Willing to look beneath the superficial surface to actually examine Mark Warner ... and bucking the trend that seems to prevail throughout most of Virginia's media who appear to think this is the Miss Congeniality contest instead of a senatorial race ... the Waynesboro News Virginian today endorsed Jim Gilmore for Senate with a well thought-out editorial about Gov. Gilmore's accomplishments and Mark Warner's lack of them.
The very first paragraph of the editorial hit the nail on the head:
Once the practice of statesmen, politics has evolved into an art of all things banal — schmoozing principal among them. On this count, as they have been in the polls since the race began, Senate candidates and former governors Mark Warner and Jim Gilmore are separated by a chasm. Warner represents a twist on the “Cheers” TV show theme – he knows everybody’s name. Gilmore is a politician with a comic’s capacity to offend, squashing toes in the natural manner in which most people breathe, many of the stinging digits found in his own party.Governor Jim Gilmore is a leader. Leaders have targets on their backs ... they take arrows. Leaders do the right thing despite the critics ... and that is Jim Gilmore.
The News Virginian continued:
As a result, Warner, who made a mint in telecommunications, built a mammoth war chest while Gilmore scraped for relative pennies of support. Warner ascended in his party, winning a keynote speaking spot at the Democratic National Convention, while Gilmore fished for a base despite a relatively strong conservative record.Despite receiving the Republican Party's nod at a hard-fought convention battle in May and despite receiving the endorsement of the Party establishment, the Gilmore campaign has had an uphill battle going into the war against Mark Warner, a battle that no one else was willing to wage but that the fighter Jim Gilmore was willing to take on. Even the man whose seat he is battling for, Republican Sen. John Warner, has not endorsed him and as recently as two weeks ago said he was undecided on which man he would vote for.
For the reason alone that he was willing to take on the Democrat in the "we-love-Mark Warner" media atmosphere, Jim Gilmore deserves accolades.
Gilmore, the ever-move-forward warrior who headed a commission on terrorism before 9/11 ... who was Governor of Virginia when we were hit on 9/11 ... who fought to get into UVA Law School after serving in Army intelligence as a young man ... the hard-hitting prosecutor from Henrico County ... has always been more concerned about getting the job done than the finer art of communication, something that has been misconstrued over the years into whatever the recipient perceived -- arrogance, disdain, whatever. But Gilmore got the job done.
There are more than a few people for whom Gilmore cares little, and Warner hovers somewhere at the top of the list. Warner in 2002 followed Gilmore as governor and made quick work of depicting his predecessor as an irresponsible spender who left the budget in shambles. Gilmore touted a plan to eliminate the car tax, and wound up slashing it by 70 percent. But Warner charged Gilmore shortchanged the budget in the process, prompting a record $1.4 billion tax increase. It was later revealed that there was surplus that fiscal year and the state revenues were increasing before the tax increase.Mark Warner, who became a rock star of the Democrat Party through the help of some Republican electeds in the Commonwealth's General Assembly when they backed his record $1.2 billion tax increase, giving him the votes needed to pass the largest tax increase in Virginia history (leaving the impression nationwide that Warner was a bipartisan politician who could work with both sides of the aisle), attained a Teflon coating as far as the media were concerned. Throw out the facts about Warner's lack of leadership and watch them slide off as an adoring media look the other way. Warner became the master of spin as noted by the NV:
Nevertheless, Gilmore’s campaign backside still wears the brand Warner applied, of a failed governor whose policies swamped the budget and forced his successor to stick it to Virginians. In fact, Gilmore’s spending record as governor bears a foul aroma. The state operating budget swelled by a third during his stay in Richmond. Republicans who cut taxes while failing to cut spending do taxpayers and conservatives a disservice.
Still, Warner masters another modern political art, that of unction. Not only did he slip responsibility for his tax increase by wrongly strapping it like a string of dynamite to Gilmore, he also eluded for years accountability for his 1994 rant against gun advocates, pro-lifers and home schoolers. Gilmore achieved rare success when he released an audio recording of Warner’s comments that forced the Democrat to finally concede them as his own after repeated denials.Those comments against home schoolers hit me particularly hard in 2001 when Warner was running for governor. As a home schooling parent and leader in the local home school community, I wrote a letter to the Staunton News Leader to expose the comments, a letter that was blocked by then-Opinions Editor Dennis Neal (who has since left the newspaper) who said he had no collaboration or proof of it even though I offered up the statement, and he ignored it when I noted he did not normally "fact-check" other letters to the editor. Irregardless, my letter never saw the light of day and every time I mentioned his censorship in the years following, he became defensive.
Indeed, Mark Warner denied making such a statement but was proven to have lied when the Gilmore campaign produced audio of the remarks. What Warner said not only bashed home schoolers but also National Rifle Association members, the Christian Coalition, pro-life proponents -- people he found "threatening to what it means to be an American."
His remarks were:
"One of the things you are going to see is a coalition that is just about completely taken over the Republican Party in this state and if they have their way it's going to take over state government. It is made up of the Christian Coalition, but not just them. It is made up of the right-to-lifers, but not just them. It's made up of the NRA, but not just them. It is made up of the home schoolers, but not just them. It's made up of a whole coalition of people that have all sorts of differing views that I think most of us in this room would find threatening to what it means to be an American." Mark Warner, May 1994Caught with audio proof, Warner lamely admitted saying those things but added that he had "learned a lot since then." Most in the media ignored that he lied about making the comments. The NV once again got it:
His strong Second Amendment record will allay potential Warner opponents among the ranks of the National Rifle Association, but there’s little to appease abortion foes and home schoolers, except for the fact that a relative of Warner’s home schools. What matters more is whether Warner can be taken at his word when he says, for example, that he opposes a provision in the Employee Freedom of Choice Act that would end secret ballots in union elections. As written, that law – the concept of which Warner favors – would load unions with power and threaten the stability of small businesses across the land.The Waynesboro News Virginian, that small hometown newspaper in the central Shenandoah Valley, did more homework than most of the big newspapers throughout the land. They actually took the time to examine the records and accomplishments of the two senatorial candidates ... and whenever that happens, Jim Gilmore comes out on top every time. The NV understands this is not a popularity contest and that the very safety and future of our country is at stake in these volatile, terrorism-filled times.
Similarly, Warner touts as feasible the pipe dream popularly known among Democrats as the “renewable revolution,” a plan to shift America from reliance on fossil fuels to renewables. Never mind that renewables account for only 7 percent of the world’s energy output and that solar and wind power, to which he frequently refers, require vast expanses of land, in the fashion of ethanol, the fallacy of which leftists are discovering. Warner calls for an all-inclusive energy plan, including natural gas and nuclear energy, and insists that Gilmore is focused almost exclusively on drilling, a charge the Republican rejects.
Like presidential nominee John McCain but with a stronger conservative record, Gilmore is less than an ideal foe for Warner. But his deficiencies are dwarfed by Warner’s, no matter how carefully concealed the latter’s might be. As a result, Gilmore is our choice for the U.S. Senate.
Jim Gilmore for Senate 2008
Cross-posted at Bloggers 4 Jim Gilmore
Cross-posted at SixtyFour81.com