Problem Solved: No More Traffic!
Isn't life just fabulous in Virginia now that the governor and legislators have completed this year's session of the General Assembly and settled that little road congestion problem? In less than three months, the lawmakers came together and raised the money and made the moves necessary to get everyone moving again.
Oh wait. This just in: They didn't accomplish anything in Richmond this session, and now the governor has summoned his friends back to town starting March 27 to try again.
The Republican leadership in Richmond protests that they did too accomplish great things during the session that ended Saturday. Why, they created a back-to-school sales tax holiday and they got tough on vicious dogs. Important stuff.
And actually, to be fair, what the legislature didn't do really was important: They ended up killing various bills that would have demonstrated raw anger against illegal immigrants by punishing those immigrants' children--banning them from public colleges and that sort of thing.
But all in all, what the Republicans were really focused on this session was political savaging, such as the move to expel former delegate Jim Dillard of Fairfax County from the board at the College of William and Mary--a way to show GOP displeasure at Dillard's decision to vote with then-Gov. Mark Warner to raise taxes and bail Virginia out of its financial mess. And then there was the Republican leadership's glorious triumph over Gov. Tim Kaine a few days ago, when they nixed Kaine's appointment of former labor leader Danny LeBlanc to be secretary of the commonwealth.
And yes indeed, there was one other big accomplishment: The Repos managed to assure that this fall's ballot will include a ratification vote on a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. This has little to do with public policy and everything to do with making certain that social conservatives come on out to the polls this November when the Republicans will need every bit of their base to show up. (Of course, activists on the Democratic side hope to use the same measure to frighten their supporters into showing up, too. But as ever, it's the murky middle of voters who don't have very strong feelings in either direction on this issue and therefore might be inclined to stay home, and thus, the polarizers win again.)
In any event, the special session at the end of this month promises even more stalemate, even more sniping, and then, a real test of the new governor's political skills and this legislature's ability to figure out a way to come home emptyhanded while spinning the results as a victory for traffic-stunned commuters.
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