Senate Republican Power Grab Draws Widespread Criticism


RICHMOND - Monday's unconstitutional power grab by Senate Republicans has drawn widespread criticism from leading Republicans and editorial boards around the Commonwealth. Below is a roundup of the universally negative response to the divisive and distracting actions Republicans took on Monday. 



VIRGINIA REPUBLICANS' BALD-FACED POWER GRAB "The Republican move was executed in the style of a putsch, arising from a conspiracy and with no warning, public input or debate. Pressing their momentary numerical superiority, GOP lawmakers amended a routine House bill by tacking on a new map, devised in secret. Although this is one of the most partisan redistricting plans in Virginia's history, the Republicans then cut off debate after 30 minutes." [Washington Post, 1/22/2013] 


CLEVER CYNICS " Senate Democrats have a right to take offense. Senate Republicans have polluted the atmosphere. Gov. Bob McDonnell has not endorsed the scheme. His administration wants to keep the focus on transportation, education and the budget. The GOP machinations will make it more difficult for his agenda. If the House of Delegates agrees to the Senate's measure and sends the bill to the governor's desk, then McDonnell will have to veto it to save his party from itself. Republicans collectively are making it difficult for well-meaning Virginians to vote for their candidates in assembly races. This stinks." [Richmond Times-Dispatch, 1/23/2013]


VIRGINIA'S ETCH-A-SKETCH "Virginia needs elected representatives in Richmond who are focused on the needs of its citizens and moving our state forward. This means doing the hard work of compromise and collaboration, not creating self-perpetuating political gridlock. Monday's action was clearly a step backward." [Daily Press, 1/22/2013]


'DIRTY TRICK' COULD SET UP AN UNPLEASANT CHOICE "The redistricting proposal still must be approved by the Republican-controlled House of Delegates and must be signed by Gov. Bob McDonnell before it goes into effect. We hold little hope that the even more partisan House will see the flaw in this plan, but the governor, whichever way he goes, will again see GOP antics undermine any hope he has of unity behind issues he considers his legacy. Last year, he was ultrasounded out of national vice presidential credibility, and this year his transportation and education packages could require Democratic buy-in. Don't count on it happening." [News Leader, 1/22/2013]


THE OUTRAGE IN THE STATE SENATE "In the meantime, lawmakers should be working together to do the people's work and solve pressing issues, not least of which is the commonwealth's transportation crisis. Now, the little trust left in the Senate after last year's contentious fighting is gone. The possibility of compromise has been jeopardized. And the legacy of the 2013 session is one of discord and disgrace." [Virginian-Pilot, 1/22/2013]


REPUBLICAN REDISTRICTING IS UNCOUTH "Power corrupts, and leaving district boundaries in the hands of the political party with the most power means that redistricting will be corrupted. The Senate's manipulation of redistricting is one of the most politically cynical and morally flawed maneuvers we've seen in Virginia in many a day. It no longer seems to matter whether politics is about right or wrong, about good governance or bad. Today, it is solely about winning." [Daily Progress, 1/23/2013]


Opinion Editorials


SCHAPIRO: WATKINS' SURPRISE MOVE MAY BACKFIRE "What Watkins has done is the opposite of what he intended: He has empowered out-of-power Democrats. At a minimum, Watkins has given them a powerful talking point that could apply, as well, to continuing Republican efforts to deny them prized committee seats once held by late Democrat Yvonne Miller of Norfolk: on Finance, on Commerce and Labor, on Transportation, on Rehabilitation and Social Services." [Times Dispatch, 1/22/2013]