Congressman Bob Goodlatte Discusses Debate
- Litsa Pappas
Posted: Tue 6:13 PM, Sep 18, 2012
Democrat Andy Schmookler challenged Republican Congressman Bob Goodlatte to a debate. He asked him more than a month ago and Schmookler says he is still waiting for a response.
A WHSV reporter caught up with Goodlatte on Tuesday to see if he is willing to debate Schmookler. He said he is definitely going to do this debate.
“We’re working on setting the times now,” said Goodlatte. “We have to be sure that Congress is going to be in adjournment, so I won’t be in Washington on a time we set a debate. But we’re about at the point where we know when that’s going to happen so we look forward to finding a time.”
Schmookler says multiple groups have reached out to Goodlatte and he refuses to set up a time for a debate. Schmookler says a debate would give voters more of a choice in the political process.
Date Not Set for Schmookler-Goodlatte Debate
The clock is ticking until you decide who will represent Virginia’s sixth district in congress.
Democrat Andy Schmookler challenged Congressman Bob Goodlatte for a debate.
Goodlatte said he plans to debate Schmookler before election day.
“We’re working on setting the times now. We have to be sure that congress is going to be in adjournment, so I won’t be in Washington on a time we set a debate, but we’re about at the point where we know when that’s going to happen so we look forward to finding a time,” Goodlatte said.
Schmookler said his opponent is trying to buy time.
He said four organizations have reached out to Goodlate to set a date.
Schmookler said Goodlatte has not allowed anything to be scheduled.
“Even if we have them after congress recesses.There is no reason we can’t get them well set up now that I can think of. I would like to give him the benefit of the doubt, but I think he’s trying to run out the clock,” Schmookler said.
Julia Smyers with the James Madison University Democrats said she is planning to vote for Schmookler.
But she said for those who haven’t made up their mind, a debate would help them decide.
“I think they’d be more informed and be able to make a more educated decision if they see the two people that are running against each other actually talk face to face,” Smyers said.
Schmookler Out To Overturn ‘Destructive’ Political System
- Preston Knight
Originally published July 24, 2012
The way Andy Schmookler sees it, the race to represent the 6th District pits him against an irresistible force that has also been an immovable object.
Schmookler, an author from Shenandoah County, spoke to about 50 people at the Adona Music store in downtown Harrisonburg on Monday night. He is the Democratic challenger to 20-year incumbent Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Roanoke, in November.
In those 10 two-year terms, Schmookler said, America has fallen victim to a “destructive force on the political right” that cares more about power and wealth than the people.
Republicans only tout the ideology of small government when it serves their interest, he said. For example, they attack President Barack Obama for his health care reform that mandates people to have a plan, although the GOP favored the same system in the 1990s, Schmookler said.
“We are up against a sick and broken spirit,” he said. “It’s not conservatism or patriotism [driving it]. It pretends to be those things. It’s dishonesty … not [looking out] for the greater good.”
Schmookler, 66, is a newcomer to politics but a veteran of the issues that he says are corrupting America through his writings, teaching and speaking on local radio. In addition to the GOP’s shortcomings, the media shares blame for not telling the full story of the country’s “inequalities,” Schmookler said.
Democrats are not immune to fault, either, he contends.
“Is there something about being a liberal that makes you a wimp?” Schmookler said.
His plan to turn the country around includes raising taxes on the richest Americans and creating a voucher system that controls how much money can be given to a candidate.
In its Citizens United decision of 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court prohibits the government from limiting independent political spending by corporations and unions.
“It’s the most disgraceful decision since Dred Scott [ruling that African-Americans had no rights of citizenship],” said Schmookler, who has raised about $800,000 less than Goodlatte during his campaign for Congress, according to online records.
Vouchers would solve the problem of large private donors influencing votes through donations, Schmookler said.
“The role of money in politics is simply an obscenity,” he said.
Schmookler admits that, if elected, his plan will take a while to execute. But he’s up for the challenge.
“We’ve got to awaken the whole country,” he said. “This is a wounded country.”
Schmookler Plans Pair Of Speeches
- Preston Knight
Originally published July 20, 2012
Democrat Andy Schmookler, who hopes to unseat U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Roanoke, in this fall’s election, will try to drum up support for his underdog campaign in the coming days with two events in the central Valley.
The congressional challenger will be a featured speaker at the Shenandoah County Democratic Committee annual picnic Saturday and will then talk to voters in downtown Harrisonburg on Monday.
The picnic is at 5 p.m. at the Edinburg town park. Anyone is welcome to attend.
At 7 p.m. Monday at Adona Music in Harrisonburg, Schmookler will deliver a speech titled “The Real Threat to Our American Liberties” and answer questions, according to a news release. Adona is at 34 S. Main St.
Schmookler, 66, is an author who lives in Shenandoah County. A Harvard graduate and former college professor, he has never run for political office before.
Goodlatte, 59, is seeking his 11th twoyear term in Congress. He has always earned at least 60 percent of the popular vote in the 6th Congressional District Election, a reliably conservative area that straddles Interstate 81 and includes much of the Shenandoah Valley.
In June, the incumbent knocked off the first Republican primary challenger of his career when he received 66 percent of the district’s vote against Shenandoah County farmer Karen Kwiatkowski. She was also a newcomer to politics.
Kwiatkowski grew frustrated during her campaign when Goodlatte declined to debate her. Schmookler said he would formally challenge the incumbent to a series of debates soon.
Goodlatte has refused most debate challenges in his congressional career, saying he thinks it’s best to carry his message to voters directly, such as through phone calls or door-to-door visits.
The Cavalier Daily
Congressional candidate addresses UDems
Originally published February 16, 2012
Democratic Congressional candidate Andy Schmookler spoke to about 80 students at the University Democrats meeting yesterday evening in Clark Hall about his campaign to be the House of Representatives from Virginia’s 6th district.
Schmookler says he believes the nation’s biggest problem is a political dynamic, involving both major parties in different roles, that has crippled our capacity to deal constructively with any of the challenges America faces.
While acknowledging that the economic downturn, climate change and healthcare as important issues, Schmookler said problems within the political system fuel all of these.
“The crisis has to do with our incapacity to deal with any of these issues in a constructive and honest way,” Schmookler said.
Schmookler said he hopes his campaign can capitalize on the larger political audience during this presidential election year, and deliver an important political message.
“I have made my campaign into as good an instrument as I know how to strike a meaningful blow,” he said. “If I can prevail…it will send a message and have an impact at the national level: people power can still defeat the money power.”
Schmookler said he recognizes he is running in the state’s most conservative district and does not have access to as much funding as his opponent, Republican incumbent Bob Goodlatte.
“I will be lucky if I am outspent 10-to-1,” Schmookler said
He added, however, that he may have a shot because members of both parties are displeased with the current political situation.
“I think that people get it that I am not faking it,” Schmookler said.
Elections will be held Nov. 6.
Goodlatte’s Opponent Says Balanced Budget Amendment Fiscally Irresponsible
Originally broadcast November 16, 2011
Later this week the U.S. House is expected to vote on a balanced budget amendment that was introduced by a Congressman from the valley.
Congressman Bob Goodlatte says the amendment would help the economy by driving down the deficit and sending an example to the world that America’s finances are under control.
It would require the federal government to have a balanced budget except in times of war, or unless a supermajority votes to run a deficit.
But his opponent in the next year’s election says it would be fiscally irresponsible to pass that amendment.
Dr. Andrew Schmookler is a candidate for Virginia 6th district against Goodlatte.
Schmookler says he does not like the balanced budget amendment and says the right step to take is to spend more money.
“It’s going to take away from government the major tools it has to help. We need to run surpluses during the boom times and then run deficits during the bust times. And that helps even things out and keeps people’s lives from being disrupted.”
Schmookler also says this is the time to borrow more money to help put people back to work.
Congressional candidate: Political culture is ‘diseased’
- Calvin Trice
Originally published November 17, 2011
STAUNTON — The American political system is diseased and has been twisted to favor the interests of the wealthy over the poor, said a Shenandoah Valley writer running to represent the 6th U.S. House of Representatives District.
Andrew Schmookler said Wednesday he believes the political culture turning against truth.
“It is my conviction that … we are in a profound national crisis as great as we have ever faced as a country,” Schmookler told an audience at Mary Baldwin College. The Mary Baldwin Young Democrats sponsored Schmookler’s talk, which took place inside MBC’s Francis Auditorium.
A political culture is taking hold, he said, “in which the truth is regularly being defeated by the lie.”
Schmookler, 65, is an author living in Rockingham County who is running for the Democratic nomination to oppose incumbent U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-6th, in next year’s election. Schmookler believes the current, bipartisan effort to cut government spending during a sluggish economy is wrong.
But the government should cut back after the economy turns around, Schmookler said.
He favors closing tax loopholes and raising taxes on the richest Americans to even out the tax burdens back to 1990s levels.
He also wants to create tiers so the wealthiest are taxed at a higher marginal rate than those making less.
The government should establish a public option for health care insurance. If the private sector doesn’t provide adequate care, the country should go to a single-payer system, he believes.
Too many citizens are suffering from their inability to get good jobs, proper health care and good education for their children a result of a political force, mainly Republican, skewing power in favor of the powerful, he told the audience.
“People have come to recognize that whatever it is that’s going on in America, something is wrong,” Schmookler said. “Not all of that is a result of the disease in the political system, but a lot of it is,” he said.
He believes Democratic leadership hasn’t been forceful enough to right the nation’s political wrongs. Traditional conservative Republican ideology was respectable, but the current GOP too often values political power over national interests, Schmookler said.
Schmookler knows his candidacy is a long shot against a 10-term incumbent in one of the state’s most reliably Republican districts.
“I’ll be outspent 10-to-one if I am lucky,” he said.
It’s urgent that the nation begin to address problems with the political culture and growing social inequities immediately, he said.
“The longer we wait, the more difficult it will be to turn this around,” Schmookler said.
Schmookler’s books include “The Parable of the Tribes: The Problem of Power in Social Evolution” and “Debating the Good Society: A Quest to Bridge America’s Moral Divide.” He has been married April Moore for 25 years. The couple have three grown children.
The News Leader: http://www.newsleader.com/article/20111117/NEWS01/111170320
Hopeful speaks of declining political system
- Bob Stuart
Originally published November 17, 2011
STAUNTON — Sixth District Congressional candidate Andy Schmookler sees an American political system that is at low ebb and that is one reason why he is running next year to unseat incumbent Rep. Bob Goodlatte. On Wednesday night, the Democrat, author and holder of a doctorate from University of California atBerkeley, talked about his perceptions of the troubled political system to Mary Baldwin College Young Democrats. Schmookler, 65, a Shenandoah County resident, has never run for political office.
But the crisis in America made him reconsider.
“As great as any we have ever faced in this country,” he said of the country’s current state. Schmookler felt he might offer an impact that mattered. He said he saw an opportunity in the 6th District to affect change in America. He knows his odds for success are long.
“We are in the most Republican district in Virginia,” said Schmookler, who estimates he will be outspent 10-to-1 by Goodlatte.
“If we could show the Democratic Party you don’t have to be so bullied … to stand up and fight and fight for the people,” he said.
He said his campaign would be about people power and would help expose the truth. The truth is missing in America, the Democratic candidate said.
“We live in a country now where the truth in the political system is regularly being defeated by the lie,” he said.
During the past decade, Schmookler said the top economic gains went to the top one percent of the wealthy. Economic progress over the past 50 years for younger families has been wiped out, he said. But Schmookler said the American electorate has not been engaged enough to bring the necessary change. He said the result has been a political system “that has shown contempt for the Constitution and the most lawless presidency from 2001 to 2009. All of these things have been visible and the American people have slept through it. Never until now, have we had a political force at center stage that had so little allegiance to truth, to mercy,” Schmookler said.
He said both major political parties have serious defects.
The Republican Party, he said, speaks of conservatism and says they are patriots, but are instead radical.
Republicans, Schmookler said, have held the country hostage. Republicans have only thought of improving their political advantage in the past decade, he said. Schmookler said even past Republican corruption paled by today’s abuses.
“Even with Nixon’s abuses of power he had some fundamental connection to responsibility,” Schmookler said of the Republican president who resigned from office in 1974.
He said Republicans have focused their efforts on assuring President Obama’s failure during a time of national crisis.
“When the president fails at such a time, the country suffers,” he said.
He does not spare the Democrats from criticism.
He wonders if it is worse to be destructive or “spineless.” He said Democrats didn’t wage a strong enough fight during the George W. Bush presidency.
Sixth District Democrats will choose their nominee in the spring. The likely format is a convention.
Potential Goodlatte Challenger Would Have Voted “No” On Budget Act
- Gene Marrano
Originally published on August 4, 2011
Would-be candidate Andy Schmookler is looking to unseat Congressman Bob Goodlatte - a tall task if there ever was one. He wants to earn the Democrat nomination to run against Goodlatte in the 2012 election.
Harvard and Cal-Berkley educated – and once selected by Esquire magazine as one of the people who are changing the nation – Schmookler isn’t all that crazy about the debt ceiling compromise, which saw many votes from both sides of the aisle cast against it before being passed and signed into law. Sixty-six Republican members opposed the legislation along with 95 Democrats.
“Bad behavior is being rewarded,” said Schmookler, noting that the debt ceiling had been raised dozens of times in the past without having other issues attached to it. “You don’t play politics with it,” added Schmookler, a long time fixture on the radio in the Shenandoah Valley as a political commentator, who has also been heard on NPR also.
Schmookler called the debt ceiling/deficit reduction debate “a violation of our political norms,” and sees a pattern of bad political conduct that has been “scandalous” over the past decade; behavior he says is rewarded because no one confronts them on it. He also says President Obama did not insist forcefully enough that the debt ceiling issue be handled on its own, without being attached to a deficit reduction bill. Democrats in particular said Schmookler have done a poor job of confronting bad behavior from the opposing party, and have not used the bully pulpit to their advantage.
In any case it’s the “crash of the economy” and the worst economic times since the Great Depression that have set the country back, according to Schmookler, and the new debt ceiling bill will not address that. He claims that the majority of citizens polled and most politicians – even Republicans – were okay with tax increases for the wealthiest Americans, or just letting the Bush era tax cuts for the wealthiest expire. This in spite of data that shows the top 25% of wage earners now pay over 86% of income taxes and that the bottom 50% pay only 2.7%.
Schmookler is also critical that the Tea Party has been able to “extort really destructive demands” from the rest of the Republican Party, while “holding a gun to the American economy.” Meanwhile the Democrats have demurred to those demands, something he is very critical of. He also said the party should have run stronger campaigns in 2010, since he believes most of the nation was okay with tax increases on the wealthiest at the time. He claims that most Dems ran away from that issue, and from their support of the health care legislation many had voted for.
That didn’t help in many cases anyway and numerous Democrat incumbents wound up being voted out of office. “The Democrats were out messaged on every issue… People went to the polls believing falsehoods,” said Schmookler, who saw a repeat of that pattern in the debt ceiling vote.
Andy Schmookler may have a very uphill battle in his quest to unseat Bob Goodlatte next year, but said he will run – if nominated – as “the candidate who speaks the truth.” His criticism of the debt ceiling compromise may only be the beginning.
The Roanoke Star Sentinel: http://newsroanoke.com/?p=12375
Taking on Goodlatte
- Dan Radmacher
Originally published on June 22, 2011
During my tenure at The Roanoke Times, I saw several novice candidates step up to take on long-time congressional incumbents. All were enthusiastic. Most weren’t deluded about their real chances against the power and advantages of incumbency.
Some were better prepared or better educated than others. Some, frankly, were a few cards short of a full deck. But there was almost always something inspiring about the energy and passion they brought to what most would see as a hopeless cause.
I had the chance last week to meet with Andy Schmookler, who is seeking the Democratic nomination to run against Rep. Bob Goodlatte in 2012. I spent a good hour with Schmookler at Mill Mountain Coffee in Roanoke. I don’t know what his chances are against Goodlatte, but Schmookler has put his fingers on a number of disparate threads and pulled them together in a way that people really ought to be listening to.
As he puts it, currents that have flowed throughout American history have come together in a confluence to form a unified, destructive force on the American right. These currents include corporate greed, an imperialist impulse and a “certain kind of religiosity” that highlights divisiveness and is plagued by stunning hypocrisy.
That force depends on lies to sustain it, Schmookler says, lies that defeat the truth and prevent democracy from functioning the way it should. It depends on sewing a divisiveness that prevents Americans from coming together to find solutions to common problems. It directs people’s antagonism toward society’s most vulnerable and is dedicated to concentrating wealth and power in as few hands as possible, with absolutely no interest in doing anything for the common good.
If you think about what Schmookler says and apply it to current events – the dishonest debates over global warming and health care reform, for instance, or the demonization of Muslims and undocumented immigrants – it’s easy to fit the current state of the Republican Party into the narrative he builds. Whether that complex message will connect to or resonate with voters remains to be seen, of course, but Schmookler is dedicated to trying.
“I want to call attention to the ideals of American society and the disparity between those ideals and the politicians they support,” he said.
Take the looming crisis on the debt ceiling. Schmookler condenses the Republican’s grossly irresponsible position down to a powerful statement: ” ‘Meet our demands or we’ll hurt America.’ That’s what they’re saying, and it says something about people who are willing to take that position.”
Schmookler hopes that he can open some eyes by speaking with honesty and integrity. “I’m counting on the electorate to be as decent as I think they are and as decent as they see themselves.”
I don’t know how successful Schmookler’s campaign will be, but I wish him luck in getting his message out.
Dan Radmacher: http://bloggingdan.com/2011/06/22/taking-on-goodlatte/
Interview with Democrat vying for 6th district nomination
Originally published on April 18, 2011
Dr. Andy Schmookler seeks Democratic nomination for the 6th district
Dr. Andrew Bard Schmookler, 65 is vying for the 6th district Democratic nomination in May to run against Republican Congressman Bob Goodlatte in 2012.
Dr. Schmookler is a writer living in Shenandoah County two miles from West Virginia near Orkney Springs. He spends time writing a blog at nonsoblind.org. He is married with three children.
“I feel that what I’m fighting for is the soul of America. …It is a grave crisis this country now faces,” says Dr. Schmookler.
He is using friends for his campaign staff and admits that “There’s no way I’m going to match [the funds] that the incumbent can raise.” He’ll get his message out hoping to level the playing field and making “David’s slingshot a match for his [Goodlatte] Goliath’s sword.”
He said his campaign is “deeply committed to truthfulness” something he believes is lacking in politics today. He says he is not a generic Democrat. He has an “unusual and powerful message.”
“The country is acting like it is normal politics when forces that we’re not confronting actually are degrading it.” His campaign theme reflects his message – “Let’s talk about the elephant in the room – It is a crisis, an emergency.” Schmookler said he feels “duty bound to do everything that’s in my power to protect the country from going down the tubes.”
He plans to bring out Goodlatte’s untruths when telling constituents he’s on their side when he is not. Schmookler called Goodlatte “a loyal foot soldier of the Republican army.”
Schmookler is running as a Democrat because he believes that the “Democratic Party is the only thing that can possibly protect us from the destructive force that the Republican Party has become.”
When it comes to voter apathy there are two kinds said Schmookler. One just doesn’t care and the other feels that anything they do won’t matter. His job will be to make them understand that the current state of politics is robbing them and their children of a future. Others feel “a form of despair.” They need to rise up and demand a government with integrity. “We’ve seen that on the streets of Cairo [Egypt] and Madison [Wisconsin],” said Schmookler.
Dr. Schmookler has conducted regular radio conversations, authored many books and makes regular speaking appearances.
He studied as an undergraduate at Harvard College, where he graduated summa cum laude in Social Relations in 1967. Schmookler went on to earn his doctorate in 1977 at the University of California at Berkeley and the Graduate Theological Union in a program specially created to accommodate his comprehensive theory of human history.
In 1984, Dr. Schmookler was awarded the Erik H. Erikson Prize by the International Society for Political Psychology. And in 1985, he was selected by Esquire Magazine as “one of the men and women under forty who are changing the nation.” The International Biographical Centre (of Cambridge, England) selected him, in 1999, as one the “Outstanding People of the Twentieth Century”.
Roanoke Free Press: http://www.roanokefreepress.com/?p=12611
Veteran Democrat to challenge Goodlatte
- Bob Stuart
Originally published on April 23, 2011
Shenandoah County author and Democrat Andrew Schmookler said the destructive behavior of the Republican Party has influenced his decision to run against incumbent 6th District Rep. Bob Goodlatte in 2012.
Schmookler, the holder of a doctorate from the University of California-Berkeley, said of Republicans: “today’s Republican Party is unlike what we have ever seen before at the center stage of the American political arena. Besides that, the Democratic Party and the media are acting as if these are normal political times and not confronting what the Republican Party has become.”
Schmookler, 65, said he would campaign in a spirit of truthfulness and he hopes 10-term incumbent Goodlatte will discuss the issues.
“I hope the citizens of the district will want to see him side-by-side with his main party challenger,” Schmookler said. “He shouldn’t start thinking of this seat as his own property. The citizens have a right to do some comparison shopping.”
Schmookler earned an undergraduate degree at Harvard, and has written numerous books and opinion pieces and appeared on radio talk shows around the state.
Sixth District Democratic Committee Chairwoman Linda Wyatt said the likely format for choosing a nominee would be a Sixth District Convention in the spring of 2012. So far, Schmookler is the only Democratic candidate to come forward, said Sara Christopherson, chairwoman of the Waynesboro Democratic Committee.
Goodlatte could not be reached for comment Friday.
The scenario is not likely to change in 2012 in one of Virginia’s most heavy Republican congressional districts, said political expert Bob Roberts.
Schmookler would be fortunate to garner 40 percent of the vote against Goodlatte, he said.
Goodlatte has not been seriously challenged during his 10 terms in office.
Roberts said incumbency in an uncompetitive district such as Goodlatte’s is not good for democracy.
“This does not force candidates to confront the issues and defend their positions,” Roberts said. “They are not held accountable.”
Roberts said while Goodlatte and his staff offer strong constituent service, there is no accountability for the positions he holds on issues.
The News & Advance: http://tiny.cc/newsadvance
Democrat Schmookler announces bid for 6th District congressional seat
- Mason Adams
Originally published on April 14, 2011
A Shenandoah County writer has announced that he’s seeking the Democratic nomination to run against 6 th Congressional District U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte next year.
Andy Schmookler, 64, said he has not yet filed his paperwork to formalize his candidacy, but has been in contact with district Democrats, including 6th District Democratic Committee Chairwoman Linda Wyatt.
Schmookler said he’s running because the country faces a “crisis of historic proportions” brought on by the Republican Party, which he called a “destructive force.”
“The Democratic Party is also part of the sickness,” Schmookler said. “Its job should be to confront this destructive force, expose it for what it is so the American people will reject it, take its power away. And the Democrats are avoiding that confrontation.”
Schmookler is a native of Bellingham, Wash. He and his wife moved to Shenandoah County near Basye in 1992. They’ve maintained a house there since, although they spent six of those years in New Mexico. They have three children.
Schmookler has authored several books and maintains a website at nonesoblind.org. This would be his first run for office.
Eighteen-year incumbent Goodlatte, R-Roanoke County, has not formally announced a bid for re-election but is widely expected to run again. He has faced a Democratic opponent only once in the past 12 years.
The Roanoke Times: http://www.roanoke.com/politics/wb/283268