Yesterday I spoke with former Governor Doug Wilder regarding the recently released poll by Virginia Commonwealth University’s Wilder School on the 2021 governor race.
That conversation is one that I will remember for a very long time in that here’s a former governor who, at the age of 90, is still actively engaged in Virginia politics because he honestly just gives a damn about the future of the Commonwealth.
Good on him.
When he picked up the phone for our interview, I naturally asked him:
Governor, how are you today?
Without missing a beat came the upbeat and wise reply:
In doing a deeper dive on the CNBC Top States for Business rankings, two quotes keep running through my unsettled mind.
Why unsettled? Well, last year I posed this question to Virginia FREE’s Board of Directors:
If Virginia was a stock, would you Buy, Sell, or Hold?
Not one said Buy. They all said Hold. Thankfully, no one said Sell.
So, the first quote comes from New York Yankee Hall of Fame catcher Yogi Berra who is now more famous for his Yogiisms than his playing. This one was an answer to a question about a famous New York City restaurant — was it still as good as it used to be?
They rank their top 10 states: Virginia – North Carolina – Utah – Texas – Tennessee – Georgia – Minnesota – Colorado – Washington – Ohio.
Chief Executive Magazine in April ranked their top 10 states thusly: Texas – Florida – Tennessee – North Carolina – Indiana – South Carolina – Ohio – Nevada – Georgia – Arizona. Virginia comes in at #13 for them.
When I was a teacher of U.S. History and Government, I had only one rule for my students and it was that they think. I told them flat out:
I don’t care what you think – I care that you think. Time will take care of the rest.
Their thinking was dependent upon being able to access facts and alternative lines of thought so that they would be challenged to actually think deeply versus reacting emotionally.
Today, kids call that “adulting.”
In order for me to make 17th and 18th century U.S. History interesting for late 20th century high school students, I had to make it relevant to their lives. So, we would talk a great deal about current events and apply them back to whatever time we were discussing in our curriculum. In that way, our history would come alive for them and they would then dive deeper into their studies. Continue reading →
Tuesday’s big winner: Terry McAuliffe. Photo credit: The Washington Post
by Chris Saxman
There is no sense doing a deep dive on Tuesday’s elections results because there is not a lot of depth to explore.
Somethings are just obvious.
In the end:
Money talks and bullshit walks.
Challengers don’t win – incumbents lose.
The leadership of the Democratic Party of Virginia is firmly in control.
There was ZERO ideological shift in either party.
Base voters want fighters who can win. They are angry and want that anger represented. (Reminder – anger is fear based) Many vote Against rather than For.
Legacy media continues to lose influence on voter behavior as they become more partisan.
#1 data point from Tuesday? The similarity in Ralph Northam and Terry McAuliffe primary vote totals. 2017: Northam 303,531. 2021: McAuliffe 303,410. That’s the base of the Democratic Party of Virginia.
It’s not so much what you do, but the manner in which you do it.
John Warner has shown us, once again, that we really are better than we let on. The praise of Warner’s tenure as our United States Senator has been universal and consistent – John Warner was a great politician.
Virginia’s gentle man.
There have been many wonderful remembrances of him. Read them all.
After the news broke yesterday, I recounted my own with fondness, many smiles, and several laughs. That was a great trip down Memory Lane, but it wasn’t sad.
Then I remembered that I was having lunch with Frank Atkinson in just a few hours and that we would be nerding out on the life and times of John Warner. I mean Atkinson literally wrote the books about modern Virginia politics. Continue reading →
Well, the Republican Party of Virginia actually pulled it off. Their Ranked Choice Voting Unassembled Convention Through the Legs off the Backboard with Twist (which lasted lemme see…one… two…three…no, FOUR days) finally ended and ended well.
Not only did RPV manage to pull it off, but their statewide ticket of Glenn Youngkin, Winsome Sears, and Jason Miyares is the most diverse in the history of the Commonwealth. National Republicans are thrilled, but more importantly for the GOP, Virginia Republicans are united, well-funded, and energized for the 2021 campaign season. They also have a month head start on their Democratic opponents.
Since I attended the Phillies/Nationals game in DC yesterday, you’re probably going to read more than a couple baseball references. But since politics and baseball are so similar the references usually work, I offer no apology.
Like the movie Mr. Baseball starring Tom Selleck pointed out – every batter has a “hole in their swing.” That’s the place in the strike zone a pitcher looks to throw the ball because, for some reason or another, the batter just can’t hit a ball thrown there. Swing mechanics, stance, hands, hips, shoulders …. all create holes. The problem Selleck’s character had was not just a hole in his swing, but more importantly he had a hole in his attitude. His Japanese manager and the Japanese culture, filled those holes. It’s a fun movie with a nice storyline.
Anyway… Continue reading →
Over the last week and a half, I attended three Glenn Youngkin campaign events with three different women — my wife Michele and our two daughters, Mary Kathryn and Nora. It wasn’t intentional that I went to separate events with each of them, it just worked out that way. All three are college-educated suburban women.
While you might think that in our house we talk politics a lot and always vote the same way, I can assure you — we do not. Never have. I have always told our kids to vote for the person you think is best for the job. We compare notes afterwards. Michele and I have been the same way since our first political conversations thirty years ago. “Who did you vote for?” “Oh, okay.” “How about you?” “Oh, okay.”
The first event was at a local restaurant the Henrico GOP uses for its meetings in Innsbrook called Atlas 42. Good size. Clean. Plenty of room without being cavernous. Mary Kathryn and I went to check out the campaign of Glenn Youngkin. Continue reading →
Christopher Newport University’s Wason Center released another poll today and VPM’s headline captured the catnip as their headline writer wrote, “New Virginia Poll Shows Support for Progressive Ideas, but Not Labels.” It should have read “Virginians are centrists but like free stuff.”
In that VPM report (VPM is PBS/NPR’s new label – irony noted) is this quote from CNU’s Rebecca Bromley-Trujillo:
“Americans as a whole tend to lean conservative in their ideology,” Bromley-Trujillo said. “And this usually is kind of based on broad values, like liberty or small government. But when you get into specific policy proposals, then you see more support for Democratic policies.”
This is not new. This is also why we put the Iraq and Afghanistan wars on our kids’ credit cards. This is also why we fight incessantly over health care — everyone wants Mayo Clinic level care on their street corner, but no one wants to pay for it. Continue reading →
Full disclosure on this one: I hate cigarettes. I have never smoked one — ever. When I waited tables and tended bar, the worst part of the job was cleaning ash trays. And that includes the time I had to break up a bar fight after which the teeth swallowing loser had a tracheotomy performed on him.
Virginia is just 38 short days away from its first statewide nomination as the Republicans are finally set to pick their candidates for the Big Three — Governor, Lt. Governor, and Attorney General on May 8th in an “unassembled convention.”
Sticking with the date of May 8th is the smartest decision the Virginia GOP has made this year, as it gives them a 31 day head start on likely Democratic nominee, former Governor Terry McAuliffe.
And they need it.
As Ward Bond’s Father Lonegan says to open one of my favorite movies, “The Quiet Man”:
“Well, then. I’ll begin at the beginning.”
It has been 512 days since the Democrats won the majority back from twenty years of Republican control of the House of Delegates. In just 223 days, Virginia’s citizens will decide if they merit a return to power. Continue reading →
Spring in Virginia politics is like the daily pollen car wash. It’s that morning muck that cakes up the windshield worldview.
This is when political campaigns send out unmitigated crap attack ads that make no sense but try to instill just the tiniest element of angst and fear in order to generate a negative response towards an otherwise decent person.
The Virginia GOP dominant majority in General Assembly actually managed the Commonwealth well over the last twenty years as it had to work with a Democratic governor 75% of the time. But eventually, the engine of innovation wears down. They could use some of the Ideas Retreats of the past vs. conventions which boil down to who is more pro-gun, anti-gay, or anti-abortion. As if there are no other issues that matter to Republican convention goers.
On the other hand, we have many Democratic candidates who seem content on coming up with Elizabeth Warren-level of detail in their policy proposals. Continue reading →
On Tuesday, I sent out some early observations of our Candidate and Issue Surveys of the Republican and Democratic fields for the top three statewide offices in Virginia’s government.
In those top line observations, I saw that the race for the Democratic nomination for Attorney General could be an upset in the makingin that rising star Delegate Jay Jones was performing well against incumbent Mark Herring. Recent polling showed that the name ID of Jay Jones is very low but Herring was only in the low 40s on the ballot question.
That was a red flag since Jones had a name ID in the low single digits. 50% undecided for a two term incumbent Attorney General? Not good, Maverick…this is not good.
Our survey — yes, not a poll — shows Jones performing very well. Hence, the Upset Alert. Naturally, I immediately got some texts saying “No way. Not going to happen.” etc.
In a recent column called Hitting the Cutoff Man, I explained the need to work with the business community if you want to solve problems in our economy. I used the famous “There’s no crying in baseball!” scene from A League of Their Own.
The lesson was, if you have a goal in mind, the business community can be a strong ally in getting done in policy and politics what you are trying to achieve. We are here, like the cutoff man in baseball, to relay the throw home.
The Richmond Times Dispatch recently published two editorials that deal with issues relating to employment policies in Virginia — paid sick days and paid leave — that are being considered in legislation currently before the Virginia General Assembly. While certainly well intended, both op-eds fail to make their point. In doing so, they will likely unite business leaders and various trade associations to oppose their objectives.
It doesn’t have to be this way if they would just hit the cutoff. Successful politicians learn that politics is not about what you want, but rather what you are willing to give up to get what you want. Continue reading →
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