Wednesday, 6 November, 2013


– It did not take long for someone in the US government to start logrolling for the idea that Syria is cheating on its agreement to give up chemical weapons.

– The Virginia political results satisfy me.  McCauliffe will be inaugurated as a lame duck, completely at the mercy of  the strongly Republican House of Delegates.  I wonder what he thinks he won.  He may be able to pass budgets but only if he "plays nice."  pl 

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55 Responses to Wednesday, 6 November, 2013

  1. Jose says:

    Syria – Everyone knew it was coming, we are doomed on the Middle East.
    Virginia’s Big Mac Attack – The GOP abandoned Cooch financially and spiritually early in October. Some support would have made a diffrence, but Party now resembles to the cast of The wizard of Oz.
    Reince Priebus = Scarecrow
    John Boehner = Tinman
    Mitch McConnell = Cowardly Lions

  2. Norbert M. Salamon says:

    off topic, sorry:
    Israel has demolished an R.C. church in Jerusalem – they must be aiming to please His Holiness, the Pope.

  3. twv says:

    Since I don’t follow Virginia politics/events, an you explain what was wrong with Cuccinelli?
    McAuliffe seems to be a pretty obnoxious career “insider.”

  4. Tony says:

    “Indications suggest Syria may attempt to hide chemical stash, U.S. official says”.
    As you predicted Colonel. Do you have a crystal ball?

  5. Both Governors elected yesterday may be fun to watch but both lacking in GRAVITAS!
    Good governing like soldiering very tough work!

  6. Will Reks says:

    I think that people didn’t vote for McCauliffe as against his opponent. Liberals like to tie up the right wing agenda just as much as conservatives like to stand in the way of “progress”. Sure, McCauliffe isn’t going to pass gun control or legalize gay marriage any time soon in Virginia but he might be able to leverage a Medicaid expansion through the legislature. At the very least, based on his background, he’ll try to attract businesses and jobs to his state. Divided government and restraint are good things given our current political climate.

  7. turcopolier says:

    Will Reks
    what possible “leverage” do you think he will have? pl

  8. After this kind of nonsense, how can Americans recommend democracy as an unqualifiedly successful system to the Chinese, the Russians, and indeed many other peoples having to put up with governments whcih may be unloveable, but to which the alternatives might be worse?

  9. The Twisted Genius says:

    Check out how Cuccinelli got the nomination over Bill Bolling, the centrist Republican current lieutenant governor. That whole process left me convinced that Cuccinnelli is a backstabbing liar and certainly not a Virginia gentleman. I have no doubt Bolling would have been the next governor if he was the Republican nominee.
    McCauliffe is far more a PT Barnam than a Thomas Jefferson. I wouldn’t call him a Virginia gentleman, either. Medicaid expansion is his priority. He wants to retain the Republican Bill Hazel as health and Human Resources secretary. This pisses off the liberals, but it’s an effort to build consensus for his number one priority.

  10. The Twisted Genius says:

    Best win of the night was the Caps 6-2 victory over the Islanders. Their power play and penalty killing teams are smoking. The best moment was Ovi forgoing a hat trick to assist 19 year old rookie Tom Wilson in getting his first NHL goal… and a shaving cream pie in the face.

  11. Fred says:

    That trio was not running for office in Virginia.

  12. Fred says:

    Anonymous strikes again. Perhaps Kerry can have dinner with Assad again and straighten this out.

  13. Fred says:

    Just what businesses is he going to attract that prior governors were unable to attract?

  14. turcopolier says:

    David Habakkuk
    In fact, Virginia politics is normally played as a civilized game under civilized rules. Neither of these characters fit the usual cast. McCauliffe put Dr. Ralph Northam on the ballot for Lt. Governor to try to hold out an olive branch to normal people. the same thing is true of Herring. pl

  15. turcopolier says:

    He will not get a Medicaid expansion. pl

  16. Eliot says:

    “Check out how Cuccinelli got the nomination over Bill Bolling, the centrist Republican current lieutenant governor. That whole process left me convinced that Cuccinnelli is a backstabbing liar and certainly not a Virginia gentleman.”
    For someone who graduated from the University he has a particularly limited understanding of what it means to be a Virginian.

  17. nick b says:

    Was this campaign that much worse than other hard fought Va. statewide campaigns, like Coleman/Wilder or Allen/Webb? I was under the impression that Va. was no stranger to tough politics.

  18. Will Reks says:

    I don’t understand the premise of your question. I think McCauliffe can do that simple task which previous and future governors will and have done.

  19. Will Reks says:

    I don’t know that divided government means nothing will get accomplished in Virginia for the next four years. We’ve seen medicaid expansion passed in a few other states that had been opposed to it after pressure from hospital groups. Perhaps there is some quid pro quo deal that will satisfy the House of Delegates. I don’t know. If he gets nothing done then that’s all the better for his national prospects.

  20. Basilisk says:

    You said it, brother. The Caps are my refuge from politics.

  21. turcopolier says:

    sports freaks. pl

  22. turcopolier says:

    Will Reks
    The premise of your comments is that accomplishing “progressive” goals is desirable. Go sell that in Richmond. “A quid?” what would that be? What? He will get Obama not to close some major military facility? You don’t understand this place at all. They will eat him for lunch in Richmond. My town , Alexandria, gave Micky boy half the vote needed to win and you think he can govern? BTW, it was 2.5 percent not 3%. pl

  23. turcopolier says:

    nick B
    it was much worse. pl

  24. Will Reks says:

    Your question was about what McCauliffe thought he could accomplish in Richmond with a Republican House. Now it seems you didn’t actually want any speculation about that. I don’t much care whether McCauliffe expands Medicaid or not but it does seem to be his number one priority. If he fails to sell Republicans on that, so be it.

  25. The Twisted Genius says:

    pl and basalisk,
    I only get excited about hockey. Lots of pond hockey as a kid. Played on the fraternity and Army ROTC team at RPI. Adam Oates was a star forward there. I had yellow laces on my skates before Ovechkin was born. My younger son and I get to several games a year at the Verizon Center. My older son is a Penguins fan after spending so much time at Carnegie Mellon. He’s a fan of all things Pittsburgh.

  26. turcopolier says:

    Will Reks
    “it seems you didn’t actually want any speculation about that.” Because I argue with you? You must be a professor. I am trying to educate you. pl

  27. Will Reks says:

    Ah, I see. You are saying his proposal to expand Medicaid is dead on arrival. Understood.

  28. Fred says:

    Will that be using his ‘experience’ with Global Crossings, the Resolution Trust Company or just his last ten years with the DNC, the Clintons and most recently that Chinese car company that doesn’t build cars in Virginia?

  29. jerseycityjoan says:

    “I wonder what he thinks he won.”
    Well, since you asked — For one thing, winning the governor’s race was another step in turning Virginia into a Democratic state. Here is an email I got from People for the Americn Way (the liberal group Norman Lear founded years ago). I completely disagree with their stance on immigration but here it is, in all its stupidly triumphant glory:
    “Two words I never get tired of: We won.
    Thank you for all your incredible support for our efforts in Virginia to defeat extremist Tea Party gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli.
    Despite Cuccinelli being one of the most radically right-wing candidates imaginable and getting outspent by his opponent, our victory was narrow — underscoring the vital importance of our strategic, targeted efforts to mobilize the Latino vote. In a race decided by two percentage points, I’m confident that our driving turnout in the Latino community to vote against Cuccinelli is what made the difference.
    Make no mistake, this victory could not have been possible without you and the other PFAW supporters who stood behind this work.
    You’re going to see a lot of analysis and dissection of yesterday’s election results today. But perhaps the most important headline is not about the fact that we won, it’s about the fact that we almost didn’t.
    Our work made sure that Latino voters — representing an incredibly important and growing segment of the electorate — were not left out of this election. We made sure Latino voters knew about the Republicans’ vicious anti-immigrant, anti-healthcare and anti-worker positions. And it made the difference for all Virginians, and for progressives across the country who were watching this race.
    Heading into Election Day, virtually all the major headlines regarding the Latino vote referenced the messages from People For the American Way’s Spanish language TV ads, replicated on the streets and at rallies that generated even more earned media.
    Our ads saturated Spanish-language television and were hard-hitting in exposing Ken Cuccinelli’s extremism. One PFAW ad, in particular, highlighted comments Cuccinelli had made comparing immigration policy to pest control and immigrants to rats. Boy did that one pack a punch. News reports and exit polls showed Latino voters being incredibly motivated by that ad.
    This was a must-win victory, especially heading into next year’s critical midterm congressional elections. But with the election so close, and especially with it tightening up at the end due to Cuccinelli’s desperate and dishonest attacks on health care reform, we know that the Tea Party will not be letting up an inch.
    So neither can we.
    Thank you, again. Now let’s keep up the fight!
    Michael Keegan, President”
    And of course it’s not just my wonderful Democratic Party doing stuff like this. The cheap labor employers are all for more immigration too.
    We long term Americans just don’t seem to matter, do we?
    More about their interpretation of the election results here:

  30. Post WWII Virginia largely built with federal funding, federal employees and contractors and retirees. Conversion is the big problem facing Virginia.

  31. Virginia has NOT prepared for the drying up of the Federal teat!

  32. David Habakkuk says:

    Colonel Lang,
    ‘In fact, Virginia politics is normally played as a civilized game under civilized rules.’
    It is precisely because I have always thought of Virginia as a stronghold of traditional civilities that I found your accounts of this election so depressing.
    If indeed what is emerging is a divide between a ‘progressive’ politics based on mobilising people whose origins are outside the state, and large sections of the traditional population of the state, how easy will it be to maintain civility?

  33. turcopolier says:

    WRC et al
    – Virginia is not in the process of becoming a Blue state. McCauliffe won because of a variety of factors that would be difficult to reproduce. As I pointed out half his margin of victory came from Alexandria and a similar number from Arlington County. These places are largely inhabited by people who would be living in Washington City if they were not so afraid of taxes and crime over there.
    – McCauliffe has zero chance of persuading Obama to “starve” the legislature of Virginia into submission in things like medicaid expansion. What would they shut down? The CIA? The Patent and Trademark Office? SAIC or Booze Allen, BDM? If they do that they will be starving their base. Langley Air Base” The naval base in the Hampton Roads area? Highway funds? Obama will know that to do anything like that will ensure Republican success in this state.
    – The “immigrant” population tends to be self selecting as to where they live deeper in the state as opposed to the banks of the Potomac. The rate of “conversion” is high. There are several examples of that who are participants on SST. pl

  34. jonst says:

    The Col wrote: ” I wonder what he thinks he won?” He thinks he has won ‘respectability’. That he has shed that omnipresent refrain when he was around, ‘count the silverware’. I suspect he will be disappointed.

  35. Fred says:

    So all those jobs in Reedsville are funded directly or indirectly by federal spending? I think not. Northern Virginia and Norfolk perhaps. Norfolk has been a navy town for what, two centuries? Fairfax County on the other hand may be rising and falling on federal largess. The people in FC are not representative of all of Virginia any more than Detroit is all of Michigan. Most of them, as the host points out, are transplants. They have no more become Virginians than the Canadians who winter in Florida have become Americans.

  36. PL you reinforce my point so thanks! Only fools would concentrate so many critical governmental facilities in the world’s highest risk target!
    The economy decapitated on 9/11/01 and the political leadership a close call! IMO the Capitol was the target
    not the WH!
    The rest of the country in depression so that NYC and Washington DC can keep pretending the NATION fine!
    Perhaps the expansion of the Washington beltway fortification disguised as road work?

  37. Allen Thomson says:

    Has a list of sites Syria has declared been published/leaked? I’m still curious about al Baida (the one south of Masyaf).

  38. Fred says:

    “We long term Americans just don’t seem to matter, do we?”
    Sounds like you are becoming conservative. No, the professional political scientists running PFAW and other such groups are very adept at identifing and motivating supporters, they aren’t very good at persuading people that thier ideas make sense and should be supported.

  39. Fred! There are almost no jobs for anyone in Reedville except for the Omega Protein Menhaden processing plant. Recommend the 2005 book about Reedville in part “The Most Important Fish In The Sea”!

  40. turcopolier says:

    “We long term Americans just don’t seem to matter, do we?” I see. In your mind anyone who does not agree with your agenda on immigration policy is a small minded,evil, nativist. pl

  41. Fred says:

    “Only fools would concentrate so many critical governmental facilities in the world’s highest risk target!”
    D.C. was the target of the Soviet Strategic Rocket forces for decades. What has changed other than political panic on 9/11 and opportunism ever since?

  42. The beaver says:

    Good to know that there are some fans of the puck here. I guess we will have a lot to talk in three months’ time 🙂

  43. David H! If democracy is a system of goveernment representing the will of the people why not continue to recommend it even for the USA?

  44. Strategic doctrine might dictate decapitation in theory but game theory would seem to dictate someone left to end the game.
    In any nuclear exchange the “winner” is the player holding the most weapons after the exchange!

  45. RCR says:

    Dear PL and Blog,
    McAuliffe has just exactly what he wants. He doesn’t really care about policy and will mouth platitudes about medicaid expansion and gun control to soothe the animal spirits of the faithful, but will be able to blame the legislature for any policy failures. Having been a bag man and fixer for most of his career in politics, he has craved winning a political office and the modicum of respectability (as Jonst pointed out), by taking the Chair once occupied by the likes of Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, Harry Byrd Senior and Linwood Holton, the first Republican governor of Virginia since reconstruction.
    He now has patronage in the form of university board appointments, particularly UVA, Cabinet officials and commissions, and there will be any number of pliant suitors, especially from NOVA for these offices and appointments. He will generously reward donors and core D party constituencies. He also has a platform to help launch and further the campaign of the Clintons in Virginia and, if HRC is elected, he will slide effortlessly into a cabinet position, like Secretary of Commerce, where he can enable the business and political interests of his friends. Swarms of donors will travel to Richmond and McLean for his fundraisers and to seek an entrée to the White House.
    I am not sure that Virginia is still the home of civilized, high-minded and non-corruptible politicians. There seems to be an undercurrent of corruption and ethics-free politics which has shown its ugly head, in the form of Johnny Williams and others, from behind the curtain of civility and non-corruptibility that we once associated with Virginia politics and politicians. The new governor will do just fine in this environment.

  46. jerseycityjoan says:

    I am somewhat puzzled by your comments. If anybody would be considered “small minded,evil, nativist” in this argument it would be me, not the people on the other side. I am the one who thinks we should not be increasing future legal immigration. I am the one who thinks we should no use foreign workers who will work harder for less to replace American workers. When I see people claiming that the Democrats and the cheap labor employers want to install a new group of people here for their own purposes, I don’t have much of an argument to offer to refute that claim.
    Also I said that based on other things I saw on their website.
    The idea of using new people to change the demographic and voting patterns of this country does offend me. Most of my disgust is with the Americans who are jockeying to change America via immigration. It is not with the immigrants themselves — except for the few who are actively trying to do the same thing.

  47. jerseycityjoan says:

    Fred, I am not becoming more conservative.
    I am seeing more income inequality, unemployment and unnecessary suffering in the US and want us to do something about it. That something would include spending more money.
    Both parties are failing us. Both parties are resistant to seeing reality.
    I am one of the many millions of people who feel both parties are out of touch and unwilling to deal with our problems. I wish there were a real alternative. I’d bail on the Democrats in a minute if there were.

  48. turcopolier says:

    Bob. That is just far too pessimistic. You progressives are supposed to be hopeful. I never claimed that Virginia politicians were more honest than others, but before McCauliffe they generally had a modicum of good taste in deciding how to conduct themselves. I really do not believe that the House of Delegates can be bribed with things like appointment to one of the many boards around or the offer of a seat on the U Va board of visitors for a relative. But, hope on. pl

  49. Fred says:

    “both parties are failing us”? I hear that in Ann Arbor all the time. The congressional district incumbant is John Dingel. He’s failed so badly for so long he’s been in Congress 50+ years.

  50. WRC,
    It is one thing to recomment a theoretical idea — another to be able to show it working in practice. Back in 1989, the prestige of American democracy throughout the world was immense, as a result of the enormous success of the post-war ‘Pax Americana’ in Western Europe and East Asia. Today, American democracy — and also British — increasingly looks like a dysfunctional combination of plutocracy and populism.
    One of the least fortunate aspects of Lady Thatcher’s highly complex legacy was her contribution to the emancipation of Etonians from the notion that they needed to be gentlemen. That may have been part of the background to my somewhat neuralgic response to the Colonel’s remarks on politics in Virginia.

  51. nick b says:

    I think RCR’s assessment is realistic. Consider for a second that McCauliffe might gain some leverage in the House of Delegates not by new appointment or patronage, but rather by agreeing to preserve what is already in place.

  52. RCR says:

    I am not sure that political labels, like “progressive”, are very relevant to this discussion. TR, Bob La Follette and Linwood Holton were all progressives who had a very low tolerance for corruption and dishonesty in government.
    The descent into “bad taste” pre-dates McAuliffe as the McDonnell’s and to a certain extent, Cuccinelli, in their dealings with Johnnie Williams have lowered the bar considerably. McDonnell and Cuccinelli are both creatures of an ethics-free legislature where legislators routinely use campaign funds to pay personal expenses.
    You and I were in school at a time when there was a governing ethos among Virginia politicians, most of whom went to prep schools and colleges with strong honor systems (perhaps, not as strong as ours), and who, for the most part, viewed participation is government as a public trust. Regrettably, that is no longer the case. Virginia is now viewed on the same level as New Jersey, with our state ranked 47/50 on the corruption risk scale and getting an overall grade of “F” on the scale of ethical behavior.
    I didn’t mean that the legislature could be bribed with appointments; our new governor will use patronage to reward his donors, as previous governors have done with the likes of Helen Dragas and Mark Kington, and further his (and the Clintons’) ambitions to get to the next rung. I only meant that our new governor will get along just fine in the new era of Virginia politics, certainly as well as he has gotten along with his business partner, Haley Barbour.

  53. turcopolier says:

    RCR et al
    RCR is yet another VMI graduate. His creds are better than mine. If memory still serves, he is descended from Mister Jefferson and John Randolph of Roanoke. His family was mostly wiped out in the WBS. He is a few years younger than I. Bob – It never occurred to me that you would not want to be called a “Progressive.” Sorry. Your comment seems to be about social entropy and its effect on the commonwealth that we knew as young men. I think that social entropy is generally visible in the country but not so badly here in the place we love. It is clear that money was not enough to elect McCauliffe in much of the state. Neither his ad money nor the lure of free federal money for medicaid expansion would have elected him if the peculiar circumstances of this election had not existed. I can hear Arnold’s echoing words from “Dover Beach” in your words. Ralph Northam is a member of the class of 1981. pl

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