July 3, 2009
GOP gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell has issued a bold challenge to his Democratic rival Creigh Deeds: participate in a series of ten debates all across Virginia. It is an unprecedented idea, and will keep the Democrats under pressure to defend their agenda in a setting where reasonable discourse -- rather than cheap shot sound bites -- prevails. I remain very encouraged that McDonnell knows the political landscape in Virginia and is determined to win over independent voters. He is keeping busy with campaign appearances, and TV ads are continuing at a good clip. Here in the Valley, stalwart Republican Party loyalist Steve Kijak is taking the lead in spreading the word via campaign road signs. As the Fourth of July weekend approaches, things are looking up for the Republican ticket. Well, almost.
I hate to mention this, but I feel it's my duty: About two weeks ago, Chris Green wrote that "McDonnell is running as a Democrat on the Tax issue," based on nothing more than Washington Times editorial that criticized McDonnell for not signing Grover Norquist's infamous anti-tax-increase pledge, which they say "is a guaranteed vote-getter." Well, there's no doubt that it picks up some votes, but it almost certainly loses many more votes than it gains. Has anyone been paying attention to election results in the last few years since Norquist intensified his guerrilla campaign against independent-minded Republican legislators? Kudos to Bob McDonnell for recognizing that the political winds are changing.
Virginia is one of the most business-friendly states in the country, and undermining the pro-business candidate at a time when the pro-business party is riven by deep factionalism, and when the very survival of American private business is being menaced by an onslaught of government regulation, is inexcusably irresponsible. It's time to put an end to sniping at the good guys!
And just for the record, Grover Norquist, as head of Americans for Tax Reform, is the original author of the regrettable trend toward "bitter nastiness and partisanship" in state politics, in Virginia and elsewhere. See my June 2007 blog post on him, in the midst of the epochal Sayre vs. Hanger primary race. I noticed that Norquist's "Taxpayer Protection Pledge"
has been deleted moved to a new page.
We've been expecting this news for a long time, but it's still awfully hard to swallow: Al Franken has been declared the winner of the U.S. Senate race in Minnesota against incumbent Norm Coleman. The margin of victory: 312 votes. According to politico.com, "a new national poll shows that 44 percent of voters have an unfavorable view of the former comedian and liberal radio host." (Maybe they are confusing him with his alter ego, Stuart Smalley. ) Franken is a lot like his arch-enemy Rush Limbaugh, but not as successful in talk radio. Will an acerbic, smarter-than-thou comedian find success in the hallowed halls of the U.S. Senate, where deference and collegiality are the watchwords? We'll see.
Now President Obama has his 60-seat Senate supermajority, unless some of the Democrats start demanding favors to get that crucial 60th vote. Because of ill health, moreover, neither Sen. Ted Kennedy nor Sen. Robert Byrd have been able to carry out their senatorial duties lately.
Unlike Franken, Minnesotans are considered very polite and self-effacing, almost painfully so. That's what makes the social satire of Garrison Keillor (the genial genius behind "Prairie Home Companion") so hilarious. Too bad he's a Democrat too.
As Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and the George Bushes could tell (or could have told) you, when Helen Thomas gets her dander up, you know you're in trouble. At a press conference a couple days ago, some members of the White House press corps took exception to President Obama's phoney-baloney stage-managed "public forums" that are being used to promote his health care
nationalization reform. It was quite an amusing sideshow to the usual fawning adulation that Obama usually gets from the Mainstream Media. Too Conservative noticed this little journalistic spat as well. Perhaps more of the conformist liberal reporters will wise up one of these days, as Bernard Goldberg (ex-CBS) and John Stoessel (ABC) have. When will they realize that they are becoming propaganda pawns for the Obama administration?
To my immense relief, the delightfully honest and thoughtful Megan Rhodes has not disappeared from the blogosphere. It was just a technical adjustment that was more troublesome than expected. Well, I can relate to that. I have noticed that some other Virginia bloggers such as Bad Rose have virtually given up on their blogs and are now devoting full-time attention to Facebook. I'm having a very hard time keeping up with all that...