According to Stephen Moore in today’s Wall Street Journal, Virginia Governor Mark Warner is emerging as the anti-Hillary candidate in the early fight for the 2008 Democratic nomination.
Those cheering our esteemed Governor on should read this, twice:
When he ran for governor, Mr. Warner pledged repeatedly that he would not raise taxes. When Republicans taunted him for having a secret plan to raise taxes, he exploded with indignation and lashed out at his opponent: “This old style of politics, of saying anything to get elected, is not what we need. Instead, as a businessman I will clean up the budget mess in Richmond . . . and no matter how many times my opponent says otherwise, I will not raise your taxes.”
Only a few months after being elected, however, he set out on a tireless crusade to raise taxes–a cynic might even charge that during the campaign it was Mr. Warner, not his opponent, who had been willing to “say anything to get elected.” He first threw his weight behind a ballot initiative where “voters could decide for themselves” whether they wanted a $1 billion tax hike to pay for more roads in this traffic-congested state. Despite outspending the taxpayer groups by 10-to-1, 55% of the voters said “no” to the Warner sales tax hike.
Then in 2004 Gov. Warner, still licking his wounds from that fiasco, declared a surprise $1 billion budget shortfall and proposed higher income and real estate taxes, and a hike in the cigarette tax. The tax hike was a stroke of political genius in many ways. It succeeded in splintering the Republicans, and he capitalized on the disarray within their ranks to bully through the legislature the largest tax increase in the state’s history.
As it turns out, there was no budget shortfall, but the tax hikes remain.
Fortunately, Mark Warner won’t be Governor of Virginia much longer. I’d hate to think that his next step would be to inflict himself upon the entire country.