Two posts have sprung up on Right Wing Liberal and Spank That Donkey over some comments I made on RWL regarding the 2007 transportation package (HB 3202).
It’s true that deals were cut between House and Senate members in order to get HB 3202 passed. The House leadership promised blanket endorsements of incumbent Senators in exchange for their vote in favor of HB 3202. This should come as no surprise. Deals are as much a part of politics as campaigning. It’s how things are done. Can deal making be abused? Absolutely! It’s up to the voters to decide if what’s accomplished is either good or bad.
In the General Assembly, many deals are based on region. I might vote for (or against) something that affects residents in Northern Virginia, and is of little personal interest to me or my constituents. In exchange, my counterparts in Northern Virginia would support a future effort of mine to benefit Western Virginia.
Some may find this practice troublesome. But they shouldn’t. Think about it. The Senate has 40 members. If those 40 Senators only cast votes to benefit their districts or themselves, the legislative body would never accomplish anything.
Many have asked why I supported HB 3202. I’d be lying if I said the endorsement wasn’t appealing at the time. Of course in hindsight, that agreement was worthless. But the faux endorsement was not the only or even the most important reason for my vote. I believed that having a Republican crafted transportation package was absolutely essential to proving Republicans could lead on this important issue. It was also vital to the re-election of vulnerable Republican Senators including Cuccinelli, Devolites-Davis, O’Brien and Rerras.
Senate members from Northern Virginia and Tidewater were very much in favor of this bill and desperately wanted it to pass. I held my nose and voted for the bill because it was supported by the regional delegations and I thought maybe it was the beginning of our fractured caucus working together.