Bill Card, chairman of the Prince William County Republican Committee, offers a Republican-centric counterpoint to The Bull Elephant’s Brian Reynolds’ article on the issue-centric power of the Virginia Citizens Defense League.[read_more]
The Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL) were the guys with the booth in the corner of the gun show for me. I didn’t need another group in my life or more emails so I didn’t investigate. I was (and remain) an NRA member. I own guns and I am a permitted conceal carry guy. If I don’t have a drink in my hand and I’m not in a “gun free zone” – I’m armed. I do have differences with my VCDL brethren – I allow you to choose. I won’t get in your car, enter your home, or force my pistol on you – I’ll let you decide. But I digress…
My first confrontation with VCDL came in the good old days when Ken Cuccinelli was our Attorney General and the Washington Redskins were winning. As the local GOP chairman, I got a call from the AG and he wondered if I could throw together a gathering of Republicans in a location where we could all watch the upcoming Redskins’ football contest. I guess Ken might not have been washed in VCDL ideological correctness either as our suggestion of the centrally located and well equipped sports bar “Buffalo Wild Wings” didn’t trigger an alarm in either of us. They had room, would accept our reservation, what’s the problem?
After launching the invitation I got hate mail from two VCDL enthusiasts. I think that I deflected the outrage with a discussion of rights (yes, Buffalo Wild Wings has them!), the fact that Ken was THEIR Attorney General too, and a healthy dose of the Constitution. You see, I’ve read more than one sentence. I also told one of my antagonists that if he could find an ideologically pure location that met all our criteria, to let me know. I believe that’s the last time I’ve heard from him.
Fast forward to Saturday January 18th 2014. My church hosts a “wild game supper” every year and I was keen to attend. However, the most important thing going on that Saturday was door knocking in Loudoun County where the political center of gravity of Virginia’s Senate was being fought over. A special election in three days might push the Senate into our arms. After door knocking for the reliably conservative John Whitbeck that morning, I made it just in time for the supper. Imagine my surprise to see 200-300 Baptists milling around sporting red “Guns Save Lives” stickers. I popped one on too.
Later the VCDL representative addressed the group about a demonstration planned for Monday in Richmond—the day before the election! I was amazed…he was seeking human props to go in exactly the wrong direction—he would have them go South to Richmond instead of North to Loudoun where the real battle was going to be waged. They were looking for 600 breathing mannequins. Stupid.
I suppose that demonstrations have their purposes. University studies indicate that it increases political activity – in particular voting – in the locations where they occur. What they aren’t sure of is whether they stimulate the voters who agree with the protesters or motivate the people who fear the agenda of the protesters. We do know what works – and again – the center of gravity of the Senate and certainly the guns rights battle was 130 miles away from the VCDL gesture. The utter irony and futility of the VCDL effort seems ludicrous even today. Exactly the wrong target, at exactly the wrong time. I didn’t know it, but it was about to get worse.
The worst occurred this past election. I am on the VCDL list. Perhaps it was the cost of picking up that red sticker, or perhaps they got my email from a list of actual conservatives. Anyway, locked in mortal political combat with our enemies I didn’t have time for VCDL emails anyway. That is until one of our members sent me a frantic email demanding that Ed Gillespie answer the VCDL survey. This isn’t unusual, as everyone and their dog seems to have an election survey. As the Party Chief I get asked to pressure candidates to answer them. I usually don’t take sides; I just make the campaigns aware. That’s what I did this time—they were already aware.
As Election Day grew closer, the demands grew more and more shrill. They also included the threat to not vote for Ed Gillespie. I didn’t think anyone was that stupid. A second VCDL member joined the cacophony—Ed must bow to the altar of Van Cleave. The NRA endorsement was irrelevant, you must submit!
I read the survey in question and I wouldn’t sign it. But the demands grew more and more shrill. VCDL emails continued to pound the issue while implying that some evil reason was at work, that anyone who wouldn’t answer their stupid survey was unreliable. The mantra was “submit to us or we won’t vote for Ed.”
Then, in the midst of the final days of the campaign, a pistol packing gentleman walked through the door of our office—the very sure sign of the VCDL faithful. He was there to find out—you guessed it—why wouldn’t Ed answer the survey? He was less strident and shrill than some of the others, but his message was clear: no survey, no vote.
Then the final betrayal. VCDL emails trumpeted the fact that Sarvis, starved for attention in every other corner of the electorate, had answered the survey! The implication to those prone to political suicide was clear: vote for the guy who curtsied to Van Cleave.
We experienced a drop-off of 0.38% in Prince William County. That means that 361 people who went to the polls and could have voted in the Senate contest didn’t. That wouldn’t have closed the distance here in my county. If you apply that factor across the State you still don’t overtake Warner, but you get closer. Of course, you don’t know how many votes VCDL kicked to Sarvis, and of course there are enough votes in that column to change the outcome.
So, for all you VCDL supporters in Virginia, when you bounce your grandson on your knee and he asks you “What did you do in the great election of 2014 grandpa?” You will have to look at him and say “Well, I shoveled Philip Van Cleave’s crap and helped the good guys lose.”
Republicans and particularly Conservatives shouldn’t be patting VCDL on the back. They should be saying “What the &#^$& were you thinking?!?”
Mr. Card, it is fair to say that you and I don’t know each other very well other than the occasional short discussion at church about our views on the political landscape. My impression of you was that of a man who was very dedicated to the Republican Party and doing everything you could to help Republican candidates succeed in being elected. However, after reading your guest editorial in response to the article on the VCDL and what it does on behalf of advancing and advocating for the principles enshrined in the 2nd Amendment, I’m having to rethink my opinion about you. And I wanted to thank you for writing the editorial.
You see, unlike you, I’m not in any sort of leadership position within the Republican Party. Unlike you, I’m not a retired Marine Corps LTC, merely a lowly retired Army MSG (and I thank you for your
service). Unlike you, I am relatively new to the inner workings of the Republican Party as I was able to start getting involved in my local Republican Party Committee when I retired off active duty four years ago. To say I’ve been disappointed with that experience would be an understatement but that is a
discussion for another day. While you have decided to rely on your membership in the NRA for them to adequately represent you when it comes to advocating for your 2nd Amendment rights, I choose to have a membership with a number of organizations, with most of them “single issue” groups (NRA, VCDL, GOA, NAGR, etc.), to speak with and for me on those issues. In your guest editorial in “The Bull Elephant” on 16 Dec 14, I was able to discern much more clearly what your attitude was/is towards people who believe like me.
You see, I’m one of “those people.”
I’m one of “those people” who refuse to spend my money at an establishment like Buffalo Wild Wings. It’s a personal thing. I don’t try to impose my personal choice on anyone else. I’ve had to attend some
farewell luncheons at a Buffalo Wild Wings and sit there while everyone else eats and explain to folks why I won’t spend money there. Do I think those few very vocal people who sent you “hate mail” were out of line to do so? Probably. It certainly is not how I would deal with it. But I can empathize with how they feel and why. And I’m guessing those folks (the one who send “hate mail”) are actually very small in number.
I’m one of “those people” who believe that “the most important thing going on …” is whenever there is a function at my church whereby we, as a church, are reaching out to the community at large to share the message of the Gospel. That focus (on the eternal as opposed to the temporal things) speaks volumes of anyone’s values. And why would you be surprised that more like 600-800 Baptists (and many other denominations) would empathize and agree with the sentiment that “Guns Save Lives,” especially since there are fewer statements that are truer and more easily proven as true? And then why would you go to the trouble of “popping on” one of the stickers? Camouflage?
I’m one of “those people” that you insinuated were “stupid” (you called the representative from the VCDL “stupid” for encouraging folks to support the rally Richmond instead of knocking doors with you in Loudon County) for being willing to support a cause at the state level while folks in Loudon County and surrounding counties were involved in their own election. Like most folks, I had to be at work on those weekdays anyway.
I’m one of “those people” who may not be an “actual conservative” (according to your editorial)
because I can’t figure out why any candidate for public office would not answer a survey from a prominent, effective advocacy group- unless that candidate has a principled difference with the issue of that group and doesn’t want to go on record. There were 15 questions on the VCDL survey for federal office. It would have taken less than 30 minutes to answer Yes of No on the questions (some of them multiple sections so it actually added up to about 20 questions). You are trying to tell me that a candidate for public office can’t take 30 minutes to answer a survey that, by your reasoning, could/did make the difference between the Republican candidate winning or losing. Really? Delegates Lingamfelter and Anderson didn’t seem to have an issue with answering the survey last year. Why would Mr. Gillespie have a problem responding to the survey? At least respect them enough to respond, even if it ends up with a NR on the survey results. His refusal to respond made it an issue, not their insistance on a response.
I don’t know any of the folks in leadership at the VCDL. I had never heard of “Philip Van Cleave” until I read his name in your editorial. But how do you, as a leader in the Republican Party of Virginia, help to advance the conservative cause by talking about shoveling Mr. Van Cleave’s “crap” and painting him (and by extension those people in his organization) as the bad guy? It doesn’t. And why would anyone who views 2nd Amendment issues as their most important issue want to help you and your local Republican Party unit when you view their concerns with such disdain? They won’t. Congratulations- you are driving away a group of potential voters who are growing in numbers and who have proven their willingness to work to get folks elected.
I mentioned earlier what my impression of you was. Well, after reading your editorial (and trying to concentrate on just the article, not so much the comments that followed) I must tell you my impression of you has changed. To be blunt, your attitude towards those who don’t think like you (that would include me) gives the impression of someone who believes in party before principle. The condescension oozes from every paragraph. That attitude is what drives me and people like me to try and change the Republican Party of Virginia and bring it (the Party) back to the core principles as articulated in the Republican Party of Virginia Creed.
You see, I’m one of “those people” who believe that someone in politics doesn’t have to sell their
souls to succeed. Sure, there will be times where compromise is required, but not to the point of compromising one’s principles. Compromise should not be the rule but rather the exception. It has
been my experience that the only thing you get from straddling the fence is a sore crotch.
Ed Gillespie may have been better than Mark Warner but he was still not a good candidate. Did I vote for him? Yep. Did I want someone who could clearly articulate why he was a conservative? Sure. Was that Gillespie? Nope. His biggest selling point was that he wasn’t Mark Warner.
It’s not enough for the candidate to be running for office as a Republican. If we continue to elect Republicans with no backbone and no principles, how does that advance conservatism? I’m afraid your ire is misdirected. It isn’t a group like VCDL who cost Ed Gillespie the election. I think we all need to look within the Republican Party itself to identify why the party seems to be allergic to candidates who are true, unapologetic conservatives.
VCDL prob a wash in Senate election. Most of them voted for Ed and the ones that wouldn’t are the ones demonstrating and ‘playing’ at politics.
VCDL are good and effective at what they do — not so much as far as being ‘good’ Republicans.
I think that’s the way it’s supposed to work.
Team EG Squared Force made the bet that the VCDL survey would hurt more than help, apparently they lost that bet.
VCDL: Fix your survey
Ed: ‘Close’ only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.
RPV:: Your guy lost for a bunch of reasons, it should not even be close, you’re doing it wrong!
RNC: You got no excuse for losing this one too!
Thank the gods that VCDL doesn’t even want to be “good Republicans”. A single-issue group is to be commended for calling a spade a spade.
In all due respect, I agree with Bill Card and his issue with VCDL.I am a former Secret Service official and a gun owner. It is simply”Un-American” for any group to go after private citizens and candidates for office for simply refusing to fill out their survey.
My advice to the VCDL is to focus their efforts against those who oppose the rights of gun owners rather than go after gun rights supporters who simply refuse to complete a survey. The VCDL is shooting blanks on that issue.
The point is that we don’t KNOW whether Gillespie opposes the rights of gun owners, do we?
We don’t KNOW what’s on the NRA survey, or how Gillespie got that endorsement, and we don’t know how he would have answered the VCDL survey. Therefore, to presume he is a gun-rights supporter is not backed by a shred of evidence.
So, though I’m not a Secret Service officer (as if that makes a difference to one’s opinion), I’m also not wiling to play sheep and follow along what someone expects me to believe with no evidence.
I’m hearing you prioritize “Republican” over issues and values.
Those who chose not to vote for Gillespie due to his “bugger off” attitude about the survey want to know where the candidate stands on specific issues. Touting an NRA endorsement doesn’t tell me spit; candidates know the NRA will not publish its survey or candidates’ responses, and thus it’s “safe”. To many of us, that won’t cut it. VCDL publishes its survey and responses, so a failure to respond ALSO says “I don’t want my responses available to the hoi polloi”.
I’ve never put Party above specifics, and I’m VERY, VERY happy to learn there may be others for whom that great big R just doesn’t do it.
When I vote for someone, integrity plays a big part. Integrity means, to me, telling me what you will do and then doing it. When a candidate won’t tell me (in response to SPECIFIC questions), I interpret that he hasn’t the integrity to serve in the position.
I DID email the Gillespie campaign to ask if he would release his NRA survey questions AND his response. I’m still waiting for an answer to that too.
My previous communications specific to this thread were done with an i-phone and 50 plus year old eyes, so I apologize.
Let me try again.
First let me say that Bill Card is about as spot on as one can be. His assertions are IMHO correct. I too have seen the same kind of misinformed and foolish approach to politics taken by several groups, VCDL is but one. BTW, I am a proud member of this organization, I just think they are often misguided in their approach. So, before any of you begin the process of schooling me on the 2A, I suggest you check my background out as to my dedication to gun rights. I take a back seat to noone. This is about making a difference.
Many months ago while trying to get volunteers to knock doors and phone bank for KC I was at a local Tea Party meeting. I was there in an attempt to get them involved. My plea to them fell on deaf ears. Instead, I was told they had just returned from Richmond to protest ObamaCare. They were organized and spent time and treasure to go to Richmond to walk around in circles carrying signs wearing funny hats, chanting Obamacare sucks. Hey No Shit ! We all know Obamacare sucks.
This was their idea of making a difference, this is how they were going to turn back the tide of the Obama administration. How about helping us to get Ken Cuccinelli elected ! How about doing the real work required to get a movement conservative elected Governor of Virginia. What a concept. You see they thought making noise was making a difference. They are wrong.
VCDL too has its issues. During the recent statewide elections they felt that standing out in front of a Don Beyer car dealership waving signs was moving the needle for gun rights. Standing on the side of the road with homemade signs that noone can read while going 35 miles an hour is not moving the needle, it is not advancing our conservative agenda, it is not getting anyone from our team elected. It is a waste of time IMHO. It makes us look like fools. While at the exact same time the Bill Cards of our region were on the phone working like dogs trying to get people to knock doors and man phone banks. I know this to be true because I was one of those people calling previous Vols, those who had previously attended Republican events, and single issue groups off of numerous lists. It was like pulling hens teeth. BTW in the 10th District we ended up having to hire door knockers, because everyone was too busy waving signs and marching in circles. Maybe if the coalition members of our team were not busy bitching and moaning, walking in circles, or standing on the side of the road, we might have been more successful in our efforts.
I was fortunate enough to be involved with the recent 10th District activities that assisted in the election of Barbara Comstock to the U.S. Congress. Through that activity I got to see Bill Card make a difference through hard work and leadership. His team in Prince William County delivered for us as they have on many fronts. If you want to win, make a difference, and move the needle in our direction, listen to and participate in the activities proposed by Bill Card and other leaders.
Another friend and former Loudoun County Republican Committee Chair, Glen Caroline used to tell his executive committee for which I was a member, “You can make noise or you can make a difference”
I have a saying that expands on the making noise versus making a difference theme:
“Making noise is like pissing your pants while wearing dark trousers, you get a warm feeling but noone notices.”
Stop making noise, make a difference.
I am a dedicated, grass roots conservative activist. l am also a concealed carry permit holder, and I am currently engaging my employer to allow me and my fellow employees to carry concealed in the workplace. I am a member of the NRA and I receive VCDL emails. No one supports the Second Amendment more than I do. I have also worked closely with Greg Letiecq in the past. Back in 2008 I led an anti-illegal immigration effort in Stafford County along with Heather Stefl. In 2009 I joined the Stafford Tea Party group and became one of the co-leaders of the John Adams Patriots. During the 2013 campaign I knocked on over 1,000 doors statewide to fight Medicaid Expansion. I attended all three of the public hearings in Richmond on Medicaid expansion and I proudly led the heckling section. My wife was assistant campaign director for Shak Hill. I admire Greg and I admire Shak, and I will ACTIVELY support Susan Stimpson in her attempt to retire Speaker Bill Howell. But even a staunch conservative like I, would not sign that complex VCDL survey. Reading it, I felt as if I was reading the IRS tax code. Thus, I can understand Gillespie’s hesitation. Furthermore, anyone who thinks that Ed Gillespie, moderate that he is, would not be perceptibly better than Mark Warner in voting for many of the issues that matter to people like us, is not living in Realville.
SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS ARE ONLY CONCERNED WITH ONE THING–WHAT THEY WANT.
it doesn’t enter their brains the right or wrong of anything —only what their special interest is, regardless of the greater good
–because of a survey,– a group of people decided to oppose a candidate?–really?
their choice, but suppose the candidate tool the survey and lied?
a closed mind on one thing is why we the people have to put up with what we have
but then the majority of the people that even bothered to vote
GOT WHAT THEY WANTED, DIDN’T THEY?
how many special interest groups got what they wanted?
Sorry but the failure in the Gillespie campaign lies solidly with the national Republican committee who refused to provide him funding in a close race. They chose to punish Virginia for eliminating their RINO entrenched pail in the 7th district as we chose an actual Conservative in Dave Brat. So, it is the Republican party’s short sightedness to abandon Virginia and let the liberals “have it” that cost this election. Not those of us who expect our representatives to have an understanding of Constitutionally protected freedom.
Absolutely spot on.
Well I’m offended
The comments section here is ample proof that there are people who claim to be conservative, yet who are more concerned about proving themselves to be “more-conservative-than-thou” rather than actually helping conservatives get elected to office so they can govern.
Comments section here is ample proof of a comments section.
How can a single issue define one as “conservative”?
Please elucidate. I always thought I was conservative – but to me, “conservative” means limited government, efficient use of tax revenues, treating everyone equally under the law (i.e. not determining who can marry), individual liberty (i.e. not practicing medicine or making choices for other human beings).
Apparently, I no longer pass the litmus test; I’ve been told I “can’t be” a conservative. Therefore, I don’t understand how listening to a single-issue organization’s perspective on that issue
I make my election decisions based on a wide range of factors, which includes a candidates’ stance on social issues and an assessment of whether that candidate will vote to deprive me of my stance on said issues. And on their stance on individual rights – including the right to bear arms.
But I don’t know where Gillespie stands on those issues because he won’t answer a PUBLIC survey. If he only answers the hidden NRA survey, what else will he hide?
Having been at this for many years I have strategies , tactics and approaches succeed and fail. We lain by learning. My issues with single issue groups often revolves around approach or tactics. VCDL and other groups find effect in going to rallies , standing on the side of the road with signs or flooding a business with people to make a point. I find these actions to be a waste of time . It does not mean that I love the cause of the 2a more or less than them or I am any more or less conservative. It means I take a different approach. The NRA approach in support of the 2a is substantially different than VCDLs. They disagree on approach. Nothing more , nothing less.
Greg, VCDL has 95% of its effort in Richmond and has more success than most any single issue group here in Virginia–the list is long and will continue to grow each year. VCDL is NOT an organization which gets involved like you, Bill Card or even myself in local or state-wide elections. In fact, as a non-profit under their structure, then cannot. The VCDL PAC can. The only reason VCDL sends out a survey is to inform its members and followers how a candidate stands or if they refuse to send back the survey. It is simply informative but to many who place the second amendment as their end-all-be-all decision on or to look further at a candidate, that survey serves a purpose. In an election, there are dozens of reasons a candidate can rise or fall, gun rights is simply one of them–but Bill outright blamed VCDL for Gillespie’s loss. A one-issue group, with only 6K members, can loose a state-wide election for a candidate getting national attention? Give me a break. Nothing, not one thing was ever said negatively about Gillespie other than he failed to return/fill out his survey. That was his choice.
I am sure Bill is a great person, but to attack VCDL for Gillespie’s loss and say, based on that, that VCDL is dangerous? Who is the nitwit in that conversation?
Interesting – I’ve been told by VCDL members that you guys were claiming 26,000. I couldn’t independently confirm that. Six thousand – is that a verifiable number?
Are you saying that you don’t need information from more than one source? That’s disappointing.
Here’s my message to Col. Bill Card: It was YOU dipshit that refused to complete the survey, so why whine about it now like a snot nosed little cry baby? How many OTHER surveys from OTHER citizen groups did he actually FILL OUT?? and why not just fill out this one too? Because he’s a Republican establishment puke, that’s why. And so was Gillespie apparently, which no doubt had a lot to do with him not convincing enough voters that he was worthy of their trust.
This sort of intemperate and profane comment is really beneath the standards of this site.
BOR-ing!!!….go drink some Cool Aid sonny.
Why use such disparaging comments to get your point across PTP. These type of comments are more suited for commenting on one of the Dem sites like Blue Va. Bill Card works very hard for all of our candidates and doesn’t deserve your childish comments.
Internal family strife laid bare for the world to see…it must be the holidays.
Bill, as smart as you are, I am very surprised you would attack a single one issue group who is IN RICHMOND, literally, speaking to GA members, drafting bills, finding members to carry and/or sponsor bills, fighting in and out of committees and bringing together like-minded people in Virginia and making a real, measurable and recorded impact for the past 20 years. I have a feeling you simply have some personal quarrel with VCDL or didn’t like my comments about Glen Caroline.
VCDL’s work is undeniable. To see a gathering of several hundred VCDL members and then, because that segment of like-minded folks were having a rally or demonstration in Richmond–for YOU to call them “Stupid”? What sort of childish evening are you having? They were not campaigning per se, VCDL does not gather and campaign for any single politician (demonstrate, yes, but not campaign)–it gathers together to show strength where and as needed for issues and things going on that you likely, at that time, had no clue about and for reasons obviously beyond your knowledge.
I respect Greg Stone’s assessment of you BUT, this is the very situation which causes dissension and lack of unity in an among the party or conservatives–and I know Greg is a believer and preacher of unity. And, respectfully, PWC, under your guidance, is not necessarily the poster child for how things should run or the results you should have.
Alternatively, you should embrace those VCDL members who believe in the fundamental rights as you and recognize that, as it obviously very important for you, as a former Marine (my son is as well and I respect and thank you for your service), Virginia resident and daily CHP and firearm carrier–YOU benefit HIGHLY from what VCDL has accomplished over the years, most of which was under Philip’s leadership.
Equally, you should first and foremost be or become a VCDL member (the NRA isn’t and doesn’t fight for your Virginia gun rights). Second, develop a communication with VCDL leadership to suggest and perhaps guide. Likely you will find that your knowledge of a/any particular situation regarding VCDL initiatives is limited, therefore if you were involved, your opinion of matters, direction and feedback would be more informed and intelligently crafted–likely not using words like “stupid”.
Moreover, you should be thankful that there is not only a group in Virginia like VCDL attempting at every turn, year round, to protect your personal firearm rights, but also thankful that some, namely Philip, stepped up to lead the way. You are a Marine and I am sure you have another career but you chose to get involved in local politics leading to your current role. That is one important path of impact–Philip chose another more narrow but important path of leadership.
As for the impact of VCDL on elections While I don’t speak for VCDL, VCDL is NOT, never has and likely never will be front and center of any election, local or state-wide. It ONLY is involved when it comes to gun rights and does so by issuing a survey to ALL candidates, R, D or other. The organization only informs the public whether the survey was 1) returned or 2) the outcome of the survey responses. Not returning a survey is absolutely 1) a sign that something may be amiss and they are likely a bit more moderate than their pitch and/or 3) a sign that the candidate DOES NOT feel VCDL has ANY impact on their campaign or its results.
So, if the candidate himself, here Gillespie, does not feel VCDL has any impact on his campaign, and chooses not to fill out the survey, instead, to simply proffer his “NRA” rating as the overall gun-friendly response, then why would you, obviously working in or around Gillespie, blame VCDL for his loss? That makes absolutely no sense Bill and is far below the person I have heard you are. In fact, since Gillespie was touting the NRA rating so often and the NRA/ILA sent out multiple mailers for him, and the NRA likely has more members in Virginia, its headquarter state, than total voters in this last election–shouldn’t you be blaming the NRA? Did you see them come out in numbers with NRA stickers chanting “Gillespie, Gillespie hes our man” or knocking door to door? I didn’t.
Since you mentioned Sarvis and were, in your roll, able to touch and get Gillespie’s and his handler’s ear… would it not be foreseeable to you (and them–thats what they are paid the big consulting bucks to do) that Sarvis, while having no way to win, would still pull some votes from Gillespie and was attempting to use every tool, such as the VCDL survey, to pull those votes? In your roll, I am absolutely certain you could foresee this and with all predictions indicating it could be a close race, did you not act to inform Gillespie and his handlers that he should attempt to quash any on the-fence votes Sarvis may pull by simply filing out the VCDL survey? And if you did do this–then it is AGAIN, Gillespie and his handlers who are to blame for whatever votes Gillespie failed to get by not filling out the little VCDL survey. They did NOT think the VCDL survey was important Bill.
Ironically, you have bolstered, as the PWC GOP Chairman, the very title of my article by stating that VCDL [is so powerful and influential that they], as a one-issue group of like-minded folks, lost the race for Gillespie. Ha, my next article should be titled, “PWC GOP Chairman Bill Card states that VCDL is so powerful and influential as to decide a Virginia state-wide race.” Dare me?
Anyway, on Lobby Day, January 19, 2015, I am sure we won’t see you, nor Glen Caroline nor anyone from NRA/ILA and the only NRA members that will be there are those VCDL and GOA members who happened to be NRA members as well.
Nice try Bill–now go back and solve problems in Prince William–they need your help.
Folks, the fact is that VCDL’s influence is, by and through its members, followers and leaders, funneling attention to/at Richmond. This is where that long never-ending list of accomplishments comes from that I posted and that is simply a partial list barely mentioning the weekly initiatives with clerks, LEOs, etc. that you don’t hear about as they are more minor quickly resolved issues.
Join and/or support VCDL at VCDL.org.
Brian, Honestly I would like to be respectful, but your very
premise is based on a false choice. “Sign my survey or I burn the house down.” I wouldn’t respect anyone who allowed themselves to be dragooned in that fashion.
I respect Congressman Rob Wittman who responded to VCDL that he had taken two oaths; one to his Country and one to his wife and he wasn’t taking any more. He added that he had a record. Bravo Rob. And of course I respect Ed Gillespie.
This form of blackmail is unreasonable and quite frankly
I was regaled through this last contest about all the good
that VCDL has done – and that might be true. However their foray into Senatorial politics in 2014 was self-destructive and sophomoric.
You miss (probably intentionally) the point that advancing
the political agenda for all of us depends on winning elections. It’s really all about elections. I was similarly critical about AFP’s insistence on these foolish demonstrations during the waning weeks of the 2013 campaign. They were demonstrating against the expansion of Medicaid while the champion against its expansion was running for governor.
Freedom Works was busy recruiting by attacking the
Republican Party. Their plan was to send folks out to sign up voters. Splendid. I’m sure that helped (sarcasm). I can go on about all the self-important folks who crossed our paths that had a better idea than campaigning. A local TEA Party group refused to come to phone bank or knock doors in favor of “sign waves” at overpasses – I’m sure that blasted out the vote (more sarcasm).
Had all these groups focused on the 2013 election rather
than vying for attention – we wouldn’t have to worry about Medicaid expansion and your guns would be completely safe under a Governor Cuccinelli. But you and so many others don’t have that vision. You don’t get it.
Any supporter of the Constitution who thinks for a minute
that it’s a victory that Mark Warner is headed back to the Senate instead of Ed Gillespie is smoking something illegal.
The very idea is preposterous. If you seriously think that you proved something or won a point – you are blowing
smoke up your own skirt.
VCDL needs to do quite a bit more study on not only their
rights, but their responsibilities as good citizens. Blackmail isn’t a tool of Republican Government.
You attack the NRA, yet it was the NRA that did the robo
call for ED into Prince William County, the NRA was supporting our candidates with a booth at our County Fair, and the NRA reached out to their substantially larger membership to get out the vote. All that VCDL did was whine about that damned survey. Where do you think my membership money will go? The NRA put their money and influence where their mouth was – VCDL nothing.
You will have to excuse me if I don’t accept a lecture on
unity from an arsonist. My role in Prince William County
is to manage the candidate nomination process and get out the vote. VCDL members antagonized me and VCDL members made the unreasonable demands of Ed through me. I’m not the divisive one – look in the mirror.
You won’t find me prowling the Halls of the General Assembly
lecturing Delegates and Senators on gun rights. So why don’t you leave the candidate selection and campaigning to
us? That doesn’t appear to be your strong suit.
Bill – I am sure you are aware that AFP cannot directly endorse candidates. I was intimately familiar with AFP’s door knocking campaign, having engaged with hundreds of voters. Thus, I know from first hand experience that it was not a foolish endeavor. Cuccinelli was simply not a good candidate, and he was hurt by the ill-inspired government shut down.
The AFP pitch I witnessed was to hop on buses on a Saturday and was made in a group of conservatives that we were trying to inspire to actually pitch in and help with the campaign. I understand the problems – my point is that there was the rush of near term satisfaction (waving signs) that overwhelmed the responsible behavior of grinding out some actual campaigning.
I’ve done it too – waving signs in Richmond and then realizing that no one was looking expect those that came along. An echo chamber – we already agreed with each other.
It was a little unfair in that the speakers from AFP and the other group didn’t expressly know that the County Chairman and the local Precinct Captain were in the crowd. But then for a Republican, sometimes it’s more interesting to know what your supposed “allies” say about you when they don’t know you are there.
Ken was a great candidate. But you are right about the shut-down. I was banging doors then – don’t let anyone tell you that it didn’t hurt. When a guy with a three day old beard opens the door at 3:00 PM on Thursday in a bedroom community of DC – he wasn’t that happy to see a Republican. At that time Ken had seized on the right message and he was cooking with gas.
Just like this election, those of us who were engaged felt the needle moving. We were winning the battle on the stoops of our neighbors. Yeah we could have used more money – but we could have made up the difference with a relative handful of dedicated volunteers and of course a reduction of sniping in our rear.
That is my point.
Bill, “.. burn the house down,” really? So you have one or two guys passionate about getting Gillespie to fill out the little survey, come to you, a survey which Gillespie and his handlers don’t even consider worth their time or effort, and you think that VCDL is somehow strongarming or blackmailing?
Your underlying premise for “counterpointing” my article was to indicate that VCDL, a one issue group is so powerful and influential, its dangerous [during elections]. You allude that VCDL is somehow so involved that it makes an impact to sway a state-wide election?
You are really digging low in the basket and I still can’t figure out why. You are able to have your CHP and carry on a daily basis, which you apparently do, in large part, due to VCDLs hard work and efforts, i.e., may issue v shall issue, carry in a restaurant that serves alcohol, etc. And not one thanks for all of the volunteer work that is done.
Here is a set of questions for you–I am confident you won’t want to answer although I personally challenge you to do so with Yes/No or short direct answers (not political rhetoric):
1) Do you believe VCDL has influence in the GA on gun rights issues and has made an impact over the past 20 years?
2) Have you ever sat down or had a one on one chat with VCDL President Philip Van Cleave concerning issues related to gun rights in Virginia or PWC, initiatives or potential initiatives in PWC or what has potentially bothered you over the years and recently about VCDL?
3) Do you believe VCDL makes any impact on state-wide elections?
4) Did Gillespie have the opportunity to complete the VCDL survey–the same survey the Dick Black, Bob Marshall, Dave Brat and many others are proud to complete?
5) Do you believe that had Gillespie completed his VCDL survey and been given a very pro gun status based on his responses, that more gun owners and 2nd amendment supporters, who look to VCDL for those survey results to hold Gillespie accountable when/if a similar vote comes up, would have voted for him?
And, for the record, its not all about elections. The survey is put out there to hold these candidates accountable and if they do not vote the way they campaigned and committed via the survey–then that information, those controversies, should be out if the person decides to run again. Look at all of the folks who signed tax promises then voted for the largest tax increase in history. Here is one of the latest examples, Scott Linamfelter is very pro gun BUT recently decided he was not for moving Virginia to constitutional carry. In short, the only reason you have a CHP is so you can toss your suit jacket or winter coat on and not be illegal. We call it a coat law and its ridiculous. Constitutional carry simply means I can carry open or concealed and don’t need some silly permit to carry concealed. Scott proudly fills out his survey for constitutional carry–did so recently again, then was caught commenting that he does not support it. That type of action is NOT good. Scott is still very pro gun, but either lied or changed his mind and will have to explain himself.
Groups like VCDL are needed as they make a large impact at the GA level… elections are but one part of the machine Bill. You concentrate on elections because that is your scope of work… for the years these folks are in office, you are not active with them in Richmond like VCDL–making sure they follow their commitment to voters, protecting your/my gun rights, keeping moderates and liberals in check and reporting back when there is a problem.
I await your response.
My portfolio of issues is much larger than just guns – Ed Gillespie’s too. That’s probably part of the problem that bedevils you. While the Founders placed the Second Amendment as number two because of the relative importance of that concept to the others (that’s how they wrote in those days – Religious liberty was #1 of course) it is not the only principle, right, concept, whatever that
we Republicans have to defend. As such
we are assailed from all quarters and your tactics are familiar to us. So don’t be surprised when we don’t roll over and play dead.
You have chosen to carve out a position in the pantheon of political ideology that is political to the right of the big daddy – the NRA. There isn’t a lot of day light there between where the NRA leaves off and really crazy begins. So wheeling and attacking the NRA is probably how you intend to build your audience/membership. We get that too as many supposedly “right” or “conservative” groups endeavor to make hay by attacking the Republican Party. You might want to have more strategy sessions with the Greg Stones of the world who are comfortable in all three worlds (NRA, Republican, and VCDL).
In my opinion there is room for both (NRA and VCDL). Ironically I went out to pick up my paper this morning and tucked inside was a 16 page insert produced by the NRA titled “Veterans & the Rise of Shooting Sports.” I
don’t have any problem getting behind those guys and I’m glad for them. You aren’t in the same league. I don’t say that to be pejorative, that’s just the way things are. If I understand
your issues and your target set; you aren’t really playing on the same field. If you have decided to make progress at the expense of the NRA – then I recommend you reevaluate your methodology.
Lastly we are a Party and our depth and breadth is great. People who enter thinking that their one principle or thought is sacrosanct and overwhelms all the others all the time are probably going to be disappointed from time-to-time. Get over it.
Kindest Regards, Bill
Bill, first and foremost, as I mentioned, predictable that you would not answer my questions, instead completely defecting. Shame, typical and telling. And, you completed your response above with “Get over it.” Ahh, you started it and now, when faced with facts and questions, you simply want to take your ball and go home?
Just because you are now pulling words from a thesaurus, and chatting about some 16 page insert from the NRA and pitching theory, don’t believe for a second that you are above answering a few simply pointed questions sir.
VCDL is a one-issue organization. No more, no less, and YOU are the one you picked a fight against my article. Now you can’t back it up.
I agree, there is room for both the VCDL and NRA but again, YOU chose to bash VCDL and clearly state for everyone that VCDL lost the race for Gillespie and as such allude VCDL is “Dangerous” per the title of your counterpoint article.
Here, perhaps you missed my previous questions–if you don’t mind, take just a few moments and answer them:
1) Do you believe VCDL has influence in the GA on gun rights issues and has made an impact over the past 20 years?
2) Have you ever sat down or had a one on one chat with VCDL President
Philip Van Cleave concerning issues related to gun rights in Virginia or
PWC, initiatives or potential initiatives in PWC or what has
potentially bothered you over the years and recently about VCDL?
3) Do you believe VCDL makes any impact on state-wide elections?
4) Did Gillespie have the opportunity to complete the VCDL survey–the
same survey the Dick Black, Bob Marshall, Dave Brat and many others are
proud to complete?
5) Do you believe that had Gillespie completed his VCDL survey and been given a very pro gun status based on his responses, that more gun owners and 2nd amendment supporters, who look to VCDL for those survey results to hold Gillespie accountable when/if a similar vote comes up, would have voted for him?
I do have an education and I try to write well. You would be surprised – even the Marine Corps insisted that its officers learn to write well.
1. I have no direct evidence that VCDL has had any positive influence on my life or positive effect on the Virginia General Assembly.
2. I have been blissfully unscathed by VCDL except for the three specific incidents noted. VCDL doesn’t tend to come out until they are angry about something. They have had no discernible local effect. As I mentioned in my very first paragraph of the article above – they were just those guys in the corner of the gun show.
3. I have no direct evidence and in that we have secret ballots it would be impossible to tell with any degree of accuracy. There tend to be people out working for the cause and those that aren’t – with respect to elections (my principle issue) VCDL falls into the later category. It is probably less than you think as I am on your list and I never read one of your emails until the first frantic one was forwarded to me during surveygate.
4. I have no direct evidence that Ed Gillespie knew of the survey but as you know his staff knew. As you also know – that isn’t the point and it’s never been the point. I have no idea why Senator Black or Delegate Marshall answered the survey and I have no idea what their answers were. I would be happy to discuss the issue with them when I see them next. I did ask Congressman Wittman what he thought about the whole survey thing while the craziness of surveygate was ongoing. You have his answer.
5. Again – unknowable. Did VCDL help? Probably not and they were working hard not to help. Did the NRA help – absolutely.
Your piece tried to cover your organization with glory – that was the very height of duplicity (honestly – I know that word – no outside help required) given what VCDL just did. We used to caution Marines who got a compliments or awards, “Remember one aw sh*t wipes out a thousand attaboys” You can believe what you want – but in my book you are in a deep attaboy deficit.
Thank you, Bill. But absolutely demonstrates that you really have no business speaking of or about VCDL on any front or angle. For 20 years VCDL has been front and center in Richmond, accomplishment after accomplishment–I am sure you read partial the list in the article you countered.
VCDL has volunteer gun rights attorney members and executive members who assist drafting and redrafting gun rights bills. VCDL speaks tirelessly to delegates and senators in person, outside of session as well as in committees. VCDL testifies at these committees concerning pro or anti gun proposed legislation, current legislation and ways to alter, correct or fix it, statistical information and the correction misinformation, impacts, etc. You really have no clue and therefore no appreciation for what VCDL truly does.
I do suggest you speak to Sen. Black, who was just at my home in Leesburg and hour ago prior to going to Del. Berg’s kickoff. Speak to Del. Marshall who speaks at Lobby day to a crowd up toward 1K on behalf of VCDL. Speak to Del. LaRock or Berg… these folks see VCDL in Richmond and have since they have been in office. Ask what impact VCDL has and if they have carved out a necessary niche–one which no other gun rights group has done. Ask Ken Cuccinelli, an avid supporter of VCDL.
Then, when you find that the reason you can carry each day, the reason VA is not like MD with the may issue permit where you would not even have your CHP or the ability to carry concealed without VCDL pulling down the barriers (which were all in place) in Richmond just years ago… perhaps you will thank VCDL properly for the freedoms you enjoy. You say you carry concealed most every day. Did you know it took over 13 years for VCDL to get legislation passed so you could carry in most restaurants? No, you probably did not–you just take it for granted because you think its a right and the representatives in Richmond fight for you. Ha, they do, but most of it is crafted and handed to them, massaged so to speak as they are limited to the number of bills they can each submit. I don’t have time to educate you on the political process in Richmond but know this–VCDL, not NRA and not you, are front and center, each session, each year, making available and protecting the rights you enjoy daily.
Finally, the question you did not answer, have you ever taken the time to speak to Philip. Unless you have a true indication of what impact VCDL has in Richmond or have taken a few moments to speak to Philip, you really have no right to judge and certainly no right to childishly cut him down as you did.
You pull the Marine designation out of your hat a great deal–apparently the integrity part has slipped a bit after being involved in politics too long. Posting that you are a Marine and the current PWC GOP gives you a great deal of credibility to readers and to come in and claim that Gillespie lost because of VCDL (which you have yet to repeat after I lambasted you over it). Instead you allude that VCDL did little and NRA did a great deal. True, VCDL is NOT that type of organization Bill–NRA is and in my opinion, with a grassroots division for VA and their vast, extremely vast, coffers, and huge membership numbers, they should be able to influence any race and obviously they can’t. There is no try–you either do it, or fail. Semper Fi.
Your moral outrage – real or feigned is misplaced. You continue to try and steer this away from the real issue – elections. I must admit that I have learned one thing – VCDL is roughly 20% the size that I was lead to believe. Pardon me.
But my outrage (it’s real) is over the election. I was there, we were winning. Our efforts were bearing fruit. The effect of surveygate was probably now substantially less than I thought – but the role VCDL played isn’t changed by anything you have said.
Congratulations on your decades of good work. Now please tell me what we say to all the Republicans (conservatives and RINOS, gun bearers or no, volunteers and paid campaigners) who worked their tails off and against all the odds pulled us within less than 18,000 votes in 2 million cast. Do you have a word for them? Should they feel better after that loss since they can carry a gun?
That is what I wrote about, that’s my central theme and if you want to continue to ignore that – fine – but don’t give me that sanctimonious attitude that somehow you’ve been wronged. That’s simple BS.
You didn’t hurt us as bad as I thought – but you willfully and consistently kept up a mantra over a damned survey. Please answer me some questions:
1. Is the Nation and are Virginians better off with a Senator Warner than they would have been with a Senator Gillespie?
2. Does another six years of Mark Warner protect and preserve these gains you speak of? Or are they in peril?
3. What have you learned from surveygate?
4. Will you continue to bash the NRA even now that you know how important they are to electoral victory?
I’m sure you don’t care, but my crew and I have to go back, pick up the pieces, and prepare for the next election that will roll around this coming year. I could play the victim as you did by asking you who the hell you think sends down those magnificent Republican legislators for you to work with? Did you do that? I think not. Maybe when you’re finished stewing in your self righteousness you can choke out a thank you.
Bill, again, you are so very off point… YOUR focus, direction and effort is elections. That is great, I have personally worked on, advised or been on the cabinets of 7 successful, winning campaigns, and more if you count that several went through a hard-fought convention or primary first. But, you are nit picking over Gillespie who I voted for and personally pushed on FB and in various other groups including VCDL, publicly and behind the scenes. However, we could also look back at Cuccinelli, Allen and many others over the past 10 or so years and find that whether they filled out the survey or not, their elections did not hinge on VCDL–it is only to inform its members where a candidate true stands in reference to its vision and mission.
1) I agree completely that Gillespie over Warner is a hands down choice but VCDL sent their survey to all three candidates, fair and square. At that point, the burden shift, it is up to the candidate to chose whether to embrace the group through the survey or ignore them. Cuccinelli completed each survey since he was a delegate, Allen did as well… both won and lost regardless. VCDL, besides a survey, was not out campaigning for either–that is not what VCDL does.
2) With Warner in office, we are certain in a neutral to worse position, but again, VCDL was not to blame–had Gillespie taken another path on many fronts, he was close enough to win. Had Sarvis not been in, surely 18K+ votes, enough to win, would have gone Gillespie’s way. Had Gillespie not been the lobbiest for Enron, as Warner proffered and plastered all over, hard… it was not VCDL.
3) Surveygate? Candidates receive dozens of surveys, more the higher office they strive to achieve. Surveys are so the members or followers of that organization, who hold that organization’s efforts high, have a central trusted point from which to gain some information on which to base their overall decision. Warner did a job on Gillespie’s reputation and Gillespie did an awesome job of overcoming the Warner name and those attacks. But VCDL nor the survey had anything to do with him loosing. VCDL members, such as myself and dozens of others I personally know of, voted for Gillespie without hesitation, regardless of the survey. But, at end, if Gillespie and his handlers wanted to ensure a fair capture of VCDL members or their reach, and wanted to ensure a fair chance to slight out Sarvis attempting to capture and capitalize on VCDL member votes, he had that opportunity. Individual VCDL members attacked Sarvis hard as well.
4) I went to the NRA, interviewed with the Director of the NRA/ILA Grassroots division and then followed up with many GA members concerning what I heard, that the ILA was active in Richmond like VCDL. I confirmed, from multiple GA members, that this was absolutely bogus. And, it is factual that NRA or NRA/ILA refuses to inform its members or even announce in its newsletter, targeted to its Virginia list with Virginia news, that there is a Lobby Day where many gun groups converge in Richmond and have the run of the place so to speak. GOA is there, VCDL, NAGR (National Ass of Gun Rights), Women gun rights groups, such as WAG, AFA attend… everyone but NRA. And, as I stated in my article, GA members recognize this and clearly hold the opinion that NRA should be there, should participate and show unity, have an agenda, etc. As “unity” is always a positive on your end, elections, so it is on single issue causes such as gun rights. Could you imagine, instead of 1K folks gathering on Lobby Day, 3K showed up. We already get media coverage, 3K would ensure a wider coverage. It would ensure the anti or moderate leaning lawmakers take notice or likely, conveniently “step out” when a gun rights vote come to the floor so they can tell their liberal voters they were not present for the vote.
So, going back to what you don’t seem to comprehend, that VCDL is not an election based organization, its work is primarily in Richmond with sitting politicians, this is one “grassroots” area where the NRA is not present but would have a large impact.
Ha, for that matter, NRA plasters their logo, hats, pins, and literature everywhere, especially where gun enthusiasts gather–what a spectacular idea it would be to have a presence, a booth, reps working the crowd, passing out free stuff, lit and signing folks up–at Lobby Day.
For you picking up the pieces… you have to do that after every election lost–so does everyone when their top candidate does not win. Victim… ha, VCDL pushes forward and does not miss a beat regardless of who wins because, and I repeat again, it is focused on impact and change of bills and laws in Richmond. It could be 100% sitting liberals and VCDL is not out looking for a candidates to cultivate, that is your job… VCDL does what you don’t do, they are the watchdog and creating change (albeit a single issue) in Richmond. VCDL is not a victim–again, without you knowing what VCDL actually does, without you knowing the size of VCDL, you unfairly judged based on very limited knowledge and experience with several folks who wanted to vote for Gillespie but simply wanted to know where he really stood if he was faced with a vote. Most folks can’t get to a candidate to actually touch and chat with him, especially not a state-wide candidate.
And I absolutely thank you for what you do. But it does not give you the right to, without the proper knowledge or information, without even doing your homework, judge the organization or its leadership in the manner you did.
And while I do appreciate your effort and position, I could easily look at the numbers and see what you delivered… did you deliver a win for Cuccinelli in this last race, for Allen, for Romney–each would be 100 times better than the crap we have. Respectfully, you should be used to picking up the pieces by now.
Thankfully we are now rid of Col. Sanders at the RPV–he didn’t deliver any of those either. I wonder if he blames VCDL for all of the losses. LOL
An avalanche of words and we still aren’t on the same sheet of music. I have an idea. Let’s meet. Just you and me. A meeting would
serve a number of purposes:
1. We could stop preaching past each other to our respective audiences and get off our talking points,
2. In my experience people sitting within arms length of each other are eminently more polite to each other than either of us has been,
3. I might be able to give you some insight into why only one Republican answered your survey this year, and
4. We could get to the real issue – you can make my job harder which in turn makes your job harder – it’s circular.
A bonus would be that you could see if I could string together a sentence without assistance.
Glad to meet. Lets schedule for just after the holidays… we are swamped at the office. We really don’t have to be on the same sheet Bill, just respect each other’s area of concern, work, effort and results and when justified lend advice or opinion with solutions. Two very different spheres of influence, one candidate/election based, one lawmaker based, they cross at election time, but while you mention VCDL makes your job harder, the same holds true when you or the party cultivates candidates who have such blatantly unfortunate backgrounds (Gillespie), sound bites (Allen), etc., and still use them and/or those candidates, the caucus, the RPV, etc., choose the largest knuckleheads to handle the campaigns (Cuccinelli).
Personally, I have preached to VCDL to move to a comprehensive rating system, have drafted one and it is up for consideration with the Board. However, a survey will be part of that because fresh candidates who have never held office such as Gillespie, have no track record on which to partial base a rating. Its more of an earned rating, not one handed to them because of lip service.
A also agree, VCDL has seen a decline in candidates returning the survey and there are many reasons for it (which I bring to leadership’s attention). One of which is a more moderate leaning pool of candidates it the belief that this is what it takes to win. Another is the twisting of responses by opposition.
It is circular, but you still tend to give more credit to VCDL making an impact in your sphere than actually occurs. VCDL’s work is with the lawmakers, R, D, I, L, it does not matter, which is why VCDL is also bi-partisan. Creigh Deeds is good example (barring his unfortunate family situation)… a dem who is pro gun. VCDL gladly meets and speaks to him, setting aside any other position he has, because he supported the second amendment and related initiatives.
Anyway, our conversation here has been educational for many folks–I have received dozens of private messages, on both sides, but thanking us for this volley.
My pleasure to meet with you.
Until next year then. I have a trip scheduled between Christmas and New Year.
One last thing – I wasn’t dreaming – this is where I got 26,000 – from your webpage:
“VA ALERT is currently being sent to over 26,000 email addresses. This helps keeps members and other interested people
(voters) informed about the issues, concerns, and opportunities”
Merry Christmas and here’s to Victory in the New Year.
Single issue voters had best keep their eyes on the prize, and not squander elections. I read the VCDL survey questionnaire, and found it to be overly long and complex. I don’t blame candidates for not wading through it. As a member of VCDL (and one who appreciates Philip Van Cleave), I lament the apparent “sign or else” approach. I love my 2nd Amendment, but I know that throwing away precious votes on candidates like Sarver is the height of stupidity. VCDL leadership must be careful to realize that their membership includes gun owners of all persuasions, most of whom are good citizens first and gun owners second.
I stand with VCDL. Any candidate that REFUSES to respond to their survey while hiding behind an often-meaningless NRA endorsement is a candidate one should be wary of, and I’m quite happy that VCDL members kept the pressure up. Someday my good friend Bill Card will begin to understand what’s going on with that. More importantly, I hope more candidates soon understand that if you mean what you say about 2A issues, a VCDL survey that thousands of voters take into consideration when deciding how to vote is something important, and not to be blown off.
Your good friend understands that this is about elections and he is not a suicide conservative. No one values the 2nd Amendment more than me. Ed would have been an ally in the battles to come but we let a snake escape this time. That’s really sad – if you were out there with us you know that we could feel the electorate coming our way it was palpable. I kept telling people to stop looking at the damn polls – we were winning.
But we got stabbed in the back. It’s sad – Ed kept telling us “I won’t let you down” and he didn’t – we let him down.
I think Ed didn’t let us down because he never had an opportunity to vote in the Senate. Had he gotten that opportunity, I honestly would have been surprised if I didn’t get “let down” almost immediately. Between his support for “comprehensive immigration reform”, his cozy relationship with the establishment and forcibly distant relationship with grassroots groups like VCDL I don’t imagine it would have taken long. Might he have been better than Warner? Quite possibly. Would it have been worth it for me to take any of the time I spent trying to defeat Gerry Connolly, Mary Landrieu or Kay Hagan and instead spent it on a loser like Gillespie? Absolutely not. It took days of agonizing to figure out whether I’d even vote for Gillespie, much less consider donating my time, talents or quite limited treasure to help him.
In short, if a candidate ignores (or worse) those principled grassroots organizations that I adore for their consistent pursuit of principle, they better find someone else to help them, or even cast a vote for them. CRomnibus is just the most recent demonstration of how little conservatives get when they hold their nose and vote “lesser of two evils” since they always seem to end up with evil in the end.
An overlooked point that Bill made is how often these so-called “grassroots” organizations demand fealty, then turn around and yell “betrayal!” when they don’t get their ass kissed. Some people get in this to effect change; others get in for ego.
I’m gonna start the “Lake Ridge Tea Party”; if Bob Marshall doesn’t agree to sit in my kitchen once a week and substitute his policy positions for mine, then he’s an enemy of freedom. Simple as that.
VCDL demands that elected leaders remain steadfast to principles and expects them to be upfront with the voters about what principles they hold. Any candidate who wants to ignore a very active group with thousands of members that takes over the General Assembly Building every MLK day does so, quite reasonably, at their peril. If a candidate says they’re pro-2A but won’t talk to VCDL I’m really, really suspicious of what they actually stand for.
You get 10,000+ members for your “Lake Ridge Tea Party” and I bet any sane candidate would be more than happy to sit at your kitchen table. If they don’t fill out your issues survey, I’ll never complain if you call them on that.
the gentleman doth protest too much . . . . you can’t lay all the ills of all Republicans at the feet of Ed Gillespie – he’s his own man. You can’t project your fears and nightmares on him either.
The fact is there is no perfect candidate but he was the best of the four we were presented with. That’s the way it’s always been and that’s what you will be confronted with year, after year, after year. Get used to it – your ancestors probably said “Lincoln? Some pin-head lawyer from the sticks? Not me!” The time to fix that is now not in the waning days of an election. Let’s have your perfect candidate for 2016 right now (as 2015 is forming up already and 2016 is starting to form too). That’s the crimnal thing about VCDL trying to bind a candidate to their nightmare – it was too late.
We are left holding the bag knowing what could have been if only your like minded folks had not taken the counsel of their fears. Ed would have brought us closer to a veto overriding majority. That was sacrificed on the alter of political purity and the demand of some that Ed kowtow to a sideshow.
Sometimes it’s just a math problem not a great ideological struggle. That’s where we were this year.
I’m proud of Ed and the campaign he ran and the principled stand that he took.
If you are still stuck on VCDL – you can have my sticker at the next event – I won’t be wearing one.
Bill, Gillespie is the one who didn’t or refused to fill out the survey–even after you approached him on it. That means he and his handlers did not feel VCDL or the VCDL survey would make an impact. Why blame VCDL for that? Shouldn’t you blame Gillespie and his handlers for not having the foresight to anticipate a close election on perhaps not to allow Sarvis to get any leg up with any particular group and, if nothing else, level the playing field with the VCDL survey–it would have taken 10 minutes of his time and perhaps, as YOU have bolstered, helped him win the race. But, glad you feel VCDL is so powerful. Again, my next headline may be, “PWC GOP Chairman Bill Card states that VCDL is so powerful and influential as to decide a Virginia state-wide race.”
Brian, No matter how many times you say it – it was a remains a false choice. It’s a self serving and circular argument.
Greg, have you actually READthe VCDL survey in question? As Mark Jaworowski and I have pointed out, it is a monstrosity of a survey and needs to be simplified.
Sure I have. If it is beyond the capabilities of an aspiring elected official to understand it, I figure they probably aren’t cut out for the job. It’s FAR less complicated than the budget or any of the Code of Virginia.
Thank you Greg – this is a problem with a lot of single issue groups – can’t see the forest for the all those damn trees.
VCDL entered a game they didn’t understand and played it badly. If they are foolish enough to think of this is some kind of victory it’s certainly a Pyrrhic one that they can’t afford to ever repeat.
Bill card is as squared away as anyone I have had the pleasure of working with in VA politics. To suggest he as a conservative wants to strip Fellow conservatives is both misinformed and naive. I am a card carrying member of the NRA and VCDL if it has not expired. I share their passion, dedication and want to promote the 2A. I do at times disagree with their strategy and tactics. I share Bills concern for what I consider to be a misguided approach or overall lack of stratedgy. Further as Bill has done and I will continue to do we will use our real names in these discussions. Might I suggest others do the same. Hiding behind screen names in order to make silly accusations does little to advance the dialogue .like I said Bill Card is top shelf and has done more to advance the cause of liberty than most of us. Afford Bill the respect he has warned through years of hard work.
Hiding behind screen names is a long and cherished tradition that separates the opinion from the opinioner. In this day and age there are many good reasons to do so. But silly accusations is not one of them. With that said, single issue groups and some vague multi-issue cults of personality (fitting to a Tea,) do NOT give a good golly about the party! By choosing fluffy or painfully defined single issues, they can pretend to be politic without doing the heavy lifting or participating in the struggle. In fact, they enable the RNC, GOPe, RINO, etc. by splintering opposition. These mutual admiration societies thrive only when political parties are weak. They don’t want to win, they want to oppose, THEY prefer to spend their political activity tilting at windmills.
Bottom line – Ed Gillespie’s refusing to answer VA’s grassroots’ gun rights’ organization’s quetionaire backfired on him BIG TIME by showing him up for the RINO/GOPe he is. This rebuttal by the same guy who wants to DISMANTAL RPV’s central gov body because they support Conservatives over GOPe’s lawlessness. RIP GOPe in VA! Soon to also say same to the 5th District Chair. We continue to flex our Dave-Brat muscle!
Hope you’re happy with six more years of Mark Warner. Some victory! Pretty sure that Dave Brat doesn’t need you presuming to speak for him.
Stop putting words in my mouth; I never said I’m speaking for Dave Brat. I am speaking for SOME of us Conservatives/grassroots (me being but one) who are sick of the establishment and we worked our butts (even though we were outspent 25 to 1) and got him elected.
Even though Gillespie was a flawed candidate (big-business supporter, Enron mess, TARP architect, etc) he still almost won over Warner.
Shak did not have all that big gov/big business baggage’ an d I think would have won handidly.
But hey, if the establishment wants to doubledown on stupid and blame VCDL & gun owners – by all means continue.