(observations from someone on the scene - well worth noting - promoted by teacherken)
Bob McDonnell has attended fewer Virginia Beach Republican breakfasts this year than John Bell, the local Democratic Candidate for Sheriff. Just as well this morning, with its lowest attendance in months. McDonnell's focus was on an appeal to veterans at a VFW Post. That didn't work out so well either.
Clearly there was concern as the event approached; a sense of panic was apparent in an E-mail sent out by the local party asking for veterans to RSVP. The breakfast was located at another venue fairly distant from the VFW post, so that breakfast was called early and attendees, most not veterans, encouraged to transit. But even with that, you see that there wasn't an anxious crowd waiting for the McDonnell campaign RV at the front door of the building. Turns out there were more yard signs than supporters. Then with the focus on veterans, the local news chose this headline for the story: Climate change confronts McDonnell at McCain rally. Tucker Martin must be wondering how this happened. From the news report:
"I think it's a real concern, and we need to find ways to be able to reduce (carbon dioxide) emissions," McDonnell said in advocating development of technology to eliminate pollutants from coal-fired energy plants.
When asked to clarify whether he believes that global warming is scientific fact, however, he hedged.
"Well, there's some debate that various scientists are going on in that," he said. "I think the temperature of the earth, from the science I've seen, is going up."
And no words of encouragement from Senator McCain reported? Maybe, just maybe the concerns we Democrats have voiced about voter turnout are shared by the other guys. Between the political fatigue after the Bush years and the negative campaigning, the results may be harder to pin than we or the polls have pretended. Dropping in on the pancake breakfast John Bell's campaign was hosting this morning, there had been more attendees there than the Senator McCain energized McDonnell rally could draw. More anomalies this election season than Ayn Rand could metaphor in ten thousand pages.
Let's consider what happened to our economy without a strategy. Republicans pontificate on the economy and "free markets," but just review President Bush's strategy. Economic strategy, not tactics. Big bold direction, not pandering. Eight years without a rudder left us stranded on rocky shoals. That vacuous policy is documented for posterity in his National Security Strategies (NSS). Bush had two chances to explain his economic vision and he was, shall we say, indifferent:
"Ultimately, the foundation of American strength is at home. It is in the skills of our people, the dynamism of our economy, and the resilience of our institutions. A diverse, modern society has inherent, ambitious, entrepreneurial energy. Our strength comes from what we do with that energy. That is where our national security begins." (From the 2002 NSS)
Well, that's possibly as vague a strategy as you can design and not leave any competent economist bent over laughing. Let's compare that to a portion of President Clinton's strategy:
Our primary economic goal is to strengthen the American economy. The first step toward that goal was reducing the federal deficit and the burden it imposes on the economy and future generations...the federal budget deficit as a percentage of the (GDP) was lowered from 4.9 percent in (FY) 1992 to 2.4 percent in (FY) 1995 -- the lowest since 1979. And (FY) 1995 was the first time that the deficit has been reduced three years in a row since the Truman Administration. We are building on this deficit reduction effort with other steps to improve American competitiveness: investing in science and technology; assisting integration of the commercial and military industrial sectors; improving information networks and other vital infrastructure; and improving education and training programs for America's workforce...
If there were any doubt that Bob McDonnell is a misogynist after skimming his "scholarly" tract from schoolboy days at CBN University, it was wiped away yesterday going door to door on this sorry campaign trail. I learned of his inability to honor motherhood at the London Bridge Baptist Church.
Getting no answer at the door to one home, I left literature for Senator Deeds and Peter Schmidt and went on to the next door. Standing on the porch there, waiting for an answer, I saw a woman come out the door of the previous house, taking the flyers with her as she went to her car. She looked at the material for a minute or so, then looked up and around, spying me. "Hey," she shouted at me, "did you just leave this?" She backed her car out of her drive and in front of the house where I waited for someone to answer the bell.
"Yes, I did. Have you thought about who you are going to support for Governor?"
"Thanks for this..." she said reviewing the literature, "I know who it isn't going to be."
As discussed yesterday, Congressman Glenn Nye (D-VA, 2nd) was scheduled to address the Virginia Beach Democratic Committee (VBDC) Breakfast this Saturday. Local right of center and Libertarian activist groups took this opportunity to recast it as a Town Hall and organized to attend en masse. Last night in an E-mail, the Committee Chair announced the cancellation of Nye's appearance.
...We issued this invitation to Representative Nye about two months ago and he graciously accepted. We were looking forward to hearing about Representative Nye's many accomplishments and challenges since he was sworn into office in early 2009. He has indeed represented the people of the Second District in a proud and professional manner. Saturday, August 22 was to have been a presentation about all his activities over the past eight months as well as the future that our country faces and the work he has yet to do. We were all very excited about this presentation on the disparate work being done.
However, for reasons that we do not know where or how they originated, this meeting with the VBDC has been extensively and broadly publicized as a "Glenn Nye Healthcare Town Hall Meeting". There have been considerable e-mails publicizing this misinformation and the local press has called Congressman Nye's local office seeking additional information on his Healthcare Town Hall Meeting on Saturday, 22 August at Mom's Kitchen. Additionally, Mom's Kitchen has had several inquiries and groups have stated their intention to bring considerable numbers of individuals to the breakfast. As we all know, our twice-monthly breakfast, always with a speaker, was never publicized as a Town Hall Meeting and was never intended to be such. It is now, and will continue to be, an informal meeting of the VBDC.
All of this being considered, as well as the limited numbers of individuals that Mom's Kitchen can, by local law, accommodate, VBDC has asked Congressman Nye to cancel his presentation on subject date. His office has accepted and understands our situation. We apologized to Congressman Nye and we apologize to everyone who was looking forward to hearing his remarks and asking pertinent questions...
Congressman Nye has not scheduled a public Town Hall Meeting. However, yesterday he did conduct a town hall for military personnel only at the Navy Exchange at Little Creek Naval Base in Virginia Beach.
Senator Deeds will participate in a "live video chat" this Wednesday, 13 August at 12:45 p.m. The Richmond Times Dispatch features chats with both gubernatorial candidates through its website. Bob McDonnell participated on 4 August and the video is available at the link. The newspaper invites questions for Senator Deeds by E-mail at News@TimesDispatch.com using "Ask the Candidate" in the subject line.
The Mathews County Democrats packed them in last night for their annual Crab Fest. Perennial attendees Brian Moran and Senator Creigh Deeds waved off, but the very popular Senator Ralph Northam (D-6th) came to speak for the statewide candidates and remind everyone why this year's Virginia elections are so important.
Across the room of crab, corn, three bean salad, and chicken feasters, you can make out Mathews County Democratic Committee Chair Cynthia Burton flanked by the evening's two speakers, Senator Northam and recently announced candidate for the 1st U.S. Congressional District, Scott Robinson. The Senator Deeds and Jody Wagner campaign representatives circulated, provided information (and popcorn), and answered questions from the attendees while learning the art of consuming blue shell crab.
"If we don't do something about transportation soon, we are going to be driving on dirt roads again." - Senator Northam
Senator Northam decried the lack of progress in the General Assembly on matters essential to Virginia's economy and public safety, highlighting the transportation woes as a prime example of the Republican obstructionism that is moving Virginia in reverse. Talk across the tables included discussion of other issues important to rural Virginians such as the national health care debate and the mean spirited attacks against President Obama. And while there is much comment about activist fatigue among insiders, one reassuring fact about the attendance here was that a whole lot of faces not seen in the four years I have attended beginning with the Webb campaign were in the crowd. Is there a new, reasonable silent majority developing?
For not a few Virginians, relief from the high tempo Democratic primary campaign has been welcome. No ringing phones. No flyers cluttering the mailbox. No knocks on the door by canvassers. But for party activists, the welcome pause to recharge the batteries has drawn on too long. Problem? You betcha!
On the heels of the Obama victory last fall, Virginia activists turned immediately to the 2009 elections. What they found: Democrats relishing success after a hard fought battle, basking in the afterglow of victory; Republicans unsettled by a crushing rejection, fearful of the future, determined to work even harder. Early into the statewide Virginia Democratic primary campaigns, two things became apparent. First, at the national level, the Democratic Party wanted to exploit success and press the agenda for change; the foot was still heavy on the pedal with fund raising and organizing efforts continuing. Next, at the state level and below, many of the swarm of volunteers that Obama inspired were single effort voters, satisfied that their objective was achieved and unaware that, particularly in Virginia, the effort never gets a rest. They were joined by many of the regulars who, fatigued by the never-ending Virginia election cycle, were ready for a break and maybe even confident the inertia from the Obama victory was sufficient to propel continued progress. After all, we have the Presidency. Case closed...Not so fast.
"Deeds has yet to reach out to form grassroots groups, have an open house in the rumored Arlington HQ, or do anything to pull together a volunteer corps. Instead, what we have is a buttoned down, bureaucratized campaign along the lines of Warner's senate run. The trouble is, we are not running with a 20 point advantage this time: latest polls have us down a few points." - Democratic activist
(This is not just an issue for General Assembly elections in Tidewater, it has implications for everyone in the state. - promoted by teacherken)
Remember the inference that Iraqi oil would pay for our adventure in reshaping the Middle East? The Virginia version is encased in failed HB 1633. Offshore drilling will solve our transportation and energy problems. That's the promise. No numbers; no timeline. Just counting those chickens before they hatch. No chickens? No chicken waste.
The pied piper of petroleum production and placid plutonium placement, Senator Tex Wagner (R-Virginia Beach) seems to be leading the energy charge but he is missing from the list of patrons of Delegate Saxman's (R-Staunton) proposal. Credible deniability? The problem for Republicans in this election cycle is that they may be caught out when the facts don't match the reality. This happened to Delegate Joe Bouchard's (D-Virginia Beach) challenger last week when he relied upon a vague assertion that the Navy was willing to negotiate drilling in the training areas off the coast of Virginia. Nothing that the candidate said was strictly inaccurate; only out of the context of time, leading to an invalid perception that the door was open to drilling and the extension that state revenue problems would magically vanish if only...
Republicans expand the tent with a more open-minded market philosophy. A building carrying the name of the Virginia Republican Second District Chairman and housing the campaign headquarters of a Republican candidate also shelters a boutique, classes for pole dancing in heels, and an escort service. That's "Progress for Your Family."
Carrying on the Virginia Beach tradition of Republicans ignoring the local ordinance restricting the display of campaign signs and joining Bob McDonnell and Ken Stolle in this principled protest of the rule of law, City Councilman Ron Villanueva has posted signs where he set up shop conveniently located in a building with what is likely a well outfitted call center (apparently outcall only, but that works). DO NOT SELECT THIS LINK IF YOU ARE AT WORK OR ON ANY CHILD'S COMPUTERApollo Productions, an online entertainment service with this bricks and mortar office, caters to the prurient interests of clients and the proximity allows a potentially symbiotic blending of services for the tenants. It has been a going concern since the 1980's according to one source. Apollo is on the same floor as the campaign office, allowing the association to be discreet if need be. The fact that the service offers both male and female entertainers will undoubtedly curry favor with the growing broad stance Republican following; the righteous right might not be so pleased, but certainly Bob McDonnell's relationship with Pat Robertson can facilitate some kind of absolution or other method of credible deniability.
"I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!" - Captain Renault, Casablanca
(This article is cross-posted at BlueVirginia.. - promoted by KathyinBlacksburg)
Senator Mark Warner was joined by Deputy Secretary of Energy Dan Poneman to lead off what started as a conference and grew to a summit attended by a wide consortium of constituencies. Poneman stole the day early by announcing Virginia will immediately receive $37 million in funding for weatherization (some 8600 homes) under the stimulus plan. Some 500 attendees crowded into the Hampton University venue, far exceeding the anticipated seating requirements. In addition, hundreds more participated online. Dr. William Harvey, President of the University introduced the conference and welcomed the summit participants.
The summit featured three sessions: stimulus funding for low income household weatherization; stimulus funding for state and local governments; and funding for innovative projects such as smart grid. Senator Warner emphasized his role as a self proclaimed bipartisan radical centrist member of the Congress, pointing out that energy does not have not a Democratic or Republican solution, there is an American solution. He called for innovation and cooperation.
A couple of weeks ago Delegate Joe Bouchard (D-83rd) raised the ire of the Republican candidate for his seat in the 83rd when he told an audience that Republicans talk about how they support the troops but then don't deliver. A review of Hampton Roads Republican legislative records backs up Bouchard's critique.
Somehow in that kickoff (Joe Bouchard) seemed to imply that Republicans weren't supporting our troops. And I take offense at that. I hope you guys take offense at that too. He brought up a bill of his that didn't get passed and blamed the Republicans for not passing that bill and said because his bill didn't pass Republicans didn't support the troops. Please don't let him get away with comments like that. Please talk to your friends, get out there, tell them what the real story is, tell them about our support for the troops, but also tell them it's not about personalities it's about effectiveness and how effectiveness (sic) you can be up there in the General Assembly. - Dr. Chris Stolle
So the real story has been invited and the real story is a record of empty rhetoric on the part of high profile Republicans in Virginia Beach including the candidate for governor. It is also a record of obstructionism without regard to the effect it may have on the military constituency. Three stand out for their lack of initiative for active duty military and veterans issues: Delegate Bob Purkey (R-82nd), State Senator Ken Stolle (R-8th), and Bob McDonnell, statewide standard bearer and former delegate for the 84th. That is unless you think naming bridges and commending the Marine Corps Toys for Tots Program meet the standard for support.
With the constituencies each represent(ed), you can conclude one of two things: either there are no military or veterans issues or these three really just don't care enough to carry them. Not a single one of these gents can point to a record of accomplishment for our troops.
Our Commonwealth's Attorney is easily swayed from prosecutorial responsibility by favor. Our constitutional officers flagrantly violate the letter and spirit of the law. We have elected officials who believe their offices confer them immunity from accountability. And it all seems to bewilder our local media. We desperately need outside assistance.
State Senator Ken Stolle (R-8th) spent a lot of the last two decades railing about judicial appointments, judicial impropriety, and law enforcement. Those have been the centerpiece of his legislative agenda and would-be legacy. You'd think he'd want a judicial appointment where he could lay down the law, but he has set his sights on something in enforcement. Padding his state retirement by securing a job as Sheriff to top it off with a high-3 average annual salary might have perplexed some just a bit. Hey, it's good work if you can get it and if Virginia Beach's citizens wanted to fall for the law and order shtick and give him a nice bonus on his way out, it's their privilege. He has curried favor and developed cordial relationships throughout the community and seems a hands down favorite for the position. Even if there is no grassroots support showing interest in his campaign, his strong name recognition combined with synergy from his brother's campaign for delegate provide an advantage.
Back room politics is not unusual. So when the self-anointed heir apparent to the office Stolle seeks suddenly found himself faced with the prospect of a primary against the Senator, his disappointment was quelled by an "understanding." After all, Stolle only needs three years to be entitled to the maximum potential retirement and then the fellow could step right in with Stolle's blessing and endorsement. Not finishing terms in office is a Republican tradition. So sayeth Bob McDonnell. If the calming of the waters had ended there, it might have been routine.
Congressman Glenn Nye (D-Va 2nd) is hosting his First Annual Hampton Roads Veterans Job Fair in Norfolk bringing together local employers, job counselors, and veterans who are looking for work. The response has greatly exceeded expectations in a region that is faring better than most during this economic downturn. One of Nye's focuses in Washington has been bills to help create jobs for veterans. He said this job fair is another way to help bring veterans together with employers to start creating jobs in Hampton Roads now.
"Our veterans leave the military with skills and experience that can be incredibly valuable in the private sector. A lot of business owners in Hampton Roads are veterans themselves, so they know the value of hiring other vets." -- Congressman Nye.
The event will also feature the world premiere screening of a new documentary about veterans struggling to find jobs after returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan. It is a new episode of the In Their Boots documentary series about veterans readjusting to life at home after returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The episode, Vets for Hire, tells the story of three veterans struggling to find work after leaving the military. The film also discusses Congressman Nye's work to pass legislation to create a national network of Veterans Business Centers to help veterans start and run their own businesses.
Cross posted at VBDems.org - Blogging our way to Democratic wins in Virginia Beach!
Sen. Creigh Deeds, Democratic nominee for Governor, toured Norfolk businesses today to discuss the challenges that business owners face in the current economic climate. He was joined by Norfolk Vice Mayor Anthony Burfoot, City Treasurer Tom Moss, and Delegate Lionel Spruill (D-Chesapeake) on his first visit to South Hampton Roads since the June 9 primary.
"It's a great day to be in Hampton Roads, it's a great day to be in Norfolk. We are going to learn as much as we can today about how we can help build small businesses to help people create wealth and improve the quality of life in all of our communities. I look forward to our visit today and I look forward to a vigorous debate as this campaign progresses." - Senator Deeds
Deeds and his group toured facilities and talked with small business operators and owners on Tidewater Drive about their challenges, and about the importance of keeping Virginia's economy moving forward with common-sense leadership. The businesses spanned a broad spectrum from mental health and educational services to heavy truck sales and service; from a two person job and life skills development operation to a firm that has grown from a sole proprietorship run from the trunk of Andrea Cleaves' car to a 115 employee entrepreneurial success to a company that conducts sales and service in two Hampton Roads cities of heavy vehicles and equipment which other companies rely upon to keep their businesses rolling.
Governor Allen selected Peter Schmidt to head the Virginia Directorate of Environmental Quality, later appointing him to the Environmental Control Board. On that basis, you could rush to the conclusion that he would be bane to environmentalists. Quite the contrary. Candidate for the House of Delegates seat in the 82nd currently held by Bob Purkey (R-Virginia Beach), he is a champion of conservation and the environment with a world view that extends beyond existential policy positions with self-serving outcomes. Credible appointees for these important positions are essential for any party.
Peter Schmidt's pragmatism, the sort of quality valued by the Republican mainstream, is balanced by his calculus for the environmental impact of human activity, the kind of perspective environmentalists and many Democrats use to frame the issue. These are the qualities that will make him a legislator who can develop and recognize bipartisan solutions that are both practical and environmentally friendly without threatening economic growth.
A member of the group "Conservationists for Warner" crafting environmental policy for the Senator during his campaign, Peter was on the energy committee. As he participated in the research for policy development he found reinforcing evidence that energy policy goes to the issue of climate change. He points out that on a per capita basis, the United States clearly contributes the greatest proportion of greenhouse gas emissions. Both the US and China produce about six billion tons of greenhouse gas per year of the about 27 billion ton global total. India is not that far behind. But on a per capita basis, we contribute six times the amount as China and 17 times that of India.
The bottom line is that we have to stop any further growth in greenhouse gasses.
Delegate Bob Purkey (R-Virginia Beach) impresses as avuncular much of the time. But there are those moments when he allows a little sunshine in to reveal what's really going on in there. Yesterday during the "Yes we can" tour he provided about 40 seconds that even made a fellow blogger of the other persuasion cringe. He tried to make light of it after the reaction to his comment. Then he went on to give one of those knowing glances to soon to be former Senator Cuccinelli (R-37th) and make a remark about the "population base Ken comes from and...who he represents."
(Gen. Zinni is truly one of the great men in this nation. Happy to give this more visibility. - promoted by teacherken)
This month, General Zinni USMC (Ret) led a discussion on the application of national power. The former Commander of Central Command and Special Envoy to the Middle East, he is currently involved in analyzing the problems facing Pakistan and may be there now. He has written a new book on leadership.
There is a new buzz in Washington: "Smart Power." This is a combination of hard power, military action, and soft power, diplomatic, economic, and informational efforts. A decade ago, toward the end of the Clinton administration, there was significant progress toward better inter-agency coordination and planning. Some even held that it was time for a Goldwater-Nichols-like effort to institutionalize the informal structures that developed under Clinton. But there was little or no regard for such coordination in the Bush administration and Secretary Rumsfeld even seemed to hold it in disdain. We continue to live with the results of that approach in New Orleans, where there simply was no planning, and in Iraq, where the stabilization phase of the war effort was left to chance. But the seeds were there dormant and they are now beginning to sprout, particularly in military headquarters to which few forces are assigned and which must consider the soft aspects of American power as central to any successful strategic design. This is also known as the "Whole of Government" approach.
So the pharmaceutical industry has volunteered to help hold down health care costs. Some voluntary price controls will help us out. Be wary; very wary. We have been down the price control path before and that didn't work out so well. This won't either. Sorry, dismal scientist at work here.
The market will have its revenge. It always does no matter how much we want to complain. First will be a warm fuzzy feeling of goodwill, followed by the frustration of shortages, evolving into rationing and then an explosion in cost. In the end, the consumers will have paid now and later. Later will be much more painful. One sad aspect of this is that the value we have received in healthcare has been partly as a result of restrained access to that care. Mucking about with such notions as voluntary price controls will set all that topsy-turvy.
There are a number of factors that affect the delivery of healthcare services and there is no way to address them all concisely, so this discussion will be constrained. We are where we are for any number of reasons. The American Medical Association has played a role limiting the number of physicians that have graduated over the years. Access to healthcare has diminished as technology has advanced; translate: as costs have risen, demand has been tempered; given access to a reasonable and consistent standard of care, the market would consume significantly more of the service. We don't really know what the demand would be if there were assured access through whatever means and we are not equipped to deliver it. The supply of medical resources, whether hospital beds or the medicines and tools of the trade is not very elastic. The opportunity to increase one or more of the supply variables generally comes at the cost of one or more of the others. In the short run, if we want to treat more cardiac patients, we have to treat fewer oncology patients or any other set of substitutes. Bottom line: instant access will not do a lot for improving care. The lines will be longer and the amount of care will increase only marginally without a either a strategy or a diminished quality of care.
(Terrific coverage of Creigh by a supporter of another candidate - promoted by kindler)
Senator Deeds addressed a regular breakfast gathering of the Virginia Beach Democratic Committee Saturday and he showed a bounce in his step and high level of energy as he discussed his campaign. The Memorial Day weekend did not dampen the attendance and Deeds drew in supporters from across the region.
The endorsement by the Washington Post led off Senator Deeds' comments and he explained that it had been a surprise, particularly when he was up against two hometown guys. He called the editor up, he told the group, to tell him that he'd shocked him. Asking the editor what it was that captured the support, the answer was that there were two things: first, throughout his time in office, he'd done things that weren't necessarily in his own political interest, he'd done things because they were right; second, he knows exactly what he wants to do and the order to do it in; he has a plan.
Deeds recalled the 1977 victory of Henry Howell in the Democratic primary over a highly favored opponent and commented: "Primaries are unpredictable events. There's all kinds of polling all over the place. The only constant trend in the polling is that one candidate is climbing. One candidate is climbing; that's me."
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