I don't know why, but some Republican named Bob McDonnell has ads on my blog pertaining to his bid to be governor of Virginia. And I can't imagine why he'd bother, as I don't even cover Texas politics, let alone politics in one of the lesser states. But I went to his site just to see if maybe this guy fit in with my blog and while he most definitely did, I doubt it's in the way he meant. After all, I enjoy targeting hypocritical know-nothing blowhards and this guy definitely fits the criteria.
First off, he's anti-tax (big surprise, right?). And if you click on his Taxes and Spending link, you get a quote of him saying how he's going to "conduct a thorough audit of how your tax dollars are spent," citing increased government spending as a huge problem. But of course, who's going to perform this audit? Magic fairies? No, expensive accountants and/or government bureaucrats, that's who. So right off, his plan to cut spending will involve higher government spending. But of course, there's no mention of how much he thinks this is going to cost the state.
And his site has the standard stuff of what a "Friend of the Taxpayer" Bob is, by showing how many taxcuts he voted for. Yet, his list of spending cuts involved trivial amounts which look better for political reasons than budgetary reasons. For instance, he cites his time as Attorney General, in which he cut his office budget and perks and saved the state $4 million; which may be admirable, assuming they were good cuts. But as he says, the state budget is $80 billion a year. So his $4 million is hardly a dent in the bucket. He even touts $2 billion in taxcuts during his term as a state congressman; yet shows nothing comparable in spending cuts.
And that's the thing: Tax cuts aren't free money. If you cut taxes without cutting spending, then you're just a political coward trying to score cheap points. And Bob seems to know this, as he quotes himself saying "We have a spending problem more than we have a taxation problem." And I agree with him on that. Cutting taxes is super easy and fairly pointless if you're not cutting spending; as you're just putting the taxes off for another day. Yet Bob's Tax & Spend page is all dessert and no liver. Big surprise.
Bob's Expensive Jobs Programs
But hey, that was then, this is now. Surely Bob has some great spending cuts in mind if he's elected governor, right? No. As usual, he's a Big Government conservative who seems oblivious to how his policies will increase spending. As with his magical spending audit, he never bothers explaining how much any of his policies will cost or how they'll be paid for.
For instance, Bob's jobs page is full of great ideas for increasing jobs in Virginia. Great, expensive ideas which rely upon government to save the day. His "job initiatives" consist of spending more on a job creation fund, using the Lieutenant Governor as a Job Creation Czar, dedicating another government bureaucrat as Rural Economic Development Czar, and finally, another bribe for job creation in the guise of a tax credit. And yes, that's everything. This is the strongest part of Bob's platform and it consists entirely of expanding existing programs. And hell, the main piece of this expands a Democratic program that he voted against repeatedly. His defense of this flip-flop? What else: That was then, this is now.
And these aren't Bob's only Big Government solutions. No, he's planning to help small businesses by making it easier to start new businesses in Virginia by streamlining the processes online. No word yet if he'll be using the same group of magic fairies to do the programming on this. And here's a brilliant one: "Promote Virginia as the 'Best State in America in Which to Open a Small Business.'" Yes, I'm sure all the other governors are kicking themselves for not thinking of that one.
Bob also has plans to increase tourism by spending more money on a tourism group, preserving more land for outdoorsmen, and spending more money to promote filmmaking in the state. He's also going to spend money to further develop a commerical spaceport, as well as spend more on education and job retraining. He has a specific section on "Economic Vision for Rural Virginia," which largely just reprints what he already said before. And shit, I'm going down the page and see that most of this is just repeated from before. If I didn't know any better, I'd say that Bob was padding his jobs page.
And needless to say, most of Bob's plans involve him expanding programs which already exist. Brave man, Bob McDonnell. Never saw an idea he wasn't ready to steal.
Bob McDonnell: Free Lunch Liberal
And the thing is, looking over Bob's list, I really can't disagree with much. While it all depends on how he implements it, I think the ideas sound pretty good. But of course, I'm a liberal and Bob's a Republican in a purple state. I'm not supposed to like his ideas.
Overall, Bob comes off as a moderate-lib Democrat who has ambitious plans for helping Virginia, but which he refuses to pay for. He's got lots of expensive ideas, yet also wants to cut more taxes. In fact, the only item on the list that makes him a Republican besides tax cuts is that he's firmly against card check; which he misrepresents. But beyond that, Bob's job plan is fairly liberalish. Bob McDonnell clearly doesn't think that businesses will stimulate the Virginia economy unless the government bribes them to do it.
And this is exactly what I've been saying for years. There are no real conservatives anymore. Everyone understands how useful the government can be. Even ultra-right conservatives understand that military spending is good for their local economy. And so the only real difference now is that Democrats understand that they need to pay for their spending, while Republicans continue to believe in the free lunch. Well, except for the ones who are merely trying to turn the government into their personal cash cow; but I suppose there are Dems who do that too.
And that's the reason Republicans are reduced to making personal attacks against us and completely misrepresenting what we stand for. It's not that they truly believe we're socialists trying to take over the country. It's just that they've got nothing better to say and are jealous of our platform.