Score Radio Network

The Lieutenant Governor Jumble And The Silent, But Crucial, Issue

It's a jumble out there. Maybe a jungle, too, with about 10,000 delegates crammed in the Richmond Coliseum tomorrow at the Republican Party of Virginia Convention (not to mention circulating tonight through the city's downtown at no less than 12 parties by candidates and GOP and public interest organizations). Never has there been a less predictable campaign for a party's nomination for the commonwealth's number two spot. But never has there been so much at stake with the Virginia Senate split at 20-20. (There was one somewhat similar in 1985, as I commented on here.) What to make of it all and the seven candidate jumble? A lot of organizations and web sites, who otherwise wouldn't be considered too important, have either made themselves so, or have been granted such status because in a crowded and unpredictable field, where no one can accurately gauge delegate preferences until people actually show up — and who knows who will or even can show up for an entire day and at least some evening? — candidates have to find a way to gain traction. Thus, what has been a generally clean campaign (nothing like the rear-end exam the Left will launch at the nominee starting Sunday) has become something of a He lied, She lied, They're all playing dirty affair.

The crossfire has been amusing. Candidate 1 criticizes Candidates 4 and 5 through robocalls, and maybe Candidate 3 via mail. Candidate 2 attacks Candidate 1 for that, but goes after Candidate 7. Candidate 6 claims Candidate 4 is attacking him through a front group, while Candidate 5 says certain web sites and blogs are in Candidate 2's back pocket. But in person, they all seem to get along. That was the case two weeks ago at their last debate, at Benedictine College Prep in Richmond, sponsored by the Richmond City Republican Committee and other Central Virginia GOP units. (It drew, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, 250 people. A Democrat debate several days later, at the completely contrasting Richmond Gay Center, only drew about 150 according to the same source.) In the holding room where they were briefed by the host committee and moderator Scott Lee (of WRVA-AM and Bearing Drift/Score Radio Network), they joked with each other and exchanged campaign anecdotes. The potential fireworks during the debate itself were limited, with each touting him- or herself. Perhaps the "offenses" being felt are coming from over zealous supporters instead?

News was made at the debate, though. For the first time ever, an obscure process issue which punches well above its weight in importance, was addressed. After a warm up question about recently read books, they were asked what reform to bring accountability to the office would they work for. After all, so many of their campaign promises are really desires, because so much of what they want to do has almost nothing to do within the powers of the office of lieutenant governor. It's a question I've put to a few of them individually, though phrased differently. Some had no clue. They all seem to know about it now.

Call it the crucial, but silent, issue, because not many are talking about it and the media isn't reporting it. It's about the power of the LG to assign bills to committee, similar to the House Speaker's power. What good is it to be the presiding officer of a legislative chamber if your have little clout? Decades ago, during the day of one party (i.e., Democrat) rule, the lieutenant governor was a liberal populist named Henry Howell. The majority thought even he was too liberal to have that authority, and stripped it away, giving it to the unelected, unaccountable senate clerk, in cooperation with the majority leader. It's one of the reasons the Senate has been the graveyard of many good bills and reforms, especially pro-life bills, where Democrat and Republican majorities have sent them to unfavorable committees that do not have a natural connection to the bills. (For example, coercive abortion is always referred to the "Committee of Death," the Education and Health Committee, rather than the Courts of Justice Committee as it is in the House.) Restoring that power to the Senate's presiding officer will make for a more responsive and accountable process. After all, what LG isnt' already running for the top job?

Pete Snyder, Senator Steve Martin, Delegate Scott Lingamfelter and Corey Stewart all brought up bill referral power as a critical reform to governing the split chamber and to advance conservative legislation that many Republican senators would just as soon see fail. Martin, Lingamfelter and Stewart even expounded on the idea and expanded upon it.

Snyder was assertive, while Stewart was assertive and passionate about ending the Senate's "graveyard" reputation by assigning bills to their rightful committees. Even though the LG has never had the power to assign members to committees as does the Speaker, Stewart went so far as to say he would use his clout as the tie-breaking vote to influence who sits on what committees (a power left to the party leaders in the Senate). Former Senator Jeanmarie Davis gave a lukewarm "I don't disagree with it" answer. Susan Stimpson and E.W. Jackson never mentioned it.

There's an old expression in Virginia politics: If you want to change Virginia, then change the Virginia Senate. Sometimes, it's not the headline grabbing issues that make the difference, just as it can be a little thing no one suspects that wins a campaign. In this case, the two may have merged. While this just reform may not happen over night, it now is part of the conversation, whereas previously, no one had ever heard of it From now on, Republicans candidates will feel the necessity  to campaign on it until it finally happens.

Northern Virginia Democrats Try To Intimidate Constituents At Town Hall Meeting Last Night!

At a town hall meeting for constituents in Lorton last night, sponsored by Democrat Delegate Mark Sickles (D-43, Fairfax) and Democrat Senator George Barker (D-39, Fairfax), Senator Barker's staff continually blocked a constituent taping the meeting (via our friend Norm Leahy of via his Twitter account via the legacy of all this, our friend Greg Letiecq at Black Velvet Bruce Li (read his recommendations for the senator's next town hall meeting). Funny how news travels these days, isn't? Ironically, while the question directed to Senator Barker at the time of the taping concerned his support for the newly redistricted and peculiarly shaped Senate districts in the northern part of the state, it was asked politely. Yet, a staffer immediately jumped in the way of the camera. Proud of your vote, Senator, then no problem. A bit embarrassed? Then we can see why you tolerate such rudeness. Then, one liberal activist clearly clamors for the videographer, his mother and any Republicans in the room to be thrown out, that it was a "meeting for Democrats." Funny. Don't elected officials represent all voters? More irony: If not for the Republicans in the room, there probably wouldn't have been a meeting — it was that sparsely attended.

Still more absurdity: Once Delegate Sickles finally made his campaign speech answered the question, he complains about the "partisan" House redistricting plan. Little side note: He voted for it — as did all but seven Democrats who jumped ship in order to save their own skin, party caucus be damned. Really partisan, that. He (and all but 10 Dems) even voted for the first version of the House plan, which Governor Bob McDonnell vetoed (Washington Post), in part, because of its partisan or ill-drawn aspects — none of which stopped Delegate Sickles from slamming the governor anyway. Nothing like a little political double speak to lighten up an evening of political intimidation.

Nothing like a little political double speak to lighten up a night of intimidation. Or is it the other way around?

Victoria Cobb Interviewed On Score Radio Network

Can economic (i.e., limited government) conservatives and social conservatives get along, at least long enough, to coalesce around shared principles in a coalition to restore government to its proper scope and role? What are those shared principles and how do they complement each other? Should there by a truce on social issues in the 2012 presidential campaign? Family Foundation President Victoria Cobb and host Scott Lee discuss these issues on the Score Radio Network. The interview was aired on radio stations around Virginia and streamed on various Internet services on April 16. Now it is archived at SRN's Web site. The interview lasts a little more than 11 minutes and we think you will enjoy it.

Click here to listen to TFF President Victoria Cobb's interview on the Score Radio Network.

TFF's Victoria Cobb To Appear On Score Radio Network Saturday

Family Foundation of Virginia President Victoria Cobb will appear on the Score Radio Network Saturday (or, perhaps, another time in your market, check local listings as they say), with host Scott Lee. Score is a new statewide conservative media company headed by three of Virginia's most experienced conservative new media commentators. It provides online and over-the-air media services and content. Score's affiliates are WLEE-AM/990 in Richmond (8:00 a.m. Saturday), WLNI-105.9FM in Lynchburg, and WMBG-AM740 in Williamsburg. For those not in those markets, it also can be heard on those stations' web sites as well as on Internet radio sites, the CB Media Network and Ghost Fighting Network as well as on SRN itself as an archive (see affiliate information here). We hope to have the download here next week as well. Victoria will discuss this past session of the General Assembly and other issues involving the conservative movement.