Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Food for Thought for Connaughtonites

A few months back, I wrote a post discussing some of the supporters of Chairman Sean in his bid for Lieutenant Governor, and suggesting that the sources of some of his support didn't do him credit.

Among the things I observed was that a neighbor of mine has one of the few in the neighborhood with dependably Lefty bumperstickers on it, including "Another Family for Peace," juxtaposed with one reading "Connaughton for Lt. Gov."

'Cept that one has no disappeared. In its place (well, maybe underneath it)?

A Kerry-Edwards sticker.

Now, tell me again how Chairman Sean is such a conservative?


Sorrel said...

I remember quite distinctly a number of lifetime Democrats who supported Ronald Reagan in 1980. They probably voted straight Democratic tickets other than voting for the Gipper. I always thought that was one of Reagan's great strengths - that his manner, personality and life story could draw votes from across the spectrum. I imagine a lot of those people didn't even agree with a lot of his domestic economic policies. But they thought he was an honest, direct guy who would make a positive difference. Your logic would indicate to me that I should re-evaluate whether Reagan was truly a conservative.

I accept that the Virginia Republican internecine struggles are a relatively minor thing compared to the 1980 national election. But the strength of the Party over time will be to find conservatie candidates like Connaughton who have strong appeal across lines (party, ethnic, economic, religious)that increasingly are used to divide the citizenry rather than unite it. One doesn't have to betray ideals to have that kind of appeal. Connaughton's conservative credentials are impeccable in all but the most eccentric circles. But one does have to have a kind of character and personality that imbues confidence in the ability of the candidate to govern fairly.

I wouldn't urge widescale acceptance of your theory that one can see into the candidate's political soul by observing whether a liberal neighbor sports his bummper sticker. Formost people, the choice of political leaders is (or at least should be) much more complex than that.

James Young said...
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James Young said...

Sorrel, thanks for the comment, and for reading. As you probably know, I dispute whether Connaughton is a "conservative" candidate; his record on taxes and spending is dismal, in my opinion, and his position is such that he's only been able to pay lip service to other "conservative" issues. In fairness, he did de-fund the County's "Office for Women." Yet in his Committee of 100 debate, he dodged a question on public-employee monopoly bargaining and Right to Work, two issues which are or should be at the heart of any "conservative agenda."

A relevant question in this regard is whether he's ever supported other "conservative" candidates with the same enthusiasm that he shows for profligate spending and tax increases. Again, I've not seen evidence of it, but I'm willing to be educated.

As for "appeal," I strongly advocate a GOP which espouses ideas which have strong appeal to the citizenry. I have no problem with those which "divide the citizenry" between those who espouse good ideas and those who espouse bad ones; that's what elections are all about. Surveys demonstrate that conservative cultural values have a strong appeal across party, ethnic, and religious lines. The question is whether the GOP will have the wit to recognize and exploit that fact.

Finally, I wouldn't assert that it's an iron rule that "one can see into the candidate's political soul by observing whether a liberal neighbor sports his bummper sticker." However, to whom one appeals and what they value does give insight -- albeit imperfect -- into a candidate's agenda.

Sorrel said...

I've never known him to support anyone but conservative candidates. He gave strong support to Stirrup and Stewart, probably contributed significantly to their getting elected. He also has supported Early, Braunlich, Frederick, Kilgore, both Bushes, Reagan, Dole. What more do you want? My point about Reagan was that there are conservatives who are valuable to us because they do draw from across the line. I think that is a plus in Sean's case, not a minus.

James Young said...

You will note that, while I spoke primarily to issues, you spoke to personalities. Your point about Reagan is a valid one, but I am always mindful of (M. Stanton) Evans' Law: "When our friends are in a position to be useful, they're no longer our friends." That causes me to be wary of politicians who tout their pro-Life credentials, for instance, when they're in no position to advance that agenda.

As to those personalities that I did mention, in part, I'm talking about supporting conservatives in party nominating contests. You speak to individuals who already won the nomination to whom Sean, as a member of an official GOP committee, owes his support. Of course, I am certainly dubious about your comment about Dole, since Sean was AWOL from the GOP from 1991 until he wanted to run for office. Since then, within the party, he has been unremittingly hostile to conservatives, and does nothing to advance anyone but those who will genuflect to him (in appointments, for example).

I would probably dispute your comment about support for Stewart, and that he "contributed significantly" to his election (that had been a GOP district since '91), based upon general knowledge, but I would certainly be willing to be educated on that. My recollection is that he took no role in the primary. The same goes for Braulich; indeed, Sean may have (I don't recall) supported Berrios in the nominating contest. After Ed Wilbourn dropped out of the primary, Stirrup's race for the nomination was uncontested. The same goes for Kilgore.

As for Frederick, he's never gone out of his way to help him. I may be wrong, but I'm pretty sure that he supported Rollison in the 2003 primary.

Sorrel said...

I didn't dwell on issues becasue there are no issues on which Sean's conservative bona fides can be challenged. You seem to assume that his consistent conservative stances are phony. There's no objective evidence of this. He's a devoted Roman Catholic, there's no reason to intimate that his pro-life views are insincere or should be discredited because county government doesn't confront those issues in the same manner that a state or federal office holder would.

I was at the Committee of 100 debate and thought Connaughton was excellent. I have never seen or heard of him taking an anti-right -to-work stance.

On taxes and fiscal policy, I think he has the best conservative record of any elected Republican in Virginia, at least for a jurisdiction of any size. I know your views on this, but I think they are very unusual. Your side of this and mine have been blogged to death. My point is simply that Connaughton has more to show for his attack on taxes than anyone else around this state. I'd love to see us get away from these ad valorem taxes (your increasing home value, not Sean, drives your tax bill up) in favor of income taxes (thus taxing realized, as opposed to book value wealth), but that's going to take Richmond showing courage that has never darkened either party's door down there and won't with the crews that are running from both parties in November.

As for the rest, I think you're saying that Sean didn't support the same conservative candidates you did, at least not in all cases. That can't possibly be the mark of a true conservative. A couple of points are in order: 1) Sean and Tom Davis are the two most popular elected Republicans in the region. There are going to be primary contests where they don't take sides and let the GOP voters decide. There are other primary contests where they will weigh in for a variety of reasons, primarily hopes of making sure that the strongest candidates are going against the Dems in the general elections. You and I might not agree with every choice they make at those points, but there is no reason why someone in Sean's (or Davis) position should agree with Sorrel or James Young on every GOP primary contest. Sean has been consistent in supporting new Republican talent in PW and has paid his dues at both the national and local level. There are supervisors and other elected officials in PW who owe him a great deal. Not all have been appropriately appreciative.

Remember how we got into this: Out of the blue, appropo of seemingly nothing, you said your liberal neighbor had a Sean sticker over his Kerry-Edwards sticker. You said your liberal neighbor's bumper sticker indicated Sean was not a conservative. My reaction is that you're straining at gnats. I say bravo for conservatives who bring liberals over, whether its Ronald Reagan or Sean Connaughton, whether for one election or for a lifetime. We will need a lot of whatever those qualities are in years to come. Especially in Northern Virginia. Some of us who wander around the Virginia blogosphere think you just have a thing about Sean. It's a very strange thing, very hard for outsiders to understand, and very hard for you to articulate. It's just there. I don't think it's constructive. It has an unwholesome aroma. You should deal with other issues (many of which you address rationally) and leave this all pervasive weirdness to one side.

too conservative said...


I don't know why we argue.
Seans Conservative.