On The Reaction To The Decision Of Lt. Governor Bill BollingColumnsFeaturedPolitics

UPDATE: My personal opinion. I see more character and integrity in Mr. Bolling’s decision than I do in the General’s political maneuvering to get the rules changed to his advantage.

Once again Bill Bolling has stepped aside.

This time leaving the door to running an independent campaign, if not wide open, slightly ajar.

Leaving also the media, Tea Party folks, and bloggers of all persuasion to sling barbs and darts his way.

Even RNC Chairman Pat Mullins had this to say.

”I am disappointed by Lt. Governor Bolling’s remarks over the past 48 hours. Lt. Governor Bolling has a stellar record of public service, and has long been a strong voice for the conservative cause. Nowhere in his statements does he mention a policy disagreement with the Attorney General.

The proper venue for challenging a fellow Republican is during a nomination contest. Lt. Governor Bolling chose to suspend his campaign. I hope he will take his own words to heart and work to bring our Party together.”

At about the same time a friend of mine, who has “been there, done that” said this.

Let me say this, few people understand the utter despair that grips you when you first realize something you’ve dreamed of achieving all your life is no longer attainable. It’s not a good feeling.

All the hard work, sweat, tears and blood you’ve put into achieving your goal seems wasted. You start to reflect on the road not taken, opportunities missed and you start second guessing yourself.

One minute you might be angry with yourself for even thinking you were good enough to achieve your goal, the next you’re depressed and feel unworthy, and then the next moment you’re angry with those around you, hoping to cast blame on someone else for what feels like a humiliation that won’t go away. And all that is compounded by the fact that deep down inside, even after you’ve accepted the reality of the situation, you still feel a tinge of fire in the belly, that now unattainable goal still calls out to you, but you have to suppress the urge to reach for it. And honestly that breeds a little bitterness.

So now you have anger, depression and bitterness swirling around inside but instead of the world leaving you be, it just keeps on poking at you, asking you asinine questions that it already has the answer to, expecting you to put on a damn smile like a Cheshire cat, getting upset when you dare give an honest answer or express how you truly feel.

My two cents, let’s just leave the Lt. Governor alone for a bit. Okay?”

I think my friend has it right. Bill has given much to the Commonwealth. He’s stood by his principles, and the Southwest Virginia values by which he was raised.

If I know Bill like I think I know Bill he will shed his bitterness soon and return to the service of Virginia that he’s always been known for.

In some capacity.

Final question. Many have already disparagingly said he will launch an independent run for Governor.

Personally I don’t think he’s eager to increase the membership of the Russ Potts, Brandon Bell, Jeff Evans club.

If he does make that move, and as I said I don’t expect him to, I do think he has the character, charisma, and organization to pull it off successfully, which would keep him out of that exclusive club.

And unlike Brandon Bell, a member of a much more exclusive club, he won’t resort to Democrat Party funding to do it.

@altonfoley | Facebook | Alton’s posts | E-mail me

  • http://www.facebook.com/whit.sours Whit Sours

    The criticism was not made in a vacuum Bolling took a shot at the field that was so inflammatory and so suggestive of a possible independent run that liberal rags in the Commonwealth are already writing editorials about what a good idea that would be. Its possible to go through every part of the grief cycle you describe without doing it in public. I’ve seen Bolling speak several times now at events political and non-political. Each time he has impressed me as a man that is clear spoken. Unless he later apologizes I have to believe he meant what he said and knew the impact it would have. It was damaging to the Parties nomination and electoral efforts. Mullin’s statement was very even handed, he complimented Bolling and then made clear why he disagreed with Bolling’s statement.

    • http://www.facebook.com/whit.sours Whit Sours

      I’m not kidding about the media using this to Democratic advantage. The Staunton Newsleader is running an editorial today about how we need GOP Moderates like Bolling and McDonnell and how its a shame the Party is pushing Bolling away. Now, mind you, the Newsleader endorsed Deeds over McDonnell in 2009 but Bolling’s loose mouth yesterday gives the media the opening it needs to foster separation and division Bolling lost his discipline yesterday.

      http://www.newsleader.com/article/20121129/OPINION/311290025/Virginia-would-better-Bolling-ballot

      • http://www.facebook.com/BrianSFairfax Brian W. Schoeneman

        The funny thing is Bolling and McDonnell aren’t moderates.

        • http://www.facebook.com/LynnRMitchell Lynn Randall Mitchell

          Exactly. Seven years ago when he ran for Lieutenant Governor, Bill Bolling was accused of being *too* conservative. Now he’s accused of being moderate. Bill Bolling has not changed … the party has.

  • Loudoun GOPer

    Sorry, Alton. Bolling doesn’t get to drop a bomb on the party and then have us leave him alone. The man is the second most powerful man in the Commonwealth and a leader in the Republican Party of VA. He doesn’t get the luxury of throwing his temper tantrums in public. A real leader knows how to control themselves in public. They think about how what they say will affect those around them before sounding off on what is bothering them.
    And Alton, I know you really don’t think that Bolling could win the Governor’s race as an independent. All he would do is guarantee that the Democrat wins. Bill knows that, and you know it, too.

  • http://www.facebook.com/aaron.mills Aaron Mills

    He should just go run as a Democrat. He is a liberal after all.

    • http://www.facebook.com/BrianSFairfax Brian W. Schoeneman

      I would love for you to point out any examples of the LG being a liberal.

      • http://www.facebook.com/LynnRMitchell Lynn Randall Mitchell

        Mr. Mills, if Bill Bolling is “liberal,” then so, too, is Ken Cuccinelli. Their voting records are practically identical.

  • Nathan Miller

    I would vote for an independent Bolling over Cooch in a heartbeat. I hope he does run.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ctarbutton Chip Tarbutton

    I refrained from publicly scoffing at the “Bill Bolling is a great republican” comments on the original thread. But this article is so pathetic that it demanded some sort of response. I am supposed to feel bad that Bolling’s life long ambitions have been dashed. Politics needs to not be about your personal ambitions. It is about public service and it is about the principles of government. When the Bolling’s only complaints with Cuccinelli are about standing for principles and his own personal ambitions…well perhaps the Republican Party just improved a bit with his departure. Funny, when Bolling screwed over Senate Candidate Tripp Godsey in the 21st District, Godsey didn’t pout and take his toys and go home like Bolling. Not familiar? Read here for the story…
    http://www.roanoketeaparty.com/2012/11/taking-your-toys-and-going-home/

    • http://www.facebook.com/BrianSFairfax Brian W. Schoeneman

      You don’t have to feel bad, but you could at least have some empathy. Yes, politics is about public service. But it also involves people, and there’s a human element to this stuff. Why do you think the AG is running for governor now instead of waiting? He and Bill Bolling are almost ideologically identical. It’s about the AG’s calculus that this is his best chance to win, and waiting again will likely put him running during a Republican presidency, and that’s a bad thing to do for a Republican given Virginia’s electoral history in that regard. So it makes little sense to slam Bolling for ambition when the only reason he dropped out was the result of Ken’s ambition.

    • http://www.facebook.com/alton.foley Alton Foley

      If you’re going to use quotes, at least quote something I actually said.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ctarbutton Chip Tarbutton

    Alton, if I wan’t clear I was referring to the comments on the first thread describing Bollings decision to leave the Governors race where numerous people chimed in to talk about the selfless LG and his great record of being a good Republican. That made me nauseous but decided to hold my tounge until I knew more. Glad I did….
    As for the empathy angle…PLEASSE. We all have disapointments in life. In and out of politics. We all have ambitions and often those ambitions aren’t fully realized. That is life. I have some empathy…but that being said…

    That doesn’t excuse Bollings’ behavior. Put on the big boy pants and stop whining. After Bolling’s behavior out here in the Roanoke area described in the article I posted…well I can’t say I have a great deal of sympathy for him getting politically outwitted by Cuccinelli.

  • Patrick

    What does it mean for our party, when less than a month after a dismal national election, a moderate conservative realizes he is not electable. We have all the discussed the need to not allow liberals to continue to define us as the anti-immigration party made up of racist white men, yet there are those who believe Ken Cuccinelli is the answer to their prayers. If I recall correctly, he is notably anti-immigration and foolishly made the focus of our most recent General Assembly session social issues. Our country is center right, not far right, and we will continue to see losses every November if we continue to nominate and support far right candidates.

    Cuccinelli is exactly the face that should not be representing our party and I for one am saddened to see LtGov. Bolling go.

  • http://www.facebook.com/rick.boyer.771 Rick Boyer

    The whole flap over Bill Bolling pulling out of the Governor’s
    race and threatening to run as an independent has stoked emotions on both
    sides. To me, it reveals the blatant hypocrisy of folks who savaged Virgil
    Goode for running against Mitt Romney (never mind that Virgil’s differences
    with Romney were very significant, and we’re all told that Bill Bolling
    actually is a conservative and not that different from Ken Cuccinelli).

    But what’s more important to me than which individual is right or wrong, is that
    this whole flap sets out in sharp relief two of the greatest things WRONG with
    the modern incarnation of the Republican Party – certainly at a national level
    and perhaps even more exaggerated in the Republican Party of Virginia. I think
    each deserves our attention.

    1.We tend to idolize individual politicians. I believe our
    Founders would have warned us against this. We ought to look to the American
    people for direction, not to self-anointed leaders. Perhaps this was best
    expressed by one longtime Republican activist who stated that with Bolling’s
    withdrawal, she would just retire from politics.

    Are we serious? Are our years of effort really so tied up in the worship of a single
    man or woman that the person’s defeat leaves us without a cause for which to
    fight? There is no candidate out there, Bolling, Cuccinelli or otherwise, who
    deserves that level of idolatry. Many of us in the “party activist” ranks are
    the folks most susceptible to the clearly false idea that “Congress stinks, but
    MY Congressman is a great guy.” This attitude of “politician worship” leads us
    to judge what is right or wrong on the basis of our preferred politician’s
    actions, instead of judging our politicians with an honest yardstick of
    objective right and wrong; that is, we measure truth by a man instead of
    measuring a man (or woman) by the truth. That’s why it’s “wrong” for Virgil
    Goode to challenge Romney, but “right” for Bolling to do the same thing to
    Cuccinelli. We become a nation of men, not of law.

    2.We look at public office as something to be “deserved”
    because the politician has “paid his dues,” or “put in his time.” Now “it’s his
    turn.” This attitude is cancerous. In truth, public office is a high honor, and
    more importantly, a sacred trust. PUBLIC OFFICE IS NOT SOMETHING A POLITICIAN
    DESERVES; IT IS SOMETHING HE HOLDS IN TRUST, RESPONSIBLE TO SERVE THE WISHES OF
    THE PEOPLE WHO PUT HIM THERE. No one “deserves” four more years on the taxpayer
    dime because they have already been granted twenty. No one “deserves” a
    promotion to the highest office in the state because he has been blessed to
    hold the second-highest. It is destructive to believe that I, as the citizen,
    owe some allegiance to an elected official because he’s been there. We are not
    far removed from the “divine right of kings” theory.

    As a party, we MUST reverse our thinking. Our elected officials are NOT our rulers;
    they are our servants. Being on the taxpayer dime is a privilege, not a
    guarantee of tenure for life and automatic promotion. They are our
    REPRESENTATIVES. WE are the rulers; THEY are the servants, who serve at our
    pleasure. We owe them nothing; they owe us everything. We have lost all concept of government of, by
    and for the people, and we must reverse our thinking.

    How do we address both these problems? By a paradigm shift
    in our thinking. Today we view a “Party” as a group of folks bound together by
    a blood oath to “elect Republicans,” and then to serve and re-elect those
    incumbents basically for life. If we are to move forward, we MUST view a “Party”
    as a group of folks bound together by a basically shared set of IDEALS, PRINCIPLES
    – sworn to find folks who subscribe to those ideas to support at election time,
    to hold them accountable once elected, and to REPLACE THEM if they “become
    destructive of those ends” for which we elected them, as the Declaration put
    it. WE MUST BE DRIVEN BY IDEAS, NOT POLITICIANS.

    What are those basic ideas? For simple starters, our elected
    officials MUST believe in Life and Liberty. They must stand without apology for
    the simple understanding that unless we ALL have the right to life, everything
    else is but window dressing. The “Republican” state senator who bottles up
    pro-life legislation in committee, who “reaches out to single women” in a
    craven bid for power, with the lives of innocents as the 30 pieces of silver he
    trades for votes, is as shameful as the openly pro-partial birth abortion
    Democrat. Secondly, our officials MUST understand the government is too big, and
    be committed IN PRACTICE to making it smaller. Not “smaller growth,” but making
    it smaller. Almighty God only demands 10 percent; government already demands
    40-50%. How DARE we consider “raising revenue” or raising debt ceilings? EVERY
    MAN, WOMAN AND CHILD IN THIS COUNTRY IS ALREADY IN DEBT $250,000! It is
    UNCONSCIONABLE for a Republican, yea for an American, to support allowing
    unelected groups of bureaucrats to have the authority to tax us. Yet our
    Governor, Lieutenant Governor and most “Republican” Congressmen and state
    legislators supported the creation of unelected taxing authorities. We used to
    have one of those; his name was King George III. We had to fight a war to get
    rid of him. A politician who votes us back to 1775 shouldn’t get another
    chance!

    If we will swear our allegiance to Life and Liberty, and
    make our politicians run the gauntlet of Principle before they “earn” our
    votes, we will, as party activists, rebuild the trust in this party that 2012
    proved we have so manifestly lost. If we continue to put “Truth upon the
    scaffold and Man upon the throne,” we deserve the contemptuous title of “party
    hack.” We are, like it or not, accountable for the votes we cast and the folks
    we help elect. If they betray our Ideals and we wink at it, we too have become
    Judas. We too have broken faith with the folks who trust us, as activists, to
    present them with leaders who earn their trust.

    This “Charlie Crist moment,” as Richard Viguerie puts it, is
    a Moment of Truth for us as a Party, and as its activists. Will we be content
    to be hacks, or will we determine to be a new breed of freedom fighters, rebuilding
    from the ashes of 2012 the dream our Founders bequeathed to us. Forget Bolling
    vs. Cuccinelli; I call us to choose – Are we in service of Men, or in service
    to Liberty? IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO BE BOTH!

  • http://www.facebook.com/michaelj.barrett.355 Michael J Barrett

    Frankly from an issue standpoint I see little difference between Bolling,
    Cuccinelli, or McDonnell. All are arch conservatives who readily abandoned moderate and business oriented republican postions to embrace the ideology of the tea party and far right to the detriment of the Commonwealth. Cuccinelli will embody the same commitment to
    privatization, deregulation, and small government, which means cut local
    government and brag about reducing taxes. The damage they have all done to
    Virginia is palpable as tuitions have soared, highway congestion has cost us our
    economic competitiveness, bad deals like the ERC.,Port Privatization, and US 460 have been done or considered because the state has no other alternatives, and the Commonwealth’s infrastructure is falling apart with no funds to fix the situation. Frankly, Bolling, Cuccinelli, McDonnell, who cares? Given the opportunity, they will continue to destroy the Commonwealth through disinterest and neglect.

    • Radical Steve

      First, I agree with Rick Boyer; I’m tired of the continued trend of either its my turn or I’m here to stay but not make a difference. We need to constantly force turnover in our elected representatives so they don’t get too comfortable and stay responsible to us and good government.

      Secondly, Michael that’s quite a lot to blame on McDonnell’s yet incomplete term. Seems like a lot of the blame on roads etc. should go to the prior joke governors Kaine and Warner. It seems to me cuts are required at all levels of government, I’m tired of locals asking for state or federal money to cover local problems. Where is all this money to come from, I don’t have any more to give government & have stopped most discretionary spending to survive. I do say the state & feds should stop mandating stuff on the locals. Anyway I do not see any evil in deregulation (I haven’t seen any of that) or privatization. Government is destroying our freedoms and economy in a way no private sector interest could possibly. It’s almost impossible to start a non service company now.

      Lastly, after listening to Bolling on the radio over the last few years, I’ve lost interest in him. He had no coherent message & giving the democrats the house on immigration won’t win us any votes; after amnesty Reagan lost Hispanic votes. Seems other issues may be more important including actually finding candidates who will campaign among all constituents and present a persuasive message that connects. We also, though, need to stop alienating people on intrusive proposals that contradict our view of individual freedom and rights. I may personally oppose abortion, but let’s cut out all this focus on creating government intrusions & restrictions that won’t succeed and are contrary to individual liberty.

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