Archives September 2018

Prospects of a Blue Wave Puts Brat in Dangerous Waters

Norm and I give our take on the Kavanaugh-Ford hearings.

We also consider Corey Stewart’s latest volley at Tim Kaine:

Stewart to Kaine: Release the Names of Sexual Predators in the U.S. Senate

Woodbridge, VA – Republican U.S. Senate nominee Corey Stewart today repeated his call for the U.S. Senate to release the names of accused sexual predators on Capitol Hill, for whom millions in taxpayer-funded settlement payments have been made.

“As Americans watch today’s hearings on Judge Kavanaugh, let us remember that Congress itself is rife with accused sexual predators,” Stewart said. “A staggering $17 million in taxpayer-funded ‘hush funds’ have been shelled out, to settle hundreds of claims of sexual harassment and mistreatment of Capitol Hill staff. I call upon Senator Kaine and his friends to immediately release the names of these alleged predators in their midst.”

The issue of Members of Congress harassing their own staff figured prominently in last night’s debate between Stewart and Kaine. Click here to watch the fiery exchange.

For the most part, we discuss my column on the current polls not reflecting economic optimism and Norm’s findings in the 7th Congressional District.

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Follow Norm on Twitter and read his columns at The Washington Post.

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It’s not the economy, stupid

In just over a month, voters across Virginia and the country will exercise their right to choose their government.

“Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed,” writes Jefferson in The Declaration of Independence.

So, at this moment in time, just what are voters thinking in Virginia as we head down the homestretch?

“[It’s] the economy, stupid.”

Such is the political dictum James Carville, campaign strategist for former President Bill Clinton, famously quipped in 1992, and has been often repeated as gospel since.

Despite Clinton facing “bimbo eruptions,” the “Comeback Kid” focused his personality and efforts on an economic message that resonated with voters.

Promising tax cuts for the middle-class, increased home ownership, and a “new American health care plan,” voters bought his economic message and sent him to Washington.

However, it wasn’t without trepidation. Also running in 1992 was Ross Perot. The Texas billionaire focused his campaign on the economy too and won over many who were frustrated with politics as usual. His campaign gave voice to an underlying voter angst that has ultimately found a home in today’s Republican Party. Perhaps that is a subject for a future column.

The incumbent, President George H.W. Bush, was blasted as elite for failing to know the price of a gallon of milk and not knowing how to read his own lips.

Fast-forwarding to today, the economy is booming and consumer sentiment couldn’t be better.

The last time gross domestic product fell was the first quarter of 2014, and it has been expanding for 17 straight quarters. It just registered 4.1 percent growth – the best performance since the third quarter of 2014.

Unemployment in Virginia just fell to 3 percent in August, lower than before the Great Recession. Employment and labor force numbers exceed 4.2 million – well above numbers found before the downturn.

However, our economic optimism is definitely colored by red or blue lenses.

According to Roanoke College, in the third quarter of 2018, those who identify as Republicans have a consumer sentiment of nearly 125 and Democrats of just over 75, still a good number. But the gap of nearly 50 points is the largest it’s been since the college began collecting the data.

“A similar trend is seen at the national level and suggests that respondent beliefs about the current and future economy depend, in part, upon the parties holding the highest offices and if they match personal affiliations,” the college finds.

Why does this matter? Because it means Democrats do not intend to vote based upon our economic performance at all. It’s all about Trump.

The University of Mary Washington conducted a poll of Virginia voters the first week of September and found that Trump’s approval in Virginia is abysmal. Trump scores just 37 percent approval, with 58 percent disapproving of the president.

“The latest Mary Washington survey demonstrates that President Trump will be of limited value to Republican candidates in swing districts in Virginia,” said Stephen J. Farnsworth, professor of political science at the university. “Negative evaluations of the president in Northern Virginia and the Tidewater area are making a bad situation worse for endangered Republican members of Congress.”

The university also looked at the U.S. senate race and found that the president would be a major factor with one-third of the voters. Among those voters, incumbent Sen. Tim Kaine leads his Republican challenger Corey Stewart by 25 percentage points.

Going even further, the survey found that Democrats were a lock for Kaine at 90 percent, but only 73 percent of Republicans were solidly behind Stewart.

In the Second Congressional District, Democrat Elaine Luria released internal polling showing her leading Rep. Scott Taylor by eight points, 51 percent to 43 percent.

Such is the picture with one month to go. And for Republicans, the picture is bleak. I guess it’s not the economy after all.


This column appears in The Princess Anne Independent News

Stephen Farnsworth

Three new polls were just released by the Center for Leadership and Media Studies at the University of Mary Washington. Joining the podcast is its director, Dr. Stephen Farnsworth, to help explain what they mean.

Polls:

Kaine Leads in UMW Statewide Survey
Most Virginians Disapprove of President Donald Trump
Support for Medicaid Expansion Grows in Virginia

Links of note:
Dr. Farnsworth’s homepage
On Twitter

Here are just a few of the other topics discussed:

– The rise of current political angst
– The Gingrich Revolution
– Ross Perot and Third Party Politics
– The 90’s Economy and Great Recession
– GOP Donors
– Has President Trump written off Virginia?
– What role does political optimism play in a candidate’s popularity?
– Is Congressman Rob Wittman in danger of losing his seat?
– Are “all politics is local” and “it’s the economy, stupid” valid axioms?
– The current challenges of being an incumbent Republican
– The popularity of Medicaid Expansion and why the GOP went along with doing it in Virginia
– The current media landscape, including consolidation and unionization at The Daily Press and Virginian-Pilot

Listen on Stitcher:

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Luria Leads Taylor in Internal Poll; Republican Enthusiasm Depressed

Do you sometimes know exactly the right way to do things but take the shortcut anyway? Such as it was this week with the “Shouting Along the James” podcast with Norm Leahy and myself.

Prior to the beginning of any recording, I should, ideally, test whether or not my third-party app, MP3 Skype Recorder, is connected to the latest Skype version by placing a test call to my cell phone and ensuring the call is recorded.

This week, about ten minutes prior to record time, I chose to restart my computer. Although there was no alert or pop-up screen warning, it was clear during the restart that the machine was processing something. When the restart was completed, with just a few seconds to spare, I opened Skype (MP3 Skype Recorder opens automatically). I also opened the several windows for the articles you’ll see below in the show notes.

I called Norm, we did the show, but what I failed to notice was that the small alert window that pops up on the taskbar when recording apparently never started.

So, all this is a long explanation for a couple points:

1) There is no audio this week. I could share with you my voice, but a monologue when it’s a dialogue just sounds weird.
2) There are never any shortcuts. To mitigate risk, always follow the established procedure (even if you established it). It’s there for a reason!

As for what happened – Skype was what updated and I needed the latest update of MP3 Skype Recorder, which I have since downloaded. Now, after testing, I know everything is working.

Depressed Republicans in the 2nd?

As for what Norm and I discussed, he spoke about his latest column on the Taylor-Luria race. He corresponded with Dr. Quentin Kidd of Christopher Newport University about the race and Kidd mentioned that Taylor should be considered about Republican enthusiasm in the race. As we have mentioned here before, the Trump supporters were already going to struggle to hold their noses going to the polls after the tough primary fight with Mary Jones. Now, Taylor has alienated some other Republicans who see him as certainly crossing an ethical line. Read all of Norm’s column at The Washington Post.

On the subject of Trump voters, Norm also relayed this interesting nugget from Bloomberg:

Internal RNC Poll: Complacent Trump Voters May Cost GOP Control of Congress
” A private survey shows many Republican voters “don’t believe there is anything at stake” in the midterm elections.”

Either way, it doesn’t look good for Taylor.

The Macker in Iowa

Also on the show, we thought it was interesting to see that former Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe is making the rounds in Iowa, South Carolina, and New Hampshire as well as nearly 20 other U.S. States. Of course, the governor demurs that he’s running for president, choosing to keep us all in suspense until the first quarter of 2019.

“I don’t rule anything out,” McAuliffe said, though insisting his focus would remain on 2018 until after the election. “Then you have to make some decisions through the end of the year and into the first quarter of next year.”

He’s running, but so are many other Democrats. And are Democrats ultimately over the Clintons?

Reporters Fighting Back

Finally, we spoke about how The Daily Press and Virginian-Pilot newsrooms have formed a union called “The Tidewater Media Guild” to check the corporate enthusiasms of new owner Tronc, Inc.

The union, known as the Tidewater Media Guild, represents more than 100 journalists at those papers as well as The Virginia Gazette and Tidewater Review.

Workers organized after Tronc acquired the Norfolk paper earlier this year, raising concerns about consolidation efforts and potential layoffs.

Guild officials say more than 83 percent of eligible newsroom employees signed cards authorizing the union.

Our general take is that this is a reasonable response by reporters who are seeing their jobs slashed repeatedly. But what they should also be concerned with is whether or not Tronc is even going to exist as a company in the foreseeable future.

We’ll be back next week. Provided I follow my own procedure!

Follow Norm on Twitter and read his columns at The Washington Post.

Alice Kassens Returns

Returning to the podcast to discuss consumer sentiment in Virginia in 2018 is Dr. Alice Louise Kassens, John S. Shannon Endowed Professor of Economics at Roanoke College. She is also the senior analyst for this data at the Institute for Policy and Opinion Research.

Overall, consumer confidence is good, but there are a few things that are concerning, including expectations about the coming year and a huge gap between self-identified Republicans and Democrats about how they perceive economic performance.

Also in the show, I ask Dr. Kassens about what the Virginia General Assembly could do with $3 billion in 2019: education, tax cuts, or rainy day savings?

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Links of note:

RC Poll: Consumer Sentiment — Virginians feeling prosperous, political divide at highest level (Roanoke College – Visit to see the study and figures we discuss)
Fed has room to raise interest rates for some time, Brainard says (Reuters)
New U.S. tariff threat on Chinese goods hits stocks, dollar (Reuters)
Editorial: Virginia’s coming tax debate (Roanoke Times)

Listen on Stitcher:

Follow Dr. Kassens on Twitter (@RunningEconomist) and see her profile at Roanoke College.

Subscribe to the show!

If you liked this podcast, please support it by subscribing either on Apple Podcast, Google Play or Google Podcasts, TuneIn, or Stitcher – and please leave a review. It helps!

Subscribe on Android or Google Podcasts

Listening to a Podcast:

1) Click the player and listen to it via your device
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– Subscribe to the podcast to automatically download new shows to your device when they are uploaded. (How to from Apple Podcast, Google Play, TuneIn and from Stitcher)
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Prepping for Florence and Virginia Elections

Preparations have been ongoing this week throughout much of Virginia as we brace for whatever Hurricane Florence has in store for us, however, Norm and I still took a break from gutter cleaning to talk about politics. We leave it to you to decide which is a dirtier job.

Items we discuss:

NRC Preparing for Hurricane Florence (Nuclear Regulatory Commission)

Norm’s most recent column: “Rep. Brat shouldn’t breathe easy, despite polling data that shows him ahead”

We polled voters in Virginia’s 7th Congressional District. (NY Times)

After critical report, Northam says Va. election problems won’t happen again (WTOP)

Virginia spends none of $9 million grant on midterm election security (WUSA9)

Operations and Performance of Virginia’s Department of Elections (JLARC)

As court pressure heats up, Va. House Republicans say they’re ready to work on redistricting (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Woodward book prompts West Wing witch hunt, sources say (CNN)

Listen on Stitcher:

Follow Norm on Twitter and read his columns at The Washington Post.

Subscribe to the show!

If you liked this podcast, please support it by subscribing either on Apple Podcast, Google Play or Google Podcasts, TuneIn, or Stitcher – and please leave a review. It helps!

Subscribe on Android or Google Podcasts

Listening to a Podcast:

1) Click the player and listen to it via your device
2) Go to Apple Podcast, Google Play or Google Podcasts, TuneIn or Stitcher.
– Subscribe to the podcast to automatically download new shows to your device when they are uploaded. (How to from Apple Podcast, Google Play, TuneIn and from Stitcher)
3) Added tip: Connect your device via Bluetooth, USB, or even 3.5mm to your car radio, select the aux or media input on your radio for your device, and press play on your device for the show either on the post or through Apple Podcast/Google Play/TuneIn/Stitcher.

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After a Storm: Community, Patience, & Gratitude

On Sept. 18, 2003 – almost 15 years ago to the day – Hurricane Isabel made landfall as a Category 2 hurricane. The storm, which tracked over North Carolina and just southwest of Hampton Roads, resulted in $5.5 billion of damage to the Mid Atlantic, according to the most recent National Hurricane Center’s “costliest U.S. tropical cyclones” table. Isabel comes in at number twenty.

As of this writing, Hurricane Florence is making a similar track with greater strength. Already the Outer Banks has been ordered to evacuate, as well as all Zone A regions in Virginia. Virginia Governor Ralph Northam and President Donald Trump have declared the commonwealth to be in a state of emergency for both a state and federal response. The U.S. Navy fleet homeported in Norfolk is underway. Gas stations along the VA-168 bypass, among other places, are already dry.

When you read this, the storm will be over. But having lived through Isabel, here’s what I hope we see happening here already.

Patience. We will have just lived through a significant weather event. While some who live here were assigned to this location because of their work, a vast majority of us made the personal decision to take up roots in this area.

For a myriad of reasons, we have chosen the risk of making this our home, in full knowledge that every year from June through November there is the possibility we’re going to see one of these monsters.

Because this was our choice, it is incumbent upon us to take some personal responsibility for mitigating damage to life and property. And, my hope is that most of you who were told to evacuate did so that the lives of first responders were not needlessly put at risk.

It is also important for us to remember that because this was our choice, we are really not owed a thing. It is likely that many, many people are here helping us trying to recover and they are doing all they can for us. We should not have expectations of prompt service. We will be in triage.

Those with the most damage and most urgency of need must be cared for first. Look out for your neighbor and for those helping us.

Also, know that resources will be scarce and traffic will be snarled. It’s just going to be that way for a little while. We’ll get through it. It might be uncomfortable. It might be annoying. But be patient.

Community. In all likelihood, we are rallying together as a community.

Following Isabel, whether it was in my neighborhood or clearing downed trees at my church, I distinctly remember how everyone rallied together. Neighbors spoke to and cared for one another.

First responders, lineman, construction crews – all we’re shown respect and given a helping hand, a drink of water, or a place to rest.

My hope is that we are doing this again and are being made stronger, together.

Gratitude. Some of us will have suffered little-to-no damage. Others might have lost everything. But if we are all alive, we will recover.

Regardless, there will be much to be grateful for, even in the darkest moments. It might come as little solace staring at the foundations of a washed away home.

But homes can be rebuilt, and lives can be restored.

The truth is that people will show tremendous care, compassion, and love for one another in these next few days. And people are resilient. For that, we should all be grateful.

My hope in writing these words, as I get ready to finish my own storm preps, is that the storm abates and that we will have much to be grateful for – with minimal damage or impact on our lives.

However, I believe that the likelihood is that this storm is going to impact us in ways that we just don’t understand yet. Hopefully, with patience, community, and gratitude, it will impact us positively, regardless of what might have happened to us materially.

My prayers go out to all of you.


This column appears in The Princess Anne Independent News

Thomas Oh

Thomas Oh is seeking to be the first Republican since Stan Parris to win in the 8th Congressional District. The seat, occupied by Jim Moran from 1991-2015 who was succeeded by two-term Congressman Don Beyer, has been firmly Democratic for decades.

But Oh, who is the youngest Republican seeking office this year and is the right’s answer to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, explains his background, campaign style, and why he thinks the voters in the 8th will give him a chance.

Listen On Stitcher:

Links of note:
LetUsChangeCongress.org (Thomas Oh’s Campaign Website)
Republican in 8th District pledges not to take energy-company funds (Inside NoVA)
Corey Stewart campaigns almost alone; Cline is one of few who has appeared with him (News Leader)

Subscribe to the show!

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– Subscribe to the podcast to automatically download new shows to your device when they are uploaded. (How to from Apple Podcast, Google Play, TuneIn and from Stitcher)
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Judge Rules on Congressional Petitions; Stanley asks Herring for an Opinion

It might be a short week, but there is ongoing news. Norm and I give our hot-take on the biggest topics that we know you’re talking about too:

Judge orders Shaun Brown’s name removed from ballot, citing fraud (Virginian-Pilot)

Editorial: Is Virginia violating the Brown vs. Board of Education decision? (Editorial, Roanoke Times)

I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration (Op-Ed, New York Times)

Woodward book prompts West Wing witch hunt, sources say (CNN)

Listen on Stitcher:
>

Follow Norm on Twitter and read his columns at The Washington Post.

Subscribe to the show!

If you liked this podcast, please support it by subscribing either on Apple Podcast, Google Play or Google Podcasts, TuneIn, or Stitcher – and please leave a review. It helps!

Subscribe on Android or Google Podcasts

Listening to a Podcast:

1) Click the player and listen to it via your device
2) Go to Apple Podcast, Google Play or Google Podcasts, TuneIn or Stitcher.
– Subscribe to the podcast to automatically download new shows to your device when they are uploaded. (How to from Apple Podcast, Google Play, TuneIn and from Stitcher)
3) Added tip: Connect your device via Bluetooth, USB, or even 3.5mm to your car radio, select the aux or media input on your radio for your device, and press play on your device for the show either on the post or through Apple Podcast/Google Play/TuneIn/Stitcher.

Past Podcasts Referenced on Education and Locality Funding:

Jason Bedrick – School Choice
Richard Sander – Moving Toward Integration

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Jason Bedrick

Jason Bedrick is Director of Policy for EdChoice, a non-profit that educates and advocates about School Choice initiatives.

As kids get ready to head back to school, Bedrick explains what options parents have, why school choice is important, and current initiatives in Virginia.

Listen On Stitcher:

In this podcast, we discuss:
– The current school system and where it was developed
– Who is Jason Bedrick and why did he decide that working in education and advocating for school choice was his vocation
– Does the government have to run the schools? How Milton Friedman influenced his ideas.
– The link between housing and education
– Educational choice and preparing the next generation for the workforce and industry
– “College for all” and students who might be better off in trade schools
– Vouchers, Tax Credits and Education Savings Accounts
– State, Local, and Federal Funding for district schools
– Do educational choice programs undermine public education?
– Is educational choice a political issue? How is EdChoice reaching out to all political parties regarding their initiatives?
– Are there any reasons unions should oppose school choice? What does the evidence show?
– Are parents getting the information they need to make good choices on education?
– What is the Virginia Education Improvement Scholarship Tax Credit? Who is responsible for communicating options like this?
– What is the current state of school choice and what is its future?

Links of note:
EdChoice
Jason Bedrick’s Bio
School Choice in Virginia
Education Improvement Scholarships Tax Credits Program

HB 1605 Virginia Parental Choice Education Savings Accounts; established, report. (2017 General Assembly; Del. Dave LaRock; Vetoed by Gov. Terry McAuliffe)
Editorial: Virginia should follow Arizona’s lead on school choice

Subscribe to the show!

If you liked this podcast, please support it by subscribing either on Apple Podcast, Google Play or Google Podcasts, TuneIn, or Stitcher – and please leave a review. It helps!

Subscribe on Android or Google Podcasts

Listening to a Podcast:

1) Click the player and listen to it via your device
2) Go to Apple Podcast, Google Play or Google Podcasts, TuneIn or Stitcher.
– Subscribe to the podcast to automatically download new shows to your device when they are uploaded. (How to from Apple Podcast, Google Play, TuneIn and from Stitcher)
3) Added tip: Connect your device via Bluetooth, USB, or even 3.5mm to your car radio, select the aux or media input on your radio for your device, and press play on your device for the show either on the post or through Apple Podcast/Google Play/TuneIn/Stitcher.

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