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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Virginia Democrats Eating Their Own

Virginia's Democratic candidate for the delegate seat in the 9th District, Ward Armstrong, knows he's got a tough way to go.  A Democrat in Southside?  Where an economic depression - and Democratic leadership - have been a way of life, and a conjoined fact of life.

And if that ain't bad enough, he's got Barack Obama to answer for, a man who's efforts have been about as appreciated in Henry, Patrick, and Franklin Counties as Chinese imports of textiles and furniture.

So what's a guy - fearful for the gig that is his entire life - to do?

First, he dumps the baggage. In a TV commercial that goes out to all his potential constituents:

"Charles Poindexter is comparing me to Barack Obama. That's a stretch, Charles." He said with a tortured smile.

I guess we can expect ol' Ward to not be on that herse of Obama's when it rolls through Danville.

Problem is, there are still some die-hard liberal fans of their messiah living here in Virginia who just haven't seen the light yet.  And they don't appreciate Ward Armstrong dissing their guy.

Could Armstrong’s ad jeopardize his leadership position?
By Ryan Nobles, NBC12

Virgina House Minority Leader Ward Armstrong is already feeling the reverberations from a controversial campaign ad that puts distance between he [sic] and President Barack Obama. In the ad, Armstrong touts his “pro-life, pro-gun” record and calls any comparisons to him and Mr. Obama a “stretch.”

Armstrong has not returned our inquiries about whether or not he supports the president’ re-election, but it is clear that his efforts to retain his seat could make life a lot different for him come January.

Armstrong, already one of the most conservative democrats [sic] in the House, will face a fickle House minority that may look to replace him with a member that more accurately represents the voice of the left in Virginia.

“This makes it harder to justify Ward as the primary voice for our party in the House,” said Del. Dave Englin a liberal member from Northern Virginia and a rising democratic star. “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.“

Englin has been rumored to be considering a run for house leadership, a position that could propel him to future run statewide, and make him a powerful liberal voice. A voice that could get a great deal of attention, especially if Virginia gives control of the Senate to republicans [sic].

Armstrong won’t be able to escape the specter of Obama anytime soon. The president’s bus tour scheduled for next week is expected to roll through the Southside. Virginia republicans [sic] are already asking if one of the leading democrats [sic] in Virginia will be there to greet him.  [link]
Yeah.  You can just bet Armstrong will be there with his cheerleader outfit on when the most disliked man in America comes to Danville.  It doesn't take a crystal ball to prognosticate that he didn't pick up and move his family from Collinsville to Bassett just to lose the election because of an association with Obama.

So Armstrong is putting distance between himself and the leader of his party.  And party members here in Virginia are now plotting to have his head on a platter.

Break out the beer.  This is going to be fun to watch.

- - -

Here's Ward Armstrong's problem.  He's got his wagon hitched to a two-horse team.  One that is pulling his rickety cart in two different directions.  For his own reasons, Mr. Armstrong has made utility rates  - and his pledge to let them go no higher - the centerpiece of his campaign.

Problem is, the man who runs his party is doing everything he can to raise them.

Here's his dilemma in a nutshell:
Government vs. EPA
Wall Street Journal

The Environmental Protection Agency's political agenda hasn't gotten any less reckless, but the news is that the rest of the government is beginning to notice—including a majority of the states and even other regulators. And now they are pushing back. This turn comes in the nick of time, since one of the EPA's more destructive rules is due to be finalized next month.

At issue is the so-called utility rule that would impose new limits on mercury and other hazardous air pollutants. The regulation is the most costly in the EPA's history in return for marginal benefits. It was rushed out to force a large portion of the country's coal-fired power plants to shut down. On top of other such de facto anticarbon rules, this could compromise the reliability of the electric system if as much as 8% of generating capacity is subtracted from the grid.

The Texas utility Luminant has already shuttered two coal plants (farewell, 500 jobs) in response to the regulatory cascade, and many more closures are on the way.

Meanwhile, 11 Governors last week wrote to the EPA to protest the utility rule, warning that "full-time power availability could be at risk." And earlier this week 25 state Attorneys General—including four Democrats—filed suit to lift a legal document known as a consent decree that the EPA is using as a fig leaf for its political goals.

Between the Governors and AGs, some 27 states are merely asking the EPA to delay the final rule until the risks can be properly quantified, which is also Senator Murkowski's request. Despite the poor quality of its work, EPA has refused to slow down. While the new protests are welcome, at this point the only thing that will pull back the throttle is a White House intervention. [link]
If Ward Armstrong wants to halt utility rate increases, he needs to stop his party from doing its level best to raise them through the roof.

When I see an Armstrong ad on TV that denounces the EPA (see Joe Manchin), I'll believe he's serious about the issue.  His voicing displeasure with power company executives is pointless, distracting, and misguided.