Home Steven Sisson | Don’t just stand there. Give ‘im a pencil

Steven Sisson | Don’t just stand there. Give ‘im a pencil


In 2003, the Blue Dog first met Congressman Virgil Goode at the Greene County Strawberry Festival.
While shaking hands and passing-out Sisson for Senate campaign literature, I heard a high-pitched shrilled voice calling-out … “Steeeveee Sissssson … anti-tax Democrat fer State Senate!”
Even though I had never met him, I knew the distinct voice of Congressman Goode from the countless media stories and interviews I had witnessed. The Blue Dog had always been a big fan of the congressman because Virgil Goode was a like-minded Blue Dog Democrat while serving in the General Assembly in the 1990s.

At this time, Goode had been recently elected to the retired congressional seat of Virginia’s first Blue Dog congressman, L.F. Payne.

At the Strawberry Festival and later at the Greene County Fair, we spoke at length regarding the 2003 election cycle and the Blue Dog’s anti-tax platform.

Tell you the truth, I was a tad shocked and awed. Congressman Goode was knowledgeable and had admiration for my State Senate campaign against RINO, err … I meant to say Republican, Emmett Hanger, along with the anti-tax stand I had taken as a Democratic candidate.

We also talked about Congressman Goode’s switch to the Republican Party in 2002.

At the Greene County Fairgrounds, Goode told the Blue Dog the Democratic Party had basically treated him like a Stray Dog after the impeachment vote.

“There’s no room in the Democratic Party for a fiscal conservative,” Goode said.

We talked and joked around for a bit. He’s a real character.

As I began to walk away, I chanted to him, “Fiscally conservative and socially responsible Democrats,” and waved goodbye.

But just before departing ways, Congressman Goode barked to his political handlers, “Don’t just stand there. Give ’im a pencil.”

As the Blue Dog walked away, I smiled and laughed looking down examining my genuine Virgil Goode for Congress gold-letter embossed pencil.


Goode Ol’ Boy

VA Republican: “Why are you a Democrat?”

Blue Dog: “Because my Father was a Democrat and Grandpa and on and on.”

VA Republican: “If your Daddy was a thief, would you be a thief as well?”

Blue Dog: “No sir. That would make me a Republican.”

At the ripe age of 27, Virgil Goode Ol’ Boy was first elected as an independent to the Virginia State Senate.

He later joined the Democratic Party of Virginia.

Why? Goode often responded, “Because my father was a Democrat.”

His father, Virgil H. Goode Sr., had served as a popular Franklin County Commonwealth’s attorney and later as a well-respected Democratic member of the Virginia House of Delegates.

Like his father, Goode supported limited government and low taxes, and most of all, the hard-working constituents of rural Virginia. The Goode Democratic political dynasty has always supported gun rights and the local tobacco industry in Southside.

The Blue Dog has been told that Virgil Goode Jr. has never been able to match or master the oratory skills of his father – who’s a legend in the General Assembly chambers.

During his brief stint at a Democrat in the General Assembly, Virgil Goode Jr. was an advocate of the Equal Rights Amendment and other core democratic issues and principals.

Matter of fact, Virgil Goode had nominated Doug Wilder for lieutenant governor at the 1985 Democratic convention and had been a supporter of Wilder’s gubernatorial candidacy as well.legislation to deploy the U.S. military along the United States and Mexico borders along with anti-amnesty immigration reform.  



Tale of Tom

The writing was on the wall after Democrat Tom Perriello won the newspaper endorsements of the Danville Register & Bee along with the Roanoke Times. The perfect political storm had arrived with Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and popular Senate nominee Mark Warner along with

a recession looming in the rural district for the past two years.With the loss of

manufacturing and textile jobs located in Southside, Congressman Goode’s failure to react to his constituents needs was more than obvious. Ironically while in Congress, Goode was a member of the Libertarian-leaning Liberty Caucus and wrote a $500 contribution for Ron Paul’s presidential bid.

Who knew? There’s a little blue stain in his red amour.

After losing by 745-votes, or

0.24 percent of over 316,000 votes cast, Congressman Goode has exercised his right to a recount.Matter of fact the recount is coming from a stockowner who has been enriched by taxpayers as well – because out of 435 congressional legislators, Congressman Goode has the 13th-highest amount of investment in oil stocks, according to Sunlight Foundation.

To the Virginia State Board of Elections tasked with the Fifth District recount, the Blue Dog says …

Don’t just stand there. Give ‘im a pencil whipping defeat.


– Column by Steven Sisson

In the irony to end ironies, Virginia taxpayers who booted Congressman Virgil Goode out of office are being made to pay for the edification and recount of this once upon a time fiscal conservative.

No longer considered an asset to the district, Goode became the liability.

With the exception of Democratic-leaning Charlottesville, unemployment is high in the Fifth District along with the school dropout rates and low scores on the state’s required for graduation SOL testing. That spells an uncertain future for the district’s children.

Increased crime and drug use are prevalent throughout the impoverished district.

Congressman Virgil Goode’s deplorable political advertisements against his rival Democratic Tom Perriello were an act of desperation from a candidate with no ideas.

There’s no doubt the slimy advertisements were made to order by the Virginia Republican political establishment who love negative campaigns over substance.

Things change. But don’t always change for the good.


Trading places

In the 1990s, Goode played havoc with liberal Democratic politics by running as a populist conservative Democrat for U.S. senator in Virginia twice. Goode ran a forceful and inspired Senate race against incumbent Democrat Chuck Robb for the 1994 nomination and probably inflicted some political wounds along the way.

In 1995, with the Virginia State Senate locked in a 20-20 tie, then-State Sen. Goode meandered back and forth between Republican and Democrat Party initiatives and legislation. He became a deal-maker or -breaker.

During the 1990s in the Commonwealth’s political circles, Virgil Goode’s name always seems to surface when speculating on the subject of future Virginia’s gubernatorial races and politically conservative candidates.

Southside loved Goode’s independent streak! However, political blood feuds ignited with Virginia Democratic Party loyalists during this time.

To say the Democratic downfall of Virgil Goode began in 1998 is questionable, but it’s the high-water mark in his unorthodox political career.

When the Virginia Democratic congressman voted for three of the four articles of impeachment against President Bill Clinton in 1998, more and more state Democrats began to recruit and fund candidates to oust Goode from Congress.

Goode was one of three Democratic Congressmen to vote to impeach Clinton. That’s the day Goode’s fiscal conservatism morphed into social conservatism.

Shortly afterward, declaring to be an independent congressman, Virgil Goode began caucusing with congressional Republicans and discounting Democrats who buttered his family bread for generations.

Then Goode began to enter the belly of the beast named George W. Bush. During that time, Goode’s political transformation became more apparent by role reversal with his political philosophy moving from core conservative fiscal issues to the pandering and paying homage to the evangelicals and fundamentalists who control the right wing of the Republican Party.

In the past decade, the religious right has dominated the landscape of the Virginia Republican Party. Pundits have recently blamed the Moral Minority, not Majority, with the presidential and congressional losses of 2008.

There’s no doubt Goode’s political demise mirrors Sen. John McCain’s maverick independence to a wishy-washy brand of GOP conservative-dogma politics.

McCain switched his allegiance to callous and carnivorous conservatism as well as campaign fodder with the GOP political machine of the far right in the past decade.

Fact is to become a Republican and run for office in the modern era of politics, these candidates are required to sell their souls to the religious right no matter the cost in political character or philosophy to become an elected official.

After all, Presidential nominee McCain and Congressman Goode supported President George Bush’s rein of fiscal irresponsibility and federal spending run amuck, which not only promulgated the last two years of housing foreclosures, but Wall Street’s decline in 2008.

There’s no doubt the Iraq war, which was based on a WMD lie, has for all practical purposes bankrupted the United States government and led to historically high federal deficit.

The mortgage lender crisis and current bank bailouts with no ending in sight are only the tip of the iceberg to Republican incompetence.

Yet McCain and Goode were known as political mavericks and fiscal conservatives in the 1990s. What changed?

Congressman Goode’s appeasement to the religious right took the form of adopting their views and bashing Muslims, Homosexuals, Abortionist, NYC Attorneys and Northerners, and don’t forget about those Liberals …

Goode then began embracing the corporate elitists and lobbyists who bankrolled his campaigns along with neo-conservative globalists and supporters of the War in Iraq.

More to the point, his duplicity with the religious right and their “Do as I Say, Not as I Do” mantra had become his solitary and singular political thought.

Once a proud Democratic fiscal conservative, Republican Goode became the spokesperson and sponsor of

He became an advocate for the federal prohibition against Internet poker and gambling, which is pure evangelical and fundamentalist God-forsaken nonsense.

Fact is Virgil Goode began worrying more about the Koran being used at a congressional swearing in ceremony then his nation going into increasing debt.



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