liberty

What We're Thankful For

Still in the glow of Thanksgiving, and with an entire month of thankfulness ahead of us, it's a good time to reflect on what we're thankful for, especially in the rush and anxiety imposed on us by the world during what should be a holy and reflective season. Here are some of the things for which we should always be thankful and which should ground us when the season's unnatural stresses distress us. They are the three pillars of a successful Republic, based in Judeo-Christian, traditional values: First, and foremost, life, the primary right of all, to be born and live free from harm; liberty, to exercise our God-given natural rights, not rights from government or man; and family, the foundational core of civilized society, communities an nations.

From our friends at CatholicVote.org:

1459765_10152017950003604_1510186607_n

1470402_10152019061873604_2105721116_n

1452310_10152018501058604_191822013_n

Share this link via email and on your social media sites to remind people of what its important in life, especially this time of year.

Update: Senate Passes Property Rights Constitutional Amendment!

A couple of hours ago, the Virginia Senate passed by a 35-5 vote, a proposed amendment to the Virginia Constitution that would protect private property rights and curb the government's power of eminent domain. Don't be deceived by the vote. Often, at the General Assembly, legislation with the largest vote margins were the most difficult to pass, with twists and turns, near-deaths, deaths and resurrections. All could be said of this resolution. While it does not have the iron clad language on just compensation as it did coming out of the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee, ironically, it still goes beyond the House version and does guarantee just compensation for "lost profits" and "lost access" — but it leaves it to the General Assembly to legislate those definitions (which means more work to be done next session!).

Now the resolution goes back to the House of Delegates since it was changed from its version. Acceptance of the Senate's amendments is almost a certainty, with House members openly eager and excited about the opportunity to vote on something given little chance in the hostile Senate when session started, and stronger than when it left the House! (No need to risk going to a conference committee, especially after the Senate has killed attempts for years, including earlier this year.) Just goes to show . . . anything can happen at the General Assembly and nothing should surprise anyone.

Opponents will say they got what they wanted out of it but the truth is they wanted none of this. They lost. Liberty and limited government won today! Never underestimate the influence of an election year. This played out similarly to the eminent domain reform statute the last time the Senate was up for election, in 2007.

Next steps: The resolution must be passed again by the new General Assembly next session — with no changes. That done, it will go to Virginians to ratify at the polls in November 2012.

More to come later. However, we cannot go any further without a bit of thanks — a bit, only, because it is impossible to adequately thank him — to the resolution's patron, Delegate Johnny Joannou (D-79, Portsmouth). Without his determination, legislative skills and persuasive public oratory (we will have video later), we would very likely have to wait another three years (for a total of nine) without the possibility of property rights protection since the infamous and deplorable Supreme Court Kelo decision.

Ignite A Moment Into A Movement!

You and I have an incredible opportunity. But we must act fast. It's an opportunity to fan the embers that remain from the elections into a flame that burns for generations to come on behalf of the values you and I share. It's an exciting opportunity. But it requires that you respond before the end of the year in order to fully capitalize on it. It's called The Family Foundation’s "Ignite" plan. It's a long-term plan to ignite an enduring cultural transformation in Virginia. It's designed to ensure Virginia’s pro-family movement doesn’t "go home" thinking the election results are enough to stop those who work to undermine the timeless values you and I share. It's designed to turn the moment that was the 2009 and 2010 elections into a movement that takes back lost ground in the areas of life, liberty, marriage and family.

Click here to download a copy of the plan. As you’ll see, it focuses on The Family Foundation's work in critical areas where culture-defining battles are fought. It strategically focuses on the areas of overlap in order to create synergy and, ultimately, maximize the impact of The Family Foundation's work.

Before you download the plan, though, I want to share with you a real blessing: In order to get us off to a strong start in implementing this plan, a small group of The Family Foundation's donors have offered to match every contribution The Family Foundation receives before December 31 — up to $25,000!

That means every donation made to The Family Foundation before December 31 will be doubled automatically. A $20 contribution becomes $40; a $50 contribution becomes $100! That’s why I hope you'll consider making a contribution today. Click here to make a secure online contribution.

Ignite may well be the most important plan The Family Foundation has ever undertaken, and the matching gift is an incredible opportunity to get it off to a really fast start.

You and I both know the people and organizations who work to undermine the timeless values we share are not going to "go home" just because they’ve had a couple bad elections. History shows us losing elections only serve to motivate them — and not just for the next election. Those who work against the principles The Family Foundation advocates are likely to become even more aggressive in training new leaders, pushing radical legislation, preparing voter education programs, and much more.

Simply put, if you and I don't start immediately working to build on the momentum of the 2009 and 2010 elections it won't be long until we end up right back where we started.

Like you, I want to build on our past victories because there is so much more to be done. From adding to past pro-life victories to reestablishing our religious freedom to bringing school choice to Virginia, we have many victories ahead! And the Ignite plan will play a big role in realizing them. But we need you today.

So please, take a few minutes to review the plan today. Thank you for your loyal support. I’m excited about the future and look forward to working with you to ignite an enduring cultural transformation in Virginia.

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%

Not Playing Nice IS Good Politics!

On the heels of my post last week when I extolled the leadership of New Jersey's conservative Republican Governor Chris Christie, comes a poll that shows his job approval has skyrocketed the more he confronts and takes on the opposition to reform. A new Rasmussen survey shows the governor at a whopping 57 percent approval rating (NBC40.net)! This astonishing number comes as he is cutting state employees, their benefits and their pensions, among many other sacred cows. In August, he was at 51 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University Poll (see The State Column blog). Either way, in a climate where establishment politicians are getting their heads handed to them, the numbers are more than impressive. It's more than a fascination or amusement with Mr. Christie's sharp tongue and undiplomatic public sarcasm (though he does score style points for that, I admit).

The lesson is that trying to be Mr. or Ms. Popularity by appealing to all sides, by playing the bland policy game, by not taking on bold initiatives, offering lukewarm reforms, and not doing what you are going to do (reduce government and tax rates, for example) pleases no one. Liberals always will think conservatives are mean and hateful, and the conservatives who elected Mr. or Ms. Popularity will abandon him or her (hello George W. Bush) for living up to his or her word.

So, it pays to have a definitive point of view, a bold agenda and a take no prisoners approach to getting it done. Better to have a dedicated following willing to give their all, than to attempt to appease all sides, water down your plan, and still have the sides aiming at each other because while they'll accept the bone thrown to them, they don't like the bone thrown to the other side. It's ironic, but you can't get popular by pleasing everyone. To paraphrase the general in one of the many great scenes in Patton:

We're fighting a war, darn it. We have to offend someone!

This is why Governor Christie is reaping a following, not only in New Jersey, but around the country. He's willing to take his policies forward not caring who complains or takes offense. He  obliterates the idea that conservative values and philosophy can win and work only in certain states or regions, or that candidates must be tailored to certain electorates. What it really shows is that conservatism, when its time-tested core of life, liberty and property are clearly articulated and fearlessly fight for, strikes the very core of the yearning most people innately have for freedom from a nanny state and their antipathy for a leviathan that thinks it can and must do everything (while driving us into insolvency) — and that they will justly reward those who do so.

QOD: Chamber Of Commerce President Says It Best About DISCLOSE Act

U. S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas Donahue said it best about the DISCLOSE Act. Never one to shy away from the attention grabbing quote going back to his days at the American Trucking Associations (that's right, it's plural), Mr. Donahue qualifies for our first federal Quote of the Day. From The Hill's On The Money Blog, by Jay Heflin:

The fact that this assault to the First Amendment is being considered as millions are desperately looking for work is a complete outrage. Despite their best efforts, there is no back room dark enough, no partisan motive strong enough, and no cynicism profound enough to barter away Americans' freedom of speech.

As we mentioned posted yesterday, the DISCLOSE Act is a backroom deal of the most nefarious kind to limit what groups outside labor unions and selected others can do and spend on political campaigns, and Mr. Donahue nailed it in the second sentence. (Wasn't the new regime going to end backroom deals?) We do have one concern. Whether deserved or not, the Chamber itself has had a history of flirting with the forces in D.C. not necessarily enamored with free markets and free ideas, as long as it and its members got what it needed. Crony capitalism as it's called. Being "pro business" doesn't mean a politician is for free markets, liberty and constitutionally limited government.

Finally, however, some are waking up to the reality of what happens when you swim with the sharks and lay with the lions too long. At first, you get a bit of a high — untouched in the proximity of such man eaters — thinking you actually can get along with them, cut your own deals, and leave each other to pursue separate agendas. But, in the end, they still are sharks and lions and they have their own instinctive agendas — to rule the seas and jungles. When they want their dinner, they don't care who you are or what you've done together in the past. They need to be satisfied and, if you are in their way, and inevitably everyone is, you will be eaten because what they eat is all the same to them.

Art In The Age Of Obama

Thanks to the alert by our friend Tea Party Jim, we now know the winner of the Public Option Please propagandagraffiti, Obama adoration, uhh, "art" contest. As Jim writes us:

The sickness of this kind of thinking is what is destroying this country. The thought that Washington, D.C., is the lifeblood of the nation is simply idiotic, but not surprising.

And apart from the misattribution of the quote, the doublespeak of the supposed Jefferson quote is nearly hilarious. "Without Liberty no happiness can be enjoyed by society" as the money quote to sell government rationed health care is simply Orwellian.

I can't add much more to that. Well stated, Jim. Gabriel Malor has something to say, too, at Ace of Spades HQ.

The winners are (although we thought liberalism doesn't have winners and losers, and that it makes everyone equal and happy):

First place and People's Choice winner, to an Amy Martin, with the perfectly understandable idea that our country is great because of Washington, D.C.:

publicoption1

Second Place, to Tatyana Fazlalizadeh (there's always a Tatyana involved in socialism, isn't there?), but lacking nothing in staged propaganda heart strings, and a bone to underappreciated photographers out there:

publicoption2

Finally, a disappointing, I'm sure, third place to the POTUS, represented by a Michael Cuffe, but it's my personal favorite, as well, and takes second to nothing in human adoration, if that's any consolation to him. After all, the bronze here is better than what he got at got at on his Olympics bid:

publicoption3

Robo Kaine Desperate To Salvage Shannon

The DNC Chairman, Governor Tim Kaine (contact here) sounded off last night in the attorney general's campaign. Literally. He voiced a "robo call" on behalf of Democrat AG candidate Steve Shannon. Unfortunately, he really didn't have much to say about Delegate Shannon's qualifications. Instead, he launched into a vicious attack on Republican attorney general candidate Ken Cuccinelli, using a Washington Post editorial as cover for calling him "bigoted" (see Norm's Leahy's first-hand account at Tertium Quids). I, myself, got a call from an African-American friend immediately after he received the call. He reasoned the calls were going into African-American neighborhoods to pump the fear of Satan into otherwise disinterested black voters. But they also went into upper income, socially conscious (i.e., "moderate") white neighborhoods, too, the areas that the GOP seems to be gaining back this campaign. Which makes sense: with a double digit lead, the only way to defeat Senator Cuccinelli is to expand the voter universe and flip some votes (or get them to skip the AG ballot).

What is interesting is why the DNC chairman and his hacks think they can pick off Senator Cuccinelli. In the SurveyUSA poll, out today, he has the largest lead of the three (20 points!) — and even the Democrat Public Policy Poll says he leads in all regions of the commonwealth, including the liberal bastion of Northern Virginia. (How can that be?) The answer? Trashing the constitution and our founding principles. By parodying Senator Cuccinelli's principled stands and record of adhering strictly to the constitution, liberals think they can caricature him into something abominable because adhering to Life and Liberty aren't nearly so important as doling out government-style happiness.

No matter whether one interprets "bigotry" to be the racial kind or the "intolerant of other lifestyles" kind (the call left that open to your interpretation), it's interesting to note that it was Senator Cuccinelli who accepted, attended, spoke and stayed late to meet people at the Virginia NAACP's recent forum and Delegate Shannon who accepted — but stood them up. It's also strange that Governor Kaine thought highly enough of Senator Cuccinelli to work with him on this summer's special session to remedy the impact on Virginia from the U.S. Supreme Court's Melendez-Diaz decision. (You remember . . .the session Shannon called a "political stunt.")

Even stranger is Delegate Shannon's previous dinner engagements at the home of Senator Cuccinelli. Guess he was an okay guy before he went up double digits, huh? 

Ever since he took the DNC job, Governor Kaine has not been able to decide whether he is governor or desperate partisan in chief. His level of campaigning is beneath the dignity of the office Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson once occupied.

A Big Thank You!

A big thank you to each and every one of the 600-plus who attended our Annual Gala last night: attendees, sponsors, volunteers, speakers, perfomers . . . everyone. You all have our sincerest, most heartfelt gratitude for all that you did to make last night a great success! We made it known that Phill Kline was not to be missed and he did not disappoint. There wasn't one person in the Greater Richmond Convention Center last night who wasn't genuinely inspired with his message of putting principle over politics, of what true leadership is, of allowing ourselves to be intolerant of injustice, especially injustice to the innocent-unborn; and the real characteristics of the in-fashion word "hope" (hint: you can't have hope without faith because hope is an expectation of something good yet to come, which is . . . faith).

For those not able to attend as well as who did and want to re-live the event, please return here next week and beyond: We hope to post pictures from the Gala and video of Mr. Kline's speech. We also hope to have more on yesterday's news conference at which Mr. Kline also attended.

Despite what many consider down times in Virginia (and America) for conservatism and traditional, Christian values in the public realm, last night's overwhelming outpouring of support, enthusiam and dedication to cause proves that our philosophy of limited government, liberty and protection of the family still resonates and thrives.

We sincerely cannot thank adequately enough all of you great Virginians who continue to support The Family Foundation of Virginia throughout the year with your time, financial contributions, counsel, steadfast encouragement in good times and bad, and for all manners of support you provide. Most of all, we deeply appreciate your constant prayers for us and our mission. Please know we reciprocate those prayers to all of you.