Thursday, April 2, 2009

Meet Bradley Rees

Today, I learned about a gentleman down in Lynchburg named Bradley Rees, who aims to replace Tom Perriello as the Congressman from the Fifth District. Indeed, the other day, Mr. Rees called my friend, Drew Lumpkin, who runs one of the most civil, intelligent and interesting blogs around, Dem Bones, well, he called him a "rabble rouser."

Drew may be a “thoughtful theologian,” but he’s no “rabble rouser.”

Fighting words.

What’s more, Rees has been writing critical stuff about Congressman Perriello. Now, I happen to think Tom Perriello is one of the truly decent, ethical people in public life.

I was mad.

So, I sat down this evening with the intention of doing some research to utterly trash this clown.

Unfortunately, I came away unable to do it. In fact, I came away from it all kinda liking the guy, even wanting to meet him.

Don't get me wrong - he's flaky, but in this he seems more eccentric and interesting than anything else. And I’ve no doubt that in his misguided, if sincere way, he means well. What’s more, at least based on what I could learn from him in the Internets, he seems like a decent guy, a good family man, and a loving dad who posted a poem he wrote to his daughter on the web and captioned the accompanying photo of her, "My Princess." Indeed, the poem is an acrostic, something they make kids do in the fifth grade (where the first letters of each line spell your name) …. I’m sorry… I’m getting a little misty writing this…

So, please, meet Bradley Rees.

Anyway, politically, Rees describes himself as an “Ayn Rand Objectivist Libertarian/Conservative,” which is … well, I spent an hour researching this, and I couldn’t completely figure it out what it was, except that is somewhat contradictory, like being a Jewish Muslim.

But what’s more, Rees plans on challenging Virgil Goode for the Republican Party nod to run against Rep. Perriello in the Fighting Fifth, and if he doesn’t win, he plans on launching a third party candidacy, perhaps under the American Constitution Party ticket, to challenge both.

Here’s Rees, by the way (photo by Mrs. Bradley Rees):

His web site, the awesomely named SonofLiberty2K10, is one of the few web sites I have bothered to read that can fairly be called a ”Manifesto.” Mr. Rees sets out his political philosophy in detail, and explains the observations, events, and thought-processes that brought him to where he is.

For example, in a post entitled, “Why Am I A Libertarian? Read On,” he details the top 10 travesties of both Republicans and Democrats (20 travesties in all) to explain why he is not a member of either party.

In some places, he shines with unassailable logic. For example, #10 on the Democratic list is that Democrats “stood in staunch opposition to Abraham Lincoln,” while #10 on the Republican side is that it was “the party of Lincoln.”

The GOP’s # 10 reason also faults it for committing “egregious violations of the 1st Amendment (the Alien and Sedition Acts).” Of course, the Republican Party was founded in 1854, and the Alien & Sedition Acts were passed in 1798, so the GOP ought to get some points for time traveling ability.

Similarly, the #6 reason why he’s not a Democrat is because Democrats “grossly mishandled the Cold War with tragic incidents like the Bay of Pigs, which may have directly led to the Cuban missile crisis and Kruschev’s notorious shoe-banging diatribe.” Thus, Russians, too, have time traveling abilities, since Kruschey was alleged to have banged his show at the U.N. on October 13, 1960, while the Bay of Pigs occurred in April, 1961. Rees may have proved that Russians and Republicans are closer than we think. Hmmmm.

And like many people who profess a special kinship to the Constitution, Mr. Rees isn’t really sure what’s in there. In one post, he states:

Last time I checked, the Constitution didn’t say “life, liberty, and the pursuit of having lawyers making laws to benefit lawyers.” But that’s what we have (although the “liberty” part has been trampled on a bit).

Of course, last time I checked my Constitution it didn’t contain the phrase “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” which is the phrase to which Mr. Rees is alluding, either. That phrase appears in the Declaration of Independence.

But, as Mr. Rees says, “he is “not a lawyer,” which he touts as a rationale to vote for him.

And, anyway, these kinds of errors are nitpicking. Forget it. He’s rolling:

Mr. Rees, I wish you’d stop criticizing Congressman Perriello so much. He is a good and honest congressman trying to do the right thing, and he is good for our District, even if I don’t agree with him on everything. Some of your criticisms seem strained, like you're trying just a little too hard to find fault.

The Virginia Democrat is dedicated to electing Progressives, not Ayn Rand Objectivist Libertarian/Conservatives, so we can't endorse you. But in the spirit of pluralism, and with an abiding belief in American Constitutionalism, even if we interpret that differently than do you, we nonetheless salute you for putting yourself out there, caring and participating constructively in the political process. We hope you give Virgil a run for his money.


  1. Thanks for this post, aznew.

    I must be a failure as a rabble rouser, because, thanks to the humanization of Rees on this post, I kinda like the guy too - not that we will ever see eye-to-eye, or that he will ever earn my vote.

  2. I think you are both rabble rousers, and this is all a secret plot to um... well it's for something, I just know it!

    Great article, Alan.

  3. Thanks for the post, I think. ;-)

    As I told someone yesterday, the term "rabble-rouser," coming from me, is a compliment. I am a proud malcontent and, as such, feel a certain kinship with anyone, from any ideology, who seeks to shake up and question the status-quo.

    Thank you for pointing out the errors in my "Libertarian" diatribe. As I told @DemBonesDrew, it was hastily written (back-of-the-napkin would be a literal term, in this case) and posted from my SmartPhone. Thus, sadly, I got some facts mixed up a bit. That's not really a valid excuse, since I have had the capability since then to go back and fact-check. I simply didn't. But I digress.

    Anyway, thank you for reminding me of that oversight, sir, and I shall modify my post shortly.

    As I posted over at Drew's blog, I suppose a bit of clarification is in order regarding my self-described philosophy. So here goes.

    Since the description is kind of open-ended and sounds contradictory, I guess I should qualify it by saying I meant that I have borrowed from these different philosophies in the following ways-

    Ayn Rand/Objectivism: The notion that man is an end in himself and is, ultimately, a rational/logical being, thus all of his knowledge and decisions are, whether consciously or not, wholly dependent on logic and rationalization. The man who is completely ruled by emotion has chosen to do so and, as such, is in denial of rationality. So it follows that he is actually a worshipper of death, since life is a series of self-generated and self-sustaining actions, dependent on logic and emotion, but logic first and foremost, as emotions on their own have no power to sustain life.

    Libertarianism: Similar to Rand (but separate, since Ayn Rand despised Libertarians). Man is an individual. Natural rights (life, liberty, and property, as laid out in the Declaration) are conferred on each individual, and all individuals equally. In a moral and civilized society, an individual has every right to swing their fist. That right ends where another individual's nose begins. No entity (especially government) has the right to initiate force to achieve their ends. Hence, compulsory education and compulsory wage withholding are absolutely immoral, if we wish to claim that we live in a civilized and moral society.

    Conservatism: Again, the point hinges on liberty. The individual, having property rights (without which the pursuit of happiness is impossible) conferred upon them not by man, but by virtue of being human, cannot therefore be stripped of their property under any moral claim, by any earthly entity. When government (which produces no product and creates no wealth on its own) gets wealth from individuals, it is designed to be voluntary. In being a citizen, it is an individual's duty to provide a portion of the monies by which government funds certain enumerated functions, but only those functions that absolutely cannot be performed by individuals. These functions are few. Our imperial Federal government has far over-reached those limitations, and has been reaching even further for well over a century, as the Framers predicted. This is, quite simply, unsustainable.

    I hope that clarifies things a bit.
    :-) Thanks again.
    Bradley S. Rees