Thursday, December 13, 2018
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So Much for “Drill, Baby, Drill”

It's now Day #52 of the Gulf of Mexico Oil Disaster, and we've learned a great deal. First and foremost, we've learned that all those oil industry apologists, including several who used to post comments here, were absolutely, completely, and horribly wrong when they claimed that offshore oil drilling was "safe." Most of us here at Blue Virginia always knew that this argument was an outright lie, or at best "truthy," but now it's deader than the Gulf of Mexico's fishing industry that BP's arrogance and irresponsibility has killed. :(

Second, we've learned that gutting the government, slashing oversight and regulation, and letting the industry - in this case, Big Oil - run amok, is a catastrophe waiting to happen.  For more on this topic, see this article in today's Washington Post. In short, the horrors we're experiencing right now in the Gulf of Mexico - pelicans covered in oil, turtles floating dead in pools of black goo, an entire way of life threatened, billions of dollars in tourism revenue down the tubes, etc. - is the inevitable result of  Club for Growth-style "conservative" "thinking."  Never let anyone fool you again or claim to represent a "compassionate" strain of this nihilistic ideology.  If they try to tell you that, just remind them what happened to the Gulf of Mexico after years of their "let industry get away with murder" policies.

Finally, we've learned what many of us already knew, that Sarah Palin's crazed chants of "drill, baby, drill" were as mindless and toxic as everything else that comes out of her mouth (or read off her hand).  Check out these poll results, which finds that just 25% of Americans now support increased drilling in U.S. coastal waters, compared to 31% who say it should be decreased and 41% who say it should be kept the same. In contrast, 87% of Americans say we should develop more solar and wind power (correct answer!).  In addition, majorities of Americans blame "weak federal regulations on offshore oil drilling," as well as "Inadequate enforcement of existing regulations" and "Unnecessary risks taken by BP and its drilling partners" for this debacle. Once again, correct answers!

In sum, after 52 days (and counting) of horror in the Gulf of Mexico -- all courtesy of the worldview espoused by people like Sarah Palin and Ken Kook-inelli -- any politician who continues to align himself or herself with Palin should be automatically disqualified from serious consideration for public office.  That includes Palin endorsees Carly Fiorina in California, Rand Paul in Kentucky, and Nikki Haley in South Carolina, none of whom should be allowed anywhere close to the seats of power. Unless, that is, you like seeing pictures of dead, oil-soaked dolphins and pelicans, and people whose way of life has been utterly devastated.

Jim Webb Likely “No” Vote on Murkowski Anti-Environment Resolution!

Excellent news from Environment & Energy Daily (subscription required).
Several moderate Senate Democrats yesterday announced plans to oppose a GOP-led effort to stymie federal climate rules, which may be enough to sink the resolution scheduled for a vote this afternoon.

Some Democrats who were seen as potential backers of Sen. Lisa Murkowski's resolution to veto U.S. EPA climate rules publicly announced that they plan to oppose the measure.


Moderate Democratic Sens. James Webb of Virginia, Byron Dorgan of North Dakota and Mark Begich of Alaska all said they are likely to vote against the resolution today.

Debate on the measure is expected to kick off today at 9:30 a.m...

As far as I'm aware, this is the first time Webb's said out loud that he would oppose this monstrosity. Thank you, Senator, and excellent work by everyone who called his office and told him to oppose this latest assault on the environment by Big Oil Republicans!

UPDATE: I just watched Webb's floor speech. All I can say is, I'm happy he's voting against the Murkowski monstrosity. Other than that, I really can't follow his thinking on this one.

UPDATE #2: Webb's statement is in the extended text.  I agree with Webb that Congress shouldn't cede its authority over dealing with climate change.  That is, as long as Congress acts ASAP.  If not, then they've de facto ceded their authority anyway.  Also, I'd point out that Congress' - and by that I mean the Senate's - failure to act on this issue for years now indicates a dysfunctionality that probably won't be cured in the next few weeks, months, or even years. Hence, the EPA option.

Herrity Supporter Laments: Tea Partiers “are against everything”

As a Democrat, I've got to say I'm very much enjoying the aftermath of tea party favorite Keith Fimian's victory Tuesday evening over establishment Republican (formerly "moderate" Republican) Pat Herrity. For instance, check this out in today's Washington Post.
Meanwhile, Northern Virginia's moderate Republicans, once defined by an unusual brand of fiscal conservatism and an independent streak on social issues, such as immigration, are scratching their heads and wondering about their futures.

"It certainly is concerning," said Supervisor Michael R. Frey (R-Sully), a five-term moderate who might face his own intra-party challenger in 2011. "The frustrating thing is if you do anything, you are no longer considered a conservative. It seems like tea partiers are against everything. What are they for?"

Herrity was roundly endorsed by all of Fairfax County's Republican leadership, prompting questions Wednesday about the party's political relevancy.

In short, it appears that moderate Republicans are an endangered species in Northern Virginia, and around the country for that matter. These days, anything to the left of Attila the Hun earns Republican politicians the dreaded "RINO" ("Republican in Name Only") label and a one-way ticket to Pat Herrity-style defeat.  Thus, Michael R. Frey's angst over the loss by his pal Pat Herrity to right-wingnut Keith Fimian.

The problem for Frey is the problem for all Republicans these days is simple: they have to move (far) right -- and be "against everything", as Frey laments -- in order to win the party's nomination, but doing that makes them far less electable in moderate, suburban, "swing" districts like the 11th CD. Again, as a Democrat, I've got to say I enjoy this very much. However, as a former Teddy Roosevelt-style Republican and also as an American first and foremost, I find it sad to see this once-great party continue its descent into extremism, intolerance, know-nothingism, and a rigid "party of no" attitude.  As far as Virginia's 11th CD is concerned, the bottom line is this: Keith Fimian has morphed into a Tea Party Republican, he is unelectable in this district, and congratulations will soon be in order to Gerry Connolly on his re-election to a second term in Congress!

P.S. With regard to his comment that the tea partiers "are against everything," I've just gotta ask Michael Frey, "when did you figure THAT out?!?"

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More Endorsements for Susan Mariner

The election for DPVA 1st Vice Chair is this Saturday, less than 72 hours away. I wanted to update everyone on Susan Mariner's endorsement list, which  just keeps on growing as the vote nears. Here are a few endorsers since yesterday.

*Phil Burnette, 5th CD Dem Committee Vice Chair, who says, "Susan Mariner is one of the hardest working, most effective, and most dedicated Democrats I know, as highlighted by her attendance at the 5th CD Democratic Committee's nominating convention for Tom Perriello this past weekend. In addition, Susan's commitment to Democratic committees and communities across Virginia, including in rural parts of the Commonwealth, is unsurpassed. I strongly endorse Susan Mariner for the DPVA 1st Vice Chair position and urge others to vote for her!"
*Lovely Lall, Catoctin District Chair and Asian American Community activist
*Thom Beres, Potomac District Chair
*Joe Fitzgerald, Vice Chair 6th CD
*Elaine Owens, Secretary 6th CD
*Lorene Martin, 5th CD Treasurer
*Sam Crockett, 10th CD Chair
*Linda Wyatt, 6th District Committee Chair
*Mike Lieberman, Arlington County Democratic Committee Chair

Thanks to everyone for their endorsements, can we say "momentum?" :) Go Susan!

P.S. Also, thanks to the 368 people who have joined the Susan Mariner for DPVA 1st Vice Chair Facebook page.

Winners and Losers: Virginia 2010 Primary Edition

Here are a few "winners" and "losers" from last night. This list is certainly not comprehensive, so feel free to add your own in the comments section!

Gerry Connolly: He gets to face the same opponent - Keith Fimian - he defeated easily (55%-43%) in 2008. That doesn't guarantee him victory in this wild and crazy election year, but Team Connolly has got to be happy right about now that they don't have to face Pat Herrity this fall.

Vincent Harris: The Too Conservative blogger and political consultant took a lot of crap for his (paid) support for Keith Fimian, but in the end Vince laughed last, as Fimian won easily (56%-44%) over Pat Herrity last night for the 11th CD Republican nomination.

Jim Moran: As The Green Miles wrote last night, "Whenever VA08 Republicans are posed with a choice between a candidate voters might actually like and the candidate who most rabidly espouses radical hard right ideology, they choose Teh Crazy every time." Last night, "Teh Crazy" was purist conservative Patrick Murray, who defeated "progressive" Republican Matthew Berry 52%-48%. The only question now for November is Jim Moran's margin of victory.

UPDATE: Norm Leahy points out that Eric Cantor was a big "winner" last night. Unfortunately.

Scott Rigell and Glenn Nye: In the 2nd CD, wealthy used-car salesman (and former Barack Obama donor) Scott Rigell won the Republican nomination to face Glenn Nye this fall. However, Rigell only received 39.55% of the vote, not particularly impressive. Also, there's a third-party, conservative candidate in this race, Kenny Golden.  If Golden can pick 5 or 10 percentage points among all those conservatives who didn't support Rigell last night, it could boost Nye to victory in November.

Chris LaCivita: His candidate this cycle, State Senator Robert Hurt, cruised to the Republican nomination in the 5th CD. On the downside, Hurt received under 50% of the vote and will likely face a conservative, third-party challenger (or two) in addition to Rep. Tom Perriello this fall.

2nd CD Tea Party: Their endorsed candidate, Ben Loyola, received just 26.6% of the vote last night, losing handily to establishment candidate (and former Barack Obama donor and "Cash for Clunkers" recipient) Scott Rigell. Then, as Bearing Drift reports, the fun really began, as the Hampton Roads Tea Party Chair called the bottom three candidates - Scott Taylor, Ed Maulbeck and Jessica Sandlin - "selfish" for not dropping out and throwing their support to Loyola. Way to unify the party heading into the General Election!

5th CD Tea Party: Couldn't coalesce around a single candidate to challenge Robert Hurt, but instead had 6 - count'em! - candidates to splinter the vote among themselves.  The predictable end result, as most of us have been predicting for months now, was Hurt winning easily over the crowded Tea Party field. Is this disorganization and lack of discipline the Achilles Heel of the Tea Party movement, just as with many other movements?

"Joe" the "Plumber": The candidate he endorsed, Laurence Verga, received a grand total of 802 votes (2.27% of the total) in the 5th CD Republican primary. It appears the "plumber" just got flushed (or clogged, I can't decide on the metaphor here).

Krystal Ball: Her only real hope of winning this November was to have Catherine "Bullet Box" Crabill as the Republican nominee or at least as a third-party protest candidate. At the minimum, a poor showing last night by Rep. Rob Wittman would have been encouraging news for Ball. Instead, we saw Wittman annihilate Crabill and cruise to an impressive victory.  Bummer for Ball.

The Most Important News of the Night

Forget politics for  a minute. In the most important news of the night, Stephen Strasburg struck out 14 batters - a new Nationals record - and got his first Major League win.  Of many, I predict!

Polls Are Closed, Results Open Thread

Please use this as an open thread to discuss the primary results - Virginia and national, if you wish - as they come in tonight.  Personally, I'm crossing my fingers for Bill Halter over Blanche Lincoln, plus the craziest, most far-right-wing, and hopefully least electable Republicans in every one of their contests. For instance, go Sharron Angle in Nevada!

UPDATE 7:33 pm: Rob Wittman is annihilating Catherine Crabill, 89%-11%, with 47% of precincts reporting in.  Wittman is the winner.

In the 11th CD, Keith Fimian is out to a 65%-35% lead over Pat Herrity, but with only 9.5% of precincts reporting.

In the 8th CD, with 35% of precincts reporting, it's Matthew Berry with a slight lead (52%-48%) over Patrick Murray.

In the 5th CD, with 33% of precincts reporting, Robert Hurt leads at 40% of the vote, followed by Jim McKelvey at 31%, Mike McPadden at 11%, Ken Boyd at 10%, Feda Morton at 5%.

UPDATE 7:37 pm: In the 2nd CD, with 26% of precincts reporting, it's Scott Rigell at 40%, Bert Mizusawa at 29%, Ben Loyola at 19%.  Looking pretty good for Rigell so far.

UPDATE 7:43 pm: With 53% of precincts reporting in the 5th CD, Robert Hurt is pulling away (46%) over Jim McKelvey (28%) and everyone else under 10%.  I think it's fair to say that Hurt will win this one. If only the tea partiers could have united around 1 candidate; united they stand, divided they fall?

UPDATE 7:48 pm: Wow, Pat Herrity is getting walloped by Keith Fimian with 25% of precincts reporting -- 62% Fimian, 38% Herrity.  It looks like NLS nailed the call of Fimian over Herrity. Also, turnout appears on track to surpass Leslie Byrne's key number of 30,000. We'll see.

UPDATE 7:52 pm: Scott Rigell is extending his lead in the 2nd CD with 37% of precincts reporting. Currently Rigell 41%, Loyola 23%, Mizusawa 21%. This one appears to be pretty much in the bag for Rigell.

UPDATE 7:55 pm: Marc Ambinder tweets, "More evidence the Tea Party can't organize its way out of a bag, politically: easy win for establishment candidate in VA 05...."

UPDATE 7:56 pm: With 40% of precincts reporting in the 11th, Fimian is winning easily over Herrity, 62%-38%. Big win for Vincent Harris of Too Conservative; he was Fimian's netroots guy on this one.  

UPDATE 8:04 pm: With Hurt's win in the 5th CD, the question is whether - and how many - independent candidates, "tea party" or otherwise, there will be.  Seems like Hurt winning makes it more likely, but we'll have to see.

UPDATE 8:07 pm: With 58% of precincts, it's now Fimian 61%-Herrity 39%. What happened to Pat Herrity?!? He's certainly no Jack Herrity!

UPDATE 8:15 pm: In the 8th CD, with 74% of precincts reporting, Patrick Murray leads Matthew Berry by just 16 votes.  Most exciting race of the night so far!

UPDATE 8:21 pm: Keith Fimian tweets, "WTOP has called me the winner of the election! Link coming soon."

UPDATE 8:24 pm: "Joe" the "Plumber"'s pick in the 5th CD, Laurence Verga, ends up with just over 2% of the vote. Now that's some plumbing power! Heh.

UPDATE 8:31 pm: With 90% of the vote counted in the 8th CD, Patrick Murray now leads by 307 votes. He's probably got it.

UPDATE 8:53 pm: Turnout in the 11th CD is over Leslie Byrne's magic number of 30,000, meaning that Keith Fimian has a shot this November. Not a good one, mind you, but a shot nonetheless!  Also, it looks like Patrick Murray will be the Republican sacrificial lamb nominee against Jim Moran.

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