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Monday, June 16, 2008

The Washington Post rewrites Virginia history

It's not easy being the editorial staff of the Washington Post. As the only MSM newspaper that continues to support the liberation of Iraq, the Post takes it on the chin from the left in ways we on the rightosphere can't even contemplate. Not even the paper's ridiculous and shameful takedown of George Allen (which actually spawned a need for political cover that led to the hilarious endorsement of Bob Ehrlich) has spared it.

Usually, the Post tries to rebuild its left-wing credibility by whacking Virginia Republicans (the Maryland GOP will be off-limits for a while in light of the Ehrlich incident), and over the weekend, they went after Jim Gilmore. Ostensibly the Post's editorial-page hit-job was for "those many thousands of Virginia residents who are new to the state or are newly of voting age" who are not aware of Gilmore's record. Unfortunately, they won't be any better informed after reading the editorial than they were before.

The errors in the Post piece are numerous and far-reaching, beginning with the initial paragraph:

It may seem odder still to watch prominent fellow Republicans either endorse Mr. Gilmore's Democratic opponent in the Senate race, former governor Mark R. Warner go mute when asked whom they support.

Actually, newer Virginians might understand this better than the editors. Given the history of Gilmore's "prominent fellow Republicans" (State Senate GOP: four tax increases proposed in five years; House of Delegates GOP: two tax increases enacted in five years), they're probably more likely to find favor with a GOP nominee that this crowd does not like.

The next paragraph has plenty of vituperative language, but no actual facts, so it's better skipped, especially since the "evidence" in the later paragraphs are also miles from reality, such as:

In Mr. Gilmore, Virginia had its very own Herbert Hoover. "State government is in sound financial shape," he declared sunnily in August 2001, even as state lawmakers from both parties predicted a $500 million revenue shortfall in the commonwealth's $25 billion budget . . .

For starters, Virginia's budget was not $25 billion when Gilmore left office; it was nearly $47 billion. In fact, the shortfall the Post cites was just over 1% of the budget, hardly a cataclysmic event. In fact, even the Post admits that the state was well-equipped to handle the problem:

Today, Mr. Gilmore innocently states that on leaving office in 2002 he bequeathed a balanced budget and $1 billion in reserves.

So, Gilmore's successor, even with a shortfall of $500 million, could have kept the state on sound fiscal footing.

What happened between August of 2001 and January of 2002? You guessed it, 9/11, not that the Post thinks that's important:

Mr. Gilmore's allies sometimes argue that no one could have foreseen the economic effects of the Sept. 11 attacks, which occurred four months before he left office. True enough, but also irrelevant: The problem had swollen to major proportions well before the attacks, and Mr. Gilmore ignored it.

Gilmore ignored the problem? With a reserve twice the size of what the perceived shortfall was?

Now the Post is now willing to credit Gilmore with the reserve, which was "statutorily required." Indeed it was, but that doesn't make the money go away, nor doe the funds magically become useless against a shortfall half the reserve's size - no matter how hard the editors assert otherwise:

And the reserves, for which Mr. Gilmore bears no responsibility -- they were
statutorily required -- did nothing to forestall the state's fiscal crisis.

Really? If the reserve "did nothing to forestall the state's fiscal crisis," why did Warner bleed it dry during his four years as Governor?

Then comes the supposed coup de grace, which to me looks like a serious potential for blowback:

It fell to Mr. Warner, who succeeded Mr. Gilmore as governor, to fix what
quickly mushroomed to a nearly $4 billion problem.

Wait a minute. What was that number? $4 billion, you say? I thought it was $6 billion! If the situation was actually $2 billion better than Warner claims, why did he need $1.6 billion in new taxes? While the Post aimed at Gilmore with this editorial, this sentence actually hits and destroys Warner's record. Whoopsie!

As for the rest of Gilmore's record, the Post continued getting things wrong:

Mr. Gilmore's term was marked not only by bad management but also by a
stiff-necked, belligerent political style that left him with few allies. In
Richmond, he shunned Democrats, disdained doubting Republicans and listened
mainly to a closed cabal of hard-line aides.

Gilmore "shunned Democrats"? That would come as a surprise to Charles Waddell, the longtime Democratic State Senator that Gilmore appointed to the Cabinet, or David Brickley, a Prince William Democratic Delegate who also found a job in the Gilmore Administration.

Moreover, there is one piece of Gilmore's record the Post completely missed: the food tax cut. In 1999, the Democrats proposed a two-point reduction in the sales tax on food. Many Democrats were genuinely concerned for less fortunate Virginians; more than a few were hoping to corner Gilmore into opposing a tax cut. Gilmore embraced the food-tax cut and enacted it on the first opportunity, shocking official Richmond and making him a bipartisan hero.

Oh, and as for the "toxic relationship with his opposite number in Maryland, then-Gov. Parris N. Glendening, a Democrat," the Post should know that Gilmore was hardly alone. Governor Glendening was one of the most loathed politicians in Maryland history - in fact, as I recall, even the Post found many reasons to rip him to shreds.

One final note, the editors promise to "review Mr. Warner's record as governor at a later date." Perhaps they will notice that Warner's last budget included an increase of $10.5 billion - $9 billion before the 2004 tax increase. If we're really luck, the editors will think to ask Warner: Where did the $9 billion go?

Cross-posted to the right-wing liberal

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Comments on "The Washington Post rewrites Virginia history"


Blogger JCWhite said ... (June 16, 2008 at 9:14 PM) : 

Sounds to me as if YOU are trying to rewrite history. The Post article can be verified...your crap can't.


Blogger The Northern Virginia Conservative said ... (June 17, 2008 at 9:20 AM) : 

How is that? D.J.'s numbers are not news, they're just buried by lefty MSM like the Post. Your boy is losing his cloak of inevitability.


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