Randy Forbes: Dems Playing into Partisan Spectacle by Boycotting Partisan Spectacle

Randy Forbes released the following statement:

At a time when our allies across the globe continue to have questions about this Administration’s commitment and competency, the United States’ support for Israel should be unwavering. Instead, we see the White House prioritizing risky negotiations with a nuclear obsessed Iran over the concerns of a trusted ally, and Democratic Members of Congress playing into a partisan spectacle rather than respecting the longstanding relationship between our two countries. To allow the American commitment to the nation of Israel to be thus called into question is not only shortsighted, it is detrimental to security and U.S. interests in the region.

Forbes makes a pretty bold statement as he conflates our friendship of Israel with our trust in Bibi Netanyahu. We now know he lied about Iran’s nuclear capabilities in 2012, when he used a stupid picture of a cartoon bomb to exaggerate how close Iran was to being a nuclear power. A leaked Mossad document shows that Netanyahu’s lies contradicted information held by his nation’s own intelligence agency. But of course Republicans support lying about military data in order to start wars, so I guess Netanyahu’s lies only bolster Republican’s affection for him.

It’s also a pretty bold statement about allies across the globe having questions about this administration’s commitment and competency. It was George Bush, after all, who invaded Iraq under false pretenses and squandered the international support we had gained after the September 11th attacks that he failed to protect us from. Obama actually raised international support back up from Bush’s low. Peter Beinart’s article in the Atlantic pointed to a Pew Research report (which has since been updated) that shows us that international attitudes towards the U.S. are positive, and much better than they were when Obama took office.

America’s image began to rally in some nations and to soar by the end of the decade following the election of Barack Obama, at least in Europe and parts of Asia and Latin America. After slipping a bit again in the first years of this decade, brand U.S. has stabilized and even recovered in a few nations in 2014.

So where are all those allies questioning this administration’s commitment and competency?

The biggest decline in ratings for the U.S. is in Russia, where 71% now hold an unfavorable opinion.

Of course, Russia’s not an ally, but the way Republicans have been fawning over Putin lately, maybe Forbes is a little confused.

Pretty bold of Forbes to call into question Obama’s commitment to our national security, since he just voted ‘No’ to even a one week stop-gap measure to fund the Department of Homeland Security.

Pretty bold to talk about the concerns of an ally when even Israeli’s are questioning the wisdom of his visit and about 200 members of Israeli’s security community have voiced their opposition to it.

It’s pretty bold to talk about partisan spectacles considering what a partisan spectacle it was for the Speaker of the House to breach protocol and Constitutional law by inviting a foreign leader into our Congress without notifying our President.

Considering all of those facts, it’s not just bold, it’s bizarre to suggest that it’s un-American to boycott the inappropriate appearance in our nation’s Congress of a foreign leader who has lied to us to influence our diplomatic and military strategies, and is risking the security of our nation and his own in a desperate attempt to shore up his slipping popularity just before an election. But then, lying and risking national security to bolster their popularity is what Republicans do, so I guess Randy Forbes is just towing the Republican line.

Randy Forbes won’t debate. Virginian-Pilot won’t endorse.

Sixteen of the eighteen paragraphs of the Virginian-Pilot’s editorial, “4th District needs better choices”, are a succinct description of why Randy Forbes has not been good for Virginia. It basically says that Randy Forbes does little other than sponsor divisive and unproductive legislation.

Forbes has instead wasted his time in Congress on inconsequential and unnecessarily divisive issues (does Congress need to inform Americans about the role of prayer?) that appeal to a narrow band of the electorate.

Which is all he needs to get re-elected.

But the editorial makes a strange turn as it seems to reach for a justification of its own title.

Elliott Fausz, a newspaperman from Chester, is almost certain to become the latest victim. The Democrat, running for the first time, is genial enough, but his inexperience shows. He has been unable to persuade Forbes to even join him for a debate.

Somehow, the fact that Randy Forbes refuses to debate is Elliott Fausz’s fault.

We do have better choices. I have participated in three campaigns for better choices than Randy Forbes, in which he refused to debate and the Virginian-Pilot failed to endorse his opponent. We had a better choice when Forbes was challenged by an Army doctor and successful entrepreneur. We had a better choice when Forbes was challenged by a teacher, school administrator, and experienced councilwoman. And we now have a better choice as Randy Forbes is being challenged by a smart, young newspaper and business man with fresh ideas. We don’t lack better choices. We lack better endorsements.

At least this time the Virginian Pilot has recognized the silliness of endorsing Randy Forbes, but it is still on the path to curing itself of whatever illness prevents it from endorsing whoever opposes him. The 4th district has about two weeks to show even more progress.

Forbes Repeats Right Wing Lie about Bergdahl Swap

Congressman Randy Forbes sent out an email which contained this blatant lie:

The Administration’s action violates a long-held principle that our government will not enter into negotiations with a terrorist organization.

I was a little disappointed. Forbes’s dishonesty is usually a bit more nuanced. He’ll often hide misleading innuendo in half-truths or push polls. He could have just said, “We don’t negotiate with terrorists” and let it be understood that he’s accusing Obama of doing so.

But perhaps after reading the comments on his blog post about the swap, he realized that most of his supporters are so ill informed, so hateful, and so ready to soak up any nonsense that justifies their world view and their hatred of Obama, that Mr. Forbes felt it would be a waste of time to craft a technically true statement or to disguise his innuendo in the form of a question. He can just lie.

It’s a lie because the Taliban, despite being a hateful enemy, is not a terrorist organization. Not everyone we hate is a terrorist, although the right wing has been confused about that for over a decade. The difference is significant. The Taliban did not storm a non-combat zone and carry people away at gunpoint. They caught an American soldier, and instead of shooting him they held him as a prisoner. If we’re going to encourage that kind of behavior, then good, because the alternative is murder.

I am not discounting the heinous crimes against humanity committed by the Taliban, and I’m not discounting the Taliban’s treatment of Bergdahl while he was in captivity. The Taliban are disgusting, murderous bigots. I am only stating that Bergdahl’s capture was an act of war, not an act of terror. And that fact makes a lie out of all the talk about how this prisoner exchange will set any kind of dangerous precedent.

It’s a dangerous lie that Republicans are telling now. And Randy Forbes, as usual but without his usual craftiness, is helping to perpetuate it. It’s way past time for a change in Virginia’s 4th District.

Randy Forbes the Visionary

All this rancor about sequestration is all for naught because Randy Forbes has a solution: “Hey guys, how about Republicans take whatever they want and let Democrats eat shit?”

Wow, Randy. Nobody ever thought of that. Sure glad we have you and your win-win attitude.

I have an idea, too. Why don’t Republicans stop giving lip service about how important they think the military is and prove that they’re willing to sacrifice for it. As far as I can tell, Republicans will do nothing to stop the sequestration because they get political points for blaming it on Democrats. But the sequestration had plenty of Republican support. In fact, it had better support among Republicans than among Democrats. Even Paul Ryan pushed for it.

The reason sequestration is looming is it gives Republicans what they want. Not that Republicans want to gut the military, they just want to gut social programs to prevent the wealthy from paying higher taxes. And they can accept the devastation that sequestration will bring as long as they can blame it on Democrats.

Democrats, on the other hand, aren’t nearly as hostile to the military as Republicans claim they are. Democrats shrink from accusations of not supporting the military while Republicans boast about cutting social programs. Democrats do want to cut wasteful spending on pork-barrel programs that don’t actually strengthen the military, but they support the military with far greater force than Republicans support economic safety nets, infrastructure, or public education.

The asymmetry of sequestration is that social programs are on the chopping block because Republicans want them to be cut, but military spending is on the chopping block because they were supposed to be so unpalatable that they would force Republicans to negotiate.

But it turns out that taxes on the wealthy are more unpalatable for Republicans than cuts to the military. Republicans aren’t willing to honestly negotiate for what they claim is so important to them. The best they can do is Randy Forbes’s visionary proposal to let Democrats make all of the sacrifices.

The next time a Republican politician talks about supporting the troops, remember how Republicans would rather leave the military on the chopping block than negotiate to save it.

From a recent Forbes email:

Working to Prevent Sequestration and Protect Our Military

With sequestration just days away, Congressman Forbes continued in his efforts strongly opposing these arbitrary cuts and protecting our nation’s armed forces. Congressman Forbes voted against the Budget Control Act, which set up the process of sequestration, and has been warning against the devastating nature of these cuts ever since.

Introduced a bill to protect defense from sequestration. Congressman Forbes introduced a bill, H.R.773, to remove the Department of Defense from sequestration. Under sequestration, defense spending will be disproportionately cut, absorbing 50% of the cuts. Spending cuts of this magnitude will not only cripple the economy, but will decimate the military. This bill would reduce the amount of the sequester to $600 billion.

Joined bipartisan, bicameral letter on impact of sequestration in Virginia. Congressman Forbes joined Senators Warner and Kaine and Congressmen Wittman, Rigell, Wolf, Scott, Moran and Connolly in writing a letter to President Obama and congressional leaders to express concern about the disproportionate damage sequestration will have on Virginia. Members of the Virginia delegation urged both parties to work cooperatively to end the threat of sequestration. Due to Virginia’s contribution to national defense, the letter notes that over 207,000 Virginia jobs may be lost as a result of sequestration should Congress and the President fail to act.

Urged protection of vital defense programs. Congressman Forbes and Congressman Rob Wittman sent a letter to the House Appropriations Committee urging that vital defense programs remain fully funded in the face of looming defense cuts. Among the programs cited as essential to national security were the continued modernization and maintenance of the Navy’s Fleet; completion of refueling and overhauls for the aircraft carriers Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln; construction of a new aircraft carrier, USS John F. Kennedy; and ensuring the procurement of additional Virginia-class submarines and Arleigh Burke-class destroyers. Congressman Forbes is determined to prevent possible defense budget cuts from degrading critical U.S. military capabilities and inflicting unnecessary economic damage on our struggling economy.

Met with senior leaders of the Department of Defense. Congressman Forbes met with senior military officers and Pentagon civilian officials to discuss the potential consequences of sequestration and another Continuing Resolution (CR) on U.S. national security. Among those whom the Congressman has met in recent weeks are Assistant Secretary of the Navy Sean Stackley, the Navy’s senior shipbuilding official; Lt. Gen. Charles Davis, the Air Force’s senior uniformed acquisition official; Lt. Gen. Richard Mills, the Deputy Commandant of the Marine Corps; and Lt. Gen. Burton Field, Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff. The Congressman will continue his consultations with the Pentagon’s senior leadership in the coming weeks as he works to prevent and mitigate the damage of sequestration to our national security.

Questioned the Joint Chiefs of Staff on DoD’s failure to plan for sequestration: During a House Armed Services Committee hearing, Congressman Forbes questioned the Joint Chiefs of Staff and senior civilian officials as to why the Defense Department has waited until recently to publicly explain the impact of sequestration. Congressman Forbes expressed his concern that the DoD has not adequately informed Congress and the public about sequestration’s potential damage to our economy and security. The Congressman will continue to use his leadership position on the House Armed Services Committee to demand accountability from our senior military leadership on issues affecting the national security of the United States.

Delayed implementation of health care law to prevent sequestration. Congressman Forbes cosponsored a bill, H.R.607, to delay all provisions of the health care law that are set to take effect in 2014 and 2015 until January 1, 2016, and then use those savings to replace sequestration for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2013. Not only does this measure stop the destructive effects of these cuts, it gives the Administration time to prepare for the many new provisions of the health care law.

Next Time, Bring the House

In Virginia’s 4th District, the votes for Obama, Kaine, and Ward were respectively 21,2091, 21,6638, 14,9798, and the votes for Romney, Allen, Forbes were respectively 22,9422, 22,3837, 19,9032, according to calculations I made based on numbers from the Virginia Board of Elections .

The counts for presidential votes were very close to the counts for senatorial votes. The count for each house candidate was much lower, but incumbent Randy Forbes received about 87 percent of the Romney vote, while Ella Ward received closer to 71 percent of the Obama votes*. It seems like a lot of Virginia’s 4th district voters who voted for Obama also voted for Tim Kaine, but failed to vote for Ella Ward.

I make two conclusions. First, this election wasn’t just about race. Second, getting the word out about house races is extremely important. I’m certain that people who voted for Obama and Kaine but not Ward didn’t know who Ella Ward was. Randy Forbes significantly outspent Ella Ward because of his big money supporters, and he had the power of incumbency.

Perhaps I’m in no position to second guess the president’s or Tim Kaine’s successful campaigns, but while volunteering for OFA, I handed out a lot of literature about Obama and Kaine, and nothing about Obama, Kaine, and Ward together. It was a prevailing myth among OFA coordinators that people who vote for Obama will vote down the line, and that it wasn’t worth the effort to tailor the call scripts and the literature for each congressional district. Volunteers were instructed to put in a good word for Dr. Ward, but it wasn’t in writing.

It’s understandably more difficult to find a photo of each house candidate and more expensive to place a photo on the literature that includes photos of Obama, Biden, and Tim Kaine. But we handed out literature customized with information about voting locations. That literature should also have included information about Ella Ward, even without a photo.

I don’t how much Obama-Kaine-[Other Congressional Candidate] literature was distributed throughout the state, and since Obama and Kaine both lost the 4th, it’s possible that house candidates in more hopeful districts received more support from OFA and TK4VA than Ella Ward did. But I do know that the House of Representatives didn’t change very much this time, and I think a little bit of ink would have gone a long way to giving the president a Congress he can work with.

*Quick update (at Nov 9th 19:00): The Virginia Board of Elections just updated their website with absentee ballots. Ella Ward took Suffolk! She was behind when I checked the numbers just yesterday. It seems now that Ella Ward got 77 percent of the Obama votes, and Randy Forbes got 106 percent of the Romney votes.

A New FB User Asks Questions of Ella Ward

Last night, a Samantha, a new Facebook user appeared and immediately posted two pointed comments on the Ella Ward for Congress page. She has a large, eclectic group of likes for such a new user, and a beautiful profile picture, for which she credits a friend with a professional camera. Yet she seems to have no friends and no internet presence for such an attractive young lady with friends who have professional cameras.

The mysterious, friendless beauty had two things to say. First, she took issue with the grammar in some of the campaign’s posts.

Who runs your posts? You have horrible grammar and punctuation
on several posts. Yet you support education and want us to invest
in you? Doesn’t add up to me.

Second, she asked about Dr. Ward’s view on sequestration, and said that Randy Forbes has been clear about his views.

The comment about grammar contains at least three grammatical errors, but it can still be answered. Dr. Ward’s campaign team is a group of dedicated volunteers, and is not a staff of polished professionals. The campaign’s earliest posts were, indeed, filled with errors, but the cause of that problem has been fixed. I don’t believe there are any recent mistakes worthy of any fuss, but if there are, they reflect the roughness of Ella Ward’s grass-roots campaign team, and not any deficiency on the part of Dr. Ward herself. I ask those who vote on grammar not to hold it against her. Dr. Ward supports funding for public education and wants to improve early educational programs and job training programs. That fact is unchanged by any amount of poorly written Facebook posts.

The mysterious user hasn’t posted anything about Randy Forbes’s grammar, despite gems like:

Just arrived at the Romney 2012 rally in Chesapeake. Lamar is with Governor Romney and does a great job!

but since Randy Forbes doesn’t support public education, I suppose his writing is in keeping with his views.

Randy Forbes is one of the few Republicans who manages to stay on message about defense cuts. Unlike Americans for Tax Reform and Cross Roads GPS, who have been calling me several times a day, and other Republican politicians, Congressman Forbes remembers to mix his Keynesian hypocrisy with alarmist warnings about losses of defense capability. But the warnings can’t hide the fact that Forbes and other Republicans know that government spending does create jobs. If the sequestration results in nothing more than the closing of unnecessary commands, like JFCOM, and the reduction of the manufacture of unwanted assets, like the M1 tank, than it will result in no loss of military capabilities. We may actually be safer if the military is forced to make decisions based on defense necessities without being distracted by the requirement to distribute tax dollars to influential state politicians and defense companies. But the sequester will result in the loss of military jobs. Fortunately, those jobs can be replaced by government spending in other areas, such as transportation, scientific research, and of course, education. The problem with such spending is it gives too much advantage to the disadvantaged. With public transportation, poor in a city can compete for more jobs. With universal broadband, poor in the country have greater access to information. It’s counterproductive for Mr. Forbes and his peers to support such forms of spending. It’s better for them that we build tanks.

If Congressman Forbes is concerned about military capabilities, it isn’t his biggest concern. Congressman Forbes voted against sequestration but was just as unwilling to compromise on tax cuts for the wealthy as those Republicans who voted for it. He may have been clear about where he stood, but clearly, he has higher priorities.

I sent a friend request to the new user. I await her response.

It is Randy Forbes, Not Ella Ward, who Refuses to Debate

Since we’re all talking about debates now, I should mention that the Virginian Pilot ran an article which correctly reported that Ella Ward didn’t want to debate Randy Forbes in July because she didn’t have a campaign manager at the time. What the article failed to report is that the Daily Press set up a debate for October, and Randy Forbes declined to participate.

From Rebecca Troyer, Daily Press, to Melinda Gainer, Ella Ward’s Campaign Manager:

Rep. Forbes has declined to debate, so we will NOT be conducting a 4th District debate on Oct. 8

Mr. Forbes’s feelings might have been hurt by the failure of a campaign manager that Ella Ward didn’t have to respond to his overtures to debate on his timeline. But instead of punishing Dr. Ward for what he took as a snub, he has decided to punish the citizens of the fourth district by denying them a chance to hear two appropriately prepared candidates in a fair debate initiated by a third party.

Randy Forbes also refused to debate his previous opponent, Dr. Wynne Legrow, in 2010.

The Pilot’s failure to mention Randy Forbes’s refusal to debate in October is very misleading after reporting that Ella Ward’s declined to debate in the early days of her campaign. The people of the fourth district should know that it is Mr. Forbes, not Ella Ward, who refuses to face his opponent on even terms in front of his constituency.

Ella Ward’s Pancake Breakfast in Chesapeake

Congressional Candidate Ella Ward is hosting an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast on Saturday, August 4, at the Gourmet Breakfast Place on 838 Old George Washington Hwy. N. in Chesapeake.

The cost of admission is $10.00, and admission can be purchased online with ActBlue.

This will be a great opportunity to meet Dr. Ward and her supporters, and to help her get to Washington and properly represent the citizens of Virginia’s 4th District in the United States Congress.

Please see the flyer for more information.

Saturday, August 4th, 2012
8:00am – 10:00am
The Gourmet Breakfast Place
838 Old George Washington Hwy. N., Suite 100, Chesapeake, Virginia 23323.

Portrait of Ella Ward

Forbes’s InstaPoll: Do You Support Young, Illegal Immigrants?

Randy Forbes recently sent the following instapoll question to his subscribers:

instaPoll: Do you support the President’s new immigration policy that would allow young, illegal immigrants to legally live and work in the U.S?

Push polls like Forbes’s instapolls lie twice. First, they lie to the respondent by presenting a misleading suggestion as a question, then to the public by presenting an opinion about a distorted idea as if it were an opinion about an actual situation. When Randy Forbes discovers, as a result of his judicious information gathering efforts, that (surprise!) his subscribers don’t support “young, illegal immigrants”, he’ll paint President Obama as a leader out of touch with is people, and turn even more people away from the president’s policies since so many of us are low-information voters who simply go along with the crowd, or at least with were we think the the crowd is going.

But it’s all lies. Many young, illegal immigrants will continue to be deported under the president’s new policy, and most Americans approve of allowing tax-paying workers or students, who only know America as their home because they came here as children, to apply for green cards.

Push polls are an insipid method of changing public opinion from one based on facts to one based on distortions, under the guise of seeking information. Randy Forbes is not interested in hearing the opinions of his constituents, and when he seems to be asking questions, he’s actually presenting ideas and gathering support for his own agenda, using distorted, misleading rhetoric if necessary.

Ella Ward for Congress

Voters in the 4th U.S. Congressional district can choose to vote in the Republican or Democratic primary tomorrow for their House representative. Those who vote in the Democratic primary will have a choice between Ella Ward and Joe Elliot. Republicans will have Randy Forbes and Bonnie Girard.

Democrats should vote for Ella Ward. I’ve met Joe Elliot, and he seems like a decent person, but his pathetic campaign has been little more than a distraction. He’s done a disservice to his supporters and to 4th District Democrats by continuing his unenthusiastic campaign when he could have been supporting the Democrat who will prove to be the better challenger to Randy Forbes.

Ella Ward is a highly qualified candidate. She has multiple degrees, including a Doctoral Degree in educational administration and supervision from Virginia Tech, and a history of service to her community as a teacher, school administrator, and councilwoman.

Knocking Randy Forbes out of his long-held position as the 4th Congressional district’s representative is a tough challenge. He uses religious rhetoric to deeply divide his constituency and publicly panders to the majority. It’s a winning formula which took him to an easy win over his previous challenger, Dr. Wynne Legrow, despite Dr. Legrow’s education, entrepreneurial success, and military service.

This year, the best chance of defeating Randy Forbes lies with an energetic and highly qualified public servant, Dr. Ella Ward. I encourage 4th District Democrats to get themselves to the polls tomorrow, June 12, and show our support for Ella Ward for U.S. Congress, 4th District.

Portrait of Ella Ward
Ella Ward for U.S. Congress