Local Democrats nominate Cox
While we Republicans were hashing out our policy differences at the Hanger-Sayre forum last night (Myron "Republitarian" called it a draw), the Democrats held a mass meeting in Verona and nominated David Cox to run for the 24th District seat in the Virginia Senate. It was a surprise ending to the sudden surge of activity by Democrats in this area; Will Hrovat had been touted as the presumptive nominee. (For more background, see May 22 and May 17.) Former State Senator Frank Nolen, the Democrat who was unseated by Emmett Hanger in 1995 election, noted with irony that the same rhetoric which Sen. Hanger used against Nolen back then, is now being used by Mr. Sayre against Sen. Hanger. (There was certainly more validity to charge that the opponent was a "tax-spending liberal" in 1995 than there is today.) See The New Dominion. Cox is a retired Episcopal (!) priest from Rockbridge County who lost to Ben Cline in the 2005 race for House of Delegates -- also the 24th District, by pure coincidence. About this nomination, Staunton Democratic blogger Clifford Garstang crows:
It was a stark contrast to the mud-slinging we've seen in the Republican party contest between Emmett Hanger and Scott Sayre, and should tell the public something about the state of the Democratic Party in Virginia today: we are united in our goal of restoring fiscal responsibilty and people-centered policies to our General Assembly.
Meanwhile, we Republicans cannot even agree on what the "fiscal responsibilty" part of the RPV creed means, and some are even questioning who holds which party offices. It's not a very good way to start the fall campaign...
Bush "wins" on war funding
The Democrats in Congress can make all the noise they want, but at the end of the day enough of them will make sure the troops on the ground in Iraq get enough funding to continue their operations. So, the victory by President Bush in getting Congress to pass the Iraq war funding measure last week (see Washington Post) was not very surprising. The big question is, at what cost did the victory come? For me, two things stand out: the dreaded "benchmarks" term, which puts a tight leash on the Iraqi government at a time when they need to be exercising their prerogatives of sovereignty. It's hard for the U.S. government to get out of that dilemma. Second, Bush had to make so many legislative compromises just to get a short-term extension of funding that he helped the Democrats achieve much of what they promised in last fall's campaign. For example, raising the minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 per hour over the next two years will induce even more illegal immigration, as businesses seek cheaper labor. To me, adding further fuel to the ongoing firestorm of controversy over immigration is just plain idiotic. More of Karl Rove's genius?
Thus, I would find it hard to disagree with Richmond Democrat, who wrote that Bush merely won a "Pyrrhic victory" on the Iraq funding bill. For you folks in Rio Linda, that refers to Pyrrhus, the King of Epirus, who defeated the Roman army in 280 B.C. but at such a high cost in casualties that the Romans eventually repelled his invading forces. (I learned that in Miss Lydia Bartling's Latin class back in high school.) The implication is that by winning this battle, President Bush may have conceded long-term defeat in the overall policy war in Washington.