That was quick.
Anyone who has been around Richmond for any period of time knows that the first few days of a General Assembly session are full of seeing old friends, lots of talk of happy-go-lucky bipartisanship and a general atmosphere of congeniality.
That usually lasts right up until the first bill is debated in a committee.
This year, it seemed to last until newly minted Governor Ralph Northam addressed a joint session of the General Assembly. Until that point, there were members of the assembly who actually might have lived under the media-created delusion that Governor Northam is something of a “moderate” who really wants to “get things done.”
Instead, his speech Tuesday night was reminiscent of his predecessor’s litany of left-wing progressive ideology focusing primarily on making sure unborn children can’t survive the womb and redefining marriage and human sexuality down to nothing more than an emotional whim. In similar tones, former Governor Terry McAuliffe spent much of his last speech as governor last week decrying “divisive social issues” while then proceeding to spend much of his speech advocating for divisive social issues, like making sure unborn children can’t survive the womb and, well, you know.
In other words, the real Ralph was on full display, much to the dismay of conservatives who thought, maybe, just maybe, the new Governor was actually interested in governing.
That was all followed yesterday with competing speeches in the House of Delegates between Republican majority leader Todd Gilbert and Democrat minority leader David Toscano. Gilbert took Northam to task for his blatantly partisan speech, making sure to note that when a left-wing liberal says bipartisanship, they generally mean, “do everything that I want.”
To which Toscano answered with, well, a litany of left-wing progressive ideology that he claimed are all bipartisan! Just agree with him on everything and you can be bipartisan, too.
All this leaves us pretty much where those of us who have been around a while have come to expect – a deeply divided legislature with partisan groups that have nearly completely opposite worldviews that leave very little room for compromise. Of course, few Virginians know any of this, because the political media in Virginia (which is mostly made up of VCU journalism students posing as reporters) is so devoid of objectivity they can’t report anything close to reality. Remarkably, the stories out about the competing speeches, and the editorial boards, are making it seem like the breakdown in bipartisanship is all on the side of Republicans, presumably because they simply won’t pass everything Democrats want.
Be prepared for lots of that in the next eight weeks.