A Million Votes, Five Town Halls

Governor-elect Kaine hit the ground running on Wednesday, bare hours after his clear and convincing victory at the polls. He named an impressive transition team and announced fulfillment of a campaign promise–he will tour the state at five “town hall” meetings to discuss the transportation “crisis.”

The town hall meetings are intriguing. Jeff Schapiro of the Times-Dispatch says they will “spotlight solutions to the state’s transportation problems that might include new taxes.” The Washington Post‘s Michael Shear and Carol Morello say the town halls will be used to “to rally public support for a legislative battle next year over fixing the state’s transportation problems.”

Wait a minute.

Didn’t we just have a campaign that criss-crossed the state and heard “the voice of the people?” Didn’t Tim Kaine run ads where he said he had a transportation plan and urged voters to “read my plan?” Didn’t Tim Kaine just sweep into office by capturing the suburbs and exburbs where transportation issues were front and center? Wasn’t Jerry Kilgore derided for proposing regional transportation authorities and “trusting the people?” Isn’t transportation easily the most studied and discussed issue of our time in Virginia?

Tim Kaine got over a million votes. He got votes where Democrats never got votes before. He ran on a transportation plan. If that isn’t an indicator that he’s rallied “public support for a legislative battle next year over fixing the state’s transportation problems,” what is?

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18 responses to “A Million Votes, Five Town Halls”

  1. Steve Haner Avatar
    Steve Haner

    Will — Welcome Back!

    Hey, 20 years ago Jerry Baliles didn’t even notice there was a transportation problem until well after the election — and during the election, when Wyatt Durrette said he might raise the gas tax (something that used to happen with little fanfare every couple of years or so) he got attacked for it (by a front group called Republicans for Baliles). Baliles looked right at the cameras over and over and said he would not raise taxes, no way, no how. (As did Mark Warner 16 years later.)

    Did Tim Kaine ever do that? Did he? He hasn’t shared his plans with me, and there is plenty of good that can be done without a direct tax increase — but did he? Didn’t he say, he wouldn’t consider it until the trust funds were protected?

    Kaine also said, all along, that ie he won he would put this issue on the front burner during the transition period and hold these meetings.

  2. Anonymous Avatar

    Tim Kaine is a good Christian, a catholic, a man of his word.

    He promised not to raise taxes for transportation until after the transportation funds were protected by constitution, which can’t happen for a few years.

    So Shapiro must be wrong when he suggest Kaine would consider tax increase based on these Town Meetings. I think it is rotten that, less than a week after the election, some pundits are already trying to suggest Kaine can’t be trusted to keep his promises.

    For many republicans, all we have now is the honor of Tim Kaine. We pray that he is as honorable as our esteemed democrat friends told us he is.

  3. Anonymous Avatar

    The first campaign is over now it’s time to start the second campaign.

    Gov. Kaine is simply trying to preempt the anti-tax Republicans when it comes to transportation funding. New sustainable revenue will be required. Accept that and move on.

    Also in the Wash. Post today was this article, “Moderates Buck GOP Leadership on Budget” – http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/11/10/AR2005111001333.html?sub=AR

    I’d say the worst is yet to come for the GOP leadership at both the state and national level thanks in no small part to what happened in Virginia on Tuesday.

  4. Anonymous Avatar

    There won’t be a GOP in ten years if all wings of the party can’t agree on taxes.

  5. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    There will be a political party for the Conservative majority in Virginia ten years from now. If the right folks win the Republican intramurals, a few champions arise for stronger leadership, and the vision for the future is articulated in voices that resonate, it can be the Republican Party.

    If not, then the folks who keep asking me when it is time to start a new political party might be on to something.

  6. Anonymous Avatar

    What majority?

    Why didn’t they show up at the polls? Who are they? Where do they live? What makes them tick?

    Do they care more about taxes or social issues?

    Can you be part of this majority if you are a fiscal conservative who is not afraid to raise taxes to pay for services? Can you be part of this majority if you are a moderate on social issues?

    What does it take to be part of the majority?

  7. What’s cooking? The blue dog smells a gas tax increase.

    Oh, (choir) Boy!

    ~ the blue dog

  8. Anonymous Avatar

    Any idea when the meetings will be? I’d like to show up.

  9. Anonymous Avatar

    Bolling won. McDonnell seems to have won. One republican was beat by another republican running as an independent. Two new republicans won, but three lost.

    And this while a good number of republicans were disenchanted at their party, were suffering from the split over the tax increase (infighting), with two republicans backing the democrats out of spite.

    If there was ever a year for the democrats to make a major inroad against republicans in Virginia, this was the year. They had a Governor with 75% approval.

    But they only picked up 1 seat in the house, and came out behind 1 (or possibly even) in statewide races.

    They did better in 2003. And that even though this year they spend MILLIONS targetting people that they hardly fought 2 years ago. This was the democrat’s big push, they had the MoveOn trucks in town, the millions of dollars, the media blasting republicans, the republicans depressed and demoralized.

    The Republicans dodged a bullet. But they did dodge it. In a month, I’m sure the democrats will be able to express the dissappointment they must have in this race. Surely the democrats had high hopes for knocking off at least another 3 delegates, sweeping (or at least convincingly winning 2 of 3) statewide seats, and holding their own seats.

    I am very saddened that Black lost. I’m sorry but not shocked that two republican newcomers lost when the incumbent republicans (who obviously were popular enough to beat democrats 2 years ago) both endorsed and worked for the democrats. If not for that, I bet we would have PICKED UP a set instead of losing one.

  10. As far as transportation is concerned, the recent election was an exercise in avoiding promoting any particular plan. Kaine by saying he wanted to tie up transportation funds so they could not be raided again, and by promoting a so-called link between land use and transportation. Kilgore by deferring to regional authorities and referendums.

    A plan needs a goal, with milestones to measure progress toward the goal, it needs a schedhule and a budget, and it needs resources. So far, no one has presented such a plan, not Kaine, not Kilgore, not Potts, not PEC, not Virginians for Better Transportation.

    Kaine is going to hear five different stories at five town meetings, and some of these stories are highly polarized, even radical.

    Whatever is done is going to take a lot of money, both for roads and transit, and for fighting all the attendant lawsuits.

  11. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    Anon 3:01: Conservatives are a normally distributed bell curve of – 45% of Virginia. Liberals are a normally distributed bell curve of – 40% of Virginia. (ask Larry Sabato or Not Larry Sabato for more accurate numbers). The middle 15% breaks roughly 9:6 conservative – but differently issue by issue.

    For any issue the sum of conservatives and the apolitical middle > 50%, it is a majority.

    This is the majority for statewide elections (-Warner and Kaine x 2) and the majority of seats in the GA.

    It is a different majority – if you could name everyone – for taxes and social issues, as well as security/defense issues.

    The majority is issue by issue and changes in descending levels of detail.

    Take the death penalty. The majority of Virginians support the death penalty which is a ‘conservative’ issue. So, Gov-elect Tim Kaine set aside his deeply held, religiously-motivated beliefs to win on the majority on this issue. The majority of Virginians may support the death penalty for minors, but it will be a smaller majority. If you ask about supporting the death penalty for minors under the age of 12 – I think the majority disappears.

  12. Anonymous Avatar

    I just love this post by Will Vehrs.

    First, he runs away from this blog with his tail tucked between his legs after readers disagreed with his apologisms on behalf of George W. Bush. I seem to recall he did the same thing when people disagreed with him on the Iraq war — rather than take it, he ran away.

    Now’s he’s back after all is said and done to begin what I’m sure will be a steady, dull drone of criticism of a man who hasn’t even been sworn into office.

    Maybe once Kaine has been inaugurated he’ll find a way to get rid of a state government bureaucrat who’s hobby is to bite the hand that feeds him.

    –A Reader

  13. Anonymous criticism, wonderful. At least Will is willing to sign his ideas.

  14. Will Vehrs Avatar

    The downside of blogging has to be the anonymous personal attacks from folks like “A Reader.” First, history is rewritten, then my job is not so subtly threatened.

    I’d just say this: when Tim Kaine held a conference call with bloggers, his campaign chose me as one of the seven from across the spectrum. They know where I work and they know my record in my job and in my little bogging hobby.

    If you have a problem with me or any of my posts, “A Reader,” come out of the shadows. Show me whether you are a partisan hack or someone interested in debating substance.

  15. Adam Gurri Avatar

    Is that quote about “rallying public support” based on anything Kaine himself has said, or just the analysis of newspaper journalists?

    I ask because I was under the impression that these meetings were less about rallying and more about working out something that a Democrat governor elected in with a good margin and a legislature dominated mostly by Republicans can both get on board with. Making it “town hall”-like probably is just a device to get people in with a the hope that their presence will create some form of pressure or other, though that’s just speculation on my part.

    In any case, governor-elect though he may be, it’s not like he can just waltz in and tell the delegates what to do, right? Some sort of dicussion is going to have to take place, and my belief is that these meetings are just a way of getting to that discussion.

  16. Anonymous Avatar

    Have they published a schedule of the meetings yet. It might be fun to attend.

  17. Anonymous Avatar

    This is late in the game, sorry. Helpful crowd here, eh? It would have been best if Will had provided a link in his original post.

    The Roanoke town hall happened this past Wednesday. The others are upcoming, schedule here.

    Nell Lancaster
    Rockbridge Co.

  18. Anonymous Avatar

    Hm, I see the time stamp in BR comments doesn’t include the date… hard to see that as a feature rather than a bug, site owners.

    I posted the link above on Saturday, Nov. 19. The next town hall is Monday, Nov. 21.

    Nell L.

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