Over the years I have heard various fables. One was a samurai tale that stuck with me-perhaps because it played a part in an episode of “Thirtysomething”-and went like this:
Two samurai warriors from opposing factions encountered each other on a mountain road. Each drew their sword and assumed a combat position. Neither one moved. Even as the wind increased, neither one moved. Even as the clouds opened and each soaked through, neither one moved. Why? Because the first one to move would commit, and in doing so lose the advantage. So they both stood there in the rain, doing nothing except getting wet.
This tale sums up how Governor Kaine (a/k/a “The Gov”) has dealt with transportation issues. Neither he nor the democratic contingent sent up a serious budget alternative to the GOP plan, instead assuming at each turn that the contentiousness between the GOP factions in the House and the Senate would preclude agreement on a budget, and he could go to the commonwealth in 2007 with proof of the GOP inability to govern.
Then the GOP started internal negotiations, and still The Gov refused to lead or govern or offer an alternative. Apparently he thought there would be defections, the GOP plan would fail, and then armed with two consecutive budget deadlocks he could take the inability argument to the people.
Imagine his surprise when the dust settled, the smoke cleared, and the sweat dried…the one thing he really did not expect to happen actually happened…a transportation funding bill passed the General Assembly.
Now the WaPo reports that The Gov
“will crisscross Virginia starting this week for a “statewide discussion” about the Republican-backed transportation package to decide how it should be changed.”
The article goes on to talk about all the state programs that will be endangered by the plan now on his desk. Note the language-not whether it should be changed, but how it should be changed.
To this I simply must say…Our Gov-What a Turkey.
He has every right to not like the Transportation Funding Plan. Shoot, I don’t like the Transportation Funding Plan.
So why is he a Turkey?
The Gov and the Democrats did not seriously advocate for their own plan to fund transportation. Instead they gambled on a deadlock between GOP factions and backed the sales tax plan offered by The Chich. They gambled, and they lost.
Now he runs around all high and mighty about how bad the GOP plan is when he and his party took their job so seriously they did not offer their own plan.
The Transportation Funding Plan is not good. It has at best elements that will make for a good one shot infusion of road cash, but it is not a long term solution.
Virginia does not face a transportation problem. We can all get to where we need to get to. What we have is an access and mobility problem, and the plan does nothing to address a myriad of issues from private funding to toll roads to land use issues and on and on and on…
But the GOP took their shot, and the Democrats did not. Now Governor Kaine is running around like an old time school marm who gives an assignment, gives the students freedom to complete the assignment as they see fit, and then pitches a hissy fit when things are not done as she envisioned it being done.
I understand the governor has the prerogative to seek input. But to attack legislation that addresses a problem that he and his party refused to address…well, that does not exhibit the courage of the samaurai. It reflects the timidity and cowardice of the bushwhacker who hides during a fight, then wants a medal because he rushed out and shot the enemy wounded.
At a time when we need leadership, we instead get an old school marm…bitter that she is not more appreciated, tolerated only because of the office held, and never to be remembered fondly or respectfully.
What a turkey. What a pity.