Thursday, November 10, 2005

Election wrap-ups for this Virginian

I meant to do this earlier but life got in the way. Here goes nothin'.

As anyone with a TV is well aware by now, Democrat Tim Kaine defeated Republican Jerry Kilgore by a sizable enough margin that nobody can call it close. For the record, I'm not happy about it at all. While Kaine's stance on the death penalty was a loudly-proclaimed campaign point and he has said that he would uphold the laws of Virginia in allowing a convict sentenced to death to actually be executed, the fact of the matter is that he can pretty much stay any execution in the state for no other reason than he feels like it. I'll be interested to see how he handles the first such case before him. That said, there's no reason whatsoever to allow that issue to remain at the forefront now that he's been elected. Let the man do as he sees his duty requires and let's judge him by the actions he makes at the time. There's zero incentive for him to actually hold up his promise, true, considering he can't run again but that's the system we have.

Kaine is no friend of the Second Amendment. That was sufficient for me to vote against him right there considering Jerry Kilgore's stance on the issue, but it wasn't the only reason I had. Virginians have pretty much made their will known clearly in that we have both a carry concealed and a shall-issue law in place. Virginians do not want the state government screwing with their right to keep and bear arms. I would advise Kaine to take note of that. Same caveat exists here about his incentive to take that advice.

Kaine is also a proponent of higher taxes as the best way to keep Virginia growing. Every reputable economist on record has conclusively proven that higher taxes do not yield higher productivity or growth so whoever got him to smoke that joint did a helluva sell job. I can only hope that the Republican-controlled assembly and Lt. Governor hold him off on most of his initiatives.

The Lt. Governor is Republican Bill Bolling. A Dem governor and a GOP lt. governor. This should be a fun 4 years.

The last race of any significance to me was that of State Delegate for District 32 pitting incumbent Republican Dick Black against newcomer Democrat Dave Poisson. Both spoke of their committment to fixing the traffic issues here in northern VA. Black's actually gotten 5 measures passed for funding on the Route 28 corridor running south from the northern border of VA past Dulles International Airport. The road was, literally, a 2 lane road with stop lights when I moved here in the mid 1980's. Three years ago it was a 6-lane divided highway - with stoplights. Think about that: you transition from Route 7 to Route 28 into a speed limit of 55 mph. In less than a half mile, you might hit a red light. The light turns green and you accelerate back to 55, only to be stopped at the next light positioned perhaps another half mile down the road. And so on, and so on. It's nuts. Black came in there and managed to get funding to remove the lights and build interchanges at 10 intersections. Along the part of it I use daily, there are 3 such projects that are largely completed and the traffic patterns are hugely improved. Score 1 for Black.

Of course, Poisson said he'd do much the same. Oh, and he'd finally get around to addressing the issue of northern Virginia getting back 22 cents of every dollar we send to Richmond in taxes. Black's been in for 6 years and that ratio has only gotten worse. Both said they'd fund the schools, get teachers' pay up, etc. Black is a rabid pro-lifer. Poisson is a rabid pro-choicer. Want to know what Poisson didn't have that Black did?

Poisson never deliberated mispronounced his opponents name in a derisive manner during a public debate.

Yeah, you heard me. There's Dick Black, during a public debate, calling his opponent "Mr. Poison." Repeatedly. Considering that he'd referred to Mr. Poisson correctly during previous speeches and appearances, Black knew better. He just decided to be an immature brat and engage in behavior I don't tolerate from my 4-year-old. So, adding that to the antics with the plastic fetus models he sent to other delegates a couple of years ago ahead of the vote for his latest attempt to ban abortion in Virginia and his call to cease funding to local libraries unless they ran internet filtering software on their public terminals for all library patrons, adults or not, and you get to my decision to not vote for him this year.

So now we have a Democratic delegate in almost every northern Virginia county and a Democrat governor. Could Republicans have done better? Sure. Actually trying to energize the Republicans here might have helped. Actually seeing the candidate for governor up here more than once might have been a good idea, too. Bottom line: we got kicked around the block this time. We must learn from it for next time, because this election is done and decided. Tim Kaine is the governor-elect and will have 4 years to guide Virginia to the best of his ability. As a democracy, we had a decision before us and we decided it using the only method valid for democracies. Our democracy has spoken and, since I choose to remain a part of that democracy, I will not disparage the decision now that it's made. Time to turn my efforts toward working with those who were elected to get outcomes as close as possible to what I want to see.

And plan. For next time.