Thursday, August 31, 2006

Larry Kissell, NC-08: Media Notes Hard Work

What do Scotland County, Cumberland County, Richmond County and Cabarrus County all have in common? They have all had a visit from Larry Kissell, a candidate who believes that a good way to lead is to follow. He's following the example of traditional grassroots candidates and knocking on doors, talking to his constituents and listening to their needs and goals for the future. He's leading by standing up for the people in his district and taking their concerns to Washington.

Larry isn't just visiting these counties. He's walking and knocking on doors. The Laurinburg Exchange (registration required) is running a piece that describes Larry's travels through the district in the heat of Indian Summer and Larry is learning from his contituents.
"The majority of the people are very concerned. They're concerned that they can't maintain the life that they've been used to, they're concerned about jobs, education, fuel prices—these things that affect them day to day," he stated. "Throughout this district, every night, there's people that are worrying about this. And that's why we're here."
The Exhange also makes note of something most of us have noticed and that is the Kissell campaign is moving full steam ahead and shows no sign of stopping.
Since winning the Democratic primary election back in May, the high school teacher and 27-year veteran of textiles said his campaign continues to build momentum with numerous events scheduled in the coming months, including a Gospel music concert featuring Bill Hefner and The Harvesters Quartet in Rockingham on Sept. 8.
Larry Kissell is also featured in another newspaper today, The Fayettevile Observer. The reporter gives us a good idea of what this traditional grassroots campaigning is like.
His focus Wednesday was not on strategy, but on shoe leather. He campaigned door to door, a tactic normally seen in local elections.

His blue pin-stripped shirt quickly was soaked with sweat.

He knocked on the doors of people who were registered as a Democrat or an unaffiliated voter. Mostly, his knocks went unanswered. He left a signed campaign flier.

The value of door-to-door campaigning is listening to residents, he said. Many, like Lori Saunders of Devane Street, are shocked that a congressional candidate would take the time to knock on their door. “Most are concerned the direction the country is going in,” he said.
Those of us who have been Larry fans for a while already know that he has what it takes to win this race. He has the drive, the energy the stamina to physically walk the streets and talk with the voters. Regardless of Robin Hayes' success in the past, we know that this year is different. Larry knows that too.
By conventional standards, Kissell faces an overwhelming challenge. Hayes has more name recognition and money. Hayes had $1.2 million as of June 30 — 14 times Kissell's $85,000, according to Federal Election Commission reports.

Kissell says it's an unconventional year for politics. People are upset with President Bush and a Congress that doesn't listen to them.

Garth Regan, campaign manager for Hayes, said Wednesday, "The last time I checked 'Washington' was not on the ballot this year."
Oooo, snappy, Garth. You must be new. Either that or everyone is tired of the dramatics of Carolyn Hern with her outrageous and bizarre labels for everything.

The trip to Fayetteville was noteable for a couple of different reasons. I think the reporter does a great job ending this piece, so I'll let him have the last word here as well.
Kissell had the most success on Ellington Street, where Brad Miller, the Democratic congressman from Raleigh, grew up.

Ellington residents Wayne and Verna Reece agreed with Kissell. "We need new blood," Wayne Reece said.

The Reeces want something done about high gas prices and the cost of prescription drugs, but don't touch Social Security.

It is encounters like this — and one over breakfast — that encourage Kissell.

As he ate breakfast, a diner walked to his table and stared at him.

"Are you the candidate? Yes? Well, I'm angry; we need a change."

Kissell smiled.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Kissell v. Hayes, NC-08: Stumpin' Stompin' in the Park

Saturday was the first day that Larry Kissell and Robin Hayes attended the same campaign event. I've been working much of the afternoon doing my best to write a serious piece of journalism. After all, there was some serious politicking going on at U-PAC's Stumpin' in the Park. My plans were to do a mature piece devoid of snark, sarcasm or silly photoshop pictures.

Yeah....Like that's gonna happen.

The rumor mill started last week with a story that Robin Hayes was bringing a bus full of supporters. The excitement surrounding this event has been building all week. Hayes supporters put signs up along the busy street that runs near the YMCA where the event was held. It happens to be several miles outside the district. The Kissell team put most of our signs in and around the event. Once the event started, it was obvious who ultimately had the better signage.

Two young Kissell supporters look for strategic locations to tie balloons. (Disclaimer....they belong to me.)

With the help of Kos and BlueNC blogger, Working for Change, the girls start to spread the glow of that golden Kissell yellow around the shelter. (Am I laying it on thick enough?)

Absolutely impossible for Hayes to beat this trio. These double-sided signs were made to hang around their necks which left their hands free to hold Kissell signs. They should have made one for Hayes to hang around his neck that simply read CAFTA!

Robin Hayes and his supporters arrived early and stood around in the heat. In the meantime, Larry Kissell was out knocking on doors in the district. He arrived a few minutes before the event was to start and he was ready to go.

The shelter was starting to fill with candidates, their supporters and the residents of the area who had come to learn more about the candidates vying for their votes. Larry spent a little bit of time chatting with well-wishers before heading over for the first handshake.

What a handshake it was., it was really just a handshake. Who had the firmer grip? Who had the brightest smile? Who was more natural at making small talk? All that and more on the speeches in today's Charlotte Observer. Reporter, Jim Morrill, even caught the first words exchanged between the two.

Larry Kissell was the first speaker and after a bit of nervousness he looked out at the audience of mostly Kissell supporters and eased into a pretty hard-hitting speech that served to put Hayes on notice. Hayes is out of touch with the voters. Like other Republicans Hayes is spinning failed policy just to get through the next election and Hayes doesn't represent the core values of the voters in this district. Larry ended his talk letting Hayes know that in the 8th District when someone doesn't do the job they've been sent to do, they get a pink slip. Great delivery and Kissell didn't back down.

Hayes was hesitant and even seemed a bit defensive. I've heard him speak before and he did sound off his game. It could have been the heat. It could have been the fact that the Kissell crowd was decidedly larger and more vibrant than the Hayes crowd. It could have been that the bus idea didn't pan out. Chances are, it's because a first-time candidate stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the aging incumbent and showed beyond a shadow of a doubt that he represents the heart of the district. Larry Kissell understands the voters and he has the fire and the determination to represent them in Washington.

In the Observer story, Jim Morrill gives us this:

Hayes, 61, defended his record. He talked about bringing federal money and help to UNC Charlotte and neighborhoods such as Grier Heights.

"It's not about listing things," he said. "It's about listening to people."

Did you catch that? First Hayes gives us a list of all the things he claims to have done right. Then, he says that it isn't about listing things. He says it's about listening to people. Well, he certainly wasn't listening to "the people" on July 29, 2005 when he chose to listen to Tuscarora Yarns and Altria Group over the working folks in his district.

Hayes declared his pride in wearing the 82nd Airborne baseball cap he had on his head, but he failed to mention his repeated votes to slash veteran's benefits or his votes against increases in benefits. He also failed to mention his decision to send young men and women to war without the necessary body armor or appropriate equipment. The hat's a nice prop, though.

One of my favorite lines from Hayes' speech was, "If you don't think I have a vested interest in the future of this district just take a look at my granddaughter back there and my son." The congressman does have a beautiful family. I'm sure Hayes is concerned about their futures as any good father and grandfather would be.

However, as precious as his granddaughter is, her future is financially secure and she will probably never go for want a day in her life because of the multimillion dollar Cannon family trust. Hayes' concern for the future of children in the 8th rings hollow when you look at the congressman's record. What good will a handful of earmarks do when entire communities are out of work, especially in small towns that lack the infrastructure and safety nets of a city the size of Charlotte?

Larry Kissell calls Hayes a good man who changed when he went to Washington. I disagree with Mr. Kissell on his assessment of Hayes' character. Hayes might be a friendly, good-natured guy when he has to be. He even posed for this picture when he saw me getting shots of the prop he used in his E85 stunt. But, he isn't a good man. A good man doesn't climb over the backs of the people in his district just to keep it tight with the party brass. A good man doesn't sign legislation that in effect releases the tourniquet that is holding off the hemorrhage of jobs from his district. A good man doesn't flat-out, completely, horizontally lie to his constituents.

You seemed a bit testy, Representative Hayes. I can't blame you. It can't be fun having people bird-dog you. It can't be fun having us point out every single mistake after you've been given a free pass from the local press all this time. It can't be fun, but I suggest you get used to it. I have not yet begun to write.

Kissell, Watt and Davis Give us Reason to Hope

Last night I attended a gathering for Larry Kissell at Veteran's Park in Charlotte. Congressman Mel Watt, NC-12 and Congressman Artur Davis of Alabama spoke to rally the group of Kissell supporters, neighborhood leaders,local elected Democrats and party officials. I figure there's nothing new either of them can tell me about Larry. I've read everything there is to read about him. Hell, I've written a lot of it.

So, for me, it wasn't what they said about Larry. It was the warmth with which they embraced Larry in his bid to represent North Carolina's 8th.

A group of elected officials, candidates and their supporters were chatting out front amid Kissell campaign signs and balloons. Congressman Watt and Congressman Davis blended in with the group. There was no huffing and puffing and looking important like so many tend to do. I don't know, but maybe we get so used to the arrogance of politicians like Duke Cunningham, Tom DeLay, Bob Ney, Charles Taylor and Robin Hayes that we forget how approachable our other government leaders are.

Once inside Mel Watt warmed up the crowd with some history of the district and explained how it was drawn for a Democrat. (Apparently, they forgot to tell the voters.) He also introduced Artur Davis and described how Davis has been instrumental in getting the DCCC to pay some attention to this race.

Congressman Davis was a pleasure to listen to. His delivery has a cadence that reminds me of a minister delivering a sermon. Before singing the praises of Larry Kissell, though, Davis reminded us that it was our very own Mel Watt who introduced the only comprehensive Hurricane Katrina bill. Sadly, the Republican majority has done absolutely nothing to act on it.

The folks in attendance were Kissell supporters, so Davis didn't have to convince us to support Larry, but he did give us a reason to keep working hard toward November and he accomplished this by telling us at least one thing we hadn't heard before. According to Davis, the DCCC made a mistake in supporting Tim Dunn early. Jim Morrill from The Charlotte Observer has the money quote.

Davis also highlighted two votes in the House that hinged on one vote. He held up his voting card and he reminded us just how important Larry's vote would have been for all of the close votes orchestrated by DeLay, Hastert and now Boehner. There was one we didn't need reminded of. CAFTA.

I think most of us were feeling pretty good about what we were hearing. Then Artur Davis had to bring up that poll. The most recent poll. The one where, as Davis pointed out, without one penny spent on television or radio advertising Larry Kissell was trailing a popular incumbent by only 4 points. Robin Hayes has name recognition well over 85% and he isn't polling above 50%. That's unheard of in this district, at this time in the campaign for Robin Hayes. Unheard of until this past week. That certainly gives us hope.

Larry Kissell was met with a standing ovation. He didn't disappoint. I've heard him speak several times now and he just keeps getting better. Larry will never be one of those polished plastic pols who spits out that same tired string of words from stump to stump. He speaks from the heart and it shows.

The campaign events will probably start hitting fast and furious and I won't be able to write about all of them. Each event seems to attract an increasing number of elected officials, so I want to take a moment to name as many as I can remember. If I forget any, I'll add them later.

First there were three members of the Mecklenburg County Democratic Party executive committee in attendance - Pat Patton, Michael Evans and Polly Little. From Charlotte's City Council we had Patsy Kinsey (Mom), Michael Barnes (My rep) and Nancy Carter. Jennifer Roberts attended from the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners. John Autry was there and is running for Soil & Water Conservation District Supervisor. Finally, a dear friend, Everette Passaly is running for the NC House District 103 seat. (Go Everette, Go!) I apologize if I have forgotten anyone.

One last thing....Give 'till it hurts!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

More than 500 Show Up for Kissell's $1.22 Gas Event

Finally, the excellent video of Larry Kissell drawing attention to the high price of gas through a simple act of generosity. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Honoring Heroes

On April 21, 2005, under the cover of darkness the Bush administration completed a secret mission. No, it wasn't a flight by Bush, Rice or Rumsfeld into dangerous territory, it was the unloading of Steven Sirko's body from the cargo hold of a commercial aircraft. Luggage, animals and other cargo were all prioritized over the remains of a young man who had given his life for his country in a war that should have never been. Under the cover of darkness, Steven Sirko's body was returned to his mother.

On Saturday August 12 at 6:00pm, the Freedom Group will hold a candlelight peace vigil to shed light on the human cost of the U.S. War in Iraq. Summer Lipford, Steven Sirko's mother will be there to speak about her personal battle to get answers from the government about what actually happened to her son.

Summer Lipford is joining a growing number of military families to speak out against the Bush administration. Cindy Sheehan may be the most well-known of the Gold Star Moms speaking out against the war, but others are joining their ranks seeking answers and trying to find some peace with the knowledge that their child died in what now appears to be an unjustifiable war of aggression.

In January 2006, Paul Schroeder shared these thoughts in a piece written for The Washington Post:
At times like this, people say, "He died a hero." I know this is meant with great sincerity. We appreciate the many condolences we have received and how helpful they have been. But when heard repeatedly, the phrases "he died a hero" or "he died a patriot" or "he died for his country" rub raw.

"People think that if they say that, somehow it makes it okay that he died," our daughter, Amanda, has said. "He was a hero before he died, not just because he went to Iraq. I was proud of him before, and being a patriot doesn't make his death okay. I'm glad he got so much respect at his funeral, but that didn't make it okay either."
The men and women who don a uniform and stand up for our country are heroes and they are heroes long before they reach a battlefield.

Being anti-war doesn't mean that we can't understand the need for a strong military. However, supporting the military doesn't mean we have to believe that war is the best solution to the world's problems. We can support our troops without wanting to leave them in harm's way. Those who say it harms troop morale when we urge our government to bring them home don't seem to understand that war is not an exercise in self-esteem building.

War is real. It is dangerous and real sons and daughters, husbands, wives, fathers and mothers are dying in Iraq. If our mission is not accomplished it isn't because they weren't brave enough or didn't shoot straight enough or weren't willing to die often enough. If we leave Iraq without accomplishing the administration's mission, it is because the Bush administration wanted the wrong war, in the wrong country for all the wrong reasons. To make the war more palatable they sent fewer troops than military experts estimated it would take for success and to make it more affordable they sent our troops into harms way without the necessary equipment to protect them.

Opposition to the war in Iraq was swift and sure for some. For others it has taken time to grow. Now that polls show a majority of the country thinks it is time to begin withdrawing troops, more voices are chiming in to be heard. In his letter, Paul Schroeder says the voices need to be louder in order to truly honor those who have died.
But their deaths will not be in vain if Americans stop hiding behind flag-draped hero masks and stop whispering their opposition to this war. Until then, the lives of other sons, daughters, husbands, wives, fathers and mothers may be wasted as well.
I grew up during the Vietnam War. I remember the war protests. Like many of my friends, I wore a copper bracelet with the name of a POW on it. I remember television coverage of men coming home and running into the arms of their mothers and wives and grabbing their children, some being embraced for the first time. There were no cameras trained on the families of those men who were returned home in boxes or who were missing in action and never came home. Those families were momentarily moved aside so that we could forget about the horrors of war and experience the joy of the waiting families and their heroes as they returned home.

It is time to truly honor Casey Sheehan, Steven Sirko and Auggie Schroeder by bringing home their fellow heroes. It is time to honor them by speaking out in a loud voice with a sure heart and a clear purpose. It is time to support those remaining in Iraq by bringing them home. Let's honor those who gave their lives and lets honor their families by keeping their fellow soldiers from greater harm.

Don't let the Bush administration hide under the shroud of darkness any longer. Make them face the tragic human losses that have been felt on both sides for a war with no clearly defined purpose or clear path for success. Acknowledge the human cost of this war as vocally as you protest the billions of dollars wasted on it. Acknowledge the loss of an estimated 40,000 Iraqi lives and accept their value.

When John Kerry returned from Vietnam, he felt the scorn of fellow soldiers when he spoke out against the war and testified before Congress. In reading a transcript of the words Kerry spoke that day it's surprising how much of what he says holds true for the war in Iraq.
We rationalized destroying villages in order to save them. We saw America lose her sense of morality as she accepted very coolly a My Lai and refused to give up the image of American soldiers who hand out chocolate bars and chewing gum.
There are those today who refuse to give up the image of the American Soldier as liberator being greeted with flowers by jubilant Iraqi citizens. They cling to this image because it is less painful than admitting the war is wrong.

In his speech John Kerry asked,
How do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam?
I have an even harder question for you. How do you ask an 18-year-old boy to be the last man to die in Iraq?

If you pray, please pray for our troops and pray for Iraqi citizens. If you do not pray, please send them hope.

Let's bring them home, now.


Please join us for a candlelight vigil at Freedom Park. Veterans and military families will speak out about the human cost of the war in Iraq and the personal effect it has had on their families. The Freedom Group will be collecting phone cards to send to servicemen and women. Contributions will also be accepted with checks made payable to Any or

Our speakers will include:

  • Nick Kepf, Veteran, Operation Desert Storm
  • Sam Foster, Vietnam Veteran,"Veterans for Peace"
  • John Autry, US Navy Veteran
  • Lee Little, Veteran,Operation Desert Storm
  • Ed Zohn, Union County Democrat
  • Jim Starowicz, Vietnam Veteran,"Veterans for Peace"
  • Mary Keenan, Peace & Justice advocate
  • Summer Lipford, son Steven Sirko died in Iraq April 2005 "‘Gold Star Families Speak Out"’, "Military Families Speak Out"
  • Sri Rajagopalan, Iraq Veteran
  • David Dixon, Peace activist
  • Ahmed Daniels, Vietnam-era resister
  • Christy Snow & Renee' Leboa, Co-Ministers - Center For Positive Living

Who: Veterans and Military Families in Charlotte gather for candlelight vigil

Where: Freedom Park, 1900 East Boulevard, Charlotte (near the band shell)

When: Saturday, August 12, 2006, 6:00PM

Monday, August 07, 2006

Larry Kissell, NC-08: The Politics of Barbecue

If you're from North Carolina you are familiar with the tradition of mixing politicking with barbecue. What could be more natural since North Carolina is known for its barbecue? Saturday, Larry Kissell, candidate for the U.S. House in North Carolina's 8th Congressional District held a fundraiser featuring barbecue from the Murphy House and sauces from eateries around the district.

The barbecue was great, but the enthusiasm of the crowd toward Kissell's candidacy was even better. Several traveled the 2.5 hours from Charlotte to support Larry and many others were there from in and outside the district. Representatives David Price and Brad Miller were both there to endorse Larry and both received a warm reception.

Campaign Chair, Dannie Montgomery (pictured here with Tina Kissell), led us in the Pledge of Allegiance and gave a spirited speech reminding us that the folks who don't know what the Democrats stand for will find out in November. The Master of Ceremonies was Montgomery County Commissioner, Jackie Morris. Jerry Meek, Chair of the North Carolina Democratic Party, also stopped by to cheer Larry on and enjoy some barbecue.

As much enthusiasm as we all feel for Larry's candidacy, there is a very serious reason why it is so important and Representative David Price reminded us why Larry is so important, not only to North Carolina, but to the rest of the country. He referred back to 1994.
This time, This time I think a similar upheaval is in the making. Only this time the folks in the dark are a Republican President and a Republican Congress walking in lockstep and driving this country over a cliff with a fiscal meltdown and a diplomatic meltdown. The country desperately needs a change.
Larry Kissell will be part of that change. He was greeted on stage by a rousing round of applause and cheers. Larry referenced the excellent campaign promotion he and his staff held in Biscoe. He mentioned that it had made national news and was featured on CNN, but he also stressed that it wasn't about the publicity. His candidacy boils down to simply helping the people of the 8th district.

He also said something that may have been directed more to those of us working on multiple campaigns. Sometimes the south is ignored by those in Washington when looking at Democratic races. It is frustrating and that's probably why I really liked it when Larry had this to say:
North Carolina will soon be known as the state that did the most to bring this congress back into Democratic hands.
This one statement brought almost as much applause as anything else said all night. Well, except for the standing ovation Larry received.

Representative Brad Miller and his wife attended. Brad has done so much to help Larry. It was great to hear him speak. He has a special reason for wanting Larry to win this race. It turns out it doesn't have as much to do with a Democratic majority in Washington as it does the fact that he wants his mother to have a good Democrat representing her. She just so happens to live in the 8th District.

This party served up more than just barbecue and politics, though. The Blue Horizon played some awesome bluegrass music. They are a band from Montgomery County and it would have been easy to party on into the night with them.

There was a special guest that didn't appear on stage and I was happy to meet her toward the end of the event. Larry's mother traveled to Raleigh to support her son. She's 91 years old and is truly lovely. I still have a hard time believing she's 91.

Another reason I had so much fun is that I finally had a chance to meet some of my fellow BlueNC bloggers and commenters. I mentioned that in a post here. Other BlueNCers were attending Heath Shuler's fundraiser over in Western North Carolina, so we were certainly making the rounds on Saturday and there will be plenty more opportunities to support our Democratic candidates between now and November 7.

I don't think it's a secret that I believe in Larry Kissell and support his candidacy. It is next to impossible for me to be objective when writing about his campaign. I'm just going to add lots of pictures and links to even more pictures so you can judge for yourselves.

Please click here to go to the album for these pictures.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Brad Miller, NC-13 v. Gun-totin' Shit-slinging Vern

Well, folks, old "one bullet, no gun" Robinson is up to his old tricks again. This time he claims that Brad Miller voted to allow child molesters to migrate into this country. Looking back on his past campaigns, it appears he's running out of unbelievable material - like calling Virginia Foxx a liberal - and he's now churning out crap that even turns Republicans against him.

Every pundit and expert I checked from Charlie Cook to Chris Cilliza has said that Miller is safe. Every person who's ever campaigned against a challenger like Robinson knows you don't listen to that. You have to campaign to win, so the good and honorable Brad Miller is having to put up with these unbelievable claims and outright lies being flung from Vernon Robinson.

Robinson has sent out a fundraising email. I will include as much as I can.

In business if someone isn't performing in their job, you fire them. Well unfortunately, we have yo wait 100 more days before we as citizens can stand up and tell Brad Miller, "You're fired!"

The truth is Brad Miller has voted FOR open borders, FOR amnesty for illegal aliens, FOR homosexual marriage, FOR flag burning, FOR higher taxes, FOR extreme gun control, FOR partial birth abortion, and FOR taking"under God" out of the Pledge of Allegiance, and FOR allowing foreign alien child molesters to migrate to the United States.

That doesn't sound like a Congressman who is performing his job of serving the people of his district and his country. It sounds more like a Congressman who cares more about the support of his radical left-wing friends than he does about the people he supposedly serves!
Vernon Robinson has made a joke out of his candidacy. Even among Republicans there are those who consider him an embarrassment. Looking at all the information available online, this isn't a new phenomenon. The only people on the right who seem to get a kick out of Vernon Robinson are the people you wouldn't want your son or daughter to bring home to meet you.

Recently the chairman of the group,
African American Ministers in Action (AAMIA) spoke out against Robinson. In a piece from May of this year the Reverend Tim McDonald had this to say:

Vernon Robinson’s divisive and intolerant rhetoric is profoundly disappointing. I had hoped that by the 21st Century our nation would have advanced beyond such vitriol. One of the Vernon Robinson ads places many of our American brothers and sisters in the same category as Osama bin Laden. Another implies that Latino immigrants are trying to take over our country. One says that ‘black hoodlums need to stop stealing and start getting jobs.’ Others are explicitly anti-gay. This sort of rhetoric is low-minded and designed to pit one group against another. It is simply unacceptable.

God commands us to love our neighbors and to avoid bearing false witness against them. Regrettably, Vernon Robinson’s rhetoric does neither.
Re-read that if you missed the part where the good Reverend basically calls Vernon Robinson a liar. "God commands us to love our neighbors and to avoid bearing false witness against them. Regrettably, Vernon Robinson's rhetoric does neither." That's pretty powerful standing on its own. But there's more, much more.

In February 2005 Robinson spoke at Bowdoin College in Maine. He had been invited by the College Republicans to celebrate Black History Month and not every conservative on campus was happy about it - but not for the reasons you might imagine. An op-ed by staff of
The Bowdoin Orient wrote:

The proper and strongest argument against the College Republicans' decision to host Vernon Robinson isn't that he was offensive or failed to properly "celebrate" Black History Month. It is that he offered absolutely nothing constructive.


From evidence gathered Tuesday night, Vernon Robinson is a caricature of a conservative thinker, not an actual one. And in hosting him the College Republicans managed to reinforce unfortunate stereotypes of conservatives as bigots, reactionaries, and hurlers of incendiary slogans. Thoughtful conservatives should consider this sort of solicited representation negligent on the part of our ostensible on-campus leadership.


And so the cost of Vernon's visit goes well beyond his honorarium. It is the opportunity lost to invite someone who has real intellectual heft—someone who has the power and purpose to change minds. All Vernon Robinson did was harden what was already in people's minds.
The words speak for themselves. This piece is nicely written by a student who admits to being a conservative himself. So, according to a conservative, Vernon Robinson is a caricature of a Republican with no real intellectual heft and has nothing constructive to add. Ouch. Double Ouch. Go read the entire piece. It will be worth your time.

Back in 2004 in a conservative publication, The American Daily, a guest editorialist claimed that Vernon Robinson was bad for Bush. The writer was the Policy Advisor for the chapter of College Republicans at Duke University.

The Robinson campaign is best characterized as highly negative. The councilman joined Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado in criticizing President George W. Bush on immigration policy. Robinson even stated that the Republican Party was to blame for America’s immigration crisis. The rhetoric was so hot that former U.S. Rep. Jack Kemp withdrew his endorsement of Robinson. It was later reported by that the Bush campaign quietly informed Robinson’s staff to resign for the sake of their careers.
Ouch, again. Robinson's staff encouraged to disassociate themselves from Robinson by the very campaign that brought us Karl Rove? That's harsh. It's certainly understandable, though. It's hard for me to imagine that anyone with any decency would want to have their names forever linked with a Robinson campaign. But, that's just me.

Also in 2004
Mother Jones awarded Vernon Robinson the "Diddly Award". The flightless eagle award is given to the right-wing congressional candidate least likely to soar. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Fellow nominees included Alan Keyes, James Hart and Tom Coburn. Way to go , Vern! You must be so proud.

One of the best pieces I can find written during 2004 comes from
World O'Crap where the writer dissects one of Vernon Robinson's fundraising emails sent through the NewsMax service. It is long and hilarious and worth a read.

Going way back to 2003, Vernon Robinson
gave a speech (PDF) to the Florida chapter of The Christian Coalition. In the speech, Robinson whines and bemoans the fact that little Rickie Santorum wasn't shown any love by his fellow conservatives in Washington when he spoke out against homosexuals. Old Vern had this to say:

I saw what happened a few months ago when Senator Rick Santorum – a fine American if there ever were one -- made some very modest comments about homosexuals and the constitution. He said only what every person in this room knows to be true. But what happened? The homosexual activists and their willing friends in the news media attacked and vilified Rick Santorum as though he had said homosexuals should be castrated.


What really upset me was that when Rick was attacked, I didn’t hear or see a single congressman or senator rise to his defense. They all ran like rats to find cover out of fear that they, too, would become a target – afraid that they, too, would be called a religious zealot, or a bigot, or something called a “homophobe”. Senator Santorum must have felt like the old Hebrew Lot, trying desperately to find one good man in all of Sodom. But no one stepped forward. They just hung him out to dry. Every conservative in that congress should have put his or her arms around Rick and said to the media, “Rick is absolutely right; now what are you going to do about it?”

That just did not happen.

Now, let's just pretend for a second that I'm Vernon Robinson. If I were Vernon Robinson do you know what I would do with this? I would take that passage where old Vern says those men should have been hugging little Rickie Santorum and I would say, "Vernon Robinson encourages members of congress to engage in homosexual acts." That's the Vernon Robinson approach to the truth. Ok, let's quit pretending I'm old Vern, because that's just gross.

With all of the negativity surrounding Vernon Robinson it's difficult, if not impossible to locate any substance to any of his campaigns. He never seems to represent anything positive. He's adept at raising large sums of money from out of state. Maybe that's because people living in North Carolina simply know better. It doesn't take long to tire of Robinson's tactics and the thought that he could wind up in Washington simply leaves me with a sick feeling.

Since Vernon Robinson doesn't have a record in Washington to talk about, we have to go back to his days serving on Winston-Salem's City Council. Basically, Robinson failed to show up to govern. From the
Winston-Salem Journal in November 2005 we have this little tidbit:
Robinson was absent for seven of the public-safety committee's 15 meetings since
October 2003, according to city records of those meetings. He also did not attend 20 of the 22 meetings of the public-works committee, of which he is also a member.
In other words, Robinson doesn't show up. He gives the excuse that meetings were intentionally scheduled so that he would be home taking care of his family and would not be able to attend. Ahh, yes, Vern. Let's play the victim. Everyone's out to get old Vern.

The only other indication that Robinson lacks the necessary skills to abide by rules of ethics in congress is this
report from the FEC listing the fine levied on the Robinson Campaign because Vernon Robinson failed to file his report. Sloppy bookkeeping? Intentional disregard for the law? Maybe Vernon Robinson will let us know why his campaign did not file the necessary reports with the FEC and then didn't respond to their request for the report. Or maybe, he'll just play the victim again and claim those reports were required at a time when he was licking his wounds. It's a conspiracy, right Vern?

The shit's getting deep here in North Carolina. Robinson has been relentless and is probably just getting started. While he plays dress-up and panders for the gun vote, Brad Miller is doing his job representing the people of the 13th Congressional District. While Vernon Robinson is trying to figure out which lie hasn't become stale from use in past campaigns, Brad Miller is working hard to lead our country in the right direction.

Brad Miller isn't my congressman but I'm very proud to have him representing my state. Maybe the right thing to do is to just ignore Vernon Robinson. I guess the way I look at it, Brad Miller is standing up for us in Washington so the least we can do is stand up for him when the shit is flying fast and furious from Vernon Robinson.

Join with me and let Brad Miller know that we're getting his back. Leave a comment or
leave a contribution. Thanks everyone!