Sunday, April 21, 2019
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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.  

Message + No Action = Zero

Several days ago, many of us were very pleased by the the email sent by Del. David Toscano (D-Charlottesville), the new minority caucus chair in the House of Delegates. For the first time in a very long while, a Democrat in Richmond was sounding like a  Democrat ready to fight for principle.

Now, however, comes the hard part. Will the Democratic caucus act on those principles and put them into legislative form, knowing full well that none of them will pass the House?  Will they then be willing to confront Republican obstructionism and demonstrate that they, unlike the GOP, believe that government can be an agent for positive change that benefits Virginia's middle class and her working people?

If so, I'll feel that the Democratic party in Virginia has begun its turnaround, putting ideological distance between itself and the ever-more radical GOP that now controls Virginia state government at all levels. If not, then Del. Toscano's words are just that, words and nothing else. I sat down and came up with a few possible legislative initiatives that fit the rhetoric of that email.

"We should respect scientists when they conclude, based on rigorous inquiry, that climate change is a function of human behavior." - How about introducing a resolution that affirms that climate change is a fact and that human behavior has contributed to it.

"Our Commonwealth is diverse, and we should celebrate this fact and build on its strengths." - Perhaps we could see a bill that would make it illegal to discriminate based on sexual orientation in state hiring or by companies with state contracts.