I’ve never blogged much on Virginia politics. I know what the issues are. Having lived and worked in Northern Virginia for the past 13 years, commuted 90 miles from Stephens City to Washington DC and worked in both DC and Northern Virginia, I’m intimately familiar with the transportation issues, as well as jobs and economic challenges. Now that I’ve moved to Arlington, those issues have become even more relevant to my life.
That said, I still haven’t blogged about Virginia issues. My interests have always been national. That’s why it’s unusual for me to delve into the world of the Virginia primaries that are going to take place on Tuesday (August 23rd, for those of you who aren’t sure). I’ll be honest. It’s not my district. I live in the 31st. Ergo what goes on in the 36th District does not affect me directly. However, what happens in Virginia overall does affect me, and I have an interest in ensuring the best, brightest and most focused candidate goes to Richmond.
Rob has already blogged about Tito Munoz and Jeff Frederick. He’s exposed Tito’s near obsessive Hispandering and his baseless attacks on Jeff. I sat by and watched and agreed. This race shouldn’t be about ethnicity. It should be about issues. Issues such as the perpetual Northern Virginia gridlock and job incentives and taxes. Not about who which candidate is “the real Latino,” as one of his zealot supporters put on her Facebook page recently. And not until one of Tito’s frothing fans came over here and attacked me personally, did I decide to take a more active role in blogging about this race.
I’ve been aware of Jeff Frederick for quite a while. In 2003, the National Rifle Association saw it fit to endorse Jack Rollison over Jeff Frederick. Jack Rollison, who saw fit to call Virginia members of Virginia Citizens Defense League and Gun Owners of America “extremist and milita-esque [sic.].”
At the time of the endorsement, Rollison wasn’t even an NRA member. Jeff was. But Jeff wasn’t an establishment candidate, and Rollison was. You can guess how quickly Jack Rollison ran out and joined the NRA when that little tidbit came out!
Nonetheless, despite the establishment being completely against him, Jeff won, and he continued to do what was best for the people, not what was best for the politicians. The establishment didn’t like that.
Fast forward to today. Today Jeff Frederick is running for the state senate against Tito Munoz. Munoz, who was propelled into the spotlight during the 2008 elections by the McCain/Palin campaign. Munoz, who has the support of some of Virginia’s most established politicians – George Allen, Prince William County Supervisor Mike May and Fairfax County Supervisor Pat Herrity. He also garnered the endorsements of a Citizens United affiliate and FreedomWorks. Fair enough. I’m not questioning Tito’s conservative creds. He appears to be pretty conservative – for less government, lower taxes, etc.
But then again, so is Jeff Frederick. As he admitted in the debate I have posted below, he and Tito are pretty similar in their conservative views, and I dare say, Jeff has quite a few details about what he believes and about his record on his site. And quite a few endorsements, including (finally!) the NRA, VCDL (that saw it fit to endorse Jeff with the knowledge that he has been the true pro-Second Amendment candidate during his entire career), Americans for Prosperity, the Tea Party Express, and others have stated that Jeff is the best candidate to represent the 36th in Richmond.
So what’s the difference between the two?
As far as I can see, the big one is character. Only one candidate has repeatedly (and hypocritically) attacked his opponent. Only one candidate has barely focused on the issues affecting Northern Virginia today, but chose instead to focus on the non-issue of his opponent’s business practices, that were not only legal but were similarly practiced by the accuser himself. Only one candidate made his ethnicity an issue in this race. And that candidate was not Jeff Frederick.
I met Tito Munoz once at a Republican function. He seemed a nice, genuine enough guy. I appreciate the fact that he’s an immigrant who built a business here in the United States and has become a success. I appreciate that. But after seeing the way he conducted his campaign and the short debate below, I believe there’s only one candidate who is the right man for the job of taking on Toddy Puller in the next election.
And that man is Jeff Frederick.
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A few things I noted in this debate, as someone who worked in public affairs and broadcasting for nearly a decade.
1 – Tito started to lose his cool. He obviously has a temper and he very nearly pitched a tantrum on this show. If there’s one thing I do know, it’s that you never allow your opponent to ruffle you! NEVER! But it was quite obvious that when Jeff Frederick pulled out concrete, paper evidence that Tito attempted to take advantage of the same types of federal programs for “disadvantaged” minorities that helped make Jeff Frederick’s business a success, Tito began to lose it.
2 – Tito doesn’t understand the difference between federal and state affairs. When called on the carpet by Jeff about his references to federal issues, Tito tried to save face by mumbling inanities about how state senators should work together with Virginia’s senators in Washington… uh… yeah. OK. This isn’t the first time Tito got confused, either. Maybe he needs to actually understand the job before pretending he’s the right candidate for the job. I’m not the only one who thinks so. Greg Letiecq blogged it as well.
3 – Tito’s claim that Virginia needs a candidate who is there to serve the people, not make a name for himself seems spurious coming from someone who has been calling himself “Tito the Builder” and making public appearances in a Halloween costume and began to believe his own hype after Palin pointed the spotlight in his direction.
4 – And my final issue with Tito’s performance is the implication that somehow Virginia’s 36th District Senator somehow needs to treat immigrants differently and bond with the immigrant community in order to be a good representative of the people. I disagree. I’m an immigrant. A legal one. I don’t want preferential treatment. I don’t want my representative to bond with me as an immigrant. I want my representative to bond with me as a human being who has needs and rights just like any other. I am not different because I’m an immigrant. I have the same rights, I face the same challenges, and I have the same values as others who were born in America. And I’m sick and tired of politicians trying to pander to immigrants, making them feel different, special and somehow deserving of special attention.
As far as I can see, Tito Munoz is simply not ready for prime time. He doesn’t understand the job, he plays typical attack politics and he has likely alienated a lot of people with these tactics. Whoever is advising him should be fired, and Tito should go back to the drawing board and learn a bit more about the people whom he seeks to represent.