James Young, the always amusing and always petulant proprietor of Skeptical Observor, has called the prominent Republicans who participated in Friday morning's "vote no on 1" news conference "useful idiots." He also said we were "pathetic."
Well, everyone's entitled to his own opinion, no matter how demeaning.
So let's set those views aside for a moment and look instead at a far longer list of Republican activists and VIPs who have signed on to a pledge that explains why they are voting no on Ballot Question No. 1 on Election Day.
Here is the text of their pledge:
As a strong supporter of the traditional Republican principles of limited government and individual rights, I oppose adding the text of the proposed Marshall/Newman amendment to Article I of Virginia's Bill of Rights. It would be wrong to officially write discrimination into our Commonwealth's constitution and open our courts to so many legal questions and ambiguities caused by the amendment's language. I further believe that such confusing language would cause significant and largely unpredictable legal consequences, as has happened in other states with such amendments, and that such consequences would threaten the basic rights of both individuals and businesses in Virginia.I won't list the names of every person who signed the pledge (that can be found by visiting the Commonwealth Coalition's web site) but I want to point out a few of the "useful idiots" and the roles they have played in building the Republican Party in Virginia (and elsewhere) and promoting conservative values over the years:
Former Governor A. Linwood Holton, Jr. (the first Republican elected to that high-ranking post since Reconstruction), and former First Lady of Virginia Jinks Holton;I have not included the names of the grassroots Republicans, who work largely behind the scenes on campaigns, manning phone banks, raising money, writing issue briefs, and badgering Democratic officeholders, and who also signed the pledge. Their work far too often goes unmentioned and unappreciated but that does not subtract from its value. Their contribution to the "vote no" campaign is similarly important.
Former Members of the U.S. House of Representatives Bob Barr, M. Caldwell Butler, and Steve Gunderson;
GOP candidate for state Attorney General and for Governor, Wyatt Durrette;
Former Treasurer of the Commonwealth (under Governor Jim Gilmore), Mary G. Morris;
Former member of the Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors Joan Girone;
Former member of the Arlington County Board and former 8th Congressional District Chairman Mike Lane;
Tom O'Donoghue, the only GOP congressional candidate this year (8th CD) who is a veteran of both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars;
Former State Senator and state Cabinet member Jane Woods;
Former members of the House of Delegates James Dillard and Panny Rhodes;
Former candidate for the State Senate and Arlington County Board Scott Tate;
Mike McMenamin, current candidate for Arlington County Board;
Former candidate for the House of Delegates Steve Sass;
Former Alexandria Young Republicans Vice Chair Peter Atherton;
Beth Wolffe, former candidate for Arlington County School Board;
Mary Cheney, author, activist, business executive, and daughter of Vice President Dick Cheney.