Sunday, April 02, 2006 :::
Once upon a time, Marvel Comics has a series called "What If..." It was a mildly interesting way to explore alternative storylines, like what if the Fantastic Four had different powers (would Reed and Sue still get together...oh, the possibilities!).
Today, Jeff Schapiro plays a bit of "What If..." with Jerry Kilgore, in a column that shows more rhetorical restraint and even -- dare I say it -- a dash more respect, than he ever showed Kilgore on the campaign trail. But only just.
It's sometimes amazing to see what occurs in the aftermath of defeat. I can only assume that should George Allen mysteriously lose re-election this year, Schapiro will write a semi-balanced piece on the man and his opinions.
There are a couple of interesting items here, though. Like this one:
To bring the Senate to heel, [Kilgore] said, he would be using some of the same campaign-style tactics with which Kaine hopes to shatter the resistance of the House of Delegates to higher taxes for roads and mass transit.
I wonder if he would be using the same array of tools Kaine is employing? Tools, by the way, that rate no mention in this Pamela Stallsmith piece. Robo-calls? Direct mail? Never heard of them.
There is also this:
But [Kilgore] does not need a poll to know that his party has been weakened by the tax feud, although he believes it can retain its General Assembly majority in 2007 by proving it has offered "opportunities and options" on transportation.
"Heretofore, we could come together on the tax issue and limited government. We've got to stick to our issues or else we become the Democrats."
And in a poke at tax-raising Republicans, he said, "If we continue to govern Democratic-lite, people will decide to elect the real thing."
He sounds almost like Jim Gilmore. The "weakness" is a matter of concern. And as I have said before, if the House does crumble, the fallout could be big...but may be felt first among the GOP's Senate members. So far, though, the House has managed to stand firm and has actually gained some tactical ground against the Senate in the past week. And the failed Chichester reboot last week shows that the other chamber is hardly the unstoppable monolith it was in 2004.
There are those, like the deeply silly Ray McAllister who believe the legislators should "apologize" for going home without striking a deal and return their expense checks out of shame. To each his own. But with billions on the line, and the political futures of so many at stake, 20 grand is a small price to pay for getting things done right.
::: posted by Norman Leahy at 4/02/2006