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Posted April 22, 2011 | comments 5 Comments

Challenger to Goodlatte labels GOP 'destructive'

A Harvard, Berkeley grad, Schmookler, 65, concerned with 'elephant in the room'

By Preston Knight -- pknight@nvdaily.com

BASYE -- The Republican Party is a destructive force the likes of which America has never seen, according to a local man who has announced his candidacy for Congress.

Andrew Schmookler, an author, speaker and radio talk show host, plans to run as a Democrat against Sixth District Rep. Bob Goodlatte next year. Goodlatte, a Republican, has represented the district since 1992.

Schmookler, 65, said he began thinking seriously about running for office in January, although his disapproval with the status and direction of the country has gone back a number of years. He maintains a blog, www.nonesoblind.org, that includes pieces he has had published or broadcast.

At the core of Schmookler's beliefs is that the Republican Party has displayed an unprecedented amount of dishonesty, divisiveness and contempt for cooperation, and that other parts that comprise the American political body, including Democrats and the media, have failed to confront that "destructive force."

"It's damaging America in countless ways," he said. "This is not like anything we have ever seen before."

For voters in the district, Schmookler said the same might be said about him. A 1967 Harvard graduate who later earned his doctorate at the University of California-Berkeley, he said his slogan is "Let's Talk About the Elephant in the Room," with that beast being the Republican Party.

"My campaign and my candidacy are not the usual," said Schmookler, who has maintained a residence in Basye since 1992. "I look to the possibility that something unusual can happen."

Given Goodlatte's streak of decisive Election Day victories, it would be something out of the ordinary for the incumbent to lose. Most recently, in 2008, he outlasted a 27-year-old Harrisonburg Democrat who was the youngest congressional candidate anywhere in the nation and, in November, defeated two Roanoke-area political newcomers who tried, unsuccessfully, to overcome a lack of name recognition.

By announcing his candidacy early, and maintaining a busy speaking schedule, Schmookler said he may be able to better raise awareness of his campaign. He spoke at James Madison University on Tuesday night.

"I'm ready to talk about almost every issue this country faces now," Schmookler said.

Goodlatte's position through the years has been to not comment on opponents.

5 Comments | Leave a comment

    I am guessing this guy hasn't noticed what the Democrats in control of Washington have done to the country. This kind of left wing nonsense may fly in Berkley, but not in the Valley. This guys has no chance here.

    Sell crazy somewhere else, we're all stocked up here!

    Wow...talk about a flower child of the 60's. This dude has all the credentials, and I bet he still has his rose colored glasses too. People like this are so predictable that they become tiresome with their trashing of the Republican Party as if it's sole purpose is to destroy the world.
    If Mr. Goodlatte's views are so bad, why does he keep winning elections?

    It is funny -- he articulated very well exactly how I feel about the DEMOCRAT party!

    After all, the DEMOCRATS are the ones who want to "fundementally change America". I've asked before but never received an answer -- which Fundamental do Democrats wish to change?

    Freedom of Speech? Religion? the Right to Assemble?

    Our economic system? (I'm thinking it's that one)

    The belief that one is innocent until proven guilty?


    Hellooooo? Mr. Schmookler or any other Democrat defenders? Can I get an answer? Which fundamental do you want to change?

    If I don't hear soon, I'll assume you're talking some sort of quasi European socialism as a new and wonderful form of economic system.

    Cool -- it's worked really well for Greece and now Portugal. (that's sarcasm in case they don't do that at Berkeley.) At least this latest attempt may put Keynesian economics to sleep forever.

    Seriously, you can keep the Hope & Change. It's pretty much Crashed & Burned anyway.

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