Norm Leahy Calls Out Bob McDonnell For "Corporate Welfare"

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Bob McDonnell takes flak from a leading Virginia conservative blogger on his proposed spending on - among other things - wine, tourism, and film promotion. Norm Leahy quotes from the Republican Times-DisgraceRichmond Times-Dispatch:
Sometimes there is a fine line between economic development and corporate welfare, and McDonnell seems to be dancing on it. Where in Virginia's Constitution, for instance, does it call for Virginia to serve as the marketing department for Virginia wine-makers?
Good question, especially for a guy who just last night quoted Thomas Jefferson about "a wise and frugal government which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned." How on earth is using millions of dollars in taxpayer dollars to promote Virginia wines an example of "wise and frugal government?" Hmmmm.

Of course, if a Democratic governor had done this, the right wing would be blasting him or her. So, why is the Virginia right-o-sphere so quiet now, with the exception of Norm at Tertium Quids? Apparently, it's ok to violate conservative principles as long as the person doing so plays for the "red team."

P.S. Would wine promotion be an example of government "simply trying to do too much," as McDonnell said last night?

UPDATE: Sen. Chap Petersen weighs in.
What I find fascinating is that the Governor -- while criticizing the President's 2009 stimulus plan -- has recently prescribed the exact same elixir for Virginia, i.e. having government jump-start the economy by spending money.

The new Governor's "jobs plan" announced on Tuesday consists of AT LEAST $50 million in new spending, in addition to the usual tax credits for preferred industries. This spending goes to the following "core priorities" of Virginia government:

-- the Virginia Tourism Council for new television ads
-- the Virginia Wine Promotion Fund for promoting Virginia wines
-- the Motion Picture Opportunity Fund for ....... making movies?

If a Democrat had proposed this new spending, he would have been ridiculed from one end of the Capitol to another. But now we have a Republican Governor telling us we "need to spend money to make money." (that's a quote from Monday's speech by the Governor to the Assembly).

Umm, isn't that exactly why President Obama is being criticized? And how is this Virginia stimulus not deficit spending, since our new Governor has failed to give any details for actually cutting the state budget?

(I'll say one thing for Democrats. At least when we're spending the public dollar, we're doing it on robust things like bridges and highways. Not wine tastings).

So we have a new Governor proposing a Virginia stimulus plan one day, then criticizing the President for the Federal stimulus plan the next day. Each one based on deficit spending.

As Alanis Morrissette would say -- isn't it ironic?