ABC as a Bellwether of McDonnell’s Gubernatorial Style


    I’d like to point out that articles concerning the privatization efforts underway in the Commonwealth, whether mentioned in the Post or in the RT-D, all strike a similar chord of regurgitating facts or just reporting gradual moves as this issue (undeservedly) becomes McDonnell’s first keynote.  He is looking for solutions to transportation and, whether or not this privatization passes, we know that this will be strike one.  $100m, $250m or $500m, including the figure of initial sale of ABC permits, will not absolve Virginia of its transportation woes.  A strike is a decent and worthy call here.

    An article in the Examiner took a slightly different tone when it mentioned that the Governor had “handpicked the special panel of committee members” charged with passing the proposal.…

    The initial interpretation is that this is just another factoid out of many.  The reality is that it’s an incredibly significant piece of the puzzle as to how McDonnell’s political brain ticks.

    This article hits a good note and paints a unique picture in the first handful of lines: that Governor McDonnell is taking a risk and that he’s a kind of lone horseman on this policy venture [see “since Governor McDonnell handpicked the special panel of committee members”].  That’s not to paint him as some sort of maverick or hero.  He has certainty in his immediate circle of advisers and pushers but lacks it in the General Assembly, where even fellow Republicans are casting doubts that even the eradication of some of the significant taxes hasn’t been able to dry up.  The ultimate fallacy, to me, whether he wins or loses (but especially if he loses), is that he put all the chips on the table and didn’t take a different approach to ease into privatization in an assured but cautious manner.  This says a lot about the Governor, particularly that he is a bit on the self-assured side, which can read reckless [see April’s “Confederate Appreciation Month” as a minor example…or his inability to control all parts of his administration, like Cuccinelli, who is not doing McDonnell’s bidding but is pursuing his course through stubborn, desperate self-interest].

    Perhaps I have made minor points but the matter is that the Governor isn’t hedging bets on other massive rearrangements of  how we run things in Virginia with the looming woes of transportation funding waving in his face.  He’s making much ado about something that his supposed friends are stuttering on.

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