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Saturday, August 18, 2018
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Chap on ABC Privatization, 2013 Gubernatorial Race

This seems to be my morning to link to Republican blogs. Must be something in the summer-like autumn air or something. :)  Anyway, I wanted to draw your attention to The Virginia Gentleman's interview with Chap Petersen, in which Chap covers a number of interesting topics.  First, ABC privatization:
I am opposed to the plan for a couple reasons. First, the ABC franchise is a successful business for its owner, the Virginia taxpayer. I won't sell it for a discount as that would be a net loss for that state (and a gift for the buyers). Also, I am very hesitant to sell/auction off 1,000 licenses to sell hard liquor. We will be losing control of this industry and the effects will be harmful and focused on certain neighborhoods. Therefore, I oppose that aspect -- much as I opposed payday lending when that was legalized in 2002.
Well said, hopefully this plan is either Dead on Arrival or - better yet - Dead BEFORE Arrival.  The main question is, what on earth were Bob McDonnell and his advisors thinking on this one?  Duhhhh.

Chap has a lot more thoughts on various topics, but one worth highlighting relates to the 2013 race for governor.  As of now, it appears that Terry McAuliffe is the front runner, most likely by a wide margin, but here's Chap on whether he's interested in running as well:

Yes, eventually. As for 2013, I'm focused on 2011 right now. I'm taking nothing for granted. The 34th is historically a swing district.
So, there you have it; Chap Petersen will be will not be might be a candidate for governor in 2013. Or not. But my betting is that he will be a candidate.  Let's face it, as much as Chap denies it, he believes he could be a great governor.  My guess is that he also wants to beat Cooch, once and for all.  Stay tuned.

Have George Allen and Dick Black Both “passed their freshness dates?”

Have George "Felix Macacawitz" Allen and Dick "Plastic Fetuses" Black passed their political "freshness dates?"  Bwana has some interesting thoughts.
...Both Allen and Black are talking comeback.  Allen in 2012 in a re-match against Jim Webb, and Black in 2011 in a Virginia Senate campaign.  There is uncertainly for Black who he would run against, due to redistricting between now and then.

Back to those questions-are they still relevant, or have they lost their gripping power like rubber retreads eventually do?

Personally, I think they have both passed their freshness dates.  Allen's Senate record on spending belies his record as governor, and Black's record was made during a period when social wedge issues carried the day, and not more fundamental items like spending, defense, and general safety.  More critical is that neither seems to be able to stay away from the verbal faux pas.  It may be Black's comparing those who backed Obama in 2008 to drunk college students, or Allen challenging the democrats in 1995 saying he would "Knock their soft teeth down their whiny throats", or in 2006 saying "I even eat ham sandwiches" to say he was not Jewish (when Jewishness is considered by many a matter of blood on one's mothers side...which would mean he is).

Elected officials rise up based on the issues of a moment or an era.  Some push a philosophy...which can mean multiple issues over the years.  Others push an issue...which means the issue has to stay on the front burner or else said politico loses tread.

In addition, neither one has created a new identity for themselves.  Any news story about Dick Black will mention plastic fetuses if given half a chance, and the same for Allen and Macaca and allegations of racism.

Personally, I'd love to see Republicans nominate Felix Macacawitz and the crazy plastic fetus dude, as it would make Democrats' chances of winning their elections a lot easier. It would also be highly entertaining. The only question is, are Republicans stupid enough to do that. Let's hope so!

Video: Krystal Ball on the “Politics of Personal Destruction”

Also, see Krystal Ball's fiery, passionate Huffington Post article, in which she writes (bolding added by me for emphasis):
...these photos were released by a right-wing smear blog with close ties to my opponent. I don't believe these pictures were posted with a desire to just embarrass me; they wanted me to feel like a whore. They wanted me to collapse in a ball of embarrassment and to hang my head in shame. After all, when you are a woman named Krystal Ball, 28 years old, running for Congress, well, you get the picture. Stripper. Porn star. I've heard them all. So, I sat in my husband's arms and cried. I thought about my little girl. I couldn't stand the idea that I had somehow damaged the cause of young women running for office. I couldn't stand the idea that I might shame my family, my friends or my supporters in some way.

The tactic of making female politicians into whores is nothing new. In fact, it happened to Meg Whitman, one of the world's most accomplished business women, just last week. It's part of this whole idea that female sexuality and serious work are incompatible. But I realized that photos like the ones of me, and ones much racier, would end up coming into the public sphere when women of my generation run for office. And I knew that there could be no other answer to the question than this: Society has to accept that women of my generation have sexual lives that are going to leak into the public sphere. Sooner or later, this is a reality that has to be faced, or many young women in my generation will not be able to run for office.

Strong stuff, and mostly on point in my opinion. Anyway, we'll see how this plays out politically, but I've got to say, nice job by Krystal Ball in handling this situation.

Great Photo of Robert Hurt

Robert Hurt and Tom Perriello debate - finally! - this Wednesday night on WSLS. I'm looking forward to Perriello demonstrating that Hurt is nothing more than an empty suit. And a "cheesy" one at that! :)

Loudoun County Democratic Committee Chair Cuts Loose

Over at Without Supervision, Loudoun County Democratic Committee chair (and 2008 Congressional primary candidate) Mike Turner cuts loose with some thoughts on the Democrats, the Republicans, the Tea Party, anger, authenticity, and more. It's a great rant, I definitely recommend that you read all of it. For now, here's an excerpt - enjoy!
And what about the Republicans? While I am not happy with the Democratic party's failure to capitalize on an historic opportunity, I am appalled by the institutional inauthenticity of the Republican party. Thanks to Lee Atwater and Karl Rove, the Republican Party now exists to win, not to serve, and the tea party movement reflects that harsh reality. The Republican leadership doesn't give a twit about the American people or public service, and they have cheerfully handed over the reins of party leadership to the hate and fear crowd.

Karl Rove and President Bush proved to us that Republicans cannot govern. From 2000-2006, with total Republican control of the government for the first time in 80 years, the Republicans quintupled the national debt, set a record number of record-breaking budget deficits, started two wars they didn't know how to finish, and lost an American city. And what is their message now? Just say "No!" to everything. Several tea partyists have cheerfully declared their intent to shut down government during this time of national economic crisis. That is a profoundly inauthentic mission, and I believe the American people know it. For this reason, despite the polls, I believe there is a very good chance Democrats will retain the House of Representatives. Independents will go to the polls and, in the quiet of their own voting booth, reject a movement backwards to the Do-Nothing era.

Finally, we have the tea party. Ironically, their entire movement is based upon a very authentic anger over the failure of government to function effectively. But the movement will amount to little more than a fad because at its heart, it is systemically inauthentic. There simply is no "there" there. How can Christine O'Donnell campaign on a platform of fiscal responsibility when she is personally a poster child for financial irresponsibility? Sarah Palin and Joe Miller rant about getting the federal government out of our lives, and yet Alaska continues to have the highest per capita dependence on federal funding among all 50 states. Sharon Engle talks of "second amendment solutions" to the Democrats-the first time I've ever heard a national candidate openly threaten assassination of those with whom she disagrees-yet claims that the tea party movement is non-violent.

Great stuff, I just wish more Democratic leaders would talk like this.  

More Republican Insanity: Dick Black is Back!

As crazy as Sharron Angle, Christine O'Donnell, Carl Paladino, Rand Paul, Linda McMahon, Joe Miller, and so many other Republican candidates and elected officials (e.g., Ken Kookinelli, "Sideshow Bob" Marshall) are this year, they've got nothing on former Virginia Delegate Dick Black. Yes, we're talking about this guy:
In an extraordinary recent interview (click to listen to MP3) with the radical right-wing group Concerned Women for America regarding HB2921, Delegate Dick "Baby Pesticides" Black insults his colleagues in the Virginia Senate, claiming that they are "aligned with various elements of vice and so forth."

Thanks to the Majority Report Radio blog for the great lead on this interview.  Read below the jump for details on this remarkable interview and suggestions for follow-up items on this bill.

Delegate Black also spends time in the interview repeating the discredited claims of one of his star witnesses, pseudo-sociologist Paul Cameron. Black said, "The fact [sic] is, in children that have a homosexual parent, approximately 29% of children are molested by that parent. That contrasts with .6 percent of normal parents....a 50 to 1 increase in risk for molestation."  No reputable scientific study backs up these claims.  Black continues by saying, "No structure is more unstable than a homosexual relationship."

OK, so I think we can all agree that he's nuts, as sane conservative "Loudoun Insider" admits. And now, he's baaaaack, "passing out invitations to the formal kickoff of his race for the state Senate on Nov. 11." As the Washington Post article points out, this is the guy "perhaps best known for distributing plastic fetus models to fellow lawmakers preparing to vote on abortion issues." Now, the madman's back, probably running against Sen. Mark Herring (D) in the 33rd District. As "Loudoun Insider" writes:
I honestly cannot believe we are here in 2010 talking about Dick Black trying to beat Mark Herring. It's ludicrous. Yet we have incumbent Republican office holders lining up to endorse him and certainly the LCRC "leadership" ready to pave the way for him to the nomination. And I thought the GOP had really turned the corner here in Loudoun. We're right back to 2007.
Well, believe it. Sad to say, but this is - increasingly - today's Republican Party. Scary. Nutty. Bizarre. Off the deep end. But increasingly, winning nominations and even general elections. What is this country coming to?

VA Sierra Club Releases Report on “How Virginia is Losing the Competition For Clean...

I just got off a conference call with the Virginia Sierra Club (Glen Besa and Ivy Main), the topic being the release of their new report, "Power Failure - How Virginia is Losing the Competition For Clean Energy Jobs."  The Sierra Club's press release is after the "flip," but here are a few quick notes from the call.

*Virginia is way behind other states in clean energy and energy efficiency, due to a failure of leadership by Bob McDonnell and also previous governors.

*Other mid-Atlantic states are ahead of us in clean energy incentives and jobs.

*If "Bob's for Jobs" really wants to create jobs, the single best thing he could do right now would be to invest in energy efficiency. For every $1 invested in energy efficiency, we get $2 back.  

*There are huge opportunities for renewable energy and energy efficiency in Virginia, but we don't have the incentives needed to get there.

*A well-crafted Renewable Portfolio Standard would be a superb tool for reaching our goals.  Right now, Virginia has a voluntary RPS that is basically worthless. We need a real, mandatory RPS.

*Part of why this administration, and previous administrations, have failed is their close ties to Dominion VA Power, and the disproportionate influence Dominion and other utilities have on Virginia politics.

*Coal is not the future. In fact, coal mining employment has plummeted in Virginia, thanks to mechanized forms of mining like "mountaintop removal." Also, "If coal's so great, than why is southwestern Virginia so poor?"

Must-Read Column by Paul Krugman

I strongly recommend today's NY Times column by Paul Krugman, "Hey, Small Spender."  Here's an excerpt:
Here's the narrative you hear everywhere: President Obama has presided over a huge expansion of government, but unemployment has remained high. And this proves that government spending can't create jobs.

Here's what you need to know: The whole story is a myth. There never was a big expansion of government spending. In fact, that has been the key problem with economic policy in the Obama years: we never had the kind of fiscal expansion that might have created the millions of jobs we need.

So much, in Krugman's view, for the Tea Party cry of "stop the spending!" In fact, Krugman argues, we need to START the spending (and investment - not the same thing as pure "spending"), because so far, other than tax cuts, it hasn't really started in a big way.

Video: Complete Cooch Incoherence at Tea Party Convention

I was watching this video, and the main thought I had about Ken Cuccinelli wasn't even so much that he's a right-wing nutjob, but that he's just completely incoherent.  For instance, the core of his anti-healthcare-reform argument is that "Obamacare" is unconstitutional because it was passed by Congress and signed into law by the President, but the similar "Romneycare" is constitutional because it was put into place by a state government. Huh? Something's constitutional simply because it's done geographically "closer to you," but it's unconstitutional if it's done further away from you? So...let's see, for those of us who live in NOVA, federal health care reform legislation was passed and signed into law just a few miles up the road, while Richmond's much further away, so by that "reasoning," the state law would be less constitutional than the federal law? Yeah, uh huh. Whatever.  

Second, the argument that because the government can do some things, it can do "anything" - and the implication is that "anything" includes all kinds of bad stuff - may be true in theory, but that's exactly why our Founding Fathers put a system of "checks and balances" in place, including a court system to decide on the constitutionality of laws passed by Congress and signed by the President. It's also why we have elections. But put all that aside for a second and consider; Ken Cuccinelli is railing against government power to do "anything," yet at the same time is pursuing a government witch hunt against a scientist, Michael Mann, because Cuccinelli, in his official government role as Attorney General, disagrees with the scientist!  If that's not tyranny, government doing "anything," I don't know what is.  So where does that fit into Ken Cuccinelli's "first principles?" Again, whatever.

Finally, Cooch correctly declares that Republicans, when they were in power, completely violated everything they purported to believe in. I agree with Cooch completely on that, whether we're talking government spending, fiscal responsibility, a decidedly non-humble and non-realist form of foreign policy, intrusions on our civil liberties, etc., etc. The question is, why should we trust Republicans now? Is there any reason to think that they have stopped violating their "first principles" now, or would stop violating them if they came back into power?  Of course, there's absolutely zero evidence of that, and Cooch should say so if he wants to be intellectually honest. But of course he doesn't, and he isn't. All of which adds up to, as I said at the outset, complete Cooch incoherence. What else is new?

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