Know When to Walk Away
Tuesday, March 28, 2006 :::
A reader sends these observations of the action inside the General Assembly. If I didn't know any better, it almost - almost - looks like the Senate's 2004 playbook has been shredded:
The House leadership caught the Senate with their pants down this time. Yesterday's convoluted session in the House now makes sense. They pushed their deliberations back until the Senate was safely out of the way and couldn't change their plans, then took their ball and went home. Yesterday's parade of Democratic amendments to the budget bill played into their hands perfectly.
They're getting smarter on that end of the Capitol. That multiplies the pressure on the Senate to get it done one way or the other. Does the House have an upper hand now? I'm not sure. But it sure seemed to kick Norment and Chichester et al in the gut real hard.
It would seem to me that whoever can be in their districts the longest has the better chance. Without the pressure of lobbyists knocking on the door -- and knowing that they're in Richmond with the clock ticking -- along with citizen groups making robo calls and coming en masse, the House seems much better prepared to hang together.
Of course when the worthies went home in 2004, they were generally besieged by interest groups representing teachers, cops, firemen, little old ladies, fruitbats and anchovies over the desperate need for a tax hike. It was all for the children! And the bond rating. This time around...well...the needs may be there, at least in some places. But I'll say it one more time: pavement doesn't roil the blood like education and public safety. Even bond ratings seem to come in a bit higher on the emotional scale.
Of course, the Governor has tried mightily to get the 2004 Tax Express running again. But so far, it looks like Mark Warner not only walked away with the keys to the bandwagon when he left office, he took the spark plugs, too.
::: posted by Norman Leahy at 3/28/2006