No Hiding It: Northam Flubbed the Snowstorm Response
Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) was stuck on I-95 for 27 hours after Northam-led VDOT refused to prepare for winter storm.
Children stuck in icy cars for more than 24 hours or more deserved better.
The good news is that I-95 is open again and traffic is moving briskly if carefully, with the handful of abandoned cars remaining on the side of the interstate being removed as best they can. Virginia 511 continues to indicate that there are still issues on secondary roads, but primary and interstate travel should be mostly worry-free as temperatures come up above freezing.
Now that VDOT and Virginia’s law enforcement and first responders have fixed the problem, it is time to start asking the hard question.
What the heck happened, Ralph?
If it’s true that the Northam administration refused to fully treat the roads before this storm, it’ll be one of the worst mistakes a Virginia Governor has ever made. While the forecast continued to worsen on Saturday, just about everyone understood the forecast was for snow in amounts that required the attention of VDOT.
Predictably enough, Democrats took to Twitter to blame incoming Republican Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin — with the one itty-bitty problem: Youngkin will not be sworn in as governor until 15 January (something with which Virginia’s trio of at-risk Democrats continue to play politics when it comes to COVID testing).
Shockingly enough, Northam refused to issue a state of emergency. Speaker-designee Todd Gilbert (R-Woodstock) practically had to spur VDOT and VDEM into action by begging the Governor’s Office to activate the Virginia National Guard to help stranded motorists along the I-95 corridor:
The timeline calls into question whether the National Guard could have been called earlier and thus deployed already. Opett with VDEM says localities/agencies trigger a request for backup/National Guard. None had done so as of last night.
— Mel Leonor (@MelLeonor_) January 4, 2022
Of course, one small detail that makes this more than just partisan sniping? Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) was on his way back to Washington D.C. Monday night…
Now when the junior senator from Virginia — a former governor who has dealt with VDOT and VDEM and has cleared a road or two in his time — has to sit for 27 hours as 18 wheelers and families and others run out of gasoline, water and food?
That’s not just a problem. That’s the definition of failure.
Perhaps Ralph Northam will find the moral fortitude to simply resign these last two weeks he is in power. Clearly he is bored with the duties of his office; clearly there is no intention of playing until the buzzer as every elected official is expected to do before passing off the baton.
Perhaps Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax needs to hold the reins of power for just a few days in order to perform the most basic of duties?
Speaker Gilbert said it best:
“Keeping our citizens safe and our highways open are two core functions of government at which we must not fail.”
How hard is this, Ralph?
Good luck moonwalking into retirement.