Home Virginia Politics Is There Really a “Virginia Way?” If So, What on Earth Is...

Is There Really a “Virginia Way?” If So, What on Earth Is It?


You’ve probably noticed the phrase “the Virginia Way” bandied about by Virginia politicians of every ideological stripe. Just the other day, for instance, Terry McAuliffe defined it in his inaugural speech as Virginia being “the national model for fiscal discipline because our leaders- leaders like Governor Doug Wilder, decided long ago to put the common good ahead of short-term politics” (questions: is that really true? and if so, is Virginia really the only state where that happens?). McAuliffe also spoke of the “Virginia Way” being about building consensus (again: is this really the case? is consensus not built in any other state?). Whatever this vague, nebulous, too-general-to-have-any-meaning-whatsoever “Virginia Way” is, Governor McAuliffe asserted that it’s “a tradition that we should be proud of.”

Let’s just say, color me highly skeptical about any of that. And color DJ Rippert of Bacon’s Rebellion, who left this comment in a diary at Bearing Drift…well, just read it and see for yourself. I’m posting it here with his permission, as I personally lean much more towards DJ Rippert’s view than towards the “tradition that we should be proud of” view. Enjoy! 🙂

The Virginia Way? I’ve lived here since I was born in the 1950s and I still have no Earthly idea what that is supposed to mean.

” …govern effectively for all Virginians”


How far back do you want to go?

Over farming tobacco until the soil was ruined?

Becoming the capital of an immoral and unwinnable war?

The Jim Crow constitution of 1905?

The Byrd Machine?

Massive Resistance?

A gas tax frozen longer than any other state besides Alaska with the predictable transportation chaos?

The fifth most gerrymandered state in the union?

One of two states where sitting legislators who are also practicing lawyers elect the judges who will decide their cases?

No FOIA for the SCC?

The hardest state to get on the ballot?

The least competitive state legislative elections in America?

A failing rating for ethics?

Off year elections and 37% voter turnout for state races?

No term limits for legislators?

No campaign contribution limits?

No voter recall?

No citizen initiated referenda?

Uncounted company-specific and industry-specific tax breaks in the billions per year?

No ROI for transportation projects, regardless of size?

Flagship university (UVA) slipping from #15 to #25 in rankings over past 25 years?

Endless recent scandals (Tobacco Indemnification Fund, Phil Hamilton, Star Scientific, etc, etc)?

Yeah, let’s preserve “the Virginia Way” at all costs!


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