State & Local Politics

State & Local Politics

Gillibrand for New York

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) filled up a large room with gay activists at New York’s LGBT Community Center yesterday for a 45-minute town hall meeting that touched on many issues important to the community. Questions ranged from gay persecution in Iraq to repealing “Don’t ask, don’t tell.” Although she has been a vocal supporter of LGBT rights since her January appointment, this was the first time she faced an entirely gay audience for open questions. She did quite well.


Q-and-A with the VA gubernatorial candidates, Part II

In highly contested elections, candidates are rarely asked questions that pertain to their personal lives, as their political agendas command all the attention. It is in this regard that Kathy Kemper stands apart. Kemper not only gets answers to the most pertinent of issues, but also explores the candidate's tastes and preferences. This is Part II of a series.
Q. Horrible traffic conditions have plagued Northern Virginia for many years now. Several different steps have been taken to fix this problem, with no real advances. As governor, what innovative new approaches will you take to repair one of Virginia's biggest weaknesses?
Sen. Creigh Deeds (D): We all largely agree about what we need to do to fix our transportation infrastructure. Where my opponent and I disagree is on the best approach to actually get it done.


Q-and-A with VA gov candidates

In highly contested elections, candidates are rarely asked questions that pertain to their personal lives, as their political agendas command all attention. It is in this regard that Kathy Kemper stands apart. Kemper not only gets answers to the most pertinent of issues, but also explores the candidates’ tastes and preferences. This is Part 1 of a series.

Q: UVA is ranked as one of the best public universities in the United States, and the world. This is in part due to the high tuition paid by out-of-state students. Recently, however, Virginia has been trying to pass new legislation that would severely limit the amount of accepted out-of-state applicants. What would you do as governor to ensure that a sufficient amount of Virginians still attend the university, without compromising the necessary funding?


We need a new political party with true Federalist features

Anyone who has had the experience, as I had, of wandering in the vicinity during the Tet Offensive would have by now fully gotten that Yogi Berra feeling of déjà vu all over again. The generals, the men in suits, so fully self-assured and autonomous; the top political leadership, oh-so-coy and reassuring. But they have no clue as to where they are going and how they will get there. There is one difference between this and Vietnam. Jim Webb, the Democratic Virginia senator who served heroically in Vietnam, said recently that he saw positive exit possibilities in Vietnam. He sees none in Afghanistan.


In poor taste

If anyone ever doubted that the president of the United States doesn't stay involved in the politics of his party and the candidates who want to run on his coattails, they are sorely mistaken.

In a brazen (and foolish) move this weekend, President Barack Obama let it be known that he doesn't think current New York Gov. David Paterson (D) is fit to continue as governor once his term expires. In fact, he thinks the current leader is a millstone about his party's neck there, and the sooner he's gone, the better for Empire State Democrats.


The Republican value-voters straw poll and the Ted Nugent Republicans

I received lots of comments and mail about an entry here Thursday relating Ron Paul to Sarah Palin in a political atmosphere where 43 percent consider themselves independents. Many were from Paul supporters who didn’t like the connection. Others did. Glen, who says he has supported Paul for 20 years and Palin for one possibly got closest to the current reality: “I think Palin and Paul have a lot in common,” he wrote. “They are both libertarians, but they come to it from different approaches. Paul is an erudite scholar on both economics and foreign policy. Palin comes at it from the heart and from the gut. She is a natural libertarian who believes in limited government, free markets and individual liberty just because it’s right.”


RE: My congressman, Rep. Joe Wilson

As a native South Carolinian, I'm afraid I have to acknowledge that we've got a history of this kind of thing.

In 1856, one of Wilson's predecessors in the House, Rep. Preston Brooks of Edgefield, S.C., thrashed Massachusetts Sen. Charles Sumner with a cane in the halls of the U.S. Senate, leaving Sen. Sumner permanently disabled.


Montana’s possible right to die: A critique

The Montana State Supreme Court will rule today on a case that could declare the Treasure State’s constitution the first in the union to guarantee a right to physician-assisted suicide.

Plaintiffs believe Section 4 of Montana’s constitution, which declares, “The dignity of the human being is inviolable,” extends this right on the basis that terminally ill people lack access to this dignity. Setting aside the legal arguments and the practical difficulties of having such a right (see Zeke Emanuel’s excellent piece), there is also a more fundamental moral question at stake about the limits of individual liberties. If the court rules the Montana constitution guarantees the right to die, it will markedly overstep the bounds of personal liberty and unfairly infringe on a community’s right to affirm the value of life.


Visualize Glenn Beck

First, Sarah Palin took the podium with John McCain just one year ago. The shock, hostility, hysteria and denial among the defenders of the conventional seemed almost akin to that of the Native Americans when they first looked over the Atlantic and saw Columbus’s Tall Ships on the horizon. Then there was "Twilight" and a whole brand-new generation of arrogantly noble and great-looking vampires and their like 30 million swooning 13-year-old girls who had never even heard of Bob Dylan. (WTF?) And their 30 million boyfriends. Then there was Ron Paul. Then there was Mark Sanford, who first refused a federal bailout with the ridiculous claim that his boat wasn’t sinking. Then the April tea parties and Rick Perry and Ted ("Cat Scratch Fever") Nugent. Then those town hall disturbances; those blue-haired mavens packing Glocks.

And there’s more just ahead. Get ready. Visualize the Congress without Chris Dodd and with libertarian gold bug Peter Schiff in his place. Visualize California without Barbara Boxer and with Carly Fiorina in her place. Visualize John Oxendine, a 10th Amendment sovereigntist, as governor of Georgia. Visualize the movie "2012," which opens Friday the 13th, November, 2009. Visualize the end of the world. Visualize Glenn Beck.


Carly Fiorina Should Challenge Barbara Boxer

The salon journalists and late-night pundits who see ideas of governance as issues of style, like the new Versace line or the latest dish at Chez Panisse, have done a great disservice to the republic this last year in demonizing Alaskan Sarah Palin.

But on the other hand, this past year has been most innovative, as we have seen a resurgence of grassroots, Jacksonian-style and Jeffersonian ideals of governance. This is related to the pundits’ angst and furthers their contempt, because change is at hand and they are not part of it because change does not come top down, from the White House and its associated TV producers and press reps, as they would like it. It comes out of nowhere.