If you’re anything like us (and honestly, our condolences if you are), you probably spend way too much time following the vagaries and vicissitudes of Virginia’s preening political class. And if you’ve been watching closely over the past few weeks — while completely ignoring that insignificant little thing we call real life—you could be excused for thinking that our Commonwealth is absolutely awash in cash.
Kaine took his pro-stimulus message straight to the people…of Israel, Dubai and Morocco, courtesy of Virginia’s taxpayers.
For starters, just take a look at the eye-popping first quarter fundraising haul for the governor’s race, in which the four candidates raked in nearly eight million smackers, setting a pace that seems sure to make this the most expensive electoral free-for-all in Virginia’s history. And if you’re wondering where all of that sweet, sweet green is going, just head on over to YouTube and take a gander at the massive sign gauntlet (aka “Terry McAuliffe’s Sea of Hubris”) that greeted this year’s Shad Planking attendees.
But even more impressive than the ability to rake in massive amounts of loot (and spend it like Michael Jackson in a Baby Gap) is the devil-may-care insolence it takes to be handed a heaping pile of cashola on a silver platter, and then blithely hand it back because the platter isn’t shiny enough.
Yes, that’s exactly what the swells over at the General Assembly recently did, giving the old “thanks but no thanks” to $125 million in federal stimulus funds because, even though it would fund a nice chunk of current state unemployment benefits, it might just possibly maybe make it necessary to expand unemployment coverage in the future. Now, we’re certainly no experts, but with Virginia’s unemployment rate at 6.7 percent and rising, you’d think these guys would just take the money and concentrate on creating new jobs, thereby solving the problem, instead of assuming that we’re headed for a post-apocalyptic future where everyone is on the dole, and the only available work revolves around the shoe-shining and suit-pressing needs of our god-like legislators. But hey, that’s just us.
Now, there is one way in which Virginia’s pols resemble regular people when it comes to money: They just can’t stop talking about it. In fact, it seemed like the entirety of last week’s gubernatorial debate was dedicated to charges and counter-charges of shady fundraising (for those keeping score at home: Brian Moran took money from defense contractors with business in front of his brother, Creigh Deeds wanted to take money from defense firms but failed, Terry McAuliffe takes money from anything with a pulse, and Bob McDonnell takes money from a Virginia Beach law firm, but claims to be “sort of unemployed”).
Not to be outdone, Governor Tim Kaine (who’s sort of over-employed, if you ask us) has been berating the Assembly non-stop for turning down the Fed’s free dough, and recently promised to take his message to the people to force lawmakers to “do the right thing.”
So what’s the Gov’s first message-spreading stop? Why, an eight-day trip to Israel, Dubai and the Kingdom of Morocco, of course, at an estimated cost to taxpayers of $32,000.
Like we said: as long as you ignore everything outside of politics, we’ve got the best economy in the world!