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Mitt Romney Rocks Manassas

By Greg L | 11 August 2012 | National Politics, Manassas City | 49 Comments

Mitt Romney comes to town, and the place just goes nuts.  There’s genuine appeal in the area for Romney and an extreme distaste for Obama to help draw a crowd, but the announcement of Paul Ryan as Romney’s running mate definitely put the excitement level over the top and today’s event was bigger and more energized than I would ever have expected.  In a place like Manassas, that liked Santorum and Ron Paul during the primaries, Paul Ryan is a pick that reassures a lot of people that Romney’s conservative rhetoric is going to be matched with deeds.

Access to this event was severely oversold, which for a national campaign seeking good national media coverage makes some sense, but for locals wanting to feel like they were getting an opportunity to meet a presidential candidate was not quite optimal.  Probably a fifth of the crowd had an opportunity to see Romney with their own eyes instead of watching a jumbotron in a parking lot, or seeing nothing at all.  The imagery for national media was great — huge, overflowing crowds for as far as you could see.  For local residents, used as more of a visual backdrop instead of engaged as voters to be courted, only the high energy atmosphere, plentiful supplies of water provided by the campaign, and the chance to “be there” for a pretty big historic event made it worthwhile.  In today’s modern campaigning that’s going to happen pretty often, although it would have made much more sense to put this in a bigger venue where more people could participate up close.  The PWC Fair running this week killed that chance, so this probably was the best location that could be found in the area.

Mayor Hal Parrish kicked things off with a good speech that focused on welcoming people to Manassas, what you’d expect a mayor to do.  Delegate Jackson Miller gave a really fired-up speech to get the crowd engaged and was one of the highlights.  His story about how Obama is touting that Obamacare “is still a BFD” got people fired up.  Having him speak was an excellent choice by the Romney campaign, as he was the best of the warm-up acts.  Delegate Barbara Comstock followed, giving a pretty unmemorable speech that she stumbled through, making me wonder why she was in the program at all.  Virtually no one in Manassas knows her, she’s hardly a good orator by any means, and while she has a connection with the Romney campaign such trivia is utterly meaningless to the crowd.

Then a big break ensued while we waited for the Romney motorcade to arrive and the travelling press pool to set up.  While that was happening one of the best orators in Virginia was sitting in the bleachers with nothing to do.  Having Delegate Scott Lingamfelter sit on his hands while there’s a long break in the program is an absolutely insane waste of talent.

Then the main act finally was ready.  We had George Allen, Bill Bolling and Bob McDonnell give very good speeches that brought back all the energy lost after Barbara Comstock let the crowd’s energy die down.  Then it was on to Vice Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan who really got the crowd going with a direct attack on Obama just as a VP candidate should do.  Ryan is a great speaker who spoke crisply off the cuff and his command of the issues is tremendous.  With a warm-up like that, the crowd was definitely ready for Romney.

Romney, as expected, focused on the economy. Sticking to that major issue is probably the smartest political strategy for his national campaign, although it would have been nice to see him talk about some other issues that local residents are also concerned with. You can tell by his sticking so strongly to a national script that the intent here was to play to a national audience instead of a strictly local one, and that’s fine. Above all else people in Manassas and Prince William County are most concerned about economic recovery and the incompetent way the current administration has bungled the job of getting people back to work and rebuilding our economy. The crowd loved the message and especially appreciated Romney speaking entirely off the cuff — not a teleprompter to be found anywhere. Romney presented a five point economic plan that included domestic energy production, reducing regulation and taxes, and cutting spending that the crowd appreciated a lot.

I’m not sure whether a Republican candidate for president has ever campaigned in Manassas before, but it certainly hasn’t happened lately. The attention is very welcome and hopefully Romney can bring his campaign tour to the Prince William County Fairgrounds later on this cycle where more folks could enjoy it. With ten thousand people eager to show up in a little place like the Harris Pavilion, I’ve no doubt twice that number would jump at the chance to see Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan and George Allen in a bigger place that would accommodate a large number of people more easily.  Let’s hope that happens.

Some additional notes:

Missing in action today at this historic event were PWC Chairman Corey Stewart, any of the members of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors (as far as I could tell), or Manassas City Councilmen Members other than Mark Wolfe, Ian Lovejoy and Mark Aveni.  Stewart was in Albemarle County campaigning, but I have no idea where the others were.  UPDATE: Pete Candland was there, but was relegated to the cheap seats along with the rest of us.  The Sheriff reports that Caddigan attended as well, but I never saw her.

A few dems showed up today, and true to form they tried to be disruptive by shouting during Paul Ryan’s speech.  Nice contrast to the respectful way that Republicans protested Obama’s campaign event in Clifton earlier this month.  On that note, it’s interesting to see that Obama couldn’t even fill a high school auditorium in Fairfax County, but Romney pulls a massive ten thousand person crowd to an outdoor event in Manassas.

The dems of course had to trot out a video attacking Mitt Romney’s pick of Paul Ryan, and who do you think shows up on it saying Paul Ryan is a bad guy? None other than Krystal Ball, of Rudolph the Sex Toy Nosed Reindeer fame. If this is the pinnacle of intellectual might Democrats can muster, Paul Ryan is going to end up at least as popular as Mitt Romney.

If you’re on Facebook, I have a few photos of today’s event up there.  This link should work to see them.

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  1. Maureen said on 11 Aug 2012 at 10:19 pm:
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    Today was an historic day for Manassas and I am glad I was able to a part of it.

  2. I Like Happy Hour said on 11 Aug 2012 at 11:28 pm:
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    Go figure that Corey Stewart was in some backwater promoting his own campaign instead of working for the 2012 Romney/Ryan ticket in his own backyard. Maybe the Romney folks told him there wouldn’t be booze at the Manassas event and he decided to skip it.

  3. Anonymous said on 11 Aug 2012 at 11:29 pm:
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    There is a picture of Ian Lovejoy at the rally on Facebook, so he was there.

  4. Anonymous said on 12 Aug 2012 at 8:01 am:
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    Stewart wasn’t “invited” and don’t let the pick of Ryan make you certain on how conservative Romney will be. Personally I like the fact tha he is closer to the middle than wherever it is people like Marshall are and as long as he doesn’t get too close to the middle he is exactly what I want.

  5. 2013 or 2012? said on 12 Aug 2012 at 8:20 am:
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    The Chairman was in Albemarle campaigning for himself when the 2012 Republican ticket was on display for the first (technically second) time EVER? Odd..

  6. Danielle Hollars said on 12 Aug 2012 at 8:20 am:
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    Wish I could’ve been there! I will definitely make it to the next one!

  7. Doug Brown said on 12 Aug 2012 at 12:09 pm:
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    Looked good on TV. Ryan is a very smart pick for Romney. He’s smart, can think on his feet and he keeps it civil.


  8. SaddleUp said on 12 Aug 2012 at 1:00 pm:
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    “The imagery for national media was great — huge, overflowing crowds for as far as you could see. ”

    Some clown on the Fairfax Underground said there were only a couple of
    hundred people in attendance. From the pics I’ve seen I’d say that was
    only their wishful thinking. According to a reply on one thread none of the
    people attending had a college education or any teeth. I hear desperation.

  9. Jon Wong said on 12 Aug 2012 at 1:25 pm:
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    Romney and Ryan brought down the house. Jackson Miller gave a great speech. Let’s hope the energy carries over through November .

  10. Sound Conservative said on 12 Aug 2012 at 5:48 pm:
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    Corey displayed great leadership by sticking to his obligations that were made prior to the Romney campaign stop. Rather than trying to be in the spotlight like most long term entrenched politicians, he did the right thing to hold firm to his commitments. A rare trait amongst politicians in this day and age.

  11. Prester John said on 12 Aug 2012 at 7:51 pm:
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    The morons at Fairfax Underground probably can’t comprehend the scene of thousands of perfectly behaved people of all ages patiently standing in line for three hours to listen to what the FU believes are a couple rich white guys whose sole purpose in life is to cut taxes for the rich, destroy Medicare, and keep our children ignorant (or so said the signs held by the pitifully small group of BHO/Moveon types).

  12. Done with 'em said on 12 Aug 2012 at 10:12 pm:
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    “Corey displayed great leadership …”

    Like with the slush funds and ethics resolution…sure

  13. Steve Rogers said on 13 Aug 2012 at 7:55 am:
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    Caddigan in the cheap seats. Riley on a first-name basis with Ryan whom he’s known since the early 90s. Pass the popcorn on that one.

  14. Home Team said on 13 Aug 2012 at 8:48 am:
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    Organizing For America (The Obama Campaign) held their grand opening in a space next to the Philly Tavern on Main Street. While the press reported 200 or so “supporters” showing up to hear Terry Mcauliffe and Gerry Connolly speak, it didn’t look that well attended to me. I watched them leave from my spot in line, along with the thousands of people waiting to get in. I also watched the 20 or so people depart from the event to go participate in the counter protest. A couple of observations:

    The only “elected” office Terry McAullife has ever held was DNC chair. Members of his own party didn’t think him a great choice as nominee for governor, so there’s that. In a state where business is key to the economic vitality of all, his major claim to business is he made some smart venture capital investments in a telecom company, that went public, making millions on the sale of the stock. The company Global Crossings, later went bankrupt, but Terry was long gone. His comments reported by the press, attacking Mitt Romney’s association with Bain Capital are the height of hypocrisy.

    Gerry Connolly was speaking in a City that he does not represent. Those few local elected Democrats that have any ties to Manassas were no-shows. I saw several “Educator’s for Obama” tee shirts, and not a few “Springfield Democrat” shirts as well. According to the local paper, the closest thing they had to a Manassas party type, was a county district party chair.

    Looks like Obama team are the “Visitors” in this game. Here’s to the home-team: Manassas Mayor and City Council members. Delegate Jackson Miller, and Congressman Frank Wolf. PWC BOCS members and Delegate Lingamfelter. All with ties to, or representing the people of Manassas City, and Greater Manassas.

  15. Home Team said on 13 Aug 2012 at 8:50 am:
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    “While the press reported 200 or so “supporters” showing up to hear Terry Mcauliffe and Gerry Connolly speak, it didn’t look that well attended to me. I watched them leave from my spot in line, along with the thousands of people waiting to get in” [TO THE ROMNEY EVENT]

  16. waterva said on 13 Aug 2012 at 10:14 am:
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    The first group of speakers really was a let down, except for the state delegate from Manassas. That guy really got the crowd fired up. He actually made some good points that no other speakers (including the candidates) were willing to make.

    Im from Alexandria. Manassas, you guys are lucky to have him.

  17. Ronald said on 13 Aug 2012 at 1:16 pm:
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    I’m still voting for Virgil Goode, the only true conservative.

  18. Just the Facts said on 13 Aug 2012 at 1:43 pm:
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    Ronald - and how are you going to feel when Romney/Ryan lose Virginia by a margin just under the number of votes Goode gets, and the election nationally is so close that Virginia gives Obama just enough electoral college votes to win reelection?

    I get it that Romney is not the conservative you want, but you have to admit that he’s a whole lot better than Obama.

  19. Jon Wong said on 13 Aug 2012 at 3:29 pm:
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    A vote for Virgil Goof is a vote for Obama!!

  20. F Koman said on 14 Aug 2012 at 5:26 am:
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    I really can’t wait for the ticket to win and do away with my capital gains tax completely, and drop the death tax while they’re at it. I don’t spend much time worrying about abortion and jobs, for me and mine it’s all about the Benjamins. My family money and no taxes on the income mean I don’t have to work anyway, so I can’t wait to cast my votes for Romney Ryan. Keep me rich, biatch! Now, where did I put all my extra voter ID’s?

  21. Paul Madden said on 14 Aug 2012 at 6:56 am:
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    What a wonderful (huge, huge, huge) gathering to show our support for the next POTUS and his brilliant VP. Quite the contrast when you consider the OWS morans and their behavior. Even the children were well behaved on Saturday and that says a lot about the parents, don’t you think? I was slightly amused to see the sheriff strut his stuff because he is the RINO personified. Word’s out there (to use old dirty Harry’s words) that Glen Hill was seen visiting Obama Headquarters!

  22. Ronald said on 14 Aug 2012 at 11:10 am:
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    My vote is my vote, it doesn’t belong to anyone else. I’m voting for the person I want to be President.

  23. Tom Jefferson said on 14 Aug 2012 at 1:55 pm:
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    “My vote is my vote, it doesn’t belong to anyone else. I’m voting for the person I want to be President.”

    Which is exactly why we have an electoral college.

  24. Just the Facts said on 14 Aug 2012 at 4:01 pm:
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    Ronald - no where in my comment did I tell you how to vote. I respect fully that it’s your vote to cast as you chose. All I request is that you consider the question I asked you. Sometimes we have to settle for something that’s not our first choice to avoid a much worse outcome.

  25. freedom said on 14 Aug 2012 at 8:23 pm:
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    Just the Facts — Couldn’t agree with you more, of course!!

  26. zuzu said on 14 Aug 2012 at 11:17 pm:
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    Hey Ronald, Romney isn’t necessarily the Conservative I want either but he beats the hell out of the Obama Socialist we’re gonna get if we vote for Goode! There’s no room for error in this election, never before have we had so much to lose…

  27. Ronald said on 15 Aug 2012 at 10:17 am:
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    Maybe when we stop voting for the compromise we will finally get the candidates elected that we want.

  28. BristowBristling said on 15 Aug 2012 at 1:12 pm:
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    Never going to happen with the electoral college system. Popular vote, maybe.

  29. Anonymous said on 15 Aug 2012 at 4:14 pm:
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    We need a three party system. There is no room for moderates in either party now.

  30. Cynic said on 15 Aug 2012 at 9:42 pm:
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    Gov Romney - Dog on roof - Comment by BHO

    Just wondering, Did BHO have his dogs rare, medium, or well done?

  31. Riley said on 15 Aug 2012 at 11:26 pm:
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    Anon 4:14 — I disagree. The GOP and Dems ARE the two centrist parties in America. Our parties disagree over issues and policy, but agree on the broad framework of the system within which we operated. As a result, we have “small” parties whereas before our representative republic was established, we had “big” parties that competed over what system we would have. THAT is why a viable third-party catering to moderates isn’t possible (not to mention that you have those moderates who are fiscally conservative but socially liberal as well as those who are the flip side of that and fiscally liberal, but socially conservative.)

  32. Just the Facts said on 16 Aug 2012 at 6:49 am:
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    Ronald - in the primaries we did not compromise. We voted for the candidates we most preferred. The consensus of Republicans nationwide is that Romney is our candidate. He may not be the conservative many Republicans would prefer, but he is the candidate that Republicans nationwide have chosen after a very gruelling nomination contest.

    We could make a statement and vote for a non-Republican who has no chance of winning. Or, we can join together behind our Party’s nominee to send Barack Obama back to Chicago where he can do no more harm as a left-wing law school professor.

  33. Ronald said on 16 Aug 2012 at 8:39 am:
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    When we stop voting for moderate candidates they’ll have to nominate true Conservatives to get our votes

  34. Just the Facts said on 16 Aug 2012 at 9:14 am:
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    Here are the two possible outcomes. We elect (1) a moderate (Romney) running with a conservative who is one of the most intelligent people ever nominated as a candidate for president or vice-president (Ryan), or (2) the most far-left candidate ever nominated by a major US political party (Obama) running with a dunce (Biden).

    No other candidate stands even a remote chance of winning. A vote for anyone other than Romney/Ryan is a vote for Obama/Biden.

    As a conservative, the choice to me is clear.

  35. Ronald said on 16 Aug 2012 at 10:37 am:
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    A Vote for whomever is a vote for that person… Nothing else.

  36. Tom Jefferson said on 16 Aug 2012 at 10:59 am:
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    “Ronald said on 16 Aug 2012 at 10:37 am:
    A Vote for whomever is a vote for that person… Nothing else.”

    I think H.W. Bush and Al Gore would disagree. Had Perrot or Nader not been on the ballot, there’s a very good chance the outcomes of their respective elections would have been different. In Gore’s case, it certainly would have been different.

  37. Ronald said on 16 Aug 2012 at 11:09 am:
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    But there is no way I was ever going to vote for a moderate mormon in the first place.

  38. Tom Jefferson said on 16 Aug 2012 at 3:45 pm:
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    “But there is no way I was ever going to vote for a moderate mormon in the first place.”

    Would you have voted for a Socialist ChristoMuslimwhatever, or would have just stayed home? Do you want to see Obama defeated?

  39. Done with 'em said on 16 Aug 2012 at 8:02 pm:
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    OK Ron, its official. You’re an idiot.

    It’s mindless numskulls like you who would hand this nation over to a person INTENT on destroying it. So have your little “vote” and when your grandchildren ask you what you did to stop the slide, you can tell them you had a hissy fit and voted for a person who COULDN’T win thereby installing a person who destroyed the country.

    You’re like a guy who drills a hole in the lifeboat as he complains that the ship sank.

  40. Just the Facts said on 17 Aug 2012 at 7:01 am:
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    I’m not a Mormon, and can’t go along with some things they believe, but many, many good Republicans are Mormon. Being Mormon is not a valid reason to oppose Romney. His faith is not a hindrance to my supporting him at all. Moreover, it will be a crime if Obama gets reelected because just enough Republicans were bigoted against his faith to give Obama the edge.

  41. Ronald said on 17 Aug 2012 at 12:24 pm:
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    Bigoted ? Now who is supporting the leftist agenda ?

    I have a set of principles on which I base my vote on. When you want me to abandon those just because the Republican party has nominated someone you are no better than the mindless slaves of the democrat party.

    I’m not voting for Obama, so don’t try to pin anything like that on me. If Romney loses to this clown it is because the GOP didn’t nominate a conservative.

  42. Done with 'em said on 17 Aug 2012 at 4:53 pm:
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    No Ron, It’s because you had a hissy fit and threw your vote away. You really are like the guy who drills a hole in the lifeboat while complaining that the ship sank.
    Wake up. A vote for Goode in this close environment IS a vote for Obama. You can stick to your twisted rationale if you want, but you and people like the Ron Paul types would rather defeat Romney and have a “I told you so” pity party than to take action that actually defeats Obama. You’re thinking is just pathetic.

  43. Rich said on 18 Aug 2012 at 2:23 pm:
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    Perfection does not exist in this world least of all in politics. Romney is more conservative than Obama, although he is far (likely quite far) from a perfect conservative. But there is little doubt that a Romney administration would be far less pro EPA and anti business than the Obama administration, there is little confusion about that.

    In law a person can be said to have engaged in an intentional act if the result of his action (or inaction) is forseeable. To the extent that not voting for one candidate forseeably enables the other candidate to win, it may be said that the person not voting has, in effect, voted for the winning candidate. Thus, regardless of semantics, failing to vote for a less-than-perfect conservative candidate Romney is effectively a vote for the more liberal Obama. To think otherwise ignore reality and is quite innocently childlike. The results, however, are quite real.

    If one ultimately wants a conservative administration then it behooves one to take a step in that direction. A successful vote for Romney does not a fully conservative goal achieve, but it is at least a step in a more conservative direction than another four years of the current administration.

  44. Ronald said on 18 Aug 2012 at 2:32 pm:
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    I’m fine with you guys voting for Romney if you think he is the candidate that best represents your interests. I don’t, I know what he is. I’m just not going to vote for him.

  45. Head in sand... Not said on 18 Aug 2012 at 8:11 pm:
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    Good for you Ronald. When you can’t find a job, pay more taxes and pay higher healthcare costs we don’t want to hear you whine about it.

  46. Done with 'em said on 19 Aug 2012 at 8:24 am:
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    Amen, “head in sand…not”

  47. Ronald said on 19 Aug 2012 at 9:03 am:
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    Well, sounds like you guys will complain for me, nominate a moderate and repeat the process.

  48. Doug Brown said on 19 Aug 2012 at 1:53 pm:
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    From an idiot’s perspective, ‘allah’ Joe Biden : “I’m glad you all voted for W in 2004!”

    From my perspective, which some might argue is also idiotic, the best thing about Romney’s choice of Paul Ryan is that it introduces an alternative political rhetoric into American politics, one that has been sorely missing for years i.e., civility which allows, in fact, it demands a more thoughtful discussion of the issues. Thus, instead of calling Ronald an “idiot,” why not just state why you belive he is wrong and leave it at that?

  49. The Bulletproof Monk said on 28 Aug 2012 at 9:41 am:
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    “Good for you Ronald. When you can’t find a job, pay more taxes and pay higher healthcare costs we don’t want to hear you whine about it.”

    This Ronald cat is a moron…and obviously does not play chess well. He’d be sitting at game after game of losses — all self-inflicted because he never deviates his strategy.
    And then he’s accuse his opponents of cheating.

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