Friday, September 30, 2005

The NRA Does Strange Things...

I'm guessing NRA membership cards must going in trash cans across this great Commonwealth this morning over the endorsement of Democrat Creigh Deeds for Virginia's Attorney General.

I think the NRA really stepped in it this time. Deeds is a pretty weak candidate and is going to lose. Now they'll have to deal with an unfriendly Attorney General who is not beholden to them in the least. They probably should have done the "no endorsement" thing here.

Still, this means Bob McDonnell will have to work harder, since the NRA does have a loyal cadre of voters who will cast whatever ballot the NRA tells them to cast.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Waldo's Watts Update

Waldo actually got a copy of the Watts flier in question. He makes some good points.

My only question is, if the flier is supposedly anti-immigrant, why are so many of the faces decidedly NOT white guys? Mikey, I think you've stepped in it my friend.

I will hereby stop beating this horse. It is dead.

Does Michael Meunier Know Where He Lives?

There is an interesting Washington Post article on the accusation trading by Michael Meunier and Vivian Watts in the 39th. Vivian, a politician I've never underestimated (although I have fallen asleep during a couple of her marathon speeches) seems to have gotten the upper hand here.

You already know from yesterday that Meunier is leveling a charge of racism at Watts that is tenuous at best. Now, Watts has obtained a document Meunier filed in Prince George's County (that's Maryland for the geographically-challenged). The document certified that Meunier's home in PG would be his primary residence. Particularly damaging to Meunier is his surprisingly candid response to Watts' allegation:

"After reviewing the documents, Meunier confirmed that he had refinanced his home in Maryland but said that at the time late last year, he was seriously considering moving into that home permanently."

Seriously considering? The affidavit he signed says that home will be your primary residence. Not that you are "seriously considering" moving.

Besides the obvious fact that Meunier "misled" Prince George's County officials on this document, does anyone else question Meunier's commitment to Virginia if he was "seriously considering" a move to the other side of the River? This makes me seriously question Meunier's honesty and his commitment to Virginia. There are many things Vivian Watts and I disagree on, but I do not question her commitment to our Commonwealth.

This document has the power to halt any forward momentum Meunier had. Watts has this one wrapped up.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Is Vivian Watts a Racist?

Not Larry Sabato broke this little gem yesterday. I didn't post on it because I was too busy waxing poetic about Earnie Porta.

Michael Meunier is accusing Vivian Watts of being a racist. That's right, the delegate from the most diverse (and liberal) area of the state is now a racist. Apparently her mailer contained the words "One of Our Own" on the cover. Meunier says this is thinly-veiled racism. I think he gets that part wrong - technically it would be nativism since he claims it's an anti-immigrant slur.

Michael, you need a bit of education before you run next time. The picture of you campaigning on a motor scooter made you look like the class geek, and this little flap is making you look no better than the "Reverend" Al Sharpton.

Michael, "One of Our Own" is definitely a code. It's code that just about every elected official uses to let the public know that he or she has been involved in the community for several decades. To let the community know he or she is a known quantity and will not let people down. That's what "One of our Own" is code for. It's not racist, it's not nativist, it's not a slur. It's telling the voters you are a Johnny Come-Lately without real ties to the district you seek to represent.

Anyone who honestly thinks uber-liberal Vivan Watts is a racist probably has a screw loose. She's a lot of things, but not a racist. Candidates really need to quit throwing around accusations like this on a hair-trigger. It's not becoming, and it's causing a lot of otherwise spirited races to end up in the toilet.

Porta Update

James Young had this to say at Commonwealth Conservative on the issue of whether the judgment against Georgetown University in the Earnie Borda matter has been "vacated:"

"What Haru apparently refers to is a request for vacatur after an appeal was filed by Geogetown and Earnie. The motion (Clerk’s Docket No. 231) was granted by District Court Judge James Robertson, and clearly indicates that the case was settled after the jury rendered its verdict. As an experienced civil attorney, I can say that under no circumstances can this be construed as anything but confirmation of the original jury verdict. The plaintiff got something from Porta and Georgetown. "

I'm going to delve deep into my ancient law school days for the explanation. A "Motion for Vacatur" essentially means that the parties decided they were sick of paying lawyers so much money to litigate this thing and they decided to settle on their own. Vacatur is the request they make after they come to a settlement. It asks the court to set aside its judgment so the settlement can take effect. A judge has the power to either grant the motion or tell the parties they're full of it and the judgment will stand.

Say what you want. A judgment was entered in a federal court against Georgetown and Porta. Georgetown seems to have gotten slammed at every turn, and finally agreed to settle with the woman in this case after first appealing the jury's verdict. I'm guessing the details of the settlement were sealed. If they haven't, I'm sure we'll hear otherwise.

James, am I essentially correct here? Or are the cobwebs overpowering my brain?

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Earnie Porta Gets Smacked

I found this tidbit on Chad Dotson's Commonwealth Conservative yesterday. Chad tells his readers he is passing it along "without comment." That's probably because the facts, taken by themselves, are pretty damaging.

A few things to note:

1. Most importantly, this is OLD NEWS. The news article and order that Chad links to are from 2002. This thing has been hanging out there for three years. Why is it just now getting traction? Is there something that happened after the fact that we don't know about.

2. Legal scholar that I am, I actually read the court order that Chad linked to. According to the court, this case presented a true-blue he-said/she-said situation. That means the jury just plain found the victim more credible than Porta.

3. Borda's involvement in the case does not appear to make him the actual harasser. Apparently his involvement stems from the fact that he, as this woman's supervisor, allowed the classic "hostile workplace environment" to flourish, took no measures to stop it, and actually retaliated against the plaintiff when she brought her concerns to his attention. For those of you who are really dense, that means he summarily fired her because she complained about feeling uncomfortable because other guys were hanging swimsuit calendars on their office walls and telling really nasty dirty jokes. These are things guys normally do, but most of us are smart enough to clean up our acts around the fairer sex.

Strangely enough, I find myself agreeing with Not Larry Sabato on this one. Borda can parse his role in this whole thing all he wants and it won't matter. If it is true that a jury of his peers found that his actions caused his employer, Georgetown University, to be liable to the plaintiff, nothing in the world will change the minds of most voters on that, except maybe if an appellate court vacates or reverses the verdict.

I should add that it is pretty durn difficult these days to get a sexual harassment case to trial, then get a majority of the jury to side with the plaintiff, and then get the court to uphold the verdict without doing something screwy. The real question is, why hasn't this been used by the GOP to tank Borda's campaign by now? I've got a GOP mole friend who tells me the reason is simple: Michele McQuigg is "annoying" and the GOP really doesn't care whether she's re-elected or not. If true, I think that's terribly short-sighted of the GOP. McQuigg may be a tad shrill at times, and she does tend to act like she's perpetually been named Queen for the Day, but she has also become Queen of Campaigning. She works very hard and she's going to keep this seat, regardless whether the Borda thing sticks.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Days of Our Lives?

So I went to Not Larry Sabato's site this morning, and read an update entitled "Campaign Tactics." What it turned into was a soap opera/gossipfest about all the little trivial inconsequential things that are happening in various campaigns throughout the state.

I don't think anyone cares whether Dave Marsden's supporters are writing letters to the editor falsely saying they are newly involved in politics. If you think letters to the editor turn a campaign, you've got rocks in your head. In fact, most people just tune them out anyway. So the opponent caught you red-handed. So what? That's what opponents do, even if they didn't really catch you.

I don't even think Earnie Porta has "hit a home run" with his commuter Race to DC. NLS, go try to campaign at a Metro station and see how many growls you get from people whose daily commute you are interrupting. In fact, this stunt may backfire if campaign workers start competing with daily commuters for precious space on already-crowded VRE trains. This is campaign showmanship and Porta needs to do more than this to upstage his opponent, who is a master of little inconsequential issues herself.

More and more, I think NLS is making some "rookie mistakes." He's attributing way too much importance to the shots campaigns fire across each other's bows but voters don't tune in to. Stepping back and taking a look at the big picture, most of this stuff doesn't matter. In some cases, even campaign mailings and advertisements have little effect, especially in a climate where voters reach a "saturation" point. The only thing that matters in most campaigns is who gets a door knock or who sees the candidate at the summer festival he attends every year. That's what turns a campaign. Rozie calls it the "ground game," I call it "boots on the ground" (military tendencies die hard).

If you can get a dedicated bunch of people who follow you to community events and knock on every door in the district, you can win a race. Even without two nickels to rub together. Letters to the editor don't mean a thing, yard signs are a waste (unless you are totally unknown) and mass mailings only count if you are smart enough to send them before mailboxes get flooded.

There you have it. The words of the master, spoken to you.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Pimp My Ride?

Not Larry Sabato's latest prognostication is just a tad off base.

Maybe he's just never been to Prince William County.

Top 10 Fundraisers

The Virginia Public Access Project has updated its records to reflect the most recent financial filings. I found the list of the top 10 fundraisers to be interesting (interspersed are my miscellaneous rantings):

Mason, John
He'll win. He's a moderate and many people are surprised when they hear he's no longer the Mayor of the City of Fairfax (he got ousted by Rob Lederer after a zoning fight split the City).

Frederick, Jeff
Another winner. Young Jeffy has resolve that makes up for his youthful inexperience and a seeming lack of manners. We've called him the Jack Russell Terrier candidate, and we hope that nickname sticks.

Caputo, Chuck
Two words: You're not working and the Governor raised all your money for you.

Bulova, David
Sorry, David. Despite your capital outlay on khaki pants, John Mason will beat you.

Miller, Paula
She's going to win. Incumbency has its privileges, as does the name recognition that comes with having been a television news reporter.

Marsden, David
This one is tough because the Democrats have been fighting so much they've hurt their own guy. The argument is he's a Republican in Democrats' clothing because he used to be a Republican. I think it's funny how hard-core Democrats always want to pardon convicted felons but not former Republicans. The Democrats need to understand Marsden is one of their best chances of a pickup 'round these parts. Marsden was Dillard's aide for many years, and is pretty much a Dillard clone. The Democrats, by the way, love Dillard because he's pretty much one of them.

Werkheiser, Gregory
Rozie and I disagree vehemently on this one. I think Werkheiser is going to squeak out a victory despite his lead-foot tendencies. Rozie thinks I underestimate Albo. We will see. All I can say is there is no good choice in this district.

Marrs, Bradley
He's a true believer who makes Bob Marshall look like an agnostic. Marrs was recently condemned by, well, EVERYONE for a fundraising letter he sent out gay-baiting his opponent for having the gall to accept a donation without checking the donor's sexual orientation first. Despite all this, and a fairly moderate district that includes liberal parts of the City of Richmond, he'll probably win.

Barg, Hilda Marie
If Young Jeffy is the Jack Russell Candidate, Hilda Marie is the Old Hound Dog, content to lie on the porch and watch the world pass her by. A bunch of her money comes from the Governor's arm-twisting on her behalf.

Hall, Franklin P
Go, Frank! If you raise enough money, maybe they'll let you be Minority Leader for another couple years, despite the fact that they should know better.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Transporation, Potatoe, Whatever

Even though the GOP continuously pushes school accountability measures, such as Standards of Learning, apparently it's not working. The GOP seems to put up chronically bad spellers as candidates.

This time it's not Dan Quayle, but Jerry Kilgore. His latest mailer contained a typographical error (did I spell that right?) in which a "t" that was supposed to be in transportation was omitted. It doesn't matter which one.

We join our superhero, Lowell (of Raising Kaine fame), who is hot on the case. According to Lowell, this has all but sealed Kilgore's fate. Would you expect anything less?

Earth to Lowell: Get a Real Issue. All this means is that all the Kilgore minions are going to be up all night proofreading all Kaine's mailers for the inevitable typo. Then they'll point and squawk and predict Kaine's doom. Anyone detect a trend here?

My guy, on the other hand, will be up all night rapping on his teflon Farberware. And Lowell's worried about spell check. God help us all.

Not My Guy's Finest Moment

Let's just say Russ Potts should be glad my support for him doesn't hinge on the quality of his advertisements. People banging on pots and pans chanting "We Want Potts?" What the heck is he thinking? Maybe Monty Python could get away with it, but British humor is usually lost on Virginians.

I'm going to go hold my head in my hands now...

All Jeffy and Hilda, All the Time

It was pointed out to me that I have ignored the PWEA Scandal, which was also broken by the gents over at Too Conservative.

"Riley, Not O'Reilly" has a good post over there today. I especially like his comment about Prince William County Attorney Paul Ebert "blowing the Bobbitt case." This is a family blog over here, but that's still good comedy.

Anyhow, seems to me that the PWEA people made a very stupid mistake by encouraging members to send their political questionnaires to a union rep through the mail. In fact, it violated school system policy and several laws separating campaigning from public workplaces. It's not surprising, though, since many public union reps - including those from the Fraternal Order of Police and the International Association of Fire Fighters - treat their jobs as union representative as inextricably entwined with the job we as the taxpayers pay them to do.

These PWEA union guys need a news flash that we're not paying them to work for their own self-aggrandizement. I may agree that we should pay our public safety guys more, I may even admit that our teachers are underpaid. But don't use the time you're supposed to be spending teaching my kids and use it so you can get better retirement pay than any other state employee or more "planning time." You do that on your own time, not mine.

Do I think Paul Ebert ought to go after them? Heck yeah. They advocated breaking County policy and the law, and even if they just plain goofed, ignorance of the law is no excuse. Do I think Ebert will go after them like he did Steve Chapman? No, I don't. And I agree with Riley that this smells very bad - especially since Ebert gave Hilda Barg's campaign a very large donation.

Panning Potts

I think his Napoleonic complex is starting to show.....

Watch the TV ad. And make a special effort to notice the unique "Charles Foster Kane" glamor shots at the end. And I think I saw a NJH cameo in there somewhere....

This is no cake cutting ad.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Ooops.....We all Goofed

Looks like a few of us in the blogosphere have some 'splainin to do.

You see, the boys over at Too Conservative started a smackdown on "Young Jeffy" Frederick by reporting that his financial reports filed with SBE were inaccurate. Best I can tell, they had two issues with him:

1. That he didn't list event expenses for a fundraising event with Tom "The Hammer" DeLay in April. Based on what I'm looking at over on the SBE site, Youn Jeffy did indeed post "event expenses" through an American Express card payment in May. Anyone want to contradict me on that? Not Larry Sabato, smelling political blood in the water, jumped on the bandwagon, posting on his site Frederick's list of expenses. He spouts this as proof positive that Frederick didn't list the expenses for this event. But there's one problem with NLS' evidence: the link on NLS' site gets you to the September 15 filing. You see, Frederick's expenses for the April Hammer Event were paid in May and listed on his previous report here. Once you report the expense, it doesn't go on the future reports. I'd say I caught NLS red-handed, but I'm as culpable as he is on this one. I took Mitch's story as gospel. But it's just not true. Frederick paid those expenses, and he disclosed them as required.

2. The second bone of contention is that Young Jeffy's staff expenses ought to be higher. Specifically, Not Larry Sabato points to Hilda Barg's higher expenses for her staff. I'm not buying it, based on my sources here in Northern Virginia. I think Sabbie is out on a witch-hunt. Just because Barg's campaign is staff-heavy, doesn't mean Frederick's has to be too. In fact, Frederick lists both consulting costs and campaign manager costs under his in-kind expenditures here. Remember, Barg needs more staff to begin with because by all accounts she is an anemic campaigner with only a fraction of the energy of the Jack Russell Terrier that is Jeff Frederick. So she's got to have staff to do the stuff that Frederick does himself.

I firmly believe there is nothing here. Why? I did the "gut test." That's where I sit down and figure out, what is Jeff Frederick's motivation to lie on his campaign finance reports about his staff? What could he possibly be trying to hide? That's where it all breaks down. If he is failing to report the in-kind services of campaign staff, he's just plain stupid. Smart candidates typically report everything they can on the in-kind side because it beefs up their fundraising totals. That's the kicker with campaign finance in Virginia - when you look at that total number raised, it can include that campaign volunteer who's the retired colonel who spends ten hours a day with you and who is involved in the sign war with the other side. That's an in-kind contribution if the value of his services is greater than $100.

The other side might continue to argue that Frederick is hiding money he actually paid a campaign staffer. Again, why? This is pretty easy for the State Board of Elections to figure out. I've just never seen a candidate deliberately hide his staff costs. It just makes no bloody sense. If you've got four guys working for you, why hide it? Make sure the other side knows so they can quake in their boots.

I'm hoping Cumstein and NLS will tell me where I'm wrong, or correct their own stories. The Blogosphere has to police itself, and I'll be the first to admit that I jumped on a moving train too early. If you have evidence that Frederick has staff he's not reporting, spill it. Otherwise, telling us that Barg has more staff, ergo Frederick should have more staff is not going to wash. In fact, that's hogwash. And don't even start on the DeLay thing because Myth Busters just debunked that one.

Elderberries Anyone?

News flash from the Dotson Camp: The Virginia Partisans Gay and Lesbian Club has endorsed Bruce Elder for the 20th House District against Chris Saxman. Yeah, that's right, the VALLEY. Where the closet is very small and the doors are locked shut so no one can get out of it.

Holy Matrimony, Batman!

Oh, yeah, and Democracy for Virginia endorsed Elder too. Right. Was that just so he can have more than one endorsement on his web site?

Saxman must have gone home early today to break it to the kids and write his concession speech. Just to humor him, we're going to leave this one in his column for now. Maybe we'll "Pull an NLS" and turn it into a toss-up. We don't want to let poor Saxman down too hard.

It's okay, Chris. I've heard there is life after the legislature.

Calling Jeff Frederick....

Even the guys who are friendly with Young Jeffy are calling him out on this one. For a primer, check out Too Conservative and Not Larry Sabato. I don't feel like getting into the whole story again.

Here's the bottom line. I've worked in campaigns before. Recently, in fact. The State Board of Elections gives you all the slack in the world if you find out your treasurer got a little senile and forgot about all those expenses from the fundraising event with The Hammer. What they don't like is when you just sweep all that stuff under the carpet.

Young Jeffy is reporting no expenditures during that time, nor is he reporting any in-kind donations from the event. If you have an event where there is food and drink, you have to have either expenditures or in-kind contributions. The expenditures come into play if you bought the food yourself, the in-kind contributions come if your host or another donor gave you the stuff. Either way, Young Jeffy's only line item is for copier toner. As someone at Too Conservative alluded to, copier toner is none too tasty.

Young Jeffy needs to come clean. Otherwise, we're going to sit over here and dog him until Election Day.

Rozie, you sorry you gave me the keys yet?

All Werked Out

Okay, since this started it all, I'm going to say this on my own blog now. Greg Werkheiser owes the people of the 41nd district an apology. Why? Because he's a lead-foot and can't seem to figure out where the brake pedal is. He's had 10 tickets in 11 years, and my sources tell me he just paid another fine late last week.

NLS can sit over there and say that it doesn't matter, and Lowell can whine that it's all Jerry Kilgore's fault because he took money from Smithfield foods. I don't care. 10 traffic tickets is a lot to rack up in that many years. 2 or 3 tickets wouldn't matter, but 10 makes me want to stay off the sidewalks. Especially when one was for 44 in a 25-mph school zone.

The thing that I think is hilarious is that he'd qualify for the "Abuser Fee" bill that Dave Albo (Werkheiser's opponent) and fellow GOPer Tom Rust put up last year.

By the way, I don't agree with the death penalty for traffic infractions (maybe Kilgore would), but this kid needs some jail time.

The Revival

After a couple weeks of arm-twisting, Not Mark has finally gotten me to pinch-hit for him for a while, during his unannounced hiatus. The poor dude got work issues and health issues all at the same time. At any rate, we're going to pray for him and hope he'll come back soon. Until then, you're stuck with me.

As you've seen, I've been bravely tearing up the pavement at Not Larry Sabato's Virginia 2005 Elections and commie-lib Lowell's "Raising Kaine." I've also raised a little cain at Chad Dotson's Commonwealth Conservative. Frankly, I like Chad better than Lowell, even though both of their politics suck.

By the way, did I tell you that Not Rozell gave me free reign to be a jerk? Good, because I don't keep my opinions to myself or couch them in fancy-pants diplomatic language like Not Mark. If you're a horse's a**, I'll tell you so.

By the way, I'm openly supporting Potts, so Rozie told me to go easy on the governor's race for now. I think he's afraid we'll find Mosby's Ghost, who, if you remember, is a Kilgore flunkie.

At any rate, I'll be back soon to talk some smack.