Ed Gillespie did badly, but what else is new?
There is no way to sugarcoat what happened in Virginia on Tuesday night. Ed Gillespie’s 54-45 loss to dippy Democrat Ralph Northam was an injury — particularly coming as it did on the heels of a calumnious insult in the form of the Latino Victory Fund ad which dropped a week before the election branding Gillespie’s voters as murderous rednecks desirous of turning the Commonwealth’s streets into a live-action Death Race 2017 with minority kids as the targets.
The race itself isn’t really as bad as the pundits will make it. Gillespie’s numbers were dismal, but so was his campaign. He presents himself as the classic swampland Republican, proudly noting his first job as a kid was parking cars at the Senate in DC and having met his wife when both were Congressional staffers. That’s anything but a background Republican voters can get excited about, and with Gillespie’s further curriculum vitae marking him as a politico and a lobbyist of Bush-era vintage it was never really credible that Gillespie could be Trump’s Man in Virginia.
Which didn’t stop Northam’s campaign from defining Gillespie thus, of course; their voters and a majority of the persuadables in a state where Republicans haven’t won a statewide election in eight years are more than willing to accept whatever lies and name-calling Democrats might offer when it comes to Republican pols.
The problem was that Gillespie’s rather Bushy background made him a suspicious character to the Trump voters in Virginia, and he didn’t turn them out in the numbers he needed to offset the Democrats’ use of Trump as a GOTV engine.
Virginia is a blue state now. There’s no disputing that. You can’t grow the federal government as big as it is and fill it full of unionized professional Democrat bureaucrats the way the Obama administration did and not have it affect the state directly bordering DC. Those bureaucrats make six-figure salaries for very cushy work— the guess here is some of them are among the world’s best computer solitaire players, as practice makes perfect — and tend to be less than impressed with small-government messaging, whether it comes from a Gillespie or Corey Stewart. They’ll believe any attack the Dems offer about the opponent on the Right.
What was disconcerting is that Northam’s camp could run that ad — and don’t let their denials of responsibility for the Latino Victory Fund’s dirty laundry fool you — and not suffer from it.
The ad didn’t attack Gillespie. It attacked his supporters. It was a classic case of this is what they think of us, something Republicans and conservatives are painfully accustomed to seeing from the news media, pop culture, slimeball politicians, and the arts crowd — particularly in the wake of Trump’s victory. And now that Northam has won, that ad will be repeated and copied over and over again until the Democrats recognize it doesn’t work anymore.
The ad should have backfired. It didn’t. Going forward, Republicans had better be prepared to return that fire with gusto.
For example, Gillespie, whose camp pleasured themselves with a mantra that they were running an “issues-oriented campaign,” should have seized upon the zanier cultural aggressions of the Democrats and accused Northam of supporting each one. Attack him as opposing the Washington Redskins’ choice of team mascot. Accuse him of supporting trannies in foxholes, reparations for slavery, socialized medicine, restricted speech and all the rest of the songs from the Democrat catalogue. In each case, there is a loyal, vocal and insane Democrat constituency who will expect Northam to enthusiastically confess “Guilty as charged!” to the accusation; he either does that and drives away the persuadable voters, or he fails to do it and depresses his base.
It’s Politics 101 and everyone understands it but the nice-guy country-club crowd Gillespie is an avatar of. That’s why he lost so badly, and that’s the lesson to take from Virginia.
The Republicans’ tax reform bill is mostly quite good. But it’s nevertheless a perfect example of the stupidity of Congress.
How long is that bill? It’s 429 pages. No bill that long should ever be passed.
Is it a surprise that virtually every Republican in the House and Senate can find something in the bill they find objectionable? No, it is not.
Tax reform isn’t a bill. It’s a package. It’s a dozen bills, or more.
There should be a bill all its own that drops the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20. There should be another bill all its own that allows for repatriation of that overseas capital. And so on.
There are elements within this tax bill which can get a clear majority in favor. Go and pass those. Do it now. Make them law. If the other elements are harder and require more negotiation in order to achieve consensus, fine — bring them when they’re ready.
The way Congress legislates makes the perfect the enemy of the good, and that’s both lazy and stupid. These are mountains of public policy — you move a mountain a boulder at a time.
How we got to the point where somehow you’ve got to hit a grand slam home run or strike out on major legislation is beyond my understanding. Functionally cutting the corporate income tax rate in half would all by itself be a colossal legislative achievement that would spark significant economic growth. Ditto for passing a repatriation bill. Ditto for flattening individual rates. And majorities can be had for each of those.
Not to mention there’s the adoption tax credit repeal in the bill. Whose moronic idea was that?
Lost in all the Donna Brazile tell-all revelations, the most entertaining one of which by the way wasn’t the Hillary Victory Fund collusion revelations but rather the reopening of the Seth Rich-WikiLeaks controversy Brazile punched-up by making her own paranoid inferences about all the dead bodies who’ve turned up around the Clintons over the years (“Brazile writes that she was haunted by the still-unsolved murder of DNC data staffer Seth Rich and feared for her own life, shutting the blinds to her office window so snipers could not see her and installing surveillance cameras at her home,” says the Washington Post), is something I’m quite surprised no one has publicly noticed.
Which is that the Democrats and Hillary Clinton were well within their rights to have screwed Bernie Sanders out of their nomination.
No, really. Screw Bernie Sanders. What do they owe him?
As much fun as it is to poke holes in the Democrats over the corrupt manner in which the Clintons stole the nomination from Sanders, the fact is he was never a member of that party until he decided to use it to run for president, he did nothing whatsoever to raise it money or make it more electable, and as soon as the Democrats’ convention was over Sanders went back to being the same independent national socialist he’d always been.
Along the way Sanders monetized his presidential campaign on the backs of Democrat voters by selling his mailing list to a book publisher for a hefty advance which may or may not have contributed to his new dacha on Lake Champlain, a rather shrewd bit of capitalist opportunism coming from such a committed commie revolutionary.
That the Democrats haven’t turned on Sanders, who did diddly squat to help Clinton win last November, is a good indication of how shameless they are — shameless, as it happens, to their own detriment.
Northam’s win aside, there is a price to be paid for such weakness. It will show up over the next year.
Also, given inspiration from Bernie’s travails, it’s only proper to mark the 100-year anniversary of the Russian Revolution and the century of communist torture, privation, abuse and murder that despicable event set off.
One hundred years, one hundred million lives lost to an ideology invented by a certifiable lunatic sent to us by the Devil himself. Karl Marx was wrong in nearly every particular of his so-called philosophy, and the failure of virtually all of his dialectic claptrap has for some reason never quite robbed his acolytes of their ardor to force that philosophy into bad governance.
The inability to stamp out such pernicious, murderous, failed ideas is a blot on the escutcheon of a free society. The Marxists are indefensibly incompetent in producing anything good from their ideas, but they’re indefensibly brilliant in finding new ways to exploit human weakness and depravity in imprinting those ideas on human minds. Economic Marxism is barely even tried anymore outside of nibbles at the margins, but the fall of the Soviet Union has simply transformed the Left into cultural termites eating away at civil society. Their victory is almost complete. It is undeserved.
Ed Gillespie in 2011 (Gage Skidmore/Creative Commons)