EOLed on April 29

On April 29, on the site’s 8th anniversary, Virginia Political Blogs will be shut down. Its purpose has been served, and it no longer plays a useful role in political discourse in Virginia, with that having moved largely to Facebook and Twitter. You can download a list of all member sites as OPML, should you so desire.

Virginia News Headlines: Thursday Morning

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Thursday, April 26.
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Berkowitz on SSM and Dissent | National Catholic Reporter

Berkowitz on SSM and Dissent | National Catholic Reporter by MSW.  MGB: Berkowitz is as wrong on this issue as he is on Palestine.  The kind of debate MSW and Berkowitz call for would be applicable if this were a legislative issue.  It is not nor should it be.  It is a rights issue.  Indeed, it is a right to marry issue.  Subsitute interraction marriage for gay marriage and you will understand why people are tired of debating and willing to demonize the other side.  This is especially the case if you read the weak case put on by the Organization for Marriage in the gay marriage case in the Northern District of California. The arguments were insulting to gays who had families.  The real sad thing was that they parrotted what bishops say about it.  Should lawyers who don't see this as an equal protection be ridiculed?  Yes, it is pretty basic stuff.  It is as basic as being an embryologist - or for that matter a pharmacist - and not knowing that life begins at gastrulation.  Some things are obvious.  The constitutional rightness of gay marriage is one of those things.  What about Eich?  As long as we worship CEOs in our capitalist system, any who embarrass the firm are out.  It may be regretable, but it is understandable.  Again, what if he had contributed to a fund to stop race mixing in marriage?  Yes, its like that.

Nat’l Cath Register Attacks Sr. Carol Keehan | National Catholic Reporter

Nat'l Cath Register Attacks Sr. Carol Keehan | National Catholic Reporter by MSW.  MGB: Michael hits it right on the head, the other NCR and EWTN are essentially the GOP in Catholic drag.  I would go beyond tht and say the entire pro-life movement is just that as well.  The reason they are going after Sister Carol is because she challenged the bishops and the pro-life establishment and won.  indeed, after all these years, no one has unseated her - or will they.  Sebelius retired - being a cabinet secretary for five years is enough self-torture, as much as Michael would like to think she was forced out.  No chance.

The real argument is this - the bishops said that as long as the status quo is maintained, they would not object.  They lied and never admitted that they moved the goal line.  In fact, most insurance comes through employers and is subsidized, in part, be not counting this as income and giving a tax break to corporate and other large employers for hiring insurance.  This insurance usually covers contraception and abortion as standard services.  Many argue that with the new market places in the ACA, employers will likely drop insurance and have their workers participate.  If that is the case, covering abortion with subsidized money is still the status quo the bishops vowed to accept.

This whole issue could have been handled differently.  If the Republicans had promised to vote for the bill in exchange for having certain amendments agreed to - something that used to happen with most legislation - then we may have had a better bill, there would have been no "war on women" last year and there would not have been more than fifty votes to overturn Obamacare.  Here's the thing - this all comes out of the Senate Minority Leader's plan to oppose all Obama bills - and that comes because his base has a visceral hatred of Obama - one that can only be linked to his youth and his color.  The sad thing is that EWTN and the National Catholic Register are in bed with these evils.

VA State Senate Upholds Gov. McAuliffe’s Vetoes of Bills that Violate Separation of Church/State

I'm glad to see that Gov. McAuliffe's vetoes were upheld today in the Virginia General Assembly, in particular SB 236 ("codifies right to religious viewpoint expression") and SB 555 ("Prohibits censorship by state government officials or agencies of the religious content of sermons made by chaplains of the Virginia National Guard") by right-wing extremist, Sen. Dick Black. As the Virginia ACLU wrote about SB 555, "a military chaplain acting in his or her official role does not have the right to use official mandatory events as a platform to disseminate his or her own religious view." And with regard to SB 236, the Virginia ACLU explained: the bill "would have compelled schools to sponsor student prayer at official school events where students and other members of the school community are a captive audience, such as graduations, assemblies, and sporting events.  This bill, while touted as bill to protect religious freedom, would have had the opposite effect, by subjecting students to religious coercion." Both were blatant violations of the separation of church and state, and richly deserved to have their vetoes sustained.
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Gillespie sidesteps Ryan budget- touts "legal status" on immigration reform

By: Ryan Nobles

Former RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie is playing it safe in the run up to his heated race for U.S. Senate against incumbent Mark Warner (D).


As the candidate dips his toe into a full blown campaign, he is sticking to talking points as he wades through a convention challenge leading up to the fall campaign. 

Gillespie chose NBC12 as his first live local television interview and we got the chance to press him on some of the key issues voters will be using to make their choice in not only November but in the convention in June. 

We asked him about the role of the Tea Party in his campaign, his thoughts on immigration reform and how he would vote on the proposed House Budget authored by former Vice Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan

You can see the full interview below:


Would he vote YES or NO on the Ryan Budget?- "There are things in Paul Ryan's plan that I think are good, there are things I would have some concerns about, but I think the most important thing is that he puts us on a path to a balanced budget." 

He never gave us a Yes or N0, but it seems from his answer that he is not fully supportive of the plan in his current form. He attempted to use the question as a way to wrap the current Senate from avoiding presenting a budget of their own. 

Would he support a path to citizenship as part of immigration reform? "I think we do need to come to terms with some form of legal status. But I think the people who have come here legally and played by the rules it wouldn't be fair to them to confer citizenship on people who have not done that. But I do think it is unlikely that we are going to have a mass deportation of some 10-12 million people." 

 Immigration is always a sticky issue for Republicans in particular. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush (R) who is mulling a run for president ran into heat from the party's right wing for suggesting that some who enter the country illegally do so out of an "act of love".  The controversy is not reserved to national members of the GOP. The Republican Party of Virginia's new Executive Director took all kinds of heat from immigration reform foes for taking a meeting with pro-immigration reform advocates. 

Gillespie is trying to walk a fine line. Deal with the reality that is 15-20 million illegal immigrants, but stop short of offering full citizenship and instead create a new class of "legal status". We will see how that plays with the party hard- cores. 

..speaking of the party hard-cores

Will the Tea Party play a role in his campaign? "We have the same concerns about the direction of the country. There is too much spending, too much government intrustion into our ecomony, too much debt, not enough in terms of our personal freedoms."

Gillespie used the Tea Party question as a way to tie Warner to Obamacare. Judging by the answer he is hoping Tea Party folks will support his campaign in big numbers. 

This is just the beginning of a long campaign. We will have plenty of time to get this new candidate's take on a whole host of issues. 

Stay tuned. 

New Bedford May Buy Wind Energy for Less Than Many States Pay for Dirty Coal Power

Hingham (oops) 2/19/11A proposed wind power contract for New Bedford isn't just feel-good - it's look-at-this-giant-pile-of-money-we're-saving-taxpayers.

As Ariel Wittenberg reports in the Standard-Times, the New Bedford City Council will soon consider a proposal to buy power from a planned wind farm in Plymouth after a subcommittee approved the plan that would save the city somewhere around 30 percent on energy costs:
The proposal, made by Mayor Jon Mitchell's office, would enter the city into a power purchase agreement with Future Generation Wind LLC to buy wind-generated electricity at 10.8 cents per kilowatt hour for the next 20 years. [...]

Scott Durkee, director of the city's energy office, noted that the power purchase agreement will also save the city money. Currently, he said, the city's lowest costing energy contracts are 11 to 13 cents per kilowatt hour, with the city paying closer to 15 to 17 cents per kilowatt hour on most contracts. Signing with Future Generation LLC is predicted to save New Bedford upwards of $20 million over the life of the contract.

Additionally, Future Generation LLC is offering to pay the city $250,000 in a sort of signing bonus meant to help further New Bedford's efforts to become a premier port for offshore wind. Future Generation owner Keith Mann said he is also considering using New Bedford as the receiving port for his turbines.
It's hard to understate what a bargain this is - the best energy at the lowest price.

For some context, 28 states paid more than 10.8 cents is About per kilowatt hour for their electricity in February. And most of those states were sending the money out of state to buy coal and natural gas that polluted their air and added fuel to our climate crisis.

On top of all the benefits of cleaner air and climate protection, an extra million dollars a year is a huge deal in a city whose entire budget for FY2014 is $263 million. That's an extra dozen or more police officers or teachers or city bus drivers. And on top of that, New Bedford businesses would get the boost from turbine construction.

Arlington County Democratic Committee Prepares to Expel Libby Garvey from the Party

This coming Monday evening, the Arlington County Democratic Committee (ACDC) will be meeting to proceed with the much-discussed removal of County Board member Libby Garvey as a voting member of ACDC. The reason for this action (which I'd guess, based on what I've heard, will be near unanimous), as ACDC Chair Kip Malinosky explained recently, is that Garvey has taken "public actions" that are "obviously incompatible with the duty of formal voting members of the Arlington County Democratic Committee." In addition, Garvey's actions in endorsing and campaigning for Republican John Vihstadt are obviously incompatible with the Democratic Party of Virginia's party plan, which clearly states:
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Norfolk endorsements

endorseNo, not mine! I try to stay out of the endorsement business ;)

The Virginian-Pilot released its endorsements Sunday and the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce’s Norfolk Division released theirs Tuesday.  With only a single candidate in Wards 1 and 2, neither endorsed in those contests.

Both chose the same candidate for mayor and Ward 5: incumbents Paul Fraim and Tommy Smigiel, respectively. They split on Ward 3, where there are six candidates in the race. The paper went with Marcus Powell (the endorsement in the printed paper made this much clearer than the online version), although they had nice things to say about Rodney Jordan and Mamie Johnson.  The Chamber chose Jordan.

In Ward 4, where I live, the Chamber’s Norfolk Board “voted to abstain from endorsement.” The Pilot endorsed challenger Billy Cook over incumbent Paul Riddick.

You can see the Chamber’s candidate questionnaires here (pdf).


Tomorrow night, the Fairmount Park Civic League is holding a candidates forum for the Ward 3 candidates. It will be at New Hope Christian Community Center beginning at 7pm. Also at the same time, a candidates forum for all candidates is being held at the Norfolk Yacht & Country Club. I’m told the Ward 3 candidates will try to come by or send surrogates and that several other candidates – Fraim, Smigiel, Riddick – have declined to attend.

Filed under: 2014 Elections, Local, Norfolk, Politics

Planners Say Yes to Shockoe Bottom Condo


View of the James from Libbie Hill Park. Pretty nice… if you don’t mind that grainery.

by James A. Bacon

Libbie Hill Park sits on the crest of a hill overlooking the James River. On that spot in 1737 William Byrd II famously looked upon the turn in the river, was struck by its resemblance to Richmond-upon-Thames outside London, and decided to give the new city founded nearby the name of Richmond. It is understandably a view that preservationists want to protect.


View of The James at River Bend from Cary Street. Image credit CHPN.

But the Richmond Planning Commission approved Monday a special use permit to build a 16-story condominium building, The James at River Bend, just west of the view from Libby Hill Park. That decision follows approval earlier this month of an office complex on the eastern side of Libby Hill. Some conservationists are up in arms, and I sympathize. Some things are worth preserving. Yet I agree with the planning commission’s decision. Shockoe Bottom is an appropriate place for development at greater intensity.

The Richmond metropolitan region has reached a turning point. After decades of scattered, low-density growth giving the region one of the worst sprawl indexes in the country, the momentum of growth has shifted back to the urban core. Richmond’s downtown and surrounding precincts have accommodated significant population growth through the expedient of renovating an extensive stock of old warehouses, offices and industrial buildings. That strategy has been economically feasible thanks to state and federal historic tax credits. But the inventory of old industrial buildings is running low. In the future, developers will have to build taller buildings.

David White, president of Historic Housing LLC, explained during the permit hearing that he could not finance the project without the building height and the views that commanded high condominium prices. “I can’t make the numbers word,” he said. “The only way I can afford to build the build is to get the dollars that come from the height.”

Richmond, Henrico County and Chesterfield County all have to come to terms with the prospect of higher density development and taller buildings. It is the natural order of metropolitan evolution and cannot be avoided except at great cost. Richmond’s urban core needs higher density. Condominium towers generate high tax revenues without major offsetting infrastructure costs. They also provide the density needed to support the Bus Rapid Transit system that city planners want to run along Broad Street. Failure to densify the Broad Street corridor will doom BRT to economic failure and perpetual subsidies. And the alternative to building “up” is to build “out” — creating more sprawl with its voracious needs for expensive new infrastructure.

Those considerations trump the marginal impact of the condo project on the view from Libbie Park, as even the Historic Richmond Foundation agrees. The hard decision will come when someone proposes to erect a building that will blot out the river. Until that time comes, the trade-off is an easy one to make.

E.W. Jackson Endorses “Sideshow Bob” Marshall for Congress

Can bat****-crazy extremist E.W. Jackson help push fellow bat****-crazy extremist "Sideshow Bob" Marshall to victory over right-wing Republican "attack dog" Barbara Comstock (who, among other things, is a huge fan of Sarah Palin, inciter-to-violence Sean Hannity, right-wing hate radio host Mark Levin, warmonger John Bolton, overturning Roe v. Wade, etc.) in the 10th CD Republican "firehouse primary" this coming Saturday? It's highly doubtful against the well-funded, establishment-backed Comstock, but it sure would be a lot of fun if Marshall could somehow pull this one out. ;)
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The last ditch

Jeff Schapiro’s latest column takes a look at the difficulties Terry McAuliffe is facing in his freshman year as Governor. They are many, and not entirely unique to the current occupant of the Executive Mansion. But when it comes to the issue of Medicaid expansion, Jeff comes close to addressing a key item in the current stalemate that has little to do with a tyro governor:

As governor, McAuliffe is elected by a vote of the entire state. And while his support is strongest in the urban-suburban crescent, he won votes across Virginia. GOP delegates are elected in made-to-order districts that maximize the influence of conservative activists who do not reflect Virginia as a whole.

So he is accountable to almost everyone. Comparatively speaking, they’re accountable to almost no one — no one, except tea partiers and Libertarians who could topple incumbents through primary challenges from the right.

That last bit is what drives the GOP side of the debate. Their stand, despite its appeals to fiscal rectitude, careful study and whatnot, is actually rooted in fear.

It’s that simple.

A year ago, General Assembly Republicans told elements of the base who opposed the tax hikes for roads to go pound sand. It ended up costing two long-term House Republicans their seats. While that may seem trivial in a caucus with over 60 members, the shock value cannot be underestimated.

Buckle on Medicaid, and you, Mr. Incumbent, could be asking Joe May for resume advice come 2015.

I’ve written that the Democrats have no “Plan B” for getting out of the current budget/Medicaid mess. Jeff floats the possibility, which has been the object of whispers for some months now, that the Governor will “attempt the dramatic: a health care fix by executive fiat that could toss the whole mess to the Virginia Supreme Court.”

Maybe. In some ways, it would be the best option for the GOP as it would take the burden off of them to stand steely eyed on the budget and shift all the risk onto McAuliffe and the Democrats.

Mr. McAuliffe could do what Jeff suggests. Even some Republicans will admit, privately, that the commission they created to weigh Medicaid reforms — the MIRC — has enough holes in it for McAuliffe to push through whatever sort of expansion he wants. That would leave Republicans having to argue with him in court — making it a game of chase.

The question is whether General Assembly Democrats would be willing to follow McAuliffe’s lead. They may not, as McAuliffe would be painted, almost immediately, as having done a full Obama on expansion, using his pen to trump the law, trashing process, etc. Republicans, too, face peril, as they would be arguing, in effect, for snatching health care from the poor. Those optics are less than good, bordering on horrible.

But let’s revist Jeff’s chronology. Before McAuliffe goes his own way, he blinks a little:

Maybe, on health care, he keeps groping for common ground with the House, giving up at the last-minute to keep Virginia from going over the fiscal cliff…

Someone will blink, but that does not have to mean McAuliffe would then dash ahead with expansion.

A rumor circulating in Capitol Square is that Republicans are fairly sure McAuliffe is willing to shut the works down. Republicans are, or say they are, prepared to do the same. All to win the point over Medicaid.

It’s easy to say and believe such things in April, when the budget deadline is still so far away. But will the same things be said and believed come June? Unlikely. Recent history tells us we can expect more to be said about how a shutdown would affect Virginia’s coveted AAA bond rating. But we’ve teetered on the edge of this precipice before, during the first year of the Kaine administration. At the time, Moody’s, the bond rating house that blessed, and advocated for, Mark Warner’s 2004 sales tax hike sat on the sidelines, saying that:

“the current situation adds a small degree of uncertainty, although it is expected that the budget situation will be resolved well before the first interest payment on the bonds is due in November 2006.”

So a shutdown, while politically stupid, and possibly suicidal, shouldn’t concern Wall Street. Unless it drags on until the interest payments are due.

Which is why, very quietly, both sides are revisiting the last time Virginia stared into the budgetary void to see what they can do to keep the state limping along in the absence of an official budget.

But long before then, the sides will reach some sort of deal. Paul Goldman and I wrote that McAuliffe can get out of this jam right now by some artful re-working of what he considers a win. No expansion? No problem — we’ve put this on the radar and prodded that zombie-like MIRC into actually doing something worthwhile.

It’s hardly perfect. But he’s a master salesman — let him sell it to his base.

As for the GOP…they have no fallback position. It’s either stick together now, or face the political repercussion next year.

They like their jobs far too much to give in.

Horse Gone, Search Ensues to Find Out Who Should Have Closed the Door

barn_doorby James A. Bacon

A new question has arisen about the proposed $1.4 billion upgrade to U.S. 460 between Petersburg and Suffolk. Once the McDonnell administration ascertained that none of the three public-private partnership proposals on the table were viable and that the state would operate the road instead, why didn’t the Virginia Department of Transportation re-submit the construction project to competitive bidding? Why did the administration choose from among the three consortia that had submitted the original proposals?

“There is no doubt in my mind that this should have gone back out for new bids,” Del. S. Chris Jones, R-Suffolk, told the Times-Dispatch. “That would have been the prudent thing for the commonwealth.”

The House Appropriations Committee has summoned Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Layne, appointed by Governor Terry McAuliffe, to appear before the committee today to explain the decision-making process. The highway upgrade, touted as a boon to economic development in southern Hampton Roads when the Panama Canal widening opens, has been put on hold until the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers completes its assessment of the proposed route, which would disrupt hundreds of acres of wetlands.  The state has already paid $300 million under terms of the contract even though construction work yet to begin.

The original concept for the project was a public-private partnership funded mainly by the private sector. Three design-construction consortia submitted proposals but all three made it clear that there would not be sufficient traffic volume on the highway to build it without massive government subsidies. The McDonnell administration decided to cut project costs by selling tax-free bonds through an independent financing authority and limiting the private sector role to designing and building the project.

Over and above seeking an explanation of how the state spent so much money before required environmental permits were obtained, legislators also want to know why VDOT didn’t open up the bidding process once a decision had been made to restructure the project. A larger number of bidders likely would have resulted in a lower winning bid.

An uproar developed over bidding for Phase 2 of the Rail-to-Dulles project in Northern Virginia when the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority enacted a rule that would have required construction companies to enter into a Project Labor Agreement (PLA), in effectively limiting the bidders to union companies. Many feared that the PLA requirement would result in fewer bids and a higher construction cost. Under public pressure MWAA backed off. Apparently, no one was watching the U.S. 460 project closely enough to question the McDonnell administration’s decision to avoid opening up the bidding process for a mega-project of comparable size.

Gilmore Talks Foreign Policy with Boston Herald

The post Gilmore Talks Foreign Policy with Boston Herald appeared first on American Opportunity Blog.

Virginia: a Bastion of Financial Literacy

Virginia is the third most financially literate state in the country, according to a new Wallethub survey that combines metrics of personal financial behavior and public policy indicators. New Hampshire and Utah rank No. 1 and No. 2, while Arkansas and Mississippi rank at the bottom.

“Financial literacy ultimately comes down to familiarity with key themes and concepts, the ability to think critically, good judgment and self-restraint,” writes Senior Writer John Kiernan.

The Old Dominion ranked 1st in the country for high school literacy, reflecting its low drop-out rate and its status as one of only four states in the country to require a stand-alone course in personal finance as a graduation requirement. Virginians also were more responsible on average in the handling of their personal finances, as measured by indicators such as the percentage of households that spent less money than they earned and the percentage that maintained rainy day funds.

I can vouch for the value of the state’s required course on personal finance. My 15-year-old son, enrolled in 10th grade, is taking the course this year. He is learning about everything from credit cards and mortgages to check accounts and 1066 federal income tax forms. I’ve maintained a savings account for him for years, which he long regarded suspiciously as a black hole that sucked up the money he received as Christmas and birthday gifts. But after learning about checking accounts, he was quite excited this year to go down to the bank with his Christmas loot, fill out the deposit slip and put the money into his savings account. He zones out when his mother and I try to teach him anything – but making it part of the school curriculum seems to confer legitimacy.

I’d classify the Economics & Personal Finance class as one of the more useful things that public schools teach in Virginia. I have no idea whether school learning actually changes peoples’ behavior — I’m a bit skeptical in that regard — but it can’t hurt. Everyone benefits when people assume responsibility for their own financial welfare and avoid making stupid and costly financial decisions.

-- JAB

Vance Wilkins looking to bring back winning…

Bob Stuart over at the NewsVirginian has a good piece on the upcoming battle in the 6th district for the chairmanship held by Wendell Walker and being challenged by Vance Wilkins.

The Republican Party of Virginia needs to get back to sending Conservative Republicans to both Richmond and Washington DC and not take for granted that the Shenandoah Valley and most rural areas of Virginia will always vote "R" on election day. I don't see conservative voters falling for the "Well packaged" BS coming from the Democratic Party and their players but I do see the conservative voter staying home in protest as they have in several recent election days...

For too long we saw the candidates and RPV come to the Valley telling us that we must come out to "Tow the line" for the VA-GOP candidate and to cancel out those voters in north Virginia that continues to vote for the Democrat candidates. This worked well for a long time as long as the VA-GOP was winning and the big guys at RPV in Richmond held their positions and all was well with the "Inner circle"...

But now the political environment has changed and that was evident when the nation voted for and elected Obama who had no real world political experience but had a great marketing plan. Even with the failed policies and actions by President Obama the Democratic Party continued with this marketing plan and Virginia now has two Democrat Senators and a Democrat Governor. It has come time to get back to electing and sending conservative Republicans back to State offices and get Virginia & America back on track and working for those who make this country work and not just "Buying Votes with Govt programs" as the Democrats have...

Bob Stuart has two very interesting quotes from Wilkins that really hits the mark...

 "We knew six years ago Mark Warner was running for re-election,'' Wilkins said."We have done nothing to prepare to beat him." He said only now are Republican candidates critical of Warner's voting record.
"We are just getting on him now for voting for Obamacare. We could have torn down that facade of being a moderate Democrat a long time ago,'' he said.
Wilkins said it is his relentless efforts that can help the GOP. "No one can outwork me. I am persistent. I think I can bring something to the party that can help us win elections,'' he said.

Cantor goes on the attack

Well that didn’t take long.

Just a couple of weeks after brushing off his primary opponent, David Brat, Rep. Eric Cantor has coming out swinging against the economic professor, with both a television ad and a website. Via Ryan Nobles, we get a glance at the Cantor attack ad:

“Liberal David Brat.” It’s a line of attack that has the strong whiff of nostalgia to it.

And for those of us who know what the word “liberal” used to mean in politics, it makes the ad — quite unintentionally — hilarious (for more on that topic, go here).

All of this aside, it shows that Mr. Cantor has decided it’s time to play in the 7th CD, and do so with elbows flying. He has to, because, as I wrote on Monday, Mr. Cantor needs not only to put Prof. Brat away, but he has to do it convincingly.

Cantor launches hit against primary opponent Brat

By: Ryan Nobles

Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Henrico) continues to insist that he is not paying much attention to his upcoming primary fight against Randolph Macon professor Dr. David Brat, but a few recent moves suggest otherwise.


Cantor last night launched an attack ad against Brat, mocking his profession and accusing his challenger of helping former Governor Tim Kaine (D) propose a significant tax increase on the Virginia citizens.

First, here is a look at the ad:


In addition to the ad, the Cantor campaign unveiled a website designed to paint Brat as a liberal college professor not the conservative crusader he claims to be.

The attack line is not a new one from Cantor. His team sent out a fundraising e-mail shortly after Brat announced describing him as a liberal and tying him to Kaine. However this is the first public and targeting attack against Brat and one designed to specifically reach out to conservative primary voters who will go to the polls on June 10th. The ad was seen last night during the 10pm hour of Fox News Channel. 

Brat called the Cantor ad an outright lie. He never served on a "Council of Economic Advisors" as the ad claims and he also said he never recommended that Kaine raise taxes to balance the budget during the economic downturn at the end of 2009 into 2010.

"Eric Cantor is out of control on this one," Brat said in an e-mail. " This is why I am running. DC has corrupted our language and our truth and our political system."

According to the website designed to support the ad, the Cantor campaign shows the resolution where Brat was appointed to serve on Cantor's "Board of Economists" in 2006.  The web site then follows up with several Kaine moves as governor that occurred while Brat served on that board.

At no point is there any direct evidence that Brat supported Kaine's effort to raise taxes. The web site and the ad simply claim Brat made no effort to publicly rebut Kaine's plans.

But perhaps more important is the effort by the Cantor team to engage and specifically target Brat. In a recent interview with me, Cantor went out of his way not to acknowledge his primary opponent. To spend money directly attacking him in a primary indicates the House Majority Leader is taking no chances.

The ad and web site are not paid for by a third party group, they come directly from "Cantor for Congress."

Cantor is not one to underestimate any opponent. He has a substantial campaign coffer and is not afraid to spend money on advertising and campaign staff even when his opponents are considered lightweights. Usually though, his ads are all positive and tout his accomplishments. It is rare for him to take a direct hit on a challenger.

Meanwhile Brat continues to push Cantor to meet him face to face in a debate. Something the Cantor campaign remains resistant to.

Virginia News Headlines: Wednesday Morning

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Wednesday, April 23.
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Abortion & Free but Flawed Speech | National Catholic Reporter

Abortion & Free but Flawed Speech | National Catholic Reporter by MSW.  MGB: As sad as it is, the Susan B. Anthony fund has the right to lie.  The question is, does lying in politics rise to the level of libel.  I am not sure we should be drawing these lines, instead making the first amendment a bit more absolute.  If the suit goes forward, it certainly will make litigation a big part of political campaigns - much more so than voting counting in a close election.  The question is, could such a precident overturn an election?  I doubt it - as each house of Congress is the only and absolute judge of elections.  That last part decides it all.  This is a political question.  Of course, we on the left are all free to call out the badly named SBA Fund for lying and the pro-life movement with it.  If only we had that kind of freedom of speech in the Church, where Catholic politicians could call out the Bishops for allying with such organizations.