As we count down to the 2013 Virginia Republican Convention, campaigns, PACs, and special interest groups flood the mail with countless colorful pieces urging delegates to support their favored candidates or oppose others.
Today, I received what I think is a particularly peculiar mailer from Virginians for Limited Government (VLG). The front of the mailing bemoans the rise of state spending by 66% over the last ten years. Although there is little doubt that increased spending in the Commonwealth is a cause for concern, when pondering this statistic one should consider the rise in tax revenue and state spending as a result of population growth. For example, in the last two years alone, according to the Census Bureau, Virginia has seen a growth rate of 2.3%, considerably higher than the national average of 1.7%. Yes, I believe that the increase in state spending is a problem, but simply looking at that number without parameters isn’t particularly helpful.
However, what really got my attention was the back of the mailer. First, it lauds Corey Stewart for his role in decreasing spending in Prince William County, which is an issue that ought to be considered. However, it goes on to condemn Steve Martin, Jeanmarie Davis [sic], and Scott Lingamfelter.
Now, you might ask, why does the mailer do so? Did these three sponsor massive spending bills? It doesn’t make this claim. Well, do these three have a pattern of voting to increase state spending? The piece doesn’t argue this idea either. So then, what is the great fiscal sin of these three candidates? Well, as you can read for yourself, “all three were members of the General Assembly when state budget increased by 66% in the last decade”.
With all due respect to Virginians for Limited Government (a great name and concept in my opinion), this mailer is nothing more that a load of crap. According to their logic, should we condemn all members of the General Assembly who have served for the last ten years? Is presumptive Republican gubernatorial and former State Senator Ken Cuccinelli likewise worthy of blame? How about attorney general candidates State Senator Mark Obenshain or Delegate Rob Bell? Give me a break!
Like Virginians for Limited Government, I too support the idea of curtailing the state budget. However, the mailing they sent today is pure garbage. If you want a candidate with state government experience, then you should support State Senator Steve Martin, former State Senator Jeannemarie Davis, or Delegate Scott Lingamfelter. If you want a candidate from local government, then either Chairman Corey Stewart or Chairman Susan Stimpson is your choice. If you prefer a candidate who has not held office, a supposed “conservative outsider” as Virginians for Limited Government’s piece suggests, then Pete Snyder or E.W. Jackson is your man.
This mailer also begs the question of what is Virginians for Limited Government? Their website offers few clues as there is no contact phone number or email listed. Their Facebook page has not been touched since January 20th of this year and their Twitter account is likewise inactive, currently followed by no one. I called Americans for Limited Government to see if they were somehow connected, but was told that Americans for Limited Government has no knowledge of this group. Considering the lack of information, one does have to wonder if this organization is merely another shell designed to aid or hinder specific candidates in the 2013 convention.
Given all of the misinformation floating around, I’ll be glad when the Republican convention is over. My advice to you remains the same; stay wary my friends, do you own research, and discover for yourself which candidate best represents your values.