Friday, May 22, 2009

Interview with Tom Davis

This article is scheduled to appear in this weekend's edition of The Metro Herald. (While I call this a "partial transcript," it is virtually complete; I just left out a few vocal pauses and repetitions.)

This interview was conducted on May 15, a week before the Washington Post editorial board endorsed state Senator Creigh Deeds (D-Bath County) for Governor.

Tom Davis Speaks with The Metro Herald
Rick Sincere
Special to The Metro Herald

Former U.S. Representative Tom Davis (R-Virginia), who represented the 11th Congressional District for 14 years and before that was chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, was the featured speaker at the undergraduate convocation of George Mason University’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences on May 15. Rick Sincere of The Metro Herald caught up with Congressman Davis backstage before the ceremony and captured an exclusive interview. Here is a partial transcript of that interview.

Metro Herald: What are you going to be talking about in your remarks today?

Tom Davis: Well, I’ll just be talking a little bit about the future and the challenges that they face and try to humor them a little bit with what I call “Davis’ Five-Step Process for Life After College.”

Metro Herald: What’s your handicap of the Democratic gubernatorial primary?

Tom Davis: My gut is that it is [Terry] McAuliffe and [Brian] Moran, depending on the size of the turnout. [R. Creigh] Deeds is just from the wrong part of the state that produces votes in a primary. But they haven’t really started their ads, at least the other two candidates. So we’ll see. Anything can happen in the last week. I’d handicap it that way.

I think [Republican candidate Bob] McDonnell is the favorite simply because Virginia, being what we call a countercyclical state, they vote against the president in power, and for governor it’s been eight straight times.

Metro Herald: What do you think is going to happen in the House of Delegates races?

Tom Davis: The Republicans should hold the House. I don’t think you’ll see a major shift but they should hold, maybe pick up a seat or two.

Metro Herald: Back on the governor’s race. Do you think Brian Moran’s unique stance on repealing the Marshall/Newman Amendment [which bans same-sex marriage and civil unions] will affect him either way in the general [election] or the primary?

Tom Davis: I think it’ll probably help him up here in general. A lot of people feel strongly about that issue. What we found in the general [election] is that it doesn’t really play in partisan politics. Buchanan County had the largest percent for the marriage amendment last time [2006] and yet George Allen lost it.

Metro Herald: Anything you’d like to say to our readers? We’re based in Alexandria.

Tom Davis: It’s an exciting time to be out of office. What worries me is the debt. We’ve stacked up more debt here in the first five months of this year than we did in the previous 200 years. Just this year the debt that has piled up – just this year – you take thousand-dollar bills, stack them from the floor, they’ll go 60 miles high. That gives you a perspective.

Metro Herald: Is there any way that we can overcome that?

Tom Davis: The only way you’re going to do it over time is you’ll have to attack the entitlement programs, and it’s a very tough lift without getting both parties to the table to take the hit. Whatever you do is going to be very unpopular.

Metro Herald: What about prescriptions for economic growth? What would you suggest?

Tom Davis: Well, I’m always a great believer that the nation needs to attract capital and that means not over-regulating and not overtaxing because there are other places companies can grow. I think the Administration’s idea of trying to “close these loopholes” on overseas income is the wrong direction. I think it will actually drive capital away.

Metro Herald: Would you be in favor of something like the Fair Tax [national sales tax] and eliminating the income tax?

Tom Davis: It’s a heavy lift. I work for an accounting company so that’s not a fair cop to the question. I can’t speak against interest.

Metro Herald: Thank you very much. Good luck today.

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