Some of my friends have received a robocall from Pat Muldoon, would-be candidate for Lieutenant Governor. I am guessing I was out when the call came in. I have heard it, though, thanks to the folks at Bearing Drift. Muldoon is trying to capitalize on Bill Bolling’s support for the HB3202 debacle.
What Muldoon says in his robocall is true, as far as it goes, but it does not explain the whole story, and thus it badly misleads the listener.
In 2007, many Republicans acquired the stain of supporting HB3202, the transportation tax hike of 2007. However, thanks to the Virginia Supreme Court, the Republicans had a heaven-sent opportunity to redeem themselves. Some did not take the opportunity, including Bob McDonnell, but many others did, including Ken Cuccinelli and Bill Bolling.
I know this makes me unusual, in that I separate Bolling and McDonnell when just about everyone else in the Virginia considers them joined at the hip. However, the two gentlemen really did move in different directions this summer. Bolling returned to a resolute anti-tax-hike position, while McDonnell refused to close the door on tax increases.
In fact, Bill Bolling was the only statewide official in Virginia who ruled out supporting any tax increase during the special session. Tim Kaine didn’t do that (obviously); John Warner and Jim Webb didn’t do that; and Bob McDonnell didn’t do that.
Yet it is not McDonnell that gets a challenger, but Bolling. That is, IMHO, an unparallelled absurdity.
If Muldoon believes so firmly in resisting tax-hikers within the party (and he should), then why didn’t he challenge Bob McDonnell?!?!
What message does this send to Republicans gathering in Richmond next year? What will go through their minds as MSM, the General Assembly Democrats, and Governor Kaine demand tax increases of one kind or another (and they will demand tax increases)? After all, if the fellow who did the right thing is still facing a nomination challenge while the guy who did the wrong thing got a pass, why would Bill Howell et al hold firm on their very recently acquired anti-tax position?
Meanwhile, Bolling himself may be diverted from battling the tax-hike crew to fend off Muldoon in the delegate hunt, while McDonnell will have a free hand to steer the Richmond Republicans back to the regional tax increases that flattened the party in the 2007 elections.
In other words, Muldoon’s anti-tax message - aimed at the wrong guy - could make a tax hike in Virginia more likely, and as I said eariler the Commonwealth of Virginia cannot afford a tax increase in 2009.
Yes, Bill Bolling made a mistake last year – as did Ken Cuccinelli. Both of them got an unusual “do-over” this year, and corrected their mistake. If I held Bolling’s mistake against him; I would have to do the same for Cuccinnelli (something I’m guessing most Muldoon backers – who also back Cuccinelli – would rather I not do). Please don’t try to differentiate the Howell version of HB3202 from the Kaine version - they both would have imposed tax increases on Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads; they both would have imposed unaccountable regional authorities; and they both violated the spirit of the Virginia Constitution. The only difference is that the Howell version never had to be laughed out of court.
Again, if Muldoon had challenged Bob McDonnell, I wouldn’t be criticizing him (heck, odds are I’d be backing him right now), but Bill Bolling did the right thing during the special session, and until its last night, he was one of the very few. He lost my support in 2007, but earned it back this summer.