Democrats wasted no time in trying to paint GOP Gubernatorial nominee-in-waiting, Bob McDonnell, into a political corner by urging him to agree to accept 100% of the stimulus money offered by the federal government, and reject Louisiana Governor Jindal’s selective refusal to accept certain of the goodies, because of his concern over the long term impact in his state.
Never mind that they most likely haven’t read the 1000 plus page bill yet, they readily toss out political hand grenades with the thoughtfulness of a first grader throwing a dodge ball at recess. And never mind that Governor Kaine and the General Assembly must decide what to do now.
As President Obama did in the months before he was inaugurated, he deferred to the President we had, not the one we had just chosen. Bob McDonnell isn’t nominated yet and it is proper that he defer to those currently in office to make this decision and wait his turn. Surely he can express his current view as he chose to do, but the state Democratic Party is engaged in political silliness in the extreme.
But this is not too surprising. Democrats usually tend to favor programmatic dictates from DC over state prerogatives. They tend towards the “one size fits all” panoply of national programs instead of the rich diversity inherent in our federal system and reflected in our 50 state laboratories. Federalism, which should be a vital part of the GOP philosophy, rarely appeals to Democrats (and unfortunately in recent years Republicans have ignored it too).
To many of them money from DC is a universal blessing and states should rush to the spigot and take all they can get.
Maybe. But not necessarily. I wager that Governor Jindal and the citizens of LA know better than the Democratic Party of VA what might be in their best interest and are more capable than political operatives a few hundred miles north of their border to make an informed judgment on their priorities.
Governor Jindal and the citizens of Louisiana should decide what is best for them from the stimulus package and make their own decisions, as should Virginians. One of the great potential threats of the gargantuan federal spending spree, whether necessary or not, is the furthering of the steady erosion of federalism and the dampening of the creative and diverse efforts of our 50 unique governmental units from Alaska to Florida and Maine to California, to fashion diverse solutions to common issues and each learn from the other’s success or failure.
So, Bob McDonnell should, in my view, fire right back at the Democratic state party’s political hucksters and tell that when he is Governor he will, along with other elected representatives, decide at that time, based on the facts then existing, which could be vastly different than now, what it is in the best interests of Virginians.
Any potential aspirant to lead Virginia from 2010 to 2014 should keep his options open on the economic and financial front and free himself to make the decisions the moment requires and not lock himself into political posturing from which he might have to flee once taking office.
Opinions on what to accept or not accept right now are fair game, but some silly “100% pledge” makes no sense.
Governor Jindal made the decision he felt was right for Louisiana. It may or may not be right for VA. Right now that is Governor Kaine’s decision, along with the General Assembly. Bob McDonnell should make sure to preserve that decision for himself and those elected with him later this year and avoid absolute statements now about decisions like this to be made next year that depend so much on events yet to unfold.
Wyatt Durrette is a Director at DurretteBradshaw, PLC (www.durrettebradshaw.com) and co-founder of the XDL Group. He served three terms in the House of Delegates and was the Republican candidate for Governor in 1985.