Jay Warren on "the most negative closing statement I have ever seen"

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Did you think Brian Moran was just a wee bit negative and nasty last night? Obviously, many Moran supporters don't think so, while many Deeds and McAuliffe supporters see it exactly opposite. But what about a neutral observer, aka a reporter? If you're interested, there are a couple of things you might want to see.

First, watch this video of WSLS political reporter Jay Warren and Brian Moran starting at 2:58. [Note: From his bio, "Jay Warren is an award-winning journalist who's been with WSLS since 1998...He is also WSLS's senior political correspondent.]

Jay Warren to Brian Moran: "Your entire closing statement was an attack on Terry McAuliffe. Why not say something positive about your record?"

Brian Moran: "I have a great record."

Jay Warren: "Why didn't we hear that, you talked about him for the entire closing statement?"

Brian Moran: "For 90 minutes I talked about my record of fighting for Virginians as a prosecutor, legislator, Democratic leader."


Now, check out this blog post, entitled "Moran’s negative debate tone," also by Jay Warren.
I’ve covered a lot of debates. Rarely are there real fireworks or knock out punches. Usually, candidates are coached to be reserved, to show little personality, take few chances, and do no harm. Generally, it’s the easiest way to survive the debate. Apparently, Brian Moran didn’t get this memo.

Now, let’s be clear… all three candidates threw some punches. But, none as hard or as often as Moran. At one point he and McAuliffe were in a shouting match over, of all things, negative campaigning. Then Moran took it to an entirely new level when he used his ENTIRE closing statement to attack McAuliffe. He closed with two sentenc[es] saying he’s the strongest in the race. That’s it. Nothing else about him or his record. Just an all out attack on a fellow Democrat. And, the attack wasn’t on the issues. Instead his criticisms focused almost exclusively on more personal issues of McAuliffe’s business dealings, leadership style, and campaign tactics. It was the most negative closing statement I have ever seen.
As if that's not rough enough, there's more where that came from, basically confirming everything that supporters of Creigh Deeds and Terry McAuliffe have been saying for months now. Fascinating.

Tom Perriello on the Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights Act

UPDATE: In other news, Tom Perriello has now signed on as a cosponsor of the Clean Water Protection Act (HR 1310). Other Virginia cosponsors include Gerry Connolly, Jim Moran, Gerry Connolly, and Frank Wolf. According to "faithfull," "Others in the Virginia delegation, including Senator Webb and Congressman Wittman have spoken out against mountaintop removal but have taken no official position on the Clean Water Protection Act (HR 1310) or its Senate counterpart, the Appalachia Restoration Act (S 696)."

More on Smithfield: "Will it take a pandemic to get our attention?"

There's been a great deal of discussion recently about the swine flu, of course. There's also been discussion, but to a far lesser extent, about the possible role of a Mexican subsidiary of Virginia-based Smithfield Foods in the disease's outbreak. The issue even came up at the Virginia Democratic governors' debate last night, with the candidates being asked if they'd taken money from Smithfield (note: Creigh Deeds has taken $2,250, Brian Moran has taken $2,000, and Terry McAuliffe has taken none).

Meanwhile, the pork industry is not exactly "hog wild" over the possible link between swine flu and one of its leading companies.
As more cases of the new influenza emerged on Tuesday, deepening worries about a possible pandemic, several nations slammed their borders shut to pork from the United States and Mexico. Wall Street analysts predicted a sharp decline of pork sales in grocery stores, and some consumers began steering clear of pork chops.


“Swine flu is a misnomer,” said C. Larry Pope, the chief executive of Smithfield Foods, who said he feared panic among consumers. “They need to be concerned about influenza, but not eating pork.”

Researchers say that based on its genetic structure, the new virus is without question a type of swine influenza, derived originally from a strain that lived in pigs. But the experts are still sorting out how long ago it infected pigs and how much it might have mutated when it jumped to humans.
Pork producers have even called for renaming the disease to something more innocuous, but the World Health Organization disagrees. And, of course, you've got to take the pork industry's denials with a pillar of salt, considering that they have billions of dollars worth of reasons to distract and deflect from them being the original source. The fact is, as a friend of mine who knows a lot more about this than I do wrote, "Multiple scientific studies show that hogs are the perfect incubating vessel for pandemic flus, especially since their lungs are capable of harboring both human and avian flu viruses. This is how the new virus was most likely created."

Regardless of what the cause of this particular swine flu outbreak might happen to be, the fact is that Smithfield Foods - and factory farming more broadly - is bad news on a number of fronts. It's bad for the environment (sewage lagoons, contamination of waterways), it's bad for humans (worker mistreatment and injuries, exploitation of undocumented immigrants, union busting, possible swine flu), it's bad for animals (nasty living conditions, to put it mildly), it's just plain bad. For instance, see this Human Rights Watch report on Smithfield Foods, which sounds like something out of Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle":
The line is so fast there is no time to sharpen the knife. The knife gets dull and you have to cut harder. That's when it really starts to hurt, and that's when you cut yourself. - Smithfield Foods meatpacking line worker, Red Springs, North Carolina, December 2003.
Lovely, eh? Well, if those are the conditions in the United States, just imagine what things are like in Mexico. The imagination reels.

Meanwhile, I received an email from a reader who asked an important question: "will it take a pandemic to get our attention that factory farming cannot come to a good end?" The person added, "Can we get the environmentalists, the animal rights advocates, the human health advocates, the sustainable agriculture activists and the WHO and CDC (working on the H1N1 virus) to once and for all bring awareness to the importance of putting an end to factory farming a la Smithfield?"

I dunno, call me cynical, but something tells me that the Secretary of Agriculture - whoever that person happens to be - will be more willing to consider the "concerns" of a powerful, multi-billion-dollar industry, however heinous that industry might be, than the issues raised by concerned citizens like the one I just quoted. Please, Secretary Vilsack, prove me wrong!

UPDATE: At, "Can we all agree that enormous ponds of untreated pig shit constitute a public health threat?" She also points out:
When Smithfield says that you can't get flu from eating pork, and that they don't know of any sick pigs or plant workers, even if they aren't lying, it's beside the point. They moved to Mexico specifically to get away with things they couldn't get away with in the US, to do to Mexican communities things they couldn't do to communities in the United States.

Signer, Bowerbank Call for More LG Debates [UPDATE: Wagner Accepts]

Since debates are just soooo much fun (ha), the Mike Signer (see statement, issued a few minutes ago, in the comments section) and Jon Bowerbank campaigns (see Jon's statement, issued yesterday, also in the comments section) have both called for more of them in the Democratic lieutenant governor race. So far, it appears that Jody Wagner is adopting a classic frontrunner's strategy, which is to avoid debating when you're confident you're going to win. The questions are whether Wagner is correct in that assumption, and also whether the Signer or Bowerbank campaigns can force her to change that calculus. We'll see, but so far...[cue sound of crickets chirping].

UPDATE: I just received a press release indicating that "Jody Wagner...had accepted an invitation to attend a fourth debate between the candidates for Lt. Governor, hosted by TV Inside Scoop in Northern Virginia." The debate will be held on May 10 at 6:30 PM at the Fairfax Public Access studios in Merrifield. The press release noted that "This will be the fourth time the candidates for Lt. Governor have debated."

Josh on "Moran's Astonishing Negativity"

Check out this excellent post by Josh Chernila at Daily Dogwood, entitled "Moran's Astonishing Negativity." I agree 100% with Josh that "one thing that will simply jump off the screen [from last night's debate] is the endless stream of negative attacks and whining complaints issuing from the mouth of candidate Brian Moran." I further agree that "Moran has spent two years campaigning for this office and he has still failed to pull together a central message," and instead he's "fallen back on vicious attacks and whining complaints."

Finally, I've got to say that for people like myself who consider Brian Moran a good man and a (former?) friend, this is extremely disappointing and saddening. To illustrate what Josh and I are saying, please see the comments section for Moran's all-attack-all-the-time closing statement last night.

Washington Post: Teachers Prefer Terry?

From today's Washington Post, it looks like Terry McAuliffe's message is playing well with teachers -- at least ones who attended last Thursday's Virginia Education Association debate at the Hampton convention center:
But it was Terry McAuliffe who appeared to convert the hall, earning sustained applause and bringing some delegates to their feet by tying each education-related question to his campaign's central theme: As a successful businessman, he knows how to create jobs.

So will all that acclaim translate into votes for McAuliffe?

Some teachers said after the debate that they think it will.

"Just like Mark Warner, I think you have to be out in the public with the people, working your bones off, to know what people need," said Jeanna Ellis, a special education teacher from Pittsylvania County. "I just know that when he finished speaking, you felt . . . "

chimed in her Pittsylvania colleague, family and life sciences teacher Rita Gimbel.

"Yeah," Ellis said. "It made you want to stand up and say, 'Yes! You know what we need!'"

Veronica Gibson, a business education teacher from Henrico, said McAuliffe has probably earned her vote with his entrepreneurial flair.

"We have to work with business, find ways to use ties in the business world to improve education," she said.
Not bad, but I'm sure the Moran campaign would have an explanation. Maybe Terry has bought off the teachers? Deluded some of the smartest citizens of Virginia by the force of his charismatic personality? Bedazzled and befuddled them with promises of...I dunno, the same things Brian Moran and Creigh Deeds promise, except more convincing to the teachers, apparently?

Whatever, I've gotten to the point that I honestly believe if Terry McAuliffe found a cure for cancer, the Moran campaign would say, "WHAT?!? You ONLY cured cancer?!? What about heart disease and diabetes you heartless @#$%@#$!?!" Ha. In the meantime, McAuliffe keeps getting "A"s while Brian Moran sits in the back of the room and throws spitballs. No wonder teachers prefer Terry.

Barack Obama's Press Conference

Tim Kaine: "Terry McAuliffe's leadership of the party set things right"

Terry, I really can't convey my thanks...I was working hard in my office on December 22, working very hard to run a competitive race and to raise funds...this commitment of $5 million to the governor's race in Virginia is transformative for the race, it's transformative for the party, it's gonna be of immense value not only to me but to the candidates that our party nominates in our June primary. We were on track already with the momentum needed to win this race, but what the party has done is a superb statement of confidence in this Virginia Democratic Party, something that I'm very gracious [sic] for and I want to thank Terry McAuliffe deeply, deeply for this show of confidence.

As has been said, Terry McAuliffe's leadership of the party set things right from the structural standpoint. We candidates still have to go out and be great message carriers, but we need a great structure behind us that can be solid, that can be good on fundraising, that can be good in grassroots efforts, that can be good in keeping the records about the voters so that we have access to them. All of those aspects of the party needed serious work four years ago. Terry has been able to enact, really, a transformation that I don't think anyone, even Terry, would have been able to predict, and yet it has put us in a strong place nationally.

And I think it IS important that the national party has said they want to play in Virginia. They want to play in Virginia. Folks, when I ran for lieutenant governor in 2001 with Mark Warner, my friend that I went to Harvard Law School with in the early 1980s, we ran at a time where we faced some daunting odds...In the previous 14 statewide races before the 2001 race, Democrats had gotten more than 50% one time out of 14. In 2000, the year right before our race, we had lost a sitting U.S. Senator who was a Democrat, we had lost a presidential election, and we faced the redistricting of the state legislatively and congressionally in a way by Republican legislative majorities that put Democrats in a position where the Republicans were quite confident that we'd be the minority party for a very long time...

[...] Terry McAuliffe and the DNC, thank you for being in the vineyard with us as we work together to keep Virginia moving in the right direction.

Moran Lavishes Praise on Terry McAuliffe

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

That's Jim Moran, not his younger brother, who apparently only knows how to do over-the-top, vicious attacks on fellow Democrats. Listen as Jim Moran lavishes praise on Terry McAuliffe after McAuliffe gave the largest gift in DNC history to Tim Kaine.
Of course, we've got somebody here who's been a benefactor not just for the specific check we're going to talk about today, but this guy has been the savior in many ways of the whole national Democratic Party....he's a real family man, and that's one of the reasons why President Clinton chose Terry McAuliffe, because he was focused on his family and the community and all the values that really define what the Democratic Party needs to be all about. Terry has sacrificed what could be the most productive years of his life personally to making them the most productive years for the Democratic Party...we were so frustrated, it seemed as though we had the right people, we had the right ideas, but we just didn't have the money to get it across, and time and again, people who had financial vested interests in policies that we felt were not in the long-term best interest of the public were taking over the political process. Terry McAuliffe got in there, he has gone around the country, he has raised money, he has done it through his personal credibility, through his vision for this country and for what the Democratic Party can do for the country and the world. You really can't overstate Terry McAuliffe's impact. And now he's going to leave the Democratic Party in terms of the visible leadership role, but but he's never going to leave us in terms of the inspiration he's given us...he's leaving the party in tremendous financial shape just as our president left our country with a tremendous 5 1/2 trillion dollar surplus...
Well, at least one Moran knows what he's talking about. Go Jim! :)

Live Streaming of Virginia Tech/Blogger Debate

A live stream of tonight's debate is scheduled to go live at 7pm, with the debate itself beginning at 7:30pm. I just got off the phone with AP reporter Bob Lewis, and we talked about how this debate - the first statewide debate of, by and for the netroots - marks another milestone in the history of the "netroots rising." Should be a fascinating evening.

There are about 260 viewers on the live stream as of 7:18 pm...340 viewers at 7:28 pm. [490 viewers at 8:44 pm] Del. Jim Shuler, DPVA Chair Dick Cranwell and Democratic AG nominee Steve Shannon have spoken so far.

The video was funny, but who was that Republican talking x-rated? Weird.

Opening statements: About the same as last night, Brian brings up fundraising again, Terry emphasizes that we need someone who's got not been in the legislature for years and that we need bold new ideas, Creigh says he put public service ahead of this campaign by not resigning from the General Assembly.

Question on gun show loophole. Creigh refers to Virginia Tech massacre, says it had a dramatic effect on his life. Worked hard to close gun show loophole. It will take someone like me to get gun show loophole closed. Terry says he was here for the memorial the other day, it was an experience like I've never had in my life. Need to close gun show loophole. We need to win House of Delegates. Brian says he's voted to close the gun show loophole not just shrink it. Need background check. I disagree with Sen. Deeds on this. I support 2nd amendment but don't believe in expanding gun rights now; Creigh voted for guns in bars. I was a bartender, guns and alcohol don't mix, big difference between Creigh and I. Creigh says Brian's NRA rating went from an F to an A to an F, what kind of principles lets that happen? Brian says Kaine vetoed that legislation, Creigh voted to overturn Kaine's veto, we have a difference on this. Creigh says the amendments wouldn't have compromised public safety, they were just commonsense. Politics is the art of the possible, not the perfect. Terry says we all agree on closing the gun show loophole.

Question on policy differences with Gov. Kaine. Terry says he differs on repealing the estate tax. Brian says the death penalty, he has record in support of death penalty. Creigh differs on estate tax, death penalty, on-farm agricultural sales. Tim and I ran on the same ticket 4 years ago, I consider him a good friend..

Question on collective bargaining rights for public safety figures. Moran says he has supported collective bargaining for public employees. Creigh says protecting the public is governor's most important job, can't be cheap on crime, there's nothing wrong with giving people the right to meet and confer, organize. Terry says we're all in agreement up here, I have tremendous from unions, endorsed by firefighters, I would definitely support collective bargaining. We need to win House of Delegates, grow our economy so we can keep our public safety the best.

Question on student voting rights. Terry says we ought to make it easy for people to vote, we're the greatest democracy in the world, I founded Voting Rights Institute at DNC after 2000 debacle. I'll make sure we have best machines and that everyone has access to those machines. I had issue with Mike Huckabee and Bob McDonnell, they think voting rights are a joke, there's nothing funny about keeping people away from the polls. Brian agrees with that. Nobody's worked harder than I have to win back the House of Delegates, we are now within striking distance. You know Terry, you yourself said you should be judged by how many races you won, well under your chairmanship, our Dem. Party lost the presidency, seats in the House and Senate, we don't need you to pick up those 6 seats, I WILL pick up those 6 seats. Terry says Brian continues his tradition of running a negative campaign, that he rebuilt the Democratic Party, that he handed chairmanship over to Gov. Dean in good shape, that he gave single biggest gift in history of DNC to Tim Kaine. Chairman of DNC is not responsible for winning or losing. Creigh says the first time he met Terry, he and Dick Cranwell asked him for money and he said no, "you didn't help then." We need to make voting as easy and accessible as possible. Terry says this is what happens when you're ahead in the most recent poll. Under my chairmanship, we gave millions to legislative races.

Question on pay gap between men and women in Virginia. Brian says education is key, raise teacher salaries to national average, make sure we have best teachers in classroom, reduce class sizes. Creigh looks forward to seeing the study, knows there is a gap, it's historic, we need to create opportunities for all Virginians. We have to find out why there's a pay gap, focus on creating opportunities, higher education is the key. Terry says we have to look forward, create jobs, Lily Ledbetter, will insist on equal pay, jobs open to everyone. Education is key, got to have the best teachers and keep them in Virginia. Scholars for service program. Green jobs, high-speed rail, male or female should be paid the same.

Question on swine flu, Smithfield Foods. Creigh says there's no higher duty of governor than to protect public safety. We are on the verge of pandemic. I don't know if I've taken money from Smithfield Foods. I served on Agriculture Committee, dealt with issues in the past dealing with lagoons... Terry says he hasn't received any checks. This raise the issue of agricultural waste. We've got to get serious about this. At Virginia Tech, a professor designed technology to convert waste to energy, great technology we could sell all over the world. Get waste out of Chesapeake, be leader on renewable power, won't take check from Dominion, we need to have a mandatory RPS. Brian says he was appointed to panel on natural and man-made disasters. We worked with public health agencies to such a crisis. Chesapeake Bay cleanup is important to me. I'm the only one who opposes offshore drilling, who opposes Surry coal-fired power plant (within Chesapeake Bay watershed). Can't say you're for cleaning up the Bay but support Surry plant.

Followup: Creigh says there's more we could have done. Balance between economy and environment. I'm not certain what the governor could have done about Smithfield and swine flu. Terry says we need to enforce regulations, laws on the books today. Brian says Smithfield Foods giving history leans to Republicans. I have a history of standing up to big corporate interests. Balance business and enviro. concerns.

Question on bipartisan redistricting. Brian says "absolutely." We've lost races because the districts were drawn by Republicans. Legislators shouldn't draw districts. I'm tired of this partisanship. Process matters. Nonpartisan or bipartisan redistricting. Creigh says the people should choose their politicians, not the other way around, this is a crusade for me, I've introduced this legislation, I can work with people on both sides of the aisle. Districts should be compact, contiguous, nonpartisan. I can fix this problem as governor. This is an organic issue, will change calculus of government forever. It will help Virginia. Terry says we all agree on bipartisan commission. I believe in competition, races where people are constantly challenged. Competition is good. I'm open to talking about term limits as well. Bring new people with new ideas into politics.

Question on Surry coal-fired plant. Creigh says we need a comprehensive approach to our energy needs. Coal provides more than 50% of our electric power, it won't go away overnight. Opportunity for clean coal technology. Surry plant is a ways off, not sure what it will look like, I'm not ready to say "yes" or "no" to that plant today. Invest in energy-based research triangle. Creigh talks chicken waste. Terry says he's been clear about it, has lots of concerns, they have applied for 1 permit they have 61 to go. I want to move past coal, we should be figuring out new technology. I've got lots of concerns about Surry plant on environment, public safety. We need mandatory RPS, incentives for renewable energy, get serious with Dominion, I never want another coal plant built. Brian says this is an important distinction, there's sufficient information to make a decision, I oppose Surry plant, pandering is not leadership, it's not green if you're developing a coal-fired power plant is Chesapeake watershed. You can't be for clean energy and support coal-fired power plant. Governor has to take leadership, I will stand up to Dominion.

Followup - is there something called clean coal. Creigh says right now, no. Terry says no, it's being researched. Brian - no.

Question on gay civil rights, Marshall-Newman. Terry said to change it we have to change General Assembly. I'm for full contractual rights, civil unions. Nobody should be discriminated against for any reason. Brian says this is yet another big difference between me and my opponents, the governor makes time, passage of Marshall-Newman was a dark day. I did everything I could to defeat that. Creigh voted for it, Terry says he won't have time, I will find time to repeal that legislation. Creigh believes marriage is between 1 man and 1 woman. Brian, you voted for it and against it within 60 days, that's a game of gotcha. I voted to put it on the ballot. Each one of us is a work in progress. The state has no role in marriage, that has to be decided by individual, I support equal rights. Brian says this is an honest difference, it shouldn't have been on the ballot. Constitution is there to protect rights of minorities, don't put discriminatory language in there.

Followup: Does our constitutional amendment violate interstate commerce clause? Brian says "I'd have to look at it." Terry says the Supreme Court will look at this. We're all in agreement that we shouldn't discriminate against anyone. I have always supported civil unions, full contractual rights. Creigh doesn't think it violates interstate commerce clause, it violates full faith and credit clause. Brian voted for and against gay marriage ban.

Question on arts and humanities. Creigh says there's no more investment than in young people's education. Son plays banjo, right side of brain needs attention too. In our mad rush on standards-based education, we have shortchanged humanities. Terry says we need to fund all levels, we cannot keep teaching our children to take tests, they need to be creative and imaginative. It takes money, thank goodness for stimulus package. We need to be investing more. Invest early in arts, humanities, music and avoid future prison population. We need to think big, bold, bring in new jobs to bring in new revenues. Brian absolutely supports well-rounded education. Museums, history, traditions, battlefields, country music, Crooked Road trail...I want to promote Virginia economically and culturally. My 3rd grader just won poetry contest. There will be no better friend to education system than me.

Question on latest poll, why are you all trailing Bob McDonnell? Terry says we're in a primary, that's what happens in primaries, in the end we'll come together, once people focus on general election. McDonnell has worked against Tim Kaine, turned down $125 million in your tax dollars. I look forward to standing on a stage debating Bob McDonnnell. That's why I'm building the campaign I'm building, 3,000 volunteers, grassroots support, offices all over Virginia. Bob McDonnell will take us back to Jim Gilmore days. Brian says Daily Kos poll had me doing best with McDonnell. He will be a formidable opponent, we won't beat him without someone with a bold progressive vision for Virginia's future. I am that person who will beat Bob McDonnell. Brian says Terry's campaign ran 3am ad against Barack Obama. Terry says he didn't design the ads, you don't have to look at your notes, read your talking points from your staff. Brian says Terry has taken polls testing negative attacks against me. I'm a big boy, I can take that. I can take your negative campaigning against me, I can't take your sanctimonious rhetoric. Creigh says this is the central question, who can win this election. I discount polls in primaries because we don't know who will turn out and vote. I'm the only person on this stage who's run statewide campaign. I'm the only one on this stage who's ever run a competitive campaign against anybody. This election is about who can go up against Bob McDonnell. I'm a team guy. Terry says he hasn't said one negative word about you or Creigh and am not going to. I'm running on big ideas. I've never attacked another Democrat. Brian says I can take it, I've got a record, I will beat Bob McDonnell like a drum.

Question about using Web 2.0 to communicate with Virginians. Brian says we need to use those tools, absolutely. We have Organize Virginia. I have a record of doing this, Business One Stop. We must interact with our citizenry. Creigh says we need to be innovative. Reinventing Government. We need broadband internet everywhere in state. Terry says we've got to make sure everyone's connected to internet if we're going to bring in new jobs. Telecommuting. Transparency in government, make it easy/simple. Find out how government money is being spent. It's your money.

Question about Twitter feed response. All say they'd respond to questions Tweeted to them.

Question about higher education, in state residency quota system. Creigh says North Carolina has quota system but spends twice as much per student than what we spend. The key to economic growth is education. Make higher education more accessible, more affordable. Terry says we need out-of-state students because they pay more tuition. It's a monetary issue, also diversity is great. It's a global economy. We shouldn't have quotas. Virginia received an F the other day on college affordability, that should never happen, we have to do a better job. Scholars for service. Commercialize patents from universities. Brian says we don't disagree. It's a matter of access and affordability. We need to do more financial aid. If a student here has good grades, they need to have access to Virginia college/university.

Question about specifics on Brian's and Creigh's jobs plans, wonders whether can trust promises Terry makes. Terry says absolutely, you always try to be #1. I'm going to beat those other 49 governors every day of the week, we need resources to fix education, transportation. Brian says he believes in building economy from bottom up, I'm a small business person, believe in investing in people, increasing minimum wage, earned income tax credit. Creigh says first thing he will deal with is transportation. #2 I'll invest in green energy economy. I'll build smarter workforce.

Question about stimulus bill, Eric Cantor. Brian says he has a lot of names for Eric Cantor, "overdog." That stimulus package was exactly what we need. We now have a president fighting for us. Creigh says we called Eric Cantor the overdog because he didn't stand up for little guy, so typical of politicians. Terry says President Obama gets full credit for high-speed rail, that's my top priority along with wind farms.

Closing statements. Creigh says Bob McDonnell has wrong agenda for Virginia's future. No abortion even in cases of rape or incest? McDonnell is proud he stood against Warner and Kaine. This primary is about who's best prepared to stand up for hard working Virginians. We don't want a nominee who supported NAFTA and takes money from Donald Trump or who takes money from lobbyists under FBI investigation. I understand middle class challenges. I will stand by you every day as your governor.

Terry says Brian and Creigh have been great legislators, that's why I'm running positive campaign. Looking for a different approach like Mark Warner, big bold ideas. We all would be better than Bob McDonnell. I won't have that positive attitude about McDonnell. I raised more money in Virginia than my two opponents. I want to stand on that podium with Bob McDonnell, he worked against Warner and Kaine, turned back $125 million in stimulus money. That's wrong. I will never turn back one cent of stimulus money, I want more than my fair share, I will fight for you every single day, we can do great things, I'm building a grassroots campaign.

Brian says facts need to be clarified. Terry claims he's running a positive campaign but he ran 3 am ad. Creigh and I could learn something about negative campaigning from Terry. He tried to wash his hands of Global Crossing. You can't have it both ways. He claims he can raise enough money, but whoever Dem. nominee is will raise enough money. While he was at DNC, Dem's lost races, presidency to George W. Bush. Terry, it's time to be honest with the voters. These times demand serious leaders. I have been there, you know what I'll do as your next governor, I'll fight for you each and every day.

Olympia Snowe Questions "Future Viability" of GOP

Great job, guys, keep it up and drive Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) out of your party too! Ha. :)

Also, note Sen. Snowe's comments that the Republican Party's philosophy has "disaffected and alienated so many Americans including mainstream Republicans who have left our party," resulting in "serious and profound questions about the future viability of the Republican Party."

Miles Grant Takes No Dirty Dominion Dollars Pledge

I'm very happy to see Miles Grant, who in support for House of Delegates in the 47th district. I'd love to see every other Democratic candidate running for House of Delegates or statewide office take this same pledge, and basically tell Dominion "Global Warming Starts Here" Power where to go.
April 29, 2009

As Virginia confronts the threat of climate change and our dependence on dirty, polluting energy sources, we need leaders who will think big and fight the special interests that block progress towards a clean energy future.

Dominion Virginian Power was the top business donor to Virginia politicians in 2008, contributing nearly twice as much as the runner-up, the tobacco company Altria. Their influence has gone unchallenged for years, allowing them to serve as the dominant force in policy decisions – consistently weighting the scales against clean energy and a cleaner Virginia. The stakes are too high to let that continue.

Therefore I, Miles Grant, Democratic candidate for House of Delegates in Virginia’s 47th district, pledge that I will not accept contributions or gifts from Dominion Resources, its subsidiaries or its employees, either as a candidate or as an elected official. If I ever mistakenly accept such a contribution, I pledge to give it to a clean energy or environmental nonprofit as soon as the error is discovered. I take this pledge not as a statement about Dominion's right to exist or its employees, but as a promise to consider only the public interest as we move Virginia's energy policies forward.

Miles Grant
Democrat for Delegate
Virginia’s 47th District in Arlington
The bottom line here is this: pro-environment talk is cheap, but I want to see candidates and politicians put their MONEY where their mouths are. Miles has done so, now what about everyone else?

P.S. By the way, Terry McAuliffe has taken this pledge. Creigh Deeds and Brian Moran have not done so.

P.P.S. Another candidate who has said she will not take dirty Dominion dollars is Kaye Korey, running against Bob Hull in the 38th. In the 47th, the four other candidates - Andres Tobar, Adam Parkhomenko, Patrick Hope and Alan Howze - stated in their Blue Virginia interviews that they haven't and/or won't take money from Dominion Power (note: Alan Howze said he had taken money from a Dominion Power executive, Bob Blue, but not from Dominion's PAC). Now, if we could only move beyond the solid-blue 38th and 47th districts...

Cantor Repeats "Deliberate Lie" on "National Energy Tax"

Eric Cantor - "To say that the energy policy's going to create green jobs, that's great in theory, but I can tell you the cap-and-trade plan that's working its way through this House right now is going to result in a national energy tax imposing up to $3,000 per household every year." "Truth-O-Meter" :
...any revenue raised by a cap-and-trade program amounts to a "light switch tax" on consumers, the House Republicans alleged.

To back up the claim, their staff pointed us to an M.I.T. report that says a similar a cap-and-trade proposal (the administration has not yet detailed their own version) would raise $366 billion per year. If you divide that by the 117 million households in the United States, you find it would cost each household $3,128, they said.

But is it that simple? Can you just assume consumers would be out $366 billion since that's how much the program would raise from fuel companies?


"It's just wrong," said John Reilly, an energy, environmental and agricultural economist at M.I.T. and one of the authors of the report. "It's wrong in so many ways it's hard to begin."

Not only is it wrong, but he told the House Republicans it was wrong when they asked him.

"Someone from the House Republicans had called me (March 20) and asked about this," Reilly said. "I had explained why the estimate they had was probably incorrect and what they should do to correct it, but I think this wrong number was already floating around by that time."

It continues to float.

Or, to put it another way, "This is a deliberate lie." This time by Eric Cantor. Pathetic.

P.S. It's also a lie because "President Obama wants to use revenues from cap-and-trade to fund a tax cut for 95% of working families." See here for more on that.

Video: Biden, Obama Welcome Arlen Specter to Democratic Party

Obama at 100 Days: Ratings and "Report Cards"

Barack Obama has now been president for 100 days, an arbitrary number in one sense but an important historical touchstone in another sense. Does "100 days" matter? I tend to agree with Doris Kearns Goodwin that "After the first 100 days of FDR, because so much's part of our culture to be measuring this." Of course, many things - junk food, 99% of TV and talk radio - are part of our culture but don't exactly add much. In the end, I'll go with JFK on this one, that "this will not be finished in the first 100 the first 1,000 days, nor in the life of this administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin."

So, what kind of beginning has Barack Obama had? Let's start with Gallup's 100-days poll results, which find that Obama's approval is "broad as well as deep," with "majorities of everyone but Republicans and conservatives" (not many of them these days) approving of Obama's performance so far. For those who argue that Obama is "polarizing," I'd point to the fact that 73% of "moderates" approve of his performance, as do 64% of "independents." Heck, even 42% of "conservatives" approve of Obama's performance so far, along with 90% of "liberals." I'm sorry, but there's absolutely nothing "polarizing" about that. So far, we've got a popular president and a country that increasingly feels we are on the right track, despite the nasty recession and many other problems Obama inherited from the Bush/Cheney/DeLay disaster.

With that, here are some "report cards" I found out there in the intertubes:

*Foreign Policy magazine has 35 "of the best foreign-policy minds in Washington and beyond...rate the U.S. president's first 100 days in office." The result: 11 A's, 16 B's, 7 C's, and 1 D. That looks like a B+ average to me, not bad at all, although I agree with Andrew Bacevich that Obama gets an "incomplete" on "the challenge -- and the opportunity -- of conceptualizing what follows the American Century." No problem, right? :)

*Salon Magazine have 21 "[b]loggers, activists, economists and writers grade the president's performance so far." The conclusion is that "The state of the president's report card is (mostly) strong...though there are critics both left and right ready to give him failing grades in a few crucial areas." For instance, Newsweek editor Jonathan Alter gives Obama an A- on the economy, foreign policy, and "overall." Michael Lind of the New America Foundation gives Obama a B on the economy and an A on "foreign policy/national security." Professor Robert Reich hands out grades of A for the "10-year budget plan," a "solid B" for the stimulus package, and and "F, at least so far" for the "bank bailouts." Kos weighs in with grades of B on the economy, A- on foreign policy/national security, and A- overall, concluding that "Given the GOP's impotence, there's little reason for Obama to slow down." Environment/energy expert Joseph Romm of and the Center for American Progress gives Obama an A+, writing giddily that "If [Obama] achieves even half of what he has set out to, he will likely be remembered as 'the green FDR.'" The one sour note comes from "Club for Growth" (an Orwellian name if I've ever heard one, since it's really about corporate welfare and redistributing income from the middle class to the wealthy) Grover Norquist, who gives Obama a D on the economy, whining, "Spending too much money is not left-wing, it is stupid." Whatever, Grover, go back to eating children, listening to Rush, or whatever it is you do with your days.

*The BBC "attempt[s] to assess how has [Obama] done, measured against his own pre-election pledges and goals" on a 1-star to 5-star scale. The results? Five stars on Guantanamo and Torture; four stars on Iraq, Iran, Arms Control, the Economy, and Climate Change; three stars on Afghanistan, Health Care, and Building a team; two stars on the Middle East; and 1 star on Bipartisanship. That's a 3.5-star average, pretty good but not awesome from jolly old England.

*Populist/progressive David Sirota gives Obama an A- on Iraq, an A on his "budget/spending plans," a "B- on his policies towards Wall Street," a B+ on the economy overall.

Personally, I think that Obama has done well so far: A on the economy; A-/B+ on the environment; A-/B+ on foreign policy; A on cabinet appointments; B-/C+ on bipartisanship (I blame this one overwhelmingly on Eric Cantor and Company). Of course, given the scope of the horrible situation Obama inherited in areas ranging from the economy to the environment to health care to foreign policy, he obviously still has a huge amount of work to do. In fact, I'd say President Obama will require two full terms in office to completely turn this country around. That's cool, though, I can handle that! :)

So, what are your grades at the 100-day mark?

UPDATE: Think Progress writes about "Obama's 100 Days of Progress."

Citizen Activism Pays Off: Nature Center and Library Hours Saved

The Washington Post reports some good news this morning:
[Arlington County] Board members reversed a plan to demolish the Gulf Branch Nature Center and partially or completely restored library hours for three branches. But recreation centers' hours and other services were scaled back, and officials cut 95 positions countywide. All of those employees have found other county jobs or taken voluntary severance packages, officials said.
This reversal by Arlington County was the direct result of citizen activism, including emails, blog posts, Facebook groups, in-person testimony and other protests by concerned (or even enraged) citizens of Arlington County. It demonstrates that our elected officials will respond if they hear about something loudly and persistently enough not just from corporate or well-heeled interests, but from "we, the people." In this case, great job by the people of Arlington, but this could happen anywhere in Virginia. So, what do you care about in YOUR community? Whatever it is, speak up!

Bob McDonnell: Fossil Fuels Forever!

Wow, what a visionary. Faced with the threats of global climate change ("global weirding" as Tom Friedman calls it), other environmental problems associated with the production and consumption of fossil fuels, dependence on oil (and, to a lesser extent, natural gas) imports from unstable/repressive/terrorist-supporting countries, and the damage that reliance on imported "traditional fuel" does to our economy, what does Bob McDonnell have to offer us? Here's McDonnell:

"We know we're going to use traditional resources for the next 10, 20, 30, 40 years or more."

In other words, "fossil fuels forever," even when we need to move as rapidly as possible - for urgent economic, national security and environmental reasons - to get off of fossil fuels. I guess that's what it means to be a "conservative" these days, not having any vision for the future or ability to confront the dire challenges - but also the tremendous opportunities, on the flip side - that we face. The fact is, we don't have nearly the oil, natural gas or coal reserves here in Virginia to "drill our way out of it" (whatever you think "it" is). Sadly, McDonnell's cluelessness on this issue, even citing a bizarre "study" on offshore oil and gas potential by a global warming "skeptic" who calls environmentalists "very sick people." Great stuff, huh?

P.S. By the way, don't you just love how Bob McDonnell is willing to accept federal money for energy R&D, but not $125 million to help unemployed Virginians make it through this terrible economy right now? I guess Bob McDonnell has his priorities.

Steve Shannon: Protect ABC Officers from Assault

From the Stephen Shannon for AG campaign, why would House Republicans have blocked "extending greater protections for the brave men and women of the ABC?" (the bill was left to die in Dave Albo's Courts of Justice committee). Bizarre.
Last week’s decision by the Court of Appeals demonstrates a weakness in Virginia law. In Cline vs. Commonwealth of Virginia, the Court of Appeals ruled that a person who assaults a special agent of Virginia’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) cannot be prosecuted under Virginia’s criminal felony statute that prohibits assaulting a law enforcement officer. These special agents are empowered to enforce Virginia criminal law and face very real dangers in doing their jobs. Those who put their lives on the line to protect us, the public, should have the same protections as all other law enforcement officers.

During the 2008 session of the General Assembly, I introduced House Bill 966 specifically to address this problem by extending greater protections for the brave men and women of the ABC. Sadly, the leadership of the House majority refused to allow a vote on the bill.

Protecting our public safety officers should never be a partisan issue. I hope this Court ruling will lead the House of Delegates to reconsider the legislation and close this loophole in our criminal law. As Attorney General, I will make passage of this bill a priority.

Caps Win 2-1, Move to Second Round of NHL Playoffs!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Governor's Debate Tonight Will Be Broadcast Live by WVTF

I'm glad to see that WVTF radio will be broadcasting tonight's Sorensen Institute gubernatorial debate in Danville live, from 7 to 9 pm. I'll definitely be listening. How about you?

McAuliffe opening statement: Job creation focus. Need to invest more in education in down economy, build job force for future. Jump start economy. Don't raise taxes in down economy. Create jobs, I've done it. Pre-K, smaller class sizes, lower college tuition, put money into transportation. Not all good ideas come out of Richmond, they come from all over Virginia.

Deeds opening statement: Noone better prepared than me to be governor. Severe unemployment problems. Bob McDonnell just doesn't get it. We've got a lot of work to do. Broke my heart to hear people's struggles in this economy. I'm proud to have stood with Tim Kaine and President Obama. I have a plan to move Virginia forward.

Moran opening statement: Serious times. This is about the 300,000 Virginians who have lost their jobs, 200,000 kids without health care, etc. We need a leader to fight for people. Grew up in family of 7 kids that struggled to pay mortgage. Fighting to raise min. wage, create green jobs. With so many corporate disasters today, from Enron to AIG to Global Crossing...we need a governor who will put people first. Less rhetoric and more record. Bold progressive vision. Fighter in the governor's office.

Deeds: Governor's opportunity fund is an underutilized tool.
McAuliffe: I agree with Creigh, need to bring more jobs. Our governor's opportunity fund is pitiful, the House of Delegates has not put the funds into it. I have to compete with other governors. We can't win deals unless we're on the playing field.
Moran: We need to bring opportunity to all areas of this great Commonwealth. I went to India on my own expense.

McAuliffe: We need to cover autism. Health care is a big issue.
Moran: I would agree. Autism needs to be covered. Also need to cover dental care.
Deeds: Autism is an epidemic. The marketplace will eventually respond to this, but until it does, we need to mandate that autistic children are covered.

Deeds asks Terry about NAFTA, job creation: I wouldn't say NAFTA was a good deal, the implementation was wrong. Bill Clinton was a huge economic success, created jobs, etc. I want to create jobs, I have done it. Green jobs, alternative energy. Take better care of our people here in Virginia - health care, education. I'm about job creation. I supported Bill Clinton as president.

Moran: I know Terry promises jobs, but I truly have a record.
Deeds: I respect what Terry said about NAFTA and free trade can be a good thing. You didn't say anything about implementation in your book.
McAuliffe: Clinton was a great president.

Terry to Brian about frustrations over Richmond, records that don't match rhetoric, you voted to open up the Wise County coal plant but now claim to be anti-coal, as a legislator you voted to open up offshore drilling but now say you're against it, as a legislator you voted for payday lending now you say you're against it, etc.

Brian: I have a long record fighting against corporate interests. I said no to offshore drilling. We can reject the false choice between growing economy and protecting environment. I'm only candidate who opposes Surry coal-fired power plant. I have a proven record. We should increase minimum wages. I have taken on corporate interests time and again.

Creigh: Each one of us is a work in progress, hopefully we get better every day.

Terry: I've consistently said I'm not for the Surry coal plant, I said wait for enviro impact studies, just as you did Brian. Bottom line - you voted for natural gas drilling offshore and they didn't even need your vote!

Brian to Terry on corporate bonuses, Global Crossing: Terry says, if you had the facts correct...I never worked for Global Crossing. I created thousands of jobs, met payrolls, people have gotten jobs by what I've done, I'm a self-made guy. I paid people well, gave them benefits. These attacks didn't work for the Republicans, they're not going to work for you. People are tired of the negative campaigns being run. I'm running a positive campaign, big bold ideas. I haven't been part of partisan infighting. I'm not from the legislature, I have a business background, proud of my job creation record.

Brian: I'm still searching for those Virginia jobs you say you created. I've been to India, brought back jobs. Been to Israel. We have done that, best managed state in nation. Some good ideas have come from Richmond.

Creigh: Who's best prepared to lead Virginia forward? You can listen to these guys argue if you want.

Question to Brian on stimulus funding and energy: I've put forth green jobs plan. Gov't can play positive role in people's lives. We need windmills off coast off Virginia Beach not drilling. Seniors are struggling, we should weatherize their homes. Smart grid technology, I'm the only one who calls for it in my energy plan.

Creigh: Energy independence is matter of national security. Create green energy jobs in Virginia using stimulus jobs. Biofuels, wind farm off Virginia Beach.

Terry: We're all in agreement. I have an energy bill that talks about smart grid. Brian isn't reading my plan. I won't take a check from Dominion Power. We need mandatory RPS.

Creigh on cause or issue you care about outside of jobs, education, transportation: Retool community colleges, change the way we draw district lines, more focus on solving problems. Redistricting reform is my cause celebre.

Terry: Gang violence needs to be tackled.

Brian: Health care to all Virginians.

Question to Terry on public private partnership: Job creation, job growth. I'm a big believer that you need to invest money to bring jobs in. Top-to-bottom review of every agency. We need to go after megaprojects.

Brian: I went to India to see who we are competing against. We need to produce graduates in engineering fields.

Creigh: You have to constantly be about the process of reinventing government. Nothing more important than creating jobs, best social engineering we can do.

Brian on restoring voting rights of ex-felons: Take it beyond any governor in Virginia's history. Voting is a fundamental right. We must reform process for those who have a felony on their records to regain their right to vote. We conducted a study, found terrible numbers. I worked to make process easier, we have made progress, but this is where I want to be bold and progressive. Eliminate 3-year waiting period for non-violent felons. Automatic restoration.

Creigh: Clear path for felon to be restored to civil society once they've done their time. It's all controlled by governor. My record is broader than Brian's, actually voting to change constitution.

Terry: Voting rights are very important to me. Founding voting rights institute at national party. Automatic restoration of voting rights for non-violent offenders. Governor shouldn't have to review. Let people back in society.

Question to Creigh on megaprojects: We are in competition with neighboring states, rest of world. I'll do whatever I can from state perspective.

Terry: Yes, I support it. I have very specific details. We have lost jobs to other southern states. We're not even bidding on these big projects. Let's at least get at the table.

Brian: I sat across table from foreign CEOs. Pro-business climate, workforce ready to work the jobs, invest in education, transportation system that functions. Expand governor's economic opportunity fund.

Question to Terry on uranium mining: There's a study being done by the Academy of Sciences. First and foremost, we have to protect public safety and environment. Could be 40 years worth of jobs. Let's wait for study to be done, get all information, then make decision. If there are public safety issues, I'd be against it.

Moran: There's a water source close by, public welfare is paramount. The only study that will give me info I need is one that's independent and objective. We cannot get this one wrong.

Creigh: No option can be taken off the table with respect to energy. I look forward to the study. Serious concerns over water supply, this is a major public safety issue.

Question to Brian on regional cooperation: You're only as strong as your region. Regionalism is important for economic development. Broadband. Rt. 58 widening. Educational infrastructure. Roads don't end at the county border.

Creigh: In Bath County, if we didn't do things on a regional basis, we wouldn't get anything done.

Terry: I'm all for working with the region, new Democratic governor in NC, Gov. O'Malley, Mayor Fenty. My #1 priority is create jobs here in Virginia, I'm in competition w/other governors. We need jobs here. I'm going to help people.

Question to Creigh on immigration: Immigration policy is preempted by the federal constitution. Only a limited amount state can do. We are better because of our diversity, we are all immigrants at some level. Need to assimilate new cultures into our economy. We're stronger because we're diverse. Welcome people with open arms. This country is melting pot of the world.

Terry: We want to encourage people to come to Virginia, country. People need to follow rules. It's a federal issues, but there are issues we deal with here.

Brian: We are a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants. I have an immigrants story, my grandfather coming from Ireland to Boston. Assimilate diversity. Need a balance.

Question to Terry on enterprise zone grants: One of great initiatives under President Clinton. Start jobs council in each region of Commonwealth. Having grants out there that aren't funded or that people can't access does nobody any good. We need to access federal enterprise zone money. $100 million green energy fund, leverage that 8 times. Think outside box. High-speed rail, $9.3 billion available today. We've got to think big bold, new energy for new jobs.

Brian: Need a fighter to fight for unemployed. I am running to bring opportunity to all Virginians. Business one stop legislation was my legislation.

Creigh: Restore confidence in economy is job #1. Enterprise zones need to have reliable set of criteria, applied evenly across the state. Money is not the answer to everything, but we haven't put enough money into enterprise zones in past.

Question to Brian on trimming government: Innovation agenda. Apply good ideas from private sector. We've done a pretty good job, AAA bond rating, best managed state, etc. Federal stimulus watchdog.

Creigh: Constantly reinvent government. We've reduced size of VDOT. We can continue to use technology to provide services that used to require people.

Terry: Look at everything. Top to bottom review. 21st century global economy. Reconfigure priorities.

Question to Creigh on lower cost energy: Develop energy based research triangle. Renewable sources of energy. Invest in clean coal technology. Weatherization. Incentivize energy efficiency for hot water heating. Invest in wind energy - Tazewell/Buchanan, off Virginia Beach. Energy technology, the next big thing.

Terry: Offshore wind. Efficiency, feed-in tariffs, net metering. Technology (export clean coal technology to China).

Brian: Mandatory RPS (25%). Wind and solar. Energy efficiency. I'm only one who calls for decoupling. Empower energy users with more information. Oppose Surry, offshore drilling.

Question to Terry on affirmative action: We just received an F on college affordability. Incentives for teachers to go into areas of high need. Teacher loan program. Every child in Virginia gets a quality education. Scholars for service program.

Brian: We need to promote that better. Minority and women owned businesses, contract dollars, I want to double those figures. I do believe in affirmative action, ensure a level playing field for all, that's the state's responsibility.

Creigh: The more education one has, the more money you'll make in lifetime. Affirmative action has worked well, we're not done with it yet. We've got dramatic problems in our higher education system...lots of work to do.

[I'm taking a break, fingers tired...]

Terry says we've got to be leaders not followers on climate change. Everyone seems to agree it's a big issue.

Brian says you've got to say no to some things. You can't say move away from fossil fuels but also say you support offshore drilling. Brian says Terry, stand up and take a position. Terry says, you're attacking me for legislation YOU voted for. Terry says he supports Kaine's bipartisan legislation which Brian voted for, look at Brian's own voting record.

Creigh quotes Genesis in making point that we have to protect the environment and grow economy. Terry said they go together, move away from fossil fuels towards renewables, they're no mutually exclusive.

On campaign financing, Creigh says we need to restore public trust in the system. The system hasn't gotten any better since 1991. People always find a loophole, but there has to be a mechanism there. Constitution needs to be changed, Supreme Court said campaign finance rules are covered by first amendment. Other than that, full disclosure is best system.

Terry worked before and after McCain-Feingold. I won't take contributions from TARP companies, Dominion Power. Called for ethics reform.

Brian agrees with much of what has been said. I proposed legislation that would ban out-of-state entities creating PACs here in Virginia. Need to restore trust in legislative process.

Brian: Faith plays tremendous role in my life. Golden rule.
Creigh: You can believe whatever you want or nothing at all. Religion plays enormous role in my life, in church every Sunday
Terry: Been a strong Catholic my whole life. Jesuit training. I'm a strong Catholic, regular church goer. I get out of bed every day feeling like I'm the luckiest guy in the world, want everyone to have the same opportunities. God's looking down on me every day pushing me to work hard for other people.

Closing statements. Creigh emphasizes need for governor who stands with Virginia, who's best prepared to create opportunity for working Virginians, attacks free trade, attacks Terry for taking money from outside state, attacks Brian from taking money from lobbyists under FBI investigation. Create prosperity and hope.

Terry thanks Brian and Creigh, both great legislators, only going to run positive campaign, stay positive, specific detail in business plan with specific detail. I'm going to save my criticisms for Bob McDonnell, he's stood in way of Kaine and Warner, said no to taking your own tax dollars, said President Obama shouldn't get honorary degree from Notre Dame. Shouldn't divide people. I haven't been part of partisan bickering in Richmond. Big, bold business plan. President Obama needs a partner here in Virginia, I will be that partner. Please read my business plan.

Brian says these are tough times, Virginia families struggling. We need proven fighter in governor's office. Stakes too high to get it wrong. Proven record of fighting for people, bold progressive vision. Need leader who's been there, who will stand up for values and ideals that Virginians hold dear. Raise min. wage, fight for equality for every Virginian, care more about family dinner table than corporate boardroom. Virginia needs a leader with experience to get things done, vision to get the right things. Fighting spirit, proven leadership.

Lowell's comment: Long, overall interesting debate, lots of detail and local questions, a few aggressive exchanges. Meanwhile, in the most important news of the evening (just kidding), it's 1-1 Caps-Rangers in the 3rd period. Go Caps! :)

Poll Internals: Terry Wins Obama Voters Big Time Over Brian, Creigh

I'm looking at the SurveyUSA internals, and several things are jumping out at me.

*Terry McAuliffe, best friend of the Clintons, is winning among Obama voters, and by a wide margin at that (41% McAuliffe, 23% Moran, 16% Deeds).

*More evidence of Terry doing best among Obama voters: 71% of Obama voters go to Terry in the general, as opposed to 69% for Creigh and only 63% for Moran. I tell you I'm schocked - shocked! - that Obama voters prefer Terry's optimism, clear message, focus on jobs and the economy. What ARE my fellow Obama voters thinking? :)

*Terry is winning among men, with 38% compared to 34% for Creigh Deeds and just 20% for Brian Moran. Terry is winning among women, with 38% compared to 24% for Moran and just 13% for Deeds.

*Terry is winning the African American vote by a wide margin, with 46% of the vote compared to 27% for Creigh and - shockingly - just 7% for Brian Moran. Terry is also winning the white vote, with 37% to 26% for Moran and 20% for Deeds.

*In terms of age, Terry is romping among voters aged 50 or greater (47% for Terry, 17% each for Creigh Deeds and Brian Moran). Among voters aged 35-49, Terry edges out Moran 35%-34% (with 13% for Deeds). Among voters aged 18-34, Creigh Deeds wins 41% vs. 23% for Terry McAuliffe and 19% for Brian Moran.

*In terms of ideology, Moran leads among just one group - liberals - but only by a 31%-28%-27% margin over Terry and Creigh. Terry romps among moderates with 43% of the vote, compared to 19% for Creigh and 18% for Moran. Terry also wins conservatives with 37%, versus 27% for Creigh and 19% for Moran.

*Regionally, Terry wins everywhere except for NOVA, where Moran holds a 47%-24%-12% lead over Terry and Creigh. In Southeast Virginia, Terry wins 62% of the vote, versus 11% for Creigh and just 4% for Moran. Wow. In bad news for Creigh, Shenandoah is splitting 33% Terry-31% Creigh (with 19% to Moran). Even worse news for Creigh in Central Virginia, where Terry leads him 40%-33% (again, Moran trails far behind at 11%). In short, Terry McAuliffe is demonstrating broad appeal across Virginia, while Creigh Deeds (to a lesser extent) and Brian Moran (to an enormous extent) appear to be more regional candidates. Moran has a particular reason to be worried about these numbers, as despite holding a significant lead in NOVA, he is tanking in the rest of the state.

*Brian Moran now does the worst against Bob McDonnell (trailing by 12 points) of the three Democratic gubernatorial contenders (Creigh does the best, followed closely by Terry). So much for Moran's electability argument. In fact, it appears that, if anything, Moran is the Democratic candidate who's least electable in November, not Creigh or Terry.

SurveyUSA: McAuliffe 38%, Deeds 22%, Moran 22%

Awesome news for us Terry fans courtesy of SurveyUSA:
If the Democratic Primary for Virginia Governor were today, who would you vote for? (candidate names rotated) Creigh Deeds? Terry McAuliffe? Or Brian Moran?

22% Deeds
38% McAuliffe
22% Moran
18% Other / Undecided

Obviously, Terry's message about jobs and the economy, combined with his upbeat personality and energy, are winning over Virginia voters in large numbers as they start to really tune in to this campaign. Significantly, this poll is the first since debates began in earnest, but it also comes before Terry really starts his advertising blitz (which the other two campaigns almost certainly won't be able to match). In short, it's looking great for Terry with just 42 days to go. Now, the key is not to get overconfident but to keep up the hard work through June 9. Then, we can turn our attention to the one we REALLY need to be going after, Bob McDonnell. I can't wait!

P.S. McDonnell's numbers are very weak considering that Democrats have been in the midst of a hard-fought primary while he is unopposed. The fact that he's only at 44%-46% shouldn't make Republicans happy, as these numbers are likely within a few points of McDonnell's ceiling in "purplish-blue" Virginia.

UPDATE: A new TV ad is on the air in Roanoke. Check it out!

Arlen Specter Switches Parties, 60 Votes Here We Come!

Fillibuster-proof 60-vote Senate majority, here we come! :)
Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter will switch his party affiliation from Republican to Democrat and announced today that he will run in 2010 as a Democrat, according to sources informed on the decision.

Specter's decision would give Democrats a 60 seat filibuster proof majority in the Senate assuming Democrat Al Franken is eventually sworn in as the next Senator from Minnesota. (Former Sen. Norm Coleman is appealing Franken's victory in the state Supreme Court.)
Awesome news and a brilliant decision by Senator Specter, who now all but guarantees his reelection in 2010. Welcome to the Democratic Party, sir!

P.S. Now, let's get Al Franken - who WON THE FREAKING ELECTION LAST NOVEMBER - seated already. Then, let's move this country forward on health care, education, environment, and a lot more areas!

UPDATE: I've added Specter's statement to the comments section.

UPDATE #2: According to Progressive Punch, Senator Specter was the most progressive Republican, but still behind all Democrats. Maybe the party change will free him up to be more progressive, at least I hope so!

UPDATE #3: One more nail in the coffin for the Republican Party, now almost completely dead in the Northeast, the Pacific coast, and increasingly the Desert Southwest and Midwest. Oh yeah, and here in Virginia, we've got both US Senate seats, 6 of 11 House of Representatives, the governor's mansion, the state Senate, and closing in on the House of Delegates. Rock and roll!

UPDATE #4: DNC Chair Tim Kaine enthusiastically welcomes Arlen Specter to the Democratic Party.
"I am pleased to offer Senator Specter my sincere congratulations on his decision to join the Democratic Party and I welcome him with open arms,” said DNC Chairman Kaine. “Over nearly three decades in the United States Senate, Senator Specter has represented the people of Pennsylvania with honor, conviction, and an allegiance to deeply held principles that I know will continue to inform his decisions as a member of the Democratic caucus. Senator Specter courageously supported the President's economic recovery package while most Republicans played politics with our nation's economy. The Senator's willingness to set politics aside and be part of finding solutions to our nation's problems will find a welcome reception in the Democratic Party. Coming on the heels of Democrat Scott Murphy's victory in a Republican leaning congressional district in New York state, Senator Specter's decision is additional proof that the Republican Party is in serious trouble because it has lost touch with the American people and their desire for change which was so on display in November.

"As Senator Specter noted, the Republican Party has drifted far to the right and seems more interested in ideology, conflict and obstruction than in working constructively to address the nation's problems, and no longer appeals to moderates, including Senator Specter. I commend Senator Specter on his decision to work with President Obama and Senate Democrats to help turn our economy around, create jobs and put the country back on the right track. We are thrilled to welcome Senator Specter into the Democratic fold and he can count on our full support."

Amy Frederick Bows Out, Blasts Virginia GOP

This morning, Amy Frederick (wife of Del. Jeff Frederick, R-52) announced that she would NOT seek her husband's seat after all. She also took the opportunity to blast Speaker Howell and also those in the Republican Party of Virginia who "ignor[e] our core principles in pursuit of titles and power without purpose."
Today, it is with mixed emotions that I announce my withdrawal from the race to succeed Jeff in the House of Delegates.

Unfortunately, some in the leadership of the Republican Party have demonstrated a greater interest in playing politics than in advancing our conservative principles and making life better for the families and the citizens of Virginia. I'm not interested in running for office to serve under broken leadership, where the Speaker compromises principle for what he perceives as immediate political gain. What so many entrusted with leadership in our party fail to recognize is that ignoring our core principles in pursuit of titles and power without purpose is exactly the behavior that severely reduced our ranks in the House, handed the Senate to the Democrats, and has resulted in one statewide loss after another.
Awesome! Hey Amy, do you want to be a guest blogger at Blue Virginia? :)

P.S. Apparently, with the filing deadline having passed, the Republican candidate for this seat will be former Dumfries Town Council member Rafael Lopez.

Jody Wagner Hits Bill Bolling on "Drill, Baby, Drill' Energy Plan

An excellent press release by Jody Wagner, as Bill Bolling's energy "plan" offers absolutely nothing for Virginia except the same things that haven't worked in the past. It's time to move from a 19th-century energy economy to a 21st-century green economy, and the McDonnell/Bolling approach simply has no clue how to do that.

RICHMOND - Today, former Secretary of Finance Jody Wagner responded to the Bolling energy plan:

"The Bolling energy 'plan' is nothing more than a re-hash of discredited policies from the Bush Administration that can be summed up in three words: "drill, baby, drill." Instead of focusing on innovative renewable energy and conservation programs that will help position Virginia as a global leader in the emerging green economy, Bill Bolling just offers up faulty sound bites. The answer for Virginia isn't drilling for oil offshore-it's to prepare the Commonwealth for the future by investing in technologies like wind, solar, biofuel, wave motion and biomass energy. This will take a commitment to training the workforce of the future in our schools; expanding research and development opportunities at our colleges and universities; and providing the incentives necessary to ensure renewable energy businesses choose Virginia as their home."

U.S. Department of Energy estimates have shown that any available oil resources off the Virginia coast would have no real affect on production or prices until 2030. Current Virginia law (Code of Virginia, Chapter 3 of Title 67) supports federal efforts to determine the extent of natural gas resources 50 miles or more off the Atlantic shoreline, but have no provisions for oil exploration.
UPDATE: Statement by Jon Bowerbank added to the comments section. I found this interesting:
Unlike my primary opponents, I came out early and strongly against drilling off of Virginia's coast for exactly this reason. Let me be clear- there is not enough oil and natural gas in the area discussed off of Virginia's shore to be significantly commercially viable and under current federal law, not a dime of any revenue derived from these areas would go to the Commonwealth of Virginia.

A Voice of Reason Counters Bob Purkey

Peter Schmidt is a political veteran. Former Virginia Beach City Councilman and Director of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, he is also a former Republican. He opposed Delegate Bob Purkey (R-Virginia Beach) in the 2005 primary for that seat. At some point, like many other new Democrats, he came to understand under which tent flap he properly belongs. Purkey, who claims he had to be convinced to run again, is looking over his shoulder.

Why the change of colors? The Virginia Republican Party, he explains, has been pushed so far to the right, that it can no longer embrace a centrist candidate interested in progress. The adventure in Iraq made the departure the easier. He describes himself as a fiscal conservative and a social moderate. He emphasizes that everything we do outside our soul is predicated on a healthy economy. A big part of the problem with accomplishing anything in the legislature is that the members focus more on reelection than on what is important to Virginia. "This legislature has squandered opportunity after opportunity" and he sees the chance to help get it off high-center.
Some of the issues he takes on:
  • Transportation
  • Access to health care
  • Education
  • Conservation and the environment
  • Energy policy
  • Ending unfunded mandates
Purkey will be difficult to beat. He is a committee chairman and he will be well-funded. “I am going to do it the old fashioned way,” Schmidt says, ”I am going to be on the streets.” In that district, going door to door for Jim Webb, the residents would at least discuss the issues and the candidates; possibly because, not unlike Schmidt, Webb had been considered a Republican at one time and his professional accomplishments struck a chord. The district has a large portion of independent moderates or moderate independents, so it will be Schmidt’s job to convince them he is nothing other than a practical person, socially concerned about issues that we have not addressed, fiscally responsible, and trying to represent good ideas on both sides of the aisle.
I appreciate passion in politics but I also believe you need constructive conversation.
In the same way he runs his business, he doesn’t care whose idea it is if it can move us forward. “Right now, the House is locked down and this is doing the Commonwealth no good. Even if Purkey were the best delegate in the Commonwealth, he would have to still do the bidding of his party’s Speaker and that means there is no winning for the people in the district with Purkey in the seat.” The demographic of the district is moderate right, but it is possible to pull votes from Purkey to add to those who already oppose him. And there already are a number of Republicans who have demonstrated that they preferred Peter to Purkey.
Mark Warner has shown that if you can convince people that you have no hidden agenda and that you are being intellectually honest with them, you can touch them.

Read the complete report at Blue Commonwealth

Want to Repeal Marshall-Newman? Here's How.

Today's Washington Post describes how, for political purposes, "former state delegate Brian Moran last week began emphasizing a topic that has long made Virginia Democrats wary: gay rights." Moran has also pledged to "work to repeal the constitutional amendment, passed in 2006, banning any attempt to equate same-sex relationships to marriage between a man and a woman."

On one level, that sounds wonderful. Personally, I despise the Marshall-Newman anti-gay-marriage amendment and want to see it out of Virginia's constitution as soon as possible. The only question in my mind is how we accomplish this goal most effectively, and when it's achieved. As the Post article explains, in order to pass a new amendment to Virginia's constitution overriding Marshall-Newman, "the General Assembly would have to reverse position and back repeal twice, followed by a referendum." So, first, we have to get a General Assembly that will vote not once but twice to repeal Marshall-Newman. That's going to take some doing, considering that the House of Delegates voted 85-12 to put this monstrosity on the ballot in 2006, while the State Senate voted 28-11.

That's right, we have to change the votes of 39 House members and 10 Senators in order to put a new constitutional referendum on the ballot. To change those votes, we can either persuade them or defeat them at the ballot box. We also need to make sure that Democrats control the House of Delegates, or this is not going to come to a vote regardless.

So, what are the chances of that happening this November? Well, Democrats need to pick up 6 seats in the House of Delegates, which is certainly not going to be an easy matter. Then, even if we accomplish that, we're going to need to persuade a bunch of more socially conservative Democrats to switch their votes on this issue. Le's look at some of the House Democrats who voted to put Marshall-Newman on the ballot: Ward Armstrong, David Bulova, Chuck Caputo, Johnny Joannou, Dave Marsden, and...Brian Moran. Well, at least one of those guys has apparently - in the midst of a gubernatorial primary where he's had a sudden conversion to liberalism on the proverbial road to Damascus - changed his mind. That leaves only about 38 House members to go, plus 10 State Senators, if we want to get a repeal amendment on the ballot (which I would dearly love to do) in the next couple of years.

As you can see from the numbers, it's extremely unlikely that Marshall-Newman's going to be repealed anytime soon. Unfortunately, and it's an utter disgrace to our Commonwealth, this amendment is likely to stay on the books for years to come, until we completely change the makeup of both the House of Delegates and the State Senate, electing not just Democrats but PROGRESSIVES on issues like this. What's the best way to accomplish this goal?

First and foremost, we need to focus on winning the governor's mansion this year and picking up as many seats in the House of Delegates as possible. Then, we need to keep moving forward from there. All of which means nominating the candidate for governor with the strongest campaign, the most appealing message, and the most money in order to take that message to the voters this November.

That, clearly, is Terry McAuliffe, who has also pledged that if he's the nominee, he'll run a coordinated campaign the likes of which Virginia has never seen. I'm greatly looking forward to that, to a chance at taking back the House of Delegates, and eventually to the point where we've got a progressive majority in both the House and Senate that will vote - twice - for a new amendment repealing Marshall-Newman. And it all starts on June 9, by Democrats picking the strongest candidate for November, the one the Republicans fear the most. Clearly, that's Terry McAuliffe, the candidate who gives us the best chance of keeping Virginia moving "forward, together" in years to come.

In sum, if you want to repeal Marshall-Newman, you start by doing everything you can to make sure Terry McAuliffe is our nominee on June 9.

UPDATE: Moran apparently voted against this before voting for it.

Moran VOTED to Fund "Clean Coal" Without CO2 Restrictions

Looking a bit closer at the energy bill, SB262, that Brian Moran voted for, you find a few other interesting tidbits besides his vote for offshore natural gas exploration.

First, there is an entire section ("Chapter 4") covering "Clean Coal Projects." For the purposes of this bill, "clean coal" is defined as follows: "any project that uses any technology, including technologies applied at the precombustion, combustion, or postcombustion stage, at a new or existing facility that will achieve significant reductions in air emissions of sulfur dioxide or oxides of nitrogen associated with the utilization of coal in the generation of electricity, process steam, or industrial products, which is not in widespread use...."

That's right, Brian Moran not only voted for "clean coal," he voted for a definition of "clean coal" that explicitly did NOT mention the main greenhouse gas pollutant arising from coal combustion, namely carbon dioxide, let alone CAPTURING or SEQUESTRING said carbon dioxide. Wonderful.

Then, having voted for this extremely limited definition of "clean coal," one that would do NOTHING to deal with the problem of climate change, Moran ALSO voted for the following instructions with regard to permitting of "clean coal" facilities.

"To the extent authorized by federal law, the State Air Pollution Control Board shall implement permit processes that facilitate the construction of clean coal projects in the Commonwealth by, among such other actions as it deems appropriate, giving priority to processing permit applications for clean coal projects."

Oh, great, now let's facilitate the development of "clean coal" without carbon capture and sequestration capability. Niiiiice.

But wait, there's more! That's right, having voted for an extremely lax version of the oxymoron known as "clean coal," Brian Moran further voted to FUND this garbage by setting up "a special nonreverting fund to be known as the Clean Coal Technology Research Fund."

Wondeful, just what we need, a "special fund" for non-C02-capturing/sequestrating "clean coal." Just wonderful.

By the way, what's so ironic about all this is the fact that CANDIDATE Moran would be absolutely blasting DELEGATE Moran for this vote, if it weren't for the fact that DELEGATE Moran and CANDIDATE Moran are the same person. Funny how life works like that.

P.S. This bill also called for "Facilitat[ing] the development of new, and the expansion of existing, petroleum refining facilities within the Commonwealth." Oh, great, just what we need, both "clean coal" without carbon capture/sequestration AND dirty new oil refineries in Virginia. Yeah, that Brian Moran is some environmentalist!

Video: Bill Clinton and Terry McAuliffe in Roanoke

Jim Gilmore: Democrats Threaten America!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Every time you think Virginia Republican "leaders" like Jim Gilmore can't get any more embarrassing and self-destructive, they do. Check this out, from a recent letter by Jim Gilmore:
Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and their liberal Democrat minions are determined to remake America into their vision of a European Socialist state. They have done more harm to our free enterprise system in four months than Franklin Roosevelt, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton combined.
First of all, I love the juvenile/infantile use of "Democrat" instead of "Democratic" as an adjective to modify "minions." Whoa, I mean that is SO clever and SO damaging! Hahahaha. I also love Gilmore's hysteria over America somehow being transformed from his ideal of crony capitalism and trickle down (aka, redistributing wealth from the middle class to the super wealthy) into...I dunno, Denmark? Exactly, it's a nightmare. :)

Finally, I'll let Arjun of Daily Kos complete the skewering on the "destroyed free enterprise" meme:
Let's guy who brought us out of the worst economic depression in U.S. history (and built up the national infrastructure to boot, and won a world war in his spare time). And one guy who created 23 million jobs in eight years as president.

Seems to me that anyone who does more for the U.S. economy in four months than those three cats did in 24 years ought to be submitting an application for Mount Rushmore.

But maybe we ought to take the word of a guy who was such a wildly successful governor that he lost a Senate bid last year by 31 points (and that was a model of perfect execution next to his risible presidential bid). Because let's face it, Jim Gilmore knows all about failure.
OK, let's not be so harsh on poor ol' Jim Gilmore. I mean, all he did was nearly drive Virginia into the economic ditch, endanger our AAA bond rating, and basically leave a complete mess for Mark Warner to clean up. But, then again, isn't that what Democrats ALWAYS have to do after Republican administrations? For instance, Barack Obama following the Worst President Ever?

In conclusion, all I have to say is, PLEASE Virginia Republicans, keep Jim Gilmore as the face of your party, along with Jeff Frederick, Bob Marshall, etc. You see, we Democrats, when we're not busy destroying capitalism and the American way, kind of like winning elections from you guys. Thanks! :)