Creigh Deeds

Politicizing Abortion

Earlier today representatives from various abortion industry interests, including Planned Parenthood and NARAL, held a conference call with reporters, blasting yet to be revealed regulations of abortion centers in Virginia. Lobbyists and lawyers fro the two abortion on demand groups cautioned Governor Bob McDonnell against "the insertion of politics into this process" and "demanded the process be depoliticized." News reports so far have yet to say if there were any "non-political" participants in the conference call.

But the statements reminded us of a media story that ran during the 2010 General Assembly session, just a few weeks after McDonnell defeated Democrat Creigh Deeds in a landslide. In it, Planned Parenthood lobbyist Jessica Honke was interviewed at Planned Parenthood's offices when the camera caught something interesting in the background (see our post from the time):

Of course, I'm sure Planned Parenthood (a non-profit prohibited from electionering) wasn't endorsing anyone for the election.  They never would think of "politicizing" anything.

Breaking News: HJ 693, Property Rights Passes Committee 8-7! Close Vote Expected On Floor!

Today was one for the ages. A long shot priority piece of legislation, HJ 693, a property rights constitutional amendment patroned by Delegate Johnny Joannou (D-79, Portsmouth), passed in sub-committee and full committee! Within the last few hours, the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee voted 8-7 to report the resolution to the full Senate. Joining all six committee Republicans were Democrats Phil Puckett (D-38, Tazewell) and Creigh Deeds (D-25, Bath). Now that it is on the Senate floor, we urgently need you to contact your senator and ask him or her to vote for HJ 693 to ensure the fundamental fairness of property rights and just compensation when your property is taken for a legitimate public use. Property rights are fundamental to our liberty, and to ensuring our family life, our jobs and businesses, and even our places of worship. Strong property protections limit government growth and intrusiveness. Now we are closer than ever — the first time in six years since the U.S. Supreme Court's deplorable Kelo decision — to getting these rights enshrined in the Virginia Constitution.

It is very close, but very winnable, so we cannot let this opportunity to get meaningful protections fail. For the longest time the Virginia Senate has been a roadblock, but tonight we are on the doorstep!

Today, in both committees, about a dozen special interests lined up: Utilities and big corporations, and local governments and housing authorities (who use your tax dollars to lobby against your rights) lobbied relentlessly for the right to take your property for reasons other than true public uses. But a committee majority bravely listened to the people and now we have a real chance to see this resolution passed by the General Assembly and on the ballot for Virginians to vote on.

But we need you to act NOW!

The full Senate may vote on this as early as tomorrow and most likely Thursday. Now that we've come this far in the Senate, don't let the special interests win by your inaction! Please take a short moment to contact your senator and ask him or her to vote for HJ 693!

Your voice matters! Please act now on this Family Foundation priority legislation!

Six years is long enough! Urge your senator to vote for HJ 693 on the Senate floor so that we can finally have the constitutional protections for our private property rights that other states have!

Click here for your senator's e-mail address.

Click here for your senator's General Assembly phone number.

Quotes Of The Day

That's not a typo. We have multiple Quotes of the Day today. One, this morning, occurred in the House Education Sub-committee on Standards of Quality. It was considering a bill from Delegate John O'Bannon (R-73, Henrico) on childhood obesity that would require additional physical education for students K-8. Pat Lacey, the ever present spokesman for the umbrella Educrat coalition, which can't seem to approve of anything except more taxpayer money for any and all problems, and which makes nothing but excuses and obstacles for why education reforms can't happen, extended the never say yes philosophy even to phys ed reform! When he addressed the committee to say some elementary schools may not have the gyms to accommodate inclement weather, sub-committee chairman Scott Lingamfelter (R-31, Woodbridge) said:

At VMI we didn't have that problem!

Later in the morning, in the Senate Privileges and Elections Sub-committee on Constitutional Amendments, a government lobbyist for Fairfax County, which used the hard-earned tax' money of its own citizens to lobby against them, testified against Senator Mark Obenshain's (R-26, Harrisonburg) proposed constitutional amendment to protect private property rights. She gave an example regarding the difficulty the amendment would create in taking land for certain municipal projects, which led to this exchange between her and Senator Creigh Deeds (D-25, Bath), the sub-committee's chairman, who was preparing to lead a party line vote to defeat property rights protection:

Senator Deeds: But that's the part of the bill I like!

Fairfax lobbyist: Okay . . . I'll sit down now. 

Also from that committee: VACO and VML lobbyist Randy Cook — VACO and VML are the lobbying arms of Virginia's counties and cities, respectively, which pay people like him with your hard earned tax money to lobby against your rights — said that a constitutional amendment isn't necessary because they haven't challenged the condemnation powers of the 2007  property rights statute . . . yet. To which Senator Obenshain later replied:

VACO said, 'Stop me before I condemn (property) again.'

Three Quotes of the Day. All humorous. All pointing, however, to something much more serious.

Repeal Amendment Defeated, Property Rights On Hold In Senate P&E

This morning, the Senate Privileges and Elections Sub-Committee on Constitutional Amendments voted 4-3, on a party line vote, against SJ 280, the Repeal Amendment. The proposed resolution would, if enacted through a constitutional convention called for by state legislatures, allow a super majority of states to repeal federal laws and regulations. Those voting against the resolution by Senator Ryan McDougle (R-4, Hanover) were Senators Creigh Deeds (D-25, Bath), Mary Margaret Whipple (D-31, Arlington), Donald McEachin (D-9, Henrico) and Ralph Northam (D-6, Norfolk). Voting in favor were Senators Steve Martin (R-11, Chesterfield), Ralph Smith (R-22, Botetourt) and Jeff McWaters (R-8, Virginia Beach).   Oddly, much of the debate by witnesses was between conservative groups. While many limited government advocates want to re-balance the federal structure between the states and the central government in Washington, D.C., others are concerned the constitutional convention the resolution calls for would open up a loophole to amend other areas of the constitution, particularly the Bill of Rights. However, there is a House version of the resolution, HJ 542, patroned by Delegate James LeMunyon (R-67, Chantilly) and backed by House Speaker Bill Howell (R-28, Fredericksburg), that should make it through the House, setting up a second round in the Senate.

Another important proposed amendment to the Virginia Constitution, SJR 307, patroned by Senator Mark Obenshain, (R-26, Harrisonburg), which would protect citizens' property from the dangers of eminent domain by state and local governments and public service companies, was carried over to next week. That gives property rights and limited government grassroots activists more time to contact members of this committee.

Virginia News Stand: May 12, 2010

Annotations & Elucidations The Double Stack Edition

The News Stand was off yesterday so the news got stacked up. So much of it is interesting, we piled it all on today. In the commonwealth, Governor Bob McDonnell appointed another Democrat to his administration. Huh? At least this latter is explainable (we think): He appointed Larry Wilder, the son of former governor and Richmond Mayor Doug, as an advisor on convicts' re-entry into society. On the merits, Mr. Wilder has a certain perspective, given his past problems with the law. But more likely, the cynic would suggest, is that this might just have something to do with the former Democrat governor's weighty non-endorsement of Creigh Deeds last fall.

The governor also is busy trying to line up tolls I-95 on the North Carolina border. Anything but a "tax increase." Meanwhile, he appointed a commission to reform state government and suggest how it can operate more efficiently. Commissions come and go in Virginia. The jury will remain out on this until we see recommendations actually put into place and the ensuing positive results. Speaking of juries, Chief Justice Leroy Hassell, Sr., will resign from the top judicial spot, but remain on the court. The justices elect the chief justice themselves.  

Also in state, a sensattional trial finally is set to begin. Sensational, because Joseph Price, a co-defendant, is the former president of Equality Virginia, something the Washington Post conveniently fails to mention in its reporting.

Nationally, it's all going on: The Mojave Desert Cross, which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled legal two weeks ago, was stolen; senior citizens in a group home in Georgia were told they could not pray out loud before meals because the home accepted federal funds (Yes! Federal funds means no free speech, now sit down and shut-up granny!); a senior House Democrat lost renomination in West Virginia to a challenger from the right; and a poll shows Utah Republicans may throwout U.S. Senator Orin Hatch next, after refusing to renominate his colleague Robert Bennett last weekend.

But we're not close to done, with a big Surprise! coming from Washington — health care reform will cost $115 billion more than estimated just a couple of months ago! Also, a bill in Congress would allow states to veto offshore drilling, something with implications for the Old Dominion; and, in the rare good news from D.C., President Obama seeks a line item veto and the Senate votes to audit at least some of the Fed (see Richard Olivastro's commentary on this issue as well).

News

Va. Chief Justice Hassell to yield leadership post (The Daily Press)

McDonnell has high expectations for reform panel (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Delegate criticizes McDonnell choice for chairman of government-reform panel (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Public input sought on government reform (Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star)

Va. seeks tolls on I-95 near N.C. border (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

McDonnell proposes tolls on Interstate 95 in Virginia near N.C. border (Washington Post)

Cuccinelli on Kagan: Not a fan, but lack of judicial experience not the issue (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

Conspiracy trial in Robert Wone killing set to start (Washington Post)

Abortion opponents present petition to Va. Beach (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

McDonnell appoints Wilder's son as special assistant for re-entry education (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

Optometrist wins GOP nod in Chesterfield (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

LU officials to investigate Caner’s background claims (Lynchburg News & Advance)

National News

Thieves Steal Mojave Desert Memorial Cross in Nighttime Heist (FoxNews.com)

Senior citizens told they can't pray before meals (Rome, Ga. News-Tribune)

Voters' anti-establishment mood bites both parties (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Poll: Roughly half wouldn't vote for U.S. Sen. Hatch (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Health overhaul law potentially costs $115B more (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Bill would allow states to veto offshore drilling (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Senate votes to examine Federal Reserve lending (AP/GOPUSA.com)

New force for broad immigration reform: conservative evangelicals (CNN.com)

Abortion could be sleeper issue in Supreme Court confirmation process (Washington Post)

Obama to Seek Line-Item Veto Power to Trim Spending From Bills (New York Times)

Michael Steele defends spending to RNC state party leaders during meeting (Washington Post)

Despite Content Purge, Pornographic Images Remain on Wikimedia (FoxNews.com)

Analysis

Reagan-Hating Kagan(Brent Bozell/GOPUSA.com)

Change Watch: Elena Kagan–Supreme Court Nominee (FRCBlog.com)

Commentary

A 'Duty to Die'? (Thomas Sowell/GOPUSA.com)

Michelle Obama: Food Profiteer Turned Food Cop (Michelle Malkin/GOPUSA.com)

Cut Spending Today To Save Tomorrow (Tony Blankley/GOPUSA.com)

Should the Fed Be Audited? (Richard Olivastro/GOPUSA.com)

Property Rights: Your Rights? Or The Government's Right To Take It From You?

Yesterday, HB 652, the property rights reform bill, was referred by the Senate Courts of Justice Committee to the Senate Finance Committee because of an alleged "fiscal impact" to the state. The bill will be heard tomorrow morning in Finance. The impact simply is hypothetical, conjecture and/or assumption. Take your pick. Fiscal Impact Statements are supposed to identify the cost of bills that require certain new expenses, not something VDOT says "might happen." This is nothing more than big government bureaucracy trying to kill a bill that would have them rightly compensate people whose property they take. Yesterday, in Courts of Justice, when committee Chairman Henry Marsh (D-16, Richmond) said he was bringing up a motion to refer the bill to Finance, Senator Creigh Deeds (D-25, Bath) was rightly surprised. He asked if the bill had a Fiscal Impact Statement. The reply from a senator opposed to the bill was, "Yes, a big one. One that will affect future budgets." Oh, how the big government lobby has them fooled. There was some discussion, but the bill had its course set — not much anyone could do at that point. The vote was taken and it was sent to Finance unanimously.

But facts won't die. When the House Appropriations Committee thoroughly vetted this bill, it found no fiscal impact! There is no more of a fine tooth comb in the General Assembly than the House Appropriations Committee. But the forces of big government, such as lobbyists for the counties and cities, as well as VDOT, will do everything they can to prevent liberty and scuttle property rights that affect families, small businesses and farms.

Were HB 652 to become law, it would go a long way toward making whole families whose businesses, homes and farms are horribly affected by eminent domain. The bill, patroned by Delegate Ward Armstrong (D-10, Martinsville) and co-patroned by several Republicans, passed the House 98-1. It would allow property owners a chance to present evidence that a government property taking has rendered other property useless, and therefore receive adequate compensation. It is a fairness bill — it guarantees nothing — only that such evidence can be presented to a jury in eminent domain cases. The government can still make its case and if it has a good argument it will win. Fair is fair.

But the big government types — who use your tax money to lobby against you — are trying hard to kill this bill. They say it is "too expensive" even though all alleged "costs" are speculative. House Appropriations Committee Chairman Lacey Putney (I-19, Bedford) said it best: "I don’t know how VDOT can arrive at an impact. It’s like they’re predicting juries!" We agree and if VDOT and other agencies say they’ll have to pay more money, it’s an admission that they have been ripping off landowners in Virginia for decades. Enough of that! Let them take only the land they need and pay a fair price for it or don’t take it at all — then they won’t have to worry about a "fiscal impact."

According to our property rights expert witnesses, this is the biggest eminent domain reform law in Virginia in decades, apart from the 2007 law that defines public use. It would be a shame for it to get this far only for a Senate committee to rule against the people in favor of big government interests whose appetite for your tax money never abates.

The Finance Committee meets at 9:00 tomorrow morning. It has a short docket, so a lot of attention will be focused on this bill. Do you part to ensure constitutional protections of property rights. Please contact members (click here) of the Senate Finance Committee now and ask them to pass HB 652.

Twists And Turns Today On Health Care Freedom In Senate Commerce And Labor Today

Today, in the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee, the anticipated fireworks didn't materialize. But it sure did have some strange twists and turns. Although there wasn't as much hype concerning HB 10, The Virginia Health Care Freedom Act, there was due to be some suspense. The patron, Delegate Bob Marshall (R-13, Manassas), had reason to be confident since three similar Senate bills escaped Commerce and Labor earlier in session, albeit by 8-7 votes, due to the brave votes of Democrats Charles Colgan (D-29, Manassas) and Phil Puckett (D-38, Tazewell). But HB 10 is worded slightly different. One difference from the Senate bills is that it clearly limits exemptions on insurance purchase mandates in divorce settlements, an omission Senate liberals objected to in SB 417, SB 311 and SB 283. On the other hand, its protections from the federal government are a little more expansive.

Stage set, here's what happened: Delegate Marshall barely was into the introduction of the bill when he got a few questions, including one from committee chairman and Majority Leader Dick Saslaw (D-35, Springfield), who asked, "Do you think we have the power to tell Congress what to do?"

Of course, the bill won't tell Congress what to do. Only that Virginia won't participate in a certain action (health care insurance mandates) that it may pass. In fact, Delegate Marshall cited a 1994 Congressional Budget Office memo during the HillaryCare debate, that stated never before had Congress mandate Americans to buy any good or service, and that doing so would open the door for other mandated purchases and a command economy. (Hopefully, our public schools still teach what political system uses a command economy.) He reasoned, that if Congress has never required an individual mandate before, it must not be legal, or it would have done so already in more than 200 years. He also cited New York v. United States where a federal court ruled in New York's favor over a federal mandate. Seemingly anxious to just get it over with, it was about here where Senator Creigh Deeds (D-25, Bath) asked if there was any difference between HB 10 and the Senate bills, which Delegate Marshall already had volunteered that there was. He amended his bill to preserve divorce settlements in which insurance coverage may be a part, something on which committee liberals hammered the Senate bills' patrons. On the other hand, his bill, in a macro constitutional sense (I love creating new phrases) was a bit broader and probably more protective of the feds than the Senate bills.

Before the committee's legal counsel and Delegate Marshall could complete their responses, motions and comments started flying all over the place. Senator Saslaw, confident that the differences were huge and that the bills were not the same, motioned that HB 10 be passed by for the year. Senator Frank Wagner (R-7, Virginia Beach) made a substitute motion to report. Senator Steve Newman (R-23, Forest) made a parliamentary inquiry if the bill could be conformed into one of the Senate bills. He was told no because the bills are in different sections of the code.

That struck me as odd right away because bills are conformed all the time. In fact, "conforming" is changing legislative language to the exact same language as another bill — in other words, that's the point! Change it and put it in any code section you want! So the motion to report was voted upon with Senators Puckett and Colgan upholding their part, but the bill failed 8-7. How could this be when the others passed? Senator Tommy Norment (R-3, Williamsburg) voted no.

As supporters gathered outside to plan a next step — primarily, to get Senator Norment to offer a motion to reconsider at the next meeting — word came out of the committee room to head back in: That's what indeed he was doing! So the bill was brought right back up, interrupting the introduction of the next bill. After the motion to reconsider passed, a motion to — believe it or not — conform it to SB 417 was made and passed on a 8-7 vote. So, HB 10 survives, amended to the same language as SB 417. You like unintended consequences (something liberals are always warning us about)? Good, because now the protections for divorce orders is gone!

It should now pass the Senate floor, where it will go back to the House. It remains to be seen if Delegate Marshall will then insist on his original language when it returns there and force a conference committee, or if he'll take what he has. Does he want pride of authorship? Or, knowing the other bill will become law, does he want to roll the dice and try to get the additional protections in HB 10 to become the law of the Commonwealth?

New Gang Of Five In Virginia Senate?

Is there a new Senate "Gang of Five"? J. Scott Leake thinks so. Mr. Leake should know. He was a top insider to the leadership of the "moderate" Republicans who held sway during the years of GOP control of that chamber. The five were: now retired President Pro Tem John Chichester, then-Majority Leader Walter Stosch, then-senator and current Virginia Beach Sheriff Ken Stolle, and Senators Tommy Norment and William Wampler. Nothing happened in the Senate unless they decided it would. Now, in his General Assembly Grapevine for Bacon's Rebellion, Mr. Leake, who also is the director of government and public affairs at the Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy, writes that the Senate Democrat majority has a developed a "Gang of Five" of its own: President Pro Tem Charles Colgan, and Senators Roscoe Reynolds, John Miller (a freshman, no less), Phil Puckett and — be sure you're sitting for this — Creigh Deeds. Far from controlling the entire agenda, as the GOP gang did, this one appears to be an alliance certain for budget negotiations only, keeping the rest of their caucus from dragging them into electoral oblivion — Colgan and Miller are D's who represent very Republican areas, while Puckett and Reynolds represent rural and small town areas that easily could swing to the GOP, a fact that has each constantly looking over their shoulders. Deeds, Leake says, has a range of constituents which prompts an unpredictable populist streak.

Increasing the intrigue is the fact that many Senate Dems want to use the budget submitted by former Governor Tim Kaine as the basis for their proposal. But that budget includes reinstating the car tax. The senators above have constituents who would be hurt financially should the car tax be reinstated, an issue within the Democrat caucus. Senator Deeds, according to Leake, now is acutely aware of the repercussions of campaigning on a record of higher taxes.

All this dovetails into the rumors swirling around Capitol Square that other factions within the Senate Democrat caucus are making life dysfunctional for that group, namely Senate members of the Legislative Black Caucus who have their own budget demands. If there truly is all this discord within the majority, it may take more than a gang to sort things out. Or at least a heavily armed gang. Time will tell if this new gang has the clout, or the political arsenal, to whip their colleagues into line.

Questions And Answers Regarding The Virginia Senate

After all the reporting we've done this week on SB 504, Senator Ralph Smith's (R-22, Roanoke) coerced abortion bill, and the Senate's mischief with it, the in-box has been flooded and the phone lines burned up with questions. We are grateful for your interest and for your desire to get involved. With all the interest, we decided to compile a FAQ list, of sorts. Here goes:   Who hires the Clerk of the Senate?

Mrs. Susan Schaar is the Clerk of the Senate and has held that office since 1990. According to Senate Rule 8a:

A Clerk of the Senate shall be elected by the Senate for a term of four years and shall thereafter continue in office until another is chosen.

Among the Clerk’s duties are the maintenance of all Senate records and the referral of bills to committees. In different circumstances, we would provide you with Mrs. Schaar’s contact information and ask for you to contact her to encourage judicious bill referrals. However, since Mrs. Schaar is not elected by the populace and instead is elected by the Senate — and instructed to strictly follow its rules — contacting her to encourage changes to bill referrals is not the most appropriate course of action.

When can "the rule" be changed?

According to Rule 54 of the Senate, the Senate rules are adopted at the beginning of the first General Assembly session upon the election of the Senate. The Rules were last adopted in January 2008. Amendments can be made any year; however, January 2012 is the next year rules will be adopted.

What can I do?

Contacting legislators really does make a difference. In the past, we’ve seen that even as few as two or three e-mails or calls from constituents can cause a legislator to reconsider his or her vote. Concerning this bill, there are two things you can do:

1. Contact the Senate Courts of Justice Committee members (see below). Thank those who supported SB 504 for their principled stand for life. For those who opposed SB 504, let them know that you were monitoring this bill and that you were disappointed with their vote.

2. Contact the Senate Education and Health Committee members (click here) and encourage them to support SB 504.

How can I express thanks/disappointment to senators on their SB 504 vote?

Below are the names and contact information for the Senators on the full Senate Courts of Justice committee. E-mailing or calling is the best way to contact these senators to express your thanks or disappointment.

Senators to thank for voting to add penalties for coerced abortion:

Fred Quayle (R-13, Suffolk), district13@senate.virginia.gov, 804-698-7513

Tommy Norment (R-3, Williamsburg), district03@senate.virginia.gov, 804-698-7503

Roscoe Reynolds (D-20, Martinsville), district20@senate.virginia.gov, 804-698-7520

Mark Obenshain (R-26, Harrisonburg), district26@senate.virginia.gov, 804-698-7526

Ryan McDougle (R-4, Mechanicsville), district04@senate.virginia.gov, 804-698-7504

Robert Hurt (R-19, Chatham), district19@senate.virginia.gov, 804-698-7519

Senators voting against adding penalties for coerced abortion:

Henry Marsh (D-16, Richmond), district16@senate.virginia.gov, 804-698-7516

Dick Saslaw (D-35, Springfield), district25@senate.virginia.gov, 804-698-7535

Janet Howell (D-32, Reston), district32@senate.virginia.gov, 804-698-7532

Louise Lucas (D-18, Portsmouth), district18@senate.virginia.gov, 804-98-7518

John Edwards (D-21, Roanoke), district21@senate.virginia.gov, 804-698-7521

Toddy Puller (D-36, Mount Vernon), district36@senate.virginia.gov, 804-698-7536

Creigh Deeds (D-25, Charlottesville), district25@senate.virginia.gov, 804-698-7525

Don McEachin (D-9, Richmond), district09@senate.virginia.gov, 804-698-7509

Chap Petersen (D-34, Fairfax) , district34@senate.virginia.gov, 804-698-7526

The Virginia Budget: More Reform Ideas Now

Speaking of Virginia's budget process and Governor-elect Bob McDonnell's idea to reform the process whereby the lame duck, outgoing governor proposes the next two-year budget, more is needed to be done. For one, zero-based budgeting. Even Creigh Deeds supports that. As it is now, agency budgets are based on the previous year's budget. They normally get an increase, however small (and usually not small), despite its performance (see the Department of Education). Zero-based budgeting starts from scratch each year and determines what money is needed to achieve that year's objectives. But even with zero-based budgeting some unnecessary government programs remain intact. So, instead of reducing some agency budgets, some should be merged (as the House tried to do two years ago) or, better yet, eliminated. Still, zero-based budgeting would be a nice starting point for reform. Two planks out of the McDonnell-Bolling budget and spending reform platform released in September are along these lines: agency performance audit reviews and evidence based budgeting. We hope this at least moves us toward reducing the scope of spending in Richmond, if not actually significantly limiting state government's ever expanding reach (and we haven't even touched on SOQ reform).

While the budget cycle and agency appropriation formulas are the headline grabbers, there are many needed common sense reforms. Some have been proposed form time to time in the General Assembly only to be shot down for reasons serious and not. For example, one bill last year from Senator Tommy Norment (R-3, Williamsburg), oddly enough, would bring more transparency and probably scare off lawmakers from voting in pork. It would have required that anything budget conferees stuck in their final budget report — which the two chambers must vote up or down — that was a non-state appropriation, an item not included in either chamber’s budget, or an item that represents legislation that failed during session, would have to be announced as such in letters to all 140 members by the chairmen of the House Appropriations and Senate Finance Committees.

Another idea last year came from Senator Ralph Smith (R-22, Botetourt) which would require at least a day pause for reading the budget before it could be voted on. That, too, went nowhere fast.

Getting ourselves into a fiscal mess was pretty simple — the legislature and the executive over the years simply saying yes to every plea for help and imaginary solution that supposedly only money can provide. Getting ourselves out of it is pretty simple, too. But it's amazing how many simple, time tested ideas there are that can save taxpayer money and provide efficiency that never get anywhere (not to mention just saying "no").  

Many of these ideas have been studied or have worked elsewhere. There's no need for delay. The need is great to reform. The moment, with newly elected officials and a teetering economy, is now. Delay, for any reason, no longer is necessary. No that it ever was.

Virginia News Stand: December 21, 2009

Annotations & Elucidations Like Deeds, Like Marsden; Like Kaine, Like Marsden; Like Deeds, Like Kaine

We're keeping the news to a minimum today: the snow is melting and people are less captive and not as inclined to be in front of the computer as they get back to last minute shopping and other Christmas preparations. Most of the news around the state concerns Governor Tim Kaine's outlandish income tax increase proposal. Easy for him to do — he leaves office in three weeks. Governor-elect Bob McDonnell and the majority House Republicans already say it's a non-starter. So perhaps the big story, or at least the most intriguing, is the turn taken in the special election in the 37th Senate district (in Fairfax County) to replace Attorney General-elect Ken Cuccinelli, between Republican Steve Hunt and Democrat Dave Marsden, currently a delegate. Democrats think, because of recent trends in Fairfax, they can win the seat; the GOP, with its reverberating rebound last month, sense the tide has turned back their way, even in Northern Virginia, where its candidates did exceedingly well in the recent election.

Delegate Marsden, who moved into a friend's house to establish residency in the district, now has pro-abortion allies railing against some old literature a crisis pregnancy center stopped distributing some time ago. Hunt used to serve on the center's board.

Two things are absolutely peculiar about this: First, Delegate Marsden, must not have paid much attention to the top of his own ticket last month as Democrat standard bearer Creigh Deeds (remember him?) clamored about abortion and social issues while the rest of Virginia concerned itself with jobs. Marsden, himself, considered to be in a safe House district, barely escaped to re-election. Now, Governor Kaine wants to repeal the car tax cut and raise the income tax, and Delegate Marsden, given his record, is most likely right there with him. Again, just like Senator Deeds, who recommended raising taxes during a recession (see Jeff Schaprio's analysis in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, below).

The second oddity is that while the pregnancy center has ceased distributing the information, those attacking it and Mr. Hunt are providing this type of sick information (see video of Planned Parenthood abortionist and counselor talking to prospective patient),where "patients" are advised that abortions are safer than giving birth. So, it's mini-campaign redux featuring residency, raising taxes in a recession and old flyers versus jobs and sticking up for the unborn.  

News:

Antiabortion pregnancy center figures in state Senate race (Washington Post)

McDonnell, GOP lawmakers assail Kaine’s budget plan (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Kaine proposes 1% rise in state income tax (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

From deep in the red, Gov. Kaine proposes a brutal state budget (The Daily Press)

'Painful cuts' part of Kaine's Virginia budget proposal (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

Kaine proposes replacing car tax with income one (Washington Times)

Virginia governor proposes an income tax increase (Washington Post)

At least 7 GOP candidates eager to take on Perriello (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Analysis:

With budget, Kaine leaves tough task for both parties (Jeff Schapiro/Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Virginia News Stand: December 7, 2009

Annotations & Elucidations Ooops. We're Taking You To Court, Instead.

Of all things: The mysterious Know Campaign, which planned on a mass mailing, prior to the election, telling recipients that their neighbors vote, so why don't you? last week told the State Board of Elections it would cooperate with its investigation and disclose who made available to it a Voter Vault list, of which only certain people — including elected officials — have access, but now says it is going to court to block having to supply said information. Hmmm. As Jerry Seinfeld would ask, "Who arrrrrrrre those people?"

Meanwhile, the GOP celebrates, the Dems deliberate and Jeff McWaters will be the new senator from the 8th district. Also, some are floating the idea of ending the car tax reduction to balance the budget. That takes a lot of nerve, but, unfortunately, it's not surprising. Some never can read election results, even when it hits them in the face.

In Analysis and Commentary past and future elections are evaluated, as the Washington Post picks Virginia's own, U.S. Representative Tom Perriello (D-5) as the fifth most likely incumbent/defender of a party's seat, to lose in next year's Congressional elections, and former Governor Doug Wilder explains why Creigh Deeds lost. (Why isn't ever why Bob McDonnell won?) Also, the Richmond Times-Dispatch's Jeff Schapiro takes a look at one of the most powerful men in the General Assembly — Delegate Kirk Cox (R-66, Colonial Heights) — and the many cards he has to play.

News:

McDonnell and GOP celebrate victories (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Victory bash: GOP rallies in Williamsburg (The Daily Press)

Kaine tells Democrats not to dwell on the past (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Deeds thanks Dems, exhorts party to keep fighting (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

End to car tax relief on table to plug budget hole (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

McDonnell watches cash during transition (Richmond Times-Dispatch

GOP picks McWaters to run for Va. Senate (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

Nonprofit sues to avoid disclosing donors (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

Analysis:

Spotlight centers on Cox (Jeff Schapiro/Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Change you can count on: Five key districts (Chris Cillizza/Washington Post)

Commentary:

Wilder: Why Creigh Deeds Lost (Doug Wilder/Richmond Times-Dispatch)

The 10th Amendment Disconnect

I had the privilege of hearing Dr. Bob Holsworth (Virginia Tomorrow) speak Monday night about the recent elections. He is the best political analyst in Virginia in my opinion and his insights on campaigns and strategies never fail to enlighten. He said that one of the many aspects where the Creigh Deeds campaign (as well as the Wagner and Shannon campaigns) fell short was in its inability to respond to the federal issues — card check, cap-and-trade, nationalized health care — Republican Bob McDonnell repeatedly raised as not only an intrusion into Virginians' sovereignty, but as harmful to Virginians themselves —their prosperity, opportunity, way of life, health. In other words, upholding the 10th Amendment, which leaves to the states all powers not specifically delineated to the federal government.

Senator Deeds couldn't dis President Barack Obama, who historically carried Virginia last year, and turn off the liberal Democrat base and its newly energized voters, by opposing those signature liberal issues. So the best he could do was assert they had nothing to do with running the commonwealth. Dr. Holsworth said Deeds' inability to satisfactorily deal with this dynamic pleased no one — crucial independents, who broke overwhelmingly to the GOP, nor the base.

Who am I to disagree with Dr. Bob? But I want to add that it was more than that. Defending one's state against the onslaught of the federal leviathan is a constitutional charge. So it is a legitimate issue. But Senator Deeds, reflective of today's ingrained liberalism, at the very least couldn't respond to the issues because he doesn't understand the 10th Amendment. Doubtful. So that leaves the worst, but more likely, case — a total disregard for it. When state politicians become too comfortable accepting mandates and force-fed programs from Washington, which stunt states from their roles as democratic laboratories and distinctly different places to live, they deserve to lose. Indeed, federal issues always have and always will be integral to state issues because the constitutional relationship of states to the national government demands it.  

Virginia News Stand: November 17, 2009

Annotations & Elucidations The Governor's Take

The education poll leads the news, but by now you know all about that. As for politics, Governor Tim Kaine is all about the long knives, now, criticizing Creigh Deeds for his campaign, as if the DNC chairman had no say so in it. I would write that it's easy for him to complain, but what does he know? He wasn't in Virginia for the campaign (rim shot, please).

The bulk of the news is about the House of Delegates: The Appropriations Committee gets a budget briefing during its annual two-day Capitol retreat; recently defeated Delegate Phil Hamilton (R-93, Newport News) announced his resignation, effective Sunday; and each  caucus held it's leadership votes over the weekend. The Republican lineup remains the same while the Democrats seem to have a position for every member of its diminished number.

In education news, about 10 teachers at a Henrico County high school are complaining about a guest speaker who advocates abstinence. Yeah. Hate speech. Speaking of communication and culture, a real blow to the Washington, D.C., media community: The homosexual advocacy publication Washington Blade is closing its doors. 

News:

Poll: Virginians like public schools but would like more nonpublic options (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Democrat Deeds ran without his base, Kaine says (Washington Post)

House committee to hear state budget forecast (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Va. House caucuses choose leaders (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Phil Hamilton resigns from House of Delegates (The Daily Press)

Freeman High abstinence-only speaker draws fire (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Health care-sharing ministries: Paying their fair share (Roanoke Times)

Gay weekly Washington Blade closes (Washington Post)

Washington Blade closes; new paper for gays planned (Washington Times)

Virginia News Stand: November 16, 2009

Annotations & Elucidations The Biggest Loser Strikes Again

The Washington Post is at it again . . . still! Forget Creigh Deeds, Jody Wagner and Steve Shannon, election night's biggest loser was the Post. It created Deeds with its Democrat primary endorsement of him. His campaign slogan effectively became, "Endorsed by the Washington Post" and its influence over the liberal Northern Virginia base carried him to primary victory. It then became his de facto political consultant, telling him to come clean on his tax increase plans, which he did in a Post op-ed, and coaching him every step of the way. It even gave him his singular line of attack against his Republican opponent — a thesis Bob McDonnell wrote while earning his MBA at Regent University. Now, after a couple of weeks of silence, the Post can't contain itself and is back on the hunt, trying to tie the governor-elect to a comment Regent founder Pat Robertson made about Muslims. Lesson learned number one from the campaign: Don't hire the Washington Post as your campaign advisor. Lesson two: It's a real sore loser.

Elsewhere, we're mentioned in a piece about Governor-elect McDonnell's transition team. One of our board members, Dave Barrett, was named as a transition team senior advisor. Richmond Times-Dispatch columnist Jeff Schapiro speculates on whom McDonnell will name as Secretary of Finance, his most important personnel decision, according to Mr. Schapiro. Is House Majority Whip Kirk Cox (R-66, Colonial Heights) a contender? The T-D also examines the online advertising aspect of the late campaign — it was among the best, it says. No wonder, there was a lot of material to work with. Also, policies are starting to emerge from the Team McDonnell. Finally, please check out Michael Ramirez's editorial comics at the links below. He's a hoot. Maybe the Post should look them over, laugh . . . and lighten up.

News:

*Gov.-elect McDonnell announces senior advisers to transition team (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

McDonnell meets House Democrats, stresses common ground (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

McDonnell eyes health-care changes at state level (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Robertson's remarks put McDonnell in a bind (Washington Post)

Online ads in Va. gubernatorial race 'set the standard' (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Dates set for special Senate primaries; "Debate" held in the 8th today (BearingDrift.com)

Tickets on sale now for Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly in Norfolk (The Daily Press)

Analysis:

Budget boss atop concern (Jeff Schapiro/Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Editorial Comics:

Pork Flu (Below) (Michael Ramirez/TheWeek.com)

Pelosi & Reid's Miracle Health Care Reform (Michael Ramirez/Townhall.com)

RINO: A Scene From "The Godfather" (Michael Ramirez/Townhall.com)

porkflu

The Base

In his thumping of Creigh Deeds Tuesday night, Bob McDonnell nearly garnered as many votes as . . . Marriage.

Yup, that's right. McDonnell's 1,160,365 votes (as of this posting) fell just 168,172 short of the 2006 marriage amendment. That proposal received 1,328,537 supporters. Talk about a "bipartisan," "center," "mainstream" vote, marriage is the model. 

We also found some interesting tidbits from Tuesday's exit polling (yes, I know, exit polling . . . but it makes for good fodder).

According to exit polling from CNN, 34 percent of those voting identified themselves as "Evangelical/Born Again" and, of that block, a whopping 83 percent cast their vote for Mr. McDonnell. Now, if you run the numbers that equates to nearly half of all voters that cast their ballot for McDonnell were of the "Evangelical/Born Again" group. (To our liberal friends, breath, breath . . . there you go, breath. It'll be ok. Breath . . . .)

So, as all the pundits, experts, campaign consultants, etc. inform us that the campaign Mr. McDonnell ran is the "model" for future GOP candidates, lets all remember that the "model" only works if "the base" is motivated. Otherwise, well, see John McCain. And Jerry Kilgore. And . . . well, you get the idea.

Virginia News Stand: October 30, 2009

Annotations & Elucidations  Close Of Business, October 2009

Another month, another campaign draws toward conclusion. Where does the time go? Where does life go? A sign of the times: Campaign news is light today. Everyone is expecting an anti-climatic GOP blowout. But will it be? What about New Jersey and the special Congressional election in upstate New York? If the Dems pull those out will that blunt any GOP resurgence nationally otherwise gained from a Virginia sweep? If the numbers hold, how many Republican delegates will win? Retirements alone guarantee a large freshman class in January.

About today's headlines: The Richmond Times-Dispatch gets up close and personal with the LG candidates and the Washington Times already is analyzing where Creigh Deeds went wrong. Why is it always where Creigh Deeds went wrong? Bob McDonnell, Bill Bolling and Ken Cuccinelli have done a lot right. Meanwhile, political soothsayer Dr. Larry Sabato offers his predictions on the election.

Nationally: It's unfortunate that several pastors in Washington, D.C., are supporting homosexual "marriage" there; the AP reports that, indeed, abortion funding is in the health care "reform" bill; and sociologist Brad Wilcox of U.Va., and The Family Foundation Marriage Commission, caught the AP's attention with his research that faith helps marriages!

In Commentary, Dr. Thomas Sowell offers part two of his "Dismantling of America" exposition, the first part of which we posted earlier this week, and which drew considerable praise from Rush Limbaugh, among others. Also, a skin care company is using fetal cells in its product; Tim Kaine's DNC has selected as a finalist in a contest promoting the health care bill a video that desecrates the American flag; and a high ranking Obama administration official reveals her "ultimate expression of self-righteous victimhood." This is the weekend we move our clocks back and it gets dark earlier. How appropriate.

News:

Candidates for lieutenant governor come with different backgrounds (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Republicans rally supporters in Lynchburg as Election Day nears (Lynchburg News & Advance)

Money, missteps cost Deeds in polls for gubernatorial race (Washington Times)

Deeds makes stop in Roanoke (Roanoke Times)

National News: 

Health care businesses at risk in House overhaul (AP/OneNewsNow.com)

Believe it or not . . . abortion funding is in health care bill (OneNewsNow.com

Sociologist: Faith benefits marriage and family life (AP/OneNewsNow.com)

Pastors unite to support same-sex marriage in D.C. (Washington Post)

Analysis:

So who's going to win? (Dr. Larry Sabato/Center For Politics)

Commentary:

Dismantling America, Part II(Thomas Sowell/OneNewsNow.com)

Desecrated Flag Video Is Finalist In DNC Contest(Tasha Easterling/Rightly Concerned Blog)

Got Waste? No Surprises There (Jeremy Wiggins/Rightly Concerned Blog)

Skin Care Company Using Fetal Cells In Anti-Wrinkle Cream (Jeremy Wiggins/Rightly Concerned Blog)

Obama Advisor: We're Just Speaking Truth To Power (Tasha Easterling/Rightly Concerned Blog)

Planned Parenthood Attacks Bob McDonnell

At our Gala Monday evening, the loudest applause line of Family Foundation President Victoria Cobb's address was when she said that pro-family Virginians expect that the next governor of Virginia to submit a budget that ends taxpayer subsidies to Planned Parenthood. In a radio interview the next day on the Laura Ingraham Show, Republican candidate for governor Bob McDonnell stated that he would do just that. Now, Planned Parenthood is going berserk over McDonnell’s comments, despite the fact that The Washington Post today claims that Planned Parenthood didn’t receive any taxpayer money in this year’s budget. For several years The Family Foundation has worked with other pro-life organizations to end the taxpayer subsidizing of Planned Parenthood, often finding it difficult to uncover how much money they receive or through what agency or program.

While Planned Parenthood alleges that the money they receive is used for "women’s health care," the fact is that this is a $1 billion a year organization that performs more than one-quarter of all abortions in the nation, with roughly one-third of its income coming from taxpayers.

Oddly, for an organization that claims to be about "health care," it is run by a hard-core partisan Democrat, Cecile Richards, the daughter of former Texas Governor Ann Richards and former chief of staff to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The truth is, it is nothing more than a partisan organization that uses its taxpayer funding to bludgeon pro-life candidates across the country and to promote abortion on demand. This year, Planned Parenthood endorsed McDonnell’s opponent, Creigh Deeds, who supports taxpayer funding of that organization. in fact, Planned Parenthood endorsed all three Democrat statewide candidates.

The fact is that, regardless of their position on abortion, most Virginians do not like the idea of their tax dollars paying for abortions and, by extension, organizations that perform them. Planned Parenthood has plenty of its own money; it doesn’t need any from the taxpayers.

That's One Big All-Purpose Table

This isn't so much a slam against Creigh Deeds for his vague, indecisive, obfuscating way of saying he'll raise our taxes in a recession, as it is the grammarian and rhetorician in me: Can we please cut out the cliches, people! However, since it is election season, when you combine this with his infamous tax and other dodges, and his braggadocio on submitting the most budget amendments in the General Assembly — a billion dollars worth — it all kind of comes together nicely. Oh, one other thing thing not purposely vague about the Deeds campaign was the news of a late $25,000 donation from the United Association, a Big Labor group that works to dismantle Right-To-Work laws.

Disparate questions about his plans, but the same answer from Senator Deeds:

If it's pro-Big Labor and means more taxes, spending and regulation, and less freedom, "it's on the table" for Creigh Deeds.