Volume 1, Number 7. October 2010
Two Opposing Approaches for America Guest article by Congressman Eric Cantor
Watch the Gubernatorial elections in 2010
The Politics of Liquor Privatization
Bearing Drift Looks at Key Races in Virginia
Bearing Drift Virginia Politics on Demand J.R. Hoeft, Publisher email@example.com
Michael Fletcher, Editor-in-Chief firstname.lastname@example.org Alan Moore, Editor email@example.com Contributors this issue:
DCH D.J. McGuire Jason W. Johnson Alan Moore Ward Smythe Josh St. Louis Krystle D. Weeks Guest Contributors
Congressman Eric Cantor Congressman Rob Wittman James Bacon Cover Photo Jane Dudley ÂŠ Copyright 2010
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In this Issue
Next Month: Post-Election Wrap Up
Letter from Bearing Drift
Yeas and Nays
Guest Column by Congressman Eric Cantor Two Opposing Approaches for America
The Haunted Places of Virginia Michael R. Fletcher
The Politics of Liquor Privatization D.J. McGuire
The Shifting Balance of Power Bearing Drift Looks at Key Races in Virginia
Robert Hurt's "Peach Revolution" Jason W. Johnson
Can the 8th Retire Jim Moran? Josh St. Louis
The 10th will send Frank Wolf back to Congress DCH
Campaign Sign Shenanigans
Watch the Gubernatorial elections in 2010 J.R. Hoeft
Guest Column by Congressman Rob Wittman Getting Virginians Back to Work
Cruel World, Hard Choices James A. Bacon
Autumn in Virginia
The Final Ward BearingDrift.com / Page 3
Volume 1, Number 7 / October 2010
Letter from Bearing Drift Can Virginia Republicans recapture what was lost in 2008? This is the last month before Virginians and folks from across the nation hold our biennial ritual of having a non-violent federal revolution. Of course, elections are nothing new in Virginia: We have one every year. In some places throughout the Commonwealth, almost every six months. It’s one of the reasons why we have this magazine!
Three Democrats, aided greatly by Obamania, face a very different Political landscape in 2010 – namely, people now know who they are and how they voted.
But the Congressional campaign is always something special. The people’s house, or lower chamber, is supposed to reflect the mood of the country – and the country has been very fickle the past four years. Heading into 2006, Republicans held a 229-201 seat advantage over Democrats. After that election, Democrats were up 233-202. They grew their majority another 24 seats in 2008 to 257. During that period of transition, Virginia’s Republican Congressional delegation barely held on in 2006, only to be swept away in the euphoria of Barack Obama becoming the first Democratic candidate for president to carry the Commonwealth since 1964. After winning in 2006, Rep. Tom Davis stepped-down,
purportedly to make a run for U.S. Senate, and political newcomer Keith Fimian took-up the GOPs banner in the 11th Congressional District. Democrat Gerry Connolly dispatched him. In the 5th, Conservative Democrat turned Republican Virgil Goode lost to an unknown Democrat who was acting conservative in Tom Perriello. In the 2nd, a longtime GOP legislator in Norfolk, Thelma Drake, who in 2006 held-off a challenge from Phil Kellam of Virginia Beach (the district’s most populous city), couldn’t withstand the Obama-wave in Hampton Roads and lost to another political newcomer, Glenn Nye. Three Democrats, aided greatly by Obamania, face a very different political landscape in 2010 – namely, people now know who they are and how they voted. Add to the mix 14-term Democratic incumbent Rick Boucher (VA-9) who voted with the current administration against the coal industry, and you have the makings of another huge swing in Virginia’s representation in the U.S. House.
of providing greater clarity on their conservative bona fides. We also look at Virginia’s other Congressional conservative stalwarts, with special columns from the Republican Whip, Eric Cantor, who explains the importance of the GOP’s Pledge to America and Rep. Rob Wittman, who takes on the subject of job creation. While the Congressional campaign is important, it’s not the only election. We also take a peek at the gubernatorial elections and how Virginia has had an impact on and will be impacted by these races. And, while Virginia is beautiful all the time, the landscape gets awfully interesting in the fall. Our photographers went across the Old Dominion to capture some, shall we say, interesting foliage. We’ve got a month to go. Are you ready for change again?
J.R. Hoeft firstname.lastname@example.org
So, in this issue, we try to find out more about the four challengers in these districts: Scott Rigell, Robert Hurt, Morgan Griffith and Keith Fimian. We asked each candidate a series of policy questions regarding their stand on the issues in hopes
BearingDrift.com / Page 5
YEAS * ABC Privatization It’s really quite simple: if beer and wine are already sold privately, there’s no reason not to sell liquor separately either (after all, 12 oz. beer = 6 oz. wine = 1.5 oz. of liquor, or so I’m told). McDonnell’s plan isn’t perfect (losing the taxes), but it’s a lot better than government being in the business of selling Jim Beam.
* Republican Pledge to America They put what conservatives have been saying for years into writing, but it’s only the beginning of what needs to be done. Can anyone say “entitlement reform”? Now they are accountable. Should Republicans gain the majority, they better follow through. If not, the GOP is doomed.
* Four day work week for state employees Less traffic. More efficient. More continuous time off for employees for the same amount of work. Plus, Virginia citizens already think employees work only four days anyway. This is a no brainer. With rotating schedules, telecommuting, some agencies excluded, and proper planning, this could revolutionize government – and aid Virginia Beach tourism!
* Scott Rigell’s Congressional Reforms The Republican candidate has put out a list of eight Congressional reforms that he will personally follow whether or not Congress enacts them. Principled leadership from a principled man.
* VDOT Audit Tim Kaine and Democrats ridiculed Bob McDonnell and Republicans over this idea. Looks like the GOP found 1.4 billion “I told you sos.”
Volume 1, Number 7 / October 2010
* Congressional Accountability of JFCOM The entire Virginia delegation, especially Reps. J. Randy Forbes, Glenn Nye, Bobby Scott, and Rob Wittman, have led the charge regarding the impending and sudden closure of Joint Forces Command. The congressmen have shown the Pentagon’s complete disregard for Congressional oversight, which is perhaps more important to expose and get answers for than the closing of the command itself.
NAYS * Democrat logo and Tim Kaine’s national * Quran burning Democratic strategy Not only is burning books a stupid idea and stunt, but For us, this is actually a yea, but it’s so pathetic even this particular episode showed how asinine our media we can’t put it there. Anyone else think the logo looks is and how intolerant our enemies are. At the same like a target, the old “ACORN” seal, or, as Gateway time American men and women were providing Pundit said, a toilet bowl? Did the DNC actually pay hundreds of millions of dollars of aid and assistance to money for this? To top it all off, Kaine, while the flood-stricken Islamic Republic of Pakistan – during candidates Boucher and Nye can’t say there word Ramadan – our media was fixated on a fire fetish. “independent” fast enough, is encouraging Democrats Was Anderson Cooper ever on the banks of the Indus to be proud of their accomplishments, like: River? On top of it all, a young Afghan lost his life over cap-and-trade, the stimulus, Obamacare, a $13 trillion protests turned violent over the mere hint the sacred debt, etc….please, Kaine, don't stop talking from now book would see heat. As Allahpundit wrote, now that through Election Day. the episode is over, we return you to your regularly scheduled beheadings, suicide bombings, and honor killings. * State computer woes Reboot. * Rick Boucher’s new car Using campaign money for a new Ford SUV? Proof that Boucher has spent way too much time in the beltway. Not only is it unethical, but he’s alienating his liberal base by purchasing an SUV and not from Government Motors no less!
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The November Election Is About Two Opposing Approaches for America By Congressman Eric Cantor Taxes? With President Obama and Speaker Pelosi clinging to their pledge to raise rates on Jan.1, roughly half of all small business income in America is in the Is it an ever-expanding government that seeks more crosshairs of an impendand more control over the economy and our destinies ing tax hike. Small through excessive regulation, higher taxation, wealth businesses, investors redistribution and the penalization of success? Or is it and other job creators a limited government that inspires economic growth are told to fork over and job creation through the promotion of more money to entrepreneurship, individual opportunity and free Washington, while the markets? federal government drums up new ways to The first approach represents a radical departure from spend it. A recent study by the Heritage Foundation the American way; but in reality, it’s nothing new. In reported that the tax hikes would cost Virginia 18,422 fact, it was the primary governing philosophy across jobs annually. the Atlantic during the second half of the Twentieth Century, leading to structurally lower European Stimulus? Instead of cutting taxes on small businesses, economic growth and employment. the government haphazardly pumped hundreds of billions of dollars into the economy, much of it to Meanwhile, the second approach is responsible for achieve political and social – rather than strictly propelling the United States to become the most economic – goals. Putting government in the business productive and innovative nation of all time. In of picking winners and losers in the economy is a America, we wagered that with a quality education hopelessly inefficient way to create jobs. and incentives for hard work and responsible risk On November 2nd voters in Virginia and across the country, will be able to choose between two contrasting visions. As Americans make their decision, I urge them to consider the following question: What kind of government works for America?
taking, our people would reach their full potential and generate unprecedented sums of national wealth for Financial Regulation? In the 21st Century, attracting foreign investment means more jobs at home. As the benefit of all. international competition for capital investment heats up, America has passed a 2,000-plus page regime Over the past two years, America has moved of cumbersome new financial regulations. If the bill’s inexorably away from this limited government, freemarket approach. Instead of the relationship between own Congressional writers admittedly don’t know how the regulations will impact our markets, how can we government and the governed flowing from the expect investors around the world to fare any better? bottom up, it’s now increasingly moving from the top-down. Accordingly, the answers to all our ills are dictated not by the restorative abilities of free markets Largely because of the uncertainty spawned by this sweeping agenda, America’s small and large and private industry, but by government decree. businesses simply aren’t creating jobs. Instead of putting their money to work, they therefore sit on the Health care? The government will now force sidelines as the unemployment rate remains stuck at individuals and small businesses to purchase health insurance policies that Washington deems acceptable. 9.6 percent. Volume 1, Number 7 / October 2010
Perhaps more unsettling are the dangers being created over the long term. The explosion of entitlement spending and financial regulations threatens to create an anticompetitive new norm in America in which taxes are permanently higher and the ability to start and grow a business is smothered. Just over one month from now, America has the opportunity to restore balance to American politics. Should we win back one or both chambers of Congress, Republicans will serve as a sorely-needed check on President Obama’s and Speaker Pelosi’s sweeping agenda.
To tell our story of the past two years – and to share our vision for the future – Reps. Paul Ryan (WI), Kevin McCarthy (CA) and I released a book in September, “Young Guns: A New Generation of Conservative Leaders.” The three of us started the Young Guns movement to support energetic candidates determined to be a part of a movement to take the country back. This cycle, we are backing 77 Young Guns, including four excellent challengers from Virginia: Scott Rigell (VA-2), Morgan Griffith (VA-9), Robert Hurt (VA-5) and Keith Fimian (VA-11).
House Republicans understand that our country has veered dangerously off track and is in need of fresh leadership. The severe economic downturn may have Led by a new generation of leaders, our party drew a firm line against wasteful spending and the growth of left America wounded, but our spirit remains strong. government over the past two years. On the stimulus When faced with challenges, the American people have constantly proven that we can be resilient and and health care bills, the two defining votes of the current Congress, our caucus yielded zero and one yes surmount any challenges in our path. vote, respectively. It was a clear indication that we were prepared to turn the page on our party’s failures Innovation. Reward for hard work. Entrepreneurship. Self-sufficiency. Opportunity. These are the values during our previous stint in the majority. that America is built on. And these are the values that We also presented America with alternatives to every must be tapped into – not eschewed – for us to preserve another century of American moral and major initiative passed by the majority. These proposals established the contours of the GOP’s plan economic leadership. to move America forward. It is a vision rooted in fiscal restraint, limited government and free enterprise. Last month, in Sterling, VA, House Republicans released the “Pledge to America,” a commitment that offers concrete solutions to immediately tackle the issues facing our country, including job creation, spending restraint, national security, health care, and reforming government. Under a Republican Congress, America’s job creators will gain the confidence in the tax and regulatory structure that they need to get back in the game. By ending the federal spending binge, we will allow small businesses and investors to keep more of their money so that they can provide true stimulus and lasting growth to the economy.
Congressman Cantor represents Virginia’s 7th Congressional District and serves as the Republican Whip for the 111th Congress.
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The Haunted Places of Virginia By Michael R. Fletcher
The State Capitol Looking for the paranormal as All Hallows Eve approaches? Virginia is rich in history and culture and likewise, she’s rich in ghost lore. Take a look at some In 1870, the second story of the Virginia State Capitol collapsed into the General Assembly chambers. Sixty of the more public haunts of Virginia ghosts. people died in the collapse. It has been reported that Richmond in the chill of night one can hear the sound of the walls crashing down with people screaming and The Executive Mansion begging for mercy. Right at home with the Governor, there’s the Gray Lady of the Executive Mansion. According to legend, this lady died in the late 1800s in a carriage accident on the way home from a party in the Executive Mansion. She must have enjoyed herself in the Governor’s company because she took up residence in his house. The first reported sighting was by Governor Philip McKinney in the early 1890s. A Capitol police officer reportedly saw the woman standing at an upstairs window in room closed to the public. When he confronted her in the room, she disappeared. Former First Lady Anne Holton reports that when her father Linwood Holton was Governor mysterious things took place. After Hurricane Agnes left the mansion without power, Governor Holton said that several of the paintings in his bedroom were moved without explanation. Holton’s son-in-law Tim Kaine has reported that while he was Governor at the same “inconvenient time” each week, the telephone would ring in the family quarters. When he answered, no one was on the other line.
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Charlottesville Monticello Near Charlottesville, it seems that another former Governor of the Commonwealth may be doing some haunting of his own. The story is that Jefferson never actually left Monticello. To this day people have claimed that they’ve either seen him, or heard him whistling while walking the grounds. Lexington Virginia Military Institute At the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, a bronze statue by Moses Ezekiel, Virginia Mourning for Her Dead, reportedly moans and cries. Cadets have claimed to see tears streaming down her face. The story is that the statue is mourning the teenage cadets who perished in the Civil War Battle of New Market. Virginia Mourning for Her Dead
Nearby in the Jackson family cemetery lie the remains of Stonewall Jackson, with the exception of his arm. His arm, amputated after Jackson was wounded in the Battle of Chancellorsville is buried some 130 miles away. Six days later, Jackson died and was buried in Lexington. A woman can be seen weeping and wandering the Jackson family cemetery.
Martha Washington Inn
In Southwest Virginia the Martha Washington Inn in Abingdon is a favorite. Over the last 174 years, the building has served as an upscale women's college, a Civil War hospital and barracks, and as a residence for visiting actors of the Barter Theatre.
The home of Nathaniel Bacon has a fiery ghost of its own. Years after Bacon’s death, and just prior to the Civil War, poet Sidney Lanier courted Virginia Hankins in this location. The war separated them but for years they would send each other love poems. The story has it that their love burns on at Bacon’s Castle and that it can be seen in an orange ball of warm light that forms over the house, circles over the Old Brick Church and then returns to enter the house.
In years past, the desire to stay in the ghost’s favorite room garnered an extra charge. It seems that during the Civil War, while the building was still Martha Washington College and serving as a hospital, a Yankee officer, named Captain John Stoves was severely wounded and captured. He was brought through a system of underground caves up through to the room that is now Room 403 in the Inn. His nurse, Beth, care for him for weeks and in the process fell in love with him. Just after he died, a Confederate officer came to claim Captain Stoves as a prisoner. Beth reportedly responded "He has The Martha Washington Inn been pardoned by an officer higher than General Lee. Captain Stoves is dead." A few weeks later Beth died from typhoid fever. Students at the college as well as employees and guests of the Inn have reported hearing Beth play her violin for her soldier. She’s been known to visit with him in Room 403. Stratford Stratford Hall The birthplace of Robert E. Lee and the ancestral home of the Lee family is said to be haunted by the presence of Lee’s wife. Reportedly her bed can be neatly made, if one leaves the room and comes back; it’s obvious that a woman has been seated on the bed. In the sitting room there is a picture of a woman in a black dress. She’s been known to be seen coming down the stairs.
Fredericksburg Chatham Manor Chatham Manor was originally built in 1771 by William Fitzhugh. The house was named after William Pitt, the Earl of Chatham and a school friend of William Fitzhugh. As a young girl from England she was sent to Chatham by her father, a friend of Fitzhugh because her father did not approve of the man she loved. But the young man followed her to Virginia where they secretly planned to elope. But their plans were discovered and the young man arrested. The young woman was sent home to England where she vowed to return. She was first seen back at Chatham on the day she died in 1790. Once every seven years between noon and midnight, she walks the path down to the river where her lover was supposed to meet her. These few stories merely touch the surface of Virginia’s cobweb laced history of paranormal activity. Whether fact or fiction they add to the richness of Virginia’s history and heritage.
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ABC, Easy as . . . The Politics of Liquor Privatization are Messy, but Manageable By D.J. McGuire Last month, Governor Bob McDonnell announced his plan to get the government out of the hard liquor business and raise nearly half a billion dollars for roads along the way. His plan met with opposition from the usual suspects, and criticism from some unusual quarters. Practically no one in the legislature has been willing to endorse the plan as is. On the surface, it looked like a bad start, but first impressions can be deceiving. All in all, the odds are still good that come November, the special session the Governor is expected call for this issue will pass privatization in some form. The Governor and his supporters are fairly sure that their plan is the best. In their eyes, it accomplishes several things at once. Among them . . . Ÿ Ending a near-century-long government ownership of the retail and wholesale liquor industries – no small feat when one considers how difficult it is to end any government program, no matter how small, inconsequential, or overcome by events Ÿ Providing a shot in the arm for road building with $458 million in funds from license bids and the sale of ABC property – and while the details are a bit numbing, there is reason to believe the Administration is actually underestimating the revenue here Ÿ Nearly achieving “revenue neutrality,” i.e., creating an array of “fees” that ensure the revenue flow that came from the government liquor monopoly is not diminished – an apparently critical demand of legislators in both parties Ÿ Avoiding any tax increases Expected opposition is gearing up to derail the first (and perhaps only) major McDonnell initiative. Opposition from the Center-Left On the left, where moving anything from the public sector to the private sector is frowned upon, the transportation angle is prominent. Many Democrats, who have been looking for a tax increase to fund Volume 1, Number 7 / October 2010
Image Credit: Riley at VirginiaVirtucon.com
roads ever since Governor Warner’s attempt to baitand-switch Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads to backfill his transportation cuts with tax hikes fell flat, are seizing upon this debate to push for a gas-tax hike. This is no surprise; Democrats in the legislature have been pushing for a hike in the gas tax since at least 2005 – until October, when suddenly the proximity to Election Day has them running away from their normal predilections on taxes and spending. Expect nothing different this year. Democrats are also using the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” defense – in effect, viewing ABC through the government-program lens and declaring it a success. Again, this is no surprise, the Democrats and their liberal allies almost always look to the government first. Those who consider liquor a product like any other are more skeptical of the notion that a government-run monopoly is best for consumers or taxpayers.
Opposition from the Bean Counters One offshoot of this argument that is getting more traction is the revenue issue. In order to head off a Republican revolt over new taxes in the plan (more on that later), the Governor removed three different taxes – a 1.5% on alcohol sales in grocery stores, restaurants, and other non-liquor stores (that one was junked before the plan was even released, but not before being leaked to the Washington Post, which created much confusion and anguish), a 2.5% “optional convenience fee” for the privilege of getting their alcohol directly from a wholesaler, and a 1% gross-receipts tax on said wholesalers. Thus, the proposal has already moved off on of its central points – revenue neutrality – by roughly $47 million a year. Now, $20 million is less than 0.25% of the annual Virginia budget, but any number greater than “zero” is being condemned by Democrat and RINO alike. Legislators in both parties are skittish about the fact that revenue will not quite be what it is under the government monopoly. Granted, the notion of a government wringing monopoly profits out of a competitive marketplace would seem bizarre to anyone with a decent knowledge of economics, but politics and economics don’t mix nearly as well and many would hope. Opposition from the Right Meanwhile, some Republicans are concerned about the demon rum itself. Delegate Bobby Orrock – an eleven-term Republican – had this say to the Free Lance-Star about the liquor business: “There is a reason the commonwealth decided to go down this
road . . . we may not want the functions of free enterprise and capitalism and maximizing the sale of the product.” Of course, the “reason” had more to do with what ABC was replacing – a complete ban on liquor in Virginia since World War I. Moreover, in the time since ABC was put in place, tobacco has gone from a widely accepting recreational drug to a deeply reviled scourge in much of the nation (and even in Virginia), and pharmacists have been dispensing medicines with far more impairment possibilities (say, Percocet) or potential for addition (such as Oxycontin). One need not be overly dramatic or paranoid to wonder if Orrock’s “road” would lead to government takeover of tobacco or prescription drugs. Thus, the Administration is fighting on three fronts. That would explain why things don’t seem to be going well at the moment. However, that could – and almost certainly will – change dramatically as the special session approaches. Here’s why: Ÿ The low difference in revenue: As mentioned above, The privatization plan is only $47 million short of the hallowed “revenue neutrality.” That may sound like a lot, but it’s less then ¼% of what the Commonwealth spends annually. There is already enough undesignated surplus from the FY08-10 biennium (over $70 million) to cover that for a year and a half. That’s after the state employee bonus, mandated rainy-day fund contribution, etc.
Continued on Page 14
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ABC, Easy as . . . Continued from Page 14 Ÿ McDonnell’s flexibility: Also as noted above, McDonnell has made three changes to the plan already. Some would consider that a sign of weakness and inconsistency, but odds are the Governor’s willingness to adapt is what’s more important here. The lesson comes from McDonnell’s predecessor, Tim Kaine, who called a special session on transportation in the summer of 2008 in an attempt to browbeat Republicans into supporting his tax increases. By the time the session ended, no taxes were raised; the Virginia GOP was more united than it had been in half a dozen years; the Democrats were dazed; and Kaine had a large helping of egg on his face. McDonnell himself has cited that special session as an example of something he wants to avoid. Ÿ The intervening election: The Governor made it clear he won’t call the special session until after the November elections. As it currently stands, the GOP is looking to make major gains based on taxpayer revolt against the Obama Administration’s increased government spending, regulation, and intervention. A “wave election” against Republicans in 2006 spooked Richmond Republicans into backing tax increases for transportation as part of the now infamous HB3202. Democrats, facing a similar thumping nationwide and in Virginia’s Congressional elections, may decide getting the government out of the liquor business is not a fight worth their already fragile State Senate majority.
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Lest we forget, President Ronald Reagan’s biggest domestic achievements were more bipartisan than either party would like us to believe. In 1981, the Democrats actually proposed reducing the top tax rate to 50% (a giddy President Reagan “accepted” it); five years later, Reagan worked with House Democrats (including, famously, Dan “Rusty” Rostenkowski) and Senators of both parties to enact major tax reform. If the Governor is willing to be flexible on taxes, “revenue neutrality” and spreading credit around, he could get plenty of help – even from current critics who will be forgotten years or decades from now when McDonnell is praised by historians for actually managing to get government out of a marketplace.
The Shifting Balance of Power Will Virginia help the GOP retake Congress? This month Bearing Drift sent an identical questionnaire to four Virginia GOP Congressional candidates: Scott Rigell, Robert Hurt, Keith Fimian, and Morgan Griffith. Each candidate is in the midst of winnable races in districts with very different dynamics. As these challengers battle to be Congressmen, where they stand on key issues will help voters make up their minds. We have provided their answers to these issues, exclusively in Bearing Drift Magazine. Scott Rigell is the Republican congressional nominee for Virginia’s 2nd District. A successful businessman, this is Rigell’s first attempt at elected office. In a heated primary he defeated five other candidates who eagerly vied for the right to take on the vulnerable Rep. Glenn Nye (D). The race for this seat is being watched all across the country and will most likely come down to the wire, with both candidates needing significant resources to compete. State Senator Robert Hurt (R-16) is running against 5th District freshman incumbent Rep. Tom Perriello. After Perriello shocked the country by defeating longtime Rep. Virgil Goode, this seat is among one of the best opportunities to flip back to the Republican column. A recent News 7 Survey USA poll put the incumbent down 61 to 35 percent but Hurt continues to run like he’s the underdog.
Delegate Morgan Griffith (R-8) has perhaps the most difficult task in his bid to unseat Rep. Rick Boucher, a member of Congress for the 9th district since 1982. Although the 9th is conservative when it comes to statewide and national races, Boucher has an uncanny ability to remain in office. With Boucher facing his toughest challenge in a considerable amount of time combined with a great year to be a conservative, Griffith has a chance to take this seat. Keith Fimian is in the midst of a rematch with Rep. Gerry Connolly in the 11th District. With the climate of the country and this district light-years from where it was in 2008, this is a very competitive race. There haven’t been many independent polls on this race but the strategies of the campaigns seem to indicate it’s very close. While Fimian has centered his entire campaign around the economy, Connolly has run away from his record while attempting to paint Fimian as a right-wing extremist. On the following pages are the responses provided by each candidate. BearingDrift.com / Page 15
Decision Rigell 2010 Scott 2nd Congressional District BD: With unemployment nationally approaching double digits and other economic indicators showing a long-term recession, what actions do you support to create jobs, growth, and opportunity? Rigell: “We have to replace the current economic environment; it is the enemy of job creation. We can take deliberate Photo: Rigell for Congress steps to give confidence to the greatest job producing BD: Is the national debt a problem? If so, what solutions engine the world has ever known –that is the American entrepreneur and small business owner. We need to make do you propose to create budget surpluses and pay off the sure that we do not have a massive tax increase on January debt? If you do not believe it is a problem, why not? Rigell: “I share the view of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral 1st. I am a strong proponent of extending all of the tax Mike Mullen, who recently said that the interest on the reductions that were made some years ago. We need to national debt represents the number one threat to our make our regulations smarter and, in general, lighter. A national security. That is an alarming statement. Our top great example off the coast of Virginia is wind farms. We military officer is not speaking of weapons systems or China have a wonderful opportunity to create great paying jobs or any other threat like that, but about the inability of in the Second District and move forward with a greater Congress to balance our budget. Without question, the source of energy. We need to speed up the approval process. It takes nine years to get approval for a wind farm national debt is a threat. I have been saying this for the past in the United States, in Britain, it only takes two years. We year and a half. In fact, it is what compelled me to get in the race above all else. I am deeply concerned about where have basically regulated ourselves out of the entrepreour country is headed. neurial spirit in America.” BD: What measures will you take to balance energy and the environment? Name specific measures you support to promote energy independence. Rigell: “We have a moral obligation to leave our children with clean air, clean water and clean soil. We also have an obligation in order to secure America’s future. We need to move forward to true energy independence. I do not see those two principals being in conflict; I think they are complementary. I support the full spectrum of energy resources. We need to speed up the approval and permitting process when it comes to nuclear and wind. We haven’t built a nuclear plant in 30 years; we need to move forward in a responsible way with nuclear power. We also need to move forward with offshore drilling once we learn the lesson from what happened in the Gulf. Offshore exploration should continue once those lessons are learned and we feel confident that we have the equipment, the processes, the training and the contingency plans in place to fully safeguard human life and our environment. “Solar, wind, tidal, biomass and other alternative energy sources present a great amount of potential. The full spectrum needs to be explored. Each one will develop at a different rate; therefore we need to make sure that we are moving forward on all of them.”
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“A practical step for me to take from the beginning is a hiring freeze at the federal level. We need to let natural attrition begin to shrink the size of government. It does not require laying anyone off. Natural retirement and resignations will reduce the size of government over time. We need to get back to our 2008 spending levels; that alone would go a long to putting us on a path to fiscal stability, which is essential to give confidence to our entrepreneurs. Small business owners need to know that interest rates are not going to skyrocket because of an excessive amount of debt. We also need to look at the tremendous amount of abuse and fraud in different departments; we need to have a targeted, business-like approach to reducing that in all of our federal departments, and work together in a responsible way to get our spending in line.” BD: Will you do anything to change health care? If yes, what do you propose? If not, what will the American people learn about the current system to like? Rigell: “Unlike our freshman incumbent, who admitted under pressure at a debate that he would not vote to repeal health care legislation, I would. That’s a clear contrast between the incumbent and me. I would have worked and would work now with the President on the matters that I think we could agree upon. We need to have
Virtually every branch of the federal government is growing with one notable exception: the Department of Defense. The growth of federal spending on domestic programs is now leading to cuts in defense. This is unacceptable! the ability to shop insurance across state lines. I know as a business owner, some-times we only get sometimes two bids per year, and that just doesn’t make any sense. You do not really have competition when you have just two insurance bids per year. We need to allow insurance companies to work across state lines. I am a big believer in engaging the consumer in the delivery, the pricing, and the cost of health insurance. Medical savings accounts are a practical way to do that. This is one of the only areas in our lives where we are disconnected from the price of something. We just pay the price, but we are disconnected with the actual cost of services. Just like in the auto business, it would be very helpful if we had a pricing of services on the internet by physicians, so that people can shop prices with other offices. We do that with virtually every other product that we buy.” BD: What measures will you take in Congress to curb the flow of illegal immigration? Rigell: “The first step is to secure the borders; this is a critical matter. It’s a matter of national security. A porous border, as we have now, does allow for people who intend harm to the United States to travel across the border and potentially do harm to Americans and our national interests on our own soil. We need to bolster our security across the border, particularly the one in the south as well as the north. We need to ensure that terrorists can’t travel freely. We have to stop that. I also believe that we need to reduce the incentive by actually raising the penalties against companies who knowingly hire illegals. We should increase those penalties by 25 percent. At the same time, we need to provide what I refer to as a safe harbor for employers who are doing the right thing, and who want to comply with the law. We need to give them the practical steps to ensure, that if they meet all the standards that they are not going to be prosecuted if they hire someone and later find that employee to be an illegal immigrant.”
uniform the best equipment, the best training, the best leadership, and the best care. We need to have the most robust and fully funded FBI on the domestic front and the most robust CIA on the international side and strengthen our human intelligence operations. I believe human intelligence is the key to understand, pre-empt, and prevent terrorist attacks.” BD: What is your reaction to the recent announcements regarding defense cuts, particularly as they affect Virginia? Rigell: “We have seen an unprecedented level of domestic discretionary spending by this United States Congress. Virtually every branch of the federal government is growing with one notable exception: the Department of Defense. The growth of federal spending on domestic programs is now leading to cuts in defense. This is unacceptable! “Representative Nye has failed to protect the major military assets in our region, which will have serious effects on the people of Hampton Roads and the Eastern Shore. He has not shown the leadership that the Second District needs. Our region is could lose well over 15,000 jobs as a result of decisions made during the time Glenn Nye has been in office. These military operations are not only economically beneficial to our area but, more importantly, have consequences that affect the national security of our country. One of the essential functions of our federal government is to protect its citizens. Cutting these vital military programs is not the way to get America on the right track. A healthy national defense is dependent on a robust economy. I will protect the jobs and assets we have now, as well as seek additional opportunities to take advantage of the significant natural and military resources that we have here in the Second District.” Photo: Rigell for Congress
BD: How, in your opinion, is the War on Terror progressing? What would you want the president to do differently regarding the conduct, strategy, and tactics of the war? Rigell: “This is principally being fought in Afghanistan. Our combat operations have been discontinued in Iraq. We will never see a surrender ceremony like we saw in WWII. This is asymmetrical warfare. It is irregular warfare, and it is going to continue for some time. We need to be ever vigilant, and we need to give our men and women in
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Robert Hurt 5th Congressional District BD: With unemployment nationally approaching double digits and other economic indicators showing a long-term recession, what actions do you support to create jobs, growth, and opportunity? Hurt: “Unemployment is already in the double digits in parts of the Fifth District. The stimulus package and BD: Is the national debt a problem? If so, what solutions do you propose to create budget surpluses the health care bill have only made this worse. The and pay off the debt? If you do not believe it is a Cap-and-Trade bill that passed the House with Congressman Perriello’s support would make this bad problem, why not? situation even worse. Small business is the driving Hurt: “I believe the debt that has accumulated in just force behind job creation in our country. They won’t have the tools to create jobs—which in turn will grow the past 21 months is dangerous to both our economy our economy and increase opportunities for all—until and our ability to deal with national security threats. we significantly cut taxes and regulations, cut spending, We need to cut taxes and regulations to grow our economy while cutting spending and reducing the size and seriously address the national debt.” and scope of the federal government.” BD: What measures will you take to balance energy and the environment? Name specific measures you support to promote energy independence. Hurt: “It is the duty of all of us to be good stewards of the earth. I believe this can be done while we access the natural resources we have in abundance across the country by using the most modern technology to find and use domestic energy sources. We need a national energy policy that supports domestic production and focuses on alternative energy sources that are viable in the free market and will not lead to job losses and higher energy rates. I do not support the tax-increasing and job-killing Cap-and-Trade legislation. This isn’t a national energy policy—it is a job-killing national energy tax.”
Photo: Hurt for Congress
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I will be a staunch supporter of military and intelligence efforts to defeat this enemy and the threats they pose to our nation and our allies. BD: Will you do anything to change health care? If yes, what do you propose? If not, what will the American people learn about the current system to like? Hurt: “I will vote to repeal the health care bill. If it cannot be repealed, I will vote to defund it. We need to use free-market solutions to lower the cost of health care, make insurance more affordable, maintain a high quality of care and increase access.”
BD: What is your reaction to the recent announcements regarding defense cuts, particularly as they affect Virginia? Hurt: “I will always support our military. My support for specific policies will be governed by what is best for the national security of the American people.”
BD: What measures will you take in Congress to curb the flow of illegal immigration? Hurt: “We must immediately secure our borders and enforce all existing immigration laws and I will vote to do so. Unsecure borders are a national security issue that the Administration and the Congress have not taken seriously. We need to know who is entering our country and where they are.” BD: How, in your opinion, is the War on Terror progressing? What would you want the president to do differently regarding the conduct, strategy, and tactics of the war? Photo: Hurt for Congress
Hurt: “I certainly have great faith in our military and its ability to both find and engage enemies to our nation and our way of life. My concern lies with the commitment of our leaders who are tasked with dealing with this mission on a daily basis. I worry that political correctness could effect how we prosecute this war. I am also concerned that the level of threat to our country and our way of life is significantly underestimated. “When elected to Congress, I will be a staunch supporter of military and intelligence efforts to defeat this enemy and the threats they pose to our nation and our allies. I do not believe we should set arbitrary withdrawal deadlines.”
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Morgan Griffith 9th Congressional District
BD: With unemployment nationally approaching double digits and other economic indicators showing a long-term recession, what actions do you support to create jobs, growth, and opportunity? Griffith: Congress needs to make job creation its top priority. What too many Democrats and liberals fail to understand it that we cannot tax our way to prosperity. Jobs are not created by taking money from one citizen and giving it to another; jobs are created by people working hard to provide for themselves and their families. Small business is the engine that has created most of the new jobs in America over the last 20 years, and we are not going to bring the unemployment rate down until our government quits punishing success. I support tax cuts to stimulate job growth (and to let people keep more of what they earn) and less regulatory and paperwork demands on small business owners. BD: What measures will you take to balance energy and the environment? Name specific measures you support to promote energy independence. Griffith: A sense of civic responsibility on the part of Americans and a desire to leave a better world to our kids has changed they way we treat our environment. Sensible regulations that balance job creation with protecting the environment are supported by most Americans, and can lead to a better standard of living for all of us. But liberals in our government, and in Congress, are pushing new onerous, job killing regulations and legislation – with severe harm to the economy, and not much gain for our environment. Obama’s Cap and Trade scheme is just the latest illadvised attempt by Washington to regulate us to death. My opponent, Rick Boucher praised Cap and Trade legislation, which he helped write, despite the untold bad effects his bill would have on coal jobs, the cost of gasoline and electric utility rates. BD: Is the national debt a problem? If so, what solutions do you propose to create budget surpluses and pay off the debt? If you do not believe it is a problem, why not?
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Griffith: Yes, the national debt is a problem. Our federal government is now borrowing as much money as it is raising in taxes. It’s not only wrong, it’s immoral –our children will have to repay those debts though higher taxes and a lower standard of living. Worse, the government notes that are being floated to pay for all this spending are being bought by China and others who do not wish us well. The solution is simple, but hard: stop the wasteful spending. Say “No” to new programs until we can get the budget under control. It is hard, but it can be done. I’ve served for 17 years in the Virginia House of Delegates and we have always had a balanced budget. We have had to say no to some worthy programs, and we have had to ask people to make sacrifices, but Virginia is not running into the problems New York, New Jersey, California and Illinois are facing. We need new leadership in Congress that will say “No” to new spending and we need to reform the way Congress writes its budgets. BD: Will you do anything to change health care? If yes, what do you propose? If not, what will the American people learn about the current system to Like? Griffith: Yes, we need to repeal the Obama/Pelosi health care plan. While there are things about our health care system that need to be improved, there is much in the current system that is good. Just ask the Canadians who flock to the US for the health care they cannot get in their own country. Putting aside the constitutional questions this law presents, Obamacare robs billions from Medicare, will force thousands into a government run health insurance program they don’t want, cost the taxpayers billions and lead to a decline in the quality of care. The
Running us all through a metal detector at the airport is no substitute for destroying Al-Qaeda and removing their ability to attack us. We must have victory in the war on terror, or our children will be facing the same threats tomorrow we face today. Obama health plan will significantly increase health care costs for small businesses, forcing them to drop coverage or eliminate jobs to cover the shortfall. We can and ought to enact some sensible reforms to the current system, such as allowing consumers to purchase policies from companies in other states, creating incentives for health savings accounts and developing insurance pools for small businesses. We should create incentives to recreate the Mutual Associations that were the heart and soul of health insurance when the concept was relatively new.
and the best weapons. More, they need our total commitment to their cause, which is our cause too.
BD: What is your reaction to the recent announcements regarding defense cuts, particularly as they affect Virginia? Griffith: The Democrats believe that defense spending is the only part of the budget that can ever be cut. In an increasingly dangerous world, there is no virtue in weakness. If our children are to grow up in safety and freedom, we can trim the face, but we dare not cut the muscle from our military arms. These shortsighted BD: What measures will you take in Congress to curb cuts will weaken us, and will also deal a significant blow the Virginiaâ€™s economy, cutting over 3,000 civilian the flow of illegal immigration? Griffith: We must regain control of our borders. That contractors and redeploying another 2,800 military means completing the fence across the entire Mexican personnel across the country. Virginia has always provided strong leadership on defense matter, and border. We must enforce our laws; at a minimum, played host to a number of key military installations. illegals who break the law need to be deported. The We are proud of our military heritage and our support government should help employers determine the of our fighting men and women. Our Congressional legal status of the workers they employ, and should punish those who knowingly hire illegal aliens, taking delegation needs to fight these cuts, and if elected, I pledge to do so. jobs from American citizens. BD: How, in your opinion, is the War on Terror progressing? What would you want the president to do differently regarding the conduct, strategy, and tactics of the war? Griffith: Radical Islamic fundamentalism is at war with us, but our government doesnâ€™t seem to always recognize that fact. We can certainly do more to assist the FBI and our law enforcement agencies in breaking up and disrupting terrorist inside the US, but we cannot win a defensive war. Running us all through a metal detector at the airport is no substitute for destroying Al-Qaeda and removing their ability to attack us. We must have victory in the war on terror, or our children will be facing the same threats tomorrow we face today. That will mean some sacrifices on our part, and it requires more leadership from our president and Congress than we are getting today. Our troops need our complete and full support, and that means the best training, the best equipment
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Keith Fimian 11th Congressional District BD: With unemployment nationally approaching double digits and other economic indicators showing a long-term recession, what actions do you support to create jobs, growth, and opportunity? Fimian: “The most important thing government can do is create an environment where companies can invest and hire. Reducing uncertainty is critical to creating that environment. There are several promising projects my company would like to pursue, but we simply cannot afford to do it right now given the uncertainty government is creating. Companies are sitting on 25 percent more cash than they were when the recession began precisely because of the uncertain economic conditions we face, and the policies of big spending career politicians like Gerry Connolly are contributing to that uncertainty. Trillions in new spending, hundreds of billions in new taxes, the prospect of massive energy taxes, industry take-overs and mountains of new regulations are all contributing factors.
BD: Is the national debt a problem? If so, what solutions do you propose to create budget surpluses and pay off the debt? If you do not believe it is a problem, why not? Fimian: “The national debt is a very serious problem. This Congress raised the debt limit to $14 trillion. Every child born in 2010 inherits $30,000 in debt. According the Congressional Budget Office, the national debt is 62 percent of GDP only during World “Eliminating the capital gains tax on start-ups, extending War II did it exceed 50 percent. Congress has us on an the 2001 tax cuts due to expire, reducing corporate tax unsustainable course that will lead to massive tax rates to make US companies more globally competitive and increases and a host of other problems that will freezing overall government spending to prevent that dramatically weaken our economy for generations. spending from crowding out private sector investment is a Gerry Connolly and this Congress are bankrupting good place to start. Businesses will begin to invest and hire America. if they aren’t worried about government driving up the cost of doing business.” “A good place to start is getting the budget under control so we stop running up new federal debt. The BD: What measures will you take to balance energy and remainder of programs like stimulus and TARP need to the environment? Name specific measures you support to be returned to the Treasury. We need to begin an audit promote energy independence. of federal agencies and programs to eliminate Fimian: “Establishing energy independence is critical to duplication. We need to undo the trillions in new economic and national security. Our economy is driven by spending that have marked Gerry Connolly’s tenure in energy and we need access to massive, affordable Congress. Another key to balancing the budget and quantities. I support an all-of-the-above energy policy reducing debt is getting the economy growing again. including oil, gas, coal, nuclear, wind, solar, and other Growth is the key to the problems we face.” renewable energy. We cannot be held hostage by rogue regimes because we need the energy they possess. There BD: Will you do anything to change health care? If yes, is plenty of energy right here in the United States that can what do you propose? If not, what will the American be extracted safely and with minimal impact on the people learn about the current system to like? environment. Fimian: “I support repealing it and enacting meaningful reforms with stand alone legislation. Instead of listening to “Our environment is a national treasure and we must the American people and focusing on creating an environprotect it. But economically destructive policies like ment favorable to economic growth and job creation, the cap-and-trade, as Gerry Connolly has supported, will Democrat controlled Congress ignored the economy and do nothing to protect our environment. It will only forged ahead with an ideologically driven agenda designed result in economic ruin for millions of Americans.” to completely remake every aspect of our healthcare
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Congress has us on an unsustainable course that will lead to massive tax increases and a host of other problems that will dramatically weaken our economy for generations. Gerry Connolly and this Congress are bankrupting America. system. In their eagerness to pass “something” they took a “Despite his election year tough talk on illegal immigration, when Gerry Connolly was Chairman of the Fairfax County few good ideas and then loaded the bill down with a Board of Supervisors he voted to spend $400,000 on collection of bad ones. helping illegal immigrants find jobs and said under no circumstance should police check the immigration status of “As the health care debate raged in early 2010, members suspects. of Congress told their constituents they would apply the following tests before voting for any healthcare reform “We must remember that legal immigrants who come here legislation: Will it bring down premiums for families and small businesses? Will it reduce the deficit? Will it protect to work and contribute to our nation should be welcomed, particularly highly educated, highly skilled individuals who their choice of plan and doctor? Will it improve access to can make valuable contributions to our economy. We need care? With its proponents declaring the legislation had to encourage the young, highly educated people that come passed all tests with flying colors, Congress passed this here to study to stay here and contribute to our economy. 2,300 page bill. I support increasing the number of work visas available for people that can contribute to growing the economy.” “The reality is it flunks those tests and the bill itself is causing more problems than it claims to solve. It will cause BD: How, in your opinion, is the War on Terror progressing? premiums to rise 10 to 13 percent for individuals. ManWhat would you want the president to do differently dates will force Americans to buy health insurance and regarding the conduct, strategy, and tactics of the war? penalize individuals and businesses that do not. The bill Fimian: “Our military, intelligence community, and law already costs a trillion dollars. It was constructed to hide enforcement agencies deserve a tremendous amount of costs and pass billions more onto the states. Virginia is credit for preventing terrorist attacks in the United States facing a several billion dollar increase in Medicaid in the since 9/11. Al Qaeda is still formidable and regrouping in coming years because the healthcare bill forces so many Yemen and Africa. We are facing stiff opposition from additional people into the program. The result will be major cuts to education, transportation, public safety and Islamic extremists in Afghanistan. I think the conduct, other state services. The bill also threatens healthcare for strategy and tactics of our efforts are best left to military seniors by slashing $500 billion from Medicare and threat- and intelligence community leaders. We have an excellent leader in General Petraeus in Afghanistan and I trust his ens patient choice by slashing Medicare reimbursement judgment.” rates and driving doctors from the profession. BD: What is your reaction to the recent announcements regarding defense cuts, particularly as they affect Virginia? Fimian: “I am supportive of efforts to find cost savings across government, particularly finding areas where things can be done more efficiently. But I oppose across the board BD: What measures will you take in Congress to curb the slashing of budgets. We need to make smart decisions that bring down costs and save money without threatening flow of illegal immigration? quality of essential services like defense. In the case Fimian: “I believe in the rule of law and I am 100 percent of defense cuts, we must ensure these cuts do not threaten opposed to illegal immigration. We need to secure our national security. I look forward to seeing more specifics borders for security and economic reasons. We need to build a physical and virtual wall. People who want to come regarding the cuts from Secretary Gates. I want federal contractors to know I will advocate for them in Congress. here must follow the rules. I oppose amnesty for those who have broken the law by entering our country illegally. Federal contracting powers Northern Virginia’s economy. Out-of-control spending championed by people like Gerry When someone is arrested for committing a crime, the police should check their immigration status and turn them Connolly jeopardized the contracting industry just like it jeopardizes everything else. In-sourcing is a major threat over to Federal authorities. We must be tough on those to government contractors and I oppose it.” who break our laws. “I support reforms including increasing portability, strengthening health savings accounts, allowing the purchase of insurance across state lines, and tort reform to stop frivolous lawsuits from driving up costs.”
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Robert Hurt’s “Peach Revolution” by Jason W. Johnson Something very significant is occurring in Virginia’s 5th Congressional District. Just as Ukraine had its Orange Revolution, the 5th District is currently experiencing something of a “Peach Revolution”— a dramatic, nonviolent, ideological shift fueled by Republicans, as well as many independents and even some disaffected Democrats who, like their counterparts around the United States, have grown frustrated with the deficits and the excessive spending of the Obama-Pelosi-Reid Democrats. Fairly or not, Rep. Tom Perriello has become the personification of the national Democratic agenda and, as such, the focus of voter anger. When Rep. Perriello shocked the nation by unseating the iconic Virgil Goode, he was feted by his party’s leadership as a prime example of the type of Democrat that can compete and win in the nation’s reddest districts. Since then, despite his reputation as an adroit politician—one who can champion unpopular, liberal legislation like the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act while also touting his fiscal conservatism, pro-life convictions and support for Second Amendment issues—Tom Perriello remains one of the nation’s most vulnerable incumbents. Rep. Perriello is fighting back, emphasizing his more conservative traits, but it might be too little too late as Sen. Hurt’s “Peach Revolution” is slowly enveloping the 5th Congressional District and, in the process, complicating Rep. Perriello’s path to a second term in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Traditionally, “revolution” in its political sense, is defined as a radical departure from or renunciation of the existing political system. As evidenced by the large, enthusiastic crowd cheering Sen. Hurt, a similar radical, ideological shift may be occurring in the 5th District. Rep. Perriello frequently touts the benefits the district has accrued from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act during public appearances and television ads, as well as praises the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA); however, according to a poll conducted in July for the American Action Forum, only 37 percent of 5th District voters supported the PPACA. Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s approval ratings are even lower. If 5th District voters were ever open to the Democratic agenda, they appear to be turning against it now, as concerns arise about the long-term consequences of such spending and the seemingly unstoppable march of federal power into realms previously reserved for states, localities and individuals. That is why the lament of one Nelson County orchard-owner is becoming a poignant symbol of the Perriello-Hurt race.
On a recent Sunday afternoon, approximately 100 people waited patiently in the mid-September heat to welcome Sen. Robert Hurt to the Smith Mountain Lake community of White House. Sen. Hurt was coming to officially open the Republican Party of Bedford’s Smith Mountain Lake Satellite Headquarters. When the senator finally arrived, he mingled with visitors as he worked his way toward the porch, an eclectic mix of patriotic standards and Bruce Springsteen anthems playing in the background. Wielding an over-sized pair of scissors with which to cut the ribbon that blocked the entrance to the new satellite headquarters, Sen. Hurt told the upbeat crowd that he wanted to take these scissors to Washington to cut spending. The crowd erupted as someone in a position to stand up to congressional leaders verbalized what they had been saying for months.
Back on the porch of the Smith Mountain Lake Satellite Headquarters, Sen. Hurt tells a story that has become familiar to anyone who has heard the senator’s stump speech on multiple occasions. During the primary campaign, Sen. Hurt visited a family-operated orchard in Nelson County. Near the end of the tour, the orchard owner recited a laundry list of state and federal agencies that regulate his orchard. Finally, he pled for help: “Mr. Hurt, every minute I spend complying with all of these regulations is one minute I can’t spend doing what God put me on this earth to do: grow peaches.” This anecdote may seem cheesy, but its underlying message seems to resonate with every crowd Sen. Hurt addresses—especially the district’s small-business owners—who generally applaud loudly. The angst expressed by this orchard owner and thousands of other Virginians may well become the defining issue in the 5th District race.
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Photo: Hurt for Congress
One individual applauding loudly was William Hatcher, a retired insurance agent from Huddleston. Other than voting, Mr. Hatcher has never been involved in politics before this year, but, concerned by the direction President Obama and congressional Democrats appear to be taking the nation, Mr. Hatcher could no longer stay on the sidelines. He was impressed by Sen. Hurt’s speech: “He appeared very articulate in his speech. He very well understood the issues our region faces. He also seems like a very intelligent man and he shares our Christian values; that’s very important to me.” Mr. Hatcher’s glowing assessment of Sen. Hurt was not shared by all attendees, however. One anonymous conservative activist lamented that Sen. Hurt appears too nice to win a high-stakes campaign like this and this individual’s concern is not without merit: even though momentum appears to be in Sen. Hurt’s favor, Rep. Perriello is waging a tough, twofront battle for his job. First, he is trying to define the significantly less-well-known Robert Hurt as a lobbyist loving, outsourcing supporting, Social Security privatizer. Second, in a series of public town halls, Rep. Perriello is showcasing his moderation (sometimes echoing conservative themes) to emphasize that he is not an Obama-Pelosi Democrat. Sen. Hurt has heretofore refused to directly address Rep. Perriello’s characterization in his ads (the National Republican Congressional Committee has). Instead, Sen. Hurt’s ads have introduced himself to the district as a man with roots in the 5th District and have criticized the missteps of the Obama-Pelosi Democrats. Perhaps Sen. Hurt will not need a killer instinct in 2010 to retire Rep. Perriello; despite the incumbent’s attacks, Sen. Hurt has actually increased his lead over Rep. Perriello, according to the most recent SurveyUSA poll of the 5th District race.
The one wildcard that remains is the independent candidacy of Jeffrey Clark, a business owner and Tea Party activist from Danville. After the extremely contentious Republican primary, some observers expected supporters of second-place finisher Jim McKelvey to line up behind Mr. Clark. This support does not appear to have materialized; it seems even less likely since Mr. McKelvey endorsed Sen. Hurt last July. SurveyUSA’s poll of the race shows Mr. Clark holding the support of only two percent of the district’s voters. Although anything can happen before the polls close on November 2nd, it would appear that Sen. Hurt has become the unquestionable standard-bearer for the conservative movement in the 5th District. Many 5th District voters seem to like Sen. Hurt on a personal level, but his support is not predicated on any cult of personality. Frustrated voters, like the orchard owner from Nelson County and William Hatcher, are drawn to Sen. Hurt because, when he says “I believe the debt that has accumulated in just the past 21 months is dangerous…. We need to cut taxes and regulations to grow our economy while cutting spending and reducing the size and scope of the federal government” he is saying what they have wanted their congressional representative to say for the past two years. Sen. Hurt is but the public face of a Peach Revolution that is sweeping the 5th District and may, if current trends hold, sweep the nation on November 2nd.
Photo: Hurt for Congress
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Can the 8th retire Jim Moran? by Josh St. Louis In the past two decades, Virginia’s 8th Congressional district has always had a sour relationship with the Republican Party. However, the 1980s and early 1990s, Stan Parris, a Republican, held the district with comfortable margins. Yet in 1990, the Alexandria Mayor Jim Moran won after campaigning on the economy. Since then, the district was redistricted into what many people would call a “Democratic dumping ground.” Indeed, saying that the district is Democratic is an understatement, as the district is a D +16 on the Cook PVI. Despite this fact, year after year, Republicans line up to take on Jim Moran, who in recent years has had his fare share of ethical problems. Mr. Moran has been involved in many conflicts of interest dealing with donations to his campaign, as well has a history of making egregious statements, such as blaming the Iraq War on the Jews or yelling at voters during a town hall. Even though Jim Moran has had his far share of problems, he continues to be an electoral powerhouse. In 2008, he won with his largest margin of victory yet, winning with 67.94% of the vote, compared to Mark Ellmore’s 29.68%. Even in 2009, when Bob McDonnell won the state with a 58.61% margin, the Governor only received 38.7% of the vote in the district, compared to Creigh Deed’s 61.09%. So what does this mean for 2010? Well, it does not look good for GOP nominee Patrick Murray. While many Republicans across the country are running on a platform of less Federal spending, Murray has to find the balance of that message with the residents of the district, many of whom work for the Federal Government. In fact, Arlington’s unemployment rate is roughly 4%, a lot lower than the national average of 9%. While the 2010 Republican primary was rather divisive, turnout in the GOP primary in June was astronomical, doubling the turnout of the Democratic primary held Volume 1, Number 7 / October 2010
in 2008 and far outpacing the GOP primary turnout in 2008. Along with this, the 8th District Republican committee has launched RetireJimMoran.com, a website that shows all of Moran’s record, including his policy votes, as well as his various outbursts. Murray does have a few things going for him. He continues to hold fundraisers with big GOP stars, including Ken Cuccinelli, George Allen, and John McCain. While his fundraising numbers during the summer were not at all impressive, it does appear that he is doing better this fall. Murray’s resume includes military service, having served tours in Iraq, Kosovo, Bosnia, Serbia and Russia. With roughly 800,000 veterans in the district, as well as many DOD workers residing in the district, Murray has been consistently using his military experience as a means to getting elected. With the “anything’s possible” attitude of 2010, it remains to be seen what will lays ahead for Patrick Murray. Given past performances of the GOP in the 8th district, many Republicans are holding their breath to see what happens. Patrick Murray could not be reached for comment.
Why the 10th will send Frank Wolf back to Congress By DCH Virginia's tenth congressional district consists of jurisdictions in the northern tip of the Commonwealth. Stretching from Western Fairfax County to Winchester, his congressional office spearheaded collections for Loudoun County is the population center of the district. the Capitol Area food bank and he has secured appropriations to help keep the Good Shepherd The Tenth has been represented by Frank Wolf since Alliance, the area's non-profit homeless shelter open. 1981. With nearly thirty years of service, Wolf is Virginia's most senior member of the House of Wolf's recent challengers have been unsuccessful in Representatives. His career path included a Political their attempts to paint the Congressman as "out-ofScience undergraduate degree, Georgetown Law touch" with his increasingly purple district. In 2004, he School, and the U.S. Army Reserves. He served as a faced the very well-funded James Socas, whom Wolf military attorney before becoming a Legislative was successfully able to paint as a "carpetbagger" from Assistant for a member of the Congress, and then an California. In 2006 and 2008, Wolf faced another longassistant to the Secretary of the Interior. Wolf lost time Northern Virginian, Judy Feder. As a full-time three races for the 10th district's congressional seat professor and veteran of the Clinton Administration, before being swept into office along with Ronald Feder's politics were on the record and Wolf Reagan. successfully argued that she was too far left for the tenth district. Like his district, Wolf is something of a political moderate. He is especially known for his international Wolf's current challenger, Jeff Barnett, has been called advocacy for human rights, particularly bringing a "Jim Webb" type of candidate and fits the candidate attention to the plight of suffering members of recruitment profile that Democrats have been seeking religious minority groups and pressuring the state in Virginia's Republican districts. Colonel Barnett department to engage on their behalf. He is a reliable retired from the Air Force after a distinguished career conservative vote on social issues like abortion and and went to work for one of the nation's leading traditional marriage but has allowed his colleagues to defense contractors. His father was in the Air Force take the lead on such issues. Fiscally, he supported the and now both of Barnett's children are also in the Wall Street Bailout but opposed Obamacare. As "dean" military; his daughter is currently deployed to of the Virginia delegation and an influential member of Afghanistan. Barnett's campaign has included a six day the Appropriations Committee, Wolf has been very walk across the congressional district and a series of effective in bringing funds back to the tenth district for poorly attended town hall meetings. transportation, public safety and natural resource preservation. His leading deficit reduction idea is the Wolf and Barnett have two joint appearances establishment of a bi-partisan "SAFE Commission" to scheduled: one debate and one forum. The libertarian reform the tax code and recommend changes to candidate in the race, Bill Redpath, has already Congress for an "up or down" vote. Americans for Tax debated Barnett at a Tea Party sponsored event, which Reform has criticized this concept as "extremely likely Wolf did not attend. to result in a recommendation for a massive and permanent tax hike." In another year, Barnett might have a chance to cut into Wolf's usually strong re-election numbers. This Within the district, Wolf is known for strong constiyear, the tenth district is not considered competitive tuent service. He is also a reliable community partner, and Wolf may even be in the majority in the 112th assisting local charities that help the needy. This year, Congress. BearingDrift.com / Page 27
Leaves are falling, campaign signs are rising...
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Signs and Shenanigans Across the Commonwealth
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More than Congress – Watch the Gubernatorial elections in 2010 Mike Schrimpf of the Republican Governors’ Association explains why this year’s gubernatorial elections matter By J.R. Hoeft While the congressional campaign has been dominating headlines (and consuming our own interest here in Virginia), there are 37 current races for governor that will have a significant impact on the political landscape for years to come; these elections at the state level will have a profound influence on our federal elections and policy, and are something to watch out for on election day.
the governor, tends to ensure a greater degree of fairness and balance in the process.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist, let alone a political scientist, to see that House seats are being picked up in “red states” (Republican-leaning) and are being lost in “blue states” (Democratic-leaning). Yet just because the state leans a certain way in presidential elections doesn’t mean the seats themselves will be drawn to favor Republicans. Having at least one branch of government in Republican control, such as
Schrimpf continued by saying that Ted Strickland, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate in Ohio, has taken note of this fact and is using it as a campaign point in his own race for governor.
But this year’s election isn’t just about redistricting Congressional districts.
Schrimpf said that since 1994 there has been a nearly 80% correlation between the GOP picking-up a U.S. Senate seat and electing a Republican governor. Of “The governors races will determine who has the the twenty-six U.S. Senate seats won by the GOP from upper hand in controlling the U.S. House for the next a Democrat, twenty of them have been where there 10 years,” said Mike Schrimpf, spokesman for the has been a sitting Republican governor or a Republican Republican Governors’ Association. “Whichever party elected to the governorship that same year. captures the House this year is likely to have a slim majority of less than ten seats. Gubernatorial races in “With Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Illinois, Nevada, and states like Ohio, Michigan, Florida, Texas, Illinois, California up for election, it is imperative to win the California, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania – all states gubernatorial races in order to more likely win the that are winnable for Republicans– could swing 16-26 upcoming Senate races,” he said. House seats in the years ahead. It is essential that we have Republican governors to ensure a fair process.” Schrimpf also noted that in 2000 when George W. Bush won the presidency there were 30 Republican Election Data Systems, a Manassas-based political governors. When Barack Obama won in 2008, that consulting firm that specializes in redistricting and number had fallen to 22. analyzing census data, says that Texas is expected to gain four seats, Florida two, and Arizona, Georgia, Former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine said during the Nevada, South Carolina, Utah and Washington will presidential election that Barack Obama would carry pick up a seat apiece. Meanwhile, New York and Ohio Virginia because Virginians had eight years of are each losing two seats, and Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Democratic governors and liked what they saw. Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, and Obama then became the first Democrat since 1964 to Pennsylvania will lose one. win the state.
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congressional majorities to shove through the unpopular federal stimulus, cap-and-trade, government bailouts, Obamacare, and have run the national debt up to over $13 trillion. Schrimpf said McDonnell ran a “model” campaign in 2009, and that his results as governor, such as delivering a state surplus and more money for transportation, is the basis for which 2010 GOP campaigns are being run. With the correlation between the governors of a political party so closely related to a presidential candidate winning that state’s electoral votes, it’s a statement that can’t be ignored. So what are the odds of the GOP winning this year? Republicans were swept out in 2006, and as good as buried in 2008. What makes 2010 different? After the election of Obama in 2008, early in 2009, Republicans were looking defeated, and it appeared that the GOP had very little hope. Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty said at the time that Republicans may benefit from what he described as Democrats "overplaying their hand."
“Voters are upset at government expansion, and Christie and McDonnell showed the rest of the country how to effectively manage a state without expanding government,” he said. “Jobs, pocketbook issues, taxes, and spending were the key points in their campaigns, and now they are delivering on their promises.” It appears the latest polls are supporting this campaign strategy of the new GOP.
Political pollster Scott Rasmussen says that six states now governed by Democrats – Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Wyoming – are likely GOP pickups this year. And, altogether, the Republican is favored by Rasmussen in 21 of the 37 "We may be a beneficiary of them overreaching. But races; Democrats are only favored in six states with 10 that itself is not a vision for the future of our party and Tossups. our country. We don't want to be just a beneficiary of luck," Pawlenty said. Both McDonnell and Christie heeded Pawlenty’s advice and have shown how Republicans govern with According to Schrimpf, it has been Republican a vision; a vision that’s helping Republicans get ready governors such as Bob McDonnell of Virginia and Chris to sweep into Governors mansions across the country, Christie of New Jersey, who have done a good job of and a good indicator for future Republican gains. showing the “next generation” of commonsense, conservative ideas, while leading the GOP "out of the wilderness". Simultaneously, contrary to Pawlenty’s words of caution, Democrats have used their
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Getting Virginians Back to Work by Congressman Rob Wittman Over the last few months, I have traveled across the First Congressional District, speaking with Virginians, small business owners, city and county government officials, and so many others. I hosted town halls, met with many of my First District Advisory Councils, and even visited schools as the new school year began. The input and the feedback I receive from constituents are critical, as I remain a public servant of this community and the Commonwealth. Overwhelmingly, the unsustainable growth of government and concern for lost jobs remain the top issue.
During my travels, it is especially helpful to hear from local business owners and their employees and for me to understand their concerns and needs in relation to the state of our economy. On a recent small business tour, one of the retail storeowners in Fredericksburg emphasized that his top concern is the cost of health care. Another talked of the need to focus on local issues, such as development to attract visitors and the need for improved transportation options. Others talked of the need for simply creating an atmosphere for growth and innovation, and easing the burdens on their business. As we discussed job creation, their message was clear that what’s coming out of Washington, DC, is not helping the atmosphere for small businesses looking to expand and create jobs. “Get out of the way.”
Small businesses provide jobs for so many in the First District, and across the country. Focusing on enabling The numbers are clear: The national unemployment our small businesses is what’s going to get our rate stands at 9.6 percent and nearly 15 million economy back on track and get Virginians back to Americans are looking for a job. While Virginia’s rate work. Over 70% of the new jobs nationwide are stands lower than the national average, our unemployment rate remains at 7.1%. This year’s projected provided by small business. I can’t tell you how many annual national deficit of nearly $1.4 trillion is forecast times these business owners tell me the best thing the to be the second of three years with deficits surpass- government can do is just get out of the way. Harmful initiatives in Washington are making it tough for ing a trillion dollars. That’s a number hard to grasp. America’s entrepreneurs. As The Heritage Foundation recently put it, “government regulations usually But we don’t need numbers or national figures to illustrate the problems we’ve already seen: the next- backfire and generate unintended consequences.” door neighbor cutting back after a layoff; our local organizations asking for more help because donations are down; or even, your own family cutting back simply because of the uncertainty. Numbers do not tell the story of parents worried about providing for their children, or seniors returning to work to supplement their retirement savings lost in the market. There’s worry about the American Dream. Parents and grandparents fear that the future for their children and grandchildren is dim. Volume 1, Number 7 / October 2010
I can’t tell you how many times these business owners tell me the best thing the government can do is just get out of the way. Following the 2008 elections, a time of promises of bipartisanship and reform, the subsequent session of Congress has come to represent what folks deeply resent about Washington and “Beltway” politics. As the new administration took hold and Congress began its new session of the 111th Congress, the first order of business in 2009, the $787 billion stimulus package, became public law on February 17, 2009, while the national unemployment rate stood at 7.7 percent. Nearly 3.6 million jobs have been lost since it became law. 283,000 jobs were lost in June, July and August 2010.
These new laws and burdensome regulations have only added more government intrusion upon American families and businesses. Legislation crafted by Washington insiders has created a tough climate in an already struggling economy; stifling the confidence of American entrepreneurs to expand operations, hire new employees or offer competitive wages. Businesses and individuals alike recognize that in a struggling economy, we’ve witnessed an exponential, unhealthy growth of government.
Congress continued on this downward path in the summer of 2009 to consider, debate and pass cap-andtrade legislation, which proposed to fundamentally alter both energy markets and the U.S. economy in an attempt to curb carbon dioxide emissions. As an environmental scientist, I believe crafting legislation to protect our environment and transition our economy to clean energy is a top priority; however, we must pursue the transition to alternative and renewable energy in the least disruptive method for our economy. While cap and trade legislation stalled in the Senate, its passage in the House of Representatives echoed in the business climate across the country.
I am a strong advocate for pro-growth policies that will help eliminate uncertainty and get investment dollars off the sidelines. Instead of holding our entrepreneurs back, we must work together to provide our small businesses with the tools they need to prosper. Specifically, here are some of the measures I’m supporting:
To Create Jobs: Create incentives and Stop the Tax Hike
Keeping taxes low: With the current tax rates set to expire at the end of the year, action is needed to keep taxes low for individuals, families and businesses. According to the non-partisan organization, The Tax Foundation, an average middle-income family in Virginia’s First District would lose $1,749 if the 2001 Debate on health care quickly followed, and from the and 2003 tax cuts are allowed to expire. According to the National Federation of Independent Business, 75 very beginning, the legislative process of holding fair percent of small businesses are organized as passhearings on the proposed healthcare reform was through entities (sole proprietors, partnerships, and S ignored, by writing this bill entirely behind closed Corps), suggesting their business income is subject to doors. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates the health care overhaul signed into law will the individual tax rates. Congress should reduce the cost around one trillion dollars over the next ten years. capital gains and dividends taxes (H.R. 470), cut the payroll tax rate and the self-employed tax rate (H.R. The health care overhaul law is already having a 4100), lower the corporate tax rate (H.R. 4100), and fundamental impact on all aspects of our economy. Nowhere will that be felt more than at both large and extend the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts. small businesses, burdened by new taxes and regulations. Without a doubt, this will affect their Continued on Page 34 current employees and prospects for new hires.
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Getting Virginians Back to Work Continued from Page 33 Lower the costs to start and maintain a small business: A recent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal titled “Why I’m Not Hiring” written by a business manager showed the deliberation that an employer undertakes today in deciding whether to hire a new employee. He writes: “When you add it all up, it costs $74,000 to put $44,000 in Sally's pocket and to give her $12,000 in benefits. Bottom line: Governments impose a 33% surtax on Sally's job each year.” One of the largest considerations in employment decisions is the effect of taxes on the costs of labor. In order to ease the burden, I support raising the small business start up tax deduction (H.R. 1552) and allowing a seven-year carryback of operating losses in the calculation of tax liability (H.R. 470).
$21,000 per household annually through the 1980s and 1990s. However, this year the projection is $31,000 per household, on its way to $37,000 by 2020. I opposed legislation such as the TARP bailout and stimulus bills, and I will continue to because it is this type of unchecked spending that adds to our deficit. It must not continue. Each dollar has value; we must work to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse, and squeeze every bit of value out of each dollar entrusted to us by taxpayers. For the federal government to spend responsibly and efficiently, I support measures to:
Balance the federal budget: Families, and local and state governments must balance their budgets and Create incentives to innovate: A report by The the federal government should too. That’s why I am a Information Technology and Innovation Foundation cosponsor of H.J.Res. 1, proposing a balanced budget makes the case that expanding the federal research Constitutional amendment, which will force Congress and development tax credit would help create 162,000 to enact responsible spending measures. As Thomas jobs in the near term and enhance the nation’s longJefferson said, over 200 years ago: "To preserve [the] term economic competitiveness. I’m a cosponsor of independence [of the people,] we must not let our legislation, H.R. 1545, to extend the research and rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our development tax credit, which provides incentives for election between economy and liberty, or profusion innovation. and servitude.” Eliminate bureaucratic red tape: For example, under the new health care bill, businesses will be forced to issue paper-filed “1099-MISC” IRS information reporting forms to any person or company from whom they purchase at least $600 in services or goods. I am a cosponsor of a bill that would repeal this requirement (H.R. 5141). To Create Jobs: Cut Spending, Make it Sustainable Part of the uncertainty felt in the economy and across the country is a direct result of the out-of-control deficit spending in Washington, DC. In order to create certainty, we need to undertake a true review of federal spending. Without taking action, total federal spending will reach 50 percent of our Gross Domestic Product by 2054. Washington, DC, consistently spent
Volume 1, Number 7 / October 2010
Photo: Jane Dudley
Each dollar has value; we must work to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse, and squeeze every bit of value out of each dollar entrusted to us by taxpayers. Repeal, Replace and Defund the Trillion-Dollar Health Overhaul: We should focus efforts on true reforms to lower the costs, create better accessibility, and raise quality standards. Reforms should include: allowing small businesses and associations to band together to purchase health insurance, tort reform, expanding the access and sale of insurance across state lines, and allowing those with preexisting conditions to purchase insurance. In July, I signed a “discharge petition,” supporting an effort to bring a proposal to repeal the health care overhaul to the House floor for full debate (H.R. 4972).
America is and must remain a nation of ideas. A nation of dreams. To revitalize the American Dream, Congress must focus on commonsense principles that put Americans back to work, reduce government expansion, and get our economy back on track. Our nation has survived many ups and downs throughout history, and we can do so again. Let’s encourage an economic turnaround through innovation, and the entrepreneurial spirit that has made this nation great. Rob Wittman represents the First Congressional District of Virginia.
Stop automatic pay increases for Members of Congress: One of the first places to cut government spending is Congress’s own pocket. I have consistently supported legislation to stop automatic increases in pay for Members of Congress (H.R. 4255), and support legislation to cut pay for Members of Congress by 5%, the Taking Responsibility For Congressional Pay Act, H.R. 4720.
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Cruel World, Hard Choices by James A. Bacon
Imagine this scenario: Fifteen to twenty years from now, American Armed Forces are still stationed in bases stretching around the world from Portugal to Korea. The jihadist threat has diminished but new entanglements keep the Armed Forces busy. Ten thousand American soldiers are encamped in the Sudan, protecting black tribesmen in the oil-rich south from the Arab raiders armed by the central government -- a central government backed by China. The peace-keeping mission, reminiscent of Somalia in the 1990s, is turning hot.
Of course, the details of that scenario are purely speculative. But we can we can say three things with a fair degree of certainty: If the U.S. continues on its current spending path, the government will go into default, most likely within the next 15 to 20 years -- an event I call Boomergeddon. When it does, the U.S. military will find it vulnerable and exposed. And military communities like Hampton Roads will find themselves in the front lines of the fiscal disaster.
The time to start thinking about such possibilities now, even though they may be a decade or two distant. It's Then the unthinkable happens. Halfway across the easy to get caught up in the fervor over the Pentagon globe, the world's most heavily indebted nation, decision to close the Joint Forces Command, leading to Japan, goes into default, vaporizing trillions of dollars the loss of 6,000 jobs and hundreds of millions of worth of government debt. Desperate for liquidity, dollars in payroll. I don't mean to minimize the impact Japanese banks unload hundreds of billions of dollars of that move, but we must recognize the context of of U.S. Treasuries, driving up U.S. interest rates and Defense Secretary Robert Gates' decision: The current pushing down the dollar. The United States, which by level of military spending is unsustainable. We must then is running chronic deficits of $2 trillion a year and cut the Defense Department budget somewhere. If not swelling its $30 trillion national debt, is vulnerable. No the Joint Forces Command, what else do we cut and one wants U.S. dollars, and no one wants U.S. when? (The fact that the Obama administration doesn't securities. Bond investors flee for safe havens like the seem to be slashing anything other than the military is Chinese Yuan and the German Deutschemark. beside the point. The next Congress probably will.) Treasury auctions start failing -- the government cannot raise new money. Then, when large tranches There is a good reason why Admiral Michael Mullen, of bill, bonds and notes mature at $50 billion a pop, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recently told the Treasury cannot roll them over. No buyers. The CNN that "the most significant threat to our national government finds itself in default. security is our debt. ... The strength and support and the resources that our military uses are directly related Suddenly, the federal leviathan can spend no more to the health of our economy over time." than it brings in from taxes. Basic functions of government are shutting down. Payments to retirees and the Mullen did not share his detailed analysis of the U.S. fiscal predicament. But he is dead on. U.S. governpoor are being cut. And overseas U.S. Military ment finances are broken. Unless radical changes are operations are jeopardized, especially as fuel stockpiles are drawn down. Due to the plummeting dollar, enacted within the next two or three years, we will have passed the event horizon from which there is no the price of a barrel of oil shoots to more than $200 per barrel. The military couldn't afford to buy oil even return. The black hole will suck us in. Boomergeddon will consume us. if it had money. Air forces are grounded. Ground forces are immobilized. And the Khartoum government decides it is time to ratchet up the pressure on the U.S. How can I be so certain? Let's look at the facts. peacekeepers that stand between them and the The national debt now stands at $13.4 trillion. Southern Sudanese oil wells... Volume 1, Number 7 / October 2010
As deficits and national debt rage out of control, the U.S. Is suffering a bad case of imperial overstretch. Virginians can start adapting now -or wait for everything to crash around us. According to the 10-year budget projections of the Obama administration, the nation will accumulate another $8 trillion in debt by 2020 -- and that's a bestcase scenario. The Congressional Budget Office projects $9.8 trillion in cumulative deficits by then; the non-partisan Concord Coalition says $15.2 trillion. Even the latter estimates are insufficiently pessimistic because none of them question the economic assumptions underpinning the Obama forecast. One assumption looks outdated already -- 3.4% average economic growth between now and 2020, comparable to the Internet-fueled boom of the Clinton administration. Skeptics could make the argument, as I do in Boomergeddon, that economic growth will be notably slower as consumers continue to cut back, banks take more blows from the collapsing real estate market, the federal government continues to misallocate resources on an unprecedented scale, and our major trading partners remain weak.
Chairman Ben Bernanke calls it, will become a global capital shortage. Interest rates will shoot higher. Some other major nations -- Japan, Italy or Spain perhaps -will go into default, sparking a flight from sovereign debt -- including that of the U.S. -- and driving interest rates even higher. Even with the advent of the Tea Party, there is no sign that either Democrats or Republicans are prepared to make the blood-curdling budget adjustments -- closing a $1 trillion budget gap in a $3.7 trillion budget -- needed to restore fiscal sustainability. Boomergeddon is all but inevitable by 2030. When Boomergeddon hits, federal spending could fall virtually overnight to roughly 60% of previous levels (unless the Federal Reserve is willing to monetize the debt by cranking up the printing presses, in case watch out for massive inflation). Assuming that spending cuts are part of the policy mix, military spending will face draconian cuts.
A recent article in the Virginian-Pilot said that congressional and local leaders were "spoiling for a fight" What would happen if, in recognition of the significant over the Joint Forces Command. The impulse is underimpediments to economic growth, we assumed annual standable. But it is short-sighted as well. growth of only 2.4% annually, plus a mild recession beginning around 2015 or 2016? According to As citizens of the commonwealth of Virginia, we can calculations prepared for me by Chmura Economics & either back the military's effort to rationalize -- to start Analytics, a Richmond-based economic consulting the hard thinking now of how to align our global strategy firm, the annual deficit would soar from about $1 and military force with our shrinking capacity to pay for trillion a year under the Obama forecast to $1.7 it -- or we can expend every effort to impede reform. trillion a year by 2020. The national debt would hit We can double down on our commitment to the military $29 trillion. as the economic base of our economy. Or we can channel scarce political chits and economic-development And that's just 10 years out. After 2020, the age wave resources into developing new industries that can soften will slam ashore as retired baby boomer s put Medithe blow when it comes, as surely it will. Boomergeddon care and Medicaid under intense strain. Then, around is beyond our control. How we respond to it is up to us. 2023, the Social Security administration will start spending down its $4.3 trillion trust fund, adding James A. Bacon is author of hundreds of billions of dollars yearly to the sums that "Boomergeddon," as well as the Treasury will have to borrow in the capital markets. blog by the same name. He also Simultaneously, aging populations in countries around publishes the Bacon's Rebellion the globe will transition from saving mode to drawing blog. down their assets. The global capital glut, as Fed BearingDrift.com / Page 37
Harvesting apples, carving up pumpkins and the changing of the leaves bring warm vivid memories to Virginians of all ages. Enjoy these autumn scenes from across the Commonwealth.
Fall in Mt. Rogers National Recreation Area. Photo: Virginia Tourism Corporation
Mabry Mill, Floyd County Photo: Krystle D. Weeks Scenic beauty can be found all along the mountains of Virginia. Photo: Virginia Tourism Corporation
Volume 1, Number 7 / October 2010
"I cannot endure to waste anything as precious as autumn sunshine by staying in the house. So I spend almost all the daylight hours in the open air." - Nathaniel Hawthorne
State Route 613 in Giles County, Near Mountain Lake Photo: Michael R. Fletcher
Monticello Photo: Virginia Tourism Corporation
Pumpkin exhibition and sale on a farm near Winchester. Photo: Virginia Tourism Corporation
Rappahannock Cellars, Rappahannock Photo: Krystle D. Weeks
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The Final Ward
This month Bearing Drift takes a look at the upcoming elections. Columnists include Republican Whip Eric Cantor and Rep. Rob Wittman of Vir...