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 18, 2007

The Road to Minority

Since election day, everyone seems to think they have the answers to why the GOP lost the State Senate and continues to bleed seats in the House of Delegates. Our friends at VCAP and their supporters argue its b/c the GOP isn't conservative enough. Their evidence for this arguement is that "RINO" Devolites-Davis lost while conservative Cuccinelli won. They also cite Karen Schultz running "a smart campaign by adopting traditionally conservative positions on gun rights, the right to life, and taxes" in her loss to Jill Holtzman-Vogel as proof that being conservative wins.

Our friends on the other side of the aisle claim the opposite. They claim the GOP has gotten too conservative and their evidence is the loss of Tricia Stall and the weak showings for Jill Vogel and Ralph Smith in their GOP heavy districts.

This isn't that surprising. After all, every group is naturally going to think they aren't the reason for losing. The key I think to this arguement is not whether conservativism wins; but what "conservatism" really is.

It is a proven fact that areas like NOVA are in fact pro-choice, pro-gun control and pro-higher taxes (depending on the reason). So how did Ken Cuccinelli win? The Dems must be wrong. But wait, Tricia Stall lost a race in a straight GOP district; and Ralph Smith squeaked by in a solid GOP leaning district that favors guns, lower taxes and babies. The VCAPers must be wrong too huh?

I propose that conservativism does win, but it has to be implemented correctly.
In order to win, conservatism has to be a true limited government platform. We can be socially conservative, but we have to be more than that. We have to oppose spending increases and look for ways to streamline government. We have to assess government like a business and run it as such. Opposing taxes isn't the key, its ensuring that the taxes we are already paying are being properly used. Then if we don't need all of it, we can cut taxes and return that money to the people.

The GOP is currently suffering from a contradictory stance on our economic policy. We favor "limited government", but have grown the budget more than the dems. The problem is that the GOP isn't the party of limited government, its the party of lower taxes. That is a problem b/c without less spending, you can't lower taxes but so much. The public knows that roads need to be built and schools need to be funded, and contantly cutting taxes without cutting spending cannot continue indefinitely.
In a related issue, some aren't even opposed to taxes. Stall and Smith ousted their opponents largely on their support of the '04 tax increase, but neither of those (or any of the other primary challengers) campaigned on trying to roll back that tax increase. How can you expect the general electorate to believe you, when you don't even oppose the one thing you are accusing your primary opponent of doing?

Now that I have bashed the VCAP crowd and the general GOP, the Dems aren't right either. They are simply resting on the failures of the GOP in their victories. They aren't winning so much as we are losing.
They will not really be "moderate" when they get in power either. The best example of this is the concept of non-partisan redistricting. Sen. Deeds has constantly tried to get that to pass, but now incoming Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw has said that issue will not be a big concern for his party anymore. Shocking; the dems wanted non-partisan redistricting as long as they had no say in the current system; but now want the system to stay the same since they can control it. This is exactly how I think they will operate in many other issues once they are in charge. Its not a shot at their people, its largely just a natural progression.
When you are trying to win, you are all on the same team fighting the enemy. Once you achieve power, you have to fight amongst yourselves to figure out which way to run things.

Obviously, many of you will disagree with my theory here; but I am interested in seeing how everyone else sees the results of the elections a few weeks ago.


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