Republican bloggers are racing to congratulate Governor Bob McDonnell for his role in “winning” Northrop Grumman new corporate headquarters and the 300 jobs that go with it for Northern Virginia. Not so fast.
I was reading the Richmond Times Dispatch’s coverage of this story and something fairly leaped of the page at me. The Richmond Times Dispatch is a notoriously conservative paper that is always trying to portray conservative politicians in the best possible light while playing down the achievements of Democrats. It must have been with grudging respect for the truth that the Times Dispatch printed the following:
Northrop Grumman’s chief executive officer, Wes Bush, telephoned U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner, D-Va., late this afternoon to inform the former governor of the company’s decision to move to Virginia.
Hmmm, let’s take a closer look at this. With an important bit of very good news to tell, Northrop Grumman’s CEO Wes Bush didn’t reach out to Bob McDonnell with the big news: instead, he called Democratic U.S. Senator Mark Warner. The meaning of this snub is clear: Northrop Grumman is coming to Virginia in spite of McDonnell and Ken Cuccinelli, both of whom have done so much lately to make Virginians look silly in the national press.
Ultimately Northern Virginia was the obvious location for Northrop Grumman to locate. The only real risk that Northern Virginia would lose these jobs came from the antics of McDonnell and Cuccinelli. Pro-business moderates like Mark Warner were key to convincing Northrop Grumman that McDonnell and Cuccinelli are not typical of Virginia. Wes Bush’s choice to call Mark Warner and give Warner his decision shows where the real leadership for this achievement came from.