Given the ongoing debacle over Virginia's presidential primary ballot, I imagine that the only knowledge many of my fellow RedStaters may have of Virginia's Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling is that he is Mitt Romney's state campaign chairman and a gubernatorial rival to Tea Party favorite and fighter of Obamacare Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. Neither of these items are likely to endear him to the RedState community or to the conservative movement at large.
Speaking as a committed supporter of both Rick Perry and Ken Cuccinelli, I think this would be a crying shame. That's why I want to share with you my impressions of Bill Bolling. Admittedly, those impressions are not based on much more than what I have garnered from meeting and speaking with the lieutenant governor a few times on the campaign trail, plus whatever I've picked up from reading the news and staying abreast of Virginia politics. Regardless, what knowledge I do have, I would like to share with all of you. The two-part video below is a recording I shot of the lieutenant governor's talk to the University of Virginia College Republicans on April 15, 2008 (apologies in advance for shakiness and for the lack of transcript). Skip to about the 3:00 mark to get into actual content of his talk.
I'll be honest: I don't know what went on in RPV headquarters during the ballot certification process. I don't know if favoritism by any members of the state central committee had any role to play Romney qualifying for the ballot on basis of the number of his signatures, while Gingrich and Perry were subjected to greater scrutiny. I don't know who truly owns a greater share of the blame for this whole mess: the RPV, the candidates' campaigns, or the rules themselves.
But I do know this: Bill Bolling is a good man and a good conservative, and conservative activists nationwide shouldn't walk away with any other impression. He's no RINO or "moderate Republican", and I do not believe he would be involved in any shady dealings involving the primary ballot certifications.
Bill Bolling is one of the most hard-working, genuine individuals you could ever meet working in politics. He understands that there exists, as he put it, a "fundamental difference" between those who want to take our country on a path towards greater liberty, greater prosperity, and greater security, and those who want to remake our society along a socialistic model. He understands that the answer to the challenges facing us is not bigger government, but lower taxes, lower spending, and more freedom. True, he could be fairly labeled as the "establishment" candidate, but that has far less to do with ideology and everything to do with the fact that, as lieutenant governor for the past six years, he has tirelessly campaigned for Republicans up and down the Commonwealth. His office hasn't given him much opportunity to take direct action on the issues, but he has poured his energy into the hard work of shoring up and growing the party.
Your Mileage, of course, May Vary, and for all the above, I still plan on casting a ballot to nominate Ken Cuccinelli to be Virginia's next governor in 2013. That being said, should Bill Bolling garner the party's nomination, I will enthusiastically support his campaign. Hopefully, his connection with the ballot controversy and his support for Mitt Romney will not prevent other from doing likewise.