Democrats and the Media: Same old story on RepublicansPolitics

Bob McDonnell, GOP candidate for governor, at a press conference following the 2009 GOP convention, along with Bill Bolling and Ken Cuccinelli, the respective lieutenant governor and attorney general nominees

On Saturday, the Republican Party of Virginia sent a clear signal that it will be the party that stands for freedom and liberty against bigger government and out-of-control spending, values life, and will work tirelessly to preserve our personal safety and security.

With the formal nomination of Bob McDonnell, Bill Bolling, and Ken Cuccinelli as the GOP nominees for governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general, respectively, the party has fielded a triumvirate of unwavering and determined conservatives who will advocate for strong, practical, and commonsense principles for the people of the commonwealth.

But it didn’t take long for the media or the Democrats to attempt to portray the ticket as too conservative or “divisive”.

At a press conference following the formal nomination, reporters hounded McDonnell over his faith and labeled Cuccinelli as a potential drag on the ticket…straight out of the Democrats playbook.

The press tried to make Pat Robertson an albatross around McDonnell’s neck, just because McDonnell and tens of thousands of others have attended the highly-accredited and award-winning university that Robertson founded: Regent University. McDonnell effectively shrugged and said that this has been going on for twenty-five years, and when Virginians look at his ideas and record of accomplishment, they see him as his own person.

In a nut-shell, this is just another trumped-up media controversy instilled in them by lazy reporting and a desire to repeat what “Common Sense Virginia” – a Democratic-front organization – is feeding them.

And as far as Cuccinelli being a drag? There are examples all the way back to 1993 in every election in which the Democratic party wheels out the same old, tired rhetoric, and the media regurgitates the talking points.

1993

“Democrats yesterday promised to campaign on bread-and-butter themes such as economic growth but said they would not hesitate to highlight what they said are their opponents’ extreme stances on social and cultural issues.” (Washington Times, June 7, 1993)

“‘I don’t know if George Allen is using their agenda to advance his cause, or if Pat Robertson is using George Allen to advance his cause,’ Miss Terry said. ‘But clearly he has right-wing ties that make him the most extreme candidate in modern times.’” (Washington Times, October 18, 1993)

1997

“‘We have a very clear difference in the race,’ said Lt. Gov. Donald S. Beyer Jr., the democratic gubernatorial nominee. ‘We become the mainstream ticket”’

‘This is Pat Robertson’s ‘dream team,” said state Democratic Chairwoman, Sue Wrenn, noting that the broadcast preacher has poured $80,000 into the Gilmore and Earley treasuries.” (Richmond Times-Dispatch, June 11, 1997)

2005

“….prompted Democrats to declare that the GOP ticket is extreme and out of the mainstream of Virginia politics.” (The Washington Post, June 19, 2005)

Yawn. C’mon, legacy media. Get out of your funk and move onto something new.

I have a lot of respect for reporters such as AP’s Bob Lewis, but for him to ask a question to McDonnell about “moderating” his positions while Cuccinelli is so “conservative” (ed. note: *gasp* – a conservative in the Republican party!), strikes me as an attempt to create controversy where none exists – all based on the fact that he probably read the Democratic press releases from earlier in the day.

But is it any surprise Lewis asks the question when Levar “The Michelin Man” Stoney, executive director of the Democrats of Virginia, earlier in the day said,

“Today, Virginia Republicans have chosen the most divisive ticket in modern Virginia history. Bob McDonnell, Bill Bolling and Ken Cuccinelli all have long careers of pushing divisive social issues instead of getting things done for Virginians.”

Such as what? Protecting kids from Internet predators?

McDonnell answered in kind with a hard-hitting response:

McDonnell: Bob, I think you got it wrong.

Lewis: Which part?

McDonnell: Well, in the premise of your question. I’m a consistent conservative. I’m a conservative that believes if you put those commonsense conservative principles into place you have better ideas to get results for the citizens of Virginia. Look at what I have talked about today on energy policy, on more innovation for our public school system, on making sure that we have more conservation (which is a conservative value), on more access to higher education – these are all things which I believe are consistent with our basic, commonsense, limited government, pro-opportunity message that we’re going to take to every corner of Virginia. Those are conservative values. Sometimes I think people might not understand anymore what a conservative is!

The three candidates have reason to be proud conservatives.

While Jeff Schapiro and Tyler Whitley tried to diminish in their report that over seven-thousand delegates attended the convention, which included several thousand more guests – what can’t be diminished is the energy within the Richmond Coliseum that was on full display and will be sustained for the duration of this campaign.

The visual effect of waving Gadsden “Don’t Tread on Me” flags, chants of U-S-A, and full-throated cheers for Bob McDonnell as he took the stage for the first time in the morning may have been lost on the reporters, (after all, they hadn’t seen such a thing from Virginia Republicans for nearly fifteen years – if they could see at all, given their station at the convention) but it was not lost on the thirty-plus bloggers sitting on bloggers row.

There is clearly an energy building amongst conservatives who know that our very freedoms are being eroded – and that right now, our best hope is provided by these three candidates.

Advocating for solid solutions to our most pressing problems is nothing to be ashamed of. And the three candidates running for statewide office are proud of what they stand for.

Growing the economy, protecting and creating jobs, preserving Virginia’s “right-to-work” status, promoting oil and natural gas development in the Outer Continental Shelf, further developing the coal industry – which includes the largest coal depot in Hampton Roads, reducing tuition costs, opposing abortion, protecting second amendment rights, improving education standards, protecting citizens from internet crimes and on-line predators…and on and on.

If anyone is divisive, it is those people who feel the above ideas are “out of touch” with Virginians.

Conservatives need not cede this ground…but stand tall and proudly advocate for why our freedoms matter.

The media and Democrats might try to diminish what happened in Richmond Saturday, but they will have a very difficult time stemming this “rising tide.”

  • Conservativa

    Ha! I was planning on writing that but you beat me to it and wrote it better. I was also at that presser and while I came in late, every question that I heard was “C’mon, we know you are knuckle-dragging scary right-wingers like Pat Robertson, and we’re justifiably annoyed that you won’t admit it, but then why wouldn’t you lie about it, because as frightening right-wingers you are also of course hypocrites” very much in tone like “when did you stop beating your wife.” Seriously, it was pretty bad.

    Asking tough questions, preferably well-researched ones = reporters doing their jobs
    Hectoring and lecturing and pretending the lectures are questions = lazy hacks, not reporters.

    I saw Mrs. McDonnell and Mrs. Bolling sitting together at the presser and they were grim-faced. They know exactly the treatment their husbands are in for from the press for the next few months and I don’t blame them for not looking exactly delighted over it.

  • novamiddleman

    This is why I like McDonnell so much. That quote is amazing
    Well, in the premise of your question. I’m a consistent conservative. I’m a conservative that believes if you put those commonsense conservative principles into place you have better ideas to get results for the citizens of Virginia. Look at what I have talked about today on energy policy, on more innovation for our public school system, on making sure that we have more conservation (which is a conservative value), on more access to higher education – these are all things which I believe are consistent with our basic commonsense limited government pro-opportunity message that we’re going to take to every corner of Virginia. Those are conservative values. Sometimes I think people might not understand anymore what a conservative is!

    Notice no mention of pro-life or anti-gay marriage stuff death penalty or gun rights. Does that mean we are ignoring those issues or they aren’t important? of course not.

    It is however all about messaging for the biggest audience and defeating negative sterotypes. This is what smart politicians do running in a general election. Thats how you win in November. Its something all the candidates should keep in mind especially when they are interacting with the press.

  • tx2vadem

    Well, in addition to graduating from Regent, McDonnell has close ties to Pat Robertson. Robertson has been one of his highest individual contributor over the years. What’s the counter-argument here? Are they not friends? Has Roberston not mentored him?

    Of the issues that you list as Virginians finding important, I would put transportation and education higher up in that list. The OCS is a national issue; and while the governor gets input, it is more important that the initiative be supported at the national level. While it would be great to have a governor who is a booster for that, it should not be their primary focus. Coal is about to be killed this year by national climate change legislation. So, it won’t make a whole lot of difference what our governor thinks about it.

    What I did find telling was his mentioning of public-private partnerships to solve the state’s transportation woes. I assume he was referring to the PPTA, which has projects underway. I did not get a sense at the VDOT public meetings concerning the 395 HOT lanes that this was really popular. I don’t know how the 495 ones went. With the 395 project for our public financing, we get a private company to repaint the shoulder to create an extra lane and then a separate private entity will toll all three lanes. They are planning on doing a tolling project in Hampton Roads too. So, it would be interesting to hear what folks there think about it. I think more than just NoVA voters will have a problem with congestion pricing and selling off transportation assets to an unregulated private entity (unregulated in the sense that they are not regulated as a Public Service Company like Dominion, for example). So, if Bob’s plan is to sell off state transportation assets to private companies so that the state is off the hook for remedying the transportation problem, I think he should really spread that message here in NoVA and Hampton Roads. I think it will go over especially well in Loudon, Prince William and Fairfax where commuters will bear the brunt of the tolling burden.

  • Pingback: FamilyFoundationBlog.com » Blog Archive » Sabato Takes His Swipes

  • http://TidewaterLiberty.com Britt Howard

    Although I had to choke back laughing at the irony when McDonnell said,”Sometimes I think people might not understand anymore what a conservative is! “, I agree with Novamiddleman on basic strategy in selling the message. Being a conservationist isn’t the same as being a politically correct “Green” sellout. If McDonnell continues to be careful, many conservatives possibly might forget their past nausea over his performance as AG and face of the RPV. Here the press is picking up on issues that McDonnell’s core has with McDonnell. To further highlight that, the press wants to contrast McDonnell with Cuccinelli.

    Glad to see Bolling escaped a lot of the media editorializing.

    As far as Cuccinelli being a drag, I agree that it is a welcome relief to have conservatives running for office for a change. At one point in time, McDonnell’s conservatism was never questioned, but Cuccinelli has done that without the stumbles of McDonnell. Stumbles McDonnell has played liberal “moderate” in order to get over and distance himself from that past.

    As was said, Levar Stoney tries to paint them all as extreme and ineffectual by saying,”Bob McDonnell, Bill Bolling and Ken Cuccinelli all have long careers of pushing divisive social issues instead of getting things done for Virginians.” This strategy is vulnerable.

    A key point in their attack will be to focus on Cuccineli as the poster child of extremes – Cuccinelli walks the talk. He has that priviledge because he hasn’t stepped on political land mines nearly as badly as McDonnell. Cuccinelli doesn’t have to, nor does he need to apologize for being conservative.

    The easiest way to defeat this current strategy is to attack that key part of it. Defeat the premise that Cuccinelli is a ineffectual right wing nut. Actually, that is pretty easy. He was a prolific legislator that got things done. Ask the press about Cuccinelli’s bill SB 781 that helped lead us to real eminent domain reform. Doing nothing to get things done? Tell that to the NRA, VCDL, and other groups concerned about the 2nd amendment. He gets things done. How about his leadership in getting Virginia to resist by legislation, the Federal Government’s insistance on the REAL ID. His sponsorship of legislation in 2006 and later support for laws protecting us from identity theft. His sponsorship of succesful legislation that required the Commonwealth and contractors of the commonwealth to check legal status of new hires and provides the ability to cut relations with contractors that cheat by hiring illegals. He consistently opposed giving tutition assistance to illegal immigrants. Yes, he opposed Warner’s tax increase and Kaine’s tax increase……so? That’s a good thing! Advertise it.

    If Ken Cuccinelli is SOOOOOOO extreme, why does he have so much support in Libertarian circles? Why all the support of the Ron Paul movement? Yes, the social conservatives are an important core of Cuccinelli’s support. The fact that Cuccinelli is successful in uniting social conservatives and fiscal conservtives, attracting former GOP to come back, and that he can WIN as a conservative in liberal NOVA scares the pants off of them! How can they possibly paint Cuccinelli as an extreme “nut” given all that? It won’t make sense.

    Hammer the positives of all three. Focus on what they have DONE. Point to the mess we have now and make the argument that this ticket has what it takes to bring Virginia back to fiscal sanity, the rule of law, and go BEYOND the TITLE of being “Best for Business” and actually BRING business and jobs here.