Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Virginia Family Values PAC?

Earlier today, I received a call from a reporter for The Hook (a Charlottesville weekly) to comment on a new organization called the Virginia Family Values PAC. She asked me to look at the group's web site and tell her what I thought. (She was seeking out a "libertarian" opinion, but I explained that I'm a Republican activist as well as a libertarian.)

The organization is not what you think. It's been set up to target for defeat those that the PAC considers to be the farthest right-wing members of the General Assembly.

Here are their targets:

Targeted Races

The below are ranked by asininity, from greatest to least. (With the understanding that these guys are all grade-A nutcases.)

Del. Bob Marshall (R-Loudoun/Prince William)
Bob Marshall is the looniest of the looney tunes in the House of Delegates. "Crazy bastard" is probably the best phrase. He still calls female university students "co-eds." He refers to sex between college-aged adults "frat boy antics." He calls birth control pills "sex pills," and has tried repeatedly to get them banned from colleges. As the Virginian-Pilot wrote in an editorial (05/04/2003), Marshall was a harmless lunatic when he was elected a decade ago. Now he's mainstream, not because he's changed, but, terrifyingly, because he's surrounded himself with more and more fellow loonies.

Del. Dave Albo (R-Springfield)
Albo -- we swear we're not making this up -- introduced a bill in the 2004 session that would reduce raping one's own child from a felony to a mere misdemeanor (HB 1054). What the hell? He's generally opposed to sex, like these other guys, but apparently doesn't mind it quite so much when it's a father sodomizing his toddler.

Del. Dick Black (R-Loudoun)
In a "craziest bastard" race, it'd be a close tie between Marshall and Dick Black. Black thinks that sperm is a child, and should be protected accordingly. He thinks that birth control of all types -- the pill, IUDs, condoms, whatever -- should be illegal. He calls them "baby pesticides." He opposes government spending to promote the use of any birth control.

Del. Bob McDonnell (R-Virginia Beach)
Sen. McDonnell isn't satisfied living a sexless life down in Virginia Beach, or even enforcing his opposition to a healthy sex life in his capacity as the chairman of the House Courts of Justice Committee. No, McDonnell would like to be the Virginia Attorney General, and is looking for the Republican nomination to be their candidate. His memory may be a problem though -- after all, he "can't recall" if he's ever engaged in oral or anal sex. Say, Bob? You're not being straight with us, are you?

The reporter had spoken to Dave Albo, who was "baffled" by his inclusion on the list (as was I). Albo was awkward and ineffective in last year's General Assembly session when the legislature considered bills to repeal the Virginia Crimes Against Nature statute in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision in Lawrence v. Texas, but what he did was not malicious, nor was it indicative of an unseemly obsession with other people's sex lives. In the past, Albo has spoken at meetings of Log Cabin Republicans (I know, because I was there, and I asked him a question about Virginia's weak-kneed, toothless charter-schools law). His fumbling of sodomy-law reform is not a reason to put him in the same category as Marshall or Black.

The new Virginia Family Values PAC seems to have taken its cue from South Park in terms of its clever effort at subversion on behalf of authentic family values. (To be fair, South Park uses vulgar language and situations to build an argument for essentially conservative values. This new PAC does not use that strategy but, still, there is no question but that the Virginia Family Foundation will have a cow over this.)

Here's what I mean. Dated January 9, the group's initial press release uses buzzwords that are sure to catch the attention of Goldwater Republicans like myself:

Virginians from across the commonwealth today announced the formation of a non-partisan political action committee to strengthen family values and families' political influence in Richmond and in the November elections. . . .

Virginia Family Values has named four of the candidates that they'll be targeting for removal from office for their anti-family votes: Delegate Bob Marshall (13), Delegate Dave Albo (42), Delegate Dick Black (32), and Delegate Bob McDonnell (84). All four candidates have consistently voted against family and parental rights, and have introduced bills that would increase the size of government while decreasing family freedoms and privacy.

"The family is the foundation of our society," explained PAC founder Waldo Jaquith. "Every time that these legislators have been given the choice between family values and bigger government, they've chosen wrong. They're way out of touch with Virginia values, and we intend to show them the door."

There is little on the PAC's web site that indicates precisely how they are going to target these four Delegates. Will they be supporting Republican primary challengers? (By my estimation, this would be their best strategy, since all four are in safe Republican districts.) If they wait until the general election and support Democratic challengers, will they be able to find other organizations of a common mind to catalyze contributions in sufficient numbers to mount a successful campaign?

I was frank with The Hook's reporter: I said that Bob Marshall is an embarrassment to the Republican Party. As puzzled as I was by David Albo's inclusion in the list, I thought it was unfair, as well, to include Bob McDonnell. McDonnell, despite his famous "Not that I can recall" gaffe, does not seem to be as pathologically sex-obsessed as Black and Marshall.

It's rare to see a group made up of Democratic and liberal activists -- Waldo Jaquith narrowly failed in a bid to get the Charlottesville Democrats' nomination to a City Council seat in 2002, and everyone expects him to return someday and become politically active in city politics once again -- using terms like "RINO" to describe Republicans like Marshall, Black, et al., for whom "RINO" is more accurate than they would be willing to admit. What a pleasure it would be if more Democrats wanted to rid our legislatures of RINOs and replace them with authentic, small-government, Goldwater conservatives.

Will that ever happen? An army of snowmen will reign in Hell before it does.

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Tim said...

As long as Waldo is targeting Albo and McDonnell, he really ought to go after Kilgore as well.

Anonymous said...

Actually, yes, I'd love to get them replaced with Republicans. :) As you note, Republicans are substantially more likely to be able to get in there than Democrats, and, in fact, I suspect that Republicans would better represent those districts. We're fully prepared to support Republicans that launch primary challenges against these guys. The goal is just to get them out of office and replace them with people who support Virginia family values -- Republican, Libertarian, Green, whatever.

Albo's included for three reasons. The first is last year's HB1054 (in response to Lawrence v. Texas), HB1053 (the removal of "marital sexual assault" from §18.2-67.10) and, above all, for HB1054's attempt to reduce the penalties for a parent raping their own child, as revealed by PROTECT.

He's quiet a different breed of cat than Marshall, as you point out. But, for these reasons, I argue that he's quite anti-family values, and ought to be targeted accordingly.

Marshall is, to be fair, the biggest screwball. I honestly think that the kindest way to look at his inane bills is that he's just not altogether there, mentally.

I never knew that you had a blog, Rick. :) I'll add it to my local blogroll. It's always good to have thoughtful people adding to the Internet's knowledgebase.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, I totally forgot to sign that. It's Waldo. :)

Rick Sincere said...

Thanks for the clarification, Waldo ... your new PAC is already attracting attention around the state. See, for instance, http://www.qando.net/details.aspx?Entry=833.

Now we just have to wait for Victoria Cobb to hyperventilate.

Anonymous said...

I will relish her hyperventilation. Her concept of "family values" is way out of step with the reality of Virginia families. She (and her group, of course -- I speak of her as if she's all by herself) seems to pine for a day of yore that never actually existed, a sort of a straight, conservative Lake Wobegon. They focus on these imaginary "values," not based on our actual values, but based on a very narrow concept of what they wish Virginia, and the world, to be.

I appreciated your comments in The Hook. As I was telling Hawes Spencer this afternoon, I've often found that when I disagree with you, I eventually find that I am at least a little wrong.

Anonymous said...

It's seems to me that vafamilyvalues is targeting David Albo b/c of some of the founders' relationship with Greg Werkheiser.

All of Albo's supposedly bad legislation came straight from the Va Crime Commission. He was only carrying it by virtue of his position as chairman of the Crime Commission.

Va's sodomy laws are archaic, and provisions are written upon provisions. The whole thing looks like it's stuck together with duct tape. I think a good solution would be to scrap all of the current sex crimes and replace them with something based on the model penal code.

Short of that, the fact that the patches used to bring Virginia into compliance with Lawrence v. Texas inadvertently may have weakened sex crimes in other areas does not mean that Albo favored those changes.

Anonymous said...

It's seems to me that vafamilyvalues is targeting David Albo b/c of some of the founders' relationship with Greg Werkheiser.You have that backwards. I know Greg (by which I mean we've encountered one another on two occasions, perhaps three) because he's running against Dave Albo. You can disagree with me, but then you'd be calling me a liar, and where would we be then?

Albo is a legislator. It's his job to know what he's submitting. I ain't no lawyer, but it can't be plainer to me that the bills in question quite deliberately reduced the crime of raping one's own child from a felony to a misdemeanor. It's one thing to vote on a bill that you haven't read in its entirety -- I understand that's how it goes -- but to be the patron of a bill that you haven't read? That's just silly. If he wants to claim that, great, but instead he's claiming that the bill didn't do that at all. When you're being targeted by PROTECT, that's a sign that maybe your bills are problematic for families.

Anonymous said...

"What a pleasure it would be if more Democrats wanted to rid our legislatures of RINOs and replace them with authentic, small-government, Goldwater conservatives."

Actually, this seems to have a fair chance in the next few years. Ask yourself, what is it to be a Virginia Democrat vs. a Virginia Republican nowadays? The Dems push for business-minded budgets and moderate social policy. Modern Republican leadership pushes for cutting spending on economic infrastucture, bad overall fiscal policy and radical involvement in the private lives of citizens. I can't remember the last time I heard a Democrat mention gun control. The Democratic party's policy and leadership is now more in tune with moderates, traditional business Republicans and Goldwater conservatives than the GOP is. Just as a significant number of lifelong Democrats jumped ship to join the GOP in the 60's and 70's, all the ingredients are present for a similar shift towards the Democratic party. Which would probably result in small-government, pro-business and socially permissive Democratic candidates who have at least more in common with Goldwater conservatism than the modern GOP. Your Chichester-type Virginia conservatives are more than welcome in today's Democratic party. Abortion is the only serious barrier, but it's becoming more clear every day that most Democrats do not insist that abortion be a part of the platform. Witness Harry Reid leading the Denate Dems.

The times they are a-changin.

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