Northern Virginia

Budget Games End Tuesday

Tomorrow, lawmakers will be back in Richmond to hold a public hearing on Obamacare expansion. Your presence and voice will make the difference. The Senate Finance Committee — controlled by the same senators who have held the commonwealth's budget hostage to force Obamacare on Virginians, at the expense of funding schools, public safety and everything else — will hear public comments on whether or not to pass a clean budget without expansion. The Family Foundation will join a large coalition of conservative organizations offering testimony tomorrow to oppose the expansion. We need to deliver a clear message to these lawmakers that our emergency service personnel and schools are not pawns for their political games.

While the hearing begins at 2:00, sign-up for those interested in speaking starts at 1:00. Please arrive early enough to help us stop the Obama OFA group and other leftist organizations, such as Moveon.org, from blocking our voice by taking all the speaking slots. It wouldn't surprise us if those groups were given a heads up on this maneuver precisely so it can pack the room with left wing activists.

We cannot stress enough how important it is that conservatives take a public stand in support of a clean budget. Trying to force Obamacare expansion into the budget is wrong for many reasons, not to mention that is highly questionable whether or not it belongs in the budget: It is not an appropriation of state tax dollars, it wasn't passed as stand alone legislation that needs to be funded and it would contravene a law last year that mandated the Medicaid Innovation and Reform Commission do its work and recommend the commonwealth's next move. Furthermore, a program notoriously rife with abuse and never subject to an independent audit should most certainly not be included in the Virginia budget.

There will be free bus rides available for those in Southwest Virginia (as far as Bristol) and Northern Virginia. Sign-up here for a ride from a bus stop near you.

If you cannot make it to the event (and even if you are attending), please take two  convenient actions: Contact members of the Senate Finance Committee by phone or e-mail. Click here for committee members and their contact information. Then, if you haven't done so already, please sign the Pass A Clean Budget Terry Petition to make your voice heard to Governor McAuliffe to pass a clean budget.

PolitiFact Or PolitiBiased?

In the summer of 2012, the Republican Party of Virginia issued a scathing 86-page critique of PolitiFact alleging bias against Republicans and conservatives. This critique was made in the summer leading up to the election of Tim Kaine to the U.S. Senate. PolitiFact's legitimacy is directly tied to the perception that it is providing an unbiased fact-check of politicians. As you would expect, PolitiFact swiftly responded to the complaint:

The party takes issue with the fact that 26 of our last 36 rulings have concerned Republican candidates and elected officials. But Virginia is largely controlled by Republican politicians. The governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general belong to the party, as do eight of the 13 members of Virginia's congressional delegation, including House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. Both houses of the General Assembly are run by Republicans. In addition, the GOP fielded four candidates in its primary for the U.S. Senate this spring and sponsored three debates between them. Democrats, in contrast, handed their nomination to an unopposed Tim Kaine.

Well, times are a changing. Virginia now is largely controlled by Democrats. The governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general belong to the Democrats. Pending the outcome of the 6th Senate District special election (currently in recount mode with Democrat Lynwood Lewis holding a 9-vote lead over Republican Wayne Coleman), Republicans may control only the House of Delegates. With the retirement of U.S. Representative Jim Moran, it seems that every Democrat in Northern Virginia has declared for his federal seat. Quite a different political environment from just eighteen months ago. It's time to put PolitiFact to the test and see how fairly they review and critique liberals and Democrats.

On Sunday, PolitiFact launched its "Macker-meter" to track whether Governor Terry McAuliffe keeps his campaign promises. PolitiFact is going to track 17 promises "the Macker" made on the campaign trail. Of course, they tracked 48 promises for former Governor Bob McDonnell. Don't worry, PolitiFact has an explanation for this discrepancy of what they will monitor:

McDonnell — a 17-year veteran of elective office when he ran for governor — put out more than a dozen nuanced policy papers during his campaign. We could not find the same level of detail from McAuliffe, a first-time elective office holder who was criticized during last year's campaign for being light on policy.

In other words,  Governor McAuliffe gets a pass because it is his first-time being elected to office. But he is not the political novice PolitiFact describes. They conveniently leave out his failed run for governor four years earlier and his decades of well publicized political experience.

PolitiFact also released its first promise check. Governor McAuliffe received a "promise kept" for signing an executive order putting restrictions on gifts, but because his executive order is only valid for one year, they will check back to see what happens next year. I may be mistaken, but I recall that promises Governor McDonnell didn't fully complete were given scores of "in the works" and PolitiFact checked back before determining if it was a promise kept. Double standard? Time will tell.

Regardless, this is great news for Governor McAuliffe. By failing to espouse specific, nuanced policy positions during the campaign, he will be lightly judged by PolitiFact. We'll leave the question of why the press corp did not call for the governor to task for failing to provide a detailed policy plan prior to the election for another day.

Inside The Tax Increase Numbers: The Laundry List Of What Will Be Taxed And By How Much

Here's the list of what will be taxed and by how much in the proposed "transportation tax increase" now before both chambers of the General Assembly. Not angry yet? Read on:

» A 3.5  percent wholesale sales tax paid by distributors would replace the current 17.5 cents per gallon flat tax on gasoline. The new tax, though, will be passed on to consumers, along with a 6 percent wholesale sales tax on diesel fuel.

» The 5 percent retail sales and use tax paid statewide on most purchases will increase to 6 percent in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads, and to 5.3 percent in the rest of the state.

» A $100 annual fee will be levied on alternative fuel vehicles, including hybrids.

» The sales tax on the purchase of cars (new or used) will increase from 3 percent to 4 percent.

» In Northern Virginia, the tax on house sales will increase by 40 cents per hundred dollars. That's an extra $1,600 on the sale of a $400,000 home.

» Also in Northern Virginia, the occupancy tax for hotels will increase 2 percent.

» If Congress passes the Marketplace Equity Act (which requires online businesses to collect sales taxes) the proceeds will be distributed as follows: 55.55 percent for schools; 22.2 percent for local governments with no restrictions; and 22.2 percent for roads and transit.

» If Congress does not pass the Internet sales tax collections act, an additional 1.6  percent tax will be added to the wholesale gas tax.

» There is no guarantee that these new revenues will be spent entirely on transportation since the Senate, twice this session (including today) defeated a proposed constitutional amendment to lock away transportation funds from general fund spending. The Senate has defeated this needed reform for years.

» There is no guarantee that the General Assembly or a future governor won't come back for more tax increases.

» All of these tax increases are on top of the newly increased "fiscal cliff" tax increases by Congress and President Obama and pending local tax increases many Virginia jurisdictions are looking into, such as meals and property tax increases.

If all this isn't enough, there has not been a good faith effort to cut spending in other areas and reapportion it to transportation. Now are you angry?

Please immediately contact your Delegate (click here) and your Senator (click here) and urge them to vote against this massive tax hike scheme!

Urge Defeat Of Massive Tax Increase!

Yesterday, ten members of the General Assembly presented a "compromise" tax and spending proposal that includes a substantial increase in taxes and fees for a large portion of Virginia, particularly residents of Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads. Facts about the plan reveal that not all the new revenue is even going to transportation.

Please immediately contact your Delegate (click here) and your Senator (click here) and urge them to vote against this massive tax hike scheme!

Among the taxes that will increase are the state's sales tax, the sales tax on car purchases, and local taxes in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads. Worse, not all the new revenue will be spent on transportation. According to today's Richmond Times Dispatch:

Not all of the 0.3 percent increase in sales tax goes to transportation. Part of the overall revenue generated by the increased tax would go toward an increase in education funding and other general fund priorities.

The fact is that outside of a constitutional amendment, how Virginia spends our tax dollars can be changed every year through the budget and budget amendments. This plan is no different. In fact, the Senate today again killed, for the second time this session (as it has for years), a proposed constitutional amendment to keep transportation funding off limits to future non-transportation spending whims. So while the fiscal needs for transportation are obvious, those who argue that this plan is going to "solve the problem" of transportation in Virginia are fooling themselves.

This plan is not just a tax increase, but new across the board spending. Make no mistake, if you live in the urban crescent or plan to or need to purchase a new or used car in the future, you are going to pay higher taxes. The idea that our gas prices are going down as a result of replacing the antiquated gas tax with a wholesale gas tax are, honestly, foolish. The plan calls for the elimination of the gas tax (17.5 cents per gallon) with a wholesale gas tax increase, which proponents of the plan indicate will be the equivalent of a 10 cent per gallon tax. The consensus, however, is that the "savings" will not be passed on to the consumer, so we will continue to pay higher prices at the pump.

It's disappointing that those involved in the negotiations of this plan couldn't come up with a solution to our transportation needs that didn't include placing even more financial burden on already struggling families and small businesses in the face of even more national fiscal uncertainty. Unfortunately, there is a lack of political will in Richmond to fix one of the biggest problems we face (outside of federal mandates that continue to destroy our state economy) — an antiquated and irresponsible public school funding formula that costs billions of dollars for more and more administration and fewer teachers. There's no doubt that the issues faced are complex and difficult, but this plan is simply not the best solution for Virginia's families.

Please contact your Delegate (click here) and your Senator (click here) immediately and urge them to vote against the tax increase!

Don't Like Tolls? Take A Chance On This Idea

Governor Bob McDonnell and his Transportation Secretary, Sean Connaughton, lit up a firestorm across the commonwealth this week with an outline of a plan, via the Federal Highway Administration, to toll up Interstate 95 (see Jim Bacon at Bacon's Rebellion). We suspect the debate will get more vociferous on the policy — but more so on the political — side as the plan gets fleshed out fully and presented to the public. Transportation is the perennial issue in the Old Dominion. I still remember Wyatt Durrette campaigning in 1985 about how he was going to improve the roads in Northern Virginia. It's basically the Chicago Cubs of state policy: wait until next year. Why wait? When news broke, I immediately thought of the novel idea I proposed here three-and-a-half years ago that got some attention among blogs and even some members of the General Assembly. It's, speaking of sports, a win-win, no losers approach that can save all of the heartburn of another tax increase vs. tolling vs. so-called "user fee" debate.

This proposal does not increase taxes, spares drivers the ignominy of stopping to pay for the right to delay their commutes further, and will go a long way toward funding the road improvements we all desire — all while having fun and getting entertained in the process. Sound impossible? Hardly. It's one of the easiest solutions imaginable: Double the cost per lottery ticket.

Right now, all Virginia Lottery proceeds, by law, go toward education. However, if ticket prices were doubled, and the law was changed to split the revenue for transportation, education would lose none of its funding and wed have some case for roads. It has all the hallmarks of both the left and the right: it is a voluntary tax (conservative) and spreads the wealth around (liberal). How much more of a harmonious fix could there be?

Here's the original post, spelling out how it would work, from April 28, 2008:

We’re quite distressed the G.A., the Guvna, the transportation bureaucracy, the N.Va. developers and other special interests have gotten their knickers in a twist the last few years over the impending doom the Old Dominion’s woeful road situation is soon to pour down on us. Seems they’re all in a spot of bother over this Armageddon.

What’s the fuss? We have a simple answer.

We need money, right? Lots of it. That’s the only way to fix our transportation problems, or so we’re told. One side persistently wants to raise taxes. Another side says no (sometimes, kinda). Still others have made noise about legalizing new types of gambling and throwing that “voluntary tax” revenue to solve our transportation problems. Rumors floating around Capitol Square today are that this third group will hit the coming special session with more momentum.

Why go through all of that hassle? We already have mechanism in place. It just needs a bit of fine tuning.

The lottery was passed on the philosophy that it was a voluntary tax — only those who wanted to pay for it would pay it. (Actually, there’s a space on your Virginia Income Tax form to pay extra taxes voluntarily, but those preaching the need for more state taxes never lead by example.) So we have a lottery. Problem is, its revenues are limited to education funding.

Here’s the simple answer:

Double the cost on all lottery tickets. Amend the law so that 50 percent of all lottery revenue goes to transportation. Problem solved. Education money is not touched. Transportation gets its new revenue stream. Taxes are not raised but on those who wish to pay them. Say what? Higher prices may discourage people from buying lottery tickets? Or create an unfair burden? But somehow tax increases on necessities do not increase prices or are not burdensome?

Bingo! (Speaking of the devil, that’s another option.)

Frederick Declares For 36th District Senate Seat

Former three-term delegate and Republican Party of Virginia Chairman Jeff Frederick Tuesday announced his candidacy for the Northern Virginia area 36th district Senate seat. In a detailed e-mail with a simple headline ("I'm In!") he promised a "commonsense, pro-people — not politics — campaign to create jobs, grow our economy, improve transportation and infrastructure, and protect our special quality of life." He first will face conservative activist, businessman and radio personality Tito "The Builder" Munoz in a Republican primary. The winner will face incumbent liberal Democrat Toddy Puller. As we were one of the first to report that Mr. Frederick was considering a political comeback, his announcement was no surprise. At the time we noted how the Democrat-leaning district, though to tough to win, might be winnable for an energetic, grassroots oriented candidate such as Mr. Frederick. After all, he won his old House district, which was a Democrat district, three times and now 37 percent of that old House district is in the new 36th Senate district. Not only that, the Senate Democrat Majority took away some Democrat precincts from the 36th to shore up another district. In an off-off-off year election, where turnout is between 30-35 percent, and in a newly redrawn district where many won't know their senator, a GOP victory there is possible. It's not just conservative fantasy, either: None other than the left-wing blog Not Larry Sabato mourned the loss of the seat with an April healdine, "Senator-Elect Jeff Frederick Gives GOP Control of Senate."

But it won't be easy, as Mr. Frederick himself observes (see below). One theory is that an energetic, grassroots Republican can indeed win, but perhaps lightening rod candidates such as Mr. Frederick and Mr. Munoz (who has campaigned with Sarah Palin in the past) will send up a red flag as large as Wyoming and drive out liberal voters. However, Mr. Frederick told Anita Kumar of the Washington Post that, "We were able to find a path to victory through the data." This is one campaign that we, and most of the commonwealth, will keep an eye on.

Here's a portion of Mr. Frederick's announcement statement (read it in its entirety, here):

I'm happy to report to you, after a lot of thought, discussion, and prayer, we've decided to run for the Senate of Virginia.

But, I'm not in it for the money ($18k a year), the title, the digs, some degree of perceived power, or people making me feel important. I am running to serve the people of eastern Prince William, Fairfax, and Stafford and to change politics as usual in Richmond. There's too much polarization; too much partisanship; and not enough principled people going down there who are focused on the people that they represent — working hard day in and day out to make our communities, commonwealth and country a better place to live, work, and raise a family. We need leaders in Richmond who aren't afraid to shake up and stand up to the status quo and keep people of any political party accountable. . . .

I've opposed all attempts to grow government and tax you more, and I will continue to do so. You know better how to spend your money than government does. My record is clear and needs no election-year makeover. I never forget who I work for and always keep my promises. You might not always agree with me 100% of the time, but you'll always know where I stand and I'll always welcome your thoughts and ideas. . . .

God willing, we’ll win this election and change politics as usual in Virginia.

This is going to be a tough race in a district that was clearly gerrymandered for someone of the opposite political party. I've got a track record of winning in these tough districts and appealing to people of all political stripes, but this one could be the most difficult one yet. Notwithstanding, the numbers tell us it is winnable, especially given that 37% of the district is my old House district. Some of the toughest precincts in this new Senate district are precincts I consistently won in my prior House races against difficult opposition. . . .

TFF, The King Street Patriots, American Majority Partner For True The Vote Event In Centreville May 17

Is there election fraud going on in our nation? Is it happening here in Virginia? If so, what can be done to prevent it? The King Street Patriots from Houston asked these same questions and were shocked to find many irregularities in its hometown election process. In response, it created an initiative called True the Vote, which is becoming a model for groups to fight voter fraud across the country. Learn what the King Street Patriots discovered and what it is doing about it at 7:00 p.m on Tuesday, May 17, at Centreville Baptist Church in Centreville. Catherine Engelbrecht, The King Street Patriots president (see Breitbart.tv), will share her experiences with True the Vote in the Houston area. Ms. Engelbrecht, herself, has a remarkable story, as a successful entrepreneur in the oil services industry, a mom and someone who was motivated in recent times to get involved in the political process after seeing the direction of our country. She founded The King Street Patriots and her work for it is entirely volunteer.

Attendees also will receive updates from American Majority, a Virginia-based national training organization whose mission is to train leaders committed to individual freedom through limited government and the free market, as well as The Family Foundation. If you are in Northern Virginia, will be in the area, or want to make the trip, we encourage you to attend. For more information, contact Roger Pogge at 804-343-0010 or roger@familyfoundation.org.

The event is free and open to the public. Click here to register, for directions or for more information.

True The Vote Informational Meeting

Centreville Baptist Church

15100 Lee Highway, Centreville

Tuesday, May 17

7:00 – 9:00 p.m.

Local Governments Never Go Out Of Business Lobbying Against Your Rights And Interests

Anyone who reads this blog with the slightest of regularity knows that a major issue we've tried to bring to voters' attention is the fact that local governments use taxpayers' money to lobby against their interests, rights and liberty at the General Assembly. Whether it's through direct lobbying or through a collective effort via their associations (the Virginia Municipal League and the Virginia Association of Counties), and almost always through both by large cities or counties, local governments actively work to empower themselves at their citizens' expense and use their hard-earned tax money to do so. It's as if they consider themselves apart from the citizenry and look out for their own fiefdoms, while the serfs unwittingly fund their own demise. A case in point was exposed in Tuesday's Washington Post concerning how well Fairfax County fared during the recently completed session, as if the county was a citizen seeking relief from government rather than the special interest local governments have become. While much of the article concerned school funding (which might not be such a problem if local governments and school boards supported much needed reforms) there were two telling sections:

County officials lobbied against a measure that would begin the process of amending the state Constitution to prevent the use of eminent domain for economic development. Fairfax officials said they thought the measure went too far.

As if protecting homes, businesses, farms and places of worship is something that can be negotiated. How would local governments like it if their ability to tax was negotiated? Oh, wait:

(Supervisor Jeff McKay, a Democrat) expressed frustration that perhaps the most comprehensive approach to solving the region's transportation woes was barely given a hearing — a bill put forward by (Democrat Delegate Vivian) Watts that would have changed the way that gasoline is taxed and allowed Northern Virginia to impose certain taxes to fund projects in the region.

If it's not taking your property, limiting your choice in education or the right to spend your money in gargantuan proportions, you can be guaranteed it's always about the right to tax you more (and more and more). Poor, poor Supervisor McKay . . . denied the right to suck away more hard-earned money from his constituents, especially gas taxes as gas station light bulbs blow out staying current with daily price increases on the way to $4.00 a gallon. It's estimated now that 15 percent of disposable income is spent on gas and we can expect food prices (and other items) to continue to climb  as transportation costs skyrocket.

But as families look for ways to make ends meet, pay the mortgage, plan for their children's college and other financial responsibilities, and worry if their jobs, farms or businesses will exist in a week, month or year, local governments continue on. They know their future. As long as they have us to foot their bill, they're golden. After all, has a local government ever gone out of business?

Update: Distribution Information For 11th Congressional District Voter Guides

Here's more information about the voter guide for the November 2 11th Congressional District election. They are non-partisan guides that give the candidates' positions on issues important to people of faith such as their positions on life and marriage. This race is between incumbent Democrat Gerry Connolly and Republican challenger Keith Fimian. These guides are jointly produced by The Prince William & Manassas Family Forum, The Fairfax Family Forum and The Family Foundation Action and are legal for distribution in churches and other houses of worship. You can order a quantity of voter guides for yourself, your friends and family, and your church by contacting one of the following people:

» Denny Daugherty: dennydaugherty@erols.com (Prince William/Manassas)

» Bob Allen: 703-361-2278 (Prince William/Manassas)

» Terry Wear: tjwear@yahoo.com (Fairfax)

» The Fairfax Family Forum: fairfaxfamilyforum@gmail.com (Fairfax)

You can view (and print) the voter guide by clicking here.

Even if you don't live in the district, you can share it on your social media networks and via e-mail with people you know who live in Fairfax and Prince William Counties and Manassas.

The voter guides also will be available at the Northern Virginia IS Pro Life Rally tomorrow from 2:00-4:00 p.m. at the Government Center Ellipse in Fairfax (more information is at the Fairfax Family Forum and at the organizer's site, Pro-Life Unity). There are only two Sundays left between now and the election, so we hope voters in Northern Virginia will take advantage of these guides and distribute them as widely as possible.

Theives Buy Pot In California With Senator Saslaw's Stolen Credit Card Number

Rosalind Helderman just reported on The Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog that Virginia Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw (D-35, Springfield) had his American Express Card number stolen and that it was used in California to buy, of all things, $225 worth of medical marijuana! The senator told Helderman it appears as if the number was lifted during a visit to a Northern Virginia restaurant because two unnamed N.Va. legislators also were victimized.  The identity theft came to Senator Saslaw's attention in March and he quickly notified the Virginia State Police who, in turn, notified the California Highway Patrol. However, the two suspected thieves are still on the loose, and believed to be in the Sacramento area. Not only did they buy the pot, they've actively tried to get new credit cards in the senator's name. 

The story came to light after Senator Saslaw gave an interview, at the request of California authorities, to a Sacramento radio station yesterday. The rest of the Golden State media picked up on it (ABC News10) and since then the alarms have gone off at national media outlets, including Fox News. Probably not the way the senator wished to gain notoriety, and we sympathize with him and the other two victimized lawmakers. Identity theft not only is an unpleasant experience, it can be ruinous to your life if not detected in time.

While the fact that marijuana was purchased with a high-ranking elected official's stolen credit card number may sound humorous to some, the suspects probably had a practical purpose in mind. It is California after all. Not only is life a little loose out there, but with its economy in its own depression, perhaps we'll learn this was just an exercise in creative commerce — rather than medical or even "recreational" use, we suspect the the thieves will try to flip the pot on the street. Criminals need to eat, too, during tough times, and smoking the weed will only make them hungrier.

Fimian Receives Cuccinelli Endorsement For 11th District GOP Nomination

There was more big new in the increasingly high profile Virginia Republican 11th Congressional District nomination campaign. Overshadowed by the Tea Party dominated 5th and 2nd district races, Republicans Keith Fimian and Fairfax County Supervisor Pat Herrity have methodically raised the decibel level over charges and counter charges of who has raised taxes and who's more electable in the general election against first-term incumbent Democrat Gerry Connolly. Today, Fimian made more news: Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli endorsed him. His endorsement statement reads:

Today, I am proud to endorse Keith Fimian for Congress. Keith's experience and record of creating jobs here in Northern Virginia makes him an ideal candidate to face off against Gerry Connolly this fall.

Keith is staking out the same conservative positions now as he did in 2008, and his steadfast support of the Constitution is an asset we could use on Capitol Hill. And unlike Gerry Connolly, Keith has shown that he will not change his tune to win votes. He will stand up to the Washington insiders and fight for what is right, no matter what.

As an entrepreneur, small businessman and job creator, Keith Fimian is exactly the kind of leader we need in Congress right now to turn this economy around. He will focus on creating jobs, cutting spending and he'll work hard to get government out of the way of businesses doing business. Keith Fimian is 100% pro-life — he's someone we can trust to always vote to defend our traditional values and stand up for families.

If Republicans are going to make a meaningful comeback in 2010, we need candidates like Keith who will carry their conservative principles to Congress — not return to the business-as-usual politics that lost us the majority in the first place.

Keith Fimian has the qualities and experience we need to win in November. We need Keith Fimian in Congress, and that's why he's earned my endorsement. ...

The endorsement by Cuccinelli, the most popular statewide official among conservative and libertarian activists, and a rare pol not afraid to jump in where principle matters, should be a real asset to Fimian among primary voters. Fimian, who started and runs U.S. Inspect, the nation’s largest provider of residential and commercial property inspection services, ran a spirited campaign but lost the Northern Virginia swing district to Connolly in 2008, a poisoned year for Republicans. The seat was open due to the retirement of former moderate GOP Congressman Tom Davis. It is targeted by state and national Republicans.

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 3, 2009

Annotations & Elucidations Looking For A Legacy

After a lull in state news, it all came bursting out today with Governor Tim Kaine (contact) trying to steal his successor's thunder — and continue to leave himself a peculiar legacy. Before the Thanksgiving break he hinted he would include tax increases in his last budget. He confirmed that today with proposals to repeal certain tax credits. Bad enough. But then he moved on to the social side and wants to extend state benefits to domestic partners. As we noted last week, he's going out as he came in. It wasn't a pretty picture then, it's not now, either.

Governor-elect Bob McDonnell, on the other hand, who opposes these measures, proceeded to announce the first several appointments to his administration, including Governor Kaine's finance secretary. At least for now, until the budget is dealt with. Meanwhile, The Daily Press previews what will amount to a GOP victory weekend celebration party in Williamsburg this weekend at its Annual Advance. But the campaigns aren't over. Robert McCartney of the Washington Post takes a look at the 37th Senate District special election, and wonders — hopes — Dave Marsden can excite Northern Virginia liberals to the polls. He doubts it.

Nationally, as we mentioned Tuesday, same-sex marriage bills are meeting resistance in, of all places, New York and New Jersey. Yesterday, the New York Senate officially killed it with amazing bi-partisan support. But, as we all know, no one cares about the "social issues." Elsewhere, ClimateGate continues to unfold in unpleasant ways for the left, while two other horrendous bills are flying under the radar in Congress, both of which we should all be concerned about: a "cyber security" bill, that could curtail individual liberty, and the "Non-Discrimination Act," which is anything but, of course.

News:

Gov.-elect McDonnell opposes Kaine tax break repeal in next budget (AP/WSLS.com)

Va. budget to test McDonnell's stance (Washington Post)

Kaine proposal: extend state benefits to domestic partners, other adults (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot

Gov. proposal offers state's coverage to more adults (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

McDonnell announces first round of appointments (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

Kent likely to get chief of staff nod Thursday (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

McDonnell keeping Kaine's financial chief, temporarily (Charlottesville Daily Progress)

McDonnell expected to fill two positions (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Virginia GOP huddles in Williamsburg (The Daily Press)

National:

NY traditional marriage supporters celebrate (AP/OneNewsNow.com)

'Cyber threat' bill a threat itself (OneNewsNow.com)

UK University to probe integrity of climate data (AP/OneNewsNow.com)

Commentary:

In Va. Senate race, Democrats get another chance (Robert McCartney/Washington Post)

The discriminatory 'Non-Discrimination Act' (Matt Barber/OneNewsNow.com)

ClimateGate: NPR sees silver lining (Larry Elder/OneNewsNow.com)

2012: Is the Sky Really Falling? (Dave Sterrett/Rightly Concerned Blog)

They Call It Fiscal Responsibilty; We Call It Socialism (David Limbaugh/Rightly Concerned Blog)

Lunch With Jim And Mark

Not exactly, but I did check out the health care bill protest in front of the Richmond offices of Senators Mark Warner and Jim Webb that started at noon and ended at 2:00. I arrived at Webb's office around 12:45 to a crowd of about 50 people. There were plenty of signs and flags — U.S. and Gadsden (i.e., Don't Tread On Me!). There was also a fair amount of horn blowing. Cars that is. Lots of drivers signaling their agreement. As for human spouting, there wasn't any. A nice, jovial, peaceful, conversational crowd, although an occasional agitator swung by to try to stir trouble. They were  mostly ignored. Senator Webb's staff was very accommodating. They let people enter the office and provided us with forms to fill out to express what we were there for. One protester in the office writing his comments asked a staffer if he knew about an amendment that would require the 2,000-plus page Senate bill to be read in its entirety on the floor. He said, yes, and that the senator was in favor of that. We'll see if there's such an amendment, if it passes and what Senator Webb's eventual vote is. I asked him a procedural question and we had fun comparing General Assembly procedures to the U.S. Senate.

Then there was the phone. It didn't stop ringing. The poor receptionist couldn't get any work done.

"Good afternoon, Senator Webb's office. Yes, we're taking a poll on that today. Okay, against the health care bill? And your name, please. ..."

Call after call.

500px-gadsden_flag

After mingling and promoting "Virginia's best political blog" ("I should know because I write it,"was my catch line) and walked down to Senator Warner's office, which is in a high rise. Very analogous to the two men. Webb, who fashions himself one of the common folk with his Southwest Virginia roots, has an office at street level. Warner, Mr. High Tech, very Northern Virginia high end, is waaaaaaaaaaay above it all in the SunTrust building. A staffer gave one of the organizers a pile of sheets that had room only for name, address, a box to check if you want to get on his e-mail list, and your concern. That's it. Small boxes and no more. At least Webb let you write to your heart was content. Not Senator Warner. He should at least learn the value of appearances.

There were more people at Senator Warner's office, although people walked the six or so blocks back and forth between the two, and lots of car honks (Main Street is busier than Franklin, anyway.) More networking on my part. Another great crowd, including former Virginia Senator Eva Scott of Amelia County. Everyone was concerned, but not panicked.

So, what if the Senate clears its first hurdle Saturday? Not to worry, but only to work harder. The process is long. Floor amendments, negotiations,procedural tactics, conference committee with the House, more debate and votes. The longer it plays out, with nothing to show for it, and the closer November 2010 gets, the hot passions of the left may very well turn to cold feet.

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

Robo Kaine Desperate To Salvage Shannon

The DNC Chairman, Governor Tim Kaine (contact here) sounded off last night in the attorney general's campaign. Literally. He voiced a "robo call" on behalf of Democrat AG candidate Steve Shannon. Unfortunately, he really didn't have much to say about Delegate Shannon's qualifications. Instead, he launched into a vicious attack on Republican attorney general candidate Ken Cuccinelli, using a Washington Post editorial as cover for calling him "bigoted" (see Norm's Leahy's first-hand account at Tertium Quids). I, myself, got a call from an African-American friend immediately after he received the call. He reasoned the calls were going into African-American neighborhoods to pump the fear of Satan into otherwise disinterested black voters. But they also went into upper income, socially conscious (i.e., "moderate") white neighborhoods, too, the areas that the GOP seems to be gaining back this campaign. Which makes sense: with a double digit lead, the only way to defeat Senator Cuccinelli is to expand the voter universe and flip some votes (or get them to skip the AG ballot).

What is interesting is why the DNC chairman and his hacks think they can pick off Senator Cuccinelli. In the SurveyUSA poll, out today, he has the largest lead of the three (20 points!) — and even the Democrat Public Policy Poll says he leads in all regions of the commonwealth, including the liberal bastion of Northern Virginia. (How can that be?) The answer? Trashing the constitution and our founding principles. By parodying Senator Cuccinelli's principled stands and record of adhering strictly to the constitution, liberals think they can caricature him into something abominable because adhering to Life and Liberty aren't nearly so important as doling out government-style happiness.

No matter whether one interprets "bigotry" to be the racial kind or the "intolerant of other lifestyles" kind (the call left that open to your interpretation), it's interesting to note that it was Senator Cuccinelli who accepted, attended, spoke and stayed late to meet people at the Virginia NAACP's recent forum and Delegate Shannon who accepted — but stood them up. It's also strange that Governor Kaine thought highly enough of Senator Cuccinelli to work with him on this summer's special session to remedy the impact on Virginia from the U.S. Supreme Court's Melendez-Diaz decision. (You remember . . .the session Shannon called a "political stunt.")

Even stranger is Delegate Shannon's previous dinner engagements at the home of Senator Cuccinelli. Guess he was an okay guy before he went up double digits, huh? 

Ever since he took the DNC job, Governor Kaine has not been able to decide whether he is governor or desperate partisan in chief. His level of campaigning is beneath the dignity of the office Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson once occupied.

Virginia News Stand: October 19, 2009

Annotations & Elucidations  Which Is It?

As election day nears, the media starts to pay closer attention to the House of Delegates campaigns. Accordingly, we have articles on four of them today. Sounds like Ward Armstrong (D-10, Martinsville), the House's top Democrat, is a bit rankled.

In a case study as to how people see the same object differently, the Washington Post claims Senator Ken Cuccinelli (R-37, Fairfax) is bringing much more attention to the office (attorney general) that gets the least coverage every four years. On the other hand, The Daily Press offers the more traditional afterthought coverage. Which is it? The Post article is amazingly fair and perceptive. It does the senator right.

The Virginian-Pilot offers up a poll which shows Virginians decidedly againsta tax increase for transportation. Sorry, Creigh. Expect the aforementioned House (Democrat) candidates to sprint like Usain Bolt away from that proposition.

Speaking of the Post and The Daily Press, each endorsed a candidate this weekend. The Post predictably stuck with the guy it brung to the dance, Creigh Deeds, despite his attempts to avoid using the T word. Rumors are that he's buying up stickers to slap on yard signs in Northern Virginia that say, "Endorsed by Washington Post," just as he did in May shortly after it sponsored endorsed him in the Democrat primary. It was what gave him the edge then. The Daily Press, on the other hand, was not so predictable. It endorsed Tim Kaine four years ago, but now endorses Republican Bob McDonnell. It had no dog in the hunt it seems, and went with its best judgment.

Finally, the Post runs an opinion piece by a local teacher, Patrick Welsh, who offers common sense not often seen in those pages or in the D.C area: It's the parents, stupid, not the race.

News:

McDonnell, a poised presence, could lift the GOP (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

McDonnell moored by conservative values (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

McDonnell and Deeds: The men who would be Va. Governor (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

Attorney general hopefuls offer stark contrast (The Daily Press)

Cuccinelli's bid puts focus on a job often off the radar (Washington Post)

Deeds seeks to beat the odds (Charlottesville Daily Progress)

Deeds fights to hold Obama's Va. Coalition (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Hopefuls Summon Spirit of '08 Race (Washington Post)

Va. Lt. Gov. candidates spar over job records (The Daily Press)

Lohr, Hart Spar On Social Issues (Harrisonburg Daily News-Record)

94th House District: A civil disagreement between Oder and West (The Daily Press)

A rocky path for 11th District candidates (The Roanoke Times)

Armstrong questions 10th District opponent (The Roanoke Times)

Analysis:

Poll: Fix roads, but don't raise taxes (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

Commentary:

Editorial Page Endorsement: Mr. Deeds for Governor (Washington Post)

Editorial Page Edorsement: Budget discipline and executive experience make Bob McDonnell the right choice in difficult times (The Daily Press)

Making the Grade Isn't About Race. It's About Parents. (Patrick Welsh/Washington Post)

Virginia News Stand: September 24, 2009

Annotations & Elucidations  As The Day Turned: Chamber, FOP, Wilder

This morning started out with major news for Republican candidate for Governor Bob McDonnell, with the very non-partisan Fairfax Chamber of Commerce endorsing him. (Where's the Washington Post article?) This same chamber endorsed Mark Warner in 2001. So, no GOP echo chamber here. As its number one issue is transportation, it clearly is sending a message as to whose plan is better for Northern Virginia.

As the day went on, it only got better for him. First, the Virginia Fraternal Order of Police endorsed McDonnell and his running mates, Lt. Governor Bill Bolling for re-election and Senator Ken Cuccinelli for attorney general. McDonnell's opponent, Democrat Senator Creigh Deeds, who shrugged of the NRA's endorsement of McDonnell a few weeks ago, even though the NRA endorsed Deeds in his AG run in 2005, said what really mattered this year was the FOP's endorsement. Okay, we now have it, senator. What say you, now?

But perhaps the dirt on Deeds day was that former Governor Doug Wilder later in the afternoon issued a statement in which he refused to endorse him. He also did not endorse him in 2005. Although it was never likely he would endorse McDonnell, even this non-endorsement must be seen as a major surprise. As I wrote yesterday, Mr. Wilder said that this election is a referendum on Barack Obama, for whom he enthusiastically campaigned last year. Why would he contribute something, by his own admission, would make his party's president look bad? Especially after the administration talked to him extensively about it? As we say in Richmond about our former mayor, "That's Doug." That's how he turns, and as the morning turned to the afternoon today, the momentum may have turned firmly back to McDonnell.

News:

Fairfax chamber endorses McDonnell (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Fairfax chamber backs McDonnell for governor (Roanoke Times)

McDonnell aims to tap support of veterans (Washington Times)

Warner urges action on health care (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

William Smith hopes past won't haunt in House of Delegates race (Roanoke Times)

Some Va. rest areas getting electric-car chargers (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

National News:

Critics Assail Obama's 'Safe Schools' Czar, Say He's Wrong Man for the Job (FoxNews.com)

Analysis:

Fairfax Chamber Chooses McDonnell over Deeds, on Transportation (Bill Pascoe/CQPolitics In The Right Blog)

Young Women, Meet Young Bob McDonnell (Rosalind S. Helderman and Jennifer Agiesta/Washington Post)

Commentary:

Virginia, Meet Your Mondale (Bill Pascoe/CQPolitics In The Right Blog)

Virginia News Stand: September 15, 2009

Annotations & Elucidations NRA Splits From Deeds, Deeds Re-Unites With Kaine

Interesting headlines from across the commonwealth today. The news is that tax revenues this quarter again are far below projections. Ahem! Jody Wagner. Also, the Post's Virginia Politics Blog has a counterintuitive take on the Northern Virginia electorate. Could it be that the GOP takes three Dem House seats up NoVa way? Four years ago, the NRA endorsed Creigh Deeds over Bob McDonnell in their campaign for attorney general. It's one reason given for the closeness of the race. This time McDonnell holds serve. Impact to be determined, but it won't hurt (i.e., 120,000 gun owners who vote). Advantage McDonnell.

Speaking of switches, for the last few weeks it was as if Deeds didn't know the governor's name, distancing himself from Tim Kaine's troubles stemming from the budget, Northrup Grumman/VITA and his DNC moonlighting. His ads, instead, featured U.S. Senator Mark Warner. Now, Deeds is back on the Kaine horse, according to the Post. Per our usual, the rest of the News Stand is packed with an all-star line-up, including a personal favorite, Dr. Thomas Sowell; Dick Morris counter attacks the Obama administration attack on his analysis of the administration's health care takeover, homosexual activists continue their assault on DOMA, and Internet expert Rachel Alexander examines how conservatives can better use social networking and marketing tools. Hmmm. Hitting close to home there, Rachel!

News:

Bolling ties state budget cuts to Wagner's revenue forecasts (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

A Reverse Trend in Northern Virginia? (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

NRA switches to McDonnell; firefighters endorse Deeds (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

Gubernatorial hopefuls promise K-12 education reforms (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot)

Deeds Touts Himself as Heir to Kaine And Warner (Washington Post)

Issues That Matter to You: Prison Jobs and Funding (Washington Post)

Lohr, Hart Tackle Taxes (Harrisonburg Daily News-Record)

National News:

Backers of gay marriage want to repeal federal law (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Senate votes to deny funds to ACORN (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Analysis:

How the right can most effectively use social media (Rachel Alexander/GOPUSA.com)

Commentary:

McDonnell flap affects other races (Jeff Schapiro/Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Rebutting Obama's Health Care Speech (Dick Morris and Eileen McGann/GOPUSA.com)

Fables For Adults (Thomas Sowell/GOPUSA.com)

Are Seniors Being Targeted? (Richard Olivastro/GOPUSA.com)

About Tuesday Night, In Alexandria: Are You Listening Brian Moran?

As mentioned in the previous post, there was a shocking result Tuesday night in Alexandria: A Republican, Frank Fannon IV, and a GOP-endorsed independent, Alicia Hughes (a former Miss Black USA), won seats on the city council by defeating Democrat incumbents (see Washington Post). Hughes, a federal government patent attorney, could not run as a partisan because of the Hatch Act. It was the first Republican election victory to the Alexandria City Council since 2000 (Alexandria Times, here). That's right — Democrats had whitewashed Republicans ever since. If this was Little League, they would have invoked the "mercy rule" long ago.

Of course, many, including GOP establishment types, are tripping all over themselves to talk about a nascent Republican ripple in Northern Virginia, after this and a Fairfax special election win in March, as well as two nail-bitingly close special election losses early this year. Meanwhile, Fox News and Weekly Standard pundit Mary Katherine Ham had her own, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, take (here).

But what caught our eye is not what the Republicans have learned since November or what new campaign techniques they're using to counter the much advanced Democrats, as fascinating as that is (see Alexandria Gazette here), it's what Democrat gubernatorial candidate Brian Moran must learn before the June primary.

As Jim Geraghty of National Review's Campaign Spot blog writes:

"There are also some interesting signals about the upcoming gubernatorial primary and general election. Ginsberg worked a polling place yesterday, and said he saw a supporter of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe handing out literature — but not one for the candidate with the local roots, Moran. 'I don't know to what extent the Moran people were working the polls for this election, but this result, coupled with the race for his state House seat, should be reason for some concern on his part.'"

The seeming paradox here is that as Moran as moved further and further to the left (see here), perhaps the most liberal locality in the Commonwealth is edging —granted, at an Eastern Box Turtle's pace — to the middle. Beside last night, his Democrat successor retained his House seat by a mere 16 votes in a January special election. So, if his liberal message isn't resonating there, where will it? Furthermore, whether he wins the Democrat nomination or not, will his campaign have pulled the Dems too far left, even for certain portions of blue Virginia? It all remains to be seen, of course, but the interim trends are fascinating.