March 19, 2014 By Phil TranMy friend Joe Steffen wrote this great piece exposing Meyer Marks’ denial of payment to a vendor for services successfully rendered. Meyer Marks, who was once a Maryland gubernatorial candidate and is now a State Senate Candidate, enlisted the services of the talented Tex Fischer for his short-lived gubernatorial campaign. Tex charged Meyer $500 for a website, which is a ridiculously low price for a man of his skill set. After Tex successfully completed his work in building a pro-quality website for Meyer, Meyer flatly refused to pay him. Read Joe’s article for the full details.
This is personal for me. Tex Fischer, like yours truly, is a fellow web designer. He is a good one too, who really should be paid a lot more than what he is currently being paid by clients. As vendors and consultants, we have been screwed by too many clients and campaign managers, even with written agreements. In fact, being screwed once is one too many times.
If you go to a restaurant and eat without paying, do you think you can walk away a free man? No. The restaurant will alert the police and you will face prosecution.
Why does the public tolerate campaigns that use and abuse vendors and consultants and refuse to pay them in the end? The sad fact is that some of the good politicians who deserve respect are as deadbeat as the bad ones. Sometimes it is not really the politician who stands in the way of payment but it is the campaign manager or chief of staff who is stiffing the vendor. It is the same thing in the final analysis.
You would think that politicians in a party that purports to support hard work and small businesses would pay vendors and consultants their full market value correctly on time. This is not the case in too many instances. If legal action is an ineffective deterrent because it is too costly for the vendors and consultants, public shame needs to be left on the table as a deterrence.
Meyer Marks is blacklisted.
March 12, 2014 By Lil Hill
So Republicans and conservatives gathered for their annual drunken debauchery, err…CPAC, and decided in a meaningless, but otherwise telling, straw poll on who their next Presidential nominee should be.
Rand Paul ran away with the straw poll. Ted Cruz was a distant second. The people who barely registered a blip after Paul and Cruz are even wackier if that is even possible.
So conservatives have a love affair with Rand Paul. Let us see. Is it this Rand Paul who thinks white-only lunch counters should be legal in the name of “liberty”?
That sound you hear? It is the sound of Democrats dancing in the streets for 2016.
Regardless of who Republicans ultimately nominate, they better hope Hillary Clinton is the nominee for the Democrats. Because if Hillary is not the nominee, we are looking at a President Andrew Cuomo or Martin O’Malley who both will be even more left wing than Hillary is.
February 7, 2014 By Big Gipper
I was just informed that Bill Fox (R-Leesburg), Leesburg District Representative to the Loudoun County School Board, sent out an invitation on Facebook to attend his “Announcement Event” at 3 Wirt Street NW, Leesburg, VA next Monday at 7:00pm.
Text of the invitation reads:
Join me, my supporters, and friends of personal liberty and limited government in Northern Virginia for a major announcement! If you really want to hear what the Fox says, this is your chance to find out!
Just our luck, Bill Fox might just be announcing that he just saved money switching to Geico.
February 4, 2014 By Phil Tran
In 2006, I came to DC to work on Capitol Hill for Congressman Chet Edwards (D-TX), a real standup guy for whom I worked two hard fought Congressional campaigns before coming home to DC. Later, I would work two separate stints with the House Veterans Affairs Committee (Democratic Staff).
Several activities were part of my lunch routine. Chet’s office was in the Rayburn House Office Building so the Rayburn Cafeteria was the usual hangout. The House Veterans Affairs Committee, situated next door to the iconic Congressman John Lewis (D-GA), occupied the 3rd floor of Cannon House Office Building with a long balcony facing the Capitol. It was prime House Office Building real estate. Lunches at the Longworth House Office Building were the norm there, but in the summer months, office picnics on the balcony were always a treat.
Sometimes, I would skip lunch and take a stroll around the House and Senate office buildings and the Capitol building. The views are great, there is much to explore, and the tourists wonder if you are somebody important! The place has an indescribable aura and even a unique smell that doesn’t change!
If I ever wanted to eat lunch offsite when I was working on the Hill, I would go to Cosi located at 301 Pennsylvania Avenue SE. The food is good. The wi-fi is reliable. The upstairs section has sofas where you can tuck yourself away in a corner, work on your computer, and admire the view through the windows.
Fast forward to 2014. Chet Edwards lost his reelection bid in 2010 and is no longer on the Hill. Capitol Hill does not feel the same for me without Chet around.
Much of my youth as it pertains to Capitol Hill is gone and the nostalgia is hard to recapture. I guess you can’t go home again.
“You can’t go back home to your family, back home to your childhood…back home to a young man’s dreams of glory and of fame…back home to places in the country, back home to the old forms and systems of things which once seemed everlasting but which are changing all the time – back home to the escapes of Time and Memory.” – George Webber in Thomas Wolfe’s “You Can’t Go Home Again”
January 23, 2014 By Phil Tran
I urge Delegate Dave Albo to run for the open U.S. House of Representatives seat in Virginia’s 8th District. Dave Albo, a West Springfield High School alumnus, has a Delegate seat in the 42nd District that covers a significant amount of territory in the 8th Congressional District. He starts with a base that no other Republican challenger can claim.
While Dave Albo is a rock star with a legion of groupies who melt at his every croon and bass lick, his thoughtful centrism and his easy-going, unpretentious, next-door neighbor demeanor has created a safe Delegate seat for himself in the 42nd District as long as he wants it. That coupled with odd-year elections for the General Assembly allows Albo to take a no-risk shot at higher office.
Most importantly, if you are tired and weary of safe, scripted, stale, by-the-book campaigns as I am, a Dave Albo for Congress campaign would be the equivalent of a freewheeling, invigorating, live-for-the-moment, concert tour.
Albopalooza every week. Albopalooza on the Capitol steps. That is a unifying message.
Draft Dave Albo for Congress.
Because Dave Albo is a badass.
“Hey, hey. My, my. Rock and roll can never die.” – Neil Young
All photos courtesy of Phil Tran.
January 22, 2014 By Big Gipper
I have a few good friends in the political game who are even-keeled and don’t drink the Kool-Aid. Learning from them and adding a bit of my own knowledge, I could have told you that John Whitbeck was destined for obscurity. Heck, one of my guys who predicted the election numbers almost to the percentage point called me up last night and had a Richard Sherman moment, telling me, “I’m the best consultant in the game!” God bless him. He really is quite the talker, but he has a heart of gold and indisputably knows his stuff. He refuses to compromise his views and effectiveness for monetary gain by being part of an incestuous, go-along-to-get-along, Washington “consultant class”. Wished more Virginia Republicans would take his advice and keep him around because he is gifted and has an insanely flawless general election record!
Jennifer Wexton won the special election for the Senate of Virginia’s 33rd District seat last night outright in commanding fashion. The final score was 52.71%-37.5%-9.78%. I criticize both Grassroots and Establishment Republicans for this defeat. In fact, I will save my most heated criticisms for the Establishment. Let’s go.
Grassroots Republicans do include Tea Party people, but generally represent the Republicans in the home turf who stayed at home, got a job at home, worked hard, and through no fault of their own, are not connected to power and privilege in Washington and Richmond. They are everyday people like you and me who are more interested in what their children will wear to school than what they themselves will wear to the White House Correspondents Dinner.
Grassroots Republicans have taken to the internet to blame Joe May for throwing the election to the Democrats. Excuse me. Do you understand math? Jennifer Wexton won outright with 53% of the vote in an election that attracted nearly 20% voter turnout during a snow day. Joe May was insignificant. Give all of May’s votes to Whitbeck and Whitbeck still loses 53%-47%. It is also highly probable that Joe May siphoned off Wexton supporters as well and attracted people who would have otherwise stayed home so we can’t claim that Whitbeck automatically gets a 10 point bump if May dropped out. A 53%-38% victory in a three way could be 57%-43% in a head-to-head matchup. It looks bad either way.
Please note that unlike others, I do not use the term “Establishment” as a euphemism for “moderate.” “Establishment” represents a white collar, made-for-television, DC Cocktail Party Circuit, nerd-prom attending, elitist, insular, incestuous Northwest Washington crowd. The Establishment label applies to influential players and hanger-ons alike. Ideology has nothing to do with being Establishment. You can be “of Washington” and still be a hardcore conservative. Jim DeMint is every bit as Establishment as John McCain.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), who spent most of his life at home working in a non-political business and defeated Establishment favorite Rep. Chris Cannon (R-UT), rejects the glitzy, clique-ish, Hollywood-like, Washington lifestyle so he would not be considered Establishment.
Establishment Republicans are now crying foul about the mass meeting that was used to nominate the Senate candidate and are demanding primaries. Some disgruntled Grassroots Republicans are opening themselves up to this line of thinking. Such silliness knows no boundaries. Let us be real here.
In a mass meeting (almost synonymous to a convention, almost), the candidates were:
In a hypothetical state-sponsored or firehouse (party-run) primary, the candidates would have been:
Former Delegate Joe May (He would have stayed a Republican and not turned independent. May was recently defeated in a primary for his old Delegate seat representing Western Loudoun, Clarke, and Frederick Counties.)
I have three questions to pose to both Establishment and Grassroots Republicans alike.
1. Considering the options, does it matter what the nominating process was?
Answer: No, the nominating process was irrelevant and had no effect on the outcome of the general election whatsoever.
2. For primary-supporting Establishment Republicans and desperate Grassroots Republicans willing to change the means of selecting candidates in order to win, would any of the candidates in the hypothetical primary have a chance to defeat Wexton?
Answer: No, not even Joe May could beat Wexton. Joe May has no working history with Eastern Loudoun and Western Fairfax. Jennifer Wexton has deeper roots in the area. Also, don’t forget that the grassroots always seem to have their way against the moneyed-Establishment regardless of the nominating process. Establishment favorite Joe May was ousted from his safe Delegate seat in an open, state-sponsored primary by an underfunded challenger.
3. Ignore the answer to question 2 and pretend for a moment. Would Republicans have been okay with the nomination of a Republican Joe May via a primary if it was indeed proven through extensive polling that Joe May ultimately was the only Republican able to defeat Jennifer Wexton? (Yes, we are talking about Joe May who supported the popular bipartisan Transportation Bill that was criticized as a tax hike and cost him his Delegate seat in a state-sponsored primary election.)
Answer: Y’all got to answer that question for yourselves. What you say here will speak volumes about your priorities.
Many Republicans are refusing to acknowledge the obvious. There was nothing wrong with the nominating process. If it is not the nominating process, which was a convention-like mass meeting, that is wrong, what could possibly be wrong? No one is considering the content of the message. Like it or not, conservative policies are not selling well in Virginia the way it used to sell. Virginians are rapidly becoming liberal. Virginia is rated as a Democratic state for 2016 by notable pundits and Democrats are especially focused in 2014 to pick up seats at the local, state, and federal levels in Virginia to lay the groundwork for a permanent Democratic majority come 2020.
My consultant buddy with an unparalleled track record of general election success told me there is a way to reverse this, but he won’t allow me to give away the farm. Free enterprise is a wonderful thing. Pay the man and show him some respect!
January 10, 2014 By Jax
One of the goals of last December’s Republican Party of Virginia (RPV) Advance was to train candidates and activists to react to and overcome Democrat War on Women attack strategies, and that’s why Susan Allen, Barbara Comstock, and Kate Obenshain were given prime speaking slots to address this political messaging issue and offer winning counterstrategies.
Well, it seems the Fairfax County Republican Committee (FCRC) leadership was sleeping in class. Jennifer Wexton, the Democrat nominee running in the 33rd Senate District special election ran a typical War on Women attack add against her GOP opponent. This is how the FCRC reacted?
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 9, 2014
Fairfax GOP Chairman Calls for Wexton to Withdraw
Despicable Video Proves She Is Unfit to Serve Constituents of 33rd Senate District
FAIRFAX – Fairfax County Republican Committee (FCRC) Chairman Jay McConville today called for an immediate apology by 33rd District Senate Candidate Jennifer Wexton and a withdrawal from the race after she released a video comparing political opponents to rapists and violent criminals.
“To say that I am shocked by the recent video released by Jennifer Wexton in which she compares her political opponents to rapists and violent criminals is a gross understatement. This ridiculous demagoguery has no place in American politics. Not only is this an insult to the good citizens and Patriots who oppose her brand of big-government policies, it is also an affront to all the victims of rape and violent crime who have suffered through these terrible traumas.
Ms. Wexton has proven, undoubtedly, that she is unfit to serve the people of Virginia. She must believe that she has a formula for electoral success – demonize your opponent. But by casting a very significant portion of her potential constituents in the worst possible light, she has shown herself unfit for office. Clearly she does not know that she is running to serve all the people, not just her favored special interest groups. After this affront, there is really no imaginable way that she could serve the 33rd District. She has so far even refused to take down the offending video from her campaign website. This is unacceptable, not to mention strange, behavior.
I am calling on Ms. Wexton to issue an immediate apology to the people of Virginia and to withdraw from the race. If she refuses to do that, then I ask all good citizens to send her a very clear message that this type of political sleaze is not welcome in Virginia and on January 21st, they should cast their vote for John Whitbeck for Senate.”
The Fairfax County Republican Committee (FCRC) provides the grassroots support across Fairfax County to our Republican Party, Republican elected officials, and our candidates. For more information or to get involved with the FCRC, please contact FairfaxCountyGOP@gmail.com or call 703.766.4467.
In the First Responder community, the Golden Hour is that critical time period a critically wounded patient has to get to a hospital and receive lifesaving treatment. I guess the political equivalent would be that critical time period you have to prevent an opponent’s targeted message from sinking in with a key voting block. Instead of offering factual counterpoints on the GOP-led bipartisan effort to prevent a Gosnell-style abortion clinic in Virginia or any of the other GOP efforts to improve the health system and criminal justice for women patients and crime victims (ie, strategies discussed at the RPV Advance), the FCRC chose to use its Golden Hour to claim Wexton was demonizing her opponent and needs to withdraw from the race.
Seriously? Outside of the shocking claim a politician is trying to demonize an opponent (sarcasm alert), the FCRC might want to consider their amateur stance comes at a time when the dominant political news story involves a GOP governor’s staff demonizing and harassing the mayor and residents of Fort Lee, NJ. I guess timing was never the FCRC’s strength… nor was paying attention in class.
January 8, 2014 By Jax
The Republican Party of Virginia, Speaker Bill Howell, and Ken Cuccinelli dumped $155,321 into Octavia Johnson’s quixotic House of Delegates campaign. That investment garnered 2,013 votes for a 29% share of the electorate at $77.16 per vote for a low turnout special election.
This failed investment would be called a scam if this was the private sector. The House of Delegates already has a comfortable Republican majority. Why did the RPV dump so much resources into an insignificant House race when control of the State Senate is at stake? Republican Wayne Coleman lost his State Senate special election on the same night by 22 votes. Could $155,321 turnout 23 additional voters for Wayne Coleman instead?
Somebody report the Republican Party of Virginia to the Better Business Bureau and give the RPV zero stars on Yelp.
January 7, 2014 By Phil Tran
Senate of Virginia District 6 (Accomack, Mathews, Norfolk, Northampton, Virginia Beach)
56/56 Precincts Reporting
Lynwood Lewis (D) – 10,197 (50.03%)
Wayne Coleman (R) – 10,175 (49.93%)
House of Delegates District 11 (Roanoke)
26/28 Precincts Reporting
Sam Rasoul (D) – 4,789 (70.27%)
Octavia Johnson (R) – 2,013 (29.54%)
January 2, 2014 By Lil Hill
I would say that Barack Obama has done a pretty good job overall in difficult circumstances. Still, we continue to hear apocalyptic cries from Republicans. I will bet my bottom dollar that if Mitt Romney was President right now, he and the Republicans would be claiming these numbers as their own instead of dismissing them.
Americans are tired of spin and want results and cooperation. It would not hurt the Republicans to acknowledge that Obama is doing a pretty good job executing the duties of his office. Our economy is much better off now than it was when Obama first took office. With five years under his belt, we can no longer claim that Obama was the beneficiary of Bush’s policies, nor can Obama continue to blame Bush for any deficiencies.
These latest economic numbers belong to President Obama. He owns it.