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CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Graduation Day at U.Va., May 2002; at Machu Picchu, Peru, March 2004; with Jacqueline at Humpback Rocks, June 2010; at the original Yankee Stadium, October 2008; musical event at church, March 2009; wayward Western Tanager, March 2002; Mount Rushmore, South Dakota, August 1998.


My background and interests

I am in the unusual position of being a native-born Virginian who grew up on the Great Plains of South Dakota. I have had a strong interest in politics and science since my early teen years, which is also when I began taking music seriously (playing guitar). After graduating from college, I returned to the Washington D.C.-Northern Virginia area, where I spent the 1980s working in the Federal Government. I then went back to graduate school at the University of Virginia, and in January 2002 earned a doctoral degree in Foreign Affairs. (See my Academics page.) The blog categories are indicative of my wide-ranging interests.

For most of my younger years I was on the left side of the political spectrum, though I always favored market-oriented economic policy, thanks in large measure to the Business School professors at the University of South Dakota. (I had a grudging, secret admiration for Ronald Reagan, you might say.) During the late 1980s I steadily lost faith in the Democrats and finally gave up in late 1990, disgusted with their leaders unwillingness to confront Saddam Hussein over his seizure of Kuwait. In the early 1990s I moved toward the political center and worked with the Concord Coalition, a public policy advocacy group devoted to balanced budgets and fiscal responsibility. The decisive turning point came in 1995 when the Republicans gained a majority in Congress and began implementing a comprehensive set of policy reforms. I was deeply impressed and became affiliated with the Grand Old Party.

In October 2002, a few months after earning my doctoral degree, I joined the Staunton Republican Committee. In early 2003 I created a joint Web site for the Staunton, Waynesboro, and Augusta County Republican Committees:, and in the fall of 2004 I temporarily set aside my career goals in order to devote full time to helping reelect President George W. Bush. After terminated in March 2007, I launched a Staunton-only Republican Web site:, at about the same time that I was elected Secretary of the Staunton Republican Committee. This was at a time of intense internal dispute, and I was removed from that post by higher party officials five months later, supposedly for the sake of party unity. Meanwhile, at the request of the local Republican elected officials, I set up the campaign Web site in September 2007. (As of September 2010, control of it has been transferred to the Augusta County Republican Committee.) At the urging of senior local party members, I ran for chairman of the Staunton Republican Committee in March 2008, but lost to the incumbent. One month later I was replaced as Web master, after which nearly all of the local party veterans allowed our committee memberships to lapse. Nevertheless, I have continued to help out with election campaigns since then. In early 2009 I was chosen to be the chairman of the Mountain Valley Republican group, which has begun to meet regularly with the Augusta County Republican Committee. The saga continues...

Meanwhile, I was busy developing this Web site, as well as several other Web sites. I learned HTML while teaching at Virginia Tech in 2001, setting up a course Web site, and later did the same while teaching at Mary Baldwin College, James Madison University, and Sweet Briar College. (CVCC pending...) In early 2007 I created a Web site for the local chapter of the American Red Cross,, which folded when the chapter was merged in May 2008. In September of that year I did likewise for Emmanuel Episcopal Church,, which is still going strong. In February 2008 I launched on behalf of the Augusta Bird Club, which is also still quite active. (For further explanation, see my Dec. 31, 2008 blog post.)

As for my attitudes, I am stubbornly nonconformist regarding social norms (i.e., not "politically correct"), and only vaguely attuned to fashion or pop culture. I am inclined toward the conservative side on most social issues, but I dislike the cynical exploitation of emotion-laden "wedge issues." My musical tastes range from rock and roll with a "country" slant, e.g., the Eagles; America; Crosby, Still, and Nash; and John Mellencamp; as well as mainstream rock (e.g., Fleetwood Mac or The Police) and some bluegrass and classical music. I have always enjoyed outdoor sports such as golf, softball, and bicycle riding, but was never a "jock." Over the years I have become more of a nature lover, and since the late 1990s have been a semi-serious bird watcher. I am fascinated by foreign cultures, especially Latin America. I am avid photographer, and take pride in the photo galleries that reflect my varied interests.

Finally, I am very proud of my wife Jacqueline, who was born in Peru. Indeed, the original (rather corny) name for this blog was "Los Clems." (Click here to see us together at Machu Picchu in Peru.) Cliches aside, we are truly blessed to share so many tastes in music (rock, salsa, etc.), food (enchiladas, salsa, etc.), and pastimes (hiking, bicycling, travel, camping, nature, baseball), and indeed we do almost everything together. Exception: I (Andrew) tire of shopping almost as quickly as Jacqueline tires of politics. (I must admit, her skepticism of what politicians promise is certainly well founded.) The content on this Web site in part reflects the fact that my career as a scholar of international relations, focusing on Latin America, is intertwined with our family life.

Political beliefs (arguable, fact based)

Until May 2008, the underlying theme of this blog was "subverting the dominant (statist) paradigm," which implied a libertarian zeal for radically scaling back the power of the government in domestic affairs. In any case, however, I never was fond of dogmatic approaches, and I'm a bit skeptical of the "rugged individualism" of Ayn Rand and the comcommitant atheistic tendencies. My idea of making this country a "more perfect union" (not a utopia) involves a building strong local community, and in that sense I share many of the inclinations as Rod Dreher, author of Crunchy Cons; see my Sept. 6, 2006 blog post on him. Here are some basic tenets of my somewhat unorthodox socio-political outlook:

Personal opinions ("no accounting for taste")

The general conclusion that I draw from these premises and observations is that the only way that the United States can avoid a further erosion of its precious culture of civility is to sharply cut back on the size and scope of the Federal government. The older I get, however, the less hopeful I am that such reforms might be practical, especially given the current backbiting in the Republican Party, and as a conservative I think the best we can do for the time being is to prevent a further loss of our freedoms. Among the political analysts who share my general view of what is wrong today with the Republican Party are former Sen. John Danforth (see my Oct. 2006 blog post), pollster Frank Luntz (see Feb. 2007), and former Reagan aide Bruce Bartlett (see March 2006). To me it is obvious that the recent successes of the Democratic Party, and the 2008 election of Barack Obama in particular, are direct, predictable results of a deeply dysfunctional Republican Party, which was led astray by former President George W. Bush. While generally sympathetic to the stated goals of the "Tea Party" movement, I remain skeptical of the anti-intellectual, populist style which it exhibits. I have grave doubts about whether it can help to restore the constitutional principles of limited government upon which our republic was founded.

Claims to "fame"

Does some of that sound far-fetched? Well, it's all true. Believe it ... or not!

Frequently asked questions


When did I start to blog?
I launched my personal Web site in early 2002 and first began to post blog-like comments semi-regularly in handpointMay 2002. However, I did not really blog on a consistent, standardized basis until November 2004, and the transition to the new (home-made) semi-automated blog system based on permalinks was completed in handpointDecember 2004. As far as I know, I am the first blogger in the Staunton-Waynesboro-Augusta County (SWAC) area.

What were some other key blogging milestones?
Based on my new skills in PHP scripting, in late May 2005 I made the blog system 99 percent automatic, and created a blog post template page for the sake of aesthetics and ease of navigation. In handpointSeptember 2006 I enabled the "impressions" feedback feature on my baseball stadium pages, and enabled blog comments shortly thereafter. Finally, I created RSS/XML feeds (from the proverbial sweat of my own brow, mind you) in handpointFebruary 2007, after which this blog began to be "broadcast" to a wider audience for the first time. During 2010, I gradually reformatted nearly all of the informational background (non-blog) and photo gallery pages, adopting a uniform navigational interface and making other enhancements for the sake of convenience and aesthetics.

Where did the name of this blog (or lack thereof) come from?
It's taken from the song by the acoustic rock group America "Horse With No Name," which I adopted in December 2005. It's also an (ironic) allusion to my very open blog identity. The blog itself has "no name," but the blog author has always been clearly identified.

What is my relationship with other local bloggers?
Through my encouragement, other SWAC-area Republicans began blogging in 2005 and 2006, and at first I was very proud to have led the way. I always sought to encourage active, open, constructive dialogue among Republicans, hoping to build a bigger and stronger majority. Sadly, however, others in the party disagreed with that "Big Tent" approach, and tensions began to grow. In April 2007 a nasty dispute with some of my erstwhile colleagues erupted as a side-effect of the bitter Hanger-Sayre primary campaign race. Some of us have since reconciled, and I remain hopeful that, someday, we will "all get along" once again.

Where did that background photo in my blog banner come from?
It's the Missouri River Valley, near where I grew up in South Dakota.

Do I have a FaceBook account?
facebook Yes, I reluctantly signed up in March 2009, and after some struggle I gradually figured out how to make good use of it. Since the fall of 2009 I have been keeping up with it on a regular basis, usually at least once a day. I will be "friends" with folks who have already registered for this Web site, or those with whom I have become acquainted via e-mail. Thus far I have resisted the Twitter phenomenon, loathing the way that it forces the English language to be compacted, but I may eventually relent...

Do I have a Blogger account?
Yes, but mainly for the purpose of commenting on other blogs, which I don't do very often. See my Blogger profile page. In late 2006 and early 2007 I posted a few blog comments under the name "Andrew C" or "And Rue."

Do I have a YouTube account?
Yes, but I have only submitted a few videos thus far. See my YouTube page.

Do I have a LinkedIn account?
Yes, I finally joined in March 2010, but have not done much with it thus far.

What other online social networking services do I use?
In 2007 I also posted a few comments as "Cholo1" on the Staunton News Leader "talkback" feature, have done so (as "AndrewClem") more frequently on their new system that began in April 2008. In March 2009 I registered with, using the cryptic pseudonym "AC/DC2005," which stands for my initials, the District of Columbia, and the year that baseball returned there. In late 2009 I registered with, using a similar moniker.

Who is my intended blogging audience?
Those who share my passion for baseball, and ballparks in particular, of course, but also anyone who cares deeply about this country and is searching for a fresh, thoughtful point of view on vital issues of the day -- more likely, someone in Virginia and especially western Virginia.

Why do I continue to blog?
Because my personal and educational background gives me a unique perspective on politics and matters of public interest in general, and I believe very deeply that our country -- and the Republican Party in particular -- needs more independent, honest voices who are not afraid to "question authority" or challenge "conventional wisdom."

"I blog, therefore I think I am."
(attributed to a nameless blogger)

These are a few of my favorite things (with appropriate links):

Episcopal Shield
Wash. Nationals logo
Warbler montage
Peru flag

Be patient...

Subliminal Apple

Zippy the Pinhead

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