April 23, 2014

About Phil Tran

Phil Tran is the premier political consultant and web developer for pro-life female candidates and elected officials in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. He is a political independent.

Deadbeat Politicians: Meyer Marks (R-MD)

Blacklisted: Meyer Marks (R-MD)

My 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.

You can’t go home again

20060726-001In 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.

Also, Cosi on Capitol Hill closed in January 2014 after 15 years of service on the Hill.

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”

Draft Dave Albo for Congress (VA-8)


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.

Virginia Special Election Results – January 7, 2014

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%)

Draft Susan Allen for U.S. Senate

It is time for me to state who I believe the RPV should draft to run for U.S. Senate. I draft former Virginia First Lady Susan Allen.

Instead of just writing an article expounding on my reasoning, I made a website. Check it out at SusanAllen.org!

Draft Susan Allen for U.S. Senate

How to win in Fairfax County @BarbaraComstock

Mona Charen writes what I have been saying all along.


Elections are about building coalitions. Do you want to win crossover Democratic support? Be nice. Also, hire talented pro-life Democrats like me to work for you!

Everybody in politics tries to tap into their boss’ networks to “move up” the political ladder and “star gaze.” I never wanted any of that. My PR firm made a few high-dollar contributions to Barbara and never once did I ask to have my name featured on a fundraising event host committee. I would follow Barbara wherever she went even if she was completely unknown in politics and had zero Washington insider connections. That is real loyalty. Barbara could run for dogcatcher and I would still be with her. Heck, I might even have more fun working in a dogcatcher office. The constituents would be uber cute!

Do you love puppies? Virginia Delegate Barbara Comstock loves puppies! Vote for Barbara Comstock!

Do you love puppies?

Virginia Delegate Barbara Comstock loves puppies! They love her back!


Vote for Delegate Barbara Comstock on Tuesday, November 5th if you love puppies!


Disclosure: Barbara has been a boss and client since day one and is like a mother to me.

Delusional E.W. Jackson Supporters

Apparently, there is still an insane asylum of Virginia voters who believe that E.W. Jackson will win the race for Lieutenant Governor. “Ken Cuccinelli can slide in on E.W.’s coattails?” Slide in to where? Short of the first down on the minus-5 yard line on 3rd down – 95 yards away from a touchdown to cut the deficit to 10 points with 3 minutes left in the game?

Screenshot 2013-10-17 08.38.29

Also, does anyone find it ironic that right-wing extremists brag about E.W. Jackson’s “impressive” and “surprising” fundraising numbers at the same time their favored right-wing extremist candidates with few resources and privileges like Mike Farris, Dave LaRock, and, well, E.W. Jackson among others have defeated heavily financed “Establishment” types who have powerful DC connections in GOP primaries over the last two decades? Either fundraising is critical to the success of a campaign or it is not.

Stop the spin.

Kool-Aid Kills


This is so money. I would add the following.

11a. You have drunk the Kool-Aid if you think running a right-wing primary challenge to oust Congressman Frank Wolf is a great idea. This applies to all the sick people in the extremist Loudoun County Republican Committee.

Sidebar: I know 10th District Republicans in Virginia. If Frank Wolf ever retires, the Republican nominee will not be a Fairfax County resident espousing positive solutions. The real Republican nominee to succeed Frank Wolf will be a firebombing, Tea Partying hybrid between Dick Black and Bob Marshall. Don’t believe me? In the past two decades, 10th District Republicans of Virginia with very little power and privilege have defeated Lieutenant Governor candidate Bobbie Kilberg, Lieutenant Governor candidate Pete Snyder, Delegate Beverly Sherwood, and Delegate Joe May in nasty and bitter Republican primaries and nearly toppled Loudoun County Chairman Scott York, who is invincible in general elections but highly vulnerable in primaries. Why would the future GOP primary for Frank Wolf’s successor be any different?

Screenshot 2013-10-15 02.29.31

21. You have nearly died of Kool-Aid intoxication if you seriously believe E.W. Jackson is an inspiring candidate who will win his Lieutenant Governor’s race.

In the interest of balance, stay tuned for a future piece attacking Kool-Aid drinking Capitol Hill-elite, moneyed, insular, cocktail party circuit, Washington Establishment types entitled, “Incest Kills.”

Government shuts down. Life goes on.

After several days of frantic noise, camera hogging, manufactured hysterical fundraising e-mails filled with self-righteous anger, a long-winded filibuster with no solutions from a politician with Presidential aspirations, a spike in global warming as a result of the hot air from Washington, and a “countdown to armageddon/shutdown” clock on the useless 24/7 cable news networks, the government has shut down.

The sun rose this morning. If are reading this article, you are alive and functioning at baseline cognitive levels or above. If you are reading this article, your internet is still working. Chances are that you still have a roof over your head and food in the kitchen.

The government shut down and life goes on. This will surely deal a crippling blow to the egos of both Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill, who above ideology, are both interested in preserving their “relevance” in the eyes of the public and enhancing their “celebrity” in the media.

Politics has always been a sleazy business, but television has run a business from the gutter into the ground. They don’t call politics “Hollywood for the ugly” for nothing. Politics is a surprisingly easy way to gain attention in America. Most people are not particularly noteworthy and live otherwise mundane lives in anonymity. Politics gives these people an outlet to super stardom. This is so especially true in this day and age of the 24/7 news cycle and cable news networks.

Ninety percent of elected officials and their posse (staff, consultants, groupies, etc.) would not be doing politics if they could gain fame, attention, and healthy compensation by singing, dancing, or playing football professionally. However, thanks to the 24/7 news cycle, some attention-seeking talking head with a big job title (those things are easier to get than you would imagine), but with a thin resume and very little accomplishment can get a Saturday 3:17pm slot on a cable news network to comment on a political situation while no one is watching.

Yet, that clown will do a screen capture of his unworthy television appearance and post it on the internet to get 100+ likes, retweets, and blog comments. Ego is supersized. Statues crumble, memories fade, but television and the internet are forever, baby!

Xerxes I of Persia wished he lived in 2013. He would not have to depend on statues and Aeschylus to perpetuate his legacy. Xerxes I of Persia would only need to get on cable news at any time of the day and post that on the internet to get his 1,000,000 likes, retweets, and comments so his fragile ego can survive another day.

If it is Sunday, it is church. It sure ain’t Meet the Press for the rest of us. Heck, as I continue to do political consulting for purely personal reasons, since the early days of my political involvement aeons ago, I can’t recall watching Meet the Press in its entirely. Who, other than insular, elitist, mutually backscratching Washington insiders watches television on Sunday morning?

Our country is held hostage by attention-starved, celebrity-seeking Members of Congress. This celebrity culture in Washington has got to stop for the preservation of the nation. Shutting down the government is a small step in the right direction. Perhaps if the Members of Congress would just go away and live normal lives like the rest of us, life in America would be much improved.