Monthly Archives: July 2005

Isn’t It Odd

…that Tim Kaine gets criticized by the right wing for saying he opposes abortion but will uphold the law, while John Roberts, who the right is certain is against abortion, can get away with saying that he would uphold Roe v. Wade?

And now he won’t say why his name is on a list of Federalist members, when the white House and he protested so vigorously last week that he wasn’t that leading newspapers printed retractions.

GOP Intimacy

Mr. Bush will raise nearly $2 million for Republican Jerry W. Kilgore at what organizers promise to be a “very intimate” sit-down dinner at the home of Dwight Schar in McLean.
About 100 are expected to attend, donating between $15,000 and $100,000 each.

Intimate with 100 people at a time? Surely Dick Black or Bob Marshall could find something untoward in such intimacy.

GOP Fumbles Abortion Issue

First, Jerry Kilgore dodged the abortion issue at last weekend’s debate. Now his running mates are compounding his problem.

As I suggested yesterday, the Republican ticket appears painfully aware that an anti-abortion stance jeopardizes the support of many moderate members of their party, and hence its election success. Today’s Times-Dispatch story by Jeff Schapiro confirms my suspicions that Kilgore fears the issue could hurt him badly.

“They’re not getting the red meat they want, and this could be the straw that breaks the electoral camel’s back,” political analyst Larry J. Sabato of the University of Virginia said of the Republican Party’s anti-abortion forces.

Kilgore press secretary Tim Murtaugh said that despite the candidate’s silence on a possible abortion ban, his long record of support of limits on the procedure should assure abortion foes that “Jerry has done a lot of good work on their topic.”

Has done a lot of good work on the subject? You talk about waffling!

Another anti-abortion legislator, Del. Richard H. Black, R-Loudoun, said that Kilgore apparently is hesitating to take a stand on a possible abortion ban to avoid turning off women and moderates for whom abortion rights may be a defining issue.

“In the calculus of statewide races, you want to inspire your base without unduly riling your opponent’s base,” Black said. “I think there’s an element of that.”

There may an element of that in Black’s race, too. For Kaine, however, it offers opportunity. Some of the anti-abortion forces have made it clear that they also want to go after contraception. Those stances can hurt the entire ticket. Kilgore’s running mates are now trying to do the political sidestep.

Kilgore’s running mates have taken a tough line against abortion, signaling support for a reversal of Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling allowing abortion. Yesterday, however, both said they will follow the lead of the Supreme Court.

“I will continue to support responsible efforts to protect the right to life, except when it endangers the life of the mother,” said Sen. Bill Bolling of Hanover, the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor. “If the Supreme Court makes further rulings on the issue of abortion, I will look at each ruling individually and act accordingly.”

Del. Robert F. McDonnell of Virginia Beach, the Republican candidate for attorney general, said that “after careful review” of a Supreme Court decision, “I would act in a manner consistent with my conservative record.”

Who are they kidding?

Kaine is criticized for being “all over the map” by anti-abortionists, who claim his personal opposition to abortion is a political ploy. It is and I wish he wouldn’t use it. Voters shouldn’t care whether abortion is an option for Kaine’s daughter; they want to know the next governor plans for their daughters.
Kaine’s answer has been clear since this weekend. Kilgore’s is not. The lt. Governor should make Kilgore’s indecisiveness the issue. But using the abortion stance as an example can’t hurt Kaine’s standing with moderate Republicans, especially if abortion is the top issue surrounding John Robert’s hearing on his Supreme Court nomination, which could take place just as the gubernatorial race enters the fall home stretch.

UPDATE: The Hampton Roads Daily Press points out the Kilgore hypocrisy on “speculative” issues.

Eminent Domain Ruse

Oddly, in coverage of the Kelo Supreme Court decision that allowed jurisdictions in Connecticut to condemn private land for more lucrative (in terms of taxes) private development, the Republicans are getting credit in Virginian-Pilot and AP stories for righting this egregious wrong, whereas the reliably right wing Washington Times says both Dems and GOPers are decrying a decision that doesn’t seem like a good idea to most people. But is it really worth all the hand-wringing?

“The reality is, the ruling won’t affect communities in Virginia,” says Susan Bell, director of Arlington County’s department of community planning, housing and development. “We don’t have the enabling authority at the local level to use eminent domain for economic development.”

That doesn’t stop Del. Bob Marshall.

“We need to protect property rights from theft, no matter who does it. Putting black gowns on five attorneys and calling them the Supreme Court does not sanitize the odor of theft that is emanating from the New London decision,” Marshall said.

This Washington Business Journal story gives you probably more than you want to know about the impact of Kelo in the area, but as far as Virginia is concerned, it may be a non-issue, except for the demigods who would protect us from something that doesn’t threaten us.

…”As per the constitution of Virginia, public use in eminent domain is defined by the General Assembly,” says Emily Lucier, a spokeswoman for the state’s attorney general. “There is no proviso in our constitution to use eminent domain for economic development.”

That state attorney is a Republican, I might add. So the Republican AG is saying there’s no there there. Others agree.

..The Kelo ruling “has more relevance in Uzbekistan than in Virginia,” says Tom Newman, the director of the real estate group for Arlington County. “From our perspective, it’s not relevant.”

Marshall for Mayor of Tashkent, Uzbekistan! Has a nice ring to it, huh?

The Chamber Debate

The Fairfax Chamber of Commerce has tried to hide behind its “tradition” of only inviting the major party candidates to its quadrennial gubernatorial debate. But according to Russ Potts, that’s a ruse.

“I thought it was a cowardly approach that the bar association took,” said Potts, who used similar language to refer to the stance taken by the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce regarding its decision to limit its debate to Kaine and Kilgore.

Potts said he was told by a chamber official that the organization had indicated to the Kilgore campaign that it did not have any objection to Potts taking part in its Sept. 13 debate – but was told by the Kilgore camp that the former attorney general would not participate if Potts was invited.

A chamber of commerce spokesman told the AFP last week that the decision as to who to invite was made in accord with the past practice of including major-party candidates only.


Republican Jerry Kilgore has left people on both sides of the abortion issue wanting to hear more after his answer to a question at Saturday’s debate.
The former attorney general, asked if he would approve further restrictions on abortion if elected governor, dismissed the question as speculative.

If this were John Kerry, the right would be all over him for his lack of conviction. Kilgore refuses to say whether he favors overturning Roe v. Wade. His lack of spine has handed Tim Kaine, who had suffered from the “I’m against abortion but would uphold the law” stance, the high road.

To his credit, Kaine actually said he would veto a hypothetical General Assembly proposal to ban abortions. Kilgore won’t commit.

His unwillingness to spout the right-wing position suggests that his campaign is worried that moderate Republicans, especially moderate Republican women, will desert Kilgore over this issue. He’s probably not sure if their vote would go to Potts or Kaine, but in either case, he knows he’s vulnerable.

I’m puzzled by the headline on the Daily Press story, which I’m sure the reporter did suggest: “Candidates sidestep abortion questions and invite even more.”

I don’t see how Kaine “sidestepped the issue. According to the Times-Dispatch report this morning, “Kaine, the lieutenant governor, promised on Saturday that he would veto legislation banning abortion, saying, ‘We don’t need to criminalize the health-care decisions of women and their doctors.’”

How is that sidestepping the question?

Kaine on Gay Adoption

Wonder why people can’t seem to get a hold on what Tim Kaine stands for?

Though rejecting adoption by same-sex couples, Kaine told the AP that a legislative attempt to strip gay singles of the right to adopt was “mean-spirited.”

Adoption by gay couple is “mean spirited” but he “rejects” such adoptions because, he says, couples must be married to adopt under Virginia law.

“I very much believe that the law in Virginia right now is the right law,” Kaine said. “An unmarried straight couple can’t adopt, a gay couple can’t adopt, two sisters can’t adopt, a mother and a daughter can’t adopt a younger child. The only couple that can adopt is a married couple.”

Under Virginia law, one gay person, if they show themselves to be “fit parents and if the adoption is in the child’s best interest,” can adopt, but two can’t.

So is Tim Kaine’s position again one of “it’s the law and I will enforce it,” even if the law is patently absurd on its face? Regressive often seem to say that families headed by couples are better than single parents, especially because a tough father figure is required. Yet, the law says one gay is OK, two isn’t.

At least Jerry Kilgore is unalloyed in his bigotry.

The Republican nominee, Jerry W. Kilgore, flatly opposes any adoptions by gays, whether they are living together or non-practicing gays living alone.

“I’ve said that I don’t support same-sex adoption or same-sex couple adoption and I don’t favor gay adoption.”

Raising Cain with Kaine

Lowell at Raising Kaine is doing so, but with his candidate, amid growing impatience with his campaign.

…it is the middle of summer now and time to end the “cone of silence” around this issue. What we Virginians need is Tim Kaine as our next governor. What we do NOT need are the “monkeys” who have latched onto his campaign. And neither does Tim Kaine.

A commentator says the problem is not only the organization.

…[Kaine’s transportation plan is] frankly nothing to write home about. Even the Washington Post has noticed, and I can tell you most Northern Virginians I’ve talked with, who have bothered to check out the Transportation proposals of the candidates for Governor are also not impressed, and are concentrating more on Transportation than on the real estate taxes on their properties, contrary to what was expected. To the uneducated eye Kaine’s ideas look anemic beside Kilgore’s, despite the fact we know Kilgore’s ideas are a cop out and, again, Government by Devolution.

A Fan for Life…

and Death

James Henry Smith was a zealous Pittsburgh Steelers fan in life, and even death could not keep him from his favorite spot: in a recliner, in front of a TV showing his beloved team in action.

Smith, 55, of Pittsburgh, died of prostate cancer Thursday. Because his death wasn’t unexpected, his family was able to plan for an unusual viewing Tuesday night.

The Samuel E. Coston Funeral Home erected a small stage in a viewing room, and arranged furniture on it much as it was in Smith’s home on game day Sundays.

Smith’s body was on the recliner, his feet crossed and a remote in his hand. He wore black and gold silk pajamas, slippers and a robe. A pack of cigarettes and a beer were at his side, while a high-definition TV played a continuous loop of Steelers highlights.

Post’s Blog Story Criticized

Lowell’s got a great deconstruction of yesterday’s blog story in the Washington Post. I agree with his analysis. There’s been speculation that the Not Larry Sabato blog was the effort of well known journalists, including The Post’s Mike Shear and Chris Jenkins. I assume this story puts that speculation to rest as it would be a huge disservice to readers if The Post quotes its own reporters anonymously. Jeff Schapiro of the Richmond Times-Dispatch has also been mentioned as the mystery blogger. I doubt it.

I don’t think it would be a journalist. That would be, in my view, unethical because journalists, either in the open or anonymously, aren’t supposed to try to influence the news.

But the prominent play given suggests that the blogger may be a public person, better known than the rest of us.