I Hope it Gets Better…

If you bop over to Ben’s joint. You will find a link for the NLS/RK blog talk radio, and in the latest section Ben and the RK boys take great pleasure noting that Ken Cuccinnelli voted for the GOP transportation package, that this legislation includes fee increases, which equate to tax increases…and that Janet Oleszek, the Cooch’s most likely opposition, is bashing him for violating his no new taxes pledge. Ben and the RK boys think this is a riot, and apparently that this is a great issue for her.


If this is the best she has, we may as well call this election for Cuccinelli right now as this attack brings into question whether Janet O. is a serious candidate. If this type of gotcha politics is the best the Democrats have, then new Minority Leader and blog basher Ward Armstrong will have a long night on election night.

The Senate Democrats voted against the package, and Governor Kaine thinks the funding in said legislation is flawed…because more and different money is needed! Janet O. is complaining because The Cooch violated a no tax pledge by voting for a funding package that her party thinks does not raise taxes enough! And had he voted against the package she would be attacking him for failing to address transportation issues. Gotcha politics devoid of substance already-and the snow has not completely melted away! How marvelous!

As some of you recall I currently plan on voting for the Cooch. However, that does not mean that I am averse to a reasoned debate of the issues facing the Commonwealth. But attacks like this are just “gotcha” efforts that make little sense and ultimately lessen those making the charges and enhance those being attacked.

It is reminiscent of the Judy Feder attack on Frank Wolf when he voted against a proposed legislation that would assign a representatives name to an earmark. Congressman Wolf voted against the bill as it was fig leaf legislation that does not really address the matter of lobbying reform. Feder criticized Wolf for his vote…until it was pointed out that the bill was (a) a rule, not a law, (b) would cease to be in effect when that congress ended, (c) was truly a piece of fig leaf legislation to provide GOP cover in the 11/2006 voting, and-perhaps most important (d) almost every democratic representative voted against it also.

Suddenly, the wrong headed and foolish attack was dropped. Perhaps the same will happen here.

Nonetheless, the Janet O. comments are unfortunately typical of how the Virginia Democrats have approached this legislative session. While the GOP is hamstrung by its inability or unwillingness to create a unified message and vision for the Commonwealth, the Democrats are equally hamstrung by a desire to regain power coupled with an unwillingness to actually lead. The primary concern facing the Commonwealth is still transportation…but what did we get? The GOP cobbled together a plan that is at best a stop gap plan, but it is a plan that it created and mobilized its people to vote for. The Democrats did not offer a plan, instead hiding behind the shadow and ego of GOP state Senator John Chichester and his monstrous plan to apply the sales tax to gasoline.

The only thing Janet O. should be beating up on the Cooch about here is whether she thinks he should have voted for the Chichester plan or for the democratic plan. People in Northern Virginia want more money spent on transportation, and voting for a plan that puts more money into the transportation pot-even if a no new taxed pledge was broken, and I am not sure technically that it was-is not going to get folks so angry as to toss out an incumbent.

..oh, wait, there was no real democratic plan…sorry, forgot about that. There was not even a plan from Governor Kaine, just the use of profanities to demean the GOP plan.

I hope it gets better than this in all the legislative campaign this fall…but I will not be holding my breath!


8 thoughts on “I Hope it Gets Better…

  1. I don’t think these tax pledges have any place in responsible governing. I hope everyone of the Delegates and Senators who signed this pledge get called out on voting to increase taxes. It’s hard enough to take a politician seriously- but breaking a signed pledge?

  2. Fair enough…I don’t know that I disagree with you about the pledges.

    But speaking to this situation in particular I suggest that if people want more money spent on transportation they are not going to dog the Cooch because he broke a pledge by voting for a plan that spends more money on transportation…breaking a signed pledge for the betterment of the community or your constituents is defensible.

    There is a difference between being a pundit and a candidate. A pundit can wail on about any issue that catches their attention and from any perspective…that is their privilege and even their purpose. Candidates for office have a limited window of attention to get their message across…and to waste it on a non-starter like this broken pledge is silly.

    I don’t see this “issue” as having any traction, and a lot of this is too inside baseball-like to make any difference. Janet O. needs stuff that is more substantial to win.

  3. I don’t want to be too specific to this race- but the facts are sometimes you may need a tax increase for the betterment of your community. That’s why people should not sign a “No New Taxes Pledge”. If they sign in, and then break it, I think it’s very fair to ask what good their word is.

  4. Vershtannen…but history is littered with examples of folks who changed long standing positions and risked political villification due to changing circumstances. They may not have signed a pledge, but they have done all but. As a matter of fact, “Profiles in Courage” is full of such examples.

    Backing out of a no-tax pledge (and I take your word he signed one) is not nearly the same as what was done by the men in JFK’s book. And we agree that signing pledges like that is at best a risky, and at worst a silly proposition full of sound bite value.

    But do you think folks are really going to care? I don’t mean should they, I mean will they?

    I doubt it. I doubt they cared when he signed it. I think it is a bad campaign issue, it does not have legs, and it lacks substance. In fact, if she pushes it, it might start folks to thinking, “well, he shouldn’t have signed, but maybe he is more flexible than I thought”.

    It is an issue that might give Democrats emotional satisfaction, but is not going to do any damage to the Cooch.

  5. Bwana:

    I can tell you as an elected official on any level, you should not do anything to limit your options to solve problems. Keeping an eye on the budget and how things are spent, IS the most important thing you do as an elected official. Having said that, I can think of many other things which to hang around the “Cooches” neck, but this vote is not one of them. Janet Olesak is a true “Whack Job!!!” and not about to unseat the Cooch.
    Bwana Fan in Vienna

  6. This discussion is too specific to Ken for me to continue- as I said before, I am critical of the position in general, don’t want to pick on Ken specifically.

  7. Interesting conversation. I have a lot of problems attacking Ken – even though my views are diametrically opposed to most of his – I like the man.

    But I do think Janet’s attack had some merit because she was simply pointing out that pledges like these are usually grandstanding and do limit the candidate’s options in the real world once he gets elected.

    It’s one thing to campaign on a platform of lower taxes and to pledge to make every attempt to keep taxes as low as possible. But it shows lack of judgment for candidates to lock themselves into airtight pledges.

    That said, I don’t think this criticism will carry much traction next year. It’s a single shot that probably will be dropped.

    In the scheme of things, Ken did the right thing in voting for it.

    I personally think it’s a flawed plan and would probably disagree with you and Ken about why, but that’s a whole different issue. Given the plan we had, Ken’s vote was right.

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