Saturday, November 24, 2007

Maryland Raises Taxes; EJ Swoons

Careful readers of our little blog may detect a slight anti-tax bias. We have been keeping our eye on the $1.4 billion confiscation from the good people of Maryland being perpetrated upon them by Gov O'Malley and a pliant legislature. As citizens of the Old Dominion, we are concerned about the flood of refugees from from Maryland that this takings will likely prompt. (Although we can always make space for more tax refugees, I suppose.) So we were amused (but not surprised) to read EJ Dionne's love letter to the Gov in which he waxes poetic about the righteousness of higher taxes:

Nonetheless, the sound you are hearing not only in Maryland but in state capitals across the nation is the crashing and crumbling of ideology, specifically a right-wing ideology that demonizes taxes and government while preaching that the public interest depends upon solicitude toward the comfortable and the privileged.

It is not that EJ disagrees with the conservative view; that would be no fun. Instead he is a feather-quill warrior, standing strong for the defenseless government, raging against the hated right-wingers who demonize taxes, preventing those nasty conservatives from plundering the treasury and distributing the booty to the Halliburton board of directors.

But EJ is not alone in his happy quest, he has a band of merry governors working hard to find new taxes to raise:

Those rebelling against this dying disposition include not only liberals such as O'Malley, but also moderates such as Govs. Janet Napolitano of Arizona and Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas, both Democrats, and Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger of California.

Golly, where would we be without such rebels? Folks who boldly agree to take on, then solve the world's problems by redistributing money from you to them. Excelsior!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Cantor Says No?

Hey, I've been busy the past few days and unable to comment on Eric Cantor's apparent decision not to run for the open Senate seat from Virginia. (The online petition that Mason Conservative and Bearing Drift started has been yanked out of cyberspace.) Really unfortunate. It's fine for Cantor to support Gilmore, but that will never be the same as Cantor taking the plunge himself. For the Rs to be able to beat Mark Warner, they'll need to run smart. And Cantor is an ideas guy. Cantor offering his own ideas for Gilmore to use (to the extent they're both willing) is not the same as Cantor poking Gilmore in the eye with his ideas. While Gilmore is very good on taxes, he sometimes falls into the trap of thinking that he can attract left-leaning voters by offering democrat lite. And for sure WaPo and the rest of the establishment media will be yammering about how the republicans need to be more like the democrats to win. This never works. It suppresses the republican turn out with no gain -- voters that want democrats are going to vote democrat. Had Cantor been in the race, it would have been very hard for Gilmore to fall into the trap of running to the left. Maybe Bob Marshall or Chris Saxman will be able to fill the void left by Cantor. Color me skeptical.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

U.S. Army Cpl. James Dyke hands out toys to children in Kahn Bani Sa'ad, Iraq
Enjoy the turkey! If you are looking for another outlet for giving, we suggest this.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Why Romney Won't Win

The Baseball Crank has a very thorough analysis, here, of why Romney should not be the Repub nominee. (Hat tip JustOneMinute). If you are thinking about Romney, or know someone who is, we urge you to read it.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Run Eric, Run

The blogosphere in Virginia is trying to draft Eric Cantor into the race for the republican nomination for U.S. Senator from Virginia. The Mason Conservative, Bearing Drift, and the Right-Wing Liberal are all encouraging Cantor to run. We here at DC Politics News hope Cantor answers the call. Jim Gilmore is an excellent candidate who, in our opinion, has a good chance to beat Mark Warner. Eric Cantor, however, is a rock star (at least among VA repubs) -- read the Weekly Standard's piece on him here. He would inject energy, ideas and, frankly, a bit of drama into what would otherwise be a Jim Gilmore coronation at the Republican convention next year. Cantor's entry into the race would force Gilmore to become an even better candidate and would likely cause more Virginians to focus on the race. The Rs desperately need to hang on to this Senate seat after a string of dispiriting losses in Virginia. Cantor's entry into the race makes that much more likely. If you agree, you can do your bit to encourage Cantor by signing an online petition here.

Heed the call Eric. Run!

Jim Moran Wants Your Views on Impeachment

Congressman Jim Moran, who represents the Arlington-Alexandria area in Northern Virginia, is asking his constituents what to do about articles of impeachment against VP Cheney that have been referred to the Judiciary Committee. Below is a survey he sent out in his most recent newsletter. Apparently both Bush Derangement Syndrome and its more hysterical form, the Cheney Variant are still spreading like wild fire through the halls of Congress.

Dear dcpoliticsnews,

Last week, the House voted to send articles of impeachment against Vice President Cheney to the Judiciary Committee for hearings and more thorough consideration of this issue.

I would appreciate it if you would fill out the survey below and better inform me on how you think Congress should approach this issue.


James P. Moran

Surveying Your Views on Impeachment

Which one of these four statements do you agree with about Vice President Cheney:

Vice President Cheney has abused his powers as Vice President which rise to the level of impeachable offenses under the Constitution, and he should be impeached and removed from office.

Vice President Cheney has abused his powers as Vice President which rise to the level of impeachable offenses under the Constitution, but he should not be impeached.

Vice President Cheney has abused his powers as Vice President, but the abuses are not serious enough to warrant impeachment under the Constitution.

Vice President Cheney has not abused his powers as Vice President.

Regardless of whether or not you believe the Vice President should be impeached, do you think the Judiciary Committee should begin hearings to look at the evidence of possible impeachable offenses?

Yes, I think the Judiciary Committee should begin impeachment hearings.

No, I think impeachment hearings would be a waste of time and a distraction from more important issues Congress should address.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Let's Say Thanks

Click here to send a free post card to a member of the military serving overseas. What a great idea! Sponsored by Xerox (hat tip United Conservatives of Virginia).

Bush Battles Back

Earlier today, the president vetoed the pork-laden FY 08 health & education spending bill, then rubbed the dems' faces in it by bragging about it afterward in Indiana. According to the prez: "The majority was elected on a pledge of fiscal responsibility, but so far it's acting like a teenager with a new credit card." Booyah.

This veto came after the president signed the
defense spending bill. Nancy Pelosi et al seem to think whining about funding the troops but not the pork helps the Dems. From the Examiner:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Bush "again vetoed a bipartisan and fiscally responsible bill that addresses the priorities of the American people: education for our children, assistance in paying skyrocketing energy costs, veterans' health care, and other urgent health research on cancer and other serious medical problems. At the same time, President Bush and his congressional allies demand hundreds of billions of dollars for the war in Iraq - none of it paid for."

Maybe Ms. Pelosi will be able to convince folks that the pork is more important than the war. We'd like to think not. And good for the prez for reminding Congress (and himself) that the repubs are the party of small government.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Democrats In Maryland House Joyfully Raise Taxes

In the dead of night last evening, the Maryland House of Delegates passed bills jacking up the already high Maryland tax burden. The bills would raise taxes on: personal income; corporate income; sales; hotel stays; cigarettes; and car titles. As we've noted before, this is nothing new for true-blue Maryland. What struck us as odd, though, is the apparent glee with which the confiscation took place. From the Times:

"I'm very proud of the members of the House of Delegates," said House Speaker Michael E. Busch, Anne Arundel Democrat. "I can't say enough about the people that stood up for what they believed in to make Maryland the most progressive and wealthiest state in the country."

Maryland may well be the most progressive state; it is unlikely, though that this cash grab will lead to it becoming the wealthiest. And WaPo continues with the theme of how raising taxes leads to happy lawmakers:

Leaders of the Maryland House of Delegates offered one another congratulatory embraces early yesterday morning after passing two tax bills that would raise $1.4 billion a year to help close a budget shortfall and pay for transportation and health-care priorities.

As for closing that $1.4 billion budget short fall, the Times points out that those proud members of the House are meeting later today to figure out new ways to spend this money.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

DC -- Gayest State or 8th Gayest City?

Another perspective on the DC statehood issue.

VA Repubs Reassess

Today's Post has a piece chock full of hand-wringing by VA republicans about what went wrong in last Tuesday's elections. (Short answer: lots -- the R's lost the Senate and several House seats). What message the people are sending to the R's (other than we've had enough for now) has provided much fodder for us here at DCPN as well as for others. We continue to think the good folks of Virginia spanked the repubs for straying from core principles, most notably for their willingness to go along with tax increases, and we have taken issue with the Post for suggesting otherwise. But in today's piece, the Post cites repub senators in VA who seem to get it, like Senator Ryan McDougle:

McDougle and other GOP leaders say it's time for the party to hone its principles, refocusing on controlling taxes and spending while developing new ideas for transportation, education, health care and controlling growth.

Let's hope!

UPDATE: The Right-Wing Liberal has an excellent post suggesting the repubs in VA are blithely ignoring the lessons of recent elections. Yesterday, they nominated Rob Wittman for Congress down in Hampton Roads. As a delegate in the VA legislature, Wittman supported Gov Kaine's huge transportation tax increases. Yikes!!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Feds Raise Taxes; WaPo Provides Cover

I don't know why, but it always surprises me when the Washington Post feels obligated to aid Congress in their continuing efforts to confiscate every dime in America. Today's WaPo has a front pager, soothingly titled "House Passes Bill to Ease Alternative Minimum Tax." How lovely. Wouldn't you like to have your tax bill eased? I know I would. Problem is, that's not what Congress is up to. They are unhappy that wealthy private equity fund managers receive much of their compensation in the form of capital gains. The tax on capital gains is much lower than the tax on income, so although the compensation scheme is entirely legal, Congress wants you to believe that it's unfair, apparently because many private equity fund managers make huge amounts of money. What Congress wants to do is redistribute money from wealthy fund managers to the middle class and the poor. You can argue about whether this is a good thing or a bad thing, but WaPo should not try confuse people about the issue. While we here at DCPN generally frown on class warfare, we encourage private citizens to give to the poor, which, if you are so inclined, you can do here.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Veteran's Day

Although we forbid hectoring at DCPN, we hope that you will spend a moment reflecting on the veterans being honored this Sunday, and if you are so inclined, consider this.

How Blue is Virginia?

What's going on in Virginia?!? Well, blogs to the left of us and blogs to the right of us (not to mention the establishment media) all seem to agree that if those dang republicans would just stop talking about illegal immigration, then everyone would be better off. We here at DCPN continue to think that the election was more about lackluster candidates than it was a message about illegal immigration or a repudiation of conservative ideology. When you've got republicans disagreeing about not whether to raise taxes, but only how high they should be raised, it's tough to say that voters who reject the republican party are rejecting conservative principles.

But in all the Monday-morning-quarterbackery that we've slogged through so far, EJ Dionne's piece in today's WaPo stands out as a startling piece of revisionism. EJ starts out fine when describing Gov Kaine's politicking on behalf of Dem candidates:

Typically, moderate Democrats in swing states keep their distance from party concerns for fear of alienating more conservative voters. Kaine's risk-taking reflected his character -- he could not see himself "sleepwalking through an election," he said in a telephone interview yesterday. It also spoke to his party's growing confidence that voters want to buy what Democrats are selling.

Hey, Gov Kaine did a great job getting out the vote and should be congratulated for his victory, but it was hardly risky for him to go out and beat up on the republican candidates. Apparently overwhelmed by the Gov's show of bravery, EJ lurches unexpectedly to this conclusion:

But the pitch is unexpected: It casts Democrats as the party of nonpartisanship and relegates Republicans to the status of partisan ideologues.

Democrats are the party of nonpartisanship? Aside from its twisted logic (how can you be a party and a non-party at the same time?) the statement ignores (in fact belittles) some of the best attacks launched by democratic partisans in the VA election. And why does it follow that the republicans are relegated to the status of "partisan ideologues" merely because they don't "buy what the Democrats are selling"?

Oh well, I guess that's EJ being EJ. We here at DCPN will continue to study skim the reporting and commentary in our search for meaning in Tuesday's voting.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Congratulations to Tim Kaine & Co.

To the surprise of no one, the Democrats have eked out a majority in the Virginia Senate. Congratulations to those who worked so hard for this. WaPo has excellent coverage of the races. Although WaPo is strangely fixated on illegal immigration in a front-page piece declaring that the results prove that the voters don't care about that issue, or at least don't care about it enough to vote for republicans. Amy Gardner expands on her thesis to make broad conclusions about the state of the republican party in the Commonwealth:

The returns provided the sharpest evidence yet that Democratic gains in recent state elections represented more than a temporary dip in Republicans' popularity. Yesterday's initial results showed that a more long-term structural realignment may be occurring and that voters are increasingly drawn by Democrats' promises to improve schools and ease traffic and away from Republican conservatism on such issues as taxes and social policy, particularly in fast-growing Northern Virginia.

Ms. Gardner may be right. Or it may be that voters are upset about the republican candidates' stands on core republican issues like taxation and unhappy with some of their candidates for other reasons (see below). Or it may be that demographics are catching up with the GOP in VA. Though I have no data to back it up, doesn't it seem to be the case that as areas of the country become more urban, they trend towards the Democrats? (Think New York City.) And it is certainly the case that both the DC suburbs in Northern Virginia, as well as the Hampton Roads area around Virginia Beach are becoming more urban (or at least more densely populated). It may be that the republicans in Virginia need to rethink how they approach the electorate (think Rudy Giuliani). (So am I supporting Ms. Gardner's point or am I disuputing it -- no clear answers!)

And although I have mostly ignored them, there were also elections in Maryland yesterday.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Get Ready to Vote in VA

Add the Roanoke Times to the list of publications that seem to think the VA Senate will be turning blue on Tuesday:

Democrats must pick up four Senate seats to gain a majority. Strategists in both parties said late last week that nine races remained competitive, including the contest for an open seat between Republican Ralph Smith of Botetourt County and Democrat Mike Breiner of Roanoke County. All but one of the hot races are in districts now represented by Republicans.

And this:

But shifting voting patterns in the fast-growing regions of Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads, the elections of Kaine and his Democratic predecessor, Mark Warner, and growing dissatisfaction with President Bush have changed the climate for Democrats in the state, party leaders said.

"Maybe there had been a little bit of a reflexive reaction against Democratic candidates in some parts of the state in the past," Kaine said in an interview Thursday. "But now I think voters are very open to Democratic candidates if they talk common sense about solving problems."

The same story is running in Fredericksburg and as we noted below, has been covered closely by WaPo. Though WaPo (as well as the Richmond Times Dispatch) is spilling some ink on the race being run by state senator Jeannemarie Devolites Davis wife of U.S. Congressman Tom Davis. In particular, they are pondering whether Tom illegally provided funds to Jeannemarie. According to WaPo's Marc Fisher:

So her husband is pulling out all the stops. He poured $414,000 of resources from his own campaign funds into his wife's coffers in October, accounting for more than 80 percent of the senator's receipts in the run-up to Election Day. Much of that money came in the form of purchases of TV time by Congressman Davis's campaign. If you had contributed to Tom Davis's campaign, would you want your dollars going to Jeannemarie Davis's last-minute efforts to save her seat?

From Marc Fisher's lips to the FEC's ear. The lefty blogs are all over a complaint filed by the Dem party in VA about Tom's generosity with his campaign funds.

Don't forget about the city and county elections in Virginia as well. Now go vote!

11/06 UPDATE: If you need any last minute voting tips, WaPo offers its endorsements here. If you want results, start looking here after the polls close at 7:00. If you're looking for a way to kill time, we suggest you look here.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Republicans Catch Tax Fever in Virginia

We noted below on Halloween Eve that Gov O'Malley is making mischief in Maryland. Today we were surprised to see the Examiner report that the Republicans on the Prince William County Board of Supervisors are equally good at sticking it to their constituents. They are considering raising the property tax rate a whopping 25 percent from .79 to .99 per $100 of assessed value. This is further evidence that the Republican party is in deep trouble in Virginia. Who knows what will happen in the election next Tuesday, but all signs point to deep doo doo for the GOP.

UPDATE: Today's WaPo has a lenghthy article suggesting the formally reliably conservative exurbs in Loudoun County have gone from bright red to purple, or perhaps light blue. No wonder Tom Davis has decided not to run for the Senate; he may have trouble keeping his House seat! (And he has yet to confirm that he will even try to keep it.)


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