Chris Graham: Quick advice for Virginia House Republicans

Democrat vs. Republican on whiteThey don’t want to hear this from me; they don’t want to hear it from anybody, really. But it needs to be said: Virginia House Republicans would be wise to pick another battle, because the Medicaid expansion fight is lost.

And all anybody in the Virginia GOP would need to do to figure that out is look up Interstate 95 at how quixotic battles fought by House Republicans there over the budget and the debt ceiling turned out for them.

In a word, disaster.

The situation in Richmond very much resembles the one in D.C. surrounding those Republican failures. The executive is a Democrat, the Senate is controlled by Democrats. A key difference is the heavy majority Republicans in the Virginia House have relative to their congressional counterparts, but all that does is make it harder for somebody in the caucus to point out the obvious.

The obvious, from this vantagepoint, is that the focus within the caucus needs to be on crafting some sort of face-saving compromise, not on pushing state government (and thus local governments across the Commonwealth) to the brink of shutdown.

Because by all accounts, that’s where we’re headed, to the brink and beyond. A shutdown seems likely right now, and if it happens, well, again, look at recent American political history. Congressional Republicans forced a federal government shutdown last fall, and in the process lost so much ground in the polls that for a time it looked like the 2014 midterms would be the Democrats’ to lose.

In Virginia, with off-year elections, we’re headed toward some pretty boring 2015 midterms, where only the 100 members of the House of Delegates face re-election. And no matter how bad things get for Republicans after this pending disaster of a shutdown, the way district lines have been drawn guarantees that the voters will return a sizable Republican majority to Richmond in 2016.

Saying that, it must also be noted that nobody thought Democrats would ever lose control of the House of Representatives after a four-decade reign, but then 1994 happened.

Why open the door, right?

Ask your local House Republican. Because he or she is about to do just that.


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