Conservatives Richard Falknor on 23 Feb 2013 07:36 pm
UPDATES– FEBRUARY 25!
Mark Levin tonight: I’ll fight every politician who supported the McDonnell tax hike. (Click here.)
Virginia’s Governor Bob McDonnell Thinks You’re an Idiot declares RedState chief Erick Erickson (click here to read the entire devastating indictment) – – “Bob McDonnell was getting all kinds of praise on the Sunday shows for his big transportation tax hike, which passed the Virginia legislature this week. He was getting praise from big government liberals like Tim Kaine and Terry McAuliffe and Martin O’Malley for his evenhandedness, his leadership, not like those troublesome conservatives in Washington who refuse to wheel and deal.” (Highlighting Forum’s.)
Three Governors: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly reveals Ben Domenech (RealClearPolitics via his Transom) – – “And that brings us to Virginia’s Bob McDonnell. Telegenic as he is, he is The Ugly.” (Click here.)
The Empire (big GOP donors) struck last Friday urging ‘pragmatism’ not Tea Party candidates. “Ken Cuccinelli ripped by business leaders” (click here) declared Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns (Politico) today. Theirs is a report on GOP donors shamelessly muscling a candidate who stands unapologetic for constitutional government and traditional values. Of course, everyone hears about the dark side of the GOP – the Beltway Establishment – but rarely do we get to read their brazen remarks. This donor attack has the scent of crony capitalism, business-friendly to be sure but hardly market-friendly. The question is how long can a divided GOP endure with any vigor? Not just in Virginia, but nationally? Not much longer in Virginia, we suggest, unless county committees and state Republican voices openly discuss the split and promptly disavow the governor’s $ 6.1 billion tax hike.
Richmond Tea Party chief Joe Guarino reports he has “called for an emergency RTP mtg to address this monstrosity.”
Lieutenant Governor GOP Primary Candidate Susan Stimpson in a “Dear Friend” email Saturday night declares “ I just received an email from the Governor that leaves me flabbergasted. It brags about billions in new taxes. It even directs people to look at the spending projects in their area! It sounds like a White House press release. I was half expecting it to conclude with an offer for a free cell phone!” (Highlighting Forum’s.)
A Cavalier Fiasco: Virginia Republicans try to elect the next Democratic Governor. (WSJ Review & Outlook) – “There’s one thing uglier than a Democratic tax-and-spend spree. A Republican one. On Friday Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and a GOP-run legislature approved a five-year, $6 billion transportation bill financed almost entirely with higher sales and car taxes. The big winners are unions, real estate developers and the transit lobby….At least Republicans can erase Mr. McDonnell’s name as a national candidate or VP choice in 2016.” (Highlighting Forum’s.)
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$6.1 Billion VA Tax Hike? Kudos To Governor Mitt R. McDonnell
Today the Virginia General Assembly approved large and wide-reaching tax hikes – in John Fund’s words — “a $6.1 billion behemoth” – built into what is billed as a major transportation package.
(See John Fund NRO article for more details here; click here for ‘conference amendments’ where you can also learn about how ‘regional congestion relief fee[s]’ will affect property transfers in northern Virginia.)
The Virginia General Assembly did all this under the leadership of a Republican governor.
Governor Bob McDonnell engineered the General Assembly’s approval with the support of most Democratic (25 out of 32) but only slightly more than half of Republican and GOP affiliated delegates (35 out of 67). Click here for the official roll-call vote.
17 Democratic (out of 20) but only eight (out of 20) Republican state senators supported the final, conference version.
Virginia senate approval came today after Virginia Democrats were apparently satisfied that the governor would not block Medicaid expansion. (For details on this cross-cutting issue, scroll through Jim Nolan’s (RTD) post “Negotiators say they have language that addresses Cuccinelli’s concerns about Medicaid expansion” here.)
This week the governor of Virginia roughly mimicked on the state level what Angelo Codevilla just described as the continuing actions of the national GOP leadership:
“By repeatedly passing bills that contradict the identity of Republican voters and of the majority of Republican elected representatives, the Republican leadership has made political orphans of millions of Americans. In short, at the outset of 2013 a substantial portion of America finds itself un-represented, while Republican leaders increasingly represent only themselves.” (Highlighting Forum’s.)
As his term moves toward its conclusion, Mr. McDonnell just made ‘political orphans’ of many citizens of his state with his taxing transportation package.
And many of them won’t even learn about it until the new taxes start biting in!
But The McDonnell Warning Signs Were There
In June 13, 2009, we asked (click here) –
“The Old Dominion conservative might wonder what set of circumstances the good Mr. McDonnell envisions when he refrains from signing the gubernatorial no-new-taxes pledge? Does he suggest that he will not find state budget cuts to pay for expanding highways and relieve traffic congestion? ‘Jobs’ and ‘energy’ may be stirring slogans, but vague on likely follow-up. ‘Cut traffic congestion’ might work better.
A long-time Virginia conservative said to us recently that when she closed her eyes listening to the former attorney general at the Republican convention in Richmond last month, she thought for a moment she was at a Democrat convention.
There is an overly-governmentalist tone to Mr. McDonnell’s solutions. He speaks of coalitions of state and local governments and business interests to solve this or that assumed problem or top-down objective — rather than trusting consumer choice, and empowering citizens and parents to make these choices free of unreasonable constraint.” (Underscoring in original, highlighting just added.)
Later that month on June 17, 2009, the Washington Times editorialized –
“But there goes Bob stammering about the problems pledges pose. ‘I don’t know. I’ve taken it before. I get so many of those pledges right now. People want me to pledge this or pledge that. I’ve been a firm believer that I’m gonna tell you exactly what I think … that I’m going to stick to my word. I did that when I ran for attorney general. I said, ‘These are seven things that I’m going to do,’ and we got all seven of them done, and so I’m getting so many questionnaires that want me to pledge this, that and the other. I may not take … probably will not do that, but I will tell you exactly what I think, because I’ve answered your questions today, and I will tell you that I have no plans to raise taxes.’
No plans to raise taxes? That answer has too much wiggle room for us.”
Put Not Your Trust in Party Labels
Perhaps now the good Republican stalwarts of Virginia will understand that just because a nominee sails under the GOP flag and the county Republican committees immediately morph into uncritical cheerleaders for the Party’s candidate, there is no guarantee at all that they are getting any kind of conservative.
In our view, Virginia’s photogenic and media savvy (if not very conservative) governor is burnishing his credentials as a ‘problem-solving’ (i.e., a very-big-government) Republican seeking a national perch.
It’s goodbye contentious Richmond, hello Ruling Class glamor and lots (more) national appearances – maybe even some with Karl Rove!
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