Virginia Republican Loss Reveals Miscalculation

Here is a follow-up to the last post, about the rebuke Virginia Republicans suffered at the polls at the November 7, 2017 elections. My criticism might seem presumptuous without backing up the argument.

And yes, the Republicans were “rebuked” in the elections in the same sense that the rats that attempted to move into our yard were rebuked when I electrocuted them and threw their carcasses in the trash bin from whence they were hauled to the landfill.

I will note that there are likely much bigger stories in America right now than the GOP’s epic stomping in the Commonwealth. One gets the feeling events are afoot that could eclipse Virginia politics, but more on that below.

The reason I made the Republicans sound silly is because they seem to be operating with a concept of the Virginia electorate that defies common sense and basic arithmetic. As best as I can figure, the Virginia Republicans’ electoral calculation goes like this:

1). Subtract Democrat Party voters
2). Subtract supporters of President Trump
3). ??
4). VICTORY!

For the November 7 elections, step #3 was apparently “Be as boring as an old shoe.” That, we now know, was not a winning answer.

As noted last time, the Virginia GOP “expert” contingent have apparently decided that one cliff dive was not enough so they are preparing the party to take another plummet next year. To understand the mindset, it’s worth noting how they got to step #2 above.

Following the November 7 catastrophe, Republicans and conservatives from across the country weighed in in comments to the many news and social media stories. A familiar refrain was to the effect that “you have never seen such a hive of scum and villainy” as the Virginia Republican Party.

This is because Virginia Republicans have made a name for themselves as leaders in opposing President Trump. It began during the Republican National Convention last summer when Virginia Republicans were center stage trying to get delegates who had committed to Donald Trump “freed” to vote for other candidates. Since then, Virginians have apparently cemented that impression. I don’t know exactly how, but I would guess that Congresswoman Barbara Comstock has had something to do with it. Comstock rarely makes news for doing anything, but has managed to make quite a bit of news criticizing the current president — and doing so about 20 times more frequently than she criticized the last one.

Also, perhaps, politicos around the nation follow what their peers in Virginia are saying and writing. I’d estimate that 90 percent of Virginia GOP elected officials and party leadership are anti-Trump, shown both through explicit condemnation and also in more subtle ways, using their leadership position to paint the picture for lesser Republicans that “top people hate Trump.” I read a bit of news and follow some of the people on social media, and that is my impression at least.

Of course, what that says to Virginians who support President Trump is: “We consider you to be an idiot.”

It is not too much of a stretch to think that many erstwhile Republican voters would have gotten that message and had their voting ardor tamped down.

Not all of Virginia’s GOP candidates are as notoriously anti-Trump as Barbara Comstock, of course. But one odd thing you could definitely see during the past campaign period is that practically no Republican candidate even mentioned President Trump, at all. That seemed strange, especially considering that Republican also control both houses of Congress. There might be some relevance, one might presume, between the local and the national under such conditions.

But following the election, a dominant theme I saw among Republican experts was that the candidates did not sufficiently distance themselves from Donald Trump. In other words, with regard to step #2 above, future Republican candidates need to be more forceful in driving away those Trump supporters.

My personal opinion is that this might not be such a great idea, but I will reserve judgment until I see what the 2018 candidates propose for step #3.

Actually, if I had to guess, I’d say the Virginia Republicans plan to buff up some talking points from an address to Parliament circa 1903, emphasizing duty, love of country, and wool, prefaced with a quote from Ronald Reagan, and concluding by damning Donald Trump to Hell. If you think I’m joking, you don’t know Virginia’s self-styled Republican leadership.

But let’s not dwell on an imploding political party. To the point made at the top about Virginia GOP devastation not being the most important issue in America today, it is interesting to look back on how previous “big stories” can so thoroughly be eclipsed by bigger events. Back in 2001, I recall the biggest controversies in the news in this area were the disappearance of Chandra Levy and the Chinese military pilots who were flying too close to American military jets. There was also some matter with a U.S. jet that ended up landing in China and the Chinese would not let the American crew leave and also (I think) held onto the plane. These stories were a pretty big deal.

Then, September 11, 2001 happened, and all of those stories fell out of the news, and the national consciousness, for years. I bet almost nobody in the country has the slightest idea what happened with that American jet, and it’s likely that nobody outside of DC knows what the upshot of the Chandra Levy case was when it finally got reported on again 8 or 10 years later.

Here in November 2017, there seems to be a lot of world-changing activity on the horizon. Some of it, I think, might not only dominate the national news, but might even transform how we perceive the political stage right down to the local level here in Virginia. And maybe by next year the Virginia Republicans will have learned a way out of their rather hopeless-looking electoral equation.

The Real Barbara Comstock

This is on Congresswoman Barbara Comstock’s Facebook page:

TaxDay

No, really. It is. This is from the woman who used the word “bipartisan” no less than ten times in one place to describe her work as a member of the Virginia House of Delegates. But, hey, an unsourced quote from Ronald Reagan forgives everything, even mocking the 90,000 voters in your district who cast their ballots for the Democratic candidate.

Bi-partisan? Not the real Barbara Comstock.

Nov. 4 Evening Update: Foust In Flames! Warner To Recount?

John Foust
John Foust

A quick mid-evening update:

Dirty John Foust has been sent packing, humiliated, losing not only by double digits but likely by over 15 percent, to our new 10th District Congresswoman, Barbara Comstock. With 84% of precincts reporting, Comstock leads 57% to 39%.

Foust – the footnote in future discussion of the death of the war on women meme – should be brought forth as a cautionary tale forever hence. Let his name never be spoken again except in casting shame and derision.

Mark Warner is losing to Ed Gillespie with 95.5% of precincts reporting, 985,447 to 985,023. Two early conclusions:

  • This likely will go to a recount; and
  • The national GOP needs to get out of the habit of pre-emptively giving up on Republicans in Virginia. See Cuccinelli, Ken. If Virginia is purple, Republicans have willed it so.

In other news, Republicans need to win one more Senate seat to control the Senate for the next two years, they are going to have the largest House majority in 65 years, and have won the governorships of Texas and most likely Florida.

Democrats’ Sterling Rally For Foust, Warner CANCELLED

Warner, Foust event canceled
Last-minute chaos as Virginia Democrats are forced to cancel campaign event for Warner and Foust.

A Democratic Party of Virginia (DPVA) rally which had been scheduled tomorrow evening in Sterling, featuring candidates Mark Warner and John Foust, has just been cancelled, as reported at Bearing Drift.

The DPVA had advertised the event as “Outer NOVA GOTV Rally with Senator Mark Warner, Senator Tim Kaine and John Foust” and scheduled it to take place Monday, November 3, from 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm at the Sterling Community Center.

The Democrat Foust is behind in the polls by double digits in his race with Republican Barbara Comstock for the 10th Congressional District seat.

Click here for the full story ….

Actually, We Can’t Track Packages

Barbara Comstock (in)famously said that, because we

…can track packages coming in here all the time; we can track people…

Well, then we can’t track people because, it appears, we can’t track packages. According to the vendor I’ve just ordered a package from, the shipper is (I kid you not) recycling its shipping numbers. This leads to the anomalous tracking “history” for my package shown below:

Tracking

Reading from the bottom up, you can see that my package got processed yesterday, then was subsequently transferred to the post office and delivered, sixteen months ago. Later that same day, it was scanned and began its journey to (I hope) me, going from some unspecified location (called “United States”) to Columbus, to New Stanton. Where (and when) it will go next is not clear at this time. Reading that history, “this time” isn’t even clear at this time.

To be fair, I took Comstock out of context. The history above is from UPS, and Comstock was talking about FedEx. Then again, maybe she just forgot who paid her…

 

Finally, Foust Benefactor Pulls The Plug

This can only be good news for people who own televisions, and good news for those of us who want to forget we ever heard of John Foust.

It is pretty wonderful news for Barbara Comstock, too. (Also reported earlier today at Bearing Drift)

Foust benefactor pulls plug
Foust campaign on less generous rations for remainder of campaign season

National Democrats have canceled a multimillion-dollar television ad buy in Northern Virginia’s 10th Congressional District, a blow to Democrat John W. Foust in his race against Republican Barbara J. Comstock for a seat that had been seen as very competitive for much of the year.

Foust has been polluting the airwaves and FIOS lines with his rehash of the “war on women” canard. It was a lame and dirty campaign, going back to that well one more time, in effect making his own deal with the devil. Now there will be $2.8 million less of his garbage. Good.

Comstock Speaks, Won’t Listen

Barbara Comstock is speaking today at the Ashby Ponds senior residence. Sources there tell us that she will not be allowing residents to ask her questions. This is not the first time she’s shown her fear of seniors. Most likely, her refusal to take questions arises from her no-exceptions policy of not discussing her position on abortion (which is to prohibit it), and from what happened when Ken Cuccinelli did take questions on that topic at Ashby Ponds last year (which was that he was revealed to be an outright liar).

We’re also informed that, although Ashby Ponds will be allowing press to attend, the Comstock campaign has not issued any media kits nor invitations.

Can someone, anyone, please tell us how a candidate who won’t give interviews and refuses to be asked questions has any chance at all of being elected?

UPDATE: We Were Right. Loudoun Times-Mirror reports Comstock did, in fact, refuse to take any questions after her speech today at Ashby Ponds:

“Of all the 60 speakers I’ve invited over the years that I’ve been here this is the first person who has wanted to do it this way,” said Shirley Olson, a resident who helps organize the candidate visits.

What kind of representative won’t take questions?

The story also quotes a Comstock supporter who says it’s okay that the nominee didn’t take questions because she took them at a prior appearance before the primary election. While that’s puzzling logic in the first place, it also conflicts with our sources in Ashby Ponds who say that, prior to today, she refused to accept their invitations. We’ll try to clear that up and let you know what we find out.

Real Clear Politics?

The popular Web site, Real Clear Politics, is not living up to its name. For months, it has listed the Foust/Comstock race for Virginia’s 10th CD as “Leans GOP.” Today, with two new polls out, they’ve moved “VA10” from their “Leans GOP” list to their “Toss Up” list:

map

Only, it’s not that… well, clear. If you click on that district map (the one color-coded as “Toss up”), you get this overview of the race:

Ranking

That’s the same as it’s been for a long time, giving the race a “Leans GOP” ranking.

Hard to believe the two new polls gave RCP a reason to move the race one column to the left, as: a) both polls are partisan bull, and b) both polls put Comstock in the lead. Maybe it’s a Web-based typo of some kind, and RCP will move VA10 back to the right, but how does a typo like that happen? Could as well be that the map does reflect RCP’s new view, but that the page excerpted above, with the ranking, hasn’t been updated yet.

We’ll keep an eye on it for you.

Comstock No-Show at LWV Forum

86th-district Democratic candidate Jennifer Boysko is saying on her Facebook page that Republican nominee for the 10th CD, Barbara Comstock, was a no-show at today’s League of Women Voters forum in Fairfax. Democratic nominee John Foust was there.

Perhaps after her disastrous encounter with the press at the Chamber debate recently, Comstock believes that any contact with the public or the media is a bad idea.

Why is this woman even viable for the House of Representatives?

Fumble! Comstock Runs from the Media After Losing Debate

Adding insult to injury, pouring salt in the wound, putting out a fire with gasoline. You decide which metaphor is best while you watch Barbara Comstock literally turn her back on some softball free-TV interview questions right after today’s debate:

(Video made available courtesy of WJLA. Good job, you guys!)

UPDATE: The woman stiff-arming reporter Mike Conneen and obsessing at him over her business card appears to be Susan Falconer, variously reported as Comstock’s “manager,” “spokesperson,” and “handler.” Apparently, her practice of stopping people from asking Comstock abortion-related questions is a long-standing one, and applies even to Republican-friendly media. The Foust campaign surely knows this is a weak point in Comstock’s armor, and Falconer’s flying tackle of a mainstream reporter confirms that Comstock knows it too. But what the video above also proves is that Comstock is afraid of the press. For a candidate, “earned” media (as opposed to the kind you pay for) is the brass ring of the campaign merry-go-round. But here we see the front-runner actually hiding behind her manager (or whatever), while that manager physically blocks a reporter from giving her candidate some potentially dazzling earned media.

Why?

Because the reporter brought up abortion. Notice that, as Falconer dashes between Comstock and Conneen, Comstock instantly reacts by turning away from the camera. While most candidates would gently ease their overzealous staffer aside, saying, “Of course I can answer that for you,” Comstock and Falconer executed a play worthy of a professional quarterback and an offensive guard. This was a practiced move, one that shows Comstock has decided that any answer to an abortion question is, for her, the wrong answer. For the public, this means they are being asked to vote for a candidate who hides from the press. For Foust, this means he knows exactly where to aim his next shot, and the one after that, again and again, until election day.

Comstock ran scared, giving up free time on TV, because anything she says about abortion, anything at all, will cost her votes. John Foust’s job, from here on in, will be to get her talking.

 

UPDATE 2: The story of Comtock running away has become the news from the debate: PoliticsUSA, BlueVirginia, DCCC (of course), Daily Kos, and even (albeit with kid gloves) The Washington Times. (Also about a billion Twitter posts.) The only good news for Comstock’s campaign is that her cowardice under the lights is stealing some of the focus from her statement in the debate itself that the government should be tracking people as though they were FedEx packages. (Not entirely, though, as the Wall Street Journal even reported on it.)

Comstock Compares People to FedEx Packages

Well, this is good. At today’s debate with John Foust, Barbara Comstock said the way to secure America’s borders is to start tracking human beings as though they were packages sent by FedEx.

No, really. She did.

Makes you wonder how she plans to do that, particularly for American citizens who travel abroad, then seek to cross the border as they come back home…

 

(Update: It’s nice to see all these links from Twitter and Facebook, but… you are allowed to comment here. Just sayin’…)

. | |
. | |
. V V

Let’s Get “Real”

John Foust used a word that Virginia politicians should probably just elide from their vocabularies, when he said Barbara Comstock has never had a “real” job. Taken in full context, anyone can see Foust meant Comstock’s working energies have been devoted to what’s best for the Republican party (“partisan operative,” was how he put it). But, Comstock is a woman and, with Republicans doing all a party can do to ruin women’s lives, her campaign has decided that John was taking a shot at housewives stay-at-home moms. Or maybe it was a shot at federal employees. Or, even more sympathetic, maybe they want him to look like he was mocking lawyers. As Comstock has been all three, they want to be sure no one can be left in any doubt just whom it was that John was mocking, so they’re going to be vague about it and let you decide for yourself (while, of course, reminding you that Barbara Comstock Is A Woman!, which should have us all wondering what virtues Sen. Dick “there is no such thing as marital rape” Black and Del. Bob “birth defects are punishment from God” Marshall have to offer the voters).

Anyway, John probably could have chosen his words better. Those occupations Barbara’s had are all “real” jobs. It’s just that, as a committed operative of the Republican party, Barbara’s never really done them.

J. Warner Endorses M. Warner, to Endorse Comstock

Here’s a question for you: How much weight does an endorsement carry if it is offered by a member of a political party to another member of the same political party? Typically, next to none, right? Insiders know that powerful party members can grant or withhold support for one candidate or another, but that kind of thing is done mostly behind the scenes, not in public. What the public sees is Republicans endorsing Republicans, Democrats endorsing Democrats, and all of that is just one big yawn for the masses.

Unless… When an endorsement crosses party lines, that changes everything, right? Obviously, an endorsement must be sincere if a person is willing to buck their party when they make it. Speaks volumes about that person’s integrity, character, and commitment to the great good, wouldn’t you say?

Thus, Republican John Warner’s endorsement of Democrat Mark Warner for the latter’s re-election bid to the United States Senate can only be seen as utterly genuine, and tremendous credit to the statesmanship of the former. God bless John Warner for being his own man, and lending his help to someone who deserves and needs it!

Oh, wait. Does Mark Warner need it? Let’s check: According to the most recent poll, Mark Warner leads his Republican challenger, Ed Gillespie, by twenty-three points. For the politically inexperienced, we can tell you that, barring some kind of Sandusky Event, this means Mark Warner is going to win. Which also means that no clear-thinking Republican is going to blame John Warner for it when Mark Warner wins. Effectively, John Warner just bought all that apparent integrity and statesmanship without actually having to pay for it.

Which brings us to his latest endorsement, of wannabe member of Congress, Barbara Comstock. Without his cross-party endorsement of Mark Warner, retired senator John Warner’s endorsement of fellow Republican Comstock would about as stunning as last year’s passage of Comet ISON (no, you aren’t supposed to know what Comet ISON is, or even that it made a passage, which is kind of the point, see?). But, having made the courageous gesture of tossing party loyalty aside and backing a Democrat who was already sure to win, John Warner has earned himself the apparent nobility necessary for the local press to say this:

Warner, who in 2009 retired after 30 years in the Senate, has been no surefire supporter of Virginia GOP candidates in recent years.

What a guy, eh? By the way, that 2009 retirement is interesting too, because the story also says this:

In a joint letter about the event, John Warner and Wolf say Comstock has been “a great partner with us in working on issues important to the 10th District.”

“With us”? John Warner retired in 2009. Barbara Comstock first took office in 2010. Warner (John) is a retired Republican, endorsing a Republican who ought to be retired, and that endorsement means what all politically incestuous endorsements mean: nothing.