Leahy: Virginia Politicians Have Already Had a Rough Start to 2022
The new year has started off badly for a number of Virginia politicians. Whether it’s the bipartisan angst of redistricting, which, barring lawsuits, the Virginia Supreme Court made final in the waning days of 2021, or, more recent, the snowstorm that paralyzed Interstate 95 and exposed Gov. Ralph Northam (D), there’s plenty of bad mojo in the air.
Let’s begin with the I-95 debacle. The marathon shutdown of the major East Coast artery for 24 hours or so was a real-time crisis. Mercifully, there were no injuries or loss of life. That’s the good part. There’s plenty of bad to go around, though at least some state officials had the presence of mind to call the situation what it was: “completely unacceptable.”
The Virginia Department of Transportation has promised to look into the incident to see how things could have been handled differently. Where the real soul-searching should occur, though, is in the governor’s office and how the soon-to-be-former governor handled what was possibly his final opportunity to display coherent, effective leadership.
He didn’t. Instead, Northam hid behind the tired “perfect storm” trope and blandly said this was “an incredibly unusual event.”
Okay, I’ll grant him that. Weather can be very unusual, and it can snarl even the best-laid response plans.