I had the opportunity to attend the Town Hall style meeting in Fredericksburg with Governor McDonnell on Tuesday evening. Full disclosure – I voted for the Governor and I am delighted that Virginians in record numbers did as well. My purpose for attending was to express to the Governor that Americans have never been burdened with government as large, as intrusive, and as costly as the government we have now – at every level (Federal, State, and County). It turns out that our good Governor shares that concern. You can see the PowerPoint presentation that he used at: http://www.reform.virginia.gov/
One principle topic Tuesday was the privatization of the ABC stores which appears to be a classic no-brainer. Having the Commonwealth sell liquor is a stealth tax on everyone who likes an occasional glass of Scotch, Bourbon, or Rum. Since no other issue has enjoyed such widespread bi-Partisan support – for it to be opposed now could only be for the most blatant political stunt.
However the thing that impressed me the most about the exchange with the Governor was his willingness to spread the credit and his dogged determination not to snipe at Democrats. It exhibited an exceptionally mature and accommodating stance given the hyper-partisan climate at the National level. The governor even credited Tim Kaine with a portion of the cuts that helped balance Virginia’s budget. Even though a couple of questioners provided the opportunity to blame Democrats or our spend-thrift Senators for the National problems they have caused, Governor McDonnell refused to engage in partisan attacks. McDonnell said that he had just spoken with Senator Warner and that the out of control spending was Warner’s “principle concern.” “He doesn’t vote that way!” came a shout from the audience. But the Governor restated the point.
If only the President was as mature and gracious as our Governor. But then again, that just doesn’t appear possible.