Monday, January 14, 2008

Democrats “Stack” Senate Ed and Health Committee

I have said before that one of the most dramatic consequences of the new Democrat Senate majority would be its impact on the Conservative social agenda in the Education and Health Committee. Well, Committee assignments have been announced and not only are the Dems in control of this Committee, they now have a “super majority”. That’s 10 Democrats and only 5 Republicans. There used to be 8 Republicans, including myself, and 7 Democrats.

Some may not realize that there is a long tradition in the Virginia Senate of keeping members on their Committees. In other words, Senate members are never removed from their assigned Committees—even when the balance of power shifts. This is a tradition respected by both parties. Should this tradition live on, and I suspect it will, Democrats could hold a majority on Education and Health for years if not decades to come.

2007 was clearly the high point for the Conservative social agenda in the Virginia Senate. It may not have been high enough for some, but things are going to get remarkably worse. I am again reminded of those in our party that defiantly boasted that a Democrat Senate would be no different than the Republican majority of recent years, and was thus insignificant to our Republican party. I believe that assessment was flat wrong and the new make up of the Education and Health Committee proves it.

Check out the new Committee makeup:


D.J. McGuire said...

With all due respect, Brandon, you still don't get it. The argument within the party was over economic issues, not social issues. Your insistence on ignoring this fact is ignorant at best, and dismissive at worst.

There are large numbers of Republicans here in eastern Virginia who joined the party because of its limited government principles, NOT the social agenda. Posts like this tell them they have no place in our party. That is a terrible message to send, a message that will ensure our minority party status for decades to come.

Brandon Bell said...

With all due respect, D.J., in my opinion you don't get it. I understand that some only care about economic issues in the party. Many of them are actually more Libertarian than Republican. Our Republican coalition is/was comprised of limited government conservatives, social conservatives and pro business conservatives. In order to have a majority party you need all three. The thrust of my post was to those social conservatives that decided to punish the party for a "disagreement" over how certain existing government services should be funded. In the end those social conservatives did great damage to what they cared about most. It is what I warned about going into the 2007 elections. In my primary you probably assume I was abandoned by the pure economic conservative but actually it was primarily the social conservatives who felt my 90% family foundation rating wasn't good enough.

I agree with you that the party has lost focus on limited government, both at the state and federal level. In my opinion this is driven mostly by loosing sight of controlling spending.

What will ensure our minority status is the members of this coalition not caring about the issues that matter most to the other members.

D.J. McGuire said...

"I understand that some only care about economic issues in the party."

Not true, they just hapeen to be the ones about which we argue all the time. I don't mention social issues here because that I don't sense much disagreement between us on them.

As for your Family Foundation score, you neglected to mention that half the reason your score wasn't perfect was your 2006 tax hike vote (literally half, it was one of 2 votes you cast that bothered them). Had you voted Nay, you would have scored a 94/95.

D.J. McGuire said...

Oops! It looks like I read "some" as "you" in my citation of your last comment. Mea culpa.

Brandon Bell said...

Yea D.J. that kinda makes my point. Are those elected to office expected to have a perfect score of 100% or we replace them? Why would someone be interested in running for office as a republican with those demands. Yea you can always find "someone" to run but they may not be electable.

BTW, my score in 2005 was a 91 and I got a positive for my "no" vote on the 2004 tax package.

D.J. McGuire said...

That reminds me of Ed Koch's old line: "Agree with me on 9 of 12 issues, vote for me. Agree on 12 of 12, see a psychiatrist."

My point, though, was that even socially conservative groups like the FF were worried about limited government, and with that 2006 vote, you let them down.

Had you voted no on SB708, odds are I'd still be calling you Senator Bell (although we'd still be arguing about HB3202).

Brandon Bell said...

I drew my opponent literally when Del. Putney decided to run for reelection and not retire in 2005. Ralph had moved to Botetourt to run for Lacy's "open" seat. He was running against me regardless. Had he not run I am clueless who else would have run against me.

Don't agree about SB708. I wasn't attacked on it. I was attacked (without basis) on my social voting record. I polled on the issue and he didn't attack for good reason.

Also why did FF use SB708 in their rating and not HB3202. Hurt to many friends, prehaps? The choice of votes used in those ratings are always interesting.

D.J. McGuire said...

"why did FF use SB708 in their rating and not HB3202. Hurt to many friends, prehaps?"

Gee, ya think?!