislation from their Senators and asking them to oppose this legislation, which Bolling called "misguided."

"As you know, one of our major concerns with this legislation is the potential impact it could have on the cost of Medicaid for Virginia’s state government," wrote Bolling. "Many reports have suggested that this legislation could result in much higher Medicaid costs for state governments across the nation, costs that state governments simply cannot bear."

In his letter, Bolling cited reports from this past weekend that the Senate’s Democratic leadership had made concessions to Senator Ben Nelson that would hold his home state of Nebraska harmless for any additional Medicaid costs that might come about as a result of the enrollment of new Medicaid recipients after 2017, while all 49 other states would be required to pay a portion of the increased costs. This reportedly would save Nebraska $45M per year, while passing these costs on to other states.

Additionally, similar "sweet heart deals" were reportedly made to Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and other Senators to obtain their support for the healthcare bill, while the citizens of Virginia and other states were not afford the same benefits.

"I am outraged by reports that surfaced this weekend regarding concessions that were made to Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson to secure his vote in support of this legislation," stated Bolling. "If these reports are accurate, this type of quid pro quo is unacceptable, and you and your colleagues should object strongly to the practice, which I have no doubt the American people will find offensive as well."

"If the Senate’s leadership is so desperate to obtain votes to secure the passage of this legislation that they would make these types of concessions to these Senators, I would ask that you demand that the same concessions be extended to Virginia, and for that matter, to every other state in the nation," continued Bolling.

In addition to the outrageous "pay off" tactics employed by Senate Democratic Leadership, Bolling encouraged Senators Webb and Warner to vote against the substance of the legislation, citing concerns that it will result in increased healthcare costs, increased insurance premiums, increased taxes on family and businesses and fewer options for individual patients.

Senator Webb Says He's Undecided On The Health Care Bill

Senator Jim Webb, Virginia's senior senator, wrote an op-ed piece of the Harrisonburg Daily News-Record in which he says he is undecided (see here) on which way he will vote when it comes time for the final, up or down, yea or nay. He takes pride in the handful of votes he has cast in opposition to his party's leaders, but then offers this on perhaps the most controversial part of the bill:

On the issue of abortion, I studied the bill closely to ensure that no taxpayer dollars will be used to fund abortions. I am convinced that this legislation strictly adheres to the requirements of the Hyde Amendment. It also includes clear conscience provisions for providers and consumers who elect to reject a plan that offers such coverage.

Most pro-life policy analysts don't think that's right, and Senator Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) doesn't think so, either (see David Brody of the CBN Blog). But Senator Webb ends with this statement that can be taken in no other way in that he is undecided on the entire piece of legislation:

As we continue to debate the bill and amend it, I remain hopeful that the Senate can reach consensus on fair and effective health care legislation. Whether this is so will determine my vote on final passage.

Fair enough, to the senator. So, then, why don't we convince him what way he should finally conclude his thinking? Click here to contact him.

Virginia News Stand: December 18, 2009

Annotations & Elucidations The Snowbound Edition

We have lots of material built up from the last two days, plus Governor Tim Kaine's shocking income tax increase and budget proposals earlier today that, as one radio reporter said, caused an audible gasp from each member on the committee. Since the entire state is going to get blanketed by 24.36 feet of snow starting tonight, you might as well site back and read it all.

Not only do we have quantity, we have quality. There's plenty of news about the budget, but we also are cited five times (links with a *) — four on our new Internet safety initiative with Enough is Enough, the Interfaith Center for Public Policy, the Office of the Attorney General and Pastors For Family Values, three of which is video — and once on D.C.'s new same-sex marriage law.

Meanwhile, House Speaker Bill Howell (R-28, Stafford) has cut some staff and perks from the House of Delegates — no more free coffee, boys and girls. He said he's saved the Commonwealth $4.8 million since 2003 with a series of reductions, including new scheduling which allows members to travel to Richmond one day during for multiple out-of-session committee meetings rather than two or three separate occasions.

At the federal level, Senator Jim Webb (contact) penned a column in the Harrisonburg Daily News-Record saying that he hasn't made up his mind on the health care bill. Perhaps Virginians can help him conclude in the negative? The Wall Street Journal examines the Democrats' pending electoral implosion due to Americans' desire for the government not to own every industry and create new ones out of whole cloth. ("Climate change" and "green jobs"?)

But getting back to Governor Kaine's desire to eliminate the car tax cut and/or raise the state income tax by one percent: As mentioned here several times in recent weeks, he has a peculiar idea of a legacy, doesn't he? I know he's been out of state a lot in recent months, but didn't he see the election results? The people are demanding reductions in government, not more taxes. There's never been a governor more determined to inflict economic pain on Virginians than he — every year seeking a giant tax increase, despite a campaign pledge not to — and now, this monstrosity. The winner in all this is Governor-to-be Bob McDonnell. If he keeps his pledge not to raise taxes, and balances the budget, after Kaine has basically said that it can't be done that way, the new guy will pretty much own the state.  

News:

Kaine wants to scrap car-tax; increase state income tax (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

*Virginia takes Internet safety initiative to faith community (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

*D.C. City Council votes to legalize same-sex marriage (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Virginia panel hears about juvenile justice disparities, ‘sexting’ laws (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Kaine may renew Virginia's car tax debate amid budget gap (Washington Post)

Kaine seeks ways to increase revenues (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

McDonnell hints at job cuts for state employees (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

McDonnell, Bolling visit Southside, discuss job creation (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell says fixing Virginia's roads will be his 'most difficult challenge' (The Daily Press)

Transportation panel sees revenue as key to roads plan (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Va. seeks to extend IT contract deadline (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

No more free coffee, other House cuts (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

Delegates will give up some perks to save Va. some money (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Area legislators talk to Chamber of Commerce (Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star)

Virginia Republicans push Webb to oppose health bill (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

National:

Democrats' Blues Grow Deeper in New Poll (Wall Street Journal Online)

Commentary:

Health-Care Reform Needed Now (Jim Webb/Harrisonburg Daily News-Record)

Video:

*Interfaith Effort for Internet Safety (3:09) (WTVR.com/WTVR-CBS6)

 

*New Efforts to Promote Internet Safety (2:24) (NBC12.com/WWBT-NBC12)

*Promoting Internet Safety Through Religious Communities (3:26) (WHSV.com/WHSV-TV3)