Saturday, November 12, 2005

Veterans’ Day With the Hon. Virgil Goode

The Hon. Virgil GoodeBig doings in Southside* on Veterans’ Day. This year, it was the dedication of the Blue Star Memorial in Buckingham Court House. The ceremony drew a crowd of veterans and local citizens to see the unveiling. Among the dignitaries was Congressman Virgil Goode from Virginia’s Fifth District. At the reception which followed in the County Arts Center, our congressman agreed to an interview regarding some pending legislation in the House of Representatives.

The main concern for Gates of Vienna is the upcoming immigration bills being introduced in Congress by Rep. Goode. Those will be addressed in detail in a subsequent post, when Mr. Goode’s office sends us the full texts by snail mail. Our theoretical fax has never worked, so the main topic will have to wait.

However, we also hit the highlights of other Issues Dear to the Hearts of our readers (not including trolls and visitors wandering in from James Wolcott’s blog). Everyone has agreed on our good fortune in being represented by a patriotic stalwart. Therefore, since there was such positive response in our original post on the Honorable Mr. Goode, we felt it our duty to discuss the bones of contention our readers have with the current Congress and administration.

Virgil said he is more than aware that the conservative base is unhappy with the goings-on in Washington, considering the orgies of pork and the spineless response to judicial nominations. When asked if he would pass the news on up to the RNC, Mr. Goode sighed, “They don’t listen.” As an example, he related occasions when conservatives within the caucus take the Republican members to task, trying to effect some behavior modification on spending. But then President Bush arrives, makes the rounds shaking hands and talking to people and suddenly any memory of fiscal resolve disappears. He agreed that a day of reckoning is coming: in the not-too-distant future, on the morning after an election, Republicans are going to wake up to an unhappy surprise.

The Fifth District’s Congressman is one of the staunchest fiscal conservatives in the House. He says that the administration is listening to the media when the President travels to Louisiana and promises two hundred million —and then correcting himself — can you believe two hundred billion? — in relief aid following Hurricane Katrina. Mr. Goode believes the media has too much influence and drowns out what the rest of the country is saying.

To his mind, the federal government should restrict itself to the huge fiscal commitment necessary to rebuild the Gulf Coast’s infrastructure: the roads, bridges and levees. Other efforts from state and local governments, along with the untapped private sector, would direct the rest of the rebuilding more efficiently and economically. The co-ordination already occurring between civic and church groups is a good indication of that. Virgil pointed out his photographer, who accompanied him to Buckingham, as an example of private effort. This man had already been to Louisiana to help in the rebuilding efforts and would be returning. Virgil thinks the genius of individual American know-how and its approach to problem-solving will rebuild Louisiana. Gates of Vienna agrees; it takes no ingenuity or particular wisdom to dump two hundred billion dollars of “relief” on a state which doesn’t seem to coordinate its own efforts very well. The thought of all that money lining the pockets of all those professional politicians in Louisiana is most disheartening. You and I worked for those tax dollars. Now someone is going to load them into a fleet of crop dusters, fly over Louisiana, open the doors, and rain billions over the ruined levees and disappeared towns. What a nightmare.

Gates of Vienna told Virgil about the decision of Scottsville — a small town on the James River — to adopt an extended family from Pass Christian, Louisiana. The town will be helping this family for the foreseeable future as they rebuild their house and business. We’ll be giving you the details later.

But that was the opening act. Our real concern — and the concern of many of our readers — is the current chaos resulting from the failure of federal government to act on the tide of illegal immigration flooding in from Mexico. Congressman Goode agrees that it is a disaster which ought to have been addressed long ago. He has one bill pending and he and a colleague have announced their plans to introduce another.

Stay tuned. As soon as the documents arrive from his office, Gates of Vienna will lay out in specific detail what is planned and who is involved. Then you and I and the rest of us will take it from there.

As an aside, we also floated the idea of a blog for the Fifth District. Virgil’s concern, and one he doesn’t see a way around right now, is that anything emanating from his office needs to directly reflect what he believes, and the concerns of his constituents. Any blogger knows how time-consuming a blog can be. Due to the crush of his schedule, he hasn’t figured out a way to post to a blog regularly. And Virgil is adamant: any blog carrying his name will not be written by someone else. But, yes, folks, he is aware of the blogosphere and he knows full well its potential to affect the course of events.

Things are on the move.

*“Southside” is considered the area of Virginia south of the James River, west of the Great Dismal Swamp, and east of the foothills of the Blue Ridge. The region is characterized by dialectical peculiarities, such as the pronunciation of “house” to rhyme with “close.”


X said...

It's interesting seeing all this, if not infighting, then great debate between the so-called grass-roots of the party and the leadership. I knew that the Republicans weren't a monolith, but the idea that there might be such fundamental fractures within the party strikes me as a little... disconcerting. Bush, for his faults, has started America down a path that it should have gone doen years ago. I would expect future republican presidents to carry on that path. If what you're saying is true, though, then is it likely that future presidents will try and draw back from that?

Honestly, american politics is confusing when you get in to the detail. Perhaps it's merely too out in the open for someone so used to the back-room dealings of our "wonderful" parliamentary democracy...

We're having a similar debate, after a fashion, within the tory party. On the one hand are the modernisers, called the "wets", are trying to shift the Tories further to the left and on the other the ones labled as the "old guard" by the media are trying to return the party to its conservative roots. Tru conservatism, if yiou read history, can be pretty radical. The tories were the great modernisers of the 19th and 20th century, incrementally introducing universal sufferage and ushering in more working rights, etc, paradoxically because they wanted to preserve the democracy and economy of the day. Labour, on the other hand, want to cast all that aside in the name of modernisation... revolution by another name, really.

Anyway, it sounds like your Republicans are suffering the same problem as the tories, with the parliamentary/congresional-and-leadership party being out of touch with the general party membership.

By the way, is that "close" as in "close the door" or in "that house is close to this house"?

X said...

PS, "open and simple" is a good thing, just in case you thought I was trying to be a "sophisticated" european. I don't do complicated. My brain can't take it.

Baron Bodissey said...

Archonix --

The split in the Republicans is between the "conservatives" and the rest (who are sometimes called "moderate" or "country-club" Republicans). The conservatives are not necessarily loyal to the party, but to principles. When the party starts to get squishy under the relentless pressure of the MSM, Republican conservatives tend to get rebellious.

But the conservatives will always support the president on national security issues, and close ranks behind him in any national emergency. The Democrats, on the other hand, will support the president on national security whenever it is expedient (i.e. when the polls are favorable to it), but will be treacherous whenever he is weakened on the issue, which he is now.

What the media do not make clear is that much of the dissatisfaction with Bush is coming from the right, from people who think he is not pursuing the Terror Masters aggressively enough, and who are very upset with his immigration policies and profligate spending.

The Conservative Party in Britain is not really comparable. I used to live in England, and I remember the politics of the time fairly well. There isn't really any British party that believes in small government, the rights of individuals vs. the state, the right to bear arms, and the free market.

In this country, of course, only part of the Republican party believes in these things. But there is a huge grass roots constituency for these ideas; it just has no voice in the traditional media.

BTW, the awful crime rate you suffer from in Britain couldn't happen in the more libertarian parts of this country, places like Virginia and Texas. Where citizens are permitted to carry concealed weapons, criminals are very careful, because approaching someone with criminal intent can cost them their lives. And, in those places, the prosecutors will not indict nor juries convict citizens who act that way in self-defense.


It's "close" as an adjective, as in "close to me."

X said...

England 120 years ago was very similar. The tories were the small government, and the whigs or the liberals - I can never remember their name back then - were afer more government control. A man could shoot people who entered his house without permission, and generally people were more free.

All our big government problems have arrived over a period of 80 years, but they're all traceable to the Atlee government circa 1946. It's a shame that every government since has decided that his policies were somehow right, even the tories... gramasci or whatever he's called has a lot to answer for.

I suppose you're right that they aren't comparable. It seemed apt at the time, though. :)

Baron Bodissey said...

The Tories were more comparable with American conservaties when Margaret Thatcher was in charge. She and Reagan saw eye-to-eye on most issues.

Now it seems that Tories are saying, "We're just like Labour, only not quite as socialist." We have a similar thing with the Republicans -- they try to win elections by saying, "We propose the same thing as the Democrats, just a cheaper version."

Yah boo sucks to all of 'em.