Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Hurt Could Win During General Assembly

My last post on Rob Hurt noted that his major advantage in this race is the "backing" of the NRCC and the Beltway powers that be. This gives him a level of access to power that no one else in the race has matched so far. But even the leaders of the conservative movement refuse to bend over backwards for a guy who voted for the largest tax increase in Virginia history.

Norquist said that Hurt “needs to be able to articulate why it’s credible that, having cast that vote, he wouldn’t vote for a tax increase in the future. That’s his challenge in that race.”

Signing a no tax pledge isn't enough when Hurt's trying to wash himself of a record of voting for higher taxes. As Norquist says, he needs to be able to articulate why he's a credible conservative now. His strategy so far has been to reference a few special interest groups that like him. Now he's signed a pledge. He still is campaigning like being a conservative is just checking off boxes.

Hurt has an opening to articulate his views and argue that he is a conservative leader that deserves to join the House of Representatives. Bob McDonnell is boldly moving forward with proposals to reform Virginia's broken budget process. This follows his push in the campaign to think outside of the box in finding solutions for our state's transportation woes. When McDonnell's ideas enter the lion's den of the General Assembly, Hurt needs to do more than just be a supportive vote. He needs to be a supportive voice and become a leader for McDonnell's agenda.

Hurt also needs to explain why he's previously not only voted to raise taxes, but has opposed some of the leading proposals to reform Virginia's state government. For example, McDonnell is not the first to champion privatization of the ABC stores. This idea has floated around for many years and was included in Doug Wilder's list of suggestions to then Governor Mark Warner before he decided to raise taxes with Hurt's help. But when it was most recently taken up in the State Senate, Rob Hurt voted against the proposal. This shows a worrying trend to not only buck the party to support Democrat tax increases, but a willingness to kill bold new ideas and protect the status quo. As conservatives work to dismantle the worst extravagances of the Bush-Obama years, we don't need someone like Hurt voting against their efforts. Hurt has the next General Assembly session to prove himself. Will he step up to the challenge?

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