Archive for February, 2011


Monday, February 21st, 2011

The West Virginia Legislature (House) is about to diminish the influence of our state’s voters and rural America in presidential elections.  The proposal would award West Virginia’s electoral votes to the candidate for president who wins the popular vote.  You can bet small states will never see a candidate.  They will go to the urban population centers of the country.  

When a candidate visits a state they become familiar with our unique issues and leaders.  In 2000 then Governor Bush was here twice, candidate Dick Cheney two times and Governor Bush’s parents one time each.  Vice President Al Gore came to West Virginia near the end of the campaign.  Another good example is Governor Mitt Romney between 2006 and 2008 he was in our state four times and the other presidential candidates came to the GOP convention.  Former President Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary were in the state.  As well as Obama in 2008.

THIS IS A WEST VIRGINIA ISSUE NOT A PARTISAN ONE.  You are urged to contact your member of the House of Delegates to votes against HB 2378 which would be an agreement among the states to elect the president by national popular vote.

Read today’s Charleston Daily Mail for another view of this important issue.

Saturday Morning Tidbits…

Saturday, February 19th, 2011

GOOD SATURDAY MORNING…..most members of the U. S. House of Representatives should be asleep in bed…..or on an airplane home….the historic budget cutting session ended at 4:40 a.m.

WV’s newest member of the House…..Rep. David McKinley is a hero this morning…..he led the U. S. House of Representatives to pass an amendment to block EPA from pulling approved projects…..based on Clean Water Act objections.

First SIGNS OF SPRING…..John Perdue & Clark Barnes for Governor signs appearing in Central WV.

Can someone explain Obama sending in his political troops…..Organizing for America… support the teachers unions in the Wisconsin budget battle…..when his policies in the first two years…..were aimed at evaluating teachers… get rid of tenure and bad teachers…..not something making teachers unions happy……could it be due to 2012?

Dancing the night away… Governor Tomblin’s legislative dinner/dance…..Sen. Clark Barnes…..Delegate Mitch Carmichael….both seeking to host next year’s affair…..only Democrats on hand…..seeking to become Governor… the music played on… Governor Tomblin and hopeful Sen. Jeff Kessler…..Joanne Tomblin danced, worked the room….would have been interesting to see how Natalie Tennant [she did not attend]…..would have competed with First Lady Tomblin.

In case you did not stay up here is a clip from POLITICO reporting on the bill…..

THE ROGERS REPORT — POLITICO’s David Rogers reports on the bill. ‘More a battering ram than a budget, a giant government-wide spending bill passed the House early Saturday morning, packing $60 billion in Republican spending cuts together with scores of legislative riders to impede President Barack Obama in carrying out his policies … The open process – and largely civil tone – represent a victory for Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). But by moving so far right to appease his large freshman class, Boehner picked up no Democratic votes and sacrificed what many saw as his best shot of scoring a quick win in the Senate at the expense of Obama,’ David writes. ‘The $60 billion in reductions are concentrated in the last six months of this fiscal year and represent a 14 percent cut that will severely impact Obama’s agenda at home and abroad. Foreign aid and State Department operations would be cut as much as $10 billion from Obama’s latest request. Pell Grants for low income college students are reduced, and School Turnaround Grants cut by almost two-thirds. … The Environmental Protection Agency lost $2.7 billion from its current appropriations. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission, charged with major new responsibilities under Wall Street reforms, would get a third of the funding Obama wants. And the new Republican majority would block not just federal regulators but Obama’s signature achievement thus far: healthcare reform.’

Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito…..looked great holding  that impressive gavel…..presiding in the U. S. House of Representatives… history was made this week…..she always makes West Virginians proud…..wonder how she would enjoy presiding over the U. S. Senate?

The DailyCaller…..says Sen. Joe Manchin seems trapped between his caucus and the conservative views he campaigned on…..and needs convinced of passing another spending bill without cuts…..remember 2012 Senator…..and with the coal hating Obama on your ticket…..things could get messy.

EASTERN PANHANDLE’s Governor race…..a well travelled political observer shared the view that Betty Ireland is doing well in that part of the state…..interesting in that Sen. Clark Barnes represents some of those counties in the state senate…..and former Delegate Larry Faircloth resides in Martinsburg…..IT IS EARLY.

Despite the Game Change in WV Senate…..word is Sen. Roman Prezioso is working hard to hold the line on spending…..wish him well.

Weekend Budget Reading

Saturday, February 19th, 2011

Add these to your reading list of the policy and political side of Obama’s FY 2012 budget.  It seems like forever since it was sent to Congress – and it was only Monday.

Why the GOP Should Welcome a Budget Battle

Obama’s Louis XV budget

A Washington View of Obama’s Budget

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

All attention is focused on Obama’s budget in Washington and across the country.  The Washington Post has three surprising and serious articles among its most viewed today.  If you have not had an opportunity to read these do so.  After twenty five years in Washington I have never seen this “hometown” newspaper take on a President in this manner.

Analysis:  Obama budget plan reveals vastly diminished ambitions


In his new budget, Obama kicks the can one more time

Political Tidbits…

Monday, February 14th, 2011


Obama’s FY 2012 budget sounds more like a 2012 campaign plan…..since November his repositioning has been in high gear.

OLD NEWS… might have missed…..Sarah Palin and daughter Bristol are attempting to trademark their names…..she may be out in front of Obama who is preaching entrepreneurship…..but Palin ran into trouble…..the government application was unsigned.

WV Republicans are always hoping…..not necessarily looking…..for  good candidates…..this time one may have found them…..Bill Maloney who filed for Governor on Saturday…..he came to the aid of the Chilean Miners last Fall and has a record of supporting entrepreneurial efforts…..sounds like he was ahead of Obama’s entrepreneurship message… well.

“Baby it’s cold outside”…..or is it “Baby it’s hot inside” the SOS office…..Natalie Tennant turned up the thermostat last week at the Capitol…..releasing a BIG poster…..with a BIG picture of herself “top of the chart”…..MUCH larger than the members of the Legislature [whose appropriations likely paid for the promotion]…..even the Supreme Court and Board of Public Works…..received smaller billing than Tennant…..bad timing…..she had just announced for Governor.

GUBERNATORIAL candidates take note…..if you win in October it will count as one term [short] if you’re re-elected in 2012 you will have had your allotment…..still can withdraw by March lst.

Why would the U. S. Marshall service be called to help Rock Manchin [Senator Joe’s brother] of Farmington…..when his car was stolen…..then the Marshall service put out a news release…..they did not help themselves with Senator Manchin…..that is not how he operates.

Governor’s Primary

Monday, February 14th, 2011

The “Anything Can Happen Primary” is now underway.  Just to get us here the Governor went to the U. S. Senate, an Acting Governor took office, and the Supreme Count mandated an election, the Legislature rightly disregarded party conventions and put a primary election in its place. 

The field is full of politicians known and unknown and other who want to be.  Some have money, others have taxpayers’ money and some are just “rolling the dice”. 

First let’s look at the Democrat race.

Even before West Virginians knew if, when or how they would get a new Governor a two candidate race was apparent among Democrats.  Senate President Earl Ray Tomblin knew if Governor Manchin went to the U. S. Senate the state Constitution would make him Governor.  And the aggressive Secretary of State Natalie Tennant would never pass up a chance to be Governor without having to give up her office to run. 

This two person race was confirmed before Tomblin became Governor.  A survey conducted in November by West Virginia’s leading pollster Mark Blankenship found 24% of Democratic voters for Tomblin with Tennant close behind at 19%.  Other potential Democrat candidates were in single digit.  Undecided was 25%.

Nothing changed when a North Carolina firm, Public Policy Polling released a January survey.  There was no match up of Tomblin and Tennant but Democrats surveyed approved by 53% the job Tomblin is doing as Governor and 52% had a favorable opinion of Tennant.  

The single digit candidates must work strategically and hard to turn around the primary race.  State Treasurer John Perdue has smartly decided to run against escalating electricity, gas and water bills.  He has placed government paid staff across the state, offices in various places and has been in the grassroots of the Democrat party for years. 

House Speaker Thompson has raised funds, attended events across the state and has a readymade field team, the Democrat members of the Legislature.  Each of them could turn on their “turnout” machine for “the boss”.  They all realize he controls the process that will redraw legislative district lines and every member wants a favorable district in which to run in 2012.

Northern West Virginia Senator Jeffrey Kessler (D-Marshall) would have been better positioned had he not messed up the Tomblin Senate.  He has been running for nearly two years and seemed to be a new voice.  He got power hungry and lead a revolt to change senate rules to make himself “Acting Senate President” when Tomblin was directed by the Constitution to become Governor. 

Kessler will have trouble turning around southern WV.  Tomblin comes from there and Kessler threw out Senator Truman Chafin (D-Mingo) as Senate Majority Leader.  Another serious geographical problem for Kessler is the heavily Democrat counties who have elected Senator Walt Helmick (D-Pocahontas) for years.  “Acting Senate President” Kessler ordered Helmick removed as Chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee.  His turnaround will be difficult and expensive.

An unknown Democrat from Kanawha County, Arne Moltis has entered the race. 

The Republicans have more candidates but most are unknown.  Maybe one of the unknown will become the next Governor.  The party has depended upon the same names for years Moore, Underwood, Capito and Raese.   

Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito, a sure winner to be the next Governor declared she would not run.

The first to enter was former Secretary of State Betty Ireland.  

Ireland from her previous service has some name ID but the Public Policy Polling survey found 50% of Republicans were not sure of her.  Only 38% of GOP voters had a favorable opinion.  She hired a team of consultants from outside the state which would give the appearance of a well funded and nationally connected campaign.

Others must have sensed she is not in a favorable position in the party and the race grew with seven others filing by last Saturday. 

Mark Sorsaia, prosecuting attorney from Putnam County could be the sleeper in the primary.  He began exploring the race more than a year ago, travelled to Lincoln Day Dinners and did an extensive mailing at the holiday season.  He knows how to get elected having won four races in Putnam.  He must introduce himself quickly to Republican voters across the state but will run well in his home county and Cabell.  Ireland will lose votes to Sorsaia in Kanawha if he picks up the pace. 

Delegate Mitch B. Carmichael (R-Jackson) enters late which does not help his chances – if this is what he is after.  He has served ten years in the House of Delegates and should have the help of his GOP colleagues.  Carmichael may be working on name ID for 2012 or this might be his way to gaining support to lead House Republicans in the future.

Senator Clark Barnes (R-Randolph) was beginning to look like the Republican winner with all the names being mentioned from the Kanawha Valley as candidates.  He would have had eastern and central WV all to himself.  At the last minute most decided to stay out and former House member Larry Faircloth of Martinsburg filed.  Faircloth ran statewide for Governor in 2004. 

Three little known Monongalia residents came from nowhere Cliff Ellis, Ralph William Clark and Bill Maloney.  These candidates impact Barnes who must have hoped to carry central WV.  More needs to be known about these three candidates to factor them into any analysis.

The “Anything Can Happen Primary” will be won on strategy, turnout, ideas and money.

Political Tidbits…Governor’s Race

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

YEAR OF THE WOMAN…..if early activity is any indication the next Governor may be a woman…..first out of the campaign gate was current SOS Natalie Tennant and Betty Ireland former SOS has today announced a serious campaign team… is strong and likely costly.

Back a few days the National Journal said WV Governor’s race was a  “fast developing race is off to a slow start”….. may be true when it comes to male candidates…..finally Sen. Clark Barnes filed official papers…..Treasurer John Perdue says he has a “Perdue Plan” but has not filed…..Charleston GOP legislator Patrick Lane filed….. West Virginia pollster Mark Blankenship weight in on the race……click here to get his early views on the race.

News about Coal…..just for West Virginians…..sponsored by Friends of Coal…..get the details here.

It’s not an election year for DEMOCRATS in the Legislature [at least most of them]…..the Democratic Legislative Council hosts a “What does the future hold in WV politics” event 2/10/2011… evening of talk with Governor Tomblin, House and Senate leaders [wonder which ones]…..tropical food, drink and music.

Senator Jeff Kessler… of the first to show an interest in being Governor…..almost two years ago…..has not filed…..maybe he was just ACTING!

Valentine’s Day love fest is an invitation only meeting of the WV Center-Right Coalition… can bet it will be a serious conversation.

Living happily is Scottsdale, AZ is former Governor Hulett C. Smith.  Visited by his grandchildren daily at age 92…..he is beloved by those who worked with him.

LAST FRIDAY readers of Charleston newspaper awoke to a full page color anti Senator Joe Manchin ad…..paid for by the WV Republican Party…..and not even a candidate in sight… there is NRSC website keeping its eye on Manchin.

Republicans in 2004 had 10 candidates for Governor and expected [one}…..2008 one filed former Sen. Russ Weeks…..Saturday’s deadline with names still mentioned from the Kanawha Valley…..former Sen. Steve Harrison…..House Minority Leader Tim Armstead…..Delegate Troy Andes [not 30 yet but will be in time]… in nearby Jackson County Delegate Mitch Carmichael.

JUST IN…..former Delegate Charles Trump who lead Republicans in the Legislature is pondering the race…..Central WV has a potential candidate in Rick Rice…..he has been Chairman of the WV Association of County Officials in addition to the County Commissioners…..Rice headed the Rural Development office for President Bush 2nd term WV… Mike Teets has not made up his mind…..LOOKS LIKE 10 …..and counting.

Reported in POLITICO today…..Senator Manchin is one of a  “handful of moderate Senate Democrats are looking for ways to roll back the highly contentious individual mandate – the pillar of President  Obama’s health care law – a sign  that red-state senators are prepared to assert their independence ahead of the 2012 elections.”  The report says the senators are prepared to break with the White House on a wide range of issues:  embracing deeper spending cuts, scaling back business regulations and overhauling environment rules.   POLITICO says the Democratic moderates strongly refuted suggestions that their positioning is being influenced by electoral politics.  MANCHIN said, “I truly believe all bills need to be bipartisan.”

Dates to note…..WV Patriots in Randolph Co. meets February 15 for a monthly meeting to plan a Tax Day Rally…..Taylor County GOP plan an April 30th Lincoln Day Dinner.

REMEMBERING RONALD REAGAN……on his 100th birthday this week.  What a better way to recall than listening to his 1964 speech for presidential candidate Goldwater…..which started his political career.