The Virginia Way Lives On
The Virginia General Assembly is scheduled to return to Richmond for a special session dedicated to finishing its work on the state budget. That’s the headline news.
The real news isn’t how much the state will spend over the next two years. It will spend more. The real news is how the “Virginia Way” is alive, well and thriving in Capitol Square.
Bolstering that are a couple of very familiar stories to readers of this column: How much taxpayer money the worthies will offer Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder to relocate to Northern Virginia and the ongoing lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the 2021 House of Delegates races.
In neither case has the commonwealth’s elected officials covered themselves with glory. Quite the opposite. But it’s all of a piece with a third issue that cropped up recently: namely, the unusual status of Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s (R) director of policy and legislative affairs, Matt Moran, who is an unpaid staffer on leave from his paying gig as a political consultant.
Add them all together and what we get is a political culture that tells itself it has no interests beyond fulfilling some version of the old Mark R. Warner/Tim Kaine campaign slogan: “Moving Virginia forward.”
Let’s take a look at the first leg of this wobbly stool: the Commander’s stadium follies.
The bipartisan consensus is still — strongly — to funnel as much as $350 million in taxpayer money into a stadium for billionaire Snyder’s middling football team.
It’s an improvement over the potentially unlimited amount of taxpayer money Senate grandees initially proposed. Good news, right?
No. It turns out that Virginia’s stadium-obsessed pols are now in a bidding against themselves for the honor of hosting Snyder’s hobby horse.
If that wasn’t embarrassing enough for Virginia’s elected officials, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) said, “I can tell you that we are not interested in building a $1.2 billion stadium for the Commanders.”
A sampling of that comes from Del. Lee Ware (R-Powhatan), who said, “Waiting 12 months [to hold elections in the new, constitutional districts] is not going to cripple effective representation.”