In Virginia governor's race, all politics is local

The governor’s race in Virginia is important on many levels. The coming election test between Republican Glenn Youngkin and Democrat former Gov. Terry McAuliffe is seen as an early harbinger for the very important national mid-term in 2022, and rightfully so. 

However, for my fellow Virginians, it might actually come down to a test of the political wisdom of the late “Tip” O’Neill, the former Massachusetts Democrat congressmen and Speaker of the House. Take a look at this Kentucky test question on a standardized exam for the gist.

“The phrase, "All politics is local" is a common phrase in U.S. politics. The former U.S. Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill coined this phrase which encapsulates the principle that a politician's success is directly tied to his ability to understand and influence the issues of his constituents. Politicians must appeal to the simple, mundane and everyday concerns of those who elect them into office. Those personal issues, rather than big and intangible ideas, are often what voters care most about, according to this principle.”

If Tip was correct, and I believe he was, then the current race for the governor of Virginia between Youngkin and former Governor “Terry” may be a good example of voters having enough of constant one party rule.

I'm a lifelong Virginian. Having learned to drive while attending high school in Newport News, Virginia, in the early sixties, I immediately realized one of the most powerful organizations in my life was the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. Over time, with many many engagements with the DMV, I learned the truth of the cliché that “people are people.”

In other words, some DMV employees are caring “can do” bureaucrats; personally the rural DMVs appear to have many with this attitude. Others are the famous “Big yawn -- is it five o’clock yet? -- only have 12 years to go!” clock-watching ticket punchers.  And finally the worst of the worst are the very officious rookies with power who are petty bureaucrats both lazy and obnoxious. I will leave to my fellow Virginians to their opinions and how they have been treated.

Currently, because of COVID, the DMV changed their rules to computer-driven appointment only. I suspect for many employees that they liked that process not just for health reasons but because it meant more power. After all, they could set their work flow while lording it over those who pay their salaries on 'who is really in charge -- we are' terms.

After Virginia opened up for schools and commerce when the pandemic peaked, it took months for them to get back to normal. Because of political pressure for the Virginia DMV to loosen up their rules, they concocted a weekly hybrid approach; on certain days, DMV offices returned to walk in service and on other days they retained their computer-based scheduling. It has, by several statewide reports, not gone well. If there was ever example of all-politics is local, this maybe is it:

“Customers at the Richmond DMV office off of West Broad Street around lunchtime reported waiting between two and four hours for service. Lines built up outside as a way to control crowds indoors….

The return of walk in services comes in response to a General Assembly mandate. Some lawmakers were frustrated by long wait-times under the appointment-only system, calling it one of the most common concerns among their constituents.”

Virginia voters have been reminded that “Terry” was our previous governor before the “Hollow Men” of Governor Ralph Northam and his political team took over. Consequently, it has to be pointed out for many issues the Democrat leadership of Virginia totally owns everything that is happening;

We see the true core beliefs of these people in the wake of Northam's medical school blackface and Ku Klux Klan photo scandal, and his even more scandalous statement defending infanticide. 

As a proud Virginia High School graduate and current constituent of Virginia's Democratic Governor Ralph Northam, I look on at what this Virginia Military Institute graduate and former doctor has said and done and can only say it's simply stupid and awful. But it seems to go beyond that, representing a historic sea change in the political landscape.

Virginia voters, be they Republicans, Democrats, or independents now have a clear choice between the proven attention to the detail business and management acumen of Glenn Youngkin, who led a $260 billion organization, the Carlyle Group, and “Terry” who cannot even run a political campaign. In fact, the liberal progressive publication “Salon” years ago reported on his chaotic leadership and ethics, and by most accounts nothing has changed:

“If it wasn't obvious enough already, the news coming out of Old Dominion should make it official: Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic governor of Virginia, is terrible and inept.

I could forgive McAuliffe for being a neoliberal bagman who represents what's broken in our politics if he were effective. But to be all those things and incompetent too? That's simply asking too much.

If the Virginia voters think that President Biden and Governor Northam will say, to paraphrase a quote from President Bush, "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job, " just before Brownie resigned over his stewardship of bring aid to Hurricane Katarina victims –“Terry—You’re doing a heck of a job ” then Virginia voters should think of how they have for at least the last eight years been treated by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles.

If all politics is local, than Youngkin as a lifelong Virginian knows exactly how to make state government run effectively with competence, grace and compassion in order to serve the people who pay the salaries of their state workers. “Terry” is simply a questing former political bagman for Clinton, Inc. greedy for more political power, and if current reporting is accurate about his campaign, there's a Democrat disaster in the making.  

Image: Rockclaw, via Wikimedia Commons // CC0 1.0 public domain

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