It seems that Democratic Virginia Senate leader Dick Saslaw is in high dudgeon these days. Apparently if the GOP takes the Senate in November he feels Virginia will be transformed into “Mississippi and Arizona if they get control of the Senate”.
I have to ask-If that happens, Dick, whose should be blamed? I ask because at least one of the fingers should be pointed at you.
Why do I say this? Let me count the says:
1. Senator Saslaw was complicit in a long term failure to engage. A steady succession of Democratic leaders in the executive and legislative branches refused to challenge the GOP. For years they hid behind Chichester and Potts and hoped to grow through GOP infighting. Democratic alternatives were seldom offered, and never were there efforts to carry it to the floor and force a vote on Democratic policies-votes that could have yielded campaign issues.
2. Senator Saslaw led a failure to stake out a Democratic vision. The Democrats took the Senate in 2007. The excuse until then was always that they could not get their policies past GOP majorities in the General Assembly…but once they had one chamber they again refused to send up legislation that would build an argument to take to the voters of the superiority of Democratic rule. For two years with a Democratic Governor and another year with a GOP governor they just hang out, send out press releases, and complain about the GOP without offering alternative ideas or plans.
3. To date Senator Saslaw seems to have mishandled the 2011 elections: Saslaw attempted to impose a candidate on the 31st district. His failed attempts in Va 31 and the like to clear the field has caused ill will, and the use of resources now that will be needed in November. He has not recruited enough candidates to really challenge the GOP.
Where are the vulnerable seats that the Democrats will pick up? In 2007 the GOP barely held the line at 19 seats-shift a a couple of thousand votes and the GOP is down t0 17, then 16 after the Va 37 special election. Fast forward four years, and it would seem that the Democrats had shots at a number of seats. Well, the worm has turned and now bloggers, pundits, and savants alike are thinking that between new seats and a couple of vulnerable ones the GOP is right in it. Add in the pressure of having to commit additional funds to fight off GOP candidates in several heretofore Democratic Likely-to-Safe areas, and Senate Democrats are looking at a dogfight in November to hold the majority.
So the next time Dick Saslaw goes on and on about the effects of GOP rule, you might ask him why it has come to this and then count and see how long it takes the whining majority leader to look into the mirror and accept his role.
I don’t know that I agree with the Saslaw assertion as to the effects of a GOP majority…but I surely know one person who has gone out of his way politically to make that majority happen. Perhaps that is what they mean by collegiallity.