Republicans Defeated Themselves

As a counterpoint to my last post, “Republican Realignment in the Post-Chichester Era,” it’s worth reading a column penned by Zachary D. Moore, an aide to Sen. Brandon Bell, R-Roanoke, and director of his PAC, in the Manassas Journal-Messenger.

Moore argues that the Republicans defeated themselves in the last election through a series of damaging primary challenges to moderate legislators. Not only did conservative challengers cause GOP candidates to burn through $2 million in cash, they defeated Sen. Marty Williams, R-Newport News, who would have gone unopposed in the general election. Democrats wound up winning the seat from conservative Tricia Stall.

The result of the GOP defeat is as damaging to conservatives as it is to moderates. Writes Moore:

I want to highlight what this loss means for the Republican social agenda. Bills relating to everything from abortion to school choice to gay rights come before the Senate Education and Health Committee. Historically, many socially conservative bills have died on an 8-7 vote. With the retirement of committee Chairman Russ Potts, many observers thought the committee was on the verge of moving in a more conservative direction. I can virtually guarantee that won’t happen now. Republican Senators Bell and Rerras, both of whom were consistent conservative votes on the committee, will now be replaced with Democrats.

It’s interesting how Moore plays this as a loss for social conservatives. If Republicans react to electoral defeat by re-defining themselves as a socially conservative party, they are dooming themselves to minority status.

I wouldn’t define Virginia as a socially “liberal” state. I would describe the philosophical center of gravity as more of “social libertarian” state. Most people have a live-and-let-live attitude. Everybody be cool. Tolerate minority values and lifestyles, but show some respect for mainstream values. Let people do their own thing — keep the state out of it. Adapt the law to changes in social mores in incremental steps that doesn’t get anybody’s nose too bent out of shape.

Conversely, if Republicans redefine themselves as a fiscally conservative party with innovative solutions to the problems we all share — taxes, education, transportation, the environment — while permitting a range of views on the culture-war issues, it can emerge from defeat much stronger. If the GOP fails to reinvent itself along these lines, a large chunk of the electorate will feel perfectly comfortable in the socially moderate/fiscally moderate wing of the Democratic party.


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49 responses to “Republicans Defeated Themselves”

  1. Stephen Braunlich Avatar
    Stephen Braunlich

    Can you call it a loss for fiscal cons if they end up more or less where they were before? It’s just a status quo situation. Meanwhile, it’s a definite loss for social conservatives.

    On a related point, social cons will ultimately have more sway so long as they bring actual votes to the table while fiscal cons bring dollars.

    Now that’s not to say that Moore’s analysis is entirely correct. But it is to say that as things stand, social cons count for more than fiscal cons when it comes to votes. The question Republicans ought to ask themselves, then, is whether they can retain them. There’s a lot of evidence to say that they are drifting away from the Rs.

  2. “I wouldn’t define Virginia as a socially “liberal” state. I would describe the philosophical center of gravity as more of “social libertarian” state. Most people have a live-and-let-live attitude. Everybody be cool. Tolerate minority values and lifestyles, but show some respect for mainstream values. Let people do their own thing — keep the state out of it. Adapt the law to changes in social mores in incremental steps that doesn’t get anybody’s nose too bent out of shape.”.

    Which Virginia are you describing? I’d accept your words if they are being used to describe NoVA and the Charlottesville area. After that? I don’t see the libetarian side of the equation. Take abortion and gay marriage as litmus tests. Regardless of how you feel about the morality of these issues – they are examples of letting people do what the want – no?

  3. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    Jim: Almost every time there is this discussion of liberal, moderate, conservative, most of us talk past each other.

    We use the same words but we mean very different things. Consequently, the labels are almost meaningless in political chatter.

    If we talk issues we get clarity.

    HB3202 was the worst piece of legislation since Massive Resistance. It didn’t have the moral stain of Massive Resistance, but it was an egregious breach of Republican and Conservative principles.

    Likewise, the Tax increase of 2004.

    The failure to finish the Car Tax and really reform taxation in Virginia.

    The failure to lead for real solutions on Transportation.

    The small, late steps on tying land use policy to transportation.

    All of these don’t speak to Conservative vs Liberal (moderate) blah blah issues – they shout about the lack of vision, leadership, and common sense among elected Republican leaders in the GA and in state-wide office. This isn’t a broad brush that paints all leaders as such – but WAY TOO MANY as wrong, weak, vapid, insipid and in what I need to write about more – corrupted by power.

  4. Eddie Teach Avatar
    Eddie Teach

    Bowden hits the nail, squarely on the head.

    The Republican did this to themselves by SELLING OUT THEIR PRINCIPLES that got them into office.

    The only thing they stood for in this election was; “KEEPING THE MAJORITY”. Nothing else.

    HB3202 sunk the Republican ship. They could help to bail it out by repealing the mess this session, but I just don’t believe they are that smart.

    when I saw that Hager was blaming the “mess in Washington and the war in Iraq” for the defeat, it made me realize that the Virginia Republicans are STUCK ON STUPID!

  5. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    “Which Virginia are you describing?”

    do you mean in terms of numbers or geography and/or GA/Congressional Representation?

    Is ROVA – “hard-right” socially in terms of voting majorities?

    Is a social-right message that “works” for RoVA going to work for NoVa and NoVA-like urbanized areas?

    I remember when Va was ruled by RoVa… is it still? Will it be in the future?

    What is the vision of the Republican Party in places like NoVal?

    I would posit that a significant social right component is not going to win votes in NoVa and the like – not now and not in the near future.

  6. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    “HB3202 sunk the Republican ship.”

    okay.. I’m going to bite..

    Republicans who voted against or said they would – HB3202 would WIN against Dems who voted FOR it?

    why am I not convinced of this?

    if by 3202 .. we mean shorthand for the “abuser fees”, my impression is that both Kaine and the GOP own it – no harm, no foul – no attribution to either party per se.

    show me otherwise… on specific election contests…

    is THIS what sunk the Republicans?

    call me a skeptic…

  7. Anonymous Avatar

    I agree

    The Republicans are walking down a very dangerous road

    Cucinelli just barely won reelection and the first thing he is worried about is another social issue.

    For the good of Virginia we need the Republican party to start providing some better alternatives

    Its going to be tough because currently the democrats are dominating the debate. How are you supposed to argue against pre-k funding, the enviroment or mental health.

    The one small glimmer of hope I see is Chris Saxman and the cost cutting caucus. More republicans should be rallying around those types of initatives.

    -NMM

  8. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    Larry: Do your homework and look at the results.

    The only anti-HB3202 GOP to lose was Tricia Stall in SD1 – and her loss had nothing to do with that. That is my SD.

    Jeff Frederick in purple NoVa went from a squeaker win 2 years ago to 59%.

  9. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    Anon: Saxman supported HB3202. He has to prove his head is right on Republican principles and votes, not just rhetoric.

  10. Anonymous Avatar

    Larry,

    The true humor in all of this is that HB3202 was specifically designed by Republicans to PROTECT Republicans

    The Republicans were afraid (and rightly so) that if a transportation initative was not passed they would get crushed by the democrats for not doing anything.

    I think you are correct in your final analysis. Transportation was/is a NoVa/RoVa issue. Transportation is not an issue in RoVa and in NoVa its a huge issue.

    As far as the overall election is concerned the HR/TW results are the most troubling but first NoVA.

    I think most people knew that NoVa is trending more and more democratic and there is basically nothing that can be done to change that. More people are moving into the area and they have Democratic views on issues.

    To wrap this all up in HR/TW the Republicans lost 2 house AND 2 senate seats. The question is why.

    JAB

    Would no Transportation plan have been better then?

    -NMM

  11. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    Jim: HB3202 is exactly why seats were lost in HR/TW.

    I’ve spoken at Republican meetings that in good governance… good plans beat nothing but nothing beats bad plans.

    The People aren’t as stupid as the politicians think they are.

    We are over 2:1 against Regional Government here in HR/TW. We voted against it in 98 and 02. What part of ‘No’ do elected Republicans not understand?

    Regional Government devolves to be the only way forward to solve our problems – only if you are part of the corruption that will benefit greatly from the scam.

    There are other ways forward to solve our Transportation challenge – and our local legislators will get to consider one within a couple of weeks – offered by a grassroots citizen group forming now.

  12. In this discussion of HB3202 its worth it to keep in mind com hoc ergo propter hoc. Just because many of the people that voted for HB3202 lost doesn’t mean they lost because of HB3202. (Take Cuccinelli, the only Republican to win in Fairfax County. He voted for it. And while he did campaign against it, that typically prompts claims of waffling.)

    The bigger factors in play here were the Republican label alone being bad. And not just because of one bill, but because of mismanagement of the state’s budget, the war in Iraq, poor candidates, and a host of other issues. This loss didn’t have a single mother.

  13. “I think most people knew that NoVa is trending more and more democratic and there is basically nothing that can be done to change that. More people are moving into the area and they have Democratic views on issues.”.

    I just don’t believe this. Or, at least, I question whether there is nothing to do.

    I don’t know all the specifics of NMM’s comment. However, when I have heard this in the past it has been in reference to NoVA’s population growth from foreign immigration rather than domestic inflow.

    Many Indians, Hispanics, Asians and Arabs are very conservative. They do not become liberals when they move to NoVA. They become liberals when they realize that the incompetent local and state Republican parties are waving the Confederate flag and rambling incoherently about immigration.

    Meanwhile, those of us who have lived here all our lives see nothing to like either. Despite having been a dyed in the wool Republican – conservative almost all my life, I’ve started voting for (some) Democrats in the last few years. The Republicans have no message, seem to be fiscally incompetent and really don’t hold down taxes despite what they claim. From a Fairfax County perspective, they are more deeply into the developers’ pockets than the Democrats (Gerry Connolly a notable exception – if he were any further into their pockets he’d have to get his tailor’s license). At the state level, the NoVA politicians are just inept.

    Republicans can make all the excuses they want. In the end, they have a LOFT problem:

    Lack Of Freakin’ Talent.

  14. Jubilation T. Corpone Avatar
    Jubilation T. Corpone

    That’s it boys…Keep the debate going. Don’t give in! Narrow the base–that’s the ticket to victory!

  15. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    It strikes me that R’s that didn’t like/support 3202 could have advocated for what they did support as a way to get elected…

    rather than lose.. and then has NO place at the table other than subsequent “grass roots” proposals.

    Come on guys… the folks who who opposed to 3202 COULD have made it an election issue in BOTH NoVa and TW/HR and what did they do in terms of offering an alternative?

    nothing – as far as I can tell.

    It appears to me that the Conservative R’s are trying to lose on purpose to the Dems so they can go back to the Moderate R’s and say “see what happens when we don’t agree”!

    It’s NOT a positive vision. It’s NOT about governing from the middle. and it IS destructive.

    why would anyone vote for someone who is opposed to the current plans and has none of his/her own to offer as an alternative?

  16. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    “Many Indians, Hispanics, Asians and Arabs are very conservative. They do not become liberals when they move to NoVA. They become liberals when they realize that the incompetent local and state Republican parties are waving the Confederate flag and rambling incoherently about immigration.”

    Unwilling liberals without recourse.

    They duly note the xenophobic promises/threats from the right-wing WASPers and say “no way Jose” and the equivalent in other languages.

    The right-winger types… are not even grounded in simple Demographic realities. They think their WASP base can get them into office as long as they control the primaries.

    … and what they are doing … is killing the entire R party…

    Most voters do NOT want tax&spend types controlling government but given the alternatives, it’s the lesser of the two evils.

  17. Anonymous Avatar

    I think part of the problem is that NoVa is still too big to talk about as a block

    My original comments were based on Fairfax County where I live

    Larry et all you might find this hard to believe but in Fairfax most voters DO want tax and spend types controlling government. People in Fairfax want good services and are willing to pay for it.

    Baise (running against Connolly) basically ran on controlling government spending and reducing developer influence and he pretty much got crushed. I am pretty much stumped as a Republican on how to win in Fairfax outside of the areas bordering Prince William county.

    Unfortunaly the other two counties most closely associated with Northern Virginia have messed up big time under the Republicans. In Loudoun the republicans danced with the developers too long (Connolly escaped in Fairfax by riding on the Democrat majority train)

    Prince William county a R stronghold is even worse in my opinion. The immigration debate is extremely ugly and core services are being cut. This only works because there are more base Repbulicans in Pricne William. This strategy might work where you live but trying to run in any area thats even remotely purple or heaven forbid statewide is a recipe for disaster.

    -NMM

  18. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    then it’s even easier for the GOP to “convince” the voters to vote Dem!

    just FYI – at recent budget hearings in Spotsylvania – ALWAYS contentious affairs – sizable contingents of PARENTS show up and say “raise our taxes”… knowing full well that what they are advocating is raising the taxes on others to pay for more “freebies” at the school system.

    And the school system plays this card exceptionally well – like clockwork – they urge parents and teachers alike to advocate “fully funding the schools”.

    Much of the growth in our county are transplants from NoVa.

  19. Anonymous Avatar

    Larry Gross is right on immigration. The people being so bashed, especially Hispanics and Muslims, are a naturally fit for what Republicans CLAIM their values are — namely, family, hard work and morality.

    If you go to a Muslim immigrant, say you are running for office, that you want to fight pornography and would he like to contribute, I’ll bet your Muslims flips open his checkbook and says “How much?”

    Despite the 60s-era pro-Democratic buzz of the agriworkers union in California, many Hispanics have similar values to the good side of the GOP. Hate to bring this up, but when the GOP under Tricky Dick Nixon wanted to carry out some illegal stuff — who did they turn to. Cuban-american refugees!

    Larry is right that the state GOP, waiving its Confederate flag and running against so-called “illega” immigrants, is brushing aside a new wave of possible supporters.Doesn’t bother me, since I’m not particularly in synch of the GOP.

    As far as HB 3202, it is doubtlessly one of the weirdest pieces of legislation ever conceived. It takes “Omnibus” to a new level. Much of it is bad, but not all.

    Peter Galuszka

  20. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    actually Groveton made the comment about waving the Confederate flag and I supported it.

    as far as 3202 goes… agree it was/is a kitchen sink…

    but again.. those who were/are opposed to abuser fees, Transportation Authorities, even the UDAs … COULD HAVE promoted their own alternative visions of how to address the problems that 3202 ostensibly sought to address.

    They DID HAVE the perfect opportunity to win the hearts and minds of the voters – and what they proved – was that they are not up to the task.

    The Conservative R’s could have made TW/HR the clarion call of their vision of government… “fizzle” is not exactly “clarion”…

  21. Anonymous Avatar

    I don’t think that the GOP is addressing illegal immigration as well as it should, but I also believe that this blog is under-estimating the impact of the issue on middle America — including quite a few traditional Democrats.

    The business community in Virginia would probably sell bomb-making materials to Osama bin Laden if the price was right. If open borders means another sale of a house or a used car, by God, it’s in the business community’s interests, much less labor at 1950s’ rates. Business will be the villain in 2008 and for some years to come.

    Illegal immigration will continue to grow in importance in real America. That does not mean open hostility to Hispanics, but rather consistant enforcement of the immigration laws and a hardline against employers who flout the rules. Take a look as Democrat Heath Shuler’s bill that would tighten border protection and require employers to check the DHS system. Just because the MSM won’t talk about it, doesn’t mean it’s not real.

    I suspect that some of the risk to the GOP in 2008 will be Democrats who will take a hard, but not punitive, line on illegal immigration.

    TMT

  22. Anonymous Avatar

    What a load of BS.

    Didn’t the retiring/defeated RINO’s endorse Democrats?

    So who is really the problem here?

    It’s good to smoke these Dems in Reps clothing out.

    The Republican Party will be stronger for it.

  23. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    re: immigration and RINOs

    if that is your primary strategies – you’re gonna lose…

    if you cannot see that – you deserve to lose and you have the thanks of the rest of us…
    ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. Henry Ryto Avatar

    Let me point out the error in the original post: Nick Rerras did NOT face a primary challenge.

    HB 3202 was an albatross:

    1. The incumbents spent more time trying to defend it than talking about how they’d amend it.

    2. Here in the 83rd House District, Chris Stolle was sending out direct mail attacking Joe Bouchard for not supporting it.

    Was Stolle deluded enough to believe a clear majority of citizens supported the plan? If so, he deserved to lose.

  25. Jim Bacon Avatar

    Henry, Thanks for pointing out the error regarding Nick Rerras. I have corrected the original post.

  26. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    Cutline: onservatives Step up Pressure to Oust Howell

    Joseph Blackburn, a conservative who narrowly lost his challenge to Sen. Walter A. Stosch (R-Henrico) in this year’s Republican primary, has stepped into the debate over whether House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) should replaced.

    On Sunday, the House Republican caucus will meet to decide Howell’s fate. Several conservative Republicans, including Del. Robert G. Marshall (R-Prince William), are trying to unseat Howell because they blame him for straying from his party’s core conservative principles, which they say cost the GOP support in recent elections.

    Blackburn, whose been mentioned a possible candidate for House in 2009, has sent a letter to Del. John M. O’Bannon III (R-Henrico) calling on him to join the effort to unseat Howell.

    http://blog.washingtonpost.com/virginiapolitics/2007/11/conservatives_step_up_pressure.html?hpid=news-col-blog

  27. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    …”Didn’t the retiring/defeated RINO’s endorse Democrats?”

    Chichester supported Stuart, a Republican, who quite likely would have lost without that endorsement since the difference was just 598 votes.

    The last two days prior, the Chichester support Ads blanketed the 28th media outlets.

    If Chichester had not supported Stuart, yet another GOP seat would have turned blue.

    I think it is downright comical how the conservative R’s look at the same data – and come up with really outlandish interpretations.

    For instance, they blame Chichester for being a RINO completely ignoring the demographics in that district – which will not support a more conservative candidate.

    Chichester represented the voters – that’s why they returned him to office for a bunch of years and it’s why they supported Stuart who did not have great name recognition above non-GOP voters – the votes that made the difference despite the fantasies of the folks on the right thinking that their base is what puts their guys in office.

    So .. do the hard right guys THANK RINO Chichester for preserving a GOP seat? maybe when heck freezes over.

    The only way for hard right guys to get in office in some of the blue-leaning districts is to attempt to hide who they really are with respect to moderates and that don’t work no more in the Internet age.

  28. Reid Greenmun Avatar
    Reid Greenmun

    The members of the Virginia beach Taxpayers Alliance and the VBCCO provided the General Assembly with better solutions for reducing traffic congestion. We, The People spoke loud and clear against SEB 668 in 2002. The RINOs got into bed with the YES Campaign/hampton Roads Partnership business lobby and decided to blow off the voters in favor of $$$.

    Bad decision – the plan backfired and the GOP lost big time.

    Dumb decisions by the GOP leadership – and by the RINOs that were in the Seante and General Assembly.

    HB 3202 is not only a awful bill – the HRPDC/MPO list of massive highway projects are the WRONG transportation improvements and do not actually result in any meaningful traffic congestion relief.

    The massive $4.4 Billion Dollar Port Authority 3rd Crossing boondoggle doesn’t solve any of our regions exisiting commuter traffic congestion problems – in fact, it will result in MORE CONGESTION at the MMMBT!

    The entire Port Authrotiy lobby that is wasting BILLIONS to “expand the port” will cost the taxpayer of Tidewater far more then it will ever retrun to the local government and economy bu way of increased tax renenues.

    Who cares if the folks in office that vote for crap like HB 3202 call themselves “Republicans” of “Democrats” – either way they need to be thrown out of office.

    The GOP proved that having a so-called “Republican majority is worthless when the GOP passed garbage like HB 3202.

  29. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    HR/TW can turn down 3202 for the most part.

    The GA did not impose 3202 on HR/TW – they enabled it as an option that cold have been turned down.

    And it was offered because your elected folks supported it.

    Why blame RoVa if TW/HR voters themselves did not toss those out of office who supported 3202?

    I’m quite sure that even now, your GA reps could go back to the GA and say “we’ve changed our minds”.

    but here’s the REAL issue:

    “…”It should be disbanded,” McMillan said this week. “It’s unfair taxing for regional roads. These are state roads and they should be supported by the citizenry of the state. It’s not our responsibility to build state roads with local taxes. Period.”

    http://www.dailypress.com/news/local/newport_news/dp-news_hrta_1116nov16,0,756865.story

    What 3202 said – was HR/TW can decide if they want to tax themselves to pay for new roads…
    and the gas tax will pay for maintenance of existing roads.

    and what at least some of those opposed to 3202 are saying.. in effect.. is that they want RoVa to pay for their roads.

    but that is not an option and HR/TW voters do not get to “vote’ for RoVa to pay for their roads.

    this is no new money for roads
    RoVA has decided that they can take care of their own roads and thank you very much, they don’t want to pay for HR/TW roads.

    HR/TW two choices.

    1. pay for your own new roads
    2. don’t pay for your roads

    pick one.. and stop bellyaching..

    RoVA never really did pay for HR/TW roads – but HR/TW folks did.

    The state collected the gas tax for the HR/TW region and then reallocated it back to that region.

    Some folks apparently thought since the money came from Richmond..that it really came from RoVA and not TW/HR in the first place.

    Just imagine if every locality and region in Va thought the folks outside of their area would pay to build their roads!

    Can you say Pyramid scheme?

    It appears that TW/HR folks first of all..don’t trust their own elected ..and second would be very happy if RoVa chipped in and built their roads.

  30. Anonymous Avatar

    I have started a new political party called the Liberal Democratic Party of the United States. You can read the web page at http://www.dmocrats.org and you will find that this party works differently from other political parties. Take a look and help enact progressive legislation and end the war where you work as a legislator and you vote on legislation.

    We do not run candidates but rather we join together to use our purchasing power to leverage power away from the corporations that give money to regressives in both the Democratic party and the Republican party and we call these companies on the telephone and politely pressure them to talk to congressional leaders and the President and get our progressive legislation enacted and until the progressive legislation gets enacted into law we refuse to buy their products. Imagine thousands of party members calling these companies demanding progressive legislation and you will see positive results.

    Get as many people to make these phone calls.

    Call GOP contributor and war contractor General Electric Corporation at 203 373 2211 and ask for the public relations department. Tell the person in public relations that you want the GE CEO to get Bush to end the war in Iraq and then Bush resign with Cheney and until that happens you will not buy any GE products and that you will tell your friends about this.

    Call GOP contributor Rite Aid at 1-800-325-3737 and tell the person to get the CEO to get the GOP to enact HR 676 Single payer health care and repeal Medicare Part D and place the drug benefit in Medicare Part B covering 80% of drugs with no extra premiums, no extra deductibles, no means tests, no coverage gaps, and remove the means test for Medicare Part B and until that happens, you won’t buy ANYTHING from Rite Aid.

    Call GOP contributor Wendy’s restaurants at 614 764-3553 and Tell the person in public relations that you want their CEO to get the GOP to help enact a $10/HR MIN. WAGE into law and until this happens you will not go to a Wendy’s Restaurant.

  31. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    “It’s not our responsibility to build state roads with local taxes. Period.”

    http://www.dailypress.com/news/local/newport_news/dp-news_hrta_1116nov16,0,756865.story

    This is the sentiment that befuddles myself and this is not an isolated opinion either.

    I’ve heard it expressed by many in this blog and even by more than a few elected leaders around the state including in the Fredericksburg Area.

    I can sorta relate to the tax&spend types having a “fuzzy” concept as to where State dollars actually do come from…

    and I can understand from a cynical point of view how a local elected would prefer to encourage folks who don’t understand – to continue to not understand – if actually understanding means that local folks finally realize that development DOES have traffic consequences that are not being planned for.

    As long as local elected can use VDOT as a handy whipping boy… those local leaders can escape accountability for their land-use decisions.

    But why would any of us think that the process would NOT be that the State collects the gas tax and then returns to each locality where those gas stations are located, their “share” (minus what VDOT takes for statewide roads like I-95)?

    the money for roads does not come from “somewhere else”. It comes from the folks in each locality who buy gasoline in that locality.

    What 3202 DID for NoVa and TW/HR, is that it allowed them to KEEP their local money and NOT have it sent to Richmond and sequestered by an unknown process for re-allocation.

    So WHY are the local elected opposed?

    It’s clear to me. If the money is raised locally then their land-use decisions would have direct consequences on their own road money and that means they can no longer blame VDOT for not fixing their problems.

    The Transportation Authorities in 3202 is really all about Regional Cooperation AND accountability.

  32. Anonymous Avatar

    Larry I just want to say Amen to this particular comment

    What 3202 said – was HR/TW can decide if they want to tax themselves to pay for new roads…
    and the gas tax will pay for maintenance of existing roads.

    and what at least some of those opposed to 3202 are saying.. in effect.. is that they want RoVa to pay for their roads.

    but that is not an option and HR/TW voters do not get to “vote’ for RoVa to pay for their roads.

    this is no new money for roads
    RoVA has decided that they can take care of their own roads and thank you very much, they don’t want to pay for HR/TW roads.

    HR/TW two choices.

    1. pay for your own new roads
    2. don’t pay for your roads

    Thanks for keeping it real

    -NMM

  33. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    thanks NMM

    here’s another irony.

    The Conservatives talk a big talk about being fiscally responsible and taking responsibility and being accountable.

    and here they are.. advocating RAISING taxes on other Virginians to pay for THEIR roads.

    What kind of Conservative Principles are these?

  34. Reid Greenmun Avatar
    Reid Greenmun

    What HB 3202 says to taxpayers and residents of Tidewater/HR is that the business lobby bought off the politcal process and forced locals to pay for $10B in special interest highways – the center piece being the state-owned Port Authority’s $4.4B 3rd Cross and the new RT 460 to move MORE port trucks in and out of the state owned port.

    HB 3202 is the oppsite of local control and accountability.

    It creates an all-appointed, citizens-hostile, business lobby friendly regional government to force locals to pay for a bunch of junk that doesn’t really reduce our region’s commuter traffic congestions problems.

    HB 3202 mandates the wrong transportation improvements!

    It solve nothing for the people targeted to pay for it.

    This is not about the taxpayers of our region not being willing to pay to improve our roads – it is about the local taxpayers being forced to pick up the tab for the state-owner port desires – all to support truck traffic the STATE-OWNED port decided to flood our highways with.

  35. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    I agree with the misgivings about appointed boards.

    re: 3202 the opposite of local control/accountability..

    But HR/TW did not have ANY representatives elected or appointed when VDOT decided the road projects – right?

    where is local countrol and accountability when someone in Richmond whose name you don’t even know.. is making those decisions?

    Also 3202 does not mandate ANY improvements and further.. many of the taxes are optional per the locality.

    3202 also did not create the MPO – Federal Law did – and MPO law allows quite a bit of citizen involvement and activism if citizens themselves are willing to band together.

    The MPO is HR/TW’s opportunity to make Regional decisions instead of having VDOT/Richmond make them.

    The fact that you don’t trust your own local elected .. should not be a “state” problem that you should expect VDOT/Richmond to fix.. right?

    What you need is a Regional Alliance of citizens (I think you already have) which are willing to “get smart” on how MPOs work and to work on the localities that are not so sure about how things are working.

    I note that Newport News is now rethinking some of this.

    Isn’t the state also thinking of privatizing the port?

    But a strategy is hunting down and squashing any/all elected who supported (and/or did not oppose 3202) .. I don’t think is going to result in the changes that you want.

  36. Anonymous Avatar

    Larry Gross should get out more often

    Google the words “Potts” and “Democrat” for starters.

    Here’s item number two:

    “Chichester, Potts Endorse Democrat Colgan – Virginia Politics –
    Chichester, Potts Endorse Democrat Colgan. TimCraig. Two moderate Republican senators will endorse Democratic Sen. Charles H. Colgan (Prince William) at an …
    blog.washingtonpost.com/virginiapolitics/ 2007/10/chichester_potts_endorse_democ.html – Similar pages”

    RINOs are frauds who destroy the Republican party when they don’t get their way.

  37. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    geeze.. the RINOs are the only reason the R’s have not become a permanent minority party in Va.

    Who would believe that ultra-Conservative R’s could replace RINOs in those destricts other than… wishful/blind thinkers.

    I would say.. go ahead. and purge the R’s of the RINOs.. it’ll just further solidify the Dems hold on the elective offices.

    The Conservative R’s in Va are the Barney Fifes of Politics.. they shoot themselves in the foot everytime they draw their guns..

    which is good.. cuz if they had better aim.. they’d actually be dangerous…

    ๐Ÿ™‚

  38. Darrell -- Chesapeake Avatar
    Darrell — Chesapeake

    Let’s talk about this MPO business. First off the HRPDC is the designated MPO. They don’t allow public participation at their meetings. The HRTA allows a comment session at the beginning for agenda items, but the members really don’t listen. It’s just a legal check in the block.

    Now the HRTA is making moves to consolidate their power. Recently they created an Ad Hoc Task Force to review the roles of the HRPDC, MPO, and HRTA. Their conclusions are predictable. They wish to strip the duties of MPO from the HRPDC.

    http://www.hrpdc.org/transport/HRTA/Agendas/11_21_07/HRTA1107Agenda.pdf

    And who made up this Task Force of members from the three entities?

    Representing the MPO were Mayor Fraim, Clifton Hayes, and Stan Clark. All voting members of the HRTA. From HRPDC was Mayor Frank, an HRTA member and Art Collins, the Exec. Director of both HRPDC and HRTA. Louis Jones and John McClennon represented the HRTA. In short, seven of the 13 political members are directly associated with the HRTA. Also included at the table were representatives from the port authority, VDOT, and two business/political groups whose aim is political consolidation of Hampton Roads.

    One of those groups, Hampton Roads Partnership is a public/private consortium of elected and business leaders. It’s Executive Committee is made up of many of the same members as the HRTA. 40 percent of their operating funds come from area taxpayers.

    The second group, Future of Hampton Roads, has developed a series of reports which detail the steps of political consolidation. They have submitted these recommendations to the politcal bosses, with implementation scheduled to start this year.

    Here is the second report.

    http://www.fhrinc.org/Oct%2007%20Report2%20Final.pdf

    What is being proposed is creation of regional government without going through the public approval process. The objective, much like the GA legislation of HRTA in 3202, is to simply allow the GA to legislate the authority into existence as a political sub-division of the GA.

    So you see, the fact that HR citizens don’t trust their elected representatives is indeed a ‘state’ problem. One that extends well beyond transportation issues to the very foundation of government itself.

  39. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    They cannot get rid of the MPO. It’s a “strings attached” Federal mandate AND it REQUIRES citizen participation no matter what they say. Check MPO regs and check their Unified Work Plan.

    They CAN sort of work things out at the Transportation Authority level… and then essentially just repreat the vote at the MPO level but the Feds require the MPO to make the decisions and money from the Feds is held if they don’t.

    In Fredericksburg they are doing similiar consolidations. They are essentially trying to combine the Planning Districts with the MPO.

    I don’t see this as a necessarily bad thing. There is potential for it to be not good but there is also potential for better coordinated regional planning especially with regard to land-use and transportation.

    Is there potential for mischief? Yes.. and the same suspects are involved.. the “growth elites”.

    All I can say is that these same folks have always been around and that the MPO gives citizens much more opportunity to participate meaningfully than ever before but most citizens don’t even know what an MPO is.. much less how to effectively participate.

    Ha.. your MPO agenda is only 55 pages.. ours is 3 times that much… talk about having to plow through .. blather…

    At any rate.. I would think the most important thing for citizens to work for with their GA reps is to change the chargers of the TA’s to require elections….

    It’s a positive thing to work for. It’s clearly understandable from a policy point of view.. and you might even get some of the localities to support it…

  40. Darrell -- Chesapeake Avatar
    Darrell — Chesapeake

    The ultimate plan is to make HRTA the MPO, followed by evolving the HRTA into a broadbased metropolitan council with taxing authority.

    Elections of members would require an extensive lobbying effort of the GA, against taxpayer funded lobbyists hired by the government.

    Citizen participation of the MPO is composed mostly of infomercials for what the elitists want. Public participation in the various referenda has resulted in total rejection of the entire governmental scheme. Yet here we are once again, with 3202 and now future ‘legislated’ solutions without public input or oversight.

    I tried to pick the smaller of the reports, while getting the point across. ;0

  41. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    just FYI:

    “Under the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) of
    1991, governments are directed to solicit more public involvement than
    ever before, both from a wider range of publics and at more points in
    the planning process. In addition, each MPO must develop a strategy
    for their public participation process.”

    http://ntl.bts.gov/DOCS/wtlppg.html

    just GOOGLE MPO and citizen involvement.. and look for the .gov links…

  42. Reid Greenmun Avatar
    Reid Greenmun

    A few points:

    (1) But HR/TW did not have ANY representatives elected or appointed when VDOT decided the road projects – right?

    Not exactly. Our region has between 2 to 3 voting members on the CTB. The CTB directs VDOT regarding what projects are funded/selected.

    Darrell is trying to communcate that the MPO in our region doesn’t give a hoot about listening to citizens and that the MPO, the HRPDC, the TDCHR, and HRT are all one in the same with the new HRTA – they are controlled by the business lobby, not the citizens and taxpayers.

    The Hampton Roads Partnership and Future Hampton Roads are the puppet masters controlling the stings.

    All the rest is window dressing.

    As to my undertanding of ISTEA, TEA-21, TEA-2 SAFTEA-LU and where MPOs come from – pleeeeze, I have been helping explain this mess to our grassroots for nearly a decade now.

    What you reading this blog need to understand is the end game of MPOs, PDC, and all-appointed regional taxing authorities.

    Darrell is telling you the reality of what is going on – a slow moving train to marginalize voters and taxpayers and hand over decision-mamking for land use and transportation to the poltically influential business cabal.

    All that BS about how a MPO is supposed to improve the role of cotozens in the regional decisionmaking process is garbage – the reality is all it really does is create a process that hands over regional decision-making powers to wealthy and political influential business lobbies.

    The taxpayers and local residnets are treated like ants at a picnic.

  43. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    well you still have your CTB reps AND they ARE also appointed. Correct?

    Are Reid and Darrell asserting that the wealthy business cabal did NOT influence road decisions prior to the advent of MPOs?

    I don’t know about your area but they did up this way.. and citizens had virtually no notice or input into decisions.

    I’m trying to understand specifically what is worse now than before…

    Some MPOs are better than others about citizen participation but you DO have more opportunities for participation now than you did before the advent of MPOs.

    It’s not as much as you want – and I’d agree with you but are you saying that PRIOR to the MPOs you had MORE ability as a citizen?

  44. Darrell -- Chesapeake Avatar
    Darrell — Chesapeake

    “Are Reid and Darrell asserting that the wealthy business cabal did NOT influence road decisions prior to the advent of MPOs?”

    I dont understand this fixation on MPOs. It’s not what we are talking about. The MPO is merely a tool to gain an end result. That end result here in HR is a regional government that is brought about by legislative fiat, and not through the Constitutional provisions of citizen approval.

    The effect is a virtual orgainization free of the constraints of citizen input, oversight and public accountability.

    I can foresee that once this ‘metropolitan council’ scheme becomes known, the recent election results will seem like a minor temper tantrum compared to how the voters react to this violation of public trust.

  45. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    Reid – the fixation with MPOs is simple. It is .. the reality and it won’t go away.

    The Feds treat your area not as a collection of individual and unrelated jurisdictions but as a region – and they want you to plan as a region.

    That’s the rationale behind the MPO.

    FURTHER, the State thinks the same thing because they’ve also grouped you into Planning Districts for the same reason – to plan as a region.

    Just think of what the interstates would look like in your area if you had not planned and built them to serve your REGION and instead, every locality did their own thing.

    I AGREE with you about the problem of appointed verses elected but your opposition to REGIONAL planning and decision-making is simply futile – as it’s already been ongoing for decades and what you’re seeing is evolutionary changes. The Transportation Authority idea is, in fact, based, in part on the MPOs.

    It is not a coincidence or accident that the two have similar jurisdictional boundariesl in both NoVa and TW/HR.

    Fredericksburg will seek a similar State-granted Authority with the same exactly boundaries as it’s MPO.

    and I would posit this.

    If the MPOs did not exist – there’s a good chance that the Transportation Authority legislation would be very different.

    So I think the Federally-designated MPOs did, in fact, drive the Transportation Authority concept.

    The exact same players are involved – right?

    and these are the same folks who running the MPOs when they got started.

    And my point is.. if you wanted to oppose Regionalism… well.. it started way back when the MPOs were created.

  46. Reid Greenmun Avatar
    Reid Greenmun

    MPOs and PDCs did not have regional taxing authority.

    Now the “regionalists” have taxing authority – vai HB 3202 and the HRTA.

  47. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    “MPOs and PDCs did not have regional taxing authority.”

    that’s true as far as it goes.

    MPO’s have control over how the gas taxes from your region are spent – even if they are not the ones to decide the tax rate.

    Take a look at the TIP and the CLRP – the money – and then who decided what projects go into the TIP/CLRP.

    Your local government does not.

    The unelected and appointed MPO reps and your unelected and apponted CTB rep along with an unelected and unappointed VDOT guy have been deciding for years how to spend the taxes you pay on gasoline.

    It’s already happened unless you can figure out a way to get rid of the MPO.

  48. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    Once an MPO is formed and discussions about transportation from a Regional perspective take place, the conversation invariables starts to include the “why” behind the projects because elementally the justification for new roads centers on growth – and where it will and will not occur and why – and that gets into land-use decisions.

    Go to any MPO website and look through it and you’ll see discussions about land-use and planning with respect to land-use and transportation.

    So .. in many, many areas across the US, MPOs became the impetus for Regional discussions and subsequent decision-making about transportation and land-use.

    Integration land-use with transportation planning is a _good thing_ IMHO.

    Decision-making about the same without accountability is not – I agree and have the same concerned expressed by Reid and Darrell.

    I see the glass as half-full and needed more,better changes … rather than pulling back.

    what the heck does this issue have to do with Republicans and Conservatives in Va?

    A LOT! There are many issues that directly affect ordinary people in Va that have to do with Regional Planning, transportation and land-use – all legitimate issues for any politician regardless of political stripe to engage with the citizens.

    I would submit that it is issues like these that concern most Virginan’s and not “values” per se.

  49. Anonymous Avatar

    RINO’s are the reason the public could care less which party wins. RINO’s govern to the left of Democrats like Clinton, Warner, or Wilder and make Republicans look like incompetent hypocrites.

    RINO free elections will give voters a real choice.

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