Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Playing Chicken?

Last Monday Governor Tim Kaine invited Virginia's congressional delegation to breakfast to discuss the commonwealth's economic and budget situations and the stimulus bill pending in Congress. The breakfast is a time-honored annual tradition that brings together the top elected officials to discuss issues facing the state and ways our representatives in Congress can help address them. Typically, the representatives and senators attend, or if they can't, will send a top aide.
This year, in a bit of political chicken, all the Republicans (including Bob Goodlatte) stayed away. None even sent an aide. That's right, they boycotted because (pick your fowl excuse):
  • Rep. Eric Cantor, a house whip, couldn't be there because he was on a fact-finding trip to Afghanistan and Iraq - Kaine picked the date to exclude him, or
  • For the first time in years there were more Democratic than Republican seats at the table, or
  • Governor Tim Kaine is also the DNC chair and it would be a partisan breakfast.
Mr. Cantor, whose absence is excused, could have done as Rep. Rick Boucher did - send his chief of staff.
Rep. Randy Forbes said he didn't want to have breakfast with a man who would later be plotting Forbes' defeat in the next election. So, Mr. Forbes, why did Democrats join the meeting with former Governor Jim Gilmore when he was also the RNC chair?
The most likely reason for their absence is that Virginia, like nearly every other state no matter which party governs it, is looking for help in the economic stimulus bill. All of the Republicans in Virginia's congressional delegation, following party marching orders, voted no.
Whatever the reason for their petty boycott of this meeting of Virginia's elected officials, it is a very bad time to play the old partisan game of chicken. To move our nation forward, we need more talking and listening, not less. Your 6th District constituents were not represented at this meeting, Mr. Goodlatte. You didn't have input, nor did you learn about critical issues facing my family and our communities in the Shenandoah Valley.
To everything there is a season: a time for partisan politics, and a time for statesmanship and good government. Apparently our elected Republican leaders have yet to learn this lesson.

1 comment:

unionman said...

Thanks Bob for looking out for us in the 6th. One can't pick up a newspaper without seeing stories about more layoffs and people losing their housing. But he "has his stuff" and to hell with everyone else.