Cheap Lesson, As Lessons Go
one for the Republicans: Gov. Warner deserved to get
his hand slapped for the way he accounted for staff
expenses. Now, get over it -- it's not a big deal.
was tempted to use that old line about Caesarís
wife to open this column, but thought better of, for
two reasons: I
couldnít remember exactly how it went, and it
would have been just a little much, actually.
Gov. Mark R. Warner has had his hand in the cookie
jar, moving a million dollars from other agencies to
cover the expenses of his own office?
Excuse me while I yawn.
million dollars? Are
you kidding me? Please.
These legislative money committees drop that
much change on the floor most days.
the biggest enemy of any political organization,
administration, etc. is a slow
cycle. Whatís usually left on the cutting room
floor can flare up into
headlines during a slow
slow was this one? I
ís expose of the evil and sinister Richmond-
axis when he bells went off on this one.
Headlines blared across the state and it led
ís clip service with the top six slots the
thatís all this is ó slow news cycle stuff.
Almost all. There
are a couple of minor points that need to be made.
Auditor of Public Accounts Walter J. Kucharski gave
the disarrayed Republicans something they havenít
had all summer ó a touch of cohesion ó with the
breathless, deeply intoned,
. Thank you,
been looking for some excuse to have a group hug for
a long time. Thank
you for giving it to them.
ever let folks tell you Kucharski doesnít know
which side of the bread gets buttered.
Yeah, heís up for reappointment.
Yeah, the Republicans will reappoint him.)
letís not forget Del. Leo Wardrup, R-Virginia
Beach, hands-own winner of Chicken Littleís
Leo compared this one ó a budgetary
housekeeping practice that reaches back through
other administrations ó to the collapse of the
I think what you need to do it get yourself a brown
paper bag and breathe into it for a little while.
Maybe lay down for a few minutes.
And, hey, donít let your prescription run
out next time.)
hate, or be indifferent to Mark Warner, he has
brought business acumen, and discipline, to the governorís
office unseen in years and years.
From cutting useless and obsolete boards and
commissions to streamlining the stateís cumbersome
procurement process, nearly every move heís made
has made sense. And
if you look beyond the hype, this one did ó sorta.
immediately trotted out the fact that other
governors routinely appropriated staffers from other
departments to help shoulder the load in the
governorís office, the effect being that they were
paid for by one office budget, while working in
least Warner, they said, was up front about it.
me while I yawn again.
the thing. That
kind of lame excuse making, of story-telling, of
jumping up and down and pointing to others whoíve
done it, too, doesnít cut it.
It doesnít become you.
instincts tell me this flap was planned, managed,
and choreographed very carefully, start to finish.
And that it worked.
I might be wrong.
But I donít think so.
this is nickel and dime stuff and the coverage and
scrutiny is out of all proportion to the facts of
the case, but when someone turns on the light on in
the kitchen and there you are, flat-footed, with
your hand in the cookie jar, well, there you are.
to do? Show
some class. Put
a check mark by the opposition on this one.
They scored. Give
it to them graciously.
And learn from it.
This was a cheap lesson as lessons go.
November 1, 2004