a demilitarized zone between Democratic
gubernatorial candidate Tim Kaine and Blue Dog of
late. It's a yellow and blue dogfight turned truce
and now a purgatory-like stalemate on the subject of
free speech and tough love.
began with a
Blue Dog blog posting about Kaine's spokeswoman,
Delacey Skinner, and her past associations with the
Howard Dean for president campaign in South Carolina
and George Soros' America Coming Together
organization in the New England.
to Michael Shear's Washington Post column,
"Virginia bloggers have described her as a
'truly soulless P.R. hack' and a 'spokesmodel.'
never met her. But there's no doubt in the Blue
Dog's mind that Skinner served as press secretary on
Howard Dean's South Carolina campaign starting in
December 2003 and as New Hampshire press director of
the anti-Bush grass-roots group America Coming
Together. Ahh, yes! Blog beauty is in the eye of the
did I post the information? Well, just maybe I'm
tired of being ignored for interviews by the Kaine
campaign and don't have the ability pull the ear of
higher-ups like other columnists and editors to get
Blue Dog wrote to the Kaine campaign, "Do you
hear me barking now?"
Dog Kaine's campaign manager Mo Elleithee wrote
back, "Please remove me from your e-mail Spam
a major diss of the Blue Dog's loyal readership! So,
the Blue Dog distributed his note to all my rowdy
political friends in the state to gather support for
the cause of the Blue Dog's free speech. I wrote:
"In the name of free speech - first off, the
Kaine campaign has not responded to numerous
interview requests with the Blue Dog columnist for
apparently, I'm nothing more than 'SPAM' to the Tim
Kaine's campaign manager.
blog is not an advertisement, and I'm not selling
anything here - but the truth.
set the record straight from the get-go.
just an average Joe with a story to tell.
not to further my political career.
not sour grapes on my part.
not revenge, either.
there's no political agenda here either, except the
truth. Politics should be about ethics and truth,
but it's not. That's a shame. And that's my
motivation for writing.
see, I've read where the Democratic Party of
Virginia is a 'Big Tent' ...
am I a Virginia Democrat? That's a good
friend, "not ken hutcheson," wrote back,
"Isn't SPAM something the Blue Dog eats as a
treat from time to time? I hear it is good when
fried up and placed between two pieces of
Valley Yellow Dog said, "No biscuit for you
today, Blue Dog."
at a loss for words, Dry Throat wrote back,
"Today, the Blue Dog's blog is one fight away
from the Jerry Springer Show!"
ultraconservative husband, who blogs under the
pseudonym "John Birch" wrote, "Spam
biscuits are manufactured with Argentine Beef,
Mr. Birch, that's the wrong kind of Spam, err - but
I appreciate the meaty support. Nevertheless, most
Republicans notice those kinds of things,
especially, when Democrats air their dirty laundry
fact, the Bill Bolling campaign recently wrote,
"I noticed Ms. Byrne was not included in the
'religion and politics' article. Did she refuse to
respond to your interview?"
the record, as far as the Democrats are concerned,
that marked the first time for Leslie Byrne being a
nonparticipating interviewer - she is usually good
about replying, while attorney-general candidate
Creigh Deeds has responded to all requests. On the
other hand, Kaine has not responded to interview
request since April.
must be the dog days of August, err - I meant to say
the dog days of the Augusta Free Press Blue
Blue Dog noticed where Deeds used the same dog-days
analogy, in a recent campaign e-mail entitled,
"Whatever Happened to the Dog Days of
joined the hit parade of clichés: "The
candidates gear up for their 'dog days of summer'
to the point, the Valley Yellow Dog wrote, " 'Tis
a well-worn phrase - too well worn? To be original,
try 'hazy, lazy daze of summer' - woof, woof."
Bacon's Rebellion blogger and retired House
of Delegate member Barnie Day interceded in behalf
of the Blue Dog, writing the Kaine campaign,
"It is my assessment that that you guys need to
rethink Steve Sisson, known in the blogosphere as
Blue Dog. He is a friend of mine, and I think it a
mistake to diss him in any way. In fact, if I were
Tim, I'd find a few minutes to grant him an
Barnie prodded the Blue Dog to begin a peaceful
dialogue with the Kaine camp. He wrote, "We
don't need Dems turning on each other."
an e-mail exchange with Day, another fellow blogger,
conservative Will Vehrs, interjected, "I love
the Blue Dog, too, but holy cow, calling Kaine's
staff 'the three stooges' after you've gone to bat
I decided right at that moment to clear the air and
any misunderstanding between the Kaine campaign and
myself and sent a note. After all, Kaine endorsed
the Blue Dog's candidacy for the Virginia Senate
against GOP incumbent Sen. Emmett Hanger.
the record, I'm not sure as to why the Kaine
campaign is upset. The Blue Dog tends to chaff both
sides of the political aisle with his satirical
political and writing style, but for the record,
it's nothing personal. I ran for office, and surely,
Kaine's campaign staff, of all people, must have
thick political skin as well. Heck, even Sisson and
Hanger reluctantly and briefly shook hands after the
Kaine campaign stated to fellow Democrat Day:
"He burned us a couple of times early in the
campaign, and the trust level is just not
baloney! Nobody is attempting to burn any candidate
in the Blue Dog Tales column. I'm an
equal-opportunity political columnist. Day vouched
for me, but so can good friend Paul Goldman, who has
raked multiple politicians over the coals in his
career as a political writer and campaign manager.
this spring, I interviewed with then-chatty Kaine
spokesman Mo Elleithee, and the column was entitled
No Amway Christian - along with a column about Jerry
Kilgore, Political bark, no bite, The Blue Dog Tale
column received favorable reviews from Democrats
around the state about Kaine's moral fiber, but more
to the point, the Kilgore campaign wrote, "Why
don't you just endorse Kaine, and get it over with,
GOP staff member sarcastically said, "The Blue
Dog must be on Tim Kaine's payroll."
there, my friends, it only proves you can't please
either side! That's not my job as a writer of the
Blue Dog Tales column. But more to the point, the
Republican candidates and their managers still let
me interview them - along with Democratic candidates
like Byrne and Deeds, so what is the big deal with
the Kaine campaign, may I ask?
Blue Dog Tales are published weekly in The Augusta
Free Press, but those columns are also reprinted
on the Web pages of the Virginia News Source,
The Conservative Voice, Bacon's Rebellion,
The Locust Fork news and The Rockingham
Free Press, sometimes under different titles.
Point is, a lot of folks read the column.
the Kaine staff will reconsider interviewing with
the Blue Dog. If not, I'll still keep my photo of
Tim Kaine and myself above my desk study, which he
signed, "Keep fighting for the Dems. Tim Kaine."
seriously folks, Mr. Kaine is in danger of losing my
vote at the ballot this fall due to his press
censorship. It's so uncool to become unglued.
Dog Note: Let me set the record straight, I happened
to nickname Kaine ''The Choir Boy" because he
sang with us at my Elkton fund-raising event in
1999. In fact, I remember personally paying for the
entire Kaine staff to eat free of charge.
reminded the Kaine staff of this. "Here's the
thing: over the top though he may be from time to
time, I don't forget that Steve was wearing out shoe
leather, cooking hot dogs, licking stamps, etc., for
the Democratic Party of Virginia when some of these
candidates were still in diapers - and doing it in
Rockingham County, a tough, tough Republican
neighborhood. He earned the chits he's
the Kaine campaign brushed my column off as a
"weird distraction and crazy stuff."
Kaine campaign wrote the Blue Dog, "We are
going to have to agree to disagree on this one. But,
we appreciate your note, and we will take it under
the past, I've taken Blue Dog licks with countless
statewide candidates. Which included making fun of
Kilgore's voice and tan; saying Deeds was a
small-town attorney; calling Leslie Byrne a Howard
Dean liberal (which she doesn't deny); endorsing
Sean Connaughton over Bolling, and joking about
McDonnell's sodomy non-remark. But they all have
continued to interview. Blue Dog Note to Kaine
campaign: It's called political satire - get over
campaign staff wrote back, "Thanks for the
note. Good luck."
luck, Kaine's campaign says! As we watch the Blue
Dog sink further and further to the right. Please
correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Citizen Tim
Kaine work tirelessly for the ACLU, who usually
represents clients in cases of free speech and civil
liberties? Oh, duh!
being a Democrat: Over the past 20 years, with the
exception of a two-year hiatus with the Ross
"The Little Hand Grenade with a Bad
Haircut" Perot for president campaign in the
early '90s, by golly, I been a lifelong Democrat!
But that's another Blue Dog Tale.
this point, I'll concede that the Blue Dog is
pondering the nuclear-political option in the
Commonwealth. Hmm. Should the Blue Dog consider
switching parties? Running for office, again as a
Red Dog, or perhaps drafting a tell-all manuscript
about Kaine might be advised?
of the above!
all, Leslie Byrne, Creigh Deeds, Barnie Day and
other statewide Democrats still tolerate and enjoy
reading the Blue Dog's over-the-top musings. By the
way, the "Adventures in Warnerland"
book is due out between Oct. 24 and Nov. 16. I've
sent the manuscript to the editors. It's about a
260-page count. I will also solicit advance sales
with a Web-page account in the coming weeks. Darn!
I'm having too much fun. Sorry about the book plug!
lobbyist Dry Throat told me President Bush's Supreme
Court nominee, John Roberts, argued pro bono for gay
and lesbian organizations. That's why Democrats are
not fighting his nomination.
Roberts will take on the Blue Dog abuse case? Maybe,
just maybe, a Blue Dog barking session and
grandstanding protest outside Kaine's upcoming
speaking engagement close to the Valley and raise
Kaine about it - like that poor distraught mother of
a dead soldier sitting outside President Bush's
ranch in Crawford, Texas
fact, on Aug. 15, Kaine is visiting nearby
Charlottesville for a town-hall meeting to discuss
state tax increases, err, state tax reform, err, I
meant to say state budget reform. There's probably
not going to be any discussion about Virginia's
Mega-Millions Lottery winnings, err, I meant to say,
Virginia's Mega-Millions state surplus.
doubt, the Kaine campaign function is being held at
the Charlottesville Ice Park, where Tim can skate
around the issues of raising state taxes.
the Democracy for Virginia blog wrote about a
Democratic event in Blacksburg: "Tim reminded
that he and Mark Warner overcame the billion-dollar
state education funding shortfall and dramatically
improved educational funding."
Maria, and can I have some more? Apparently, Kaine
has a revisionist view of what it means to be a
Southern fiscal conservative politician these days,
which is more or less an elected official who
increases the tax burden to finance larger
government to pay for campaign promises. Like, let's
say... Gov. Warner?
the contrary, Day is the best! I'm not sure whether
he remembers speaking at our fund-raising event back
in the 1990s, when I was the Rockingham County
chairman, but I've always had the highest respect
for him. He's a good politician and a great
storyteller as well. At least Day is still in the
Dog's corner, writing: "My three favorite
colors: Carolina Blue, Duke Blue, Dog Blue!"
August 8, 2005