... Kilgore's party fractured last year over Warner's tax hike, and it hasn't regrouped. Forced to choose sides, Kilgore went with the anti-tax true believers over the budgetary pragmatists. Now he'd love to paper over the split; he's endorsed all 17 Republican delegates who broke ranks to side with Warner for higher taxes. But he will be hard-pressed to run an anti-tax campaign, given his party's garbled message. [ my emphasis] (link)If Kilgore was running for party chairman, this argument might work. But Kilgore is running for governor and will be seeking the support of an ever more conservative and tax-averse electorate. He will be shouting his anti-tax stance from the tallest rooftops. He will be using the recent tax increase - and resulting budget surplus - as a cudgel with which he'll beat every liberal to a pulp.
For a lesson in Republican party strategy relating to such matters, I refer Mr. Hockstader to the gubernatorial campaign of Arnold Schwarzenegger in California. Arnold successfully ran a campaign in which he lumped all of the state's legislators (Dem and Rep) in one pile of incompetent and detached tax-and-spenders who needed to be stopped from sending the state into a spiralling descent into fiscal calamity. If there was a party in disarray at the time more so than the California Republican party, I haven't seen it. Remember the prior candidacy of Bill Simon? Liberal California Republicans - including the party establishment - refused to endorse him because he was perceived as being too conservative. Arnold succeeded by throwing them into the swamp pit with the liberal Democrats and going directly to the people with his demands for fiscal sanity. He won overwhelmingly.
Kilgore will do the same. The Virginia Democrats and their cowardly, traitorous allies on the Republican side are working feverishly to spend the massive budget surplus before Kilgore and his conservative allies can make a huge issue out of the fact that the Democrats had shrieked dire warnings about impending disaster if taxes weren't raised, only to see those taxes rise and the government become awash in cash it can't spend fast enough. But their efforts will be vain. Kilgore is going to stuff it down their throats, one spending inititiatve at a time.
And he will win going away. You can make book on it.
Not that I'm a betting man.