Man with No Shame
Chichester ducked the tax issue during his
re-nomination fight, but his recent remarks will
make the "t" word a hot topic in the 2003 General Assembly
once again that some politicians know no shame,
State Sen. John Chichester, R-Stafford, scolded
fellow Republican candidates earlier this month
during recent remarks to business bigwigs for
putting re-election ahead of finding new money to
fund government programs. What grandstanding! What a
faces no opponent in the November general election.
During the campaign for the Republican nomination
when he did have an opponent, Chichester denied that
he supported an increase in taxes. So letís hear
no more hectoring about political courage from
his recent remarks, Chichester declined to provide
specifics as to how he would find new revenues to
fund programs he insists have gone begging for too
long. Those include transportation, higher education
and public schools.
Chichester does have a point is his contention that
ďwe are way overdue to begin the conversation
about what we want Virginia to look like 10 or 15
years from now.Ē Clearly, Chichester has his own
vision. After years of keeping it to himself, he
should display some courage of his own and lay out
that vision in detail.
is a parallel between Chichesterís change of
position since the June 10 primary election and
California Gov. Gray Davisís sudden shift after
the 2002 general election in his state. Neither
politician was candid with the voters when it truly
Davis actively misled Californians about the
condition of the state budget going into last
yearís gubernatorial election, they were
understandably miffed to learn that the state faced
a $38 billion shortfall and have forced a popular
vote to recall him. Chichester scoffed at his
primary opponentís charge that Chichester was
planning to support a tax increase if reelected, but
now he openly proposes that very course.
both cases, Davis and Chichester have perverted the
political process and treated voters with contempt.
The voters deserved to hear the truth from these
politicians before the election, not after.
arenít without recourse even when recall isnít
available. Between elections, the people can
aggregate their energies to lobby elected officials.
They can also use political parties ó if they are
willing to get involved.
unintended consequence of Chichesterís recent
statements is to make the issue of taxes the
centerpiece of the November elections. That is
precisely what Gov. Mark Warner and the business
leaders Chichester was addressing had hoped to
that Chichester has thrown down the gauntlet, can
the leaders of the parties avoid taking a position
on the most prominent issue facing the Commonwealth?
The governing body of the Republican Party of
Virginia will soon decide on a new chairman to
replace Gary Thomson, who resigned on August 12. The
grassroots has an opportunity to urge the party to
lead. Will the next GOP chairman or the State
Central Committee have a position on raising taxes?
isnít acceptable is silence from the two major
parties. Silence will mean that the parties have
chosen not to be instruments for the expression of
popular sentiment, but rather empty vessels to be
exploited by incumbent politicians. A party that
hides in the tall grass while great political
battles are being waged will not long have the
support of common folk who are in search of the
means to control the direction of their government.
of their deep pockets, business elites can expect to
play a prominent role in politics. So can powerful
special interest groups that have long favored major
tax increases. Who will speak for the average
August 25, 2003