Wow! Read this Bacon’s Rebellion article, Winning On Principles, by Club for Growth President and certified fraud examiner Phil Rodokanarkis, someone who I’ve corresponded with occasionally and seems like a nice enough guy. Phil’s article has two points: 1. Kilgore lost because he did not satisfy his base with tax cut and spending proposals, so they stayed home. I think this weakened Kilgore’s candidacy, but I don’t think he could have made up 6 points with tax crazed Republicans (most of whom held their nose and voted for him anyway). 2. Bolling won because he ran as a true conservative. This is rubbish. Bolling barely beat a candidate nearly as liberal as Barbara Boxer…in a red state! If Phil is trying to glean a lesson from the race between Byrne and Bolling, then the lesson should be the following: Bolling is a bad candidate, don’t nominate him for Governor in ’09! 3. Ken Hutchinson sucks. I’ve met the guy (at a Sorensen event) and after hearing him speak for a couple of hours about campaign strategy and his past successes, I felt like he was a competent guy. Sure, he made some mistakes in this race, but I think he was burdened by a fundamentally bad candidate. If Jerry Kilgore was a Bill Bolling (extremely anti-tax) or a Bob McDonnell (no sodomy), he would have run as one. I’m confident about that. But Kilgore, like many of us, has subtleties to his policy positions. Unlike Bolling, he was open to tax increase in rare circumstances, and unlike McDonnell, he has enjoyed the occasional sodomy. He ran as a fairly conservative candidate who didn’t want to offend moderate members of his party who had been his friends for years. I believe that’s just the type of guy he is…an honest guy, and a decent person. Now, with that aside, check out Ken’s angry reply (along with Waldo’s analysis). Best passage:
P.S. Ignoring you and other nutjobs like Paul Jost was perhaps one of the most rewarding aspects of this campaign. We may have lost in the end, but we did so with our dignity and pride intact and our principles firmly in place and by not selling out to you and your merry band of misfits, I am very much at peace with myself.
Overall, I agree with Phil’s assessment that Virginia Republicans must boot the RINOs if they want to succeed in the long run. I know that’s a contrarian opinion for a Democrat to take, but come on folks…do you really think it helps the Republican Party to have LIBERALS like John Chichester (a guy I love) demanding huge tax increases above and beyond what even Democratic Governors can tolerate? Do you think it helps the party to have a huge bloody legislative war every year at GA within the party? Of course not. It distracts them, and it makes Democrats like Warner (who is actually a conniving political mastermind) look moderate and reasonable. And voters turn away from the GOP. Incidentally, I have a theory about why a red state like Virginia supported the 2004 tax increase and rejected the VCAP challengers. It’s not because Virginia’s ideological breakdown has change… It’s because Virginians still remember the irresponsibility of Jim Gilmore. But that memory will soon fade. As time passes, Virginia voters will return to their old tax slashing ways. In fact, I think the Senate’s attempt to raise gas taxes this winter will probably accelerate this process. The sooner the Republicans purge the RINOS, the sooner they’ll win again in Virginia. Tax cuts might not always be a sound policy, but if American history has proven one thing, it’s that promising to cut taxes is almost always a sound political strategy. Don’t worry Virginia GOP – your tax cutting days are far from over! PS: My second favorite passage from Hutchinson’s letter is the following:
Wayne Ozmore, the GOP™s 4th District C.D. Chair and a friend of mine recently sent me a famous Teddy Roosevelt quote (see below“the last line describes you perfectly) that I believe to be very appropriate and fitting for people like you. You see, it™s people like Wayne and myself who actually get out there and roll up our sleeves and get our hands dirty and work the long hours for the cause while folks like yourself and plenty of others like to sit back and type away on your computers and BLOGS, but in reality, each of you is kind of sad and pathetic in your own right. When you build up the same grit under your fingernails that guys like Wayne Ozmore and myself have, come back and we™ll talk, but in the meantime, why don™t you spare everyone your uninformed and laughable babble and try and earn a shred of credibility so that you don™t remain the laughing stock of Virginia.
Notice the disdain for blogs. He capitalized it for God sakes. Guess what? He’s correct! Blogging is a great hobby, and I personally love it. But if you really want to change things, stop whining, get out there and contact some voters. There are many ways to do it, it doesn’t always involve grunt work. But let’s face it – blogs reach committed activists, and that’s about it! Update: As Shaun Kenney points out, Ken’s email was prefaced by this Paul Jost commentary:
This type of work product by Jerry Kilgore™s campaign manager may explain why Jerry Kilgore came in 6th last week. Even Leslie Byrne did better than Jerry Kilgore. Fortunately, Bill Bolling and Bob McDonnell had campaign managers that were stable. Paul Jost, Chairman Virginia Club for Growth
Anyone who thinks the Club for Growth and their kind are an irrelevant minority better think again. VCAP spent $763k in the 2005 cycle on behalf of conservative House candidates. That’s almost twice as much as the Virginia Democratic Caucus raised and spent!