Traditionally, nationalizing elections has been difficult, barred by apathy and inadequate technological means. This is a new era, however, and as gubernatorial victories in New Jersey and Virginia gave way to the election for New York’s 23rd congressional district, which in turn led to Scott Brown’s improbable triumph in Massachusetts, I’m genuinely beginning to wonder whether we may, in fact, be witnessing the beginning of a new political trend — a trend which has its foundation in the new social media and networking possibilities of the Internet.
Clearly, Barack Obama’s campaign seems to have introduced the ‘blueprint’ for some of these possibilities, to be sure; the multi-media nature of his campaign was, quite simply, a machine. But without the politics and policies of his presidency, who knows if the passion and vigor and renewed love for liberty would be there to begin with?
The recent and stunning nature of those recent victories for conservatism seems to be a sign of several things: individually, each of those elections can arguably be viewed as a referendum on the politics and policies of the Obama administration, but collectively for certain; the conservative giant that is the American culture is finally wide awake; and finally, and possibly more importantly, the elections for any and all seats in Washington, D.C and from every single state matter.
Scott Brown is Exhibit A, as the election of one, solitary politician from one of the smaller states in the Union had the effect of changing nearly the entire political and cultural landscape.
What I’ve come to realize is that the work done on many conservative blogs, including here at America’s Right, is potentially more significant than what it might initially seem to be. Already, largely because of pressure from ordinary, everyday folks like those who write and read Web sites like this one, we see a renewed focus by a previously apathetic GOP on finding and recruiting talented, conservative outsiders.
On a personal level, I’ve found both Twitter and Facebook to be extraordinarily helpful in spreading the word about potential conservative candidates around the country; indeed, as an honest person limited to a measly single vote (I have, however, applied for employment at ACORN, so I’m optimistic that my voting status may be upgraded in the not-too-distant future) in armpit-sized, Democratic Party- and union-controlled Rhode Island, I refuse to have my voice limited to a mere whimper in the context of four whole electoral votes.
For that reason, we should all aspire to become force multipliers, to raise the awareness of the citizens in specific states about the political outlook of genuinely conservative candidates when the time approaches for primaries and formal elections. During the course of the last two years, we’ve all witnessed the death of journalism and the media with regards to honest and objective reporting, and in a very real sense the real “news” has gone to the Internet.
Using the Internet, links to some of our best coverage of solid conservative candidates should be delivered en masse to the people in a given state or district. Barack Obama and the radical left in this country may have initially cornered the market on the scope of cyber-campaigning; now it’s time to try to turn his own infrastructure against him, as the conservative right has many, many excellent creative and political writers. Republicans already own Twitter. Now, we need to use that prowess and experience to wage an endless campaign of political coverage.
That being said, meet Laurence Verga. A candidate for Virginia’s 5th congressional district, Verga will be running in a GOP primary in June against Robert Hurt in what appears to be shaping up as a cutthroat campaign. Hurt has received the endorsement of Eric Cantor, the House’s second-ranking Republican, while Verga has received the endorsement of influential talk radio host Laura Ingraham, among others. My conversation with Mr. Verga took place on Thursday, January 28th.
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America’s Right: Mr. Verga, allow me to begin our discussion by thanking you for taking the time out of your busy campaign schedule for a discussion with America’s Right. We hope that as the election season heats up, you’ll feel free to utilize America’s Right as a resource to express your views and the key points of your platform, either as a guest writer or in additional interviews with any of our writers.
Laurence Verga: You’re quite welcome, and I may do just that.
AR: Let’s begin with a couple of basic background questions. Prior to your having entered the political arena, what have you been doing as a day job?
LV: I’m a real estate investor and run my own private real estate investment company.
AR: What motivated you to run for political office?
LV: Well, as I’ve pointed out, I’m a lifelong businessman, and I’ve never been a politician. I have, however, become very concerned about the direction of the Obama administration and the Democratic congress. After discussing the idea with my wife, I decided to run for office and to make a full-time dedication to my campaign. Together we decided that we would no longer outsource our jobs and that I would seek nomination.
AR: Let’s discuss your reaction to the President’s State-of-the-Union Address. Personally, I was somewhat taken aback at what I thought came across as a type of veiled arrogance. In trying to appease the many different political constituencies throughout his speech, he seemed unable to extricate himself from his radical left-wing views. Your thoughts?
LV: I felt much the same way. I think when we look back through history, he will be considered absolutely the worst president we’ve ever elected, easily exceeding Jimmy Carter in that regard.
AR: How do you feel about the specific politics and policies of the Obama administration to date?
LV: During a time when this country needs to create jobs by lowering taxes, and a time when banking institutions need to feel comfortable making loans in order to create business, President Obama has done everything he can to limit growth and to add to the unemployment and misery of this country. He is exceptionally weak with regard to national security, he’s too concerned with appeasing foreign countries, George Soros, and the concept of political correctness, and he doesn’t seem to understand that there’s a global jihad being waged against us. He simply does not seem to understand the danger that we face. The incident with the underwear bomber on Christmas Day is a perfect example — no one in this administration is taking any responsibility with regard to the amount of time that we were allowed to interrogate this man. In short, President Obama has already failed in his approach to the two most important issues on his plate: growing the American economy and keeping the people safe.
AR: Most conservative Americans are very concerned about the potential effects of President Obama’s three “signature” pieces of legislation that constitute the foundation of his agenda: health care, cap & trade, and immigration reform. Let’s take health care first. How do you feel about what has been coming out of Washington, and do you feel that it will ultimately pass?
LV: There’s no question that the radical left in this country would like nothing better than to model our health care system on that of either Canada or Cuba. Doing so would destroy the greatest health care system in the world and would, in the end, make care less accessible to people rather than what the far left would have you believe. Further, as a result of President Obama’s anti-business and anti-motivation policies, we won’t even have the technological growth to maintain our status as the best health care system in the world. This is a two-trillion-dollar bill that is going to cost the American people $1.1 trillion dollars in new taxes, and that’s not including the fact that it’s going to cut another $500 billion from Medicare. The government itself has said that this bill will add another $4,000 per year to an individual health care plan. In the end, this bill is little more than another big tax that’s being imposed on the people.
I’m hopeful that the bill will not get through, and there are a number of reasons to believe that it won’t. First and most importantly, we’ve already witnessed the force of the will of the American people, who’ve plainly said “NO” to this bill. If the Democratic members of our legislature are reckless enough to find a way to get this through, I’m fairly confident that it is unconstitutional and that the Supreme Court will, in the end, rule as such. What everyone has to remember is that many of the members of Congress are quite mercenary and will not want to face the music when they return to their constituents.
AR: How do you feel about the proposed plan of President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid to pass the Senate version through the House and to use the ‘nuclear option’ to re-pass it with progressive-friendly adjustments?
LV: Again, when you’re speaking of these three people, nothing would shock me. I have to believe, though, that they would not be that suicidal with their own careers, as well as those of their colleagues.
AR: One of the ideas that concerns many Americans is that, should this bill pass and eventually be challenged on constitutional grounds in Supreme Court, the political left will have had enough time to put in place the enlarged medical infrastructure that would be necessary. In the end, therefore, even if it is ruled unconstitutional, the entitlements that go with it will already have become part of our society and will be very difficult to reverse.
LV: That is, without question, a valid concern. That’s why people need to realize that November 2010 is arguably the most important time in recent American history for them to elect as many common-sense conservatives – not just Republicans – to Congress as possible.
AR: What impact do you feel a cap & trade bill will have on our economy and society?
LV: Well, there’s no doubt that “green” is the new “red.” When the Berlin Wall fell in the late 1980’s, the global radical left had to find other means as cover for their goals. One of their better efforts has been the environmentalist movement. People need to realize that there is no proof that carbon dioxide emissions are destroying the environment and that a cap & trade bill will hand to the government complete control of energy production. They will end up having control over how Americans use energy in their homes and at work. This is not energy independence; it will, in fact, take us further and further from it. True energy independence is doing everything we can to develop our own natural resources. I honestly don’t know how much traction the government has left for this bill.
AR: This Democratic Congress also would like to pass some type of comprehensive amnesty bill and to reform our immigration policies altogether. Your reactions?
LV: There’s no doubt that part of the left’s game plan is to create nearly an entirely new voter block through a combination of a universal health care package and some type of amnesty bill. Honestly, any attempt to push a plan like this through will probably be political suicide. Americans want to know who is in the country. The Democrats talk about a fair day’s pay for a day’s work, but simple logic and math tell you that by allowing a flood of undocumented workers into the country, you’re going to drive down the wages of the American worker. On the campaign trail in the 5th District, one of the most persistent topics addressed by the citizens pertains to illegal immigration. People have told me that they want to see the wall completed. In fact, we now have the “E-Verify” program, which is a fast, easy way that the government can verify documentation. Admittedly this is not necessarily a conservative concept, but if illegals do not get the jobs for which they were looking, then ultimately, they will not come.
Basically, Americans need to stand up to our ally and business partner, Mexico, and to tell them in no uncertain terms to stop allowing their people to come across the border. We have to stop worrying about political correctness and to realize that a sizeable portion of the leftist agenda in this country is to get as many illegals onto the health care rolls as possible. Right now, our government needs fewer politicians and more people who possess everyday common sense.
AR: Approximately one year ago, President Obama signed into law the stimulus package in an attempt to kick-start the economy. Has it been successful or unsuccessful?
LV: I was completely against the stimulus package. All the stimulus did was to take money out of the pockets of the American people and to increase the staggering magnitude of our debt. It was nothing more than a payback for Obama donors. As I’ve already pointed out, the only way to put Americans back to work is by creating jobs through reduced taxes. The current administration has done nothing in this regard aside from a few gimmicks.
75 percent of American jobs come from our small businesses. Our goal should be to create an economic climate that encourages and allows them to feel confident investing capital in employees and equipment. Our small business owners need to be assured that these tax cuts are permanent, so that they will be able to see where their businesses will be several years down the road, not merely in the here and now.
The stimulus package was a failure, and honestly, that is by this administration’s own admission. They promised that their economic polices would not result in unemployment greater than 8 percent, but it’s now slightly better than 10 percent. Further, any economist who is truly versed in the field knows that real unemployment is 17.5 percent, which is simply unacceptable for this country. One woman that I spoke to in District 5 was aghast at President Obama’s contention that he was going to give tax breaks to small business owners so that they could hire employees. Her response to me was that because of our debt and no one spending money, she still has no money to invest.
I’d like to go on record as saying that I don’t feel that President Obama could operate a small espresso stand on a neighborhood corner. Anyone who knows anything about business knows that in order to truly get this economy moving again, four things need to happen: the corporate business tax must be reduced, as it is the highest in the world, even higher than China’s; taxes on small businesses must be reduced; the capital gains tax should be abolished forever; and, finally, the estate tax must be abolished, as this is actually a cover for another tax on small business, since many of these businesses are passed on through family generations.
AR: With all of this in mind, what were your larger reactions to President Obama’s State-of-the Union Address?
LV: President Obama used the opportunity to try to make up personal political ground as a result of the Democrats’ failure to pass health care reform. The combination of the Republican victories in Virgina, New Jersey, and Massachusetts forced his hand in this regard. Unfortunately for him, it is most likely too little, too late. He and this Congress have spent a frightful amount of money, and now that he claims that he wants to put limits on federal spending, it’s not nearly enough.
Typically, when the President is faced with economic issues that can’t be spun to his favor, he resorts to blaming the previous administration. Look, I don’t agree with everything that Bush did by a long shot. The previous administration’s faults are what landed us with president Obama in the first place. The Republican Party itself needs to be reformed. Hopefully, Americans are beginning to realize that two wrongs don’t make a right.
During the speech, he tried to appeal to the center as he did during his campaign, but the truth is that he’s added to our economic problems for generations to come. Apparently, we’re now seeing that the American people are done believing it. His policies are not working, and families can see this by looking at their dinner tables each night. Now, we have to hope for real change in the 2010 mid-term elections.
AR: So, you believe, then, that the results in Virginia, New Jersey, and Massachusetts were referendums on President Obama?
LV: Without a doubt. Bob McDonnell, the newly-installed Republican Governor of Virginia, carried 61.4 percent of the vote in District 5, which is overwhelming. Not only did we take the Governor’s seat in Virginia but we also took the Lt. Governor’s and Attorney General’s seats as well, and by huge margins. It was a clean sweep. People are clearly hungry for solid, conservative leadership.
AR: Considering that hunger for conservatism, explain your feelings about the Tea Party movement and what it says about where America is at this time.
LV: Let me begin by first saying that I have received the endorsement of the chairman of the Jefferson Area Tea Party, which is the largest Tea Party organization in the 5th District. I also participated in the 9/12 March on Washington. The passion of the crowd was unbelievable.
The Tea Party movement that is sweeping the country is a wonderful example of the real change that the American people want. They no longer want to see business as usual, and they no longer merely want to go along to get along. They want to see citizen legislators, people who are actually representing their interests, and not just people who are looking for a career in politics.
It’s extremely important for the establishment of the Republican Party to realize that they cannot continue to function believing that they’re going to win elections without fundamentally altering their political and philosophical outlook. In all honesty, the Republicans are frightened of the Tea Party. It’s been their outlook of the recent past that they want to maintain the area in the middle of the road with regard to their politicians and appeal to middle-of-the-road voters. This is a recipe for disaster. By doing this, they cannot really achieve anything. We cannot have any more Olympia Snowe types. Our current situation is reflective of the many years of Republican-controlled administrations and Congresses who did the wrong things, and that is why we have President Obama. The country needs real, core-conservative leaders.
AR: Before we wrap up the interview, are there any issues specific to Virginia 5 that you’d like to discuss?
LV: The most important issue in Virginia 5 is the same as that in America as a whole: unemployment and a bad economy. In the Virginia 5 race, I am the only candidate with a specific job plan, which is founded on four bold tax cuts: reduction of the corporate tax rate and the small business tax rate, and abolishing the capital gains and death taxes. Implementing a plan such as this will immediately put people back to work. Unemployment in Virginia 5 is 16 percent, which is something that should never, ever take place in America.
AR: Thank you for spending time with America’s Right, Mr. Verga, good luck with your campaign, and we hope to hear good things from you in the future.
LV: My pleasure, and thank you very much.
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Learn more about Laurence Verga, Republican Party candidate for Virginia’s 5th congressional district, at his Web page: Laurence Verga For Congress