Pork, TABOR, Governor's Race and More
Tuesday, October 18, 2005 :::
Spent the morning at the monthly meeting of the Tuesday Morning Group at the Bull & Bear Club.
Lots of interesting items on the agenda. Rick Sincere made a presentation on proposals before a General Assembly study commission that could result in unfunded mandates on localities in regards to their holding elections. There was a lot of interest on this issue and I suspect a lot of strong feelings on all sides.
Sen. Cuccinelli made a presentation on TABOR, as did Rob Whitney of Americans for Prosperity. I tried to impress on Ken afterwards that Colorado's experience with TABOR has not been all roses. TABOR was defeated at the ballot box in the 1980s, and even when it won (narrowly) in 1992, the attacks against it made the current Kilgore death penalty ad flap look like a walk in the park:
...during the 1992 campaign Governor Roy Romer repeatedly denounced TABOR, saying that defeating TABOR was the "moral equivalent of defeating the Nazis at the Battle of the Bulge." He personally attacked TABOR's author Douglas Bruce, calling him "a terrorist who would lob a hand grenade into a schoolyard full of children." Finally, Romer predicted that TABOR would result in an economic Armageddon and warned that the Colorado border would have to be posted with signs reading "Colorado is closed for business."
A Virginia version of TABOR might not elicit the same sort of hysterics from elected officials, but I told Ken not to be surprised if they did (at least privately).
The Virginia Piglet Book made its debut. I've not had the chance to read it yet, but Tom Schatz, president of Citizens Against Government Waste, made several excellent points regarding spending. He also noted, as did Cuccinelli and Del. Bill Janis, that the Virginia budget is almost impenetrable. Finding redundancies, inefficiencies, and outright pork is an enormous task that's often beyond the ability of the average part-time legislator. Perhaps the Piglet Book will give them a head start they need to trim spending.
Also had an interesting discussion with a member of the press in attendance regarding the gubernatorial race. We both agreed that the race will go down to the wire. But what may cause it to break one way or another could be an outside event -- an indictment of a Bush official in the Plame affair, or the Miers nomination fight (which is alienating many conservatives) or even the Behl case that could move voters one way or another.
And there was a ton of off-the-record stuff, too. But our host, my old friend John Taylor, did tell me that the November meeting will feature, among other things, a presentation by Capital Freedom, a blogger from NoVa. John ran the idea by me of perhaps having a panel of Virginia bloggers talk about what we do and how (or if) we make a difference. I told him about the Sorenson event this past August, but I do think it might be useful, and maybe even mildly informative, to give the idea another go.
::: posted by Norman Leahy at 10/18/2005