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June 2, 2011 [LINK / comment]
Republicans declare candidacies
Today was marked by a curious convergence of local and national campaign politics. In New Hampshire, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney formally announced he is running for president, eliciting a vast surge of yawns all across the Fruited Plain. He emphasized his knowledge of economic policy matters, declaring that the United States is in a deep crisis and that President Obama "has failed America." See the Washington Post. Well, that's certainly not news. Romney is trying to project a more friendly, casual image, but in straining to reach out to prospective voters, he runs the risk of being seen as less than authentic.
Romney's big Achilles Heel, obviously, is his record as governor of Massachusetts, signing the law that requires each resident to buy health insurance. Perhaps the passage of such a measure was inevitable in a liberal state such as Massachusetts, but how in the world could a person in his position take the lead the reversing Obamacare? Romney seems competent and sincere, but he has a tendency to shift his positions according to political expediency, making one wonder what he really stands for. It's a wonder that Romney thinks he has much of a chance of winning the Republican nomination.
Working in Romney's favor is the weakness of the Republican field. Donald Trump is a joke, and few of the serious candidates have much going for them. Last year, I was hopeful about Minnesota's Tim Pawlenty, but he is becoming another "me too" candidate who is too prone to pandering. Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels has very solid credentials as a government executive, but is a bit wobbly on some issues of concern to conservatives. I really like New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, but he is new to that office and needs more experience. On Facebook a few weeks ago, I expressed a lack of enthusiasm for the Republican candidates, saying that Ron Paul (from Texas) was the only one who excites me at all. (I share his libertarian outlook for the most part, though I regard his foreign policy approach as too isolationistic.) As for former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin's "One Nation" bus tour and what it means for the 2012 presidential race, the less said the better.
Bell runs again
Here in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, Delegate Dickie Bell announced he is running for reelection in the Virginia House of Delegates. (He was first elected in 2009, replacing the then-incumbent delegate, Chris Saxman, who unexpectedly bowed out of the race in July 2009.) He made public appearances in Staunton and in Waynesboro, which is where I went to see him. Because of redistricting (see April 3), Bell now represents the city of Waynesboro as well as Staunton. (His newly revamped 20th District also includes parts of Nelson County, on the other side of the Blue Ridge!) Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling was there to endorse Delegate Bell and to praise his work with the Republicans in Richmond. Bell reminded everyone that he is not afraid to speak his mind, and occasionally disagrees with others in his party. It's too bad there's not more independent-minded leaders like that in Richmond. See his Web site at bellfordelegate.com.
Bell advocates merit-based pay for public school teachers, reasoning that effective educators should have nothing to fear from competition. True, but unlike the private sector, there is an inherent difficulty in measuring performance in the classroom. The last thing this country needs is more standardized tests. They create a big temptation for teachers to teach only what the tests cover, which severely undermines education.
Bell also said he won't shy away from social issues, which many economic conservatives (such as yours truly) regard as an emotional distraction from the more crucial matters. Interestingly, I recall Bill Bolling making a very similar statement when he was first running for lieutenant governor in 2005.
Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, Del. Dickie Bell, and his wife, Anne.
Posted (or last updated or commented upon): 03 Jun 2011, 1: 35 AM
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Hits on this page (single blog post) since July 2, 2007:
Culture & Travel
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This (or that) year's
March 9, 2011 ~ Life bird: (un-) Common Redpoll
March 31, 2011 ~ Batter UP!!! Opening Day 2011 is here!
April 3, 2011 ~
Legislators seek redistricting input (?)
April 18, 2011 ~
Tea Party Tax Day rally
May 1, 2011 ~ Confirmed: Osama bin Laden is dead!
May 25, 2011 ~ Governor visits Staunton
May 30, 2011 ~ Nationals WIN, then resume plunge
June 2, 2011 ~ Republicans declare candidacies
June 14, 2011 ~ Anti-tax dogma vs. fiscal sanity
June 23, 2011 ~ Nationals sweep Mariners; Riggleman quits
June 26, 2011 ~ Two extraordinary extra-inning games
July 8, 2011 ~ Nationals sweep the Cubs (almost)
July 26, 2011 ~ Debt ceiling showdown: farce majeur
August 1, 2011 ~ Leaders compromise on debt ceiling
August 20, 2011 ~ Baseball road trip 2011: Missouri
August 31, 2011 ~ Is Obama getting desperate?
September 11, 2011 ~ 9/11: Ten years later
October 1, 2011 ~ THREE "shots heard around the world"
October 3, 2011 ~ Hundreds of hawks, dozens of warblers, and three bears!!
October 10, 2011 ~ Kansas performs in concert at JMU
October 10, 2011 ~ R.I.P. Steve Jobs (1955 - 2011)
October 29, 2011 ~ The Cardinals are world champions again
November 5, 2011 ~ Washington Nationals: year in review
November 9, 2011 ~ Republicans gain, State Senate is tied (?)
November 28, 2011 ~ Newt gets real (?) on immigration
December 3, 2011 ~ Moneyball, the A's, and Billy Beane
December 14, 2011 ~ Libertarians don't get no respect *
December 31, 2011 ~ Those wintertime no-baseball blues
Blog highlights have been compiled for the years 2010-2012 thus far, and eventually will be compiled for earlier years, back to 2002.
The "home made" blog organization system that I created was instituted on November 1, 2004, followed by several functional enhancements in subsequent years. I make no more than one blog post per day on any one category, so some posts may cover multiple news items or issues. Blog posts appear in the following (reverse alphabetical) order, which may differ from the chronological order in which the posts were originally made:
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Also see: My blog practices.
Blog errata (Nobody's perfect.)