elephantgop.pngI arrived at the 2009 Convention of the Republican Party of Virginia on Friday.  Unlike previous years, this year I went to the Colosseum.  This year the party had an especially large convention.  Because of the crowd, over 10,000 delegates and 1000 guests, the convention exceeded the capacity of the Convention Center, and the show had to be moved to the Colosseum.    Much like President Bill Clinton, President Barack Obama has not wasted any time rallying the opposition.

The first thing I did is register.   Then I received my badge with a gold sticker.  This sticker informed all who cared to learn that I am a VIP, but none seemed to notice.   I am afraid a payment of $35 does not buy a lot of importance.

I am a peon, at best a foot soldier.  When we earn honor, it lies in the fact we choose to fight for a good cause.  With that in mind, I attended to the business of the convention.  I avoided those matters I considered extravagant for one of my means and health.  When you have gout, cocktail receptions and fancy dinners lose much of their appeal.

The Main Business

So how did the business go?  On the whole, I think most of the attendees rated the convention a success for the Conservative cause.

Bob McDonnell is now formally the Republican Party nominee for governor.  While McDonnell is not the hard core Conservative I would like, his record is about as good we can expect from the GOP Establishment.  As was the case with President George W. Bush, I will expect there will be times a Governor McDonnell will cause Conservatives vexation.  Why do I expect trouble?  Although McDonald talks like Conservative, when it gets to specifics, he does not get specific about cutting spending.  Here is an example.  McDonnell spoke of public/private partnerships to generate transportation funding (See here for a post on this subject.).  Public/private partnerships are just a fancy scheme for politicians sell public assets without proper controls to assure fair competition.

Nonetheless, McDonnell is a relatively good candidate.  He is polished, has an attractive family, an excellent story, and he does not take himself so seriously he cannot joke about himself.  At the convention, he pushed all the right buttons, signaling his willingness to work hard to fight for Conservative causes.

That leaves Conservatives with a difficult choice.  We can try to stiffen McDonnell’s backbone (support any leader needs), or we can abandoned the battlefield to the Democrats.  Given the alternative — and how Obama got elected — common sense dictates supporting McDonnell.

As expected Bill Bolling won his contest with Patrick Muldoon.  Muldoon made an earnest effort.   However, instead of explaining what qualified him for the job, he spent too much time attacking Bolling’s record.  Since most of the delegates like and trust Bolling, Muldoon’s attacks fizzled.  While less glamorous than McDonnell, Bolling is a steady and patient campaigner.  Hopefully, he will steady McDonnell’s campaign.

Ken Cuccinelli won on the first ballot, and his two opponents, John Brownlee and David Foster graciously conceded.  Because he is recognized as a Conservative leader, Cuccinelli had the most enthusiastic supporters at the convention.  That indicates that the grassroots support and organization that Cuccinelli talks about is real.  That grassroots support and organization is essential for victory.  Without grassroots support and organization, the cause of limited government will be overwhelmed by moneyed special interests.

Pat Mullins, the GOP Establishment’s choice for RPV Chair, won over Bill Stanley.  The job was Mullins to lose, and he did not lose it.  Mullins entered the race with an reasonably good record.  Mullins and his staff did a good job with the convention.  Moreover, Mullins carried himself well during the convention.  So Stanley’s rebellion lost steam and whatever momentum it might have had.

Interesting Sidelights

As one should expect, there were many speeches made during the convention.  One of the most enthusiatically received was given by Adnan Barqawi, a new citizen and a student at Virginia Tech.  Barqawi is a powerful speaker.  Barqawi described how he came to America, and he thanked his father for saving the money that paid for his education.

Barqawi also described the values he has dedicated himself to.   Here is sample of his speech.  In spite of the poor quality, the video makes it clear that here is a self-possessed young man who has centered his life on the right values.  Hopefully, better videos of his speech will be made available.

Sean Hannity served as the convention’s keynote speaker.  The most memorable points in his speech included:

  • An endorsement the McDonnell/Bolling ticket (Voting had not yet begun.).
  • A list of all of Obama’s bumbling mistakes with this question:  What if President George W. Bush had done the same?
  • The comment that self-actualization requires individual freedom.
  • A couple of Ronald Reagan quotes.  Here is my favorite.
    The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’
    Ronald Reagan
    40th president of US (1911 – 2004)

Other Views

Rappahannock Red offers some picks and his take on the Republican ticket here.

novatownhall Blog offers a video of Cuccinelli speech here.

The SkepticalObserver provides his review of the convention here.  He obviously had a good time too.

Blue Virginia reviews the prospects for a primary winner here.

Reagan Conservative enjoys Cuccinelli’s win here.

Tertium Quids provides a nice summary of the convention — a bit unnecessarily combative, but otherwise good here.

PWConservative borrows a theme from McDonnell’s speech here.

Blue Commonwealth offers Steve Shannon‘s statement on Cuccinelli’s win here.

Loudoun Insider promises to stop bashing Cuccinelli here.  So?

From On High complains conventions are undemocratic here.   I say he is wrong.  Here is an old post on the subject, and here is what Tom Kopko, one-time Chairman of the Republican Party had to say about the subject.

SWAC Girl has a bunch of posts hereHere is her list of the blogger on blogger’s row.  Note that Pat Mullins praised bloggers as a counter weight to main stream media bias.


Jean-Baptiste Greuze portrait of Benjamin Fran...
Jean-Baptiste Greuze portrait of Benjamin Franklin used on the $100 bill from 1929 until 1993. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In retrospect, I now find it strange how I was taught history.  Instead of reading the writings of the people who lived during the times I studied, my teachers primarily instructed from history books.  I would happily have read both works from the period of study and history books, but that never seemed to be a matter of much consideration.

Admittedly, because its English is so remote from our time, Shakespeare is hard to read.  Yet with a little practice, high school students still do it, but it seems to me they now do it less often.  Franklin’s autobiography, however, is eminently readable.  So for your enjoyment and edification, I offer a couple of passages from The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin.

The first is a list of virtues.  Conscious that his character needed improvement, Franklin set about the task.   He contrived a written plan, and in this plan he identified the virtues he thought important.

These names of virtues, with their precepts, were:

1.  TEMPERANCE.  Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.

2.  SILENCE.  Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.

3.  ORDER.  Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.

4.  RESOLUTION.  Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.

5.  FRUGALITY.  Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.

6.  INDUSTRY.  Lose no time; be always employ’d in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.

7.  SINCERITY.  Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.

8.  JUSTICE.  Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.

9.  MODERATION.  Avoid extreams; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.

10.  CLEANLINESS.  Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation.

11.  TRANQUILLITY.  Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.

12.  CHASTITY.  Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dulness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.

13.  HUMILITY.  Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

Note that Franklin’s original list contained but twelve virtues.  Here he explains.

My list of virtues contain’d at first but twelve; but a Quaker friend having kindly informed me that I was generally thought proud; that my pride show’d itself frequently in conversation; that I was not content with being in the right when discussing any point, but was overbearing, and rather insolent, of which he convinc’d me by mentioning several instances; I determined endeavouring to cure myself, if I could, of this vice or folly among the rest, and I added Humility to my list, giving an extensive meaning to the word.

I cannot boast of much success in acquiring the reality of this virtue, but I had a good deal with regard to the appearance of it.  I made it a rule to forbear all direct contradiction to the sentiments of others, and all positive assertion of my own. I even forbid myself, agreeably to the old laws of our Junto (a group of men with which Franklin carried on carefully conducted discussions), the use of every word or expression in the language that imported a fix’d opinion, such as certainly, undoubtedly, etc., and I adopted, instead of them, I conceive, I apprehend, or I imagine a thing to be so or so; or it so appears to me at present.  When another asserted something that I thought an error, I deny’d myself the pleasure of contradicting him abruptly, and of showing immediately some absurdity in his proposition; and in answering I began by observing that in certain cases or circumstances his opinion would be right, but in the present case there appear’d or seem’d to me some difference, etc.  I soon found the advantage of this change in my manner; the conversations I engag’d in went on more pleasantly.  The modest way in which I propos’d my opinions procur’d them a readier reception and less contradiction; I had less mortification when I was found to be in the wrong, and I more easily prevail’d with others to give up their mistakes and join with me when I happened to be in the right.

And this mode, which I at first put on with some violence to natural inclination, became at length so easy, and so habitual to me, that perhaps for these fifty years past no one has ever heard a dogmatical expression escape me.  And to this habit (after my character of integrity) I think it principally owing that I had early so much weight with my fellow-citizens when I proposed new institutions, or alterations in the old, and so much influence in public councils when I became a member; for I was but a bad speaker, never eloquent, subject to much hesitation in my choice of words, hardly correct in language, and yet I generally carried my points.

In reality, there is, perhaps, no one of our natural passions so hard to subdue as pride.  Disguise it, struggle with it, beat it down, stifle it, mortify it as much as one pleases, it is still alive, and will every now and then peep out and show itself; you will see it, perhaps, often in this history; for, even if I could conceive that I had compleatly overcome it, I should probably be proud of my humility.

[Thus far written at Passy, 1784.]

It is fortunate that Franklin added humility to his list.  Pride is the greatest of sins.   Pride is the sin that led to Lucifer’s downfall.

The Fall of Lucifer

12 “ How you are fallen from heaven,
O Lucifer, son of the morning!
How you are cut down to the ground,
You who weakened the nations!
13 For you have said in your heart:

‘ I will ascend into heaven,
I will exalt my throne above the stars of God;
I will also sit on the mount of the congregation
On the farthest sides of the north;
14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds,
I will be like the Most High.’
15 Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol,
To the lowest depths of the Pit.
16 “ Those who see you will gaze at you,
And consider you, saying:

Is this the man who made the earth tremble,
Who shook kingdoms,
17 Who made the world as a wilderness
And destroyed its cities,
Who did not open the house of his prisoners?’
18 “ All the kings of the nations,
All of them, sleep in glory,
Everyone in his own house;
19 But you are cast out of your grave
Like an abominable branch,
Like the garment of those who are slain,
Thrust through with a sword,
Who go down to the stones of the pit,
Like a corpse trodden underfoot.
20 You will not be joined with them in burial,
Because you have destroyed your land
And slain your people.
The brood of evildoers shall never be named.
21 Prepare slaughter for his children
Because of the iniquity of their fathers,
Lest they rise up and possess the land,
And fill the face of the world with cities.”

Isaiah 14:12-21 (New King James Version)

These names of virtues, with their precepts, were:

1.  TEMPERANCE.  Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.

2.  SILENCE.  Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself;
avoid trifling conversation.

3.  ORDER.  Let all your things have their places; let each part
of your business have its time.

4.  RESOLUTION.  Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without
fail what you resolve.

5.  FRUGALITY.  Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself;
i.e., waste nothing.

6.  INDUSTRY.  Lose no time; be always employ'd in something useful;
cut off all unnecessary actions.

7.  SINCERITY.  Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly,
and, if you speak, speak accordingly.

8.  JUSTICE.  Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits
that are your duty.

9.  MODERATION.  Avoid extreams; forbear resenting injuries so much
as you think they deserve.

10.  CLEANLINESS.  Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths,
or habitation.

11.  TRANQUILLITY.  Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents
common or unavoidable.

12.  CHASTITY.  Rarely use venery but for health or offspring,
never to dulness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another's
peace or reputation.

13.  HUMILITY.  Imitate Jesus and Socrates.


elephantgop.pngToday is the big day, the start of the 2009 convention for the Republican Party of Virginia.

We have three contested contests.

  • Lieutenant Governor:  Recommendation – Bill Bolling
  • Attorney General:  Recommendation – Ken Cuccinelli
  • RPV Chair:  Recommendation – Do not have one

From my perspective, Bill Bolling and Ken Cuccinelli are easy choices.  Both men have extensive records of public service.  Both have been reliable Conservative standard bearers.  None of their opponents have comparable track records.   In each case if we elect the alternative, we can only guess what the result might be.

On the other hand, the contest for RPV Chair pits two men against each other that I know too little about.  Pat Mullins is the apparent choice of the GOP Establishment.  Since I have little use for what the GOP Establishment has accomplished here of late, I must admit considerable suspicion.  What is the endorsement of the GOP Establishment actually worth?

It seems to me we should regard the endorsement of the GOP Establishment as detrimental.  The GOP Establishment too often puts getting along with the other side ahead of party principles.  In order to pacify the Liberal news media and special interests such as the teacher’s unions, the GOP Establishment has readily given ground on core Conservative issues.  For example, remember what Conservatives had to do to get President George W. Bush to pick two rock solid Conservative judges.  One can only guess how many non so Conservative judges Bush appointed to the lower courts.

When we elect people who abandon the Conservative agenda, what is the good of winning?   Unfortunately, we are not going to replace the GOP Establishment overnight.  That leaves a problem.  We cannot trust much of the GOP Establishment.  So whenever the GOP Establishment offers us its choice for anything, we must seriously consider alternatives.  In this case, the alternative is Bill Stanley.  Unfortunately, I have not had as much time  as I would like to investigate either Mullin’s or Stanley’s background.  Nonetheless, Stanley does have a public record, and he also has his share of respectable endorsements.   So I hope delegates to the convention will consider his candidacy seriously.

Other Views

Bearing Drift post a final review here.

Old Virginia News describes what is to come here.

Roanoke Valley Republicans makes predictions here.

The Institute for Legal Reform offers its analysis here.

Virginia Virtucon upset with the change of venue here.

Crystal Clear Conservative provides its endorsements here.


Update:  Here is link to a post at Smash Mouth Politics that also discusses Benjamin Franklin.

Of late, I have enjoyed reading books written by famous men now deceased.  So it is that I am in the process of reading The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin.  In his book, Franklin describes the process of his education.   That includes learning to write prose.

While I was intent on improving my language, I met with an English grammar (I think it was Greenwood’s), at the end of which there were two little sketches of the arts of rhetoric and logic, the latter finishing with a specimen of a dispute in the Socratic method; and soon after I procur’d Xenophon’s Memorable Things of Socrates, wherein there are many instances of the same method.  I was charm’d with it, adopted it, dropt my abrupt contradiction and positive argumentation, and put on the humble inquirer and doubter.  And being then, from reading Shaftesbury (probably Lord Shaftesbury [Anthony Ashley Cooper, 3rd Earl of Shaftesbury]: italics mine) and Collins (probably Anthony Collins), become a real doubter in many points of our religious doctrine, I found this method safest for myself and very embarrassing to those against whom I used it; therefore I took a delight in it, practis’d it continually, and grew very artful and expert in drawing people, even of superior knowledge, into concessions, the consequences of which they did not foresee, entangling them in difficulties out of which they could not extricate themselves, and so obtaining victories that neither myself nor my cause always deserved.  I continu’d this method some few years, but gradually left it, retaining only the habit of expressing myself in terms of modest diffidence; never using, when I advanced any thing that may possibly be disputed, the words certainly, undoubtedly, or any others that give the air of positiveness to an opinion; but rather say, I conceive or apprehend a thing to be so and so; it appears to me, or I should think it so or so, for such and such reasons; or I imagine it to be so; or it is so, if I am not mistaken.  This habit, I believe, has been of great advantage to me when I have had occasion to inculcate my opinions, and persuade men into measures that I have been from time to time engag’d in promoting; and, as the chief ends of conversation are to inform or to be informed, to please or to persuade, I wish well-meaning, sensible men would not lessen their power of doing good by a positive, assuming manner, that seldom fails to disgust, tends to create opposition, and to defeat every one of those purposes for which speech was given to us, to wit, giving or receiving information or pleasure.  For, if you would inform, a positive and dogmatical manner in advancing your sentiments may provoke contradiction and prevent a candid attention.  If you wish information and improvement from the knowledge of others, and yet at the same time express yourself as firmly fix’d in your present opinions, modest, sensible men, who do not love disputation, will probably leave you undisturbed in the possession of your error.  And by such a manner, you can seldom hope to recommend yourself in pleasing your hearers, or to persuade those whose concurrence you desire.  Pope says, judiciously:

“Men should be taught as if you taught them not,
And things unknown propos’d as things forgot;”

farther recommending to us

“To speak, tho’ sure, with seeming diffidence.”

And he might have coupled with this line that which he has coupled with another, I think, less properly,

“For want of modesty is want of sense.”

If you ask, Why less properly? I must repeat the lines,

“Immodest words admit of no defense,
For want of modesty is want of sense.”

Now, is not want of sense (where a man is so unfortunate as to want it) some apology for his want of modesty? and would not the lines stand more justly thus?

“Immodest words admit but this defense,
That want of modesty is want of sense.”

This, however, I should submit to better judgments.

Franklin was no stranger to argument.  In addition, to helping to guide the course of the American Revolution, Franklin helped to write the Constitution.  So although he may have done so modestly, Franklin did argue his case effectively.  So his advice on modesty seems curious.

Consider again this line from Franklin’s text.

retaining only the habit of expressing myself in terms of modest diffidence; never using, when I advanced any thing that may possibly be disputed, the words certainly, undoubtedly, or any others that give the air of positiveness to an opinion;

How did Franklin decide what matters may possibly be disputed?  There is no simple answer, but I suspect that in addition to Pope Franklin had also read this passage.

2 Timothy 2:22-26 (King James Version)

22Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

23But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.

24And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,

25In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;

26And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

Deist?  Christian?  I know not for certain which Franklin was, but it seems he was aware of God in his life, that he was God’s servant.  And as it becomes a servant, he strove to do the Master’s Will yet remain humble.