Sunday, March 27, 2016

The Two Sides of the GOP: Solving Problems and Getting Things Done Or Simply Making Points and Picking Fights, the Latter is Sadly Becoming More Popular

I’m gonna stray off RSO issues with today’s post and I’m going to get political and many of you who follow this blog and my advocacy may not like what I'm about to say about your political party of choice. But I've been listening to SO MANY of you who have praised and defended the VA-GOP to me for the last 8 years at a distance while I've been in the trenches speaking and meeting with your District's Representative's.

Many of you have written to me about RSO laws and RSO issues while singing your support for the VA-Republican Party and your elected official's that you've never even spoken to or tried to meet with so today I'm going to take a direct AND public stand about the very same VA-GOP that so many of you continue to defend to me no matter what they say or do to condemn you and your family (because you're an RSO)........... so hold on to your hats! 

I'm always willing to listen to and consider both sides of any issue/argument ...........which is more than most VA-Republicans can say. 

This morning I read an editorial by former Virginia Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling,
What to call a do-something conservative? 

In it he describes how 11 years ago he would have been described as a Conservative Republican but today people would say he’s an “Established Republican”, which supposedly isn’t desirable. He hasn’t changed but the political environment has. 

Today the GOP wants “True Republicans”, not “Established Republicans” (formerly known as Traditional Republican or Moderate Republican). 

Mr. Bolling points out in the piece what the GOP believes makes a “True Republican” in 2016 and he then lists the factors/traits of what places him into the “Established Republican” bucket. 

For the last 8 years I have emailed, called, met with and/or stood in support or in opposition of legislation in front of the majority of the Virginia Republican Delegates and Senators. 

I have seen the shift Mr. Bolling talks about.  

There has been a significant increase in indifference, intolerance, irrationality, rudeness, juvenile-tactics and blatant willful ignorance anytime facts are delivered for a proposal that emotion is the true basis. Not that there haven’t been some Virginia Democrats who have treated me rudely and willfully ignored facts over emotion and personal biases, there have been a handful. But the rise within the VA-GOP to demonize anyone who opposes their view point, to respond to the opposition with mean-spirited and personal attacks in an attempt to shame or silence the opposition and their ridged all-or-nothing attitude as outlined by Mr. Bolling is 100% correct. When I look back and compare my 2009-2012 experiences with VA-GOP members from those in the last 3-4 years (2013-2016). The fear-mongerers and the fact-deniers almost every time fall into the “True Republican” bucket. 

I’ll sit-down and seriously discuss RSO issues with an “Established Republican” any day. 

If I can even get a “True Republican” to meet with me; it usually ends with them saying something similar to “no matter what you say, no matter what facts you have, I will never agree and I will always vote for harsher/broader RSO laws”. They dig their heels in; they refuse to listen and to get their way if they have to, they’ll pander the crowd through fear with false scare-tactics. 

If we were talking about children and not politicians then a “True Republican” would be a selfish, spoiled, disrespectful, finger-pointing, deceiving, bully and the “Established Republican” would be unselfish, thoughtful, respectable, rational, well-ground and judicious. 

But yet they aren’t children, they are adults who are tasked with great responsibilities and power.

If we want to successfully move our State and our Country forward (on ALL issues) then we need more “Established Republicans” and less “True Republicans” and Mr. Bolling should be proud of the label he once avoided of “Established Republican” because the “True Republicans” are driving not just the GOP but our entire country into the ground because they ARE behaving like children. 

Mary Devoy


Bill Bolling, What to call a do-something conservative? March 23, 2016

When I first ran for lieutenant governor in 2005, I was viewed as a conservative Republican. Fast forward to today and you’ll find that I am now viewed as an “Establishment Republican,” which is apparently a bad thing.

Interestingly, I haven’t changed. My political philosophy and approach is the same today as it has always been, but the definition of what it means to be a conservative Republican has obviously changed. 

These days it is not enough to have a conservative political philosophy and approach. These days, it is more about style than substance. These days, it seems that to be a “true” conservative Republican you must embrace the following traits, most of which I find undesirable. 

First, you must adhere to a rigid and sometimes extreme conservative political philosophy. 

Second, you must adamantly oppose and demonize those that do not fully agree with you on every issue.

Third, you must take an absolutist, and often times mean-spirited approach to politics and policy. 

If you fail to pass this litmus test, you cannot be a conservative Republican in the vernacular of 2016. If you fail to pass this litmus test you are a RINO (Republican In Name Only), and you are branded an “Establishment Republican.” 

Frankly, I don’t care if people call me an Establishment Republican. It used to bother me, but it doesn’t anymore. In fact, I’ve come to wear it as a badge of honor. 

I’ve been working on my own definition of what it means to be an Establishment Republican. While my definition is still a work in progress, I would suggest that the following are some good factors to consider when deciding what kind of Republican you are: 

First, an Establishment Republican is typically someone who was actively involved in the Republican Party prior to the advent of the Tea Party. 

In my case, I have been a Republican since I worked on my first political campaign at the age of 15. I have been a member of the Republican Party of Virginia since 1987. And I held elected office as a Republican for more than 22 years. 

Even though some of the GOP’s more recent members seem to think that they are the only ones who know what it means to be a Republican, I would remind them that there was a very successful Republican Party prior to the advent of the Tea Party. In fact, I would argue that the Republican Party was stronger, more cohesive, and more successful in days gone by than it is today. 

Second, an Establishment Republican is someone who adheres to a conservative political philosophy, but understands that not everyone will agree with us on every issue; and we have respect for dissenting opinions, even if we don’t agree with them. 

Or, as Ronald Reagan said, we understand that the person who agrees with us 80 percent of the time is an 80 percent friend, not a 20 percent traitor. This distinguishes us from those that take an ideologically rigid “my way or the highway” approach to politics and policy. 

Third, an Establishment Republican is someone who understands that there is a difference between being conservative and being anti-government. 

Establishment Republicans are not anti-government. Yes, we believe in keeping government small and focused on its core responsibilities; but we recognize that there is a legitimate role for government to play in our society, and we understand that an effectively functioning government is one of the key social institutions that enables a successful society to thrive. 

Fourth, an Establishment Republican is someone who realizes that being involved in politics is about more than engaging in the great ideological debates of our day. It is ultimately about winning elections, earning the right to lead and leading effectively. 

Unfortunately, there are many in the Republican Party today who would rather lose elections and maintain a sense of rigid ideological purity than win elections and actually have a chance to accomplish something meaningful. I have no time for that. 

Finally, an Establishment Republican is someone who is more interested in solving problems and getting things done than in simply making points and picking fights. 

In 2009, former Gov. Bob McDonnell and I ran a very successful statewide campaign by talking about results-oriented conservatism. We took our conservative values, related them to the most important issues facing Virginia families, and offered a positive vision for the future of our state. We won by historic margins. 

This is the essence of results-oriented conservatism — it’s about solving problems, getting things done and creating greater opportunity for families and businesses. That’s what Establishment Republicans believe in. 

No, I don’t mind being called an Establishment Republican, especially when you think of it in these terms. I wear it as a badge of honor, and so should you, if you share these values and goals. 

However, I prefer to think of myself as a more traditional Republican, or a mainstream Republican, which distinguishes me from the extreme voices that seem to dominate the Republican Party these days. 

Who knows, maybe what goes around will come around. I long for the days when being a conservative Republican was a more positive thing, and easier to understand. I know this for sure, I’m not changing, no matter what they call me.