All posts by J.R. Hoeft

Daniel Gade

Daniel Gade joins the podcast to discuss his campaign for U.S. Senate. Gade, a scholar, professor, war veteran, public servant, father, and more is seeking the Republican nomination to take on two-term U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D).

Gade, who was seriously injured in Ramadi, Iraq, has served in both the Bush and Trump administrations, but the North Dakota native and professor at American University thinks now is the time to retire Virginia’s senior senator.

“In the particular case of Mark Warner – he’s not a good Senator – he’s not good at that work…He doesn’t ever propose bills; he doesn’t ever do anything for the people of Virginia. He likes the title. What is a rich man going to do when he’s gotten his money? In this case, what this particular rich man is going to do, is to try to get titles and that’s what he’s done; he’s gotten himself the title of ‘senator.’”

In the podcast, we discuss:

  • His background, injury, and the role of faith
  • Why run for Senate now? Why against Mark Warner?
  • U.S. Government Checks and Balances and his view on the War Powers Act
  • The Second Amendment and Gun Control
  • Trying to get his message out with President Donald Trump’s Twitter feed at full volume
  • “Investing” $2 trillion to stimulate the economy
  • Legislation he will propose first if elected: The “SIT” Act.

Before speaking with Gade, Norm Leahy, columnist with The Washington Post, joins me to review the week’s current events, including:

  • Gov. Ralph Northam pumping the brakes on the state budget and extending the business shutdown to May 8
  • Northam doing a victory lap on a host of progressive legislation signed into law, including new election laws designed to make voting easier and
  • The three Republican U.S. Senate candidates certified to be on the primary ballot.

References:

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Liz Mair

Norm Leahy and J.R. Hoeft on…

  • Face Masks and Civil Liberty
  • The necessity of a new State budget
  • Moving local elections scheduled for May to November and bumping the primaries to June 23

In J.R.’s interview with Liz…

  • The objective of communications: not to make yourself the story!
  • What took her from practicing debt financing law in England to working on RNC digital efforts in 2008 and why five-year plans are nice, but not always necessary.
  • The influence of David Gough on getting her into working in conservative politics.
  • How she ended up on the right, despite some significant influences from the left when growing up. The influence of 1978-79 on British political history. Council houses and property rights. Scottish nationalism. Seattle and free trade. Intellectual property.
  • What does it mean to have a “political home”? Do party members always have to agree? The importance of “showing up” and how breaking with a party is an abdication of being able to influence it.
  • Because she doesn’t have complete orthodox GOP/pro-Trump views, does she feel the Nunes lawsuit is retribution?
  • Surveillance, FISA Court, and civil liberties.
  • Why it’s unique that the lawsuit against her is being brought in Virginia and what it means to the First Amendment and our Constitution.
  • Why include Twitter and McClatchy News in the lawsuit?
  • The importance and fundamentals of the first amendment and how this suit might affect future rulings:
  • The Virginia General Assembly beginning to act on strategic lawsuits against public participation and how the commonwealth has a chance to lead again.
  • How COVID-19 has impacted the progress of the lawsuit and how it has affected her business and personally.

Quoted from the References:

“But Twitter, while they do have rules for what users are allowed to post, should not have a quasi-judicial role forced upon it. It is not for Twitter to go through the detailed analysis of determining when and if defamatory statements are made. It is for Twitter to do its best to adhere to its own standards in a neutral fashion. We should not scare online platforms out of existence for fear of lawsuits.” – Jessica Levinson, professor and the director of the Public Service Institute at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles

References:

  • Hashing It Out Podcast – The Washington Times
  • What GOP Rep. Devin Nunes’ Twitter defamation lawsuit says about the future of defamation law – Jessica Levinson, professor at Loyola Law School
  • Devin Nunes, Johnny Depp lawsuits seen as threats to free speech and press – The Washington Post
  • House Bill No. 759
  • Mair Strategies, LLC
  • Subscribe to the show!

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    Eric Wilson, digittal communications strategist

    Voting Absentee During COVID-19; Interview with Eric Wilson

    Norm Leahy, columnist with The Washington Post, and I look at absentee voting in the age of the Coronavirus, rethinking the state budget, and the 7th District Congressional Race. The interview is with Eric Wilson, a digital communications strategist and candidate for the Republican Party of Virginia State Central Committee. We talk about an initiative he is working on, “Build and Grow RPV.”

    “Virginia should be the center of excellence for state parties across the country. It should be a testbed for our party because we have elections every single year. That’s a perfect environment…for innovating, for testing, and learning. But we’ve just sort of grown stagnant.” – Eric Wilson

    Show Notes:

    I asked Mary Lynn Pinkerman, General Registrar, City of Chesapeake several questions related to the city’s preparation for the upcoming May election.

    1 – Absentee voting began March 20 – does the pace in Chesapeake indicate a higher turnout than regular years?

    • Yes, but we have worked with Public Communications to get the word out to vote absentee by mail.  The Department of Elections website also is encouraging this as well.

    2 – How many ballots have been requested and returned to date?

    • 1664 [have been requested]. It is still so early as the ballots have only been mailed within the past 10 days, so we have only had 58 returned so far.

    3 – Has the city taken any measures to increase the number of ballots available?

    • We are reallocating ballots from Election Day to Absentee to reduce the waste of funds.

    Has the budget been increased?

    • No

    Are you getting any additional financial support from the state?

    • No

    4 – Do you have any different procedures in place than you would for a normal election?

    • Yes. We are waiting to hear more information in the next couple of days from the Department of Elections as to how to proceed on Election Day.  Because the City of Chesapeake offices are closed to the public, we are having to do curbside voting for all voters who come to do in-person absentee voting.  We want that to be a last resort, and for voters to please use the online and mail options as much as possible for their safety as well as the staff.

    Senate Republicans again reiterated their concern about the budget in a letter to Governor Northam:

    Provided the June 10 expiration of Executive Order 55 remains operative, most of Virginia’s economy will have been shut down for a three-month period. With a profoundly negative effect on anticipated state revenues inevitable, it would be fiscally reckless to enact House Bills 29 and 30 without extensive revisions reflecting the expected shortfall. As the April 11 deadline for amending the 2018-2020 and 2020-2022 Biennial Budgets is now less than two weeks away, we urge you to submit amendments that accurately reflect our new fiscal reality. By using the 2018-2020 Biennial Budget – as originally enacted in 2018 – as a baseline, we could significantly minimize the disruptions to the Commonwealth and its citizens resulting from the current suspension of economic activity.

    In my interview with Eric Wilson, we discuss:

    • Going from Texas to Capitol Hill (intern for Rep. Michael Burgess)
    • Working on campaigns with Patrick Ruffini and Mindy Finn
    • Working on the Marco Rubio for President campaign and the difficulties of running a national campaign, learning the need for 100% name identification, and politics as entertainment (consumption)
    • The importance of resources in a state race and the skill of Virginia candidates across the board
    • Why digital media appeals and the importance of the medium?
    • Why engage with new/social media?
    • The importance of platform tools. Understand the “why”.
    • Defining “owned”, “shared”, and “earned” audiences/media.
    • Vanity v. Value/Outputs v. Outcome Metrics.
    • His platform for wanting to become a Republican State Central Committee member. (grow the party, grow the data, increase online fundraising, stop the interparty feuds).
    • The importance of running a candidate everywhere.
    • Improving voter registration.
    • Conventions and primaries in nominating contests.
    • Internal party campaigning in the COVID-19 era.
    • What should happen if we have an online convention? What are the two phases of digital transformation?
    • His campaign/ticket mates for state central committee: Jack Blakely and Sarah Curran.
    • What does RPV reform look like?
    • Not accepting demographic shifts as an answer to GOP losses.
    • His vision for the party in 1 to 5 years.

    Sites referenced:

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    Shaun Flanagan, Legatum Institute

    Shaun Flanagan: U.S. Prosperity Index

    COVID-19 continues to dominate the conversation as Norm Leahy, columnist for The Washington Post, joins J.R. to discuss Virginia impacts. Topics include closing schools for the remainder of the year, Liberty University reopening, the mixed messages between state and federal government, herd immunity v. quarantine, the potential for “shelter in place” rule in Virginia, and boldly spending to prop up the economy.

    For the interview, J.R. is joined by Shaun Flanagan – Director, Center for Metrics for the Legatum Institute. In the show, Flanagan explains why statistics matter, the purpose of the Legatum Institute, why a think-tank in England is looking at global and U.S. prosperity, what constitutes their prosperity index – especially their “Pillars of Prosperity”, the regional differences between the states, and the performance of Virginia.

    Virginia, home of the “Virginia Declaration of Rights”, today ranks 30th among the states in personal freedom. And, even though CNBC ranks the state 1st for business, Legatum found that we are 30th in economic quality. Flanagan helps us understand what exactly these scores mean.

    We also explore recent legislation passed by the General Assembly, especially the budget that increases state spending by 20%, more mandates, a higher minimum wage, and higher taxes. In general, he helps un understand the effect of such policies on the pillars of prosperity.

    We also look at the potential impact of COVID-19 on scores both at the Global and U.S. level.

    Links of note:

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    Go Directly To The Interview

    Skip to 20:30 in the player for the interview with Shaun Flanagan

    Garren Shipley

    In Episode 73, Norm Leahy, local columnist for The Washington Post, and J.R. discuss the local impacts of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), as well as a call for a special session of the General Assembly by State Senate Minority Leader Tommy Norment. From the Norment press release calling for the session:

    Norment is requesting that a revenue reforecast be provided to the General Assembly. Additionally, Norment calls for consideration of legislation limiting the liability of employers with employees who have been exposed to the Coronavirus and continue to work without the employers’ knowledge of that exposure. Finally, Norment is calling for the exactment of legislation granting local governments and regional commissions greater latitude to conduct necessary business during the continuing state of emergency.

    For the interview, J.R. interviews the Communications Director for House of Delegates Minority Leader Todd Gilbert. Shipley effectively works as the lead communicator for the House Republican Caucus. For the interview, we discuss:

    • How journalism prepared him for his job;
    • His daily routine during and out of session;
    • Evaluating the message;
    • Surprises from this General Assembly session – including gun laws, the repeal of commonsense abortion limits, redistricting (and some true profiles in courage for some Democratic members), criminal justice changes, and transportation (spoiler alert: we still have a Car Tax and an increase in the gas tax);
    • His view on legislation impacting Virginia’s pro-business environment (including minimum wage, right to work, tax increases); and
    • the new state budget.

    “We’re working very hard to make [dealing with Coronavirus] somewhat better,” Shipley said. “Republicans and Democrats alike, across the General Assembly, are working with the administration, talking amongst ourselves, trying to get the best plan to move forward as quickly as we can to help those folks who are hurting right now.”

    Links of note:

    Subscribe to the show!

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    1) Click the player and listen to it via your device
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    – Subscribe to the podcast to automatically download new shows to your device when they are uploaded. (How to from Apple Podcast, Google Podcasts, TuneIn and from Stitcher)
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    Go Directly To The Interview

    Skip to 15:45 in the player for the interview with Garren Shipley

    Michael Petrilli: How to Educate an American

    Episode 72 of The J.R. Hoeft show has Norm Leahy, local columnist for The Washington Post, discussing unintended consequences to higher education due to the Corona Virus and the aftermath of the General Assembly. The consequential gathering of the worthies included progressive legislation on firearms, abortion, marijuana, redistricting, and more, but was it as apocalyptic as some conservatives are making it seem? Norm and J.R. also dig into the numbers of Super Tuesday’s results in Virginia’s Democratic Primary for President and share what it means for the November General Election.

    In the main interview, J.R. is joined by Michael Petrilli, co-editor of HOW TO EDUCATE AN AMERICAN: The Conservative Vision for Tomorrow’s Schools (Templeton Press), which is a series of essays by noted conservative writers on education reform, including Michael Barone, Bill Bennett, Arthur Brooks, Jonah Goldberg, Yuval Levin, Heather Mac Donald, and many others. Pitrelli, president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, offers personal insights on his interest in education reform, as well as recounting his journey to become one of the leading voices in the movement. Additionally, we explore the topics of charter schools and school choice, the importance of knowing our nation’s history, individual character, accountability in learning (including the Standards of Learning/testing), the cost of higher education, and the value of learning a trade.

    Links of note:

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    President Trump Acquitted

    Now that 80+ days of actual impeachment proceedings (not to mention the nearly three years of calling for it) have finally proven fruitless, is it now time for the American people to move on — or at least reflect on the good things that are happening in our country?

    Last evening, the president laid out the achievements that all Americans can be proud of in his State of the Union address. Things like record employment, a strong economy, trade agreements, national security, and more.

    Tonight, with the acquittal, it is pretty safe to say that we can return to a sense of normalcy — or at least as normal as a presidential election year can be.

    Here is the official line from The White House:

    Today, the sham impeachment attempt concocted by Democrats ended in the full vindication and exoneration of President Donald J. Trump. As we have said all along, he is not guilty. The Senate voted to reject the baseless articles of impeachment, and only the President’s political opponents – all Democrats, and one failed Republican presidential candidate – voted for the manufactured impeachment articles.
     
    In what has now become a consistent tradition for Democrats, this was yet another witch-hunt that deprived the President of his due process rights and was based on a series of lies.  Rep. Adam Schiff lied to Congress and the American people with a totally made up statement about the President’s phone call.  Will there be no retribution?  Speaker Nancy Pelosi also lied to the American people about the need to swiftly pass impeachment articles they dreamt up, only to sit on them for a month before sending over to the Senate.  In the Senate, the Democrats continued to make their political motivations clear – Rep. Schiff proclaimed the issues “cannot be decided at the ballot box” – proving once again they think they know better than the voters of this country.  This entire effort by the Democrats was aimed at overturning the results of the 2016 election and interfering with the 2020 election. 
     
    Throughout this wholly corrupt process, President Trump successfully advanced the interests of the United States and remained focused on the issues that matter to Americans.  He spent his time achieving real victories for the people of this country, and the Democrats – once again – have nothing to show for their fraudulent schemes. The President is pleased to put this latest chapter of shameful behavior by the Democrats in the past, and looks forward to continuing his work on behalf of the American people in 2020 and beyond.

    Are we now ready to move on? And, for what it’s worth, both Tim Kaine and Mark Warner voted for both articles of impeachment. Makes you proud to be a Virginian, eh?

    Luria gets baited; uses profanity to raise money

    It was just a matter of time before profanity laced emails from elected officials would become the norm. I guess today was the day.

    Virginia’s Second District Congresswoman Elaine Luria decided to deride the president’s loose tweets as, “shit”.

    “I want to make this abundantly clear: Our Democratic majority in the House is the only defense we have against the crazy shit Donald Trump tweets out everyday.”

    Forgetting the fact how disrespectful this is to the office of the presidency, I do realize that this is, of course, a fundraising email meant to garner a reaction and separate the would-be donor from their hard-earned cash. However, it seems, thanks to social media, the president, and a continuously more caustic society that the bar to get that reaction is ever-raised.

    Obviously, Ms. Luria, has bought into this tone hook, line, and sinker. Instead of elevating the conversation, she’s right there in the mud too.

    I don’t really blame her sentiment. The president’s tweets often leave me shaking my head too. It’s just a shame she isn’t bothering to rise above the fray and lead by example as she claimed she would during her campaign.

    Throwing Stones Only Breaks Glass


    A recent column by Penny Nance of Concerned Women for America has received some attention for its criticism of Virginia Tech’s orientation. She attended this year with her son, an incoming cadet. Nance and I have a few things in common: parents of cadets, conservative, and Christian.

    When I initially read her concerns about the university embracing self-selection of personal pronouns on orientation ID badges, and some of her other worries, which included religious freedom and preferences, I thought, “Absolutely!”

    However, with a little soul-searching (prayer, if you will permit), I see not only my own error in thinking, but must also respectfully disagree with the activist approach that she is encouraging.

    I understand that in today’s world, attention and, perhaps, financial gain goes to those who create the most controversy. Nance, a president and CEO of a national political action organization, is able to stir the pot in spades. After all, that is her job. But when it comes to offering a perspective of love, compassion, humility, generosity, faithfulness, and, in general, staying true to Christian beliefs, she missed the mark.

    Honestly, academia is hardly innocent. It seems to welcome drawing negative attention. Campuses all across the country are easily identifiable with left-leaning orthodoxy. From safe-spaces to the shouting-down of conservatives, many universities hardly promote the free exchange of ideas they piously claim. I am sure this thought played a role in why Nance lamented that her son is about to embark on four years of “indoctrination” to “leftist propaganda.”

    Nance, having heard enough, stated that it is time to stand up to the “liberal, ivory-towered academic’s worldview.”

    Perhaps. Instead, I am reminded of a Bible story. Are you familiar with the account of when the adulterer faced certain death by stoning from the scribes and Pharisees?

    “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her,” Christ famously challenged the mob (John 8:7).

    He then turned to the sinner, after the now-neutered prosecutors sheepishly dropped their projectiles and dispersed, and asked the woman where those who had condemned her had gone. She did not know. He then said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” (John 8:11)

    This is the Christian example of confronting what is wrong.

    We are all incredibly sinful beings. From our vanity to jealousy to anger and everything else, none of us can claim the moral high ground.

    I understand that the LGBTQ community does not think of their identity as a sin, however, expecting the religious faithful to condone and accept the practice is next to impossible. Especially at public universities when kids are involved.

    On the other hand, for those who are believers, they should also recall that no sin is above another. For example, it is sinful to shout or even think, “you fool!” to the person who cut you off on I-81 yesterday or to worry about how a presentation will go tomorrow. Yes, worry is a sin.

    In other words, from our birth to our death, there is no way to escape our own sin, no matter what it is or who we are. We need help. We need repentance. We need faith. We need not cast the first stone.

    I saw what the College Republicans at Virginia Tech had to say on this topic and they could not be more on point: “One of our main goals as an organization is to foster a community of respect, love, and inclusivity. Virginia Tech is a place where one should feel safe to grow as a person and not be worried to freely express themselves, a right given to us in the First Amendment.”

    That same First Amendment gives Nance the freedom to be critical of the Virginia Tech practices. It is the same right that I have to respond to her. It is also the same right that students have to participate, ignore, or, better yet, discuss like adults the pronoun issue.

    It is also the same right that her son, my daughter, and thousands of Hokies past, present and future swear an oath to protect and defend; a right enjoyed by all Hokies, Virginians, and Americans regardless of their political or social perspective. Ut Prosim (‘That I May Serve’), indeed.

    The left may have done a good job of marginalizing common-sense beliefs and ostracizing those of faith, but no one ever said being a person of faith would be easy.

    “Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God.” (1 Peter 2:16-17)

    Stating the truth is the right thing to do, but state the truth in love. Especially when trying to set the tone of the conversation and affect hearts and minds. Also, recall Jesus did not come to the world for a Biblical debate with scribes and Pharisees; He chose to commune with and save the sinners: us.

    Nance is worried that the university stated, “Parents, don’t be shocked if your kid comes home changed.”

    In my view, I certainly hope so; I hope these challenges have made my daughter’s faith stronger.

    I believe it has.


    This column also appears in The Roanoke Times.

    PJ Media: The Thrill Is Gone?

    PJ Media shares an article by Stephen Green to illustrate how the Democratic party isn’t all that energized about their candidates. On first glance, that makes me feel slightly better about the underwater numbers President Trump continues to score in approval rankings.

    However, this quote did catch my attention about Joe Biden:

    Berman quotes Portsmouth, N.H., resident Elizabeth Keniston saying, “Whoever can beat Trump is most important. I want him in prison,” which makes it sound like she’s looking for a combination of a presidential winner and an FBI agent.

    Is it just me, but couldn’t that very quote read, “Whoever can beat Clinton is most important. I want her in prison” circa this time in 2015?