Tuesday, November 15, 2005

We Call This 'Come to Jesus'

Ok, I have been reading the comments all over the blog world in regards to what 'went wrong' this cycle and the beautiful Phil R. vs Hutch battle that has ensued. All of this frankly has gotten me a little bitter and I will let you know why(of course). People are constantly complaining that Jerry was a horrible candidate. Many feel that with a stronger and/or more principled candidate we could have won back the Governor Mansion. Ok, lets say this is really the case. I would like to ask all the critics of Jerry Kilgore what they did to help someone else win the nomination for Governor. How many of you volunteered for George Fitch? How many of you said at any point in the the three years between the last election and the nominating process that Jerry was not acceptable at your local unit meeting? Who did you push to run for the position? If the fact is that you sat there and did nothing from Nov 2001 through June 2005 than I do not want to hear a word out of you about Jerry. For three and a half years you had an opportunity to get someone other than Kilgore nominated for Governor and you most likely did NOTHING. What is even more amusing is those same people that make the comments against Jerry on this blog tend to attack many of the contributors because we backed Connaughton in the primary... Well at least we had the courage to step up and push for someone we felt was a good candidate instead of playing Monday morning quarterback. I may not agree with Phil R. and how he goes about doing the business of VCG, but at least he had the guts to back Fitch publicly in the primary. He did not sit idly by and watch the coronation of Kilgore for Governor. I respect him for that fact and frankly have little respect for anyone who says Jerry was a horrible candidate but did nothing to promote another option.


At 11/15/2005 09:11:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr JMS, I for one never said Kilgore was a bad candidate, nor did I say he was not a conservative. What I did say was he chose to be very unclear on fiscal conservative issues this time around.

In the past Kilgore came out very directly on taxes and spending and supported fiscal conservatism. I think in fact that's why alot of people gave him a pass leading up to the primaries. When it became clear in the last year that he was not clearly staking out the conservative ground on fiscal issues, many (including VCFG) began to call him on this and requested he clarify his position. He did not do a good job of this.

In the primary, I supported Fitch when I became aware of these facts. Most of my reason for doing so was in protest in the hope that a good showing by Fitch would bring Kilgore home on the issue. As a loyal party man, when Kilgore won the primary I supported him wholeheartedly. I still felt his unclearness on fiscal issues was going to be a liability, but on pretty much all other issues he was right-on. However, for some who are very disturbed by trends in the party to forego fiscal common-sense, this was a deal-breaker and I think Jerry lost votes over it.

At 11/15/2005 09:12:00 PM, Anonymous Rtwng Extrmst said...

Sorry, I didn't mean to post as a gen anon on the previous post. It was mine.

At 11/15/2005 10:41:00 PM, Anonymous NOVA Scout said...

I sort of had the feeling that Phil and the boys gave Fitch a push into the arena, but then did very little to help him. I was very impressed with Fitch as a person and was appalled at the disrespect shown him by many of the party faithful. However much VCG instigated his candidacy, Fitch has a far more sophisticated take on fiscal policy than VCG. He's actually run a government, albeit a small one, and done it rather well. No one on the GOP statewide ticket had any meaningful experience running a goverment (Bolling's Hanover county supervisor record was ancient and unimpressive). This hurt them in the general election.

But Hutcheson is far more right in this than Rodokanakis. VCG, however meritorious their general philosophy about taxes, has a tin ear politically and has done nothing but sabotage responsible governance by Republicans. Those who have pandered to them have failed to address the complex issues facing the Commonwealth. I'm very pleased that they cratered this time around and I look forward to a Virginia political environment in which their destructiveness has been exposed. Maybe now we can get down to talking about fiscal responsibility. If we get that right, the taxes will take care of themselves.

At 11/15/2005 11:14:00 PM, Blogger too conservative said...

It's funny , because Fitch was a HUGGE Connaughton supporter.

Not a Bolling fan by any means.

The right word for Fitch is genuine.

He is genuine, through and through.

At 11/16/2005 07:56:00 AM, Blogger Bwana said...

Mr. JMS observations cause me to wax philosophical and to reminisce, because he is fundamentally right...and because of the sense of deja vu his post causes...

George Santayana wrote that "without education, infancy is perpetual. Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it."

Listening to all this gnashing of teeth about Mr. Kilgore is causing me to flash back to November 1980 and 1981.

In 1980, The Virginia GOP was coming off a big year in 1980, having gome solidly for Reagan and electing 9 GOP congressman (out of ten seats). Republican Marshall Coleman was the presumed gubernatorial nominee for 1981. However, he had been elected AG in 1977 by running as a conservative in the convention and a moderate in the general, and there was concern whether he could hang with Chuck Robb in a general election.

A significant amount of interest arose in a possible Herb Bateman candidacy. Bateman was at the time a State Senator and a former Byrd Democrat.

The conservative leadership knew that Bateman could not beat lifelong GOP member Coleman in a convention, so they floated the idea of having a primary. However, this would require a majority vote of the State Central committee, and your vote on which method to use would pretty much declare who you were backing for Governor.

It was going to be a close run thing, and many who were unhappy about a Coleman candidacy did not want to vote for a primary Bateman was a declared candidate. Bateman would not declare unless noination took place by primary. The two conditions could not be reconciled; the swing votes did not commit, and we had a convention. Bateman ran instead for Lt. Gov to ensure a "Byrd" presence, but instead bad blood between his campaign and that of Guy Farley caused the nomination to go to Nathan Miller. The failure to nominate Bateman caused the bulk of Virginia independents and Byrd democrats to switch from Coleman to Chuck Robb

Coleman loses to Robb 52-47-1, and the GOP gets swept.

Months of comments followed about how if we had better candidates-the GOP could have won; had Coleman run a focused campaign-the GOP could have won; had we nominated differently-the GOP could have won. The second guessing went on for years...

Perhaps now you see why the deja vu is occuring.

As we sort through the rubble of the Kaine victory, perhaps it should be remembered that as in all things if you didn't get out and help elect our folks, then you have no room to complain. If all you did was moan and groan from the sidelines, you have no room to criticize. It is easy to wander the battlefied shooting the wounded...it is far more difficult to offer good suggestions and ideas and commit to participate to make the next election have a different result.

I hope the party remembers the lessons of all elections past, gets back on track with solid governing and electoral practices, and avoids childish squabbling that at sum is too often nothing more than trying to win the hot stove league discussion of the last election.

At 11/16/2005 10:56:00 AM, Blogger AWCheney said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 11/16/2005 11:23:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I actually thought Hutchison was a good guy, until I read that letter he sent to Phil.

The difference is that Phil actually focused on the issues of Kilgore's campaign, or lack thereof, in addition to identifying Ken's less-than-conservative background.

Ken replied very negatively by calling Phil names, while avoiding the major aspects of Phil's original criticism.

For those of us who were a part of the 72 hours campaign, what were republicans complaining about, more than anything else?


Talking about the issues of a failed campaign, and coming up with lessons to learn from, is important for all future VA races. Ken, however, has resorted to spouting the same bile that cost us this election, to begin with!

At 11/16/2005 02:09:00 PM, Blogger MR JMS said...

Never judge a GOP operative by who the worked for but rather the results.

Political ops are mercenaries and will work for whomever has the most money and bets chance to win. Rarely do they agree 100% with an individuals stance.

At 11/16/2005 02:10:00 PM, Blogger criticallythinking said...

First, I believe Ken's response was an e-mail to ken, meant privately. And we have no idea what private e-mails Phil might have sent to Ken which might have prompted such a private response.

We have read Phil's written-for-public consumption critique, but compare it to Ken's private response.

I'm not trying to excuse Ken, but I am making an excuse for him.

I don't think too many people have said Kilgore was a bad "candidate", much less that he would have been a bad "governor".

A lot of us said he ran a bad "CAMPAIGN", which I guess means he was a bad "candidate" in the sense that he didn't run well, not that he personally wasn't the right person for the job.

When you have a person who you KNOW would be a good governor, but you see his campaign making mistakes, you tend to gloss over them, in the hopes that you are wrong, or that people won't notice. You don't shout about how bad a campaign he has, or how bad a candidate he is being, because that would tend to lessen his chances for victory, and you think he should win because he's a good guy.

I bet a lot of people sent private e-mails to the campaign telling them what they were doing wrong, and I bet they were mostly ignored by the professionals who get paid to run the campaigns.

Even people who thought Fitch would be a BETTER governor probably don't think he would have been a better "candidate", if "better" means "more likely to win". Kilgore was our best candidate to win the governorship. HE had name recognition, an excellent record as Attorney General (at least I think he did, I don't remember him mentioning it in his campaign :->), and tons of money.

He just ran a bad campaign. I think Kilgore, with a good, focused campaign, could have won -- barely.


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