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FCRC Invites you to “Join us on Labor Day” and attend...

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I'm getting mixed messages from the Fairfax County Republican Committee and the Northern Virginia Tea Party.  FCRC Chairman Jay McConville is wishing me "a wonderful Labor Day weekend" and inviting me to attend Ron Wilcox's canvass near Chantilly, VA.  "I know it's an important day," he says, "but I am hoping that you can spare two hours toward our cause."

But wait! The same Ron Wilcox, leader of the Northern Virginia Tea Party, is also inviting me to his canvass event. "Spare two hours to boycott Labor Day, the day celebrating Big Labor, by working two hours to defeat Barack Obama."


click here for larger image


So which one is it?  Is Labor Day an "important day" or is it something we should boycott?

Crazy Train Wreck? Solyndra-Obsessed, Cantor-Backed Stearns Losing Primary

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Rep. Cliff StearnsRep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL) is one of Congress' craziest members, a birther who's led the GOP's witch hunt on clean energy investments and called for women who have abortions to be thrown in prison. But after last night's primary, it looks like he'll be going from crazy Congressman to crazy private citizen - he's narrowly losing his Republican primary to a local veterinarian named Ted Yoho. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) has stood by Stearns through all of his nuttiness. Heckuva job, Eric.

This is usually where I'd copy & paste some trenchant news analysis, but ... no one seems to know quite why Stearns is down by 800 votes. Even the local Gainesville Sun seems to have no idea what happened, other than to speculate Yoho's attacks on Stearns as a corrupt career politician may have worked. But while politicos like to espouse Unified Theories that prove they're Savvy Insiders, it could simply be that in a multiple-candidate, low-turnout primary in the dog days of August, anything can happen.

Yoho is being called a Tea Party candidate, but it's hard to imagine he could get much further right than Stearns, rated more conservative than GOP VP nominee Paul Ryan by the National Journal & called one of Congress' conservative leaders by the American Conservative Union. If you're a sitting Republican member of Congress, you could look at Stearns' likely loss one of two ways: How crazy do you have to be for Tea Party if Stearns may not have been crazy enough? Or, if even Stearns' craziness didn't satisfy the Tea Party, maybe Republicans are better off just doing what they think is right & playing to the middle?

Winners, Losers, and Others from Yesterday’s Primary

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Briefly, a few winners and losers from yesterday. In general, the day belonged to the Republican Party of Virginia since most of the focus was on its contests. Generally not that much unusual to note, but if you have anything to contribute or simply disagree, please jump in.

Winners

1. Democrats in Alexandria. Imagine, left to their own devices and without a slate, they managed to choose six diverse and capable candidates for city council.

2. Republican conventions. Formalize incumbent protection over there, will you? The RPV really should get out of these embarrassing and unnecessary primaries when they already know who they want to run. Let's see what they decide come Friday. (Though a 3:1 beat down by Ken Cuccinelli in a primary might be something to behold.)

3. Jim Moran.  A solid and well-deserved victory only surprising by his opponent's meager showing. "Not the incumbent" usually can gather 30% on that distinction alone. (See Bob Goodlatte)

4. Incumbency.  Always a good bet and better now than ever.

5. George Allen.  This man of solidly adequate accomplishment and famous lineage stands a fumble away from the goal line. Virginia may become the first state ever one of just a handful of states to elect a Senator who was unable to win re-election to the United State Senate as an incumbent.  

Why Isn’t the Tea Party Outraged About Fracking?

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Don QuixoteIf you're looking for evidence the Tea Party is a fake movement funded by polluters like the Koch brothers to distract voters into freaking out about fake threats while overlooking real ones, look no further than fracking. As Mother Jones reports, Tea Partiers in Kansas and Arizona are losing their minds not just about current made-up anti-sustainability and Islamophobic conspiracies, but the possibility of future residents deciding to solve aforementioned made-up problems. But what about the very real threat posed by the natural gas drilling technique known as fracking? While it creates huge profits for corporate drillers, nearby residents see few benefits and face potential health threats:
The report, based on three years of monitoring, found a number of potentially toxic petroleum hydrocarbons in the air near the wells including benzene, ethylbenzene, toluene and xylene. Benzene has been identified by the Environmental Protection Agency as a known carcinogen. Other chemicals included heptane, octane and diethylbenzene but information on their toxicity is limited.

"Our results show that the non-cancer health impacts from air emissions due to natural gas development is greater for residents living closer to wells," the report said. "The greatest health impact corresponds to the relatively short-term, but high emission, well completion period." That's due to exposure to trimethylbenzenes, aliaphatic hydrocarbons, and xylenes, all of which have neurological and/or respiratory effects, the study said. Those effects could include eye irritation, headaches, sore throat and difficulty breathing.

"We also calculated higher cancer risks for residents living nearer to the wells as compared to those residing further [away]," the report said. "Benzene is the major contributor to lifetime excess cancer risk from both scenarios."

Much more data is needed on the threats posed by fracking to our air, water and public health. To learn more about fracking, tune in to NPR's series this week, The Fracking Boom: Missing Answers.

George Allen’s Haunting Past

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Yesterday's Shad Planking drew its normal school of bony fish enthusiasts, gaggles of gun guys and gals, and passels of Republican wannabes. Missing was the usual covey of Democratic candidates, along with any sign that Ken Cuccinelli has a prayer against Bill Bolling. For George Allen it was same old.

George's same old is this: No matter the facts, no matter your past, pretend there were no witnesses or records and that the electorate has selective amnesia. Yearn for a return to a fanciful, nostalgic past that is a combination of shared myth and vision among supporters. It is as if a team of marketing psychologists are crafting the Republican meme to manipulate perception among the easily influenced. Fortunately for us, this is still a small demographic, despite Republican efforts to cripple education in America.

In what Allen's team probably thought was a dual-edged sword, Allen took on the role of fiscally responsible philanthropist to show how a responsible private sector champion could eliminate waste while supporting the common welfare. Unfortunately for him, there is memory of his uncomfortable 2006 appearance in Hampton, Virginia at an NAACP forum where Allen balked at joining the organization when invited. There is another memory of grassroots supporters planting 10,000 or more Webb signs along the approach to Shad Planking. Allen's team simply knew they couldn't organize a competitive effort without paid stooges and feared another Kaine groundswell. Instead, his team (he's never demonstrated this kind of resourcefulness) decided to hand a check (funded by the campaign?), to the Ruritans, a group his base can easily identify with. This was designed to call out Kaine for typical liberal wastefulness. But the Kaine campaign didn't cooperate. Allen's prepared text had to be modified at the last minute, but his team lacked the acumen to avoid calling out Republican Representative Randy Forbes who did not meet the Allen standard for fiscal responsibility. Oh, by the way, Allen's four 4 x 6's didn't come cheap.

Ken Cuccinelli Has the Solution to All Your Problems: Ken Cuccinelli

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Smith and CuccinelliKen Cuccinelli has quite the televangelist-style pyramid scheme going. He's always so close to stopping those evil moderates ... if only you'll give him a little more money, and ask your friends to do the same.

He was pitching the Cuccinelli brand Monday night at Virginia's Christendom College:

Programs like health care reform threaten to give the government, specifically Congress, the ability to order citizens to do anything it wants, including what kinds of food to eat and what kinds of cars to buy, Cuccinelli said.

Cuccinelli also warned of scientific discoveries and groundbreaking technology that threaten to undermine society's ethical foundations. He accused climate scientists, almost all of whom have asserted that human activity is the primary cause of a dangerous worldwide warming of temperatures, of contaminating their research with a political agenda.

"This kind of politicized science and world view drives their research," he said. He made no direct mention of a recent ruling by the Virginia Supreme Court that halted his investigation into the work of climate scientist Michael E. Mann, a former member of the University of Virginia faculty.

Ken Cuccinelli lies like this as a political technique: Throw out lies in such volume & frequency that no one can ever hope to refute them all. And if reporters DO point out how much he's lying, Cuccinelli will just say they're part of the liberal media.

Cuccinelli uses the lies to connect with his Tea Party supporters. No matter what's in the news that day - health insurance reform, fuel efficiency standards, climate science - Cuccinelli frames it as part of the culture war. They're all out to get you, and the only one who can save you is, of course, Ken Cuccinelli:

Sarah Palin: Republican Establishment Has Declared War on “grassroots Tea Party...

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As a diehard Democrat and Teddy Roosevelt progressive, I don't usually praise anything Sarah Palin does. To the contrary, I usually try to ignore her, or if I pay any attention at all, to mock her. Still, I've got to admit, she's got a following among the Teahadists. Check out her Facebook page, for instance, where she has nearly 3.3 million people who "like" her. Also, check out the response to her latest Facebook post, entitled - no, this is not a joke! - "Cannibals in GOP Establishment Employ Tactics of the Left." First, a sampling of Palin's argument:
...The Republican establishment which fought Ronald Reagan in the 1970s and which continues to fight the grassroots Tea Party movement today has adopted the tactics of the left in using the media and the politics of personal destruction to attack an opponent.

[...

But this whole thing isn't really about Newt Gingrich vs. Mitt Romney. It is about the GOP establishment vs. the Tea Party grassroots and independent Americans who are sick of the politics of personal destruction used now by both parties' operatives with a complicit media egging it on. In fact, the establishment has been just as dismissive of Ron Paul and Rick Santorum. Newt is an imperfect vessel for Tea Party support, but in South Carolina the Tea Party chose to get behind him instead of the old guard's choice. In response, the GOP establishment voices denounced South Carolinian voters with the same vitriol we usually see from the left when they spew hatred at everyday Americans "bitterly clinging" to their faith and their Second Amendment rights. The Tea Party was once again told to sit down and shut up and listen to the "wisdom" of their betters. We were reminded of the litany of Tea Party endorsed candidates in 2010 who didn't win. Well, here's a little newsflash to the establishment: without the Tea Party there would have been no historic 2010 victory at all.

[...]

...Many of these same characters sat on their thumbs in '08 and let Obama escape unvetted. Oddly, they're now using every available microscope and endoscope - along with rewriting history - in attempts to character assassinate anyone challenging their chosen one in their own party's primary. So, one must ask, who are they really running against?

Hahahahahaha; is this great stuff or what? Go read the comments on Palin's Facebook page, and you'll see that most of her fans agree. Sample comments: "Very well said Governor....Thank you and God Bless." "OUTSTANDING!" "Amen, sister!!!"

Based on all this, would it be fair to say that there's a wee bit of a clash between the "grassroots Tea Party movement" and the Republican Party establishment? Hmmmm...gotta go ponder that one -- for about 2 seconds. Answer: yes! And to that, I say, "OUTSTANDING!" :)

Rep. Connolly: “How the GOP Grinch stole Christmas for 160 million...

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Here's Rep. Connolly's statement, which I strongly endorse. What's wrong with these House Teapublican'ts exactly? Are they on crack, are they off their meds, or - more likely - are they only interested in cutting taxes if it's for the top 1% (screw the other 99%, the Koch brothers and Grover Norquist don't care about them)? Sure seems like it.  Anyway, enjoy the (House) Teapublican Tax Increase, everyone, because they're 100% the ones responsible for this situation (perhaps we should all send snarky thank-you notes to Eric Can'tor?).
Mr. Speaker,

It's Grinch time in Washington, Mr. Speaker. One is incredulous that House Republicans would oppose a tax cut for 160 million Americans.  But that is just what they are going to do today.

Is this bill perfect?  No.  There are aspects upon which both sides disagree.  But it is the area of agreement that should be the most important - Congress stops playing hostage politics and halts the tax hike on 160 million fellow citizens.
Saturday's Senate vote was 89 to 10, not just liberals I say to my friend from South Carolina, with all members of the Senate leadership, Republican and Democrat, voting in favor.  If House Republicans vote against this compromise, they will ring in the New Year with a tax hike of their own making.

If House Republicans were serious about wanting certainty as they claim, they would vote for this bill today - and guarantee that 160 million Americans won't pay higher taxes on January 1st.
Mr. Speaker, rejecting this bill and holding up the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits will be a true example of how the GOP Grinch stole Christmas for 160 million Americans.

A reckoning — but for whom?

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In Sunday's Washington Post Robert McCartney pretty much nails the challenge to Virginia Republicans and Democrats by Ken Kookynelly's announcement that he saw the next governor in the mirror this morning.

McCartney's article is at this link:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/...

And here is the opening paragraph:

It's been a while coming, but the reckoning has arrived for the Virginia Republican Party. It takes the form of Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's back-stabbing decision to challenge Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling for the 2013 governor's nomination. It promises to last 18 months, as the tea party and establishment wings battle for supremacy.

The principal winners should be the Democrats - - -

Got that?  "The principal winners should be the Democrats" -- Virginia Democrats can now sit back and watch the VA GOP implode.

Oh, but wait a minute -- McCartney continues:

The principal winners should be the Democrats - but only if they manage to take advantage of the GOP rift. They've looked pretty hapless in losing three straight elections in the commonwealth.

And there you have it, folks.  The VA GOP is poised to split between the Bolling and Kookynelly camps -- and the DPVA is in no position to exploit the split as shown by our proving to be ". . . hapless in losing three straight elections in the commonwealth."

Anyone in DPVA listening?

If We Wait For the DPVA, We Lose

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Our faith in Virginians and Americans should be renewed by the results of the elections yesterday. The wave of popular fear may be ebbing. Though the Virginia outcome could be better, our progressive ship is not on the shoals. However, we cannot stand idle while the DPVA finds its voice.

Elaine and her commenters have outlined many positive aspects of elections across America yesterday. There are other indicators that the Republicans and the Tea Party have overplayed their hands. Anecdotally, phone bank volunteers in campaigns noted that they often heard complaints about the tone of calls from the other side and the over-the-top rhetoric. And there is a trend back toward discussions of local issues away from the divisive and sometimes irrelevant national debate.

Until this fall, Sinclair Communications in the Norfolk market featured two all day, all night, wall-to-wall radio talk-fests featuring almost exclusive drum beating for "conservative ideas." But a few weeks ago one station, was completely transformed and the other broadly reformatted. Gone are Glenn Beck, Neal Boortz (both completely from the market), and others. One former talk-radio station is now Funny 850, almost exclusively comedy with some time for sports shows smattered here and there. On the other station, WNIS, local talk programming has been expanded from a low of 3 hours daily to 6. Based upon the volume of callers, it appears a successful venture. The much hailed "free market" seems to have discounted appeals to fear, hate, and loathing.

Right now is the time to be pressing our case hard, making our voices heard across Virginia. But there is no DPVA strategy to develop, maintain, and reinforce a message; to call out the Virginia Republicans for their obfuscation and downright fabricated accomplishments (see Bob McDonnell); to remind us and everyone what we stand for. The frustration expressed by Peter Rousselot is commonly held; just look at the comments to his diary. For some time there has been no consistent message or spokesperson at all. So it is important that we speak out here and wherever we can until the DPVA regains a voice and begins to represent Virginia Democrats rather than Virginia Democratic office holders.