October 29, 2005
Local Republican Party members and candidates gathered this afternoon at the rural home of Kevin and Vonda Lacey, just west of Staunton. It was a blindlingly bright day, just perfect for taking pictures. The featured attraction was Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman, who graciously consented to pose with me twice. (My camera's memory card was full the first time; D'oh! Thanks to Chris Green for taking this photo.) In his pep talk to the "troops," Mehlman drove home the importance of the Virginia statewide races in setting national political trends as we head into the 2006 congressional midterm elections. Indeed, both parties have invested considerable resources and deployed a number of staff members to Virginia for this campaign. Jerry Kilgore pulled slightly ahead of Tim Kaine in one of the latest polls, but it is still too close to call. Mehlman countered the worries about President Bush's recent political setbacks by pointing to recent major steps forward in the nascent democratic regimes of Iraq and Afghanistan, and to the rising pressure on the teetering dictatorship of Bashar Assad in Syria, which has been linked by U.N. investigators to the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri.
Other GOP candidates present today included the GOP nominee for Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling, for Attorney General, Bob McDonnell, as well as incumbent Delegates Steve Landes, Chris Saxman, and Ben Cline, as well as incumbent Staunton Commissioner of Revenue, Ray Ergenbright. Several photos I took at the event can be seen at swacgop.org. Congressman Bob Goodlatte could not attend because he was in Grottoes, Virginia at the funeral for Marine Corps Lance Corporal Daniel Bubb, who was killed in action recently in Iraq.
Chad Dotson, at Commonwealth Conservative, observes that in the last three election campaigns, the Washington Post has consistently underestimated the actual votes received by the Republican candidates for governor in Virginia by 4 to 6 percent. The fact that I rely so heavily on the Post for their coverage of national and world news does not mean that I'm unware of their editorial bias, which occasionally seeps into their news reporting. Nobody's perfect, and I just take that for granted. It was certainly no surprise to me that the Post endorsed all three Democrat candidates for statewide races in Virginia. At least they're not as far off center as the New York Times!
Austin Bay wisely cautions President Bush against either defending Scooter Libby too strongly, or attacking Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald. He notes that one of Libby's former legal clients was Marc Rich, "the mega-felon pardoned by Clinton in the waning days of Clinton's administration." Libby represented Rich from 1985 to 2000; see CNN. Sounds like bad company.