Cross-posted to Virginia Virtucon
Some politicians employ what might be called revisionist history; others use verbal misdirection; and many more lunge for half-truths. Hardly anyone has ever used all three as richly as Creigh “What’s in Your Wallet?” Deeds did in his painfully tragic Washington Post Op-ed.
It’s easy to see why Creigh needed to get this in the paper: the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce had just endorsed his opponent (Bob McDonnell) yesterday (WaPo). In particular, McDonnell’s transportation plan won them over:
“Mr. McDonnell earned the support of NOVABizPAC because of his overall stronger support for the Fairfax County Chamber’s priorities, specifically for identifying a plan for transportation,” NOVABizPAC Chairwoman Fran Fisher said.
Transportation was the issue that has peeled the NoVa business community away for the GOP. For Deeds to read that it was the issue that brought them back to the Republican ticket must have been painful. I’m guessing his Op-ed piece was thus rushed to the Post – it certainly reads like it was rushed.
For starters, the headline is flat out wrong: Deeds has no transportation plan. He even admits it in the sixth paragraph:
The day after I’m elected, I will begin assembling a bipartisan commission to craft a comprehensive transportation package.
In other words, he has no plan, not even one he’s keeping under wraps. Say what you want about Nixon’s “secret plan” to end the Vietnam War, but at least he had one. All Deeds has is a “bipartisan commission.”
Well, Deeds does know what he won’t do: “All funding options are on the table except taking money from education and other obligations met by Virginia’s general fund” – and this is where the convenient memory kicks in.
The Democrats (and most RINOs) would like us to believe the transportation funding problems we face just fell out of the sky this decade, or are the effect of trends that are now coming to fruition. In fact, they were caused by Mark Warner, who gutted the Transportation budget in 2002 to address a budget shortfall, and then demanded Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads raise their taxes to make up the difference (Free Lance-Star, emphasis added):
Supporters had argued the taxes were necessary to relieve gridlock and improve public transit–especially since not much money is expected to come from Richmond any time soon. Virginia’s six-year transportation plan was cut by $2.8 billion this summer due to state budget shortfalls.
But groups who opposed the tax said the projects the state planned to pay for would enrich developers and highway-builders, contribute to urban sprawl and make little difference in reducing gridlock.
They also took issue with politicians who used Virginia Department of Transportation money to balance the rest of the state budget–and then asked voters to tax themselves to take care of transportation ills.
As one would expect, Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads weren’t about to bail Warner out; they shot down the tax increases.
Now, one would think that the post-2002 boom and the state budget growing by more than 60% in six years would mean the transportation funding issue would be resolved. No such luck; instead, Warner blew the money on a massive increase in government-controlled health care and pretended that we were “out of money” for roads. Warner’s LTG, Tim Kaine, became his successor and continued to peddle the myth.
Now Deeds, who did nothing to stop his would-be predecessors from balancing the budget on the backs of drivers and redirecting money from roads to Obamacare-writ-small – yet still wants to run as the heir to their “legacy” – refuses to own up to what happened, and is now pretending that restoring the funding-priority balance in Richmond is “taking money from education and other obligations.”
We all know how Creigh Deeds would fund transportation – with tax increases. He repeatedly calls for “new revenue” – a dodge that would be more artful if it hadn’t already been beaten to death by every tax-hiker in both parties.
I could go on about Bob McDonnell’s plan – its farsightedness in tying transportation funding to economic activity in a region, its refusal to demand more money from Virginians, and the fact that, contrary to Deeds’ strained language, it was the only plan that passed the House of Delegates in the last two years. At its heart, however, is this simple truth: Bob McDonnell will correct the Warner-Kaine-Deeds mistake and restore transportation funding to its rightful priority in Virginia’s spending plans.
Deeds would prefer to pretend the problem doesn’t exist, but throw more of our money at it anyway.
You can call it Creigh-card monty. I just know I’m not going to play, and I doubt the Virginia electorate will either.