Archive for the ‘Virginia’ Category

Bob McDonnell’s Remarkable Victory

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

Yesterday, I told The Politico about Bob McDonnell’s victory in Virginia, “I don’t think it’s so much a referendum on Obama’s policies as it is a reflection on us having a really, really good candidate.” I wanted to expand on this.

First of all, back in May, I said about Bob McDonnell:

No one outside of Virginia knows him yet, but he’s the best GOP candidate for governor in many years. He is also able to build a center-right majority. As such, he will win the 2009 race, and this will embolden others to run and start the way back for the GOP. If you have any doubts, look back at 1993 when after a 1992 drubbing for the GOP, the election of Allen and Whitman paved the way for takeover of Congress in 1994. Bob’s victory will propel him to become one of the party’s biggest new stars.

Not only did Bob win, but he won with the largest majority that any Republican has achieved in the history of Virginia. He led the party to pick up five seats in the House of Delegates. And Republicans swept the constitutional offices for only the second time in the history of the state. According to exit polls, Bob won every age group, and he won independents 2-1.

How did McDonnell do this? The exit polls made it clear what the people of Virginia were concerned about: jobs.  Eighty-five percent of the electorate was “worried about economic conditions” and 53% were very worried. Bob carried these 63%-36% and 77%-23% respectively.

In the end, the people of Virginia had a serious concern – the economy, which nearly everyone is worried about – and McDonnell connected this concern to his policy prescriptions. Reviewing his website shows some of the most detailed policy proposals I have ever seen in a non-presidential campaign.

At the same time, he was attacked viciously and unfairly for a paper that he wrote in graduate school. But Bob knew that the people of Virginia weren’t interested in divisive social politics. Instead he kept discipline and kept the focus on what the people wanted to hear about, not what his opponent wanted him to talk about.

These are signs of a very talented leader: determination, discipline, policy expertise, awareness of the voters’ desires and needs, and an ability to connect with them.

John McCain And Virginia

Friday, November 30th, 2007

I have a piece in today’s Washington Times about John McCain and keeping Virginia Republican.  Please take a look.  Here’s the link — and here’s the full article:

McCain and Virginia

November 30, 2007

By Frederic V. Malek

I am doing double duty in politics this year, serving as both co-chairman of the McCain campaign for president and as finance chairman for the Republican Party of Virginia. Officially, a state finance chair is supposed to remain neutral in primaries. But in this case, I committed to John McCain before accepting Ed Gillespie’s request to be state finance chair. I am glad I did and now see a nexus between the two.

That 2008 will be a tough battle for Republicans will not come as news to anyone. In Virginia, we Republicans have suffered three consecutive statewide losses (governor, governor and senator), and earlier this month lost our majority in the state Senate.

Furthermore, we face a popular former governor, Mark Warner, in the 2008 Senate race. Most of the margin for Democrats has come from Northern Virginia, and The Washington Post in fact has already endorsed Mr. Warner, declaring in Sunday’s editorial that the leading announced Republican candidate, former Gov. Jim Gilmore, was confrontational and irresponsible. In fact, Mr. Gilmore was a tax cutter who controlled spending and was an outstanding governor. He also helped carry the state for President Bush. Nevertheless, The Post editorial underscores the challenge we face in both the senatorial and presidential race.

We will easily keep the Commonwealth of Virginia in the red column in 2008 with a strong presidential candidate with unchanged and unshakable conservative principles and the proven national security experience to lead our nation in time of war and peril. Mr. McCain is the only candidate who meets these criteria, and this is why I enthusiastically support him. He can win in Virginia, and his lead will help our Senate candidate win as well. Both races will be helped by the two outstanding leaders who occupy the other two top statewide offices, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and Attorney General Bob McDonnell.

Why Mr. McCain, and why can he win, especially in Virginia? There are four core reasons: Principles, consistency, character and national security. Let’s briefly review each of these:

Principles: You may or may not agree with Mr. McCain on all of his positions, but one thing you can be sure of is that he will always be guided by his core beliefs and not by polls. Isn’t this the definition of leadership, and isn’t this what America needs in a leader?

Consistency: There is only one candidate in either party who has demonstrated consistency in his beliefs over time — who knows clearly who he is and what he stands for. The consistency in core beliefs extends from his defense of an unpopular “surge” strategy in Iraq (which now seems to be working) to social issues such as the right to life. He hasn’t changed his views to comply with voter preference — he has led voters toward his views.

Character: At my alma mater, West Point, we had a clause in the cadet motto that extolled “the courage to choose the harder right vs. the easier wrong.” Make the right choice no matter what the personal or political price might be. It encompasses principle and consistency, but is the embodiment of character. No one in recent history has demonstrated this more vividly than Mr. McCain. Most of us are aware of his refusal to be released after 3 years of torture and deprivation in a Viet Cong hell hole, unless his men and colleagues accompanied him. Who among us could show such courage? Such honor? He has continued these choices throughout his career and taking on the administration’s conduct of the Iraq war early on (supporting more troops and different tactics), forcing the administration to tighten its standards on torture prevention (who could know more about this or speak with more moral authority), and recently supporting the vastly politically unpopular but successful surge in troops.

National security: Mr. McCain has been immersed in national security his entire life and has shown leadership and skill at every turn. This extends from his time leading a Navy fighter squadron and his leadership of a group of prisoners of war, to his twenty years in the United States Senate where he has been a rigorous, consistent and effective voice on defending our country. He knows his stuff — he doesn’t need on the job training. And he has the right staff to make those truly hard decisions under duress that strike the right balance between national defense, moral authority, and respect for others.

These are the reasons I support Mr. McCain. They are also the reasons why Mr. McCain can carry the Commonwealth of Virginia and lead our Senate and congressional candidates to victory. A principled, consistent, experienced man of proven high character in a state that since the birth of the Republic has itself exemplified these characteristics.

Frederic V. Malek is a graduate of West Point and the Harvard Business School, and served in Vietnam. He also serves on a number of charitable and educational Boards.

 

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Upbeat GOP Prospects for Battleground Virginia

Tuesday, November 13th, 2007

Fred Barnes has an interesting piece in the new issue of Weekly Standard. The headline is “Off-Year Blues… But next year, Republicans might be singing a happier tune.” Here’s one nugget from the piece that caught my attention:

“The last Democrat to win Virginia was Lyndon Johnson in 1964. Bush won the state in 2004 by 8 points. ‘The right Democratic candidate can win Virginia,’ Governor Tim Kaine said last week. ‘The wrong Democrat can’t.’ Kaine, a Democrat, has endorsed Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination.”

Is Gov. Kaine correct? If Democrats nominate Hillary Clinton, are they doomed to lose Virginia?

It’s an important question to consider following our party’s statehouse losses earlier this month. Democrats think what happened in the state elections are a sign of things to come. But in reality, it’s misplaced optimism by the other side to link the 2007 state elections to the 2008 presidential campaign.

This month’s state level elections were more of a house cleaning. Yes, we as a party need to cure what ills us in if we are to regain touch with Virginia voters. We need to reinvigorate the Republican brand in the Commonwealth. .

But I don’t see this being reflected in the presidential-level vote in Virginia. This was not an election based on national issues. And Hillary Clinton will not help Democrats here. Gov. Kaine is right – at least on this political matter.

I’ve been intrigued by some of the observations about the state of the Republican Party that appeared in the Virginia blogosphere after the state elections. Here are some postings that caught my eye:

Bearing Drift: “We’re in one of those change modes. It’s not an embracing of Democrat principles, because history also shows that once the voters get a taste of that, they prompt a Republican resurgence. People just want a shift, and today as long as it’s different, it’s alright.”

Bacon’s Rebellion: “The Rs have to convince voters that they’re both serious about fighting tax hikes and capable of addressing Virginia’s very real challenges. If what we hear from the Rs in 2008 is more politics of symbolism — flag burning amendments, prayer in schools, etc. — they will fail miserably. If they can advance an agenda that solves real problems and keeps spending/taxes in check, they can re-emerge as winners.”

As the finance chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia, I’m keenly interested in what the blogosphere has to say about the direction of our party. I also remain both an optimist and a realist. That’s why I agree with the following blogger who smartly observed:

X Curmudgeon: “If you go to the Wikipedia entry for “United States Presidential Election–2008” you’ll already see Virginia listed as one of about 15 battleground states. With 13 electoral votes up for grabs, Virginia is worth the fight.”

Yes, Virginia is worth the fight. And we will win it.