don't want too much government or too little. The
challenge of governing is doing a good job of
providing basic services -- but no more.
Virginia Republicans risk voter alienation by
reflexively saying "no" to any and every
tax increase — and I think there is overwhelming
evidence that they do risk it — so do Virginia
Democrats risk the same alienation by reflexively
saying "yes" to every tax-and-spend idea
that comes along.
no, no" is not a philosophy, not a program, not
a vision, but neither is a blind, lockstep
"yes, yes, yes."
see, I have — as I do from time to time — taken a
very precise and scientific poll — one with no
margin of error —and I report my findings
are two of them.
want basic government, not much less than that, not
much more than that — just basic government.
about it like this: If
government is a telephone, what we want is the
black, eight-pound rotary dial job, something
comfortable, sturdy, reliable, affordable — not
some prissy, sleek, flip-top thing that also serves
as a camera, calculator, calorie counter, can
opener, and calendar.
grief. One of
the strong points of telephone communication, one of
its great blessings, used to be that you didn’t
have to look at who you were talking to!)
government is a catalyst in our lives, but
shouldn’t be much more than that.
It is like water in a concrete mix.
Not enough is not enough.
Too much is too much.
Critically necessary to the process, if done
correctly, the water evaporates and leaves something
good and strong and permanent.
That is what government should do.
Government should never be an end unto
is a catalyst in our lives.
So is transportation.
And health care.
And law enforcement.
And a clean, sustainable environment.
These are the elements of basic government.
They can make our lives better.
second finding is this:
Basic government is government from the
talk about a mythical location on a club face called
"the sweet spot."
Virginians want "sweet spot"
spot" government is derived from the center.
It is non-partisan in nature.
It is basic.
no mistake, partisanship is good — Republican and
forges and hardens and shapes the public debate and
that is a good thing.
But it must do so from the margins.
From the sidelines it must push the debate
back and forth until that center is found.
Like government, partisanship is necessary
and critical, but should never be an end unto
what might those who would govern us take from these
two findings? What might our state-wides, what might
our delegates and senators glean from this?
that fringe stuff, that passion, on the left and the
right is fine. Go
to it and have fun, but don’t expect to govern us
from there. That’s
not what we want and we won’t have it.
so much of that is a waste of talent and energy.
You can work yourself into any shade of
lather you want to, but it does not change the fact
that Roe v. Wade is the law of the land.
All the huffing and puffing and posturing and
preening you can muster does not repeal the Second
see, the same issues that have caused Virginia
Democrats to veer to the left are the very ones that
have pushed Virginia Republicans to the right.
we don’t want government from the left or the
right. We want
that "sweet spot" government.
road home is down the center.
And at the end of the day we want to go home.
-- July 12, 2004