As soon as the 2004 election was over, there was a lot written and said about Virginia supplying the nation with one, or even both, of the major party presidential candidates. Now, the buzz among both Democrats and Republicans, around the commonwealth and across the country, are that two Virginians are getting realistic consideration as vice presidential candidates. Democrats have been mulling over Governor Tim Kaine for about a week while this weekend Congressman Eric Cantor (R-7) emerged as a national Republican figure after much local speculation mushroomed throughout the blogosphere and, eventually, the mainstream media. Though neither one would have crossed anyone's mind for veep even several months ago, is it possible one — or both — could end up on a national ticket? Vote on the likelihood and let us know why and what you think of these two men with your comments.
If you've glanced at our extensive blogroll since yesterday you will have noticed some funky symbols for the sites listed at the top. There's a reason for this. For some reason our WordPress program won't let us breakup the many linked blogs into categories. Ideally, we'd have categories for state political blogs, blogs by media outlets, etc. Since we wanted to add some new blogs and Web sites from affiliated organizations, we had to figure a way to group them together and highlight them. WordPress only lets us list by alphabetical order, so designating them with symbols was the only method to keep them grouped together; the symbols also supercede the alphabet, so that also highlights them. Until we figure out how to work around the category limitation, this will have to suffice. Here's how to decipher the secret code: We have our own Internet presence with The Family Foundation of Virginia and Family Foundation Action Web sites. They are at the top of the blogroll with an asterisk.
Those with a + is a Family Foundation of Virginia state affiliate or chapter; following them with an @ is a national organization with which we have an affiliation of some type. The former are The Fairfax Family Forum and The Valley Family Forum. The latter consist of: Alliance Defense Fund, American Family Association, Citizen Magazine, Citizen Link, Citizen Link Take Action, Focus On The Family, Focus Action, Family Research Council, FRC Action and FRC Blog. All of these are excellent resources for news, issues education, research and citizen action. We hope you visit all of them often.
About those initials — ODBA: We are very pleased to announce that we now are included in the Old Dominion Blog Alliance — or at least its site. The ODBA is the outstanding confederation of conservative Virginia bloggers. We haven't heard anything official but noticed our posts popping up on its site, which is an aggregator, and our link is on its blogroll. We're very proud and honored to be included with some of the best minds and commentators in Virginia's highly respected blogosphere. We added the ODBA site to our blogroll and have had almost all of its members on our blogroll since we created it.
Membership in the ODBA means (we think) the inclusion on all its many members' blogrolls in addition to the ODBA site. So we look forward to the expanded Internet presence such inclusion entails, which will result in yet more visitors to our already highly trafficked blog. If you've found us through the ODBA, welcome, and we hope you come back often.
Previously, we were included on Righty Blogs Virginia, also an aggregator. Aggregators post a member blog's most recent posts on its site practically in real time. They're a kind of central meeting point for readers and clearing house of current opinion and comment. We hope you visit both ODBA and RBV often to get the latest from the cream of Virginia's blogosphere.
We continue to add links of all sorts to make this site the best possible resource for pro-family, pro-traditional values and constitutional government comment, information and citizen action. We offer our warmest thanks for your continued readership and support.
If you haven't checked our Online Newsroom recently, give it a click. We continue to update it as we get mentions on the blogosphere and elsewhere for our observations and comments on the Virginia political and policy fronts, as well as on American culture and traditional values in general. We've been getting hits from all sorts of places, even in the UK. However, it's the ones from our blogging peers close to home that give us the most pride (even if they are negative; it means they are paying attention to us). So, yesterday, we were excited to see Tertium Quids recognize our reporting and observational comment on the possible machinations and outcomes of the ongoing (and possibly fast concluding) Special Tax Session. Compliments from highly thought of original thinkers are especially meaningful.
One reason people pay attention to us is because those of you who share our principles of traditional family values, cultural standards and limited constitutional government, have shown your ability to affect positive change in Virginia. We continue to continue look for ways to make that change possible through grassroots activism, including online activism.
So please note our Action Center. We created it, updated it and recently improved it yet more. We have divided it into two sections. One provides links to get more involved with The Family Foundation of Virginia — from joining the grassroots, to your local editorial page for a letter-to-the-editor and other links for volunteer activism to help influence issues in Virginia.
There's also a contact section where, with one click, you can contact Virginia's highest officeholders: governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, House Speaker, Senate Majority Leader, the leaders of both parties in both chambers and many more. There are also links to the entire membership of both party caucuses in both chambers — even the independents — as well as links to track bills, a page to look up and contact your own delegate and senator, and many other tools to stay involved in your Virginia government and public policy.
We hope to make staying involved as easy as possible so that you stay vigilant. In these days of Special Tax Sessions and more government activism it will take all of us — online and in person — to secure traditional family values and limited constitutional government.
Mr. Galen, thank you very much for agreeing to do this interview at familyfoundation.org. It is quite a privilege to have such a noteworthy figure in the national conservative movement join us, especially with what must be a busy transition time in your life. You are the first national figure to do an interview with us. Congratulations! Although I suspect that accomplishment won't exactly move to the top of your curriculum vitae. ; - ) familyfoundation.org: You have been in the news lately. You have accepted a new job with U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas). What will you do in your capacity as her senior counselor?
Rich Galen: My portfolio includes oversight of the communications and speech-writing functions; but I also have license to look at other areas of the Senator's office operations.
familyfoundation.org: Can you describe what it is like to work for such high-profile leaders as former Vice President Dan Quayle and former Speaker Newt Gingrich and the opportunities it affords to positively affect policy?
Rich Galen: You must always remember it is the Vice President or the Speaker or the Senator who is the elected individual, not the advisor or the press secretary. Too often in Washington staff begins to believe it is the surrogate for, not the supporter of, the principal.
With that in mind, however, if you can establish a level of mutual trust, then in the confines of the office you may have the opportunity to shape policy. However, again, it is the principal's policy which comes out the door; not the staff's.
familyfoundation.org: How did you get recruited to speak at the Republican Party of Virginia Convention last week? Would you mind giving a synopsis of your keynote address and why you chose your theme?
Rich Galen: You'd have to ask Charlie Judd why he picked me, but I was honored that he did. My remarks were specifically aimed at reminding the delegates that even in a year when U.S. Senate and the President will be on the ballot, it all starts at the precinct.
I asked the delegates to keep in mind that a state-wide election is not won from Richmond, it is won by building a good precinct organization and then expanding that into a good neighborhood organization to good county organization.
If the GOP does that better than the Democrats, we will win in November.
familyfoundation.org: We are a conservative Christian grassroots public policy organization concerned about the direction of Virginia and the entire country on numerous issues. However, the pro-life, pro-family, traditional marriage and traditional family values issues are of particular concern. What advice can you give organizations like ours, our grassroots chapters and individuals to take up the challenges of affecting public policy, especially during times when the political winds seem to be coming from the other direction? Why is it important to stay engaged and how can single individuals or small groups get involved and make a difference?
Rich Galen: You must never lose sight of the effect letters-to-the editor, op-ed pieces, letters to the offices of elected officials, and appearing at public meetings — from school board to city council to county commission meetings — and make your voices heard.
Elected officials WANT to hear from you because they want to be certain they are keeping on top of the pulse of the community. Not every community has the same pulse, so don't take it for granted that a group with similar principles will be speaking for you.
familyfoundation.org: With its recent past election results, pundits now are calling Virginia a battleground state. Is Virginia helplessly moving left because of demographic change or does the conservative message resonate less with people looking for solutions to everyday problems, such as transportation, education and rising prices for food and gas?
Rich Galen: They are not mutually exclusive. Conservative principles, applied properly, will yield solutions to transportation, education, gas and food.
familyfoundation.org: We hear and read so much about change, yet that is vague. What is your sense of the electorate right now and how does that affect conservative candidates and what they stand for?
Rich Galen: "Change" as defined by the Left is not a new way forward, it is an about face to the policies which obtained for a half century until Ronald Reagan led America out of its Depression-era thinking and into a new era of less government, and greater personal opportunities.
familyfoundation.org: You started a very popular blog, mullings.com. What did you see at the time that made you think that blogs were going to be an important aspect of political communications?
Rich Galen: No. Had I known how important what has become known as the blogosphere was going to become, I would have been much more serious about it. As it is, Mullings recently celebrated its 10th anniversary and has been a joy to write through all years.
familyfoundation.org: What advice do you have for bloggers?
Rich Galen: First you have to have something to say. Second you have to write it in a voice which people want to read. Third — and perhaps most important — you have to write with a regularity and a frequency so that people who want to read what you have written don't drift away because there is no new material when they go looking at your blog.