Principles > Positions
Letter to a Democrat
Friday, July 22, 2011, 9:48pm
You came to my door tonight to ask for my vote. I told you I was a Democrat and you started spouting liberty and justice. I want to know if you know what that means.
I also want to know this: your party has taken over the House and have gone out of your way, to the detriment of the country, to block the President's every move. Just to make him seem unfit. Why should I be party to you taking over the Senate too?
Do you find it disrespectful that like no other President in history, this one is often referred to as Obama rather than President Obama? Even past presidents get that respect.
I'm willing to listen if you have something credible to say. Otherwise, please don't darken my doorway again. I am one of this disabled that President Obama is fighting for, who hasn't had a cost of living increase in years. What are your plans in that area. Do you agree with the lengths that the current House reps are going to just to make the President look incompetent?
Saturday, July 23, 2011, 12:30pm
Thank you for the email, for giving me a brief second opportunity to speak last night, and for the opportunity to answer your questions here. You have raised some good questions.
I am standing for election to the Virginia Senate to be the kind of candidate I would want to elect. For me, that means making only one promise: to uphold the Constitutions of the United States (as amended) and of Virginia as revised in 1971 (as a result of the Civil Rights Act of 1964). After that, everything else is based on fundamental principles like life, liberty and justice.
Life is about more than just having a job (as important as those are). It's about having a purpose, and I believe that's true both individually, as a state, and as a nation.
Freedom is about creating the environment in which people are free to find and live those purposes.
Justice is about living up to our promises to those who have embraced our ideals of freedom. You can read more detail about what I mean by those things here:
I cannot speak for, nor is it my place to judge others on how they refer to the President. As for me, I can say I have had the utmost of respect for President Obama ever since I first was introduced to him when he spoke at the 2004 Democratic convention. He is an excellent speaker, and I believe he wants what he thinks is best for America. There are areas in which we agree and areas where we do not. I make it a point to show respect to any elected official or candidate, and those efforts have only been reinforced by my own experiences in becoming a candidate and in campaigning.
Further, as much as I may have some fundamental disagreements with the new health care law, and think parts of it violate some fundamental principles of freedom and of economics, and justice for employees, employers and doctors, I do not refer to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Public Law 111-148, by its pejorative name of "Obamacare," but rather simply as "the new health care law" or "the health care overhaul." This is true even when I'm speaking before large Republican audiences as I was Wednesday night, as you can watch here:
This is not an election for the U.S. Senate, so it's a matter of different levels between "taken over the House" and the Virginia Senate for which I am standing for election. Nonetheless, federal issues have a lot of relevance to people in this area, given their proximity to the federal capital, and I am glad to answer those questions as well.
To take a step back for a minute, our country is facing some serious challenges right now, and how we handle those will either make things better, or indeed be "to the detriment of the country."
Leaders in different parties have different ideas about how to fix those issues. One side usually focuses on one side of the balance sheet while the other political side focuses on the other fiscal side. I don't think that some of those ideas being different from the President's constitute efforts "Just to make him seem unfit" or "look incompetent." He's fit for the office, and, incidentally, as one who was half adopted (by my father) and had his original birth certificate changed as the law requires, I have no use for the whole birth certificate efforts to block him from office. (Notice, I don't refer to them by their pejorative name either.)
I believe in listening to both sides (on all issues). I believe in putting all the options on the table. I think both sides of the balance sheet need to be options on the table in addressing our fiscal situation.
One of the reasons this has been so difficult is because most Republicans have taken a pledge to never allow a tax increase. While this sounds great to some and wins political and electoral points for candidates among various constituencies, it's also a way to hand over your elected responsibilities to the head of whatever interest group has put forth the pledge. Grover Norquist, the head of American for Tax Reform, has been in the news lately clarifying whether or not various proposed adjustments to the tax code would or would not constitute a violation of his group's pledge that Members of Congress have taken. As a voter, I have not elected people to be beholden to the head of an interest group and that head's interpretation of his own pledge. As a candidate, I am not taking any pledges, despite how much I may agree with parts of any pledge's ideals.
If we don't fix our fiscal problems, we will not have much of a Constitution left to uphold. As a Republican, my preference is to fix as much of our problem as we can through spending cuts, and adjustments to cost of living increase formulas first. To the extent that is insufficient for fixing our problems, other options need to be explored and considered. What I am not willing to see happen is to let the Constitution and the full faith and credit of the United States disintegrate for the sake of a partisan ideal, however much that ideal is a worthy goal.
I stand by what I say. There is only one promise for a candidate to make: to uphold the Constitutions of the United States and of Virginia as revised in 1971.
To answer your question about cost of living increases, here's what I know about that issue so far. The formula for Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA) was reindexed from prices to incomes in 1977, the year I was born. This has had a couple effects: (1) as incomes grow faster than prices, this has accelerated our problem, and (2) this has also made it so we, by definition, cannot grow out of the problem as some have suggested. The recent debt reduction talks have included the option of switching part of the formula from the current consumer price index (CPI) to a "chained CPI." The intent is to decelerate the growth of entitlements and accelerate the growth of revenues without directly touching either one. Perhaps a slower rate of growth is better than bypassed growth altogether. While I know you've said you haven't seen an increase in years, a useful principle to apply to this is a raise is better than a bonus. In other words, the formula for the cost of living increase needs to work so that you see your increases. As I would on every other issue, I would learn more by listening to people about the situation and the options for fixing things, put all the options on the table, and then work out an agreement to fix the situation as best we can and provide the most possible justice for all involved.
I hope that answers your questions and look forward to continuing the conversation. Thank you, again, for asking.
108 days to Election Day.
Monday, July 25, 2011, 4:40pm
Thank you for writing me back. I appreciate the time you took out of your schedule.
I believe in listening to both sides also, which is why I posed my questions.
Thanks for listening and responding ... I haven't voted yet!
Principles > Positions