Tim Kaine took control of Virginia and Martin O’Malley took over Maryland. The two of them are quite alike. They are Catholics with experience as mayors and they both promised to “move” their states “forward”.
They promised to alleviate the congestion problems in their Washington, D.C.suburbs and to improve the quality of life in general. They also ran during elections cycles that were quite good for Democrats.
Now, two years later, both of these gentlemen are facing a change in plans.
The economic downturn has severely altered their plans for alleviating congestion and improving the quality of life. That is largely because all of their plans were based on more spending and now, states do not have enough money to increase spending.
Of course both of these states could do what New Jersey does. They could raise taxes, tolls and tariffs on everything from gardening to joining a gym. But that might not be the best way for Tim Kaine to win an election in Virginia and this year he is running for reelection.
The truth of the matter is that this year, Tim Kaine shares a lot in common, not only with Maryland’s O’Malley but with New Jersey’s Jon Corzine.
New Jersey and Virginia are the only two states in the nation electing Governor’s and Corzine., like Kaine, faces a derailment of his intended path, paths that were based on increased spending. Now they both face out of control budgets that rely on help from the federal government.
They are not the only states with such troubles but they are the only two who are governing states that will become electoral battlegrounds.
With the focus on Virginia and New Jersey, every consultant, election lawyer and celebrity will be traveling to New Jersey and Virginia to help pull their respective side across the finish line and into first place.
For Democrats the election could be a reaffirmation of their majority status and their total control in Washington. At this point in time it will not necessarily be a referendum on President Barack Obama or the Democratic party but during the course of the next 7 months, it could easily become one .
President Obama is the titular head of the Democratic party and Tim Kaine is now the Chairman of the party. That means that anything Democrats do nationally could easily be echoed in Virginia and New Jersey voters could easily also use their vote as a form of protest.
We are intertwined and people react to events, regardless of where they happen or who is in question.
In 1990 New Jersey’s Bill Bradley was running for reelection to the United States Senate. Republicans nominated a little known county Freeholder named Christie Whitman. Bradley should not have had any problems winning reelection but with a bit more than 1.9 million votes cast, he barely won.
Well fellow Democrat, New Jersey Governor Jim Florio, had raised state taxes by $2.8 billion. Voters were madder than ever and even though Florio was not on the ballot, they took their anger out on Bradley. Out known and outspent by Bradley, Whitman came within 56,000 votes of unseating Bradley and catapulted herself into the Governor’s mansion when it came time to run against Jim Florio.
The same type of backlash could happen in Virginia and again in New Jersey in this election cycle if Democrats take their tax and spend policies too far.
In New Jersey, Governor Jon Corzine has already gone too far and he simply promises to go even further. His first budget, almost three years ago, raised taxes by nearly $2 billion dollars and like Florio, he invented a few new taxes. And like Tim Kaine, all of Jon Corzine’s promises relied on increased spending.
So Democrats in Virginia and New Jersey are going to have a tough go at it. Corzine more than Kaine, but as the new Chairman of the Democrat National Committee, Tim Kaine could find himself on par with Corzine by the time elections roll around in November.
As for Republicans, their races will not be easy.
At the moment, Democrats have the upper hand in fundraising and organization. They also have a President with a clean slate and if the President maintains his current popularity he could be an asset to them and he will surely be one of those “celebrities” shuttling back and forth between D.C, Virginia and New Jersey.
But Republicans have the most at stake.
The RNC’s new national Chairman, Mike Steele promises to make New Jersey and Virginia priorities in the coming months and losing in these two states will only deepen the rut we are in.
Victories in these two states will go along way in proving that the G.O.P. may be down but they are not out and it could set the stage for their resurgence.
Perhaps the best way to boost their fortunes will be by highlighting the common bond that exists not only between Virginia’s Tim Kaine and Maryland’s O’Malley or Tim Kaine and New Jersey’s Jon Corzine …..Spending.
All of these people promised to spend our way into happiness and they promised to do so with taxpayers money. But now that we do not have any money to spare, their promises are broken and the only way they can try to stay on their promised courses is by taxing us even more.
Republicans need to point out that Democrat leadership , from Obama to Kaine, Corzine, O’Malley and every liberal in between, is based on taxing and spending and after all their government spending is said and done, all they have left to show for it is the need to raise taxes and spend some more.
Pointing out the wrongness of liberal policy alone is not enough though.
New Jersey and Virginia Republicans will need to nominate conservative oriented candidates for governor. They can not put forward nominees that are wishy-washy and afraid to go out on a limb and stand against initiatives designed at “spreading the wealth”.
And then they must offer solutions. Solutions that do not require government spending or loony tune government mandates like the low income housing mandates initiated by New Jersey’s Council On Affordable Housing.
If Republicans in New Jersey and Virginia can recapture their inherent conservative oriented ideology, they just might be able to reclaim some territory that is currently controlled by vulnerable liberals.
Either way, brace yourself. Whether you live in these battleground states or not, the 2009 election cycle will be intense.
They took a twenty dollar bill, a Bible, and a bottle of whiskey, and put them on the front hall table. Then they hid, hoping he would think they weren’t at home. The father told the mother, “If he takes the money he will be a businessman, if he takes the Bible he will be a clergyman but if he takes the bottle of whiskey, I’m afraid our son will be a drunkard.”
So the parents took their place in the nearby closet and waited nervously. Peeping through the keyhole they saw their son arrive home. He saw the note they had left, saying they’d be home later. Then, he took the twenty dollar bill, looked at it against the light, and slid it in his pocket. After that, he took the Bible, flicked through it, and took it also. Finally, he grabbed the bottle, opened it, and took a whiff to be assured of the quality. Then he left for his room, carrying all the three items.
The father slapped his forehead and said, “Darn, it’s even worse than I could ever have imagined…”
“What do you mean?” his wife asked.
“Our son is going to be a politician!” replied the very unhappy father.