Governor Wimpy’s Very Bad Year


    Poor Bob McDonnell. Just a few days after he had to drop his “fees” on the retail sale of liquor by the drink to appease his right wing, thus making the Senate Democrats mad by increasing the hole he’s blowing in the General Fund to a minimum of $47 million, he has been resoundingly slapped down in his attempt to control two seats on the board of the Metro.

    You may recall that McDonnell demanded that he be able to control those two seats on Northern Virginia’s Metro or he would withhold state money. Well, he won’t get his wish, and I would bet that he won’t withhold that money.  Even McDonnell’s representative on the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission said that the group will pass a resolution stating that all four of Northern Virginia’s Metro board seats should remain under local control.

    It’s so much easier to run for governor and promise people stuff you never can deliver than it is to actually govern, huh? It’s been a pretty rocky road for McDonnell so far. Sometimes, it seems he goes from one misstep to another. Let’s have some fun and count the ways his grandiose plans have gone awry.

    Some Virginians are better than others: His lack of leadership began immediately following the inauguration when McDonnell refused to include sexual orientation in his non-discrimination order.  He even reversed a final order by former Gov. Tim Kaine that would have allowed unmarried partners of state employees, including same-sex partners, the right to buy into state health plans. I suppose that was his way of telling us that he wasn’t the governor of all Virginians, just the ones he thought were good.

    Drill that oil…Oops: Remember when McDonnell was pushing oil drilling off the Virginia coast as part of his bogus “transportation plan”? He’s been very quiet about that ever since the Deepwater Horizon platform in the Gulf of Mexico exploded and caused the largest oil spill ever. That’s pretty much the end of McDonnell’s “drill, baby, drill” efforts

    Gaming the budget: When the biennial budget was finalized, McDonnell and the GOPers in the General Assembly bragged that they had balanced that budget without increasing taxes. What they failed to talk about was the $620 million they had borrowed from the Virginia Retirement System, a loan that will have to be paid back. But, they made sure that McDonnell wouldn’t have to worry about the money since the first of the ten-year installments of $62 million plus interest won’t come due until 2013, as McDonnell is leaving office.

    Wave that Confederate flag: McDonnell even got staid, old Parade magazine upset with his horrible proclamation declaring April as Confederate History Month, praising “the sacrifices of the Confederate leaders, soldiers and citizens during the period of the Civil War” and failing to mention slavery and the suffering of black Virginians. (Granted, after the national uproar he quickly tried to repair the political damage. I’ll credit him with that.)

    Funny money surplus: When McDonnell trotted out his budget “surplus,” he conveniently omitted reference to that VRS debt and to the fact that he was counting on a final injection of Federal stimulus money, the same money that GOPers regularly trash for political purposes. Plus, one month’s sales tax revenue was stolen from this fiscal year by making merchants send the money to Richmond early.

    Crony corporate appointments: McDonnell’s appointments also stink to high heaven. There’s Fred Malek,  Richard Nixon’s  enforcer of anti-semitism and recipient of an SEC fine for questionable work his firm did for the Connecticut pension fund. None of that stopped McDonnell from having Malek chair his government “reform commission” that actually existed for the purpose of privatizing the ABC system. Then, there’s the naming of Diana Cantor, former Goldman Sachs vice president, to chair the board of trustees of the Virginia Retirement System. Continuing the list of bad appointments, James Insley was named the head of the ABC board.  Insley has a built-in  conflict of interest because the board has to deal with an appeal of its revocation of Richmond’s Club Velvet ABC license. Insley is Club Velvet’s attorney, as luck would have it.

    As if those weren’t enough, McDonnell also named John Rocovich, a very controversial former rector of the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors, to the commission that recommends appointees for the governing boards of all the state’s colleges and universities. In 2003 when Rocovich was the rector of the Board of Visitors of Virginia Tech, he caused all sorts of mischief by persuading the board to end affirmative action at the University. That lasted for a few months until the uproar among the student body, faculty, and alumni caused the board to reverse itself. (McDonnell also named Rocovich to the Tech board of visitors, even though it is unclear if it’s a conflict of interest to hold both positions.)

    Friend of Cooch: His refusal to rein in Ken Cuccinelli’s tirades and publicity stunts makes McDonnell look like a guy who can’t control his own administration. Granted, he keeps himself from being painted on the national stage as somebody as nutty as Cooch, but he also seems mighty wimpy at the same time. (By the way, as a Democrat, I can’t wait until McDonnell has to mediate the fight between Bill Bolling and Ken Cuccinelli over who will get the nod to run for governor in 2013. That should be a great cat fight.)