Elephant Ears

This blog is dedicated to the political happenings in the Valley and Southwest Virginia. As the the name implies, this blog will have posts based on what is heard by this elephant's (GOPer's) ears. It is also a great treat to get while at the county fair or a carnival.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Change in House Leadership?

I have seen some comments in the blogsophere lately about what we should do about the House leadership. The claim has been largely that we have lost 5 seats in 3 years and also have nothing to show but a tax increase. Mason Conservative is one blogger that is asking if we need a change of leadership in the House of Delegates. He is arguing that we have basically done nothing since we gained the majority in 1999. He also comments on the only major thing happening since Speaker Wilkins' resignation is the tax increase. He says we need younger people in the leadership to show new thinking and less politics. His suggestions are Chris Saxman, Rob Bell, and Ben Cline from the local area; and Dave Albo, Tim Hugo and Jeff Frederick of NOVA.

First off, I don't think we can really blame the leadership for the seat losses. Most of the losses have occured in areas that are turning more democratic. Also, some of our candidates have hurt themselves (i.e. Dick Black, Craddock, Marrs) which the House leadership has no major control over. I would even argue that they have kept us from losing more seats by picking up the 6th and 99th districts as well as defending some of the hotly contested NOVA seats.
Another problem the House faces is that the Senate does not have the same ideology as the House. They (in large part) want more tax increases and more spending. Some may say that the tax increase should fall upon Speaker Howell, et al b/c they failed to stop it, but it was a political move. Most of the "gang of 17" made a personal choice to vote for the increase to prevent a gov't shutdown (at least thats the reason I have been given). Did you notice that none of the leadership was in that group? Speaker Howell did ask Allen Louderback and others to not attend the committee meeting in order to get the vote to the House floor, but he couldn't stop the "gang of 17" guys from voting the way they did. Also, I personally do not believe the gang will vote to raise taxes again, based on the info we now have, as well as the surplus.
Maybe I am way off base, but I think our House leadership is doing a good job. I think we should stay with Howell, Griffith and Landes b/c in my opinion, they have done a good job. Defending a large majority like this one is tough, especially when there are so many different regions and issues to deal with. We are constantly having to make intra-party compromises to get things passed.
What do you folks think? Do we need a change?


  • At 11/20/2005 9:12 PM, Anonymous Chris said…

    Its not that the leadership is bad, so to speak, its just seems like being the majority is all that matters, moreso than actually doing something. I like them all, I'm not strenueously against them, its just after Kilgore's loss, I am dying for someone to step up and be a leader. Republicans in the legislature just seem happy to be the majority and aren't willing to go out of their way to do something subtantial. Lets roll back the tax increases, lets do something! The Democrats are winning because they are the party of action. Warner made a point of being active, of doing things, and Kaine's campaign was built on doing things. Its like Democrats: The Party of Ideas, Republicans: The Party of the Status Quo. I'm just tired of Republicans in the Legislature sitting on their hands and taking it from a Democratic governor. We should be mocing him to the right, not allowing him to moce us to the left. Thats all I'm saying.

  • At 11/20/2005 10:11 PM, Blogger GOPHokie said…

    I think you have a good point about our party not getting much done.
    I am just not sure changing the leadership will help that problem.

  • At 11/21/2005 11:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I agree with Chris on this one. The GOP needs to be less worried about keeping power and start doing the right thing. Cutting wateful spending not expanding it!

  • At 11/21/2005 9:08 PM, Blogger GOPHokie said…

    Doing the right thing is one thing. When that will cost your party the majority in the House, I am not as sure.
    You do what you can.
    As I have said elsewhere, if we get another tax increase, we should fire the leadership.
    Unfortunately, Virginia thinks the tax increase was a good idea AFTER THE FACT. We would have very possibly lost control of the House had we shut the gov't down.
    Perhaps I am wrong, but I think the leadership made the right call of letting the whole assembly vote on the increase. Beyond that, they could do no more.

  • At 11/22/2005 10:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Having "our" party in control does little if they are raising spending along with taxes. Power for powers sake is wrong...you have to be a stewart of the principles.

  • At 11/22/2005 10:41 AM, Blogger GOPHokie said…

    I agree with you on that.
    We certianly need to change our approach. I think Speaker Howell's plan to overhaul Medicaid is a good step in that direction.


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