Where to Now? by Chris Woodfin

All right, we are now a week out from the election in which Republicans in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and particularly Hampton Roads, suffered significant losses. The Commonwealth voted for a Democrat Presidential nominee for the first time since 1964, is now represented by 2 Democrat U.S. Senators and went from an 8-3 majority in the U.S. House of Representatives delegation to a 5-6 minority. Some may try to spin this, but I can’t. This is a devastating loss for Republicans in Virginia and we are all to blame.

Over the next few weeks and months, I am sure that we will all be inundated with political pundits informing anyone that will listen as to why Virginia has gone from a Red state to at least a purple state and possibly even a Blue state. This process has already started. Just this morning I was listening to an analysis claiming that the loss was because of the “rigidity” of the Republican Party sticking to principles and the unwillingness to be flexible. I don’t think this can be further from the truth.

The conservatives that want limited government, fiscal responsibility and low taxes feel that they have no voice within either of the two primary political parties. The Democrat party certainly doesn’t believe in any of those issues, and of late, the Republicans have clearly lost their way. Mark Warner just won the U.S. Senate seat as a “moderate, consensus builder.” Where did that come from? It came from the Republican Party, we made him that way. As Governor, he actually forged an agreement between the Virginia State Senate and the Virginia House of Delegates, where his tax increase, and yes it was a tax increase, was seen as the moderate position between the two Republican controlled bodies. On the national level, the last eight years with a Republican President and a Republican majority in both houses for most of the period, ushered in the largest increase in the federal budget since Lyndon Johnson, ironically the last Democrat President voted for by the Old Dominion.

The result of these concessions by the “so-called” conservative Republicans was a defeat that has made the Republican Party the clear minority in Virginia politics. The Republican Party needs to return to the conservative principles of Reagan and Goldwater. By simply looking at the communities of South Hampton Roads, these problems can be seen. For the purpose of this post, South Hampton Roads will be considered to include the counties of Accomack and Northampton, and the cities of Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk and Virginia Beach. We have heard so much prior to and immediately following the election about the increased turnout in the Democrat leaning cities and counties. For the most part, Portsmouth being the exception, that trend existed in these 7 localities. However, what has not been noted is the drastic decrease in turnout amongst the more Republican leaning jurisdictions.

There was a significant drop in turnout in the jurisdictions of Accomack, Chesapeake, Suffolk and Virginia Beach from the 2004 to the 2008 election. I contend that this drop off is an example of the conservative base not turning out to vote. The conservative base was never excited about John McCain; the addition of Sarah Palin helped, but not enough; and the conservatives have felt betrayed in recent years by both state and national Republicans that have allowed the budgets to skyrocket under Republican control. The Republicans were great as the minority party fighting for change and reducing the size of government, but when they gained control, the people wanted to know, “NOW WHAT?” That is question that elected Republicans have failed to answer.

I have often heard it said that the people want progress and need answers. This is true; the people are looking for answers to real problems that exist in our society, both at the state and national level. However, when we sacrifice our principles for the sake of coming up with “a solution”, have we really solved anything. Leadership is needed to step forward and tell the people how we can solve these problems while sticking to the principles of limited government and low taxes. This can come from new leadership or simply old leadership returning to the core conservative principles of the past. Who will step up and be that leader?


7 Responses

  1. Hi Chris, have you heard of yet? It’s a website that I built early this year in preparation for the movements that are coming together now. Please feel welcome and encouraged to join so that your blog can be listed as part of our member blogs.

    All the best,

  2. This is good stuff. We need leadership that is true to the cause, John McCain is a joke. I’ve been a registered Republican since I turned 18 years old, up until this last election when I decided to be unaffiliated with any of the parties out there. I feel that there are a ton of us out there, yearning for true conservative policies, with no one to represent us. The battle here in Southern Calif is tough, the liberals influence the masses through every outlet available. It sickens me. Our state leadership, Arnold Schwarzenegger, is further disgusting. He’s another liberal in disguise, calling himself a Republican. Now CA is close to being bankrupt and he wants to “temporarily” raise the sales tax 1.5%. What’s going on?

  3. Yes, the Republican leadership has failed. The old leaders “returning” to conservative principles will be a joke. Will anyone really believe that it is anything other than a gimmick to them in order to keep their jobs?

    We need new leadership! People who actually believe in conservative principles and have a track record to prove it! We need more leaders like Mike Pence and Ted Coburn.

  4. In Virginia, Bob McDonnell, Bill Bolling, and Ken Cuccinelli have the ability to lead, the conservative principles, and stature to change the party into its former glory.

    On the national scene, we have Mitt Romney, Bobby Jindal, Sarah Palin, and a few others that can do it.

    We as individuals also need to stand up and let the Republican Party know that we will no longer tolerate leadership that does not hold to its principles. This has been our fault too.

  5. I believe that we can take a queue from the Democrats, and Obama in particular.

    What Obama succeeded at supremely was getting his message out via viral media – social networks, mobile phones, etc. I think the Conservative base needs to dive whole-hog into these kinds of campaigns in getting our message out. We have the blogs, but we have yet to market our messages aggressively via all of the media outlets that people are actually using.

  6. We need to return to our true conservative roots of small government and low taxes. We had control of both houses and the White House We were swayed by neocons with visions of empire when we won the cold cold war, and then spent like there is no tomorrow, instead of listening to our base. It should have been to bad so sad we won you lost but it wasn’t. Guess what that’s whats its going to be now under Democratic control.


  7. We as a nation consistently ignore the fact that solving problems ensures to a great extent political defeat. Were both parties to work together and accomplish great things they would have nothing to campaign on against the other party. Success means working together and when you work together you find consensus. Consensus between opposing parties destroys the negative arsenals of the operatives who without a doubt control this party.

    A great example of a solution that would cut expenses greatly and improve education is contracting out consulting contracts to state or even private universities. We spend millions every year on consultants who are arguably worthless in that they cost far more than they save. Our students would benefit infinitely from the real life experience, the state would save money, and the students could be given financial credit towards their tuition in return for their work. This solution is a no brainer, except for that it will anger the consultants who make small fortunes doing work that is either not necessary or better handled elsewhere. These people contribute to campaigns, they lobby, the are political players. Politicians see them as people not to be angered and so they stay clear of any legislative action that would adversely affect them.

    Elected officials should be concerned with one thing and one thing only; doing what is best for the bulk of their constituents. Currently the conventional wisdom is to become well liked in the halls of power to assure re-election. This is as disgraceful as any dictatorship. Our elected officials must strive to be hated among those who have power. The status quo is beyond unacceptable and striving to be liked only serves to ensure nothing changes. We must elect people willing to lose re-election, in fact we must demand it. Our education system is fundamentally broken, our budget bloated, and our leaders stagnant. We cannot keep electing people who give parsed answers and policy statements. We must demand action, demand change, demand words that draw staunch criticism from their colleagues.

    Solutions are as painfully obvious as is the lack of will to carry them out. We currently hold our elected officials to lower intellectual standards than our school children. Even when they are caught in an exaggeration or outright lie we loath to call them on it. Our system despises those who give detailed answers and well thought out plans. We are so hesitant to engage in deep thought that we revel those we lay things out in simple terms. It is the market that designs the product, not the other way around. We as voters must stop being lazy and anti-intellectual should we ever hope to break free from the enslavement of this pseudo-democracy. Should you argue the appropriateness of my former statement, consider this; an educated populace undeniably makes the foundation of and is an unavoidable requirement for any successful democracy. One need only look at statistics for our abysmal education system throughout the past 50 years to see that we are anything but a well educated country,

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