Monday, September 9, 2019

Mike Thompson RIP

I was saddened to learn of the death of Mike Thompson. Mike passed away last night after a lengthy battle with cancer. Mike was the President of the Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy, an invaluable resource for us Virginia conservatives.

I have known Mike for at least 20 years. All day I was thinking when did I first meet Mike. I don’t know exactly. It could have been at literally hundreds of campaign events, or campaign victory parties, or at a fundraiser. I guess sometimes in life you meet people that you just feel that have known forever. And that is how felt about Mike.

I do remember in the late 90’s I would go down to Wakefield for the Shad Planking, a mecca for anyone interested in Virginia politics. A bus would leave from the right to work building in Springfield and Mike would usually go with us. I do remember election night parties watching the returns with Mike. Asking what he thought about a race. I’d ask Mike something like with “65 percent of the vote in we are up by 5 points.” Have we got this?” But the answer was usual the same. “That depends has all of Fairfax county come in yet?”

Mike was a fixture in conservative politics in Virginia and at any event over the last 20 years you could almost expect, indeed, look forward to running into Mike. Over the years Mike did a few interviews on my blog. I posted a number of his columns. And I sought his advice on a number of projects I was working on. He was always very generous with his help and guidance.

Mike had a historian’s knowledge of the conservative movement. He was involved in the Reagan campaigns and knew, or so it seemed to me, every detail of both Reagan campaigns in 1976 and 1980.
I have read numerous books on Reagan and always thought maybe one day I could stump Mike on a Reagan trivia question. A couple years ago I read Lou Cannon’s book on Reagans time as Governor of California. As Governor, Reagan appointed a young LA lawyer, Phil Battaglia to be his Chief of Staff. Well, to make a long story short, Battaglia was let go.

So, I thought well I bet I can stump Mike on this. No way he is going to remember who was Governor Reagan’s first chief of staff. I saw Mike and asked do you remember who Governor Reagan picked. Without missing a beat Mike said, “I met Phil Battaglia…”

Well, I didn’t stump him, and alas I never will. RIP Mike.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

The 22nd Amendment Was Not Anti-Roosevelt, It Was Pro-George Washington

There is a view, which I accept, that says conventional wisdom is usually wrong, if not overly simplistic. And as conventional wisdom is repeated and spread people tend to accept it uncritically as fact. It becomes as the left would say “settled science.” For example in the 20th century socialism was considered settled science. No need for any more debate.

In the world of political science there is the assertion that the 22nd amendment was ratified by angry Republicans as a rebuke to the memory of Franklin Roosevelt. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez took conventional wisdom one step further by claiming that it was ratified to prevent Franklin Roosevelt from being reelected. He died in 1945. The amendment wasn’t ratified until 1951.

The 22nd amendment limits the President to no more than two terms, or 10 years. There is a grandfather clause, so the amendment didn’t apply to the incumbent. Harry Truman was President therefore it didn’t apply to him. Conceivably he could have served 4 or more terms.

Rep. Cortez defenders admit that she may have got her facts wrong, excuse me misspoke, but they say essentially, she is correct. She was pointing out that Republicans were willing to change the Constitution for political gain, and that it was ratified as a “negative reaction to Roosevelt.”

In effect the 22nd amendment was perpetrated by mean Republicans motivated by hatred of Franklin Roosevelt.

Essentially that is the conventional wisdom that is taught in US history and government classes. I have heard this all my life. Is it true?


Our first President George Washington set the standard. A standard that the American people wanted codified in the constitution.

After his second term Washington decided that was enough, and he retired to his farm in Alexandria. It was an historic move. He could have been king, or President for life, but he walked away from power. The American republic was established!

And for over 100 years no President ran for a 3rd term out of respect for the Washington standard. Well, a very ambitious man named Franklin Roosevelt tried to establish a new standard, perhaps just for himself, but in 1940 he ran for a third term.

There was nothing in the constitution that prevented a President from seeking a third term. Probably because no one thought such an amendment was needed. Washington set a standard that no one thought would be broken. Who would claim to need a single term more than Washington?

Now, maybe it was good that Roosevelt was President for 4 terms. My doubts aside the American people returned him to power for 4 terms.

On one hand the American people loved Roosevelt. They had great faith in him. But on the other hand, the evidence is clear. The American people like term limits, especially for their chief executives. For example, 38 states have some form of a term limit on their governor. So, the idea that they wanted a term limit on the President makes sense. A Governor and President both have executive power.

In Virginia our Governor can not serve consecutive terms. I assumed most Virginians opposed this limit. Well, to my surprise a few years ago I saw a poll that showed Virginians supported this limit and didn’t support repeal. By the way, Virginia ratified the amendment in 1948.

In 1947 the House and Senate approved the 22nd amendment, with some support from Democrat members of both Houses. They then sent it off to the states for ratification.

By 1951 41 states ratified the amendment. New York, Roosevelt’s home state, ratified the amendment in 1948.
Despite what Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez may think amending the constitution is not an easy thing to do. It can’t be done on a straight party line vote.

As a presidential candidate Roosevelt never failed to carry New Jersey. Yet in 1947 the Garden state ratified the 22nd amendment. Were they making an anti-Roosevelt statement?


The 22nd amendment was not anti-Roosevelt, as conventional wisdom suggests, and the left asserts, rather it was a return to the Washington standard of a two term maximum. Despite their affection and respect for the late President, they preferred a term limit on the nation’s chief executive.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Not A Minor Gaffe

Recently I was talking politics with a political friend of mine, and the subject of perhaps the dumbest member of congress, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) came up. My friend optimistically claimed that she will be a font of laughs for years to come. Yes, an embarrassment perhaps, but he said “just for New York”.

He cited her post-election declaration that she couldn’t wait to be inaugurated so she could sign bills into law. She obviously has never read article I or II of the Constitution which gives the exclusive power to the President to sign bills into law.

Come to think of it he was referring to her claim that there are 3 chambers of government. You may say it was a simple mistake, she meant to say the 3 branches of government. No, I heard her explanation. She claimed that the 3 chambers of government consist of the House of Representatives, the Senate and the Executive branch.

Clearly, she could not pass a high school civics class. And one may conclude that Boston University, where she studied, is a bad university.

I do think she is will be great for laughs, but more importantly an excellent, living, breathing argument against “free" college. Imagine if you as a taxpayer had to pick up the tab for her college tuition.

But I think her ignorance of history and economics, and public policy is far more profound than people can imagine. Especially American history. An example from yesterday, she said:

“They had to amend the Constitution of the United States to make sure Roosevelt did not get re-elected.”

She doesn’t know that the President died in office in 1945, two years before the 22nd amendment was ratified? Does she think Wendell Wilkie was elected President in 1940, or Tom Dewey was elected in 1944?

Does she think Roosevelt retired to Warm Springs Georgia to write his memoirs? In his final years he became an elder statesman?

Maybe. Too bad there wasn’t a real journalist questioning her, I think she made the remarks on MSNBC. They could have asked her when she thought the 22nd amendment was ratified. Was it ratified before or after the attack on Pearl Harbor?

Her claim that Republicans “had to amend the Constitution of the United States to make sure Roosevelt did not get re-elected” is not a minor gaffe.

Is she so ignorant and cynical to believe that Republicans amended the Constitution to deny the commander and chief re-election in the middle of a two front war? That would be a major development in American history. We may not have won world war II.

Hitler may have concluded that if Roosevelt was term limited he could wait him out. Not declare war on the US and wait to deal with Dewey or Wilkie.

Imagine if Lincoln couldn’t run in 1864. The war would have had a different outcome. If Roosevelt couldn’t have run in 1940 or 1944 the world would look different today.

You see by the late 30’s Roosevelt knew we were headed for another world war. Through overt aid, lend lease, and covert aide, he was preparing the country for war. However, the public was not yet with him so he had to maintain the fiction that he “would not send our boys to fight in a foreign war.” All the while working within the law, and outside it, to aide Britain and Russia.

Of course, Franklin Roosevelt was not subject to a term limit. The world is a different place because of that fact. But Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez doesn’t know that.

If she claimed that President Rutherford B. Hayes was from Pennsylvania, when of course he was from Ohio, well that is a minor mistake, although she should know that.

However, to be under the impression that Franklin Roosevelt could not run for reelection because of the 22nd amendment is someone who is ignorant of basic American history.

And the other gaffe yesterday, she wondered why a croissant at the airport costs so much. Well, New York does have a 15-dollar minimum wage, but I doubt she would make the connection. After all she studied economics at Boston University.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Virginia Democrat Party in Disarray. I Say Blame Todd Gilbert

I have been following Virginia politics for a few decades now and this week is without a doubt the most bizarre week I have ever seen. All three elected statewide officials are in trouble, and I mean they may have to resign trouble. All are members of the Democrat party.

And who is to blame for their current predicament? I for one blame/credit Republican Delegate Todd Gilbert. A Republican from Shenandoah county.

It started last week, the last week of January. Democrat Delegate Kathy Tran sponsored a bill, HB 2491, which would remove virtually all restrictions on third trimester abortions. Planned Parenthood’s dream bill. Gee, I wonder if Planned Parenthood ever gave her money? If they haven't they probably will now.

In a subcommittee Delegate Todd Gilbert asked her if her Bill would allow an abortion seconds before delivery. Tran hemmed and hawed, and mumbled something about a valuable witness not being able to testify. But Gilbert persisted with his questions, and Tran admitted that yes, the baby could be killed right before delivery.

The video of the hearing went viral, so naturally it became the big story in Virginia and nationally.

Well, not to be out done, Governor Northam on Wednesday was asked about it on his radio show, which he must have known would come up. Oddly, Northam suggested that the bill was rather mild. And criticism of the bill was “blown out of proportion.”

Northam went one step further than Tran. He said that the baby could be aborted/killed after being born! One concession he did grant was that the baby should be made ‘comfortable’ as the adults in the room decide the fate. Thumbs up the baby is resuscitated, thumbs down it is death.

Well, rumor has it that one of Northam’s classmates from medical school was so outraged by Northam’s support for infanticide that he or she leaked to the press the school’s yearbook. In it, on Northam's page, is a racist photo of a man in a Klan hood and a man in blackface. Gee, I wonder how it got there.

By the end of the week Northam seemed to admit that yes he was in the photo. He wouldn’t say whether he was the guy in black face or the guy with the Klan hood on.

On Saturday Northam changed positions. He announced that after looking at the picture again, and discussing it with family and friends, and maybe some lawyers and political consultants, concluded that he was not in the photo.

However, he did acknowledge that he did once, while impersonating Michael Jackson, put shoe polish on his face. An act that is considered racially offensive. He added that he learned not to put too much shoe polish on his face because it is nearly impossible to get off. Experience is the best teacher.

That brings us to Justin Fairfax. He is the Lt. Governor of Virginia. Like Northam a Democrat, a rising star and someone that most Democrats would rather have as Governor. Fairfax, an African-American may even be politically to the left of Northam. So, Democrats called on Northam to resign. Makes good political sense. Get rid of the politically toxic Northam and get the rising star Fairfax.

No way said Northam. I don’t think you need to be a conspiracy theorist to believe that Northam dug up dirt on Fairfax. And guess what? A day later a story surfaced that Fairfax had attacked a woman in 2004. Fairfax denies the story.

That brings us to the third in line for the Governor’s mansion, Democrat Attorney General Mark Herring. Herring called for Northam to step down. Herring denounced Northam for appearing in a racist photo, an offensive that Herring believes(at least as of Monday) requires a resignation.

Well, what's that expression those that live in glass houses should not throw stones.

Yesterday, Herring admitted that like Northam he also engaged in a racist act. He too went in black face to imitate a rap artist. I wonder if Herring still believes that such an act requires a resignation from public office?

No doubt Northam’s allies spread the dirt on Herring. Maybe they even have pictures. I wonder if Northam had these pictures in the safe just in case they would be needed one day.

So, you see it all comes down to a series of questions posed by Todd Gilbert. The Titanic was brought down by an iceberg. At first it appeared to be just a scratch. But nearly two hours later the Titanic was underwater. For Virginia Democrats their iceberg has a shape, a form, it even has a name - Todd Gilbert.