If you believe that convicted felons should be denied the right to vote for the rest of their lives, then there is no point for you to read any further. Most Virginians who have done voter registration are aware that our state (along with Kentucky) permanently bars convicted felons from voting, unless their rights are restored by the Governor. There is an application process, set up by the Secretary of the Commonwealth, which I went through. I never thought it would be so difficult.
In a desperate move to draw votes in Northern Virginia, the McDonnell campaign has latched onto what was a failed plan for the Kilgore campaign four years ago: widening Route 66 inside the Beltway. Yesterday, in a radio ad from the US Chamber of Commerce, I heard a grandfatherly voice praising Bob for his plan.
I'm no civil engineering expert, but I can think of a few reasons why this would be impossible or unworkable:
1. Whose houses in Arlington and Falls Church are you going to tear down in order to build the extra lanes?
2. How will this help traffic when there is still a bottleneck at the Rosslyn Tunnel?
3. Adding more lanes will inevitably increase traffic flow, which would turn Constitution Avenue into a parking lot.
Lastly, it's practically illegal. According to the Arlington Coalition for Sensible Transportation,
Widening I-66 violates the Coleman Decision and associated agreements between the USDoT, Virginia, and local residents.
The Coleman Decision, rendered by then-USDoT Secretary William Coleman on January 5, 1977, was an historic compromise that allowed I-66 to be created inside the Beltway by "guaranteeing" a four-lane limit. Further breaching this compromise would show nationally that highway agency promises to communities are worthless.
But Bob's campaign is betting on the votes of weary commuters looking for false salvation. I wonder if there are some Arlingtonians out there who would be willing to speak out against this.
In Woody Allen's classic film "Zelig", he presented the story of a "human chameleon" who magically takes on the appearance and character of whomever he happens to be around at the moment. Bob McDonnell presently appears to be acting out a special remake of this movie in order to entertain - or perhaps fool - the people of Virginia.
As the Washington Post's Anita Kumar noted a couple weeks back, Bobby McSlick simultaneously claims to be from three different parts of Virginia - Fairfax County (where he grew up), Virginia Beach (where he attended Pat Robertson's Regent University) and the Richmond area (where he currently lives). And it's interesting to see how he separately markets himself in each of these areas as "one of our own."
Today, I saw a forest of Bob McDonnell signs along the roadway in Fairfax County, labeling him "Fairfax's own Bob McDonnell". But here's the really interesting thing - as soon as I drove beyond the limits of Fairfax County, the signs suddenly changed - now they proclaimed him "NOVA's own Bob McDonnell"!
Is this guy slick or what? I'd like to hear from our friends in other parts of Virginia if McSlick is pulling the same tricks elsewhere in the state. Is he simultaneously advertising himself as "Hampton Road's own"? "Virginia Beach's own"? "Henrico County's own"? "Richmond's own?" "Pat Robertson's own"? (Well, maybe not the last one, even if it is the most accurate!)
I find it all a little creepy and if you get too close to Bob, don't be surprised if - he suddenly starts to resemble you!
The news of the endorsement by Sheila Johnson of Bob McDonnell, has drawn a lot of attention. She is quite wealthy, was a major contributor to Tim Kaine's run for Governor, had given money to both McAuliffe and Moran (but not to Deeds) in the primary. And there is more than a little speculation that her good friend Doug Wilder may follow the same path (although if he does so because of the gun positions of Deeds, it is hard to see why he would endorse McDonnell
Today the Deeds campaign responded with its own endorsements, 8 former member of the General Assembly, House and Senate, who are ALL REPUBLICANS. While they may not have the money of a Sheila Johnson, cofounder with her ex-husband of BET and a billionaire, they may carry more political weight.
Sarah Palin quitting as Alaska's Governor? What gives? A cover-up, book deal, and/or TV show? She would like us to believe that it's "for the good of Alaska," but everything she's done so far is for the good of Sarah Palin.
Creigh Deeds is not afraid to fight for what he believes in. One of the positions I most admire was Creigh's attempt to broker a compromise to close the gun show loophole. Creigh's positions are pragmatic and he has shown real leadership, proving to be more concerned with creating actual progress in Virginia than taking an easy position. The other day, I saw this clip of Brian Moran calling Creigh a radical on gun issues. This is ridiculous to me, and really made me upset with Brian. I feel that the negativity that is coming from Brian and Terry's campaigns stands in contrast to the campaign Creigh has run, and of the three races, I think Creigh's exemplifies best what Virginia needs moving forward.
I was just polled by an AVR polling firm. Unfortunately I didn't make it through the questionnaire, when it was asking my preference for the Gubernatorial race, I pressed 4 for undecided and it didn't recognize it.
What really made me interested was that the first question the poll asked was about the race in the 47th. Unfortunately, I didn't get through the poll, so I can't judge whether or not this was public release poll or a poll on behalf of a specific candidate.
If any of you who live in the 47th have also received this poll, please discuss below.
Well, my Lt. Governor poll was a rousing success, with Mike Signer winning in an 11-3 landslide over Jody Wagner. Poor Bill Bolling tied for third with undecided, each getting... zero. So, how about we do the same for Governor, hmm?
Obligatory bias disclaimer: I support Deeds/Wagner/Shannon.
Deeds is upset at Terry's new ad on the 2002 vote on payday lending and saying that only Terry is for ending payday lending. Deeds spokesman Brooke Borkenhagen notes that the 2002 bill was intended to regulate payday lending and was supported by Mark Warner, which is why Dems in the general assembly at the time supported it.
She notes that just this year, when Deeds was the only candidate to be serving the General Assembly, he worked to get passed a crackdown on the lenders. "You've got to look at what they've done, not just what they say."
All three campaigns have now called for an end to payday lending.
Also of interest is that Moran campaign has decided to go over Terry as a banker. Note the following two paragraphs:
Meanwhile, Moran campaign manager Andrew Roos today wrote federal regulators, asking that they release documents from their examination of the Federal City National Bank, which McAuliffe became chairman of at age 30 in 1988.
In 1991, federal regulators found the bank had engaged in "unsafe, unsound banking practices." Federal City was merged with another bank, a move McAuliffe has said stabilized the institution and cites as an example of his ability to turn around struggling businesses.
Wonder if any of this will come up at either NoVa Jeff Jack (Prince William on Saturday, Fairfax on Sunday) this weekend?
Let me be clear - I am writing this not because I support Creigh (I do), but because there is an interesting pair of follow-ons to the Post endorsement of Creigh Deeds.
Today the Post's "Race to Richmond" series had a story entitled Underdog Has History of Beating the Odds. And at Noon, the candidate came to the Post website for this discussion. Regardless of whom you may or may not support for the gubernatorial nomination, both are well worth your reading, and the former has this photoshow (although you will have to sit through an ad first).
Let me offer a few extracts to whet your appetite.
On Monday I fly down to Orlando to serve as a reader for the AP US Government and Politics exam - that means I will read several hundred copies of answers to the same question while trying to keep my sanity. I finish on June 8, and fly back the morning of the 9th. Since flights can always get cancelled, I availed myself of absentee voting at the Arlington Government Center this afternoon.
It was quick
Governor - Creigh Deeds
Lt. Gov - Mike Signer
I've fulfilled my civic obligation. Now I am going to pester the rest of you to fulfill yours. Even if you vote for different candidates. Lets get as many people as possible to participate, so whever our nominees may be, we will know it is the result of broad participation by those who consider themselves Democrats.
This morning's New York Times and Washington Post each bring us news of potential impropriety between Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA 08), his brother Brian (leading candidate for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in VA), and defense contractors receiving earmarks from Rep. Moran. Congressman Moran sits on the powerful House Subcommittee on Defense Appropriations.
For the uninitiated, Jim Moran has a checkered and inglorious history in Virginia politics. In addition to loathsome intolerance toward religious and racial minorities, he has made multiple ethically questionable decisions.
I have recently been asked a number of times who I thought would win the contested primaries, what I thought turnout would be, what I think will happen come the Fall. While obviously the last of those questions is premature, not yet knowing the outcome of the two contested primaries on the Democratic side and the contest for the AG spot on the Republican side, it is also somewhat early to be predicting what will happen in June.
But we have a number of things we will be able to observe in the shorter term to give us some kind of indication of what MIGHT be happening. Below the fold I will explore a few of those things.
So reads the title of an article on the front page of the Metro Section of today's Washington Post. Deeds, who was for a while the forgotten man in the 3-way contest for the Dem nomination for governor, is now starting to get some positive coverage. First there was the news of his cash on hand, almost 50% more than that of Brian Moran, even though for 2/3 of the first quarter Deeds was barred from raising money because the General Assembly was still in session. And now he gets featured in the paper that has the greatest reach in NoVa.
(Thanks, Dan, for making sure we remember our real target. - promoted by teacherken)
During his three plus years as Attorney General, Bob McDonnell established an undistinguished record of advocacy for the people. Instead, he padded his law and order credentials and focused on things like making movies of questionable value. Maybe that is why he has embraced the concept of tax credits for filmmakers.
Most of the many failures of McDonnell's term in office in this area are acts of omission. Take the failure to adequately advise the legislature on the pay day loan legislation last year. During an appropriate review, the defect in that bill should have been evident to anyone with adequate business and criminal fraud experience. So at once this calls into question McDonnell's business and legal acumen. Based upon the failure of the office to successfully prosecute almost any of the entire set of perpetrators on the "Top Ten Scams" or the "Consumer Alert of the Month" list, his advocacy was an abject failure. But it is worse than this. No effort was made to review the current statutes to discover instances where the balance tipped the scales of justice. One of the most egregious laws in this regard is the Virginia Condominium Act. There is almost no protection for buyers and all kinds of opportunity for developers to walk away with the farm.
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