Thursday, December 08, 2005


The WaPo reports:

Virginia GOP Chairman Kate Obenshain Griffin is telling party faithful that Jerry W. Kilgore lost last month's governor's race because he wasn't conservative enough, but many state Republicans disagree with her. Moderates from Northern Virginia, such as Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.) and Prince William Board of County Supervisors Chairman Sean T. Connaughton (R), say Kilgore's failure was not connecting to issues that suburbanites care about: education, traffic and health care. It is somewhat self-serving for Davis and Connaughton, who harbor ambitions for statewide office in Virginia. If the party concludes that Kilgore lost because he was a mushy centrist, it will not likely choose either Davis or Connaughton the next time around.
Davis and Connaughton have state-wide ambitions?!


At 12/08/2005 07:00:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. Excellent news! I'm shocked that you posted that, TC. I know that you love these guys.

My favorite quote was, "Moderates from Northern Virginia, such as Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.) and Prince William Board of County Supervisors Chairman Sean T. Connaughton (R)..."

I know that I've heard you call these guys conservative in the past. Are you still so sure?

I'm not saying that these guys aren't the best people for their districts, I'm just saying that they certainly aren't conservative.

At 12/08/2005 07:40:00 PM, Blogger Mitch Cumstein said...

Anon 7:00 pm:

I guess it depends on how one defines "conservative." There's conservative, and then there is obstinate and stupid. I'll leave you, gentle reader, to name your favorite pol who fits into the latter category.

What makes people like Davis and Connaughton great public servants is that they are conservative at heart, but open-minded enough to look for real-life solutions to problems. They take considerable flak from those who choose to ignore the complex implications of long-term governance, but they have been, in my opinion at least, very successful in the respective posts. Sure, I'm a big fan of both and will support each in all of their future endeavors. But that is because, above all else, they are willing to be leaders on difficult issues.

As for Kilgore losing because he wasn't conservative enough, what an absolute joke. The only race won by a conservative was for LG, and that is only because the Dems put up Byrne. End of story. Chap or Puckett would have won in a walk. The fact that Leslie Byrne was that competitive should be sending alarms through the conservative wing of the party. That they are instead bemoaning the fact that Kilgore wasn't conservative enough is a sad commentary indeed. Warner first, and now Kaine, prove that Virginians want intelligent, moderate leaders at the state level that will focus on the important day-to-day issues that affect us all (i.e. Transportation, Education, Public Safety). Hell, I thought McDonnell would walk away with the AG race, and here it is Dec. 8 and that race isn't completely decided. The bottom line is this: the GOP had better learn to embrace it's moderate brethren in a hurry, particularly those who hail from Northern Virginia. If it continues to "RINO-hunt" as it has in the past, our grandchildren will be asking us to tell them stories about the Republican party that they've read about in their history books but doesn't really exist anymore.

At 12/08/2005 08:12:00 PM, Blogger too conservative said...

Agreed Mitch

Anon-Both are hard conservatives.
Get to know them better.

At 12/08/2005 08:18:00 PM, Anonymous Rtwng Extrmst said...


While I agree that republican moderates and conservatives need to mend fences, the "moderates" (I use the quotes for a reason) are clearly more at fault. Conservatives have no problems with true moderates in the party, but when you have politicians running for election as conservatives and then suddenly turn on their values once elected ("moderates"), they should be opposed as RINO's. This is not to be confused with opposing honest moderates. These same politicians who wrap themselves in this cloak of "centrism" but take every opportunity to undercut and insult publicly their conservative party brothers and sisters also need to learn a little bit of willingness to keep the differences they have internal to the party and not make them public fights. If this can happen, then perhaps there can be more success for the republican party.

If you doubt my logic look no further than Tom Davis himself. He is known as a Republican who leans to the left side of the party, however you don't hear conservatives clamoring for his head because he is a "RINO". Davis, while I disagree with him on many things, is clearly a party man and is clear about what he believes in. That kind of moderate republican I have no qualms with. I would rather have many more of his type than all the Russ Potts, Gary Reeses, John Chichesters, and Warren Barrys you can put together.

At 12/08/2005 08:48:00 PM, Blogger Nikhil Verma said...

Rtwng extremist and Mitch Cumstein have done an excellent job of distinguishing between honest moderates and fake moderates. I would also apply the same standard for conservatives as well.
Successful politicians are genuine in their convictions. As voters, we can tell the difference between someone whom is genuine in their beliefs and a phony. In other words, we know an opportunist when we see one.
The problem with Jerry's candidacy had nothing to do with the debate over whether he was too conservative or too liberal. His problem was that he came across as an opportunist who tried to be all things to all people- that was the PERCEPTION, regardless of reality.
Also, Jerry spread himself too thin. Kaine only talked about one issue-transportation. Jerry focused on too many issues that weren't relevant in this campaign.
Finally, the illegal immigration issue hurt Jerry in this regard...Conservatives didn't believe Jerry's plan went far enough and liberals thought that Jerry's plan went too far.
I think our party has a great future but we have to learn some lessons from this election. We have to talk more about education and transportation. And we have to do a better job with our fiscal policy- VA Democrats outpoll VA Republicans on the issue of the economy. That's got to change.
By the time Kaine leaves office in 2009, Virginia will have had a Democrat governor for 20 of the last 28 years. Dems have won 5 of the last 7 VA Governors races. We had a Dem Senator as recently as 2000. On the presidential level, Clinton lost this state both elections by less than four points. We got to take this into consideration.

At 12/08/2005 09:40:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always loved that line from the Washington Post endorsement of Connaughton: "Mr. Connaughton is a member of that increasingly rare breed: a moderate Republican in Virginia. Like a majority in his party, he favors the rights of gun owners, opposes abortion and favors the expansion of faith-based social programs." If this is considered moderate, where has the Republican Party gone ...?

At 12/08/2005 10:35:00 PM, Blogger too conservative said...


Maybe because both of them are actually conservative...

At 12/09/2005 08:57:00 AM, Blogger Mitch Cumstein said...

Rtwng Extrmst:

Well said. I'll buy that. I guess what bothers me (and has since joinging the blogosphere) is the venom with which some choose to strike out at moderate Republicans. I agree wholeheartedly that the party has no place for opportunists who simply use the party to get elected and then turn on it once they've acheived their goals. That shouldn't fly in any party or under any circumstance. However, the party should be willing to embrace those honest Republicans who agree with most of the party platform but just can't bring themselves to buy in all the way. Differences on fiscal vs. social issues is a great example. As I've stated before, I consider myself to be fairly fiscally conservative (though not as conservative as some) while being farily moderate on social issues. The fact the I care more about honest, practical governance and fiscal responsibility than I do social issues is the reason that I identify with the GOP and am drawn to many of its candidates. When I find those who have the leadership qualities I admire and share most (but not neccessarily all) of my philosophical views, I support them to the hilt. Most often, those individuals are Republicans. But when the party, or its members, openly villify fellow Republicans for a stance or vote on one issues, I find great cause for concern.

In the end, I believe that the GOP needs both wings to be successful: moderates and conservatives alike. If we can find some common ground and work together, there is hope.

At 12/09/2005 11:18:00 AM, Blogger James Young said...

I would like to associate myself with rtwing extrmst's remarks at 8:18 p.m., particularly his comments about Tom Davis. Those are the qualities that distinguish Tom from the likes of Chairman Sean. I would imagine that there are quite a few conservative fire-breathers in Prince William (some would say that I am among them), for example, who harbor no ill will towards Tom, but wish to strangle Chairman Sean's ambitions aborning because of his unremitting hostility towards them, evidenced by his behavior in attempting to take over the County GOP by packing a meeting with individuals -- some known Democrats -- after his embarassment at the County Convetion's straw poll, about which he lied in print (claiming that the ballot box was stuffed). Tom, on the other hand, has always been truthful in his dealings with me, and willing to have honest disagreements without harboring ill will after the battle is done. Chairman Sean could learn a lot from him, though I am increasingly doubtful of his capacity to do so.

At 12/09/2005 11:59:00 AM, Blogger Hirons said...


I could be wrong and if you can provide evidence otherwise then I'll stand corrected, but I don't recall Sean giving a quote to any paper saying the "ballot box was stuffed."

If you want to strangle Sean's ambitions based on his record on taxation, fine, but it's taking a bit over the edge to call him a liar. In fact I think he's always been pretty truthful about taxes as well.

At 12/09/2005 12:16:00 PM, Blogger too conservative said...

I have heard many conservatives call Davis a RINO, lets not fool outselves.

At 12/09/2005 01:21:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am pretty sure Connaughton told the Potomac News that he saw someone "vote three times," or something like that. I don't think he used the phrase "stuff the ballot box," but the implication is pretty much the same.

At 12/09/2005 05:07:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem w/ Sean is that he tries to help increase taxes, while claiming that he's anti-tax. It's hilarious to watch, really.

At 12/09/2005 06:23:00 PM, Anonymous NOVA Scout said...

I never saw a bit of daylight between Connaughton and Bolling on any issue of substance during the Primary. From anything you can measure, hear, read or sense, these were two conservatives. The differences were polemics. The only record point I could ever find where they went in different directions was the Northern Virginia Trasnportation Tax Referendum which Connaughton suported and which Bolling supported (as far as having the referndum) but opposed on the vote. Each offered rational reasons for their positions on that one issue. That isn't enough to distinguish one conservative from another.

The difference was who was willing to attack first and most uninhibitedly. As I siad in comments on other posts, the terminology of conservative and moderate has been so debased that it means nothing. If we all stop flinging the terms around for a few years, maybe they can start having utility again.


Post a Comment

<< Home