The Virginia Way is Dead


    McDonnell and the Republicans assassinated it. Jeff Shapiro eulogizes it. Tucker Martin tried to resurrect it in a tweet, hailing Colgan’s surrender. But in the end, Governor McDonnell’s singular focus on self-promotion has turned our legislature into a congressional clone. Governor McDonnell yells rather than leads; just another wannabe bully.

    Virginia has received quite a few headlines these last few months. And it’s not been about the best state to do business; it’s not been about the best place to raise a child. It’s been about ultrasound and the socially conservative overreach agenda that the Republicans pursued in the General Assembly session. -Toscano

    Two things have become characteristic of Virginia Republicans. They confuse power with leadership and they are more interested in their own ambitions than the welfare of the Commonwealth. This is distinct and different than the Democrats who have been in power and that is clear in both the Jeff Shapiro piece and the descriptions of this session by state Senator Creigh Deeds (D-25th) and Democratic Minority Whip, Delegate David Toscano (D-57th). Contrast the eras of Gilmore and McDonnell with that of Warner and Kaine.  

    We have a bill that requires a medically unnecessary procedure; that requires doctors to listen to us who have the great ability to be doctors, and prescribe for them how they should treat their patients by requiring them to have this procedure. It totally unmasks the ultrasound bill for what it was: an effort to intimidate women and nothing else. – Toscano

    As Delegate Toscano points out, McDonnell warned his colleagues against overreach before the session, but overreach is all we got in a variety of areas. The ultrasound bill is only the tip of the iceberg. It is indicative of the way business is being done in Richmond. Deliberation is a lost art; Republicans have drunk the kool-aid; Democrats have little leverage.

    The McDonnell budget presented at the beginning of the session reveals his disdain for the role of government and an effort to score fiscal conservative points. The cuts he proposed affected the most vulnerable citizens and underfunded education to redirect revenues to transportation. In Toscano’s estimation, despite the way the battle ended, the budget we got was much better than the one that McDonnell originally presented and could have been forced upon us.

    However, McDonnell’s desperation for success and his lack of leadership is clearly demonstrated by Toscano’s description of McDonnell’s reaction to the defeat of a pet bill. The Virginia Way is not the McDonnell way, no way: my way or the highway.

    A footnote: Before this final week of deliberations, state Senator Jeff McWaters (R-8th) told a Republican audience that there was a Democrat who would cross the aisle. So while the Democrats may have exacted concessions successfully prior to this past week, if it is true that Senator Colgan had already tipped that he would concede, this left Democrats with no leverage during the last three votes. The evidence is in the final outcome.  


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