Don’t Hold Back, Ken, Tell Us How You Really Feel

Phil Rodokanakis ran a column,”Winning on Principles,” in Monday’s edition of the

Bacon’s Rebellion e-zine that was critical of Jerry Kilgore’s campaign manager, Ken Hutcheson. Here is Hutcheson’s reply, which Phil has asked me to publish on the blog. I post Hutcheson’s missive without comment. It speaks for itself.


I read with great amusement your latest “column” on Bacon’s Rebellion. Simply put, you are a spineless, gutless coward who is as stupid as he is petty. Do you really think anyone of any relative significance in VA cares what you write? I mean let’s face it, you are the epitome of an armchair quarterback with an opinion (which are like a**holes—everyone’s got one). Really, what makes you think anyone cares about your opinion in particular?

Where do I begin, there is just too much good stuff to discuss. First, let’s take a moment to ponder your “organization” that bestows upon you the fancy title of President. The Virginia Club for Growth—sounds like an impressive organization, but aside from the email list you conveniently ended up with from me after the Allen Campaign in 2000, who are your members? How many dues paying members are there in VA? Just exactly how many people voted you in as President of the VCOG? Did anyone else run for the position? Can you point to me anything that your organization does other than opine on public policy matters? Can you point to me any meaningful accomplishments of the VCOG? And why do the respected National Club for Growth leaders look down on you and think you and the VA Chapter are a joke?

Ok, now let’s review your impressive resume that makes you qualified to judge people like Jerry and me. Name one campaign you have ever managed. Name one race you have ever officially consulted on. In fact, name one race where any candidate paid you for your advice and/or work? Oh wait, I don’t recall any, but to be honest, you have never made an impact or had a significant role in Virginia politics, so I might not know off the top of my head. But, I typically don’t pay much attention to the bottom feeders who look for scraps and constantly 2nd guess those who have a seat at the table. If you aren’t happy in your mediocre job and career, why not whip up the courage to come do what I do on a yearly basis instead of hiding behind a computer keyboard or better yet, run for public office. You have all the answers, surely you could win any race you ran for based upon your principles and then certainly do a better job than the guys who have the guts to put their name on the ballots and stand for election.

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13 responses to “Don’t Hold Back, Ken, Tell Us How You Really Feel”

  1. Jim Bacon Avatar

    Ok, so we have established that you are the “President” of a big email list once owned by me and the Allen campaign and have no real qualifications to offer up competent criticism to anyone out there. Speaking of criticism, let’s take a look at your “expert analysis” of things. You claim in a nutshell that we had no principles and that folks like Bill Bolling and Bob McDonnell did. Ok, fair enough, but then please explain to me why your expert logic does not apply to Dick Black, Brad Marrs, Chris Craddock and Michael Golden? They were all principled candidates to a fault who also lost. Now why on earth would they have lost if they like Bill Bolling and Bob McDonnell ran on principles?

    I am sure your cowardly and lazy answer will be that they got swallowed up in the wave caused by the Kilgore defeat. Surely principled candidates such as these would overcome a Kilgore loss at the top of the ticket, especially if Bolling and McDonnell were able to. If that is your misguided belief, so be it, but let me fill you in on a little secret: No one really cares what you think. I am man enough to take the blame for the loss of this campaign though it had nothing to do with the reasons you so intuitively articulated. That said, you were correct in assuming I will be fine moving forward. I have worked my tail off for the last 11 years in this party and will continue to do so, very successfully I might add. My peers and friends are the only ones whose judgment of me matters and I suspect you are in an obscure minority who believe the drivel you write.

    Wayne Ozmore, the GOP’s 4th District C.D. Chair and a friend of mine recently sent me a famous Teddy Roosevelt quote (see below—the last line describes you perfectly) that I believe to be very appropriate and fitting for people like you. You see, it’s people like Wayne and myself who actually get out there and roll up our sleeves and get our hands dirty and work the long hours for the cause while folks like yourself and plenty of others like to sit back and type away on your computers and BLOGS, but in reality, each of you is kind of sad and pathetic in your own right. When you build up the same grit under your fingernails that guys like Wayne Ozmore and myself have, come back and we’ll talk, but in the meantime, why don’t you spare everyone your uninformed and laughable babble and try and earn a shred of credibility so that you don’t remain the laughing stock of Virginia.

    Bottom line Phil is this: If you were half the man Jerry Kilgore is, you might actually be respected and admired, but you aren’t worthy to even stand in his shadow and you know it.


    Ken Hutcheson

    P.S. Ignoring you and other nutjobs like Paul Jost was perhaps one of the most rewarding aspects of this campaign We may have lost in the end, but we did so with our dignity and pride intact and our principles firmly in place and by not selling out to you and your merry band of misfits, I am very much at peace with myself.

    “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where

    the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the

    arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who

    comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who

    does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends

    himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and

    who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with

    those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt

  2. Not Guy Incognito Avatar
    Not Guy Incognito

    Wow Ken, tell us how you really feel… Bitter much?

  3. Steve Haner Avatar
    Steve Haner

    I almost posted this yesterday when someone forwarded it to me. But I knew it was in the long run a mistake on Ken’s part to unload, as correct as he is, and no favor to post it.

    It is clear to me that the problem is really that Ken, who is after all trying to make a living, worked for the Senate incumbents two years ago. Forgotten of course are 1) the fact that he won those races, 2) the need to heal that breach if the 2005 candidate were to succeed 3) the way he got Jerry K. into solid second place in the 1997 AG’s primary, setting up a smooth nomination in 2001 and a smooth nomination for Governor in 2005. But a record of success is not rewarded in the Republican Party. Trust me – I speak from painful experience, and I dusted my shoes off when I left my last county committee meeting. The only way to put up with some of these people is to laugh on your way to the bank — which some consultants are fortunately doing.

  4. Barnie Day Avatar

    This is politics, guys. The only thing that separates the goats from the geniuses is the win. Hutch is the spear-catcher on this one–it comes with the territory–but he’s been in the arena. Haner’s been in it. I’m reminded of two quotes when I contemplate all the morning-after breast beating from the critic galary: R. E. Lee said (paraphrasing: “We’ve somehow managed to appoint our best generals to edit the newspapers.” And Eisenhower said of intellectuals (again, paraphrasing: “They use too many words to tell more than they know.” Did you know them personally, Phil? Were you there? How old are you, my friend?

  5. Anonymous Avatar

    Politics is a full contact sport and Hutch is simply bruised after losing an election. He was handicapped by his candidate and I give his guys points for running such a competitive campaign with essentially nothing backing them up.

    In particular, his press guys Tim and Tucker were amazing in their ability to keep Kilgore looking respectable when it was clear back in June that Jerry was in way over his head in terms of policy-wonkishness.

  6. Will Vehrs Avatar

    So true, Barnie.

    Just think if Kilgore had won. Warner waited too long to campaign with Kaine! Kaine didn’t run as a real Democrat! Kaine didn’t bash Bush enough! Anyone who harbored such thoughts during the campaign is strangely silent now.

    The armchair industry in Virginia is always booming.

  7. Anonymous Avatar

    Correction: Ken H. worked for Ken Stolle in the 1997 GOP Attorney General primary, and moved over to Kilgore afterwards. My memory is getting less and less trustworthy. SDH

  8. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    Steve Haner: When we meet will you show me the scars from unit committee politics? Or, are they all pyschic wounds? Maybe they left a discernible tic. I want to hear some stories at the least.

    I sat in a fund-raiser breakfast on the Peninsula earlier this year and listened Jerry Kilgore field sound and moonbat questions. I admired how he kept his composure and treated each person so respectfully. Politics strange stuff indeed. Pogo was one of the great philosophers of our time. (and so was Popeye – the cartoon, not the movie character cop).

  9. theShadow Avatar

    For someone who doesn’t care what Phil and the bloggers say, he certainly went out of his way to vent.

  10. Anonymous Avatar

    Hutch may be a hard worker, but running incumbent state Senate seat campaigns, or Bush in 2004 in Virginia, or even Kilgore’s original AG run, are nto exactly the tough races. This may have been the first really losable race Hutch ever ran… and he lost. And not just lost: took a 19 point plunge to defeat.

  11. Anonymous Avatar

    Bullfight critics ranked in rows;

    Crowd the enormous plaza full;

    But only one is there who knows;

    And he’s the man who fights the bull.

  12. Waldo Jaquith Avatar
    Waldo Jaquith

    I think I only have two things to add to this.

    First, Hutcheson’s comments were (presumably) made in confidence, a confidence that was violated when they were forwarded to many dozens of media outlets by Virginia Club for Growth.

    Second, I have a hard time holding anybody to comments that they make after they’ve lost a campaign. I figure candidates and campaign mangers get something like a seven-day free pass to say stupid, angry things. I’ve seen candidates and managers of all political stripes say dumb things, particularly right after the returns come in. I think it’s best to see those comments in their proper context, recognizing that they have the right to blow off a little steam.

  13. But Waldo, you posted the letter on your own blog.

    As for holding anybody to comments made after they’ve lost a campaign… you’re right. Hutcheson did lose the campaign. Unfortunately for empty suit Kilgore’s campaign, wild attacks were not reserved for after the campaign. Consider that the Kilgore campaign used the Washington Times as a forum to denigrate the Phil VanCleave-president of the 2nd Amendment group VCDL during the campaign. It would make more sense if you just said Hutcheson just hates guys named Phil.

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