Sunday, December 04, 2005

Club for Growth Targets Speaker Howell

In an e-mail sent out titled :Leadership Vaccuum, President of the Virginia Club for Growth Phil Rodokanakis slams Speaker Bill Howell.

When some of the RINOs publicly supported Democrat candidates—as was the case with Delegates Gary Reese, R-Centreville, and Jim Dillard, R-Fairfax—no one from the Republican establishment spoke out against them for abandoning the Party or blamed them for the eventual loss of two Republican seats. Reese’s humiliating loss to Chris Craddock—a neophyte who trounced him with 66 percent of the primary vote—has left him emotionally imbalanced. In repeated letters to the editors published in the local papers he has gone out of his way to extol the Democrat candidate, Chuck Caputo. At the same time, Reese has been decrying that his beloved Republican Party has been commandeered by right-wing extremists. In his last letter published in the Centreview, Reese went as far as listing by name a number of Republican activists. These are some of the same activists who in prior years had campaigned and voted for Reese. They only turned against him when he abandoned the Republican caucus and conspired with the opposition party in enacting a tax increase against the basic creed of the Republican Party. What makes Reese’s ramblings so ironically amusing are his hypocritical and selective accusations of who he terms extremists. Given the fact that even U.S. Representatives Tom Davis and Frank Wolf held a fundraiser for Chris Craddock, he must also consider them to be right-wing zealots. No one has directly attributed the loss of the Republican seats held by Reese and Dillard to the leadership vacuum in the House of Delegates. Had Speaker Howell made it clear that there would be hell to pay for any Republican who voted with the Democrats, the final outcomes of the 2004 tax increase and the 2005 elections, would have been entirely different. Republican moderates are lamenting the loss of a few seats in the House of Delegates and generally blame conservative activists. At the same time, no one is pointing the finger to a Republican leadership that remains muted and rudderless. Phillip Rodokanakis is the President of the Virginia Club for Growth


At 12/04/2005 09:50:00 PM, Anonymous anonymous said...

he is crazy

At 12/04/2005 10:07:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regardless of how one feels about Speaker Howell's leadership, there is no way that one can blame him for the losses in the 41st and 67th. In neither case did the Democrat win just because the Republican incumbent endorsed him.
Also, I take issue with him saying that enacting a tax increase is "against the basic creed of the Republican Party." I just looked at the RPV Creed. Nowhere does it mention mentions fiscal responsibility and budgetary restraint. One can make the case that supporting a tax increase in order to preserve the AAA bond rating or to avoid a government shutdown is "fiscal responsibility." And how did Reese "abandon" the GOP caucus when there were 15 GOP Senators (over half) and 19 GOP Delegates (nearly a third) voted for the tax increase -- that's 40% of the Republicans in the General Assembly.

At 12/04/2005 10:12:00 PM, Anonymous rinossuck said...


At 12/04/2005 10:51:00 PM, Blogger Willis said...

Damnit!! Howell should have used threats to suppress individualistic thought and individual voting!!! Everyone MUST always vote with the Grand ol' Party, and we MUST do anything we can to ward off individualism!!

At 12/04/2005 11:38:00 PM, Blogger too conservative said...

Although I disagree with Mr.Rodokanakis on the Bill Howell analogy, I do agree that the county committee did not do enough to show our anger at Reese and Dillard.

I happened to be at the Craddock debate, when Chairman Eric Lundberg refused to shake Reeses' hand, but as far as publically, I never heard any disdain from the party about Reese, and never heard one word about Dillard.

I understand the party might have felt a little embarrassed that they "supported" Reese and Dillard throughout their careers, but many like-minded republicans did. Once they came out, and showed their true colors, that was the time to back away quickly, and put down their actions.

This was not done, and I agree with Mr.Rodokanakis, that their actions should have been publically dissapproved of, which they were not.

At 12/05/2005 08:12:00 AM, Blogger Willis said...

You act like they betrayed you.

All they did is vote for some higher taxes, after Jim Gilmore ruined the economy.

You guys are ridiculous.

At 12/05/2005 08:34:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This post and the responses to it underscore the disconnect in the Party right now. Candidates run for office on a party label but, once elected, need to represent all their constituents whether Republican, Democrat or independent. Party activists want the elected officials to always talk and act in partisan tones. The general population wants the elected officials to act responsibly, civilly, and in a non-partisan manner, while still keeping to their principles. Those who follow the latter course are called RINO's but have greater influence on policy and the operation of government. Depending on the electorate and the opposition, those who play to the party usually have short political careers and have very little long term impact on the system but they do make allot of noise and generate allot of press. For the short and long term we actually need both in the Party. The present effort to drive out the "governing" element of the Party is leading to disaster for the Party.

At 12/05/2005 11:02:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Right on Phil!

I couldn't agree with you more.

At 12/05/2005 11:04:00 AM, Blogger Willis said...

Well said anon. Elected officials should make individual decisions based on the best interests of their constituents, not based on fear of party rebellion and threats from party leaders.

At 12/05/2005 11:18:00 AM, Blogger Mitch Cumstein said...

I agree completely with Anon 8:34. Governing is about making choices about real issues. Anyone who thinks that an elected official can simply ram their ideas down the throats of those who disagree is completely out-of-touch with reality.

As far as Gary Reese is concerned, I have absolutely no problem whatsoever with his endorsement of Caputo over Craddock. He represented his district long enough to know what it takes to get things done and what direction we should be going in, and he made an endorsement based on that. I applaud his courage in making a endorsement that will continue to be villified by the most conservative members of the party. When someone is willing to put their own neck on the line for what they believe is right for the people, that's what I call leadership. And we need more of it.

At 12/05/2005 11:42:00 AM, Anonymous NoVA Scout said...

People (Reese and Rodokanakis) really do have to think about what they say and how they say it. Now Phil R begins to attack even the more accommodating (toward Phil's point of view) conservative members of the House of Delegates. It brings to mind Buchner's famous statement about Danton - that eventually the revolution devours its children. There hasn't been a revolution around here for 150 yeras, but it is interesting to watch the venom spray in the wake of a very disappointing election.

I don't entirely disagree with Mitch, but criticisms of Reese are to be expected and have some merit. Reese allowed himself to get about as hysterical over Craddock as Rodokanakis gets from the opposite direction over Republican GA members. I don't approve in either instance. Reese had every right to withhold his personal support and vote from Craddock - Craddock was a truly substandard nominee whose presence on the ballot made Republicans look bad and cost us a seat - but Reese's public statement was not constructive and, by entwining it with open support for Caputo, ensured that it will be hard for Reese to get a hearing in the future, even on those points he was trying to make that were valid.

I do wish Rodokanakis, after his destructive impacts on Republican races and his ill-considered post hoc pronouncements, would just go away or form his own party or something that puts an end to this debilitating interference in GOP processes. I'm beginning to think he's a mole planted by the Dems.

At 12/05/2005 01:17:00 PM, Blogger Mitch Cumstein said...

To clarify:

Republican activists have every right to be angry at Reese. I have little doubt that, were he to run again, he'd find it difficult to gain GOP support. And that is as it should be. What I find commendable is that he was willing to take a stand on this in the face of what will continue to be hard (and probably appropriate) criticism from members of the party.

At 12/05/2005 01:28:00 PM, Blogger too conservative said...


Gary Reese did not endorse Chuck Caputo because he was best for the district, and to think he did is to buy into his scheme.

He was angry about the primary, end of story.

At 12/05/2005 01:35:00 PM, Blogger Willis said...

Hrm...who should I trust more regarding Gary Reese's motives....

Gary Reese himself?? or TC???

Honestly TC, when you make blanket prononcements with no proof like you just did above, it makes you look incredibly stupid.u

At 12/05/2005 02:40:00 PM, Blogger too conservative said...

I have proof.

I have spoken to Gary Reese.

I worked with Delegate Reese for 3 years, and know him personally fairly well.

I even did some stuff with him through his primary(although I supported Chris), and have spoken to him since after his endorsement.

I then worked 3 months with Craddock.

He is bitter, trust me.

At 12/05/2005 03:00:00 PM, Blogger Willis said...

I don't blame Reese for being bitter. I'd be bitter too if I was beaten by someone like Craddock in a primary.

Still, I sincerely doubt that his bitterness was the impetus for his support of Caputo. Seems to me that Caputo and Reese agree on much more than Reese and Craddock ever have. That's a perfectly legitimate reason for Reese to have supported Caputo.
You say you've worked for Reese for 3 years?? And you are 17 years old?? That means, you were working for Reese when you were 14 years old, and possibly even 13.

Either you are lying, or your parents really screwed with your childhood.

Either way, I pity you, TC.

At 12/05/2005 03:40:00 PM, Blogger Mitch Cumstein said...


I'm obviously not as close to the situation as you are. Having said that, I believe that Reese probably does believe that Caputo is better for the district, bitterness aside. Moderates tend to be very leery of folks that are extremists on either side of the political spectrum (I should know) and Craddock just seemed, well, "too conservative."

Now, to Willis:

You really need to tone it down a bit. Having grown up in a very active political family, it comes as no surprise to me that Vince may have worked with Reese at such a young age. My children have certainly worked on campaigns earlier than that. Ideologically, there are a number of things that Vince and I probably don't agree on (take this post, for example). But the fact that he's as involved as he is at a young age is awesome. I have an 18 year-old daughter and, were she as interested in political activism as Vince is, I could only hope that she approached it with such enthusiasm and dedication.

At 12/05/2005 06:10:00 PM, Blogger AWCheney said...

NOVA Scout, I fully concur with your post. The unpardonable sin against the Party which Reese and Dillard committed was not in supporting Democrats against Republicans, it was doing it openly (Reagan's 11th Commandment). I suspect that there isn't a one of us that have been actively involved in the Republican Party for any length of time who hasn't, at one time or another, taken a "vacation" from politics when the party nominated someone that we truly could not in good conscience support. I must also, however, agree with TC that anger was a primary motivator in violating that precept, but I believe that the anger was not specifically focused (by Reese) at Craddock but at the extremist element that was publicly targeting incumbents around the state. In my opinion, his extreme actions were more of a statement against them than just the endorsement of a Democrat.

In Dillard's case, however, I really believe it was more ideological. I must admit, I have often wondered over the years why he continued running as a Republican when he was far more ideologically attuned to the Democrats (Holton Republican).

At 12/05/2005 11:45:00 PM, Blogger too conservative said...

Agreed about Dillard.

Willis-I was 12 infact, and my parents brought me up fine.

Mitch-I do agree with you that in the end Reese would have agreed more with Caputo on ideological stances as well.
It is just funny to have recieved I am pro-life mailers from Reese during the primary, for him to turn around and proclaim"chris will take away a womans right to chose!"

He was fake.

At 12/06/2005 01:13:00 AM, Blogger criticallythinking said...

Craddock wasn't some crazed maniac that slipped through the cracks. He was the duly elected representative of the Republican party.

If Reese wanted to be an independent, he shouldn't have taken republican money for so many years. Being a member of a party only when you feel like it isn't acceptable.

If Craddock was an extremist, he wouldn't win in that district. Reese must have thought Craddock had a chance of winning, or else he wouldn't have "stuck his neck out" to endorse the democrat. But if a majority of the district would have voted for Craddock, that again would belie the notion that Reese had to "protect" the district from some form of evil.

So I'm sorry, but absent some seriously slanderous mudslinging in the primary, there is no excuse for a party incumbent to endorse the opponent in the election.

BTW, in order to vote in the republican primary, you are supposed to "pledge" that you will support the party's nominee in the general election. Did Reese vote in the democrat primary?

Conservatives show up every year around the country for moderate and liberal republican candidates. Reese would never have won HIS district without conservatives.

I guess you could argue that we have no choice, since there is nobody "better" for us to vote for. Meanwhile, moderate republicans not only see nothing wrong with jumping ship to the democrats, they sometimes have the gall to claim moral superiority in chosing "principle" over politics.

At 12/06/2005 06:50:00 AM, Blogger AWCheney said...

Nobody is saying that there is nothing wrong with jumping ship, which I assume to mean openly supporting a Democrat. But there's a big difference between that and merely "sitting on your hands," not putting your heart and soul into a campaign. That is what most political activists do...and everyone needs a vacation now and then.

At 12/06/2005 08:20:00 AM, Blogger Mitch Cumstein said...

"Meanwhile, moderate republicans not only see nothing wrong with jumping ship to the democrats, they sometimes have the gall to claim moral superiority in chosing "principle" over politics."

I think there needs to be a distinction here, Charles. There are two types of "moderate republicans": Moderate republicans and moderate Republicans. The difference is in the emphasis. Are you a moderate first or a Republican first? If the former, choosing moderate/centrist Democrats over conservative Republican candidates is a no-brainer. If you are the latter, well, it's gets a bit dicey. The GOP, both at the state and federal level, has already done enough to alienate too many Moderate republicans. It can't afford to continue to lose moderate Republicans as well.

At 12/07/2005 06:30:00 AM, Blogger Willis said...

I guess its official now: the GOP supports mindlessness.

At 12/07/2005 06:36:00 AM, Blogger Willis said...

The Republican Party: don't join us unless you check your brain at the door!!


Post a Comment

<< Home