June 1, 2007
Braving nearby thunderstorms, over a hundred friends and supporters of State Senator Emmett Hanger showed up at the home of Tom and Peggy Sheets last night. (Fortunately, the rain held off until later in the evening.) The event featured nationally-known musicians Jimmy Fortune (one of the Statler Brothers) and Robin Williams (half of the Robin and Linda Williams duo). After playing their musical set, Fortune and Williams made very gracious and heartfelt appeals to the guests to help re-elect Emmett Hanger. Williams stressed that the senator is a strong "reasonable voice" in Richmond whom we should not take for granted, to which Fortune said "Amen." Fortune went on, "Emmett's always been a good friend of mine. I'm here not so much for politics, but just to support my good friend, Emmett Hanger." He also quipped "And I don't want him in Nashville, OK?" A bit later, the Senator strapped on a guitar and entertained the crowd with a "one-hit medley" of a song he wrote, earning (wryly begrudging) admiration from Mr. Fortune and loud applause from his supporters. I play guitar, and I must say, he certainly impressed me.
Besides the musical stars, there were a number of big names in local politics as well, including Delegate Steve Landes, Augusta County supervisors Larry Howdyshell and David Beyeler, as well as County Treasurer Richard Homes and Commissioner of Revenue Jean Shrewsbury. Staunton Republicans Cliff and Erma Fretwell, Richard and Elnora Hazlett, and James and Stacey Morris were also there, besides many others from the surrounding area. We all had a wonderful time, enjoying great music, a lovely setting, and fine catered food and beverages.
Later on, the host Tom Sheets introduced Senator Hanger, recalling when the two of them used to ride the same school bus together. Sheets said his grandmother often asked why Emmett was always carrying a stack of books home with him but Sheets wasn't. The folks got a hearty laugh from that. Sheets said that he is now making up for not doing his homework by asking all the guests to do their "homework" in getting out the vote for Emmett Hanger. Finally, Senator Hanger spoke briefly about his re-election bid:
I intend to win this election with your help, and I can with your help, and I was telling someone this a while ago. You know, God has a plan for us all, and if I happen not to win the election, but have friends like you behind me anyway, that's what it's about. The election is secondary to that. Just an affirmation of the fact that you have friends, that you've accumulated friends over time and that people will stand with you at critical junctures in your life, and I thank you for that.
I spoke with quite a few people at last night's event, including many I had never met before, and every one of them expressed a strong belief that re-electing Emmett Hanger to the state Senate is crucial to the future of Virginia. It may be getting late in the campaign, but Sen. Hanger's supporters are devoted to the cause of good, thrifty government, and they will be sparing no effort to help him stay in office over the next ten days. Personally, I am proud and deeply honored to play a (small) role in Senator Hanger's campaign, and however it turns out, I will have no regrets. Many, many thanks to Tom and Peggy Sheets for helping keep a good man like Emmett Hanger in the state Senate.
I have very little patience for strident personal attacks and incessant bickering, so I refuse to take part in the blog frenzy sparked by Republitarian two days ago. The facts of the DWI cases were verified by The New Dominion, and everyone can decide for themselves whether they are relevant to the 24th district senate race. Phil Croninger, Tom Krehbiel, and Virginia Virtucon each seemed to think that this flap reflected poorly on Hanger's campaign, but it was really just the doing of one over-eager blogger. If any of them had the first-hand knowledge of local politics in this area that I have, they would have arrived at a different conclusion about which side is really "playing dirty." I thought "Bloggers4Hanger" was just a parody blog all along, aptly mocking the hyperbolic rhetoric on Bloggers4Sayre. After my May 19 post, I never bothered to link to it. When it started getting semi-serious about actual issues, it "jumped the shark," and it is just as well that it has been taken down. I don't approve of the "eye-for-an-eye" approach to politics, and I know Emmett Hanger doesn't either.
Also, someone has been defacing Sayre road signs with the phrase "Eats Babies," and several of the Bloggers4Sayre complained about this, implying that Hanger supporters might be behind it. Not bloody likely. These are the same people, of course, who suggest that I am working on behalf of MoveOn.org, and who have often shown hypersensitivity to any kind of criticism, so their protests should be taken with a grain of salt. I noticed a post from one of them yesterday on BNN-Virginia ("Scott Sayre Eats Babies"), but it was later deleted from Bloggers4Sayre. Interesting...
Doug Mataconis has more guts in standing up to "The Base" than most other right-of-center bloggers in this state: "Sam Brownback Is A Moonbat." It is in reference to Sen. Brownback's statement that any scientific research that contradicts the book of Genesis should be dismissed as part of an atheistic agenda.