Cross posted from Blue Virginia, where I'll be live blogging all afternoon...
I'm not sure how much of this I can stand, although on one level I suppose that circus freak shows can be entertaining. I guess three-headed dogs, bearded ladies, etc. are simply not my cup of tea. But that's what we've essentially got going on today in Richmond today - the political equivalent of a circus freak show, but with potentially dire consequences for Virginia instead of relatively innocent fun. If you want to follow along, the John Fredericks Show has an audio stream going (Fredericks is a total right wingnut, and his co-host is a notorious climate science denier, but unfortunately I don't believe there's any other game in town if you want to listen to the convention). Currently the RPV is playing "Superstition," which somehow seems appropriate for this anti-science and anti-rationality crowd). You can also follow the Twitter feeds of Ben Tribbett, who's there today covering it (and commenting on John Fredericks' show), Washington Post reporter Ben Pershing, Washington Times reporter David Sherfinski, Virginian Pilot reporter Julian Walker, WAMU reporter Michael Pope, Chelyen Davis of the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, DGA Communications Director Danny Kanner, Julie Carey of NBC4, as well as by checking out the Twitter hash tag #RPV2013. Enjoy! (or more likely, not)
UPDATE 1:03 pm: Ben Tribbett tweets, "Lots of E.W. Jackson cheers when he spoke. Much of the signs in small delegations with high weighted votes- he could be early frontrunner."
UPDATE 12:56 pm: John Fredericks says EW Jackson speech was the best, and I definitely agree (although it was insane, it was powerful), but also that he's far too extreme to get elected. Fredericks and Leahy are panning Pete Snyder's speech as stiff, ineffective. Jeannemarie's not very good either. Susan Stimpson? Fredericks and Leahy say she was "not particularly riveting," video "kind of flat," took "swings against the GOP establishment." John Fredericks said Scott Lingamfelter's speech was interesting, effective, compared it to EW Jackson's but not as extreme. Fredericks: "That speech gets him beyond the first ballot." As for Corey Stewart, he sounded embattled, "uncomfortable," "something off," "something missing" in his speech..."no there there."
UPDATE 12:48 pm: Steve Martin now speaking, talks about protection of Christian prayer under the 1st amendment and "whatever armaments are necessary" under 2nd amendment. "Liberty comes from God." Zzzzz. Frankly, the only questions for Martin are how few votes he'll get in the first round, and what he'll do the rest of the day after he's eliminated. Wow, this is a boring speech, and to make matters worse, Martin's voice keeps breaking/squeaking. Audience very quiet...then his mic got cut off at the end. #FAIL
UPDATE 12:39 pm: And now xenophobe and tinfoil-hat Bircher Corey Stewart. Steve Contorno tweets, "And here comes Corey Stewart...or is it Job? The Final Countdown is blasting. Good timing." Stewart says, basically, he doesn't "back down," cites his crackdown on "illegal immigration," says he was labeled a "racist" and a "bigot" (uh...yeah). Touts endorsement by 30 Tea Party groups. That's something to brag about? In THIS crowd, yeah. "I've been accused of virtually everything...no, I was not on the grassy knoll." Says he's fiscally responsible, hasn't raised the average tax bill in Prince William County. Mocks the concept of compromising right-wing principles to broaden our base. "THEY ARE WRONG!" Now making the electability argument in a county that's "majority minority" and went for Barack Obama twice.
UPDATE 12:33 pm: Now, Susan Stimpson. I don't envy her having to follow that incredible (albeit insane!) speech by E.W. Jackson. Attacks Virginia Republicans, implicitly including her supposed ally Bill Howell, raising taxes this year and "opening the door to Obamacare." Wow. Says she's "governed conservatively" in Stafford County, abolished BPOL, "cut our own pay by 25%." Says she's the only candidate in the race who has never raised taxes. "You CAN limit government, it's working in Stafford." She calls on the Virgnia Republican Party to welcome the Ron Paul liberty movement.
UPDATE 12:31 pm: John Fredericks note that the convention is 99% white, mostly older, that if they come out with a Cuccinelli/Jackson ticket, Republicans won't get more than 38% of the vote in November. "If you want to nominate the most extreme, right-wing candidate...it's not going to play."
UPDATE 12:23 pm: Now, Bishop E.W. Jackson, who John Fredericks calls the "far-right-wing candidate." As opposed to all the other candidates? What on earth? Jackson begins, "Fellow patriots...[running] to make sure Virginia remains sovereign and free!" "My mother's name is even Virginia." "Get the government off our backs, off our property, off our guns, out of our families, out of our health care!" (now THAT riled the crowd up) "We don't need the government's permission" to...basically do anything. Alrighty. Can we say "straw man?" "We stand up for the free market." "We stand up for the lives of unborn children, because there is no liberty without freedom." "We stand up for the traditional freedom, because there is no liberty when government tries to violate our conscience." "...there is no liberty where children are indoctrinated instead of educated." "I am NOT an African American, I am an AMERICAN!" Look, the guy's completely bonkers, but he is an extremely dynamic and effective speaker, no doubt.
UPDATE 12:17 pm: Now, it's Jeannemarie Davis time. I can't imagine she has any shot at this, given her liberal/moderate Republican past at this hard-right convention, but we'll see. My guess is that she could be out after round #1. Davis: "I've had it with losing elections." Ben Tribbett tweets, "Was told by a Republican activist that Jeannemarie's candidacy was 'going over like an abortion doctor at pro-life rally'." Davis talking about Benghazi, IRS...what does any of this have to do with Virginia? Nothing, of course. She also goes for the "Democrat Party" nomenclature, further embarrassing herself as she sells out her entire past as a sane, liberal/moderate Republican. It's really sad. Bottom line, she's making the electability argument. The crowd is verrrry quiet.
UPDATE 12:07 pm: Convicted felon Oliver North introduces slimeball, professional Big Liar, and LOSER (in last year's election's as head of the ironically named "Virginia Victory 2012") Pete Snyder. Video touts that Snyder founded New Media Strategies, is a "contributor to Fox News," and has "strong, conservative principles" (natch). Snyder SHOUTING, calls for (wait for it) "lower taxes," "limited government," no infringements on "Second Amendment rights," "stand up for innocent life," "faith and family front and center," etc, etc. Snyder sounds like a boxing prize fight announcer, SPEAKING IN ALL CAPS! Claims he's the only proven "job creator." Whatever, this was lame. Bad, bad speech.
UPDATE 12:02 pm: Now that Cooch has spoken, for whatever reason the audio and video feeds seems to have died. #FAIL yet again. I'll update for now based on reporters' Twitter feeds. Starting with: "@chelyendavis Starting the first of seven LG speeches. Lingamfelter first, intro'd by fmr congressman Allen West." Also from Chelyen Davis: Scott Lingamfelter says, "Some people say our party must moderate. I say we stand by our conservative values.” Lingamfelter: "Ride to the sound of the guns." WTF? This guy sounds utterly unhinged.
UPDATE 11:48 am: Steve Contorno tweets, "Cuccinelli wraps it up. He has this crowd united...and now they will all be divided as they hear from 9 candidates for AG/LG"
UPDATE 11:37 am: Ha, this is REALLY laughable. Cuccinelli claims he's going to fight to do something about traffic congestion, after he OPPOSED Gov. McDonnell's historic, bipartisan transportation bill this year! Wow, this guy's certainly got chutzpah. Of course, Cuccinelli wants to get government out of the way, so his friends the polluters and other bad actors can rum amok. One thing I agree with Cuccinelli on: Virginians truly DO face a stark choice this November: lurch backwards or move forward, as we did under Governors Warner and Kaine? Hmmmm. Do we want a governor who will "say anything...to get elected?" No, we don't, which is why we're not supporting Ken Cuccinelli! Interesting how Cuccinelli suddenly wants to debate, after Terry McAuliffe accepted debates weeks ago. Steve Contorno tweets, "Cuccinelli criticizes green energy initiatives as 'a fad-driven energy policy that leaves Southwest Virginia behind.'" Yep, he's a Koch brothers/coal companies tool. By the way, just saying words like "freedom," "liberty" and "opportunity" doesn't mean anything if your actual policies would restrict all those things.
UPDATE 11:27 am: Danny Kanner tweets, "Cuccinelli's GOP RT @FigDrewton: There's a guy walking around #rpv2013 with an AR-15 because that's totally normal and not ridiculous." Steve Contorno tweets, "Cuccinelli goes right after McAuliffe: 'We should be trying to create those jobs right here in Virginia. Not in Mississippi or in China.'" Predictable. David Sherfinski tweets, "Cuccinelli: 'We should encourage a deep and abiding respect for all human life.'" Attacks Terry McAuliffe for supposedly "abandoning" Virginia for Mississippi. Brags about challenging Obamacare, fails to note that his case was tossed out of court. Now lying about the EPA supposedly treating "rain water like a pollutant." Note that Cuccinelli keeps referring to the "Democrat Party." Totally juvenile, idiotic, no class whatsoever, definitely not governor of Virginia material. Now he's claiming he's doesn't just talk about "good governance," failing to mention Star Scientific scandal and his other corruption. He jokes that he can't be "too conservative" because he hasn't "been audited by the IRS." Hahahaha. Not. Says opponents will claim he's "extreme" and "radical." Yeah, the truth hurts. But seriously, Kookinelli's going to seriously argue that he's not an extremist? Here are 25 examples of Cuccinelli's extremism just off the top of my head.
UPDATE 11:23 am: Climate science denier, LGBT basher, etc. Ken Cuccinelli is now speaking. Oh joy. He jokes, "Having won in a recount, this was a lot more comfortable." Yeah, of course it was - you staged a coup to change the GOP nomination method from a primary to a convention, where your far-right-wing supporters would dominate! Anyway, for what it's worth, he just accepted the nomination. Shocker.
UPDATE 11:12 am: Steve Contorno tweets, "Long intro video before Cuccinelli speech focusing on kitchen table issues and combating anti-woman image." Good luck with that! Now, Ken's wife Teiro is speaking. Steve Contorno notes, " She's become a big face of the campaign, starring in first TV ad." According to Contorno, Teiro Cuccinelli says, "Our next governor should be someone that respects and values human life at every stage." Translation: ban abortion, many forms of contraception, and embryonic stem cell research. #FAIL
UPDATE 11:00 am: Bobby Jindal now (predictably) ripping into Terry McAuliffe as...wait for it..."liberal!" Well, ain't that original (also not really true; Terry's pretty much a moderate, Bill Clinton-style Democrat). He's also attacking McAuliffe's business credentials, because you know how much Republicans respect entrepreneurs (snark). Irony alert: Big Liar Bobby Jindal claiming Terry McAuliffe "just doesn't tell the truth." Uh huh. Jindal claims Cuccinelli has the "courage of his convictions"; translation, "he's an extreme ideologue who won't compromise or get anything done unless it's HIS way, 100%." #FAIL
UPDATE 10:51 am: Julie Carey reports, "And the nomination is official. @KenCuccinelli nominated by acclamation for GOP Governor candidate." Also, Bobby Jindal is giving a nasty little speech now, lie after lie, slamming "Obamacare," taking a completely unfair and inaccurate shot at Hillary Clinton, etc, etc. (Jindal apparently thought this line was funny: "By agreeing to be here, every one of you has just signed up for an audit by the IRS." Hahahaha) Jindal now engaging in demagoguery, distortion and scandal-mongering on the IRS situation, obviously trying to rile up the Teahadists in attendance. It's truly appalling; this party has absolutely ZERO positive agenda, just hatred and contempt for government. Which raises the question: why would we elect these people to run the government they despise so much?
UPDATE 10:48 am: Ben Tribbett reports: "Convention got started late because of a lack of convention doors open. Chairman Pat Mullins wanted to open all the doors himself and a Richmond Police Officer threatened him with arrest if he did. 45 minutes after convention was supposed to get started, still about 4,000 seats are empty."
UPDATE 10:41 am: Not surprisingly, being who these people are, they're fighting about whether people with "concealed carry" permits can do so in the convention center.
UPDATE 10:35 am: They just recited the Pledge of Allegiance, and are now singing the national anthem. Danny Kanner reports that he ran into Eric Cantor and former Congressman (but still totally nuts) Allen West. Check out Kanner's photo at the far right (appropriately enough).
UPDATE 10:29 am: Ben Pershing reports that "@KenCuccinelli will vote for @MarkObenshain to succeed him as VA AG." That should seal the deal for Obenshain, if it wasn't already sealed. In other news, the convention's running 1/2 hour late so far; the Republicans are, as usual, blaming someone else, in this case the Richmond Convention Center for not having enough doors.