Monday, July 26, 2010

Hey Gerry, Where's the Poll?

Poll's are always a fascinating thing. The Keith Fimian campaign released a poll in the Spring showing Fimian beating Gerry Connolly 40%-35% among likely voters, and more importantly 43% to 28% among independents. Two years ago, Connolly released a poll done in mid-July showing him beating Fimian. But where is his poll now? According to FEC reports, Connolly paid the same pollster he used two years ago $21, 105 on May 4, 2010 for a poll. Where are these results? They are nowhere to be found. Obviously, like the Fimian campaign's poll, Connolly's own poll shows him losing or else he would have released the results.

Want more proof? Connolly has been reinventing himself, saying he opposes the Pelosi agenda that he voted for 97% of the time. He also keeps complaining about having to take tough votes supporting President Obama's policies. Lastly, we now see Connolly showing up on the campaign trail. All further proof that Connolly is losing in his own polls.

Combine Connolly's bad internal poll numbers with the growing disapproval of the Democrat's in Congress, and you can see why voters have grown severely disenchanted with Connolly's mismanagement of the economy, reckless spending and mountains of borrowing.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Pinocchio Armstrong

Way back in March we commented on the war that Delegate Ward Armstrong was waging against Appalachian Power. We concluded then that this was largely a Political PR campaign, since his bills didn’t seem to be designed to actually DO anything--which probably explains why it didn’t even come close to passing.

But maybe passing legislation was never the point (why end a great PR stunt before you have to?) His activities since last week, after the State Corporation Commission (SCC) came out with an order on Appalachian’s rates, certainly suggest that Armstrong does indeed value this gift that keeps on giving.

But in keeping the flames burning, the truth is hard to come by. Armstrong put out the following “facts” in a statement last week when the Order came out:

“Today the State Corporation Commission (SCC) approved a $61.5 million base rate increase for Appalachian Power Company.”

Yes, this is what the SCC did, but wouldn’t it be useful to know this is less than half of what the company requested. All Session long, Armstrong railed against the 2007 deregulation legislation for having taken the teeth out of the SCC. For toothless regulators, they sure took a bite out of Appalachian’s request – a $92.5 million dollar bite to be exact.

Of course, admitting this would deny him the opportunity to make this next point, one the WSLS’s fact checkers corrected for their viewers (albeit a little too politely for my taste).

“Virginia APCo customers now face the highest electric utility rates in the Commonwealth as well as the highest rates in the AEP system nationwide.”

Okay, this one is just flat out false and Armstrong of all people should know this because one of the many places in Virginia that have higher rates is in his own backyard. His Martinsville constituents, who get their power from the city-run Martinsville Electric Department, are being charged higher rates than his Appalachian Power constituents. The second part of that is as false as the first: AEP has higher rates in at least 2 other states than it does in Virginia.

As if all this weren’t already a ridiculous and transparent stunt, he has the nerve to blast out an email criticizing Republican Delegates Don Merricks and Will Morefield for voting against his bill last session. That would be the same bill that less than half of his own caucus voted for. What he doesn’t tell you is that what will keep rates rising for everybody, are the actions of his own Democratic Party in Washington – Cap and Trade legislation and an anti-coal EPA.

But why solve problems when they are so much fun to keep kicking around. If this episode proves anything it is that Homer Simpson was right, “Facts are meaningless, they can be used to prove anything.” Especially when they are used like Armstrong does.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Former Delegate Steve Shannon Preparing to Fail Once Again

It has been a little more than 9 months since Former Delegate Steve Shannon was trounced in the November '09 election for Attorney General by Ken Cuccinelli by more than 15 points. Up until now he has kept quite a low profile. In fact, I saw no hide nor hair of Steve during the 2010 session at all ...

In yesterday's Washington Post, Steve Shannon wrote a scathing editorial about Governor Bob McDonnell and the Virginia General Assembly about how they have not expanded unemployment benefits over the past two years. He blasted them for not "expanding the eligibility criteria, thus preventing Virginia from collecting this $125.5 million in economic stimulus funds." The $125.5 million would have been apportioned to Virginia through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 if VA chose to expand their eligibility to include two out of these four items:
  1. People seeking part-time work;
  2. People who are in a state-approved training program who have lost their jobs in a declining industry;
  3. People who became unemployed because of a compelling family reason, such as caring for a sick or disabled family member;
  4. Or the state can offer eligible claimants with dependents a stipend of at least $15 per week for each dependent.
What Steve Shannon failed to mention was the overwhelming opposition to these proposals by the business community... You know ... the folks that actually EMPLOY individuals... and how it would only add to our unemployment problems and add additional cost to already struggling employers.

He also forgot to mention the Steve Shannon tax increase, that would be associated with broadening unemployment benefits and how impossible it is to undo the expansion if it ever passed...

Instead of kicking off another run at Attorney General with a pathetic piece like this, Former Delegate and wannabe Attorney General Steve Shannon might be better off to remain in hiding and keep his ideas to himself. Lucky for us we have Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli bringing common sense to Virginia.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

55% of Americans Believe Obama is a Socialist

According to a recent poll by Democracy Corps, a group headed by Stan Greenberg who is a close friend of President Obama's chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, 55% of Americans believe President Obama is a socialist. The same poll shows 48% support for Republicans against just 42% for Democrats. According to one informal advisor of President Obama, the US public's loss of confidence in Obama's leadership is a factor above and beyond their dissatisfaction over the state of the real economy. "I never thought I would say this, but even I'm unsure what President Obama really believes" says the advisor. "Instead of outsourcing decisions to Congress, he should spell out his bottom line. This is what leaders are for". This does not bode well for Democrats around the country. For example, Republican challengers are beginning to take the lead over Democratic incumbents such as Barbara Boxer in California, and Russ Feingold in Wisconsin. Republicans are beginning to get the upper hand all over the country.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Virginia Keeps Creating Jobs

Since the beginning of Governor Bob McDonnell's Administration, Virginia has added 71,500 jobs. This is the 3rd highest total in the country, behind only Texas and Pennsylvania. The 71,500 new jobs is also the 3rd highest percentage increase, behind Maryland and Delaware, over the same period of time. It is also important to note that Virginia's 7.1% unemployment rate is the 3rd lowest east of the Mississippi and 13th lowest overall in the nation. In the first 6 months of the McDonnell Administration, Virginia has closed 106 deals creating 6,851 new jobs and $1B in capital investment. Below is a chart displaying total jobs created percentages by region.

Clearly, Virginia is leading the national recovery and are head and shoulders above our regional competition. Good work Gov. McDonnell and House Republicans who help bring great businesses to the Commonwealth!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

McDonnell Proposes Rest-Area Savings Strategy

When Bob McDonnell campaigned for Governor he promised to open the 19 rest areas that then-Governor Tim Kaine had closed. In April he fulfilled that promise and opened all of them. Virginia's rest areas serve 30 million people annually, and are therefore very important to maintain and keep open. With this in mind Gov. McDonnell has proposed his strategy on cost savings:

1) Reduce contracting costs when existing maintenance and operations contracts are scheduled to expire in December.

2) Try to attract private sponsors by bundling interstate highway signage, interior advertising space and vending.

3) Use grants to establish partnerships between the state and tourism organizations along Virginia's interstates, particularly at interchanges where scenic attractions could be promoted.

Gov. McDonnell is also waiting on a study by the Virginia Transportation Research Council to identify alternatives to the public funding of the interstate rest areas.

Longtime House Member Dies

George W. Jones, a representative in the House of Delegates for 16 years, passed away Saturday. Mr. Jones represented Chesterfield County and Colonial Heights. In the House he became the senior Republican on the Finance Committee, and in 1980 he headed Ronald Reagan's presidential race in Virginia. Mr. Jones was a great citizen to Virginia, and he will be missed. To read more please click here.