Monday, May 22, 2006

Yea Yea...

So it's been a while. That seems to be the story of this blog...I take a couple of weeks off, then I come back and vow to post more often, but I just don't seem to find the time.
The past few weeks have been busy. Now, however, I am finished with my second year of college (YES!) and I took a few weeks after finals to rest up and do a little work around the house.
Before I get on with today's little news story, I have a couple of short blurbs to share:
  1. For anybody who does not know (but is a regular reader of this blog), The Vent Pipe endorsed (for what it was worth) John Raese in the WV Senatorial race this spring. He successfully defeated Hiram Lewis (by a margin of nearly 3-1) in the May 10 Primary. He moves on to face Senator Byrd in November. Let's Go Raese.
  2. Again for what it's worth, I'd like to extend a "better late than never" congratulations to Tony Snow for his selection by the White House. While (naturally) he was criticized by the lefty professors at Shepherd (they also used his appointment as proof that "FOX News is so far right..."), I think he was an excellent choice. So far he's been good for the President--defending policy, correcting misinformation by the press and so forth.
  3. And finally, a group of my friends and I loaded up in my Expedition and headed to Washington DC last weekend to do a little site seeing. I had been there once (in fifth grade!), but several of my friends had never been. I had seen nearly everything on the Mall before, but I had not seen the new WWII Memorial as it had not yet been built when I was last in DC. If you have never seen it but live close enough to make a trip out then you NEED to go see this. It is easily one of the most beautiful (if not the most beautiful) monuments/memorials on the Mall.

And now, on to the news...

The Senate has decided to tackle the difficult Gay-Marriage Amendment question yet again. I'd like to give a sincere thank you to Senator Spector for putting Russ Feingold in his place in the hearings. We have all heard enough of the man's lecturing. But that's not what I'm here to talk about.

Instead, I'd like to know what is going through John McCain's head. Does he just NOT want to have the Republican Nomination for 2008? He is still considered by most to be one of the front runners for the RNC Nom. in '08, but I don't see how he honestly believes he could win.

It is not rocket science to understand that any candidate hoping to win the nod must pull close to the base on all issues. That is how the two party system works. The Democrats will never nominate a seemingly "moderate" candidate who is pro-life, pro-death penalty, anti-immigration, pro-tax cuts etc. etc. in the same manner that the Republicans will never nominate a candidate who is at the opposite end of the spectrum on the issues outlined above.

What, then, explains the thinking behind McCain's recent decisions. He is working with Ted Kennedy on a "moderate" immigration package (for the record, I am fairly certain that I will not discuss immigration as is just aggravates me). Now he is vowing that he will not support any call for a constitutional Amendment which would define marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

The Washington Times is reporting that McCain is doing what he "feels is right" and says that he will always vote with his heart because when he does, things turn out "ok." While I'm glad a politician is "voting with his heart" (isn't that what Bush does? Lead with his heart, not by the polls?), I must insist that this is political suicide for McCain. His Arizonians will surely re-elect him, but I cannot think that--even with his speech at Liberty University's graduation--he could win the Republican nod in '08 with the positions he has taken on big issues in the past few weeks.

It will be quite interesting to see how this pans out. With luck, he won't even run in '08.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Hiram Lewis

Last week was an eventful one for me. I wrote three papers studied for and completed two exams and began checking items of the "end of the school year to-do list." In addition to my "regular school duties" I also had the opportunity to participate in several Republican get togethers.

I discussed get together number one last week: the John Raese Speech. After the speech, the president of our Shepherd Republican group asked me if I'd be interested in attending a fundraiser dinner for the Jefferson County, WV republicans. He said he could get my sponsored (he also said the ticket was $40 and he could get me two of them), so I agreed.

At the dinner, my girlfriend and I ended up seated at the table of "distinguished nobles" as I called it. We sate with a current WV State Senator, a WV State Delegate and his wife, a retired WV State Delegate and his wife, two other Shepherd University Republican students and Hiram Lewis, candidate for United States Senate.

Lewis is running against John Raese (and a couple of others) for the US Senate seat against Robert C. Byrd. I had the opportunity to talk extensively with Lewis. Here is a little of what he said:

  • Lower taxes/make the Bush Tax Cuts Permanent
  • Supports the NRA and the 2nd Amendment
  • Supports the war on terror
  • Veteran of the Iraq war
  • WV born and raised

Here is an "autographed picture" of Lewis sitting on Saddam Hussein's throne. Behind the throne there is a picture of what Lewis described as "nuclear missiles being lobbed at the United States:"

"Jeff, Thanks for the Support--Hiram" Posted by Picasa
I like Hiram. I really do. But I just don't feel like he can beat Byrd. With that said, I'd like to explain why:
  1. Lewis is young. Not as young as me, but young. He has very little experience in running much of anything or in the ugly game of politics. While Raese is not much more experience politically, his strong business background will help him.
  2. I heard him speak. He is not a strong speaker and Robert Byrd would eat him alive. He has a lot of energy--nervous energy--which is clearly conveyed when he speaks. He needs to find some way to channel his energy in a different manner. I think that's where his inexperience comes in to play. Given a couple of years to go around and give speeches and energize crowds, he could be quite effective. I really think the WVGOP should grab this guy up and put him to work giving "stump speeches" for the WVGOP. With a little refinement, he's going to be an effective asset for the GOP.
  3. When he got up to speak he said, "Well, I pretty much stand for the same thing as John" and pointed to John Raese. Then he talked about his family history and his time in Iraq. While all that was interesting, I need a little more than "I am for the same thing as John" for a campaign platform.
  4. His manager (or I think the guy's official title is "field coordinator?") is quite rude. I know for a fact that the President of the SU Republicans called several times to try to set something set up for Lewis to come out and speak (like Raese did) and the guy (the "field coordinator") just blew us off. He also came to me to get some contact information, but he didn't have a pen or paper. Then he disappeared. Then he came back, but forgot who he was supposed to talk to. He distributed the picture above to everybody, then came around and took them back. He was rude and disorganized. The whole group needs rechannel that nervous energy to maximize productivity.

I wished him the best of luck on the campaign trail. If he beats Raese, I'll most definately support him because he's a great guy and a smart guy (I believe he said he had three degrees for WVU and he's a JAG Officer). He's definately capable of doing something big, but his campaign is just not quite there yet.

In addition to Lewis and Raese, there are a couple of other folks running in the May 9th primary. Here are their links of the two other candidates listed on the WVGOP site:

More later...