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June 27, 2012 [LINK / comment]

Romney courts Va. swing voters

Mitt Romney held a rally in Salem, Virginia today yesterday, appealing to small businesses and the employees thereof. His main point was a very compelling one: That the cost burden of Obamacare is stifling the creation of new jobs in America. He spoke to over a thousand supporters at a rally held at the Carter Machinery Co., vowing to "get rid of Obamacare. We're going to stop it on day one." Much depends on what the Supreme Court decides on the legal challenge to it, and we will presumably find out very soon. See

The one aspect of Romney's speech that gave me pause was saying "If Obamacare is not deemed constitutional grounds, then the first three and a half years of Obama's term will have been wasted..." That comes close to politicizing the role of the Supreme Court, which is the last thing we want at this delicate time. I have been hearing plenty of noise from folks on the left about that lately.

Last month, Romney gave the commencement address at Liberty University in Lynchburg. It was awkward but necessary part of his campaign strategy to reassure Christian conservatives that he is attentive to their concerns, mainly the right to life. He apparently pulled it off pretty well, and I just hope he can avoid falling into the same trap that John McCain did four years ago, spending so much time trying to shore up the GOP "Base" that he neglects the essential task of attracting independent voters who opted for Obama in 2008.

I look forward to seeing Gov. Romney in some future campaign stop in Virginia, which he definitely needs to win this fall. The Old Dominion was totally overlooked during the primary campaign, because of the restrictive manner in which the political system in Virginia operates, making it hard to get on the ballot. (Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum failed to qualify.)

Romney won the New Hampshire primary election, with 39.3% of the vote, a large margin over second-place Ron Paul, who received 22.9%. [He also won key victories in Florida (Jan. 31), Georgia and Ohio (both on March 6), and Illinois (March 18). When it became clear in early April that Rick Santorum could not win his home state of Pennsylvania, he dropped out, at which point Romney became the presumptive nominee. Until recently, Ron Paul continued to campaign, mostly to make a point.]

Incumbents sweep Va. primaries

In yet another huge waste of taxpayer money,* Republicans (and perhaps others) in the Old Dominion went to the polls on June 12 to choose the Grand Old Party's nominee for congressional and Senate races. Few people expected the challenging candidates to prevail, but there was hope that some races would at least be close. That was not the case. (For some background from my perspective, see my June 7 blog post.)

Among the seven Republican challengers to the five "establishment" candidates in Virginia (four of whom were incumbents), only [two -- including] Karen Kwiatkowski, here in the Sixth District -- mustered as much as one-third of the vote. Overall turnout was about seven percent, illustrating again how wasteful this process is at a time when state government budgets are so tight.

Race Incumbent % Challenger % Challenger % Challenger %
U.S. Senate George Allen 65.5 Jamie Radtke 23.0 Bob Marshall 6.8 E.W. Jackson 4.7
4th District Randy Forbes 89.8 Bonnie Girard 10.2
6th District Bob Goodlatte 66.5 Karen Kwiatkowski 33.5
7th District Eric Cantor 79.4 Floyd Bayne 20.6
11th District Gerald Connolly (D),
not in this race
Chris Perkins 62.5 Ken Vaughn 37.5

SOURCE: State Board of Elections

Just prior to the election, Augusta County Republican Chairman Bill Shirley had a column in the News Virginian, in which he quoted an excerpt of Thomas Jefferson's Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. (I have filled in the ellipses with omitted text in brackets.)

"truth is great and will prevail if left to herself, [that she is the proper and sufficient antagnoist to error, and has nothing to fear from the conflict,] unless by human interposition disarmed of her natural weapons, free argument and debate, [errors ceasing to be dangerous when it is permitted freely to contradict them.]" SOURCE: Thomas Jefferson Selected Writings, Harvey C. Mansfield Jr., ed. (1979)

According to Shirley, "Bob Goodlatte has disarmed truth by refusing to debate." I think he made a very valid point. Goodlatte had a chance to show some real courage and accountability, with relatively little risk, but he wimped out. As someone who has long advocated more open dialogue within the Republican Party, I was disappointed.

On the other hand, David Reynolds wrote at, "Sorry, Karen, you had an opportunity to run a reasonable, truthful campaign against an incumbent who is far from being the most decisive member of the U. S. Congress. Your campaign failed to inform the voter." I admit feeling a little uneasy with some of her campaign statements, but at least she opened some eyes and got people to think more than usual.

* If they are going to have publicly-funded primaries in Virginia, which I oppose on principle, then they should at least all be consolidated into a single date. Having a presidential primary separate from a congressional-senatorial primary is just plain stupid.

[NOTE: A few corrections and edits were made about 20 hours after the original post.]

Posted (or last updated or commented upon): 28 Jun 2012, 11: 39 PM

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