Tag Archives: Corey Stewart

Two Wrongs ≠ A Right

GOP becoming extinct

gop-extinct ObamaIt pains me to criticize Republicans acting aggressively on their own behalf, because lately it’s been rare. Sometimes it appears national GOP leadership would be content to emulate the panda and sit contentedly munching bamboo shoots in a special preserve where one is protected from predators and challengers alike.

There is some indignity involved when the media pokes and prods you with questions regarding your sex life. And it is disquieting knowing the Chinese own you body and soul. But in its entirety the situation would not be all that different from that of the debt–ridden USA.

Besides, once a species is practically extinct trend–setters put your face on cool coffee mugs and fashionable people throw parties on your behalf. Unfortunately, we already have the panda so there is little room for Republicans in the National Zoo. Still our “leadership” continues this death–wish behavior.

But consistency and intellectual honesty compel me to take aggressive Virginia Senate Republicans to task for the redistricting ambush they sprang on Democrats last week.

You may recall the Virginia Senate is evenly split: 20 Republican members and 20 Spendacrats, with Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling there to break any ties. A minor GOP House redistricting bill had been languishing in committee for some time. Although not exactly in a persistent vegetative state, the bill wasn’t at the top of anyone’s legislative agenda. But that was before Sen. Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment Jr. (R–The Re–Animator) went to work.

The bill metamorphosed from an innocuous housekeeping bill into a Pearl Harbor equivalent all out attack on Senate Dems.

The bill concentrates minority voters in a new Southside district and alters almost all other Senate district lines. According to Dems interviewed by the WaPost, the new lines would make eight districts distinctly more Republican — and since six of the seats are currently held by Dems — the new lines have the potential to result in significant GOP gains in November’s election.

As an added bonus, the bill puts two incumbents — R. Creigh Deeds (D–Lost My Race for Gov) and Emmett W. Hanger Jr. (R–Who Did I Anger?) in the same district where only one will survive.

Norment knew he could not depend on Bolling to break a tie on the new bill, because the Big Bill has been acting squishy lately. So the majority leader had the legislation waiting in the weeds until Sen. Henry L Marsh III (D–I was 3 before RGIII) left Richmond to attend the Dear Leader’s celebration.

With Marsh absent, the bill passed 20 to 19.

WaPost editorialists set their vituperators on ‘stun’ and described the event thusly, “The Republican move was executed in the style of a putsch, arising from a conspiracy and with no warning, public input or debate. “ Which sounds suspiciously like the regulation writing process at EPA and is reason enough to oppose the effort.

They continued, “Unlike the GOP dominated House of Delegates, the Senate has been in Democratic (sic) hands or closely divided since 2007. The Republican gerrymander, which could deliver several seats to the GOP, would change that at a stroke.”

What the WaPost doesn’t say is the former redistricting bill, authored by Dems, is also grossly gerrymandered and designed to protect Dem incumbents. For example, Prince William County — where I live — in the words of County Executive Corey Stewart, is “carved up like a Christmas Turkey.” The third most populous county in the state doesn’t even have its own senator. Instead it is split between five different Senate districts, which only serves to dilute PWC influence.

Needless to say, Dems are outraged and they have a point. Using a temporary political advantage to ram an extremely controversial bill through a legislative body is bad long–term policy. It was bad when Obama rammed Obamacare through a lame duck Senate before Republican Scott Brown was sworn in. It will be bad policy if US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D–Prevaricate) violates established Senate rules to change the filibuster procedure and punish Republicans.

And it’s bad policy in Richmond.

What’s more, the repercussions threaten to put a Saslaw–sized Jersey barrier in front of Gov. Bob McDonnell’s transportation plan. After the redistricting bill was passed, Senate Minority Leader Dick Saslaw (D–Hoppin’ Mad) said the governor’s transportation bill was dead and so was any hope of cooperation from Senate Dems.

And here is the trilemma: if McDonnell vetoes the bill it makes Senate Dems happy, while at the same time offending Senate Republican leadership. If the governor could depend on every GOP Senator to vote for his transportation bill, he could hold his nose and sign the redistricting bill. But unanimous GOP support is not a given. On the other hand, vetoing the bill could mean his transportation plan never gets out of committee in the Senate.

There is a third way that doesn’t put the governor on the spot and still gives the redistricting bill a decent Christian burial. Saslaw and Speaker Bill Howell (R–In the Driver’s Seat) could work out a behind–the–scenes deal where the bill is killed in the House in return for Saslaw guaranteeing Senate Dem votes for the transportation plan that Howell is sponsoring in the House. But then again, if the House kills the Senate’s bill, angry GOP senators may take revenge by killing pet projects of House members.

I won’t shed any tears for the demise of the governor’s transportation plan for reasons outlined here, but the Commonwealth is in need of a good transportation program. The Senate’s redistricting bill is an unnecessary complication that may thwart that goal and makes Republicans look unethical.

It’s times like these that the governor should be glad Virginia is still in the liquor business.

Distinguishing Leadership from Politicianship

Defendants await a ruling from the Prince William Co Human Rights Commission

Defendants await a ruling from the Prince William Co Human Rights Commission

The feds aren’t alone in dealing with budgets this time of year. Although “dealing” is somewhat generous, since Uncle Sam doesn’t have to balance his. Congress and the President are content to blame unforeseen circumstances — George Bush, climate change or a spontaneous reaction to an anti–Mohammed video — for causing deficit spending, while they wait in the ‘withdrawals only’ line at the National Bank of China.

State and local governments don’t have that luxury and how your local elected officials deal with budgets can provide a useful benchmark in evaluating the performance of Republicans in Congress during discussions designed to avoid the fiscal cliff. (There is no need to evaluate Spendacrats. They will spend as much as possible and mislead gullible Republicans when it comes to budget “cuts.”)

Where I live in Virginia, Corey Stewart, chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors, takes an approach to cutting the budget that I wish Congressional Republicans would emulate. Stewart has actually marked individual programs for termination or severe cuts. This alone qualifies as leadership.

Lazy, gutless politicians avoid being pinned down on which programs to cut. And this failure includes both conservatives and liberals. Instead they advocate “equitable, across–the–board cuts.” This budget–cutting socialism is a gift to the lazy at the expense of the competent. In this way the Intergovernmental Steering Group for Immediate Climate Action and Icecap Outreach gets the same ten percent cut as the police department.

This is politicianship and elected “leaders” do it so they won’t be blamed for eliminating a program a handful of “community activists” support. Come election time the shameless pol can even claim he “saved the program from drastic cuts that would have imperiled its mission.”

Arlington County, VA politicians use another dodge. They direct the county executive to choose the budget cuts. When outraged poodle owners want to know why working–women–doggie–daycare was cut from the parks and recreation budget, the spineless “leader” blames a heartless, cat–owning bureaucrat.

Skeptics will say Stewart had to cut the budget because he’s running for Lt. Governor and a tax increase would make it impossible for him to win the nomination. But Stewart could just as easily call for across–the-board cuts or delegate to the county executive like Arlington Democrats. Not doing so is an important point in his favor.

Stewart wants to cut $9 million from the 2014 budget so property tax bills will remain flat. Some of his larger cuts include eliminating $3.6 million from the Health Department and $626,000 from the Juvenile Court Services Unit.

Stewart courageously advocates ending $941,000 in feel–good donations to non–profits. If he succeeds, supervisors will no longer be able to use public tax dollars to subsidize their private charitable preferences. Stewart also vetoes “arts” grant donations, the Northern Virginia Regional Commission, Northern Virginia Family Services and Legal Services of Northern VA.

An almost $2 million cut comes from the Transportation & Roadway Improvement Program — another public money kitty that allows individual supervisors to spend our taxes on traffic light installations and road improvements in their district.

In addition to fellow board members, Stewart is willing to take on friends of the library, seniors and the school board. He would close neighborhood libraries two days a week, make senior recreational tours self–supporting and remove four middle school police officers.

This is why leadership is hard. Decisions to cut spending are unpopular, particularly with those who were doing or receiving the spending. The vast majority of politicians in Washington just want to be loved and re–elected, without being bothered to make decisions that produce discord at town meetings. One of the few exceptions is Sen. Tom Coburn (R–OK) and you can imagine how popular he is.

If you ask me, it makes more sense to keep the libraries open and save $500,000 by abolishing the Prince William County Human Rights Commission. This pretentious engine of local moral posturing has been wasting money since 1993. Our own little Nuremburg duplicates federal and state programs, while entertaining a punishing 145 cases a year, most of which have — according to the executive director — “no probable cause.” Which is a nice way of saying the plaintiff is either lying, delusional or a board member of Mexicans Without Borders.

When asked by reporter Graelyn Brashear if the commission is effective, the director said that’s a tough question because there are no measures of success. Translated for taxpayers, it means this job is almost as good as being a diversity bureaucrat in the school system.

Budget cutting, like liberty, requires constant vigilance. According to Stewart the PWC budget more than doubled between 2000 and 2006, while during his seven years as chairman it only increased a total of 6.6 percent.

Stewart’s budget cutting won’t win him friends on the board or get him invited to speak at annual banquets put on by non–profits to flatter the politicians who distribute tax dollars. But it is leadership and it is a standard conservatives should apply to politicians at all levels.