Anybody Seen My Old Friend John?

Yesterday’s Tuesday Morning Group meeting in downtown Richmond featured Paul Goldman, who discussed the legal issues, and much more, surrounding the 2007 transportation bill. Paul did a fine job and provided a refreshing look inside the sausage factory that produced the final bill. Interesting highlight: It seems the idea that it would be too hard or too expensive to collect abusive driver fees from out of state residents doesn’t mesh with existing practice among the several states to collect traffic fines. In other words, when Bacon gets a speeding ticket in North Carolina, and decides not to pay it, the next time he tries to renew his Virginia license, that out of state fine will be on his record — and he won’t be able to renew his license until that ticket is cleared. Presumably, the same system would flag any out of state driver who earns a Virginia abuser fee, but decides to ignore it.

Also scheduled to speak was RPV chairman John Hager on the topic of “what he hopes to accomplish as chair – both before and after this November’s election.”

Unfortunately, Hager withdrew from the schedule. After some discussion as to the reason why, it seem that the Speaker’s office was upset that Hager intended to appear before a group that includes members who vehemently disagree with the GOP leadership on the structure, and in some cases the constitutionality, of the transportation bill.

Interestingly, Hager will be appearing, supposedly with the Speaker’s prior approval, before the Sorensen Institutes’s reunion gala in October, where Hager will share the dais with DPVA chairman Dickie Cranwell. It is safe to assume Mr. Cranwell does not exactly believe in the wisdom of the GOP leadership’s policy proposals on transportation, the budget, education, or much else.

John Hager is a good man and an indefatigable supporter of the GOP. He’s taken over a party that is in the midst of a tough election season, made more difficult by the hub-bub over the transportation bill. That he was willing to enter a potential lion’s den at TMG shows that he’s confident in his ability to make a strong case for the party and his vision for it. That the Speaker does not share Hager’s confidence says a lot. And while I can understand the Speaker’s unwillingness to provide even a modicum of support to those who are so vocally opposing his signature initiative, I cannot understand why he is allowed to dictate the party chairman’s schedule.

But I do know that this high-handedness has already paid some rather nasty dividends for the party. And more may be on the way.

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3 responses to “Anybody Seen My Old Friend John?”

  1. Jim Bacon Avatar

    Norm, That’s interesting insight into the power dynamics inside the state GOP. I’m quite amazed to hear that Howell would — and could — tell the GOP Party chairman whom he could speak to, especially when the event involved, although officially non-partisan, is comprised almost entirely of Republicans and former Republicans.

  2. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    Other JAB: I think the term is ‘recovering Republicans’. Unique 12 step program.

    I’m sorry that I missed Tues – but had to go to Modeling and Simulation convention in Va Beach. Geeks for Geeks.

  3. Reid Greenmun Avatar
    Reid Greenmun

    I had work to do – so i could not go.

    This does not surprise ME at all – while I have been a life-long Republican, the ‘leadership’ of the VA GOP is simply lost – they failed to comprehend that the GOP faithful stand on GOP principals, not simply party labels.

    The VA GOP fail to stand up for Republican core values and principals.

    Clearly the ‘leadership’ needs to be replaced – or the GOP will simply lose to the emboldened Democrat Party.

    HB 3202 is the clearest proof that the GOP ‘leadership’ are … not too bright and out of touch with conservative voters.

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