In the next few weeks, the Kerry-Lieberman-Graham clean energy bill will come up for consideration on the Senate floor. While we do not yet know what is in and what is out of the bill, the NRDC Action fund has begun a campaign to ensure that Senators hear from their constituents on this vitally important legislation.
This morning, the Washington Post reported on the latest outrage by Virginia Republicans. One day it's global warming denial, another day it's tearing up the social safety net for our most vulnerable citizens, and another day it's rejecting federal money for unemployment benefits for Virginia citizens. Well, today, it's Republicans attempting to turn Virginia into Uganda on anti-gay discrimination. According to the Washington Post:
The Times-Dispatch reporter Jeff Shapiro has written a cogent article today on why the next governor - whoever he may be - will find himself without the state funding for new initiatives, much less the funds needed for carrying on the state services we now have.
Think of what happened to Tim Kaine's dream of pre-K education available for all Virginia's children. This proven way to increase learning and school success, while returning benefits to the state far exceeding the cost of the program, became a victim, first of intransigent Republicans in the House of Delegates, then of the lousy state of the economy.
The first proposal that is going to be dead-on-arrival in Richmond is Republican Bob McDonnell desire to pay for roads, in part, with the taxpayers' credit card by issuing billions in bonds, repaid with interest. The problem with that is the state is already bumping up against its self-imposed ceiling on debt-backed financing: that annual bond costs not exceed 5 percent of revenue.
The obstacle to McDonnell's borrow-and-spend plan is quite simple: As revenues, down another $1.5 billion in the latest state report, continue to fall - and they will - the state will be compelled to have fewer bonds issues, not having the required-by-law cash to underwrite them. That's the reason that proposed bonds for transportation already passed by the General Assembly haven't been issued.
The tripping point to the spend-now-pay-later crowd in the Commonwealth is our intention to preserve Virginia's triple-A credit rating, the highest possible and one shared with only six other states. By the way, this honor was last imperiled by Virginia's last Republican governor, Jim Gilmore of no-car-tax fame, who blew a billion dollar plus hole in the state budget in order to drive his victory car through it to Richmond.
You'd think that voters in the state would have learned by now that Republicans should not be trusted with other people's money.
The editorial is titled Drinking Games, because of McDonnell's proposal to sell Virginia's 334 state-operated liquor stores for what he claims will be a one-time windfall of half a billion dollars. The editorial's subtitle reads Robert F. McDonnell's transportation plan rests heavily on privatizing hard-liquor sales in Virginia. Is it sober?.
I was among those arguing that Deeds needed to address honestly how his plan would be paid for. He did in this op ed on Wednesday, about which I wrote here Tuesday Night. On Thursday the Post editorially praised the oped. It now seems evident the paper will strongly support Deeds.
After an intro paragraph that ends with the observation that the plan yields only disappointment, the Post absolutely eviscerates McDonnell and his plan:
Yesterday Creigh Deeds had an op ed in the Washington Post about which I wrote here the evening before in a diary titled Creigh Deeds steps up in Virginia. Today the Washington Post uses that as an occasion for a hard-hitting editorial with the title Honesty on Transportation, and the subtitle "Mr. Deeds has leveled with Virginia voters. Will they listen?"
I will very briefly explore the editorial below the fold. I encourage you to read it, and to pass it on to anyone you know in Virginia, and anyone who might be interested in the outcome of this race. I will also urge you to contribute to the Deeds campaign, which you can at his website
Every two years Virginia elects all 100 members of the House of Delegates. This time the Democrats need to pick up net 6 seats to take control of the House. It is this newly elected House which will participate in the redistricting for the 11 Congressional seat and all 140 seats in the General Assembly. That makes each contest important.
The 13th Delegate District is in Loudoun and Prince William Counties.It is currently represent by Bob Marshall, best known for co-authoring the Marshal-Newman the Amendment to Virginia's State Constitution in 2006, passage of which defined marriage as solely between one man and one woman and banned recognition of anything approximating marriage, i. e., civil unions, being recognized within the state. In Marshall's 9 terms as a delegate he has tended to focus on divisive social issues, also including abortion.
His Democratic opponent is John Bell, a retired Air Force major and current businessman who fully supports gay rights. Perhaps that will encourage you to continue reading?
The extreme language of Catherine Crabill is now being used to challenge other Republican candidates. Crabill made her remarks about resorting to the bullet box at a Tea Party. Another Republican candidate speaking at Tea Parties in Virginia has been the Republican nominee for Attorney General, Ken Cuccinelli, who had spoken at two Tea Party events on July 4, in Roanoke and Charlottesville.
Steve Shannon, the Democratic candidate for Attorney General, has suddenly become very proactive in his campaigning, perhaps as a result of the recent hire of Mike Henry, one of the most experienced Virginia political operatives, as his campaign manager.
Today Shannon had a press conference call, and issued a press release, the contents of which are below the fold.
Reading an article in the Sunday, June 28, 2009 Metro Section of the Washington Post entitled "For GOP, Taxes Retain Potency" has left me wondering what issues our GOP gubernatorial opponent will think is relevant in the fall. The Democrats have already identified some key issues revolving around the economy and job creation, making Virginia a leader in renewable energy, coming up with viable solutions to resolve Virginia's transportation problem, and investing in educational opportunities for all young Virginians in the future. The Party of No seems to rapidly be becoming the party of "No way we will fund viable solutions to Virginia's problems if that course of action involves raising taxes."
Raising taxes? If I remember correctly, that was the main line of reasoning the GOP had during the 2008 presidential election and look where it got them. I think that the problems facing today's economy go much deeper than the "do not raise taxes" mantra the Republicans seem to relish.
Virginia is facing some serious budget shortfalls. Nowhere is that more evident than in Prince William County.
Last night I attended an event which gave a very interesting perspective on the three statewide races in Virginia, for Governor, Lt. Governor, and Attorney General. It was a campaign kickoff for Jay Fisette for a fourth term on Arlington County Board. There is no doubt Jay will be reelected - he has no Republican opponent. There is a Green candidate running against him, which seem foolhardy given that during Jay's term as the immediate past president of the Virginia Municipal League he lead the effort to create the Go Green Virginia Initiative Arlington also has a large gay population, and Jay, when elected in 1997, was Virginia's first openly gay elected official (Arlington has since elected several more, to school board and to the state's General Assembly).
So why did all three statewide candidates come to this event? And what does that tell us about forthcoming statewide races?
(This posting came about in part as a result of an email exchange I had with Lowell. It was first posted at his Bue Virginia blog. We agreed in the exchange to have it appear here as well. I have taken the liberty of splitting it so that it does not consume the entire front page. - promoted by teacherken)
Over at leading pro-Bob McDonnell/Virginia Republican blog Bearing Drift, Steven Osborne has posted a diary with the seemingly innocuous title, "McDonnell vs. Deeds in Perspective". I started reading it expecting an analysis of the two candidates' relative strengths and weaknesses, their positions on the issues, their respective paths to victory in November, standard political analysis like that. I also was ready for usual Virginia Republican talking points about how Creigh Deeds (or any Democrat, for that matter) is a liberalliberalsocialistliberalsocialist who wants to raise your taxes, turn everyone into a sensitive tree hugger, allow women to keep deciding whether or not to have their babies, take away workers' god-given "right to work," etc. In other words, I expected the same old same old rhetoric about the same old same old issues. What I did not expect was this.
...The issue that really gets to the heart of this election is simple. Will our Commonwealth be sovereign?
The underlying issue is whether or not Virginia will continue to lose sovereignty to the federal government. The recent controversy over accepting certain stimulus funds, is a perfect example. Governor Kaine has, in many ways, sacrificed Virginia's sovereignty.
The key question for our next governor is simple. Will you protect Virginia's sovereignty. Virginia has an inherent and Constitutional right to access its own resources, yet certain Democrats in the state have tried to restrict Virginia's accessing these resources. We also have an issue with the federal government continuing its power grab over the states.
I am on the lawn outside the alumni house at W&M. I am going to try to both live blog here and also periodically tweet. My updates will be below the fold, in a push down list, most recent entry on top.
To set the secene - the state Central Committee just broke from its meeting, and people are flowing in. Have already said Hi to Joe Abbey, Creigh's Campaign Manager, Roman, Ste ve Shannon's man ager, Steve and Abby Shannon and their kids, Levar Stony (exec Director of DPVA), Karen Schultz from Winchseter, Lloyd Snook from C'ville, Mike Signer, and a few others. This place is quickly filling up.
Sun directly overhead, so I may have some trouble seeing what I am typing. Be kind to my typos.
It is a snapshot. It has all the limitations of a one-day poll, and of a telephone poll (although PPP was right on target on everything except final percent to Deeds, since undecideds broke heavily towards him).
Take it for what it is worth. And a very few comments below the fold
First, I'd like to congratulate Senator Creigh Deeds for becoming the Democratic nominee to face Republican Bob McDonnell in the fall gubernatorial election. I think that the fall race will be a far tougher battle for the Democratic candidates than the intra party primary we have finally seen end. As the official Democratic nominee for Governor in 2009, Senator Deeds is going to need all the help he can get. As a former Terry McAuliffe supporter, I pledge to support Senator Deeds in the upcoming fall election and pray that he will defeat Bob McDonnell and become our next Governor of Virginia in the Mark Warner and Tim Kaine tradition.
However, I would like to express a few words regarding my early support and volunteer efforts on behalf of the Terry McAuliffe for Governor campaign. I was introduced to Terry McAuliffe through the media reports I heard about him as the top fundraiser for Democratic presidential candidates, his connection with Bill and Hillary Clinton, later as Democratic National Committee Chairman, and finally last year as Chairman for the Hillary Clinton campaign. I have always heard very good things about him and never anything negative. I was impressed with what I heard about him and when I saw him in television interviews.
In 2008, I considered myself a crossover Republican who was tired of the policies of former President George W. Bush, for whom I never voted. I voted Democratic in the presidential elections of 1996, 2000, 2004, and 2008. I was first a Hillary Clinton supporter and volunteer at an early meeting I cited the economy as an issue of concern to me in the fall of 2007. After Hillary lost the primary, I switched my support to Barack Obama and volunteered for the coordinated campaign in Prince William County.
In October of 2008, I had the privilege to hear Terry McAuliffe speak in person to the Prince William County Democratic Committee. He talked about what he was doing to help campaign for Barack Obama and about the upcoming 2008 presidential election. I was impressed with his ability to quickly change directions and rally around the candidacy of Barack Obama after having been as deeply involved with the Hillary Clinton campaign as Chairman has and also as a close friend of the Clintons. He didn't mention to us anything about entering the 2009 gubernatorial race in Virginia. Terry McAuliffe's deep commitment to the Democratic Party was the inspiration and encouragement that led me to join the Prince William County Democratic Committee in January after I applied for membership and was voted in.
In January 2009, Terry McAuliffe announced his bid for Virginia's next governor following a listening tour across the state. I sent in a suggestion and was elated to receive an email response from Terry. I decided to volunteer for his campaign after several emails from him and his campaign. I knew that if he didn't win he would support the Democratic nominee, which he is now doing.
I was impressed with his plans to put together a Business Plan for Virginia and his emphasis on creating employment opportunities through alternative energy sources. He offered the best solution to my dilemma of finding meaningful employment in the Information Technology field after searching for work in the field for the past seven years following the disestablishment of my position on a government contract.
I have no regrets for being a volunteer and supporter for the Terry McAuliffe for Governor campaign. I was happy to make phone calls, canvass, and be a member of his grassroots communication team, which led me to posting diaries at the Blue Commonwealth and Daily Kos websites. One of my diary postings led to my making a public endorsement of his candidacy as an aspiring entrepreneur as part of a group of business leaders endorsing his candidacy for governor. I considered it a privilege and a great honor to be asked to endorse a candidate. I had never done that before.
During the course of the campaign, I had the opportunity to meet and chat with Terry McAuliffe. My impressions of him are that he is a good guy who truly had the interest of Virginia voters at heart throughout his entire campaign. He is always upbeat and looks for the good and positive in everything and everybody. Even though his big, bold ideas and strong campaign organization did not win him the 2009 Virginia gubernatorial Democratic nomination he has accomplished much in his life. He is a very intelligent, possesses business savvy, and is an enthusiastic individual who fights for what he believes is right. His impressive fundraising skills and business entrepreneur resume will help the Virginian Democratic Party win and keep the governor's mansion in Richmond in November 2009. He is truly an asset to the Democratic Party in Virginia and I hope other Virginian Democrats will realize that as we move forward in 2009.
I have enormous respect and admiration for what Terry McAuliffe has accomplished in his life. He has a great personality, character, and impressive leadership skills both in the business world as well as in the Democratic Party. He will pick himself up from his loss, go on to achieve bigger and better things for the Democratic Party, and for his own personal career goals whatever they may be at this point. I consider him a mentor as well as a friend. I hope you will too.
Former Terry McAuliffe supporter and volunteer who now supports Senator Creigh Deeds for Virginia's next Governor.
In May 2007, Brian Moran held a press conference on the oceanfront in Virginia Beach to announce his opposition to drilling for oil and gas off Virginia's coast as included in the Federal 2007-2012 Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program announced by the Department of the Interior's Mineral Management Services (MMS) on April 30. He was joined by Mike Town, Virginia chapter director of the Sierra Club, Virginia Beach Mayor Meyera Oberndorff, and former Virginia Beach council member and DEQ director (and now House of Delegates candidate) Peter Schmidt. This press conference was held prior to a 60-day public comment period that concluded on July 1, 2007. "Great stuff, every Democrat should oppose drilling off Virginia's coast", wrote Lowell at Raising Kaine. "In fact, EVERYONE should oppose this cockamamie idea".
Virginia's enrollment in the Federal 2007-2012 OCS program started in February 2005 when the Virginia General Assembly passed Sen. Frank Wagner's SB1054 calling for offshore natural gas exploration and urging lifting of the Congressional ban on OCS development. It passed 37-0 by the Senate (Deeds voting in favor) and passed 54-43 by the House (Moran voting against). But despite Governor Warner's veto of SB1054 in April 2005, it was still communicated to MMS that Virginia somehow supported offshore drilling in August 2005 and in early February 2006 it was announced that Virginia - alone on the entire Atlantic coast - had been enrolled in the proposed 5-Year Plan for OCS Oil and Gas Leasing Program.
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.
"Following a motion from former Republican Party of Virginia Chairman Jeff Frederick, Speaker Bill Howell rules a no-excuse absentee voting amendment from Gov. Tim Kaine not germane - thus avoiding a recorded vote and killing the measure."
Blue Commonwealth is a community forum for the discussion of political issues of interest to Virginians.
The opinions expressed by users of this website do not necessarily reflect the views of Blue Commonwealth or its editors.