OMT One Man's Trash...from Norman Leahy

Friday, November 18, 2005 :::

"Free-lunch hokum"

Will Vehrs discovers this minimally enlightening exchange of
in the august pages of the Daily Press between Grover Norquist and the brilliant minds of the DP's editorial staff.

Of the pieces, Will says:

I hold no brief for Grover Norquist (I love that cliche; I don't know as I have ever "held" a "brief" for anybody). However, I find it a sign of almost pathological intolerance toward cutting taxes that the DP editorialists find it necessary to slam Norquist's response on the same day it appears. Do they have so much contempt for their readers that they can't let them decide for themselves between two opposing views?

Actually, Will, the Wall Street Journal does this same sort of thing on a fairly regular basis. So as much as it pains me to say so, the DP is not blazing a new trail of condescension.

That does not excuse the content of the DP's editorial. If anything, it matches Grover stride for stride in its shallowness:

Well, voters have been fooled in the past. Until Warner straightened out the state budget, voters had been fooled by the notion that taxes could be cut without any ill effect on the services paid for by those taxes. Now, there is a clearer understanding in Virginia of the connection between taxes and services, costs and benefits.

Unless I missed something, the Commonwealth did not dissolve into anarchy, nor were pensioners and orphans sent to the workhouse during the supposedly dark budgetary days of the Warner Administration. If the DP cared to notice, they would see that Virginia's budgets routinely increased even during the most harrowing moments of fiscal crisis. And as for the tax cuts that brought us to the edge of Armageddon...the blame for that sits squarely on those in the legislature who did not reduce state spending while taking on a massive new obligation in the form of car tax relief.

And of course, the DP either cannot or will not admit that maybe -- just maybe -- the 2004 tax hike wasn't necessary. Doing so would undermine their narrative, not to mention setting back their desires for bigger government. And to show just how bankrupt their vision is, they resort to school-yard taunts:

But the message in the victory of those Republicans opposed by Norquist is that anti-tax, free-lunch hokum appears to have lost its appeal. That's a good thing for Virginia.

Actually, it shows something entirely different (not that the DP would ever tell anyone). First, what the results tell me is that Grover not only over-promised, but under-delivered. A sin in the business world, but hardly disqualifying in politics. It also shows me that Grover, as I have said before, is not now, and has not been for many years, the font of all anti-tax wisdom. He's a quote machine...a self-promoting hack. Without Newt in the Speaker's chair, Grover is a toothless tiger and the sooner backwater editorial boards get that straight, the better off we'll all be.

Second, incumbents, regardless of party, are fairly secure creatures. Some can be beat (like Brad Marrs), but usually it's from self-inflicted wounds that happen to occur at the very worst possible time. It is even more difficult to beat an incumbent in a primary, though that, too can be done (Gary Reese comes to mind). But you can't beat them with nobody, or just anybody. If fiscal conservatives are able to recruit strong challengers and then open their wallets to support them, then we can talk.

And I strongly disagree with Grover's contention that Kilgore's "equivocation" on taxes cost him the election. It certainly did not help. And what Grover does not say is that I believe Kilgore sent a letter to him re-affirming his earlier support of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. What happened with that, anyway? We may never know.

::: posted by Norman Leahy at 11/18/2005 0 comments


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