Tuesday, March 31, 2009

New: The Angry Potato’s Posting Measurement Scale ™

Don't fear the tater.

Like many other people in the Virginia blogosphere, I’ve been trying to decide over the past week whether I like The Angry Potato or not. Sometimes hilarious, frequently just mean, usually free of any insight, I wavered back and forth on the question.

I have to say that as an ethical matter, I agree with The Richmond Democrat that there is a high cowardice quotient involved with this type of anonymous attack blogging.

But dammit, I kept reading.

While doing so, I could not help but notice that every Potato posting could be evaluated based on four criteria: two of which were positive qualities, and two of which were negative. They are, respectively, humor and insight, and pointless rage and idiocy.

I further found that by rating each criteria on a scale of 0-5 (0 meaning the post contained the least possible amount of the criteria, 3 being average, and 5 meaning it contained the most of that criteria), I could create a quality rating for each of the Potato’s posts simply by subtracting the total value of the negative attributes from the total value of the positive ones. A post that nets out with a positive number, therefore, was worth doing (the positive outweighs the negative), while a post that netted out at 0 or below, well, Tates should have just remained a couch potato and not wasted his time or ours.

I’ll give an example using a post Tates did about me, entitled, “Get Back In your Glass House.” In it, he attempted to deconstruct a post I did at Blue Commonwealth regarding Brian Moran’s inexplicable vote in favor of an unconstitutional restriction on abortion (it is republished here at The Virginia Democrat).

Here’s how I rated it and why:

Humor: 4.5 – I thought it was a damn funny post, especially the business about there being too many Alan Z.s in Virginia. Seriously, I try to sign up for a gmail account, and I’m AlanZ99999999999999, so I know what Tates is talking about. And I love the “Shooter McDeeds” schtick, also. (Truth be told, I’d have given him a five, but when I showed the post to Mrs. Aznew, she laughed a little too hard for my taste, so I reduced it by half a point.)
Insight: 2 – He gets points here only because I agree with his comments about TeacherKen. I appreciate the promotion to the front page, but brevity is a virtue.
Rage: 0 – I didn’t feel any rage in this post at all.
Idiocy: 4 – Beneath the humor, Tates attempts to make two substantive arguments in his post, both of which are lame. First, he contends, that as a guy, I have no right to an opinion about abortion. This argument is too idiotic to warrant rebuttal. His second argument, and the one from which he draws his title, is that because my candidate, Creigh Deeds, has his own record of sketchy votes on Progressive social issues, namely gay marriage, I’m living in a metaphorical glass house while throwing stones at Brian Moran.


First, this argument is transparent misdirection – I was writing about Moran and abortion, not Creigh and gays, so one isn’t really relevant to the other. But what really sends me over the edge is that I have written numerous times in a critical manner about Creigh Deeds’ vote on the Marshall-Newmann Amendment, so that glass house argument is shattered anyway.

It’s very frustrating. What good does intellectual honesty do you when people are too lazy to even take any pride in knowing what they are writing about? Do your research next time, will ya?

But, still, you total: +2.5, a positive number! A job well done, Mein Kleyn Shroyft Bulbe!

Lets take another example, say, your most recent post, entitled, “What? No Comment?” about a Blue Virginia post on today’s PPP poll.

Humor: 0 – I mean, I didn’t laugh at all. Were you even trying to be funny?
Insight: 0 – What’s the point of this post? That an advocate for a candidate spun a poll in a light most favorable to the candidate he supports? And this warrants our notice because …
Rage: 2 – You’ve written about this blogger previously with a great deal of pointless and unjustified rage. This particular post, however, wasn’t too bad, but the pointless reference to “bitching about other people making fun of him,” earns you a couple of points.
Idiocy: 3 – You attack when Blue Virginia comments on the news, you attack when he doesn’t. See the problem, there. Even if your arguments critical of this site had any merit, which they really don’t, you contradict yourself, obviously in a strained effort to level a criticism. Also, your recommendation of NDP with respect to this poll is misplaced – Kenton’s analysis wasn’t so hot.

Rating for this post: -5 – Sorry, Tates, that’s, what, ten minutes of your life wasted, never to be returned, that you spent drafting and posting this dreck? I suggest you use your time more judiciously going forward. Life’s too short, bud.

Anyway, folks (and I speak to here to the occassional lost surfer who stumbles onto this site), feel free to use this scale with respect to any Angry Potato posting and you will see that it works like a charm. And since you can now approach the site with a quantitative purpose in mind, you won’t feel as dirty or guilty reading it. And let the Spud know of your ratings – he seems like a blogger who really appreciates the feedback.

As this scale is my own proprietary creation, I hereby grant a license anyone who wishes to use it. I ask only that if you do, you reference it as The Angry Potato’s Posting Measurement Scale ™, or alternatively, The Angry Potato’s PMS™.

New PPP Poll: Moran, Deeds Gain

Public Policy Polling has its latest poll on the Democratic primary up. PPP concludes that the "race remains up for grabs."

Bottom line:

Moran - 22%
McAuliffe - 18%
Deeds - 15%
Undecided - 45%

Last month was:

Moran - 19%
McAuliffe - 21%
Deeds - 14%

Last month compared to this month is all within the MoE, so doesn't really say much in terms of movement.


Moran - 34/15
Deeds - 31/12
McAuliffe 32/29

That is not good news for Terry McAuliffe.

Favorability/Unfavorability among young voters (18-29):

Deeds - 47/22
Moran - 36/36
McAuliffe - 36/44

Not sure what that means, but it's interesting. I hope to be able to look more closely into the numbers later.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Pasta and Politics in Charlottesville

The Charlottesville Democratic Party held its annual pasta dinner last night. It is the party’s main fund-raiser, and is usually a pretty fun evening. The politicking is casual, and the talk is usually sauce and pasta. I’m not a good numbers counter, but I’d estimate there were at least 200 people there.

Brian Moran was the only Gubernatorial candidate to show up. Creigh was scheduled, and several senior staff members were they, including campaign manager Joe Abbey, but his plane was grounded in Portsmouth by the weather, and it wasn’t to be.

Terry McAuliffe, meanwhile, blew off the event, which is a shame for him. There was not a lot of love for Terry among the people I spoke with. Frequently, I heard comments like “Carpetbagger,” “Not a real Virginian,” and “What’s he doing in the race anyhow.” I don’t share these sentiments, but it suggests to me that if McAuliffe is striking this note in Charlottesville, he has to be having problems in virtually every area of the Commonwealth outside of Northern Virginia.

Anyway, back to the candidate who did show, Brian Moran. He gave a decent, if uninspiring speech that was warmly and politely received. It was probably his standard stump speech, but as Mrs. Aznew remarked, people at the Pasta Supper are eating and chatting, not really listening, so the speech might have appealed more to an audience there to actually listen to speeches, and not socialize.

The real action is in the schmoozing, Interestingly, Brian Moran didn’t look too comfortable working the crowd. In fact, he spent much time standing alone, as opposed to actively engaging people on a personal level. I don’t know if it means anything, but his reticence was interesting to see, especially if you think of successful politicians as gregarious types who draw energy from crowds, like Bill Clinton or Mark Warner.

After his speech, Moran did introduce himself to people at several tables, including my wife (who is completely non-political and finds it utterly impossible to keep track of the people she meets at these things for 15 seconds) and me. Moran doesn’t know me – we met for five seconds a year ago at the DPVA convention a year ago, but we had the following exchange:

Moran: Hi, Alan, good to see you.
Aznew: Thanks. Nice to meet you.
Moran: Nancy, good to see you. (Moran takes off)
Nancy (to me): How does he know my name? Have we met him before?
Aznew: You’re wearing a name tag.
Nancy: Oh. Right.

Anyway, good for Brian Moran for showing up, eating some pasta and hanging around for a while. His wife was there, too, and she seemed quite at home chatting people up. I think he had his kids with him, also.

All four LG candidates were there. They were each given 3 minutes to speak. Jon Bowerbank spoke first and stuck to his three minutes. So did Pat Edmundson. What saps for sticking to the time limits! Jody Wagner paid no attention to the time limit, which may even have been okay of she had something interesting to say, but, unfortunately, she didn’t. She did hang out for a while, though.

Mike Signer, on the other hand, shined. He arrived late, and may have gone over his three minutes slightly -- nowhere near Wagner’s endless address -- but he remains the only LG candidate to articulate a unique and forceful vision of what he would do with the LG office beyond the statutory requirements.

By far, he also seemed to generate the most interest from audience members coming up to speak to him afterwards. He was still there, talking with voters, when I left. As I’ve said before, he is an interesting candidate.

The pasta dinner features a contest for the best sauce. Last year, Tom Perriello won this award. This year, I thought Kristin Szakos, who was a coordinator for Barack Obama and a delegate to the DNC, and is also a recently announced candidate for Charlottesville City Council, won hands down. You think pasta dinner, of course, you think Italian, but Kristin came with a daring Thai peanut sauce that blew my socks off.

Unfortunately, she did not win. I think the Thai theme was just too unexpected and out of the blue in a venue where the expectation is Italian for enough people to give it a fair shot. Charlottesville Mayor Dave Norris, with his spicy eggplant sauce, won the trophy. Dave is a great guy, a great mayor and a great Progressive, and in recognition of that and in honor of his victory last night, I have added his blog onto my blogroll.

Unfortunately, I am a lousy photographer, and I just got a brand new fancy camera that I am just learing to operate, so I apologize in advance for the crappy images below:

Brian Moran addresses the crowd. Notice how no one is listening. This is actually not a reflection on Brian.

Mike Signer chatting with voters after his speech.

Another of Brian Moran

Steve Shannon

Creigh's path to victory

Jeff Schapiro has a good column in today's RTD that sums up the state of the primary contest nicely. Reading between the lines, he seems to be saying Creigh is the guy to watch, but, hey, I'm admittedly biased.

Here's the nut graf:

Deeds has been nearly invisible, focusing on fundraising, including a big-bucks throwdown with coal barons, and delaying some of the public manifestations of a campaign until mid-April.

Look then for the position papers and advertising. Deeds must, by necessity, husband dollars for the best -- and only -- opportunity to grab the attention of voters: the closing half of the primary season.

If we get to mid-April and the undecided vote is still at 50% + (which seems likely to happen), then Creigh will have his opening, and the next month will determine whether he can take the nomination. From mid-May to election day, he will be swamped in NoVA by McAuliffe and Moran's millions, but if, during that mid-April to mid-May 4-week period, he can get his NoVA numbers up to 25% or so (assuming he is right now at about 13% based on the Connolly party straw poll, which I think may actually have accurately measured Creigh's current support), then the nomination is within his reach reach. Here's why.

If Creigh gets to 25% in NoVA, he would need about 43% from the remainder of the Commonwealth to reach 37% and victory. Assuming he would take 55% of the "rural" vote (2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 9th), he would only need 16% of Richmond/Tidewater/HR. Even if takes only 50% of the rural districts, then he needs 27% of the Richmond/Tidewater/HR areas -- certainly doable.

More importantly, though, if Creigh is able to reach 25% in NoVA. it puts McAuliffe and Moran in a bind, because it means that for either of them to win, they will have to soundly defeat the other in NoVA. If Creigh takes 25%, and those guys split the rest of NoVA evenly, it will do neither of them any good, because at worst Creigh will win with 37% or so of the statewide vote. So, if Creigh reaches 25% up there and is able to turn NoVA into a "must win" for both McAuliffe and Moran, it will suck up money and time, leaving Creigh relatively free to campaign in Richmond/Tidewater and, of course, concentrate on GOTV in the rural areas of the Commonwealth where he is well-known and popular.

If Creigh doesn't reach those levels, however, then both Moran and McAuliffe have numerous paths to victory. Obviously, regardless of how Creigh does, netiher McAuliffe nor Moran can afford to lose NoVA, but if Creigh takes, say, only 15% in NoVA, then McAuliffe and Moran can, in theory, afford a "push" in NoVA where they each take 42% and fight for victory elsewhere, probably Hampton Roads and Richmond. This would essentially knock Creigh out of the race and create the two-man election the M & M boys seem to want.

Sure is lucky for Creigh it worked out that all those debates and joint appearances fall within that key month for him.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

VAYDs Welcome Creigh

Maggoebeth at Blue Commonwealth is providing excellent coverage of the Virginia Young Democrats gathering in Charlottesville this weekend. Here is her write-up of Creigh's address to the group this morning.

One highlight:

"I'm running because I think public service is a great calling in life," Deeds said. "And I'm running for governor if we're going to build on the legacy of Mark Warner and Tim Kaine we have to have a nominee who has proven he can go toe to toe with Bob McDonnell in debates and elections and can compete in every corner of Virginia."

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Mudcat on Creigh's Path to Victory, Moran's liabilities

Blue Virginia has an interview up with political strategist Mudcat Saunders. I just want to highlight what he said about Creigh's path to the Democratic nomination:

Creigh is not going to beat Terry and Brian in NOVA. If Creigh wins big in the 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th and 9th and doesn't get creamed in the 8th, 10th and 11th, he can win. Creigh’s a moderate and has a definite path to victory both in June and in November.

Now, of course, the devil is in the details of what Mudcat means by "wins big" and "gets creamed." Still, it is a fairly sound rebuttal to all those writing Creigh off. I'd argue that if Creigh gets 20 percent plus up in NoVA -- which I think is more likely than not at this point, given the potential negative turn the Moran v. McAuliffe fight is likely to take (if the early blog skirmishing is any indication of what's to come), then Creigh will win the primary.

Given that such a large percentage of the electorate is undecided at this point, neither Moran nor McAuliffe seem to be generating any kind of loyal following. Their negative campaign will almost certainly succeed in turning significant numbers of voters away from the other guy, but not necessarily gain their vote for themselves. If that dynamic takes hold, Creigh could easily and solidly outperform expectations in NoVA.

The other interesting thing about the interview is Mudcat's take on both McAuliffe and Moran's abilities to appeal to Virginia's rural voters. If Mudcat is right, Moran could spell disaster for the party come November if he gets the nod. This is a meme I predict we'll be hearing more about, especially if Moran's poll numbers outside NoVA don't pick up.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Creigh - Commonwealth Conversations Tour

Over the past two weeks Creigh has been crisscrossing the state as part of his "Commonwealth Conversations" series. With stops in Bristol, Culpeper, Harrisonburg, Staunton, Arlington, Roanoke and Charlottesville, Creigh has been discussing his plan to bring opportunity and hope to every Virginian.  
Take a moment to view our slideshow with some photos of Creigh’s travels.

Moran Vote From 2003 Raises Questions About Position on Right to Choose

During the blogger dinner with Creigh Deeds, the Senator mentioned that he had the strongest pro-choice record of any candidate in the race, but he refused to be more specific, telling us to “look it up.”

So I did.

Here is what I found.

In 2003, Mr. Moran voted in favor of SB 1205, a bill that banned a certain abortion procedure, one characterized with the inaccurate and inflammatory name, “partial birth abortion.”  In fact, SB 1205 banned these abortions even in cases that endangered the life or health of the mother. Joining Mr. Moran in voting in favor of the bill, which eventually went on to become law, was none other than Taliban Bob McDonnell, the man Mr. Moran now claims wants to take us back to the last century, and the man Mr. Moran claims he will beat like a drum. And sponsoring the bill was our old friend, “Sideshow” Bob Marshall.

This draconian law completely undercut the philosophical underpinnings of a woman’s right to choose. If that right means anything, it means that the right or a woman (or any human being, for that matter) to control their own body and their own medical treatment is a matter for the person and their licensed health care provider to decide, completely independent of any ideologically mandated procedure enacted by a legislature acting out of political expediency.

And lest there be any doubt about the radical nature of the bill in favor of which Mr. Moran voted, it was never allowed to be enforced. It was too radical, apparently, even for the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, one of the more Conservative tribunals in the nation, which struck it down in 2005.

Even more shocking, last year the U.S. Supreme Court ordered the Fourth Circuit to review the law again in light of a 2007 Supreme Court case upholding a federal ban on a similar procedure. But even applying this more permissive standard, the law could not pass Constitutional muster and the Fourth Circuit again struck it down as too restrictive, saying, “The Virginia Act imposes an undue burden upon a  woman’s right to choose a previability second trimester abortion.”

Attorney General Bob McDonnell was disappointed with the decision, the Washington Post said.

On his Web Site, Mr. Moran says the following about his record on reproductive rights: 

Brian believes that a woman, in consultation with her doctor, should have the right to make her own health care and reproductive decisions. He has consistently opposed unconstitutional infringements on a woman’s right to choose.

Does that statement squares with his vote in favor of SB 1205?

Mr. Moran should both explain his 2003 vote undercutting a woman’s right to choose, and the distortion of his record on his web site, currently.

Mr. Moran should also clarify his views on a woman’s right to choose. Would Mr. Moran again vote in favor of legislation that would put the Virginia General Assembly between a decision that properly belongs to a woman and her doctor?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Creigh and Redistricting: Changing the Calculus of Virginia Politics

Stephen J. Farnsworth at the Fredricksburg Free Lance-Star has a column out this morning about how the current system of redistricting creates the perverse result of politicians picking the citizens who will vote for them, rather than citizens choosing the leaders to represent them:

Despite Virginia's status as a key swing state in the 2008 presidential elections, the state's many moderate voters will learn once again this fall how little voice they have in the Virginia House of Delegates.

The vast majority of the state's 100 House of Delegate districts are drawn to reduce--if not eliminate--genuine two-party competition. 

Quite apart from the inherent undemocratic nature of this, the process has serious practical consequences. The near-constant gridlock and partisan and ideological feuding in Richmond does not just happen. Rather, it is the identifiable result of a flawed redistricting process, as Farnsworth explains:

The drawing of legislative lines by incumbent office-holders, perhaps the most powerful incumbent-protection device in all of politics, ensures that the real electoral action in many legislative districts will occur in June primaries and conventions, when the most far-left and far-right slivers of the electorate determine the Democratic and Republican nominees.

Those nominees, selected on the basis of their appeal to the most conservative Republicans and most liberal Democrats, immediately become almost certain winners or almost certain losers depending on the composition of the district in which they run.


With these gerrymandered legislative districts, safe-seat incumbents are not obligated to defend their policies or talk about future priorities. They can even skip debates against major-party challengers with little risk to their prospects for re-election. Candidates in one-sided districts need fear only intra-party competition, so they worry mostly about rivals who are more extreme than they are, further pushing these politicians away from the mainstream.

In addition to the negative effect this has on the ability of government to function, another pernicious result of this system is to alienate people from engaging in the political process. Farnsworth again:

The lack of viable electoral competition in these ideologically drawn districts depresses turnout in state general elections, already a significant problem in Virginia. The state holds its legislative elections in odd-numbered years, and there is substantial voter drop-off from presidential election years. Gerrymandered districts make a bad turnout situation even worse.

For Creigh Deeds, redistricting reform is a centerpeice of his campaign. Creigh explains that solving our problems will always be difficult until this core problem is fixed, because as currently configured, the process encourages ideological divide among our legislators, not pragmatic compromise.

Here is what Creigh said recently about the fundamental and lasting change he can bring to Virginia on this issue:

The Governor elected in 2009 will be the one who has to sign the next redistricting bill. That’s where I could have the longest range impact. … I believe I can change the calculus of politics in Virginia for a long time to come by setting the precedent of establishing non-partisan, or a bi-partisan, form of redistricting. … Redistricting on 2011 is unique to the Governor [elected] in 2009. I know I can fix that.

Indeed, Creigh has shown an unwavering commitment to this issue. This past session, his redistricting reform bill was passed by the Senate for the third time, this time with unanimous backing, only to be killed – once again -- in the House of Delegates. As Governor, however, Creigh maintains he can use his veto power to force de facto non-partisan redistricting on the General Assembly. Over the next ten years, this would result in the election of Senators and Delegates who are less partisan and less ideological, and presumably, more open to enacting a legislative or Constitutional change to make redistricting permanently non- or bi-partisan.

According to his website, Brian Moran has pledged that as governor, he will appoint a redistricting commission on his own and he will not sign a partisan redistricting plan.

Terry McAuliffe's position on government reform and accountability, to the extent he has any, are not set forth on his website.

For more on this issue, or to TAKE ACTION:

More info on Creigh and Redistricting Reform

Support Creigh Deeds For Governor

Bloggers to Moderate Gubernatorial Debate

Bryan Scrafford at Left of the Hill breaks the news:

There has been a big development in the Democratic primary for Governor of Virginia as I’m hearing that all three candidates are going to be taking part in a debate to be held at Virginia Tech on April 29 at 7:30pm. A source involved in the preparations at Virginia Tech said the debate will be hosted by several national blogs including the Huffington Post and Fire Dog Lake, as well as Virginia’s Not Larry Sabato. Not only will these blogs have representatives selecting the questions, but the debate will be moderated by Ben Tribbett of Not Larry Sabato and Arianna Huffington.

The debate will have a fairly standard format as it is scheduled to last 90 minutes with each candidate giving two minute long opening statements, followed by a question/answer section, and finally an opportunity for the candidates to give a closing statement. What makes this debate slightly different then the typical fair that we get, especially in a gubernatorial primary, is that all of the questions will be coming in from new media sources (twitter, youtube, and other similar programs) and the panel selecting the questions to be asked at the debate will also be made up of bloggers. Furthermore, I’m hearing that it will be webcast on the Huffington Post which means that people who cannot make it out to Virginia Tech will also be given an opportunity to watch the debate.
Lowell at Blue Virginia puts it in some historical context for the blogosphere:

To my knowledge, this is the first time that a gubernatorial debate has been held by bloggers. If so, it's another breakthrough in the continued rise of the netroots, and also in the relative decline of the traditional media. Today, increasingly, "regular" citizens are asking questions directly to politicians, posting the responses on their blogs and YouTube channels, acting as "citizen journalists." Congratulations to Arianna HuffingtonJane Hamsher (I presume she'll be the FireDogLake rep, since she's a superb journalist, excellent in front of a camera), and Ben Tribbett of NLS. This debate should certainly garner a great deal of old AND new media attention, and I'm definitely looking forward to April 29!

P.S. It will be interesting to see how the Washington Post, which studiously avoids crediting or sourcing the blogs, handles this one. I suppose they could simply not cover it at all, but my guess is that they'll just have to suck it up this time. Score one for the bloggers! :)
I agree with most of that of that -- I'm not sure it says anything about the relative decline of traditional media, since this isn't a zero-sum game in my book -- but I quibble.

Also, I'm glad to see Ben included. At Creigh's blogger dinner, Ben did a great job questioning Creigh, and notwithstanding the notorious reputation of NLS -- some of it deserved, much of it not -- I'm confident he will do a fair job. Also, I would note that while NLS has been in the middle of some controversy this primary, for the most part it has been even-handed in dispensing praise, criticism and mockery to all the candidates.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Creigh Deeds - A Vision for Virginia's Future

(UPDATE: Lowell at Blue Virginia now has posted a video from last night's on-the-record dinner in which Creigh speaks about these issues. His words are much better than mine could ever hope to be. You can see the video here)  

(Update 2 - Lowell has more video up of Creigh discussing energy issues and social issues. Also, hear Creigh tell Lowell in answer to one question, "Well, figure it out, Lowell," and in response to another, "You're a smart guy. Do some research." Funny stuff, watching Creigh charm the blogosphere!

As the primary is moving into the final ninety days, I have been troubled by the failure of any of the campaigns to really articulate an overarching vision – as distinct from a specific policy position on this issue or that -- for Virginia’s future – that one thing that sets the candidate apart and that will profoundly improve the lives of everyone in the Commonwealth. This was true even for the candidate I support, Creigh Deeds.

Tonight changed that. Tonight I heard Creigh Deeds describe a vision of what his term as Governor would mean for Virginians, how he would achieve it, and why he is the person to accomplish it. Creigh spoke with genuine conviction about his desire to transform Virginia politics to take control of our government away from the entrenched political and moneyed interests that currently command it and return to its rightful place, we the people.

He is right, of course. At the end of the day, government must both serve and reflect the needs and desires of the electorate. When it fails to do so, public confidence and trust is eroded. The current system of redistricting makes this impossible.  

Second, Creigh notes that a Virginia governor has 48 months to accomplish his goals, and it is imperative to hit the ground running. As the only candidate to serve in the General Assembly this past session, as the only candidate to have served in a body in which Democrats were in the majority, and with eighteen years of experience in Richmond, he make a convincing argument that he understands the needs of Virginia and knows his way around state government in order to deliver, not just talk about, the pragmatic solutions that Virginians need.  

Creigh’s approach to the Commonwealth’s considerable transportation issues is an example. He doesn’t pit region against region when he discusses transportation. Creigh flatly asserts an obvious truth: Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads are the economic engines that fuels the commonwealth, and ensuring adequate transportation in those regions benefits all Virginians. At the same time, those prosperous regions will benefit if economic opportunity is developed in all parts of the Commonwealth, so that regions that currently are depressed are able to share a greater burden of Virginia’s needs.  

Creigh spoke at a small dinner for several bloggers -- me, Lowell Feld (Blue Virginia), Ben Tribbett (NLS), and James Martin (New Dominion Project), as well as several of Creigh’s staffers, including campaign manager Joe Abbey. We met an Arlington restaurant where we ate some terrific pizza and drank a few beers. The casual setting and good feeling at the table allowed for plenty of give and take between Creigh and the bloggers. Everyone seemed to have a great time.