I am a supporter of Bobbie Kilberg and got to know her during the course of my business activities over the past few years. The current CEO of the Northern Virginia Technology Council knows business. If loyal Republicanism is your thing, the former Nixon, Ford, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush staffer has that in spades.
It speaks volumes when a pro-business, Republican loyalist like Bobbie Kilberg rips the presumptive Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli for being a hard-headed ideological crusader who risks setting the Republican Party back in an increasingly moderate Commonwealth of Virginia.
Bobbie Kilberg has great general election political acumen. In 1993, Kilberg ran for Virginia Lieutenant Governor and faced Patrick Henry College Chancellor Mike Farris in the Republican primary. Kilberg would have made a great team member with George Allen and Jim Gilmore in a Republican trending year. The rabidly conservative Republican Party of Virginia did not choose wisely and chose the far-right, flame-throwing, anti-public transit Mike Farris to be the nominee.
Republicans ultimately enjoyed a good year in 1993. George Allen and Jim Gilmore won the offices of Governor and Attorney General in landslide victories. Meanwhile, the same general electorate that was comfortable with solid conservatives in Allen (+18) and Gilmore (+12) rejected the right-wing lunatic Mike Farris by 9 points (-9). Do the math to figure out the crossover differential.
Bobbie Kilberg ran for RNC Presidential Elector in Virginia’s 10th Congressional District against Loudoun County Republican Committee Chairman Mark Sell in 2012. The role of the Presidential Elector is a ceremonial role irrelevant in determining the substance of party politics. However, the winner tends to represent where the base of the party is located at the grassroots level.
Instead of choosing the practical, pro-business, pragmatic, and accomplished Bobbie Kilberg, the Republicans in the 10th Congressional District chose the fringe right-wing puppet Mark Sell in a landslide. That was what the grassroots of the Republican Party in Virginia was thinking in 2012.
These people in the grassroots who preferred Mark Sell to Bobbie Kilberg are the people entrusted by the RPV to go door-to-door to pass out literature and provide candidate visibility at community events. These are the people you hope are personable enough, attractive enough, and sane enough to be surrogates in the community for your statewide candidates on the campaign trail. What did the Mark Sell-Republicans deliver? They delivered a defeat for George Allen for U.S. Senate – the same George Allen who won a landslide victory for the Governor’s office.
The GOP base is repulsive. Their hardline stances and passionate aversion to bipartisanship elevated kooks like Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock who snatched defeat from the jaws of victory for the GOP. The GOP base’s desire for ideological purity drove out a solidly conservative Congressman Bob Inglis (R-SC), who had a 93.5% lifetime rating with the American Conservative Union, in a 2010 primary. These examples are just scratching the surface.
With a rabid, unhinged right-wing base in control of the GOP, Republican lawmakers fear not getting 100% conservative ratings on the issues. It used to be that 90% was impressive. Now, a 90% conservative rating can put you in liberal land according to the base and threaten you with job loss at the hands of a flame-throwing, fire-breathing reactionary in a primary – who will in turn lose to a flame-throwing, fire-breathing liberal Democrat in the general election in most cases.
Bobbie Kilberg knows business and has worked with business leaders to advance business in the Commonwealth. Private sector businesses are the job creators and wealth generators for the Commonwealth. Businesses need to know that they have a government that is willing to invest in a 21st century transportation infrastructure to attract jobs and boost productivity.
Meanwhile, Ken Cuccinelli, who claims to be pro-business, gave his blessing to the Loudoun Opt Out movement in an effort to derail Metro’s Silver Line extension. Public transit, combined with sustainable transit-oriented development, is an infrastructure project that is a core function of government and directly boosts business and productivity.
Thanks to cellular technology, people can work on their mobile offices in a train, save time, bill clients, and generate wealth during a commute using public transit. Texting while driving causes accidents and even death so let us not even begin to fathom the businessperson who dares to work on his computer while driving (I have heard stories.). Which infrastructure project is a pro-business solution that is the future of the economy, rail or roads? The answer is rail. Even if you can cut down a road trip to fifteen minutes, you still can’t work when you drive. You can work when you ride the train however and those fifteen minutes are ever more precious in today’s lightning fast economy.
Rail is a pro-business transportation project that Republicans should naturally support. However, Ken Cuccinelli and the rest of the right-wing GOP base want to kill rail to hurt the business professionals who prefer rail and public transit as a means of productive transportation.
“When I ran for Lieutenant Governor [in 2003], where did I lose? Densely populated. Where did I win? Rural,” [Mike] Farris says. “I don’t want a lot of growth. I don’t like the lifestyle it brings, the politics it brings.” The Silver Line extension, Farris contends, is the “best way to turn Loudoun into a permanent Democratic stronghold.”
So there you have it folks. Republicans aren’t pro-business at all. They are anti-Democrats. As a businessperson and owner of a PR firm, this concerns me a great deal. I know what I need and NOT need from the government for my business to flourish. I need government to get out of the way in most instances except for transportation. I need to know that the government is committed to supporting enterprising, multitasking, 24/7 business professionals by investing our tax dollars in the transportation projects that will boost our productivity. I lose billable hours and minutes when I am driving. I can work when I am on the train. This means elected officials and candidates for public office must be committed to public transit to earn my support.
Rail and density does not create Democrats. Right wing whack jobs like Mike Farris and Ken Cuccinelli create Democrats. Remember that in the same year Mike Farris lost all the densely populated counties served by public transportation, conservative Republicans George Allen and Jim Gilmore fared much better in the densely populated counties and won statewide in landslides as a result.
Until the Republicans heed the sage advice of Bobbie Kilberg to reach out to all people, serve people in the best way possible, foster real pro-business policies, and stop antagonizing everyone who does not march lockstep with a rigid, right wing ideology, the Republicans will always start every election at a disadvantage playing defense.