Archive for August, 2009

Manchin Traveling, Tomblin Moving North

Sunday, August 30th, 2009

A West Virginia tradition has been for the Governor to crown the Queen at the Mountain State Forest Festival in Elkins.  The Inter-Mountain has reported Governor Manchin will be on an out-of-country trip.

Senate President Earl Ray Tomblin (D – Logan District 7th) will crown Maid Silvia.  Tomblin is West Virginia’s Lieutenant Governor.

The political twist to all this is in 2004 Governor Bob Wise did not crown Maid Silvia.  Then former President of Davis & Elkins College Dr. G. Thomas Mann did the honors.  Tomblin was Lieutenant Governor in 2004.

Why is this year different?   Could it be that Rammie Baker, Tomblin’s chief of staff told reporter Carra Higgins, “…..Senator Tomblin is a major contender for the governorship in 2012, but has not yet made up his mind about running.”

President Tomblin added to the 2012 speculation when Higgins reported he understands the significance his representation will mean, “…actually tieing in both parts of the state, north and south, as one.”

Democrats Can Retreat On Healthcare

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

Columnist Dick Morris offered an interesting perspective on how Democrats can retreat on healthcare.  His theory comes from a criticism Senator Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) offered on the Obama healthcare initiative.  I thought I would share the Morris piece.

In the meantime the passing of Senator Kennedy I believe will be a turning point in the Senate and in the resolution of the healthcare issue.  There will be no retreat.

Keep Your Guard Up On Cap-and-Trade

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

The writers of the Politico piece “Obama’s Big Band could go bust” posted here earlier implies diminished prospects for winning final passage of a cap-and-trade legislation this year.

I have been thinking this may not be the case.  If President Obama loses the health-care reform battle I believe he will need a significant legislative victory before Congress adjourns for the year.  Thus, new life could be given to the cap-and- trade legislation in the Senate.

All West Virginians should keep their guard up on this one.

Republicans Don’t Get Excited

Sunday, August 23rd, 2009

It may seem President Obama is about to replace Jimmy Carter….you know what I mean.  Or, that healthcare will bring about another 1994 congressional election in 2010.  Republicans don’t get excited. 

There is a national election atmosphere being created by the healthcare debate and television advertising, town hall meetings, polls being issued daily, street rallies and Obama volunteers going door to door.  With all this grassroots activity previously active Republicans are waking up.  This is not August, 2012 it  just seems that way.

No question, on the national level the party is in a better position than it was January 20th.   There appears to be a new confidence.  That is good but not the final answer.  The GOP leadership in Congress and the various national Republican Committees must develop a positive agenda.  The party’s base must be expanded and the moderate vs. conservative concerns resolved before 2012.

The one issue which could drive the outcome of the 2012 election is the spending of public (taxpayers) money.  The Congressional Budget Office has an estimate that the national debt will be $17.1 trillion by 2019.  I believe the president’s approval ratings are going down because of his spending ways.  

It will be President Obama’s free-spending that will motivate Independents, Republicans and conservative Democrats when he is up for re-election.  That assumes he still has the support of his party to be nominated. 

Republicans don’t get excited but take steps now to develop an agenda that will appeal to Independents and conservative Democrats, expand the base and put this moderate/conservative thing in the past.   

As the old saying goes “one day is a year in politics”.  Republicans, don’t waste a day.

Perdue Is Running for Governor

Sunday, August 23rd, 2009

A reader telephoned to share that State Treasurer John D. Perdue has announced his candidacy for Governor.  Not an unexpected development.  It appears he is quietly visiting county Democratic Executive Committees seeking support.  In so doing he told one that he is a candidate.  This is sure different than saying you are exploring. 

Perdue is well known and has been around government and politics along time.  His candidacy along with all the others who are “exploring” will make for an interesting few years.

Obama’s Big Bang

Saturday, August 22nd, 2009

For the political junkies that read I came across this Politico piece.  I thought it was an interesting explanation of Team Obama’s policy strategy. 

West Virginians will be pleased to read these writers believe passage of cap-and trade’s prospects are dimmed.

Act One for WV Democrats

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

Act One in the 2012 Democratic gubernatorial primary played out yesterday in the Legislature.

House Speaker Richard Thompson (D-Wayne) and Senate President Earl Ray Tomblin (D-Logan) both are known as wanting to be Governor.  Labor supported Thompson for Speaker in 2007 and Tomblin has been in the Legislature 35 years.

Governor Manchin had wanted to give state employees and public school teachers a $500 bonus.  The Thompson led House permitted lawmakers to amend the request to give retired public employees a $266 check.  This would double the cost to taxpayers.

Think about the 2012 Governor’s race and you can see where this is going.

 At the request of Governor Manchin the Senate lead by Tomblin adjourned saying no to the House amendment.  The Charleston Gazette noted this was the first time since 1987 that one house adjourned without the consent of the other.

Wonder who Manchin will support in 2012?

West Virginia Wins in Senate

Sunday, August 9th, 2009

It has been a while since I thought about the strength of Rural America in the U. S. Senate.

Today the Outlook section of The Washington Post provides an excellent insight into how small states can influence the outcome of legislation in the United States Senate.  It points out the daunting odds climate change legislation passed by the House faces in the Senate. 

Just think about the damage the recently passed House Cap and Trade legislation would do to West Virginia if signed into law.

Let’s be glad the Founders provided this “check and balance” to the legislative process.

New Tone in Health Care Debate

Sunday, August 9th, 2009

Members of Congress look forward to August when they go home.  It has become a tradition.  But 2009 is different.  The debate in Washington over health care has now spilled over to the towns and villages throughout America.

Peggy Noonan points out in her Saturday Wall Street Journal piece there is a “new tone in the debate, it’s ugly”.

No wonder.  President Obama never put forward a bill.  Democrats in the House are fighting among themselves over the issue.  Six Senators have negotiated for months and never produced a bill.

That has created an environment of confusion which has led to the ugly greetings Members of Congress are getting at home.