Dems Win Big Time… ZZZZZzzzzzzz

I never got emotionally involved in this year’s General Assembly campaign, but I did my civic duty yesterday and voted. Last night, I didn’t bother to turn on the television and watch the returns. It wasn’t until this morning that I checked the Internet that I discovered that the Democrats have taken control of the state Senate and gained ground in the House of Delegates. Congratulations to them. Otherwise, big whoop.

As I’ve argued before, both parties support Business As Usual in the sphere of business and economics. The main issues where party control really makes a difference are the culture-war issues. I consider myself a centrist in most of those, distrustful of both extremes, so a marginal shift to the left really doesn’t bother me.

The Dems tend to be more expansionist in their view of government, which means that they are even more willing to reach into my pocket than most Republicans, but the old GOP-dominated Senate, dominated by John Chichester, had been so eager to hike spending and increase taxes that I really don’t expect to see much difference. Virginia will remain on the same steep growth curve in the size and scope of government that it has been on for several years now.

The new man to watch is Richard Saslaw, D-Fairfax, who replaces Chichester as the power broker in the state Senate. As the new Senate Majority Leader and chairman of the Commerce and Labor committee, Saslaw will set the agenda on business-related issues. According to my contacts in the conservation community, his ascendancy looks like a victory for Business As Usual. They are very worried.

As far as individual candidates, I’m disappointed to see that Albert Pollard lost in the race for Chichester’s old Fredericksburg-area seat. He was one of the few genuine environmentalists running for a Senate seat.

On the other hand, it looks like Ken Cuccinelli will hang on to his Northern Virginia seat by a whisker. While I don’t share his views on the culture war, I find him refreshingly articulate and aggressive on size-and-scope-of-government issues. He doesn’t kow-tow to the power structure. If he survives the count of absentee ballots and the inevitable recount, he could help re-shape Senate Republicans into a faction that stands for more than defense of the status quo.

The donkey clan is clearly in the ascendancy in Virginia now. It controls the governor’s mansion and a U.S. Senate seat, it has won the state Senate and eroded the GOP majority in the House, and it is the odds-on favorite to win a second Senate seat next year. It is time for some serious soul-searching over in the Grand Old Party. Elephants in Virginia are increasingly looking like an endangered species.

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25 responses to “Dems Win Big Time… ZZZZZzzzzzzz”

  1. Anonymous Avatar


    No ZZZZzzzzs about it! We are looking at change for the better.

    Just think, comrades, no more one party system! No idiot Republicans who can’t figure out budgets or taxes!

    Salvation is at hand.

  2. Thrilled Republican Avatar
    Thrilled Republican

    More than anyone, Tom Davis is responsible for what happened last night.

    His RINO strategy turned off the Republican base.

    We don’t want higher taxes, we don’t need demagoguing on guns, we don’t need lectured about values extremism from a guy who divorced his college sweetheart to marry the “catholic” girl scout leader with four daughters.

    Tom traded campaign money and political mentoring for sex.

    Any wonder nothing was getting done on real issues?

    Attacking Chap for attending Truro Episcopal Church was the last straw.

    Cheers to Chap for a huge victory supported by pro-life, pro-1st amendment, anti-tax values voters.

  3. rodger provo Avatar
    rodger provo

    Jim Bacon-

    Tuesday’s results were a victory for moderation and a rejection of
    extreme conservatives.

    This was a victory for Virginia.

    Good government addresses our issues and solves our problems.

    Politics that uses emotional issues
    such as gay rights one year and
    then immigrants this year is not
    going to appeal to the majority of
    us who are pragmatic, reasonable

  4. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    …”controls the governor’s mansion and a U.S. Senate seat,”

    re:”His RINO strategy turned off the Republican base.”

    Talk about self-delusions

    Are the Republicans interested in winning votes beyond their base?

    Do you think Gilmoron is the guy to beat Warner?

    Truly? baaahaaawwwhhaaa

    I don’t know who is controlling the Republican Party in Va these days but he ain’t no genius.

  5. Anonymous Avatar

    NoVA voters want results. What the Democrats should deliver is authority for Fairfax County to adopt an adequate public facilities ordinance. Most voters, regardless of political affiliation, would welcome that with open arms. The authority need not be extended to the entire state, just to Fairfax County and other localities that desire one. If the Fairfax D’s don’t deliver on land use issues, 09 might be a challenging year for some of them.

    The winner with biggest challenge is John Foust. I know John and believe that he is a good and smart person. His new constituents expect him to rock the boat, perhaps, with the help of Pat Herrity. If does this, however, he will be in a brutal, long-running battle against Gerry Connolly, unless and until the latter runs for Congress.


  6. Anonymous Avatar


    If you think that Tuesday’s results were a victory for moderation and a rejection of
    extreme conservatives, then take a look at the comments of Anon 6:52.

    As long as we have that kind of thinking on both sides of the aisle, moderation is a dead horse. the way we win is not by defeating our enemies, but by getting them to work with us, to work out a deal we can both live with.


  7. rodger provo Avatar
    rodger provo

    RH –

    Most pols will tell you 30% of our
    voters are to the right and a
    like number are to the left of our
    political center.

    The 40% of us in the center are the
    ones who govern the outcome of most
    elections – moderates!

    The election results in Hampton
    Roads saw two conservative GOP
    senate candidates fail.

    I rest my case.

  8. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    ….”thinking on both sides of the aisle, moderation is a dead horse.”

    no deal is possible when you’re dealing with a Republican split personality.

    When the Republicans themselves cannot agree if they want to govern their Base PLUS folks in the middle or (aka big tent) or just purge and/or cannibalize any Republican who refuses to know tow to the hard social values righties…(you know… the one’s that talk out their backsides about keeping the government out of our lives).

    Anyhow, what Republican party should the Dems reach out to?

    Will the REAL pachyderms stand up?

    The most effective and durable coalition of Dems and Pachyderms is the business_as_usual folks as JB points out – the ones who pay homage to the growth-at-any-cost-infrastructure-be-damned elites.

    That’s the real battle that affects average working people who are tired of having their taxes turned over to developers and land speculators for fun and profit.

  9. Anonymous Avatar

    Aren’t those the same people that buy homes and granite counters from developers?

    If you compare Fauquier and Loudoun which were once quite similar, you now find Loudoun residents have more income per capita and higher assed value per capita. And that is AFTER the devlopers departed with their profits.

    How do you squre that with your claim that people are worse off on account of businesses that make a profit?


  10. Anonymous Avatar

    Sorry. that should read higher assessed value per capita.

    And by the way, the average trip time to work for Fauquier residents is higher than for Loudoun residents.


  11. Anonymous Avatar

    Rodger, I hope you are right.

    I just don’t think that victory chants and rubbing salt in the wound are helpful.


  12. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    Many people are worse off because their taxes are being used to encourage more rooftops that will buy “stuff” rather than more infrastructure to better maintain levels of services and quality of life no matter how much they make or the value of their possessions.

    Unless you are fairly wealthy your life is not much better than any other guy/gal also working for a living (that describes most folks in Loudoun).

    The choice is to spend money on making communities more liveable or spending to encourage more growth of businesses to sell “stuff”.

    Most folks would gladly vote for a little less growth and to use their taxes to improve their communities – if they had clear and unambiguous choices at election time.

    the pro-growth folks regardless of party ARE, in fact, the true tax&spend zealots.

    And the real irony is that the pro-growth business elites sell the idea by telling people that having more businesses will keep their taxes low – as if the folks who bought the stuff do not pay taxes on the stuff also.

    We basically have folks who make their living off of rooftops and it’s a giant pyramid scheme with the citizens getting caught holding the bag.

    There is nothing inherently wrong with that concept unless taxes are spent to benefit business growth – at the expense of infrastructure that everyone depends on.

    New rooftops do not generate net gains in taxes. In fact, they generate tax increases … see you should be happy if your house is worth more.. right?

    It appears that the folks in Loudoun have finally made this connection … better late than never.

    Gee, it would really be a shame if the crunch in the housing market changes even more minds.

  13. Anonymous Avatar

    “Many people are worse off because their taxes are being used to encourage more rooftops that will buy “stuff” rather than more infrastructure to better maintain levels of services and quality of life no matter how much they make or the value of their possessions.”

    So, if I make more and I’m worth more, I’m actually worse off because I have enough to pay more taxes, and also because the policy use of those taxes is to encourage more people to buy the stuff I sell in order to make more money that I can pay taxes on.

    Is that right?

    Or if you look at it from the Fauquier viewpoint:

    If I make less and I’m worth less, and I have to travel farther to work I’m actually better off because the money I don’t have buys me the conservation and county policy that discourages businesses that might want customers and homes, and because of this my quality of life is so great that my children can’t afford to live here.

    Is that what you are telling us?

    “New rooftops do not generate net gains in taxes.”

    That statement standing alone is so misleading that it amounts to a flat out lie. It is one of those things that if we repeat long enough people will believe because they want to anyway.

    That statement needs at least a dozen caveats and assumptions to show how that conclusion is reached.

    Then, if we agree those caveats and assumptions are correct, we should agree to use the same or similar ones when determining whether any other policy is a net gain or not.

    Many of our environmental policies, for example, depend on recapturing proposed gains for our investments far into the future, but your argument for no net gains on housing is usually based on a single point in time. If you applied the same procedure for establishing value that we use for other environmental issues than housing, you would get a lot different answer.


    I don’t see how you figure this is a giant pyramid scheme with citizens holding the bag, since citizens are the ones buying (and profiting from) the rooftops. Developers only profit from the construction of rooftops, not the existence of them.

    Unless you distinguish between current citizens and new citizens, current ones haveing more rights, of course.

    But, you haven’t answered the question. The area that has grown more over thirty years is worth more per person in both income and property. If you are right and growth is making them worse off, where exactly does that show up? In the higher taxes they can afford to pay?


  14. Anonymous Avatar

    Considering quality of life, for example, ambient water quality in
    recreation demand models is much less important in explaining water site choice and isitation frequency than travel cost. Likewise, structural characteristics tend to explain much more of the variability in housing prices than does air quality in property value models.

    If these measurements are correct, and if you think that Fauquier has a better quality of life, where does the money go?


  15. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    I’m talking about how voters and citizens feel about growth.

    I don’t think I’m wrong.

    Look at the WaPo Poll to see what people are concerned about.

    Ask the folks in Loudoun County why they voted in slow growth BOS despite the fact that you claim they are well off.

    Listen to what the folks who vote say, not just me.

    I didn’t say that Fauquier has a better quality of life. What I said was that the folks who live there believe that they are better off without the type of growth that Loudoun and other countries around them.

    re: pyramind scheme

    when you grow and you don’t keep up with the infrastructure, then

    * levels of service deteriorate

    * people’s perception of their quality of life decrease

    * people start to blame their leaders for approving growth without planning for infrastructure

    Developers and land speculators are enabled by the pro-growth types to convert raw land to rooftops that the pro-growth folks need to spur more businesses.

    Citizens tax money that citizens believe should go to catch up the infrastructure – like the schools, existing roads, libraries, ems, instead, gets spent instead to provide more growth-inducing infrastructure – new roads.. new rezoned commercial land and more water/sewer expansions (to serve new rooftops).

    re: new rooftops & taxes

    agree: badly phrased.

    Let me rephrase: new rooftops do not bring in more taxes than services rendered. New rooftops cost increases in taxes to make up the deficit.

    One way to avoid raising property taxes is to try to build more businesses than the adjacent localities – such that you capture not only taxes from folks in your own jurisdiction but taxes from folks in the adjacent jurisdictions.

    This “works” every time a Fredericksburg commuter to NoVa buys a car from a NoVa dealer rather than a Fredericksburg dealer.

    Ditto with the mega malls and speciality shops that NoVa workers spend money at before they head home to their home countries.

    Every county tries to build as much tax-capturing businesses that they can – and the result if often vacant shopping centers (the losers). Prime commercial land – rented to marginal businesses because the heavy hitters have fled to the latest, greatest shopping venue.

  16. Anonymous Avatar

    “Ask the folks in Loudoun County why they voted in slow growth BOS despite the fact that you claim they are well off.”

    What you mean is, ask the 275,000 people who just moved there why they voted to deny anybody else the same opportunity to be well off.


  17. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    It’s kind of simple. Too many people, not enough infrastructure. Unhappy folks exercise their options.

    It does not matter who shot John.
    Analysis at 11 is .. blather.

    If you don’t want voters to deny others opportunity then don’t divert their tax money to more growth rather than catching up on the infrastructure.

    I’m explaining to you how they feel. Arguing with me won’t change the way THEY feel.

    What are YOUR solutions other than rhetoric?

    You can:

    * lead
    * follow
    * get out of the way

    or grouse about things you don’t agree with…

    but if you want positive change.. you gotta get in the game and advocate for things that will address the issues that caused citizens to react.

    People don’t mind growth. Most actually could care less about it as long as it does not visit bad stuff on them… THEN THEY DO CARE.

    When leaders don’t plan for infrastructure – they sow the seeds for change.. and sometimes it’s not good change but if you want to blame.. start with those that didn’t plan for the infrastructure to start with and then got thrown out of office.

  18. Anonymous Avatar

    “One way to avoid raising property taxes is to try to build more businesses than the adjacent localities – such that you capture not only taxes from folks in your own jurisdiction but taxes from folks in the adjacent jurisdictions.”

    Talk about a pyramid scheme. capture their business and export our houses. While we are at it, lets make sure we pay our teachers more than the neighboring jurisdiction, too.

    This is just “beggar thy neighbor” on a bigger grander scale.

    Do you know any other tunes? This one has grown old and bitter.

    What I hear you telling me is that taxes and homes and business are all related. If the homes and businesses aren’t generating enough taxes to support their own growth, whose fault is that?

    When was the last time you heard of a business cutting off their growth to save money?

    You got a problem, you go solve it. Naah, we’ll just pass a law against having this problem – — that’ll work.


  19. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    The problem has been solved.

    Require everything to require a rezone and deny rezones that don’t pay the proffers and impact fees.

    Spend tax money on infrastructure that serves the community.

    Deny growth that does not benefit the community.

    I don’t have a problem with that.

    Problem solved.

  20. Anonymous Avatar

    While your at it, cancel all the occupancy permits and save a real bundle.


  21. Anonymous Avatar

    Taxes and growth are separate issues in that the former affects one’s wallet and the latter one’s neighborhood.

    I don’t find local and state taxes too much (wanted to say Taxing) but federal! I received a substantial 5 digit raise last year. The outcome? Since I own my home, after taxes I bring home about $300 more monthly. Amaxing.

    And outrageous. I voted democratic this time because the dem seemed more conservative and practical. But the taxes!!! And federal taxes are not related to growth concerns.

  22. I know! The pick I had for senators were neither good, because they were both pro-choice, but other than that I liked the dem better.

    Ok, so on to another growing topic: 2008. Get the U.S. the fair tax!!! Like Mike? Sign the Huckabee Petition.

  23. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    “I don’t find local and state taxes too much”

    the question is do you think the infrastructure and level of services in your area are adequate – because that is what your local taxes are supposed to be spent on primarily.

    If not – do you want your taxes raised higher to pay for more or do you feel your taxes just need to be spent more effectively?

  24. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    Statement by Senator John W. Warner, R-Va. November 7, 2007

    “In the past few years, the Republican Party of Virginia has drifted from the time-honored principle of the ‘big tent’ GOP advocated by my friend, the late Lee Atwater. The guiding standard of the party was
    that it made room for a great number of values and views, and that moderation and willingness to compromise would be respected.

    “In my judgment, yesterday’s election results demonstrate that Virginia voters value greatly political leaders who are willing to reach reasonable solutions and tackle big issues ranging from the budget to immigration to the environment and transportation.”

    Others like Shaun Kenney and Eric Cantor and Albo disagree with Warner and say that everything if just dandy with the Republican Party in Virginia and that the next election will prove that.


  25. Anonymous Avatar

    when you get a five digit raise and take home $300, it sort of takes the starch out of ambition.


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