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:
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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