Virginia Tomorrow

TEA Party Queen Looks Into Options

Is Jamie Radtke making moves that would confirm our pre-recent-election speculation that she is interested in running for office? It all started after her very successful Virginia TEA Party Convention (see Lynn Mitchell in the Washington Examiner) in October that prompted Virginia politics commentator Dr. Bob Holsworth to write on his Virginia Tomorrow blog that she would be a formidable candidate for office one day. But, we wondered, which office?  Then, late last week, she resigned as chairwoman of the Virginia TEA Party Patriots Federation, according to Anita Kumar at the Washington Post's Virginia Politics blog, in order to explore a possible a campaign for the U.S. Senate seat now occupied by Jim Webb. This followed her victory in a poll at Bearing Drift over more established and likely candidates, including the previous holder of that seat, George Allen, as well as Prince William County Board Chairman Corey Stewart, and Delegate Bob Marshall.

According to the Post, Radtke, as we thought, was thinking of a Virginia Senate run. But after the success of the convention, she has been encouraged to think globally, as it were. Is it all a head fake, to build visibility for a 2011 state Senate GOP primary run after all? Could that also be said for Stewart's recent interest in the job, since he long has eyed the Lt. Governor's post? (See his provocative interview at tbd.com.) Then there's the possibility, as reported by the Post and Bearing Drift that former Congressman Tom Davis may seek the GOP nomination as well.

So, will Virginia join some states from this year's election and throw a Boston Tea Party in two years or settle for a traditional, genteel tea party, complete with appropriate china? For the junkie, 2012 can't get here soon enough. For some of us, can't we just get through the General Assembly and the 2011 elections, first?

Virginia News Stand: March 29, 2010

Annotations & Elucidations Obsessed Thee With KC

Never before has a Virginia attorney general dominated the headlines and driven the debate (nationally as well as in state) as Ken Cuccinelli — and he's only a little more than two months into his term. He's everywhere — it's impossible to keep up with the national television interviews and articles. But, according to sources (as they say) it may not be cutting well with fellow Republicans, and Democrats seem to be salivating over his early and frequent actions. Are these the same people who have misread the growing conservative and independent grassroots pushback against ever expansive government control of our lives? Perhaps they misread at their own politcal futures.

No matter the motivations or interest, members of both parties are obsessed with the AG. Dr. Bob Hollsworth, at his Virginia Tomorrow blog, fielded comments from unnamed Republicans about the Cuccinelli phenomana and Norman Leahy at Tertium Quids follows up, both in the Analysis bin today, as the Richmond Times-Dispatch sets the table with its piece in the News section. Also in Analysis is a Style Weekly (Richmond) symposium on the AG, with cute liberal headlines, such as "Right Hook" and "Fight For The Right," as well as the ever-present hit-you-over-the-head, "Sorry Politics."

The lead in National News is more concern about doctors retiring than joining the Obama adminstration, as all health care workers will de facto be when the new law is fully in effect. After all, about the only job growth now is in the federal government (ABCNews.com). In Commentary, we feature Andrew McCarthy and Ed Morrissey of National Review's The Corner blog and HotAir.com, respectively, who reveal more devastating ills of the health care takeover only now discovered. (Nancy said it would be like this!)

Meanwhile, Governor McDonnell manages a headline. He puts his (contributors') money where his mouth is for charter schools. Plus, sad news: Former U.S. Representative Stan Paris passed away. He was 80 years old.

News

Cuccinelli vows no letup to restrain federal power (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

VEA opposes requiring local employees to begin paying share of pension costs (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

McDonnell inaugural fund gives $25,000 to charter school (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Virginia diversity-contract program is faulted (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Man charged with threatening to kill Cantor, family (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Hugo, O'Bannon to compete for House GOP caucus chairman (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog)

Former six-term Rep. Stanford E. Paris dies at 80 (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Analysis

The Virginia Scorecard 3-28-10 (Dr. Bob Hollsworth/Virginia Tomorrow)

Inside Republican thinking (Norman Leahy/Tertium Quids)

Fight for the Right (Peter Galuszka/Style Weekly)

Right Hook (Warren Fiske/Style Weekly)

Sorry Politics (Margaret Edds/Style Weekly)

George Allen's wrenching presence (Jeff Schapiro/Richmond Times-Dispatch)

National News

Health overhaul likely to strain doctor shortage (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Palin to tea party rally: Don't sit down, shut up (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Obama announces 15 recess appointments, scolds GOP (AP/GOPUSA.com)

White House defends special appointments (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Crist, Rubio face off in 1st Fla. Senate debate (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Commentary

Thugoracy Whips Capitalism (Andrew McCarthy/NRO's The Corner Blog)

Another ObamaCare mandate we had to discover after its passage (Ed Morrissey/Hot Air)

The Law of Unintended Consequences (Doug Patton/GOPUSA.com)

The Record Speaks For Itself (Harris Sherline/GOPUSA.com)

The Constitutional Crisis Started Long Ago (Frank Salvato/GOPUSA.com)

Dr. Bob Holsworth Interview, Part, 2

This is the second and final installment of an interview with nationally known political scientist Dr. Bob Holsworth. The former Virginia Commonwealth University dean is a regular commentator on Virginia and national politics. His writes for national and state publications, as well as on his widely read blog, Virginia Tomorrow, and is a frequent guest on television and radio. He also is an in-demand public speaker and heads his own consultancy. In yesterday's first installment, we covered the current session of the General Assembly and touched on national politics. Today, we look at Virginia's version of health care legislation, the upcoming 2010 mid-term elections, discuss U.S. Senator Jim Webb's 2012 prospects, and examine the Tea Party movement in Virginia. FamilyFoundationBlog: Which is the most interesting GOP Congressional District nominating contest — the 5th, 2nd or 11th — and why? How do you see those campaigns playing out?

Dr. Bob Holsworth: All of these races are very interesting because each of them is competitive. The number of entrants indicate that Republicans believe that 2010 may be a once in a generation opportunity, a year that could potentially rival 1994 in terms of GOP success. At the moment, the battle for the 5th District nomination to challenge Tom Perriello might be the most fascinating, if only because of the number of forces that are, or potentially are, in play, including ones that may have national implications.

There's Robert Hurt, a highly respected member of the Senate who has considerable support from the party's national establishment, but who is also being challenged largely by a set of conservative activists who maintain that Hurt has not been sufficiently supportive of low-tax, small government principles. One question that is being raised is whether the anti-Hurt forces will actually coalesce behind a single candidate or divide their vote in a primary? Recently, things have even gotten more complicated. At least one of the candidates currently in the nomination contest says that he is considering dropping out and running as an independent.

Moreover, Virgil Goode has said that he has not made up his mind about a possible challenge and could even run as an independent Republican. A poll out today says that in a three way race between Hurt, Perriello, and Goode, the former Congressman is in a tie with Perriello with Hurt running third. In any event, I think that a lot of national media will be looking at the 5th to see if the GOP can negotiate its internal tensions productively, something that will have to achieved if a candidate who is hard working and energetic as Tom Perriello is to be defeated.

FamilyFoundationBlog: Is there a credible Republican candidate in the wings to challenge Rick Boucher in the 9th Congressional District? Is Representative Boucher vulnerable?

Dr. Holsworth: It is usually very, very difficult to defeat a long-term incumbent such as Rick Boucher who has been widely applauded for his constituent service, even if a number of his votes may not be consistent with majority views in his district. But if there is a year in which Boucher is vulnerable, 2010 may be it. The problem for the GOP here is very different than in the 2nd, 5th and 11th — it's not clear that the Republicans can recruit a strong challenger. Terry Kilgore and William Wampler have said no, though Eric Cantor was in town yesterday to see if "No" really means "No." Morgan Griffith has said, however, that he is seriously considering entering the contest. If he does, he'll be a formidable challenger — he's tough, politically very skilled, and a very hard worker. But even with Griffith, this would be a tough race, because Boucher has built up a lot of support in the localities that make up the district. But if Morgan enters, it'll be a great race.

FamilyFoundationBlog: How do you see the Tea Party movement in Virginia? Are these people disgruntled conservatives who normally vote Republican showing displeasure at the party (and who may have sat out in 2008) or are they new people getting involved for the first time who can make a difference in upcoming elections?

Dr. Holsworth: I think that it's difficult to say that there is one kind of person attracted to the Tea Party. I think that there are a number of Republican conservatives disgruntled with what Glenn Beck calls "Progressives." I also think that there are many of the same kind of independents who were initially attracted to Ross Perot in 1992 — "the government is broken, we're mad as hell and we're not going to take it anymore." And I think that there are also some people who may not have been very much involved in politics before, but have become mobilized by what they consider to be an inappropriate and ineffective response by the federal government to the economic downturn. It seems to me that they represent sentiments that are fairly broadly distributed at the moment throughout the general population and political figures would be foolish to ignore their perspective in 2010. At the same time, it is not so clear how their influence inside GOP nomination battles will play out and whether this will be positive or negative for the GOP in the general elections. This is one of the reasons why I'm watching the 5th District very closely since it has what appears to be a large and relatively organized set of Tea Party activists.

FamilyFoundationBlog: Are you surprised at how quickly and smoothly the Health Care Freedom legislation has moved through the General Assembly, especially in the Senate?

Dr. Holsworth: Yes. At least until you see that the five Democratic legislators sit in districts where (Governor Bob) McDonnell ran strong and where their own seats could be in jeopardy.

FamilyFoundationBlog: Speaking of health care, as well as all the new government spending Tea Party activists abhor, do you think Senators Webb and Warner have endangered their re-elections by voting for these programs? Will the new conservative movement stay active that long?

Dr. Holsworth: 2014 for Warner is a long, long way off. Webb will obviously have a serious Republican challenger. Webb will not be easy to pigeonhole because there will be numerous instances in both foreign and domestic policy where he will part company with the administration and the Democratic congressional leadership. A big question regarding Webb is how his progressive economic populism be viewed. Will he seen as too liberal for Virginia economically or as authentic guy willing to stand up for the voiceless?

FamilyFoundationBlog: Dr. Holsworth, thank you very much for your time. Your thoughts are always informative and I know our readers have learned a lot.

Dr. Bob Holsworth Interview, Part 1

Below is the first part of a two part interview with nationally known political scientist Dr. Bob Holsworth, a regular commentator on Virginia and national politics. His articles and commentary can be read in publications and on the Internet, and heard on television and radio. He is a frequent speaker to numerous organizations, heads a consultancy, and is the editor of the widely read blog, Virginia Tomorrow. Today, we talk about the current session of the General Assembly and touch on national politics. FamilyFoundationBlog.com: Dr. Holsworth, it's a great honor to have you answer some questions on our blog about the General Assembly and Virginia politics in general. So, thank you very much for participating in this interview. We greatly appreciate your valuable time and look forward to your insights and are big fans of your blog, Virginia Tomorrow. Are you ready for some questions?

Dr. Bob Holsworth: Thanks very much for the opportunity to be on your site.

FamilyFoundationBlog: Has anything surprised you about this session of the General Assembly? Has the Republican sweep and increased House of Delegates majority created a visible difference or is it too early to tell (i.e., waiting for the budget)?

Dr. Holsworth: Certainly, the Republican sweep in the House has made it even easier for the GOP to control the legislative outcomes in that chamber. But the Democratic control of the Senate can still pose substantial hurdles for the Governor and the House GOP. I was surprised that five Democrats in the Senate supported the Health Care Freedom legislation, symbolically repudiating former Governor Kaine and President Obama. All of these Democrats are in districts where the GOP could field competitive challengers and this tells you just how concerned Democrats have become about the impact of the national mood here in Virginia. At the same time, Senate Dems have summarily dismissed part of the McDonnell agenda such as dedicating royalties for off-shore drilling to transportation and changing the budget cycle. What will happen with the overall budget is still up in the air as Senate Dems actually disagree if they should present a budget that includes some of the tax increases in (former) Governor Kaine's recommended document or acknowledge the political reality that there will be no major tax increases and present a budget accordingly, even if it inconsistent with what they would really want to propose.

FamilyFoundationBlog: Governor Bob McDonnell ran on a jobs-creation platform and de-emphasized social issues. But social issues do play a role in the budget. Do you think he will go so far as to de-fund Planned Parenthood?

Dr. Holsworth: I think that you have phrased the question well. Some folks have said that McDonnell ran as a "moderate." My sense is that he ran as an economic conservative and gave less priority in the campaign to his social conservatism. I fully expect that McDonnell will sign almost all bills with a "social conservative" orientation that emerge from the legislative process. What's not entirely clear is how far his own proposals will move in this direction. He obviously made a symbolic change when he removed sexual orientation from the non-discrimination executive order with respect to state government workers. The question of whether he'll propose a budget amendment to de-fund panned parenthood will be seen by many of his supporters as a test of whether he will implement the values of social conservatism in the budget. If he does, there will be a substantial fight in the Senate and the media will surely portray it as a switch from the "moderation" of the campaign. If he doesn't, he'll disappoint a segment of his core supporters.

FamilyFoundationBlog: If Governor McDonnell proposes a host of "fees" instead of taxes to close the budget gap, how will that affect his support on the right? creation

Dr. Holsworth: If McDonnell is perceived as simply playing semantics with taxes, it will harm him not only with the right, but with many independents as well. He was very clear during the election about his belief that revenue increases should primarily come from economic growth and I would be very surprised if he has a post-election conversion to a different point of view, especially in this political environment.

FamilyFoundationBlog: Governor McDonnell is getting a lot of positive attention right now — giving the GOP response to the State of the Union, doing several national interviews, even one for Newt Gingrich's newsletter. Does he runs the risk of raising his own expectations?

Dr. Holsworth: I think of the smartest moves the new Governor made was to cancel his national interviews the day after his SOTU response. Virginians have made it clear that his first priority as Governor should be the Commonwealth and, in the long run, McDonnell's national stature will be most enhanced by having a strong approval rating in-state.

FamilyFoundationBlog: What chances do you give of real reforms this or next year in areas of budgeting and in recalculating SOQ spending?

Dr. Holsworth: The Senate has already rejected a key McDonnell proposal on changing the two year budget cycle. Recalculating SOQ spending has been an issue that many House Republicans have pointed to over the last few years as a reform necessary to rein in future budget increases. We've seen some willingness from both parties to look at items such as staffing ratios regarding non-instructional personnel. If there ever would be a time where the entire SOQ calculation would be readjusted, it would be in the kind of fiscal environment we have now. But polls show that schools remain extremely high on the public's priority list. In aggregate, school groups (teachers, superintendents, school boards, and principals) are extraordinarily well organized and very politically effective. Moreover, Virginia schools overall seem to perform extremely well — just this week, we ranked third in the nation in AP testing. I believe that the effort for major permanent structural changes in school funding will have substantial hurdles to overcome.

FamilyFoundationBlog: What are your thoughts on former Governor Doug Wilder calling for Tim Kaine's removal as Democrat National Committee chairman?

Dr. Holsworth: Former Governor Wilder noted that he had supported Tim Kaine for Vice-President, but did not feel that the DNC Chair was the best fit for his talents and skills. My guess is that there are a number of Democratic activists who are more comfortable with the sharp edges of a Howard Dean than the more cerebral approach to the position of Tim Kaine. The proof, of course, will be in the November pudding. Kaine will succeed if Democrats do far better than expected. But if November is a Democratic debacle, Kaine will be fingered for part of the blame.

Be sure to check back with us tomorrow afternoon for part two of our interview with Dr. Bob Holsworth as we look at next year's Congressional elections in Virginia, Senator Jim Webb's prospects in 2012, and the Tea Party movement.

Tomorrow: Part 1, Dr. Bob Holsworth Interview!

Tomorrow, we will post part one of our interview with Dr. Bob Holsworth, Virginia's top political analyst and commentator (in this Admin's opinion). We are very fortunate the former Virginia Commonwealth University Dean, and current consultant and editor of Virginia Tomorrow, agreed to this interview. He often is quoted in state and national publications, as well as national television networks and Web sites, especially as Virginia continues to grow in importance on the electoral map. We think you will find his answers to our questions very insightful and informative. We cover a lot of ground, including the General Assembly, the 2010 elections and the early days leadership of Governor Bob McDonnell. So, please check back tomorrow and Wednesday for a good dose of Virginia political punditry and expertise by the best in the business, Dr. Bob Holsworth. We think it was quite a coup for us, and once you read the interview, we know you'll agree.

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.  

Blog Roll Additions

We always look to add blogs worth reading to our blog roll. There are so many of them now, it's hard to keep up. But when new ones come to our attention, or ones that somehow slipped through the cracks are suddenly remembered, we not only add them, but give them a recommendation. So, we're glad to point out some new additions to our blog roll, that we either recently added, or added a while ago but forgot to mention at the time. One is Political Christian, a fairly new blog, by our friend Larry Miller. He's also got an entire Web site linked to the blog which is a virtual resource center for information and citizen action. Another is VA Social Conservative, from Willie Deutsch, a 20-something, who proves there is a thriving youth social conservative movement in the blogosphere as well as in boots-on-the-ground political activism. 

We also added the Web site of the Virginia Catholic Conference, an organization that often is our only ally in the General Assembly as we fight to preserve innocent, unborn life. Its leadership in keeping state funds from finding their way to the hoax that is embryonic stem cell research is unparalleled. 

The Virginia News Platoon is a fairly new conservative news source and content provider, where Krystle Weeks of Crystal Clear Conservative is the Virginia News Editor. This site keeps you up-to-date on the latest Virginia news as well as what's up at Virginia's leading conservative blogs.

Finally, but certainly not least, we highly recommend Virginia Tomorrow, another fairly new blog, but not by any neophyte or couch potato critic. Virginia Tomorrow is the creation of Dr. Bob Holsworth, one of the most insightful and fair political commentators in Virginia, or the country for that matter. Quoted far and wide on all matters political, he now has this platform to promulgate his points. He is more than willing to speak to any group and supply his observations, including a couple of presentations at Family Foundation functions. I have seen him at several other events, and he remains even keel for every audience, not matter its slant. "Dr. Bob" is one of the good, fair guys. We hope you visit his site, and the others mentioned here, often.