do pundits in states with full-time legislatures cope? Virginia
commentators have seemed exhausted since the budget deal
was struck. Gov.
Mark R. Warner’s victory and Republican disarray is
the simplistic story line and they’re sticking to it.
The budget bill veto session held June 16th
was barely noticed. A
total of 43 budget amendments were considered, but only
one merited more than perfunctory coverage.
LaViest of the Daily
Press noted the one headline decision from the
General Assembly gathering on June 16th —
the overwhelming vote to substantively fund a
scholarship program for those denied an education by
Virginia’s Massive Resistance campaign in the 50’s
and 60’s. LaViest
credited the dogged work of Farmville
Herald editor Robert Woodley and quoted his eloquent
reaction: "We won ... the sword of Massive
Resistance has turned into the plow share of massive
shots at the split in the Republican Party of Virginia
was the theme of the week.
Lessig and Kimball Payne of the Daily
Press previewed a Republican retreat that would
feature former Democratic Gov. L. Douglas Wilder as
keynote speaker. They
wrote, less than optimistically,
tax debate split House Republicans, and getting most of
them under one roof for a weekend may soothe some of
Schapiro, writing in the Richmond
Times-Dispatch, used almost every play on words
possible as he described GOP discomfort with the
legislative scorecards issued by the Virginia Foundation
for Research and Economic Education, known as “Virginia
FREE.” Ha, ha, there’s no “FREE ride” and get
ready for a “FREE-for-all.” Virginia
gave high marks to Republican legislators who voted to
raise taxes, while ranking anti-tax Republicans poorly. Schapiro managed to get in a dig at former Gov.
Jim Gilmore, claiming the FREE report card is an easy
to tell for Democrats, just like Gilmore’s
“three-word ditty: ‘no car tax.’"
of the Gilmore shots was the reliably partisan Gordon
Morse of the Daily Press.
Morse used President Reagan’s passing to
unfavorably compare Gilmore to the former president:
“At least with Ronald Reagan, you had a decent man of
good humor ….”
predictable criticism of Republicans came from Melanie
Scarborough of the Washington
actually defended 8th District Congressman
James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.) benefits from the precedent
set by Bill Clinton: Although many voters consider him
personally unfit for office, they deem him
professionally apt. So in a primary earlier this month,
Democrats held their noses and nominated Moran to run
for another term.
may not be all bad.
performs a function that has been largely abdicated by Virginia's Republican representatives: He dares to criticize and attempts to
curb George W. Bush's excesses.
pundits continue to explore perceived and real problems
within the GOP. There’s
plenty of material.
Cloud in the Sunny Sky
Warner is on a roll, energized by his budget victory and
favorable notices in the national press as a dark horse
If a dark cloud threatens the sunny skies of the
Warner Administration, it is the findings of a Washington Post investigative report on conditions in Virginia’s
adult assisted living facilities.
of Social Services Director Maurice
Jones responded to the Post
charges with the now-familiar combination of empathy
(“I am heartbroken by the suffering”), calibration
(“the overwhelming majority of staff members at
assisted-living facilities make the best interests of
their patients their top priority”), and spin (“the
state has made important strides in recent years in the
licensing of assisted-living facilities”).
promised the usual litany of more inspections and
tougher penalties, but he also seemed to recognize that
assisted living facilities could also benefit from other
approaches, such as assistance with management practices
and training for the largely unskilled workforce found
at most adult homes.
Voice in the Chorus
Brookings Institute scholar Jonathan
Rauch strongly criticized Virginia’s
Marriage Affirmation Act in a Washington
Post op-ed that was widely linked on political and
social policy websites around the country.
He compared the Act to Jim Crow laws and called
upon the General Assembly to “salvage its good name by
repudiating and repealing the law.”
Gottstein of the Roanoke
Times skewered a new program from the Virginia
Department of Health. The
Department is sponsoring outdoor billboards in
discourage sex with minors: “Isn't she a little young?
Sex with a minor – don't go there.”
Gottstein is outraged at the derisive attention
the billboards are drawing:
news outlets picked up the story of this new ad campaign
and broadcast it across the country this week. What an
embarrassment! It makes Virginia look backward and it
makes our men look like pedophiles.
press release from the VDH states: “The campaign hopes
to change the norms around relationships with minors,
making it no longer acceptable for adults to engage in
sex with minors.”
was it ever acceptable for adults to engage in sex with
minors? What planet are these people from?
of big-time media? Marc
Fisher of the Washington
Post takes us back to a kinder, gentler media
outlet, radio station WAMM in Shenandoah
It’s “the only place on the radio where
anyone cares about elections in Toms Brook or Strasburg,
or the games played by high school teams, or the needs
of county residents when the weather turns dangerous.” The goal of the station, according to Peggy
Boston, the station’s chairman, is clear: “We don't
want to become suburban Winchester.
We're the only thing in the county, and we want to sound
like the county." To
those who live in busy Northern
Metro Richmond, or Hampton Roads, sometimes the idea of
being suburban Winchester
June 21, 2004