“Elections have consequences,” President Obama reminded House Republican Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia in January 2009, just three days into his presidency, adding: “And at the end of the day, I won.”
With unitary control of the White House and Congress for two years, Mr. Obama and congressional Democrats wildly overplayed their hand in 2009 and 2010. Steamrolling Republican opposition, they pushed through an ultraliberal agenda: Obamacare, which has caused health insurance premiums to skyrocket and has sharply limited consumer choice; a nearly $1 trillion “economic stimulus” boondoggle, which did next to nothing to mitigate the Great Recession; and the costly and counterproductive “Cash for Clunkers” program, among many other things.
Now, a decade later, Mr. Cantor’s fellow Virginians are about to experience Yogi Berra’s “deja vu all over again,” albeit closer to home, with the imposition of an extreme, liberal Democratic agenda at the state level.
The Virginia General Assembly convened Jan. 8 with a Democratic majority for the first time in more than a generation, after capturing control of the House of Delegates and state Senate in off-off-year elections in November.
Virginia Democrats last controlled the “trifecta” of both chambers of the General Assembly and the governorship in 1993, and they have been champing at the bit for the opportunity to impose their left-wing wish list since the 2017 elections, when they came within striking distance of taking back the legislature.
From all indications, Virginia Democrats, including Gov. Ralph Northam, are preparing to steer the ship of state as far and as fast to portside as they can on abortion, gun control, public benefits for illegal immigrants, LGBT issues, and taxes and spending, as well as in resurrecting and ratifying the federal Equal Rights Amendment (despite its expiration date having passed 40 years ago) and removing Confederate monuments from the Virginia landscape.
Just as their national counterparts did a decade ago, Virginia Democrats are greatly misreading their “mandate” from voters, and that could well foment buyers’ remorse among voters that causes them to lose their House majority in 2021. Until then, however, it’s “Katy, bar the door.”
With a 2020 legislative session that lasts just 60 days, they will be quick to seek to remake Virginia in the image of neighboring Maryland, a bastion of deep-blue liberalism.
As though to underscore the point, one of their first actions Jan. 10 was to ban guns from the Capitol in Richmond over strenuous Republican objections.
“Our objective here is keeping everyone safe,” new House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn, Fairfax Democrat, proclaimed, defending the policy change for a body where even some lawmakers pack heat. Never mind that until midnight Friday, when the change took effect, there had been no shootings there.
The Capitol’s “gun-free zone” designation — which extends to the adjacent Pocahontas Building, where committees meet and lawmakers have offices — is a solution in search of a problem. At least one Republican lawmaker, Sen. Amanda Chase of Chesterfield, has vowed to continue carrying.
The ban was the first installment in Virginia Democrats’ payback to New York billionaire anti-gun zealot Michael Bloomberg, whose gobs of campaign cash helped them buy their majority. But it certainly won’t be the last. Mr. Northam is pushing a package of eight anti-gun measures, including a ban on assault-style weapons, requiring background checks on firearms sales and transfers, and reinstating the limit on handgun purchases (one a month) that was repealed in 2012.
Not only has there not been a spike in the violent-crime rate in Virginia since the one-gun-a-month law — essentially, a “feel-good” measure — was scrapped, the Capital News Service reported in October that, according to FBI data, Virginia has the fourth-lowest violent-crime rate in the nation, behind only Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.
That won’t dissuade Democratic anti-gun extremists, however. But the thousands of gun-rights advocates expected to descend on the state Capitol for Lobby Day on Jan. 20 should give them pause — at least if the term “representative government” means anything.
In what should serve as a cautionary tale for Democratic lawmakers in Richmond, their congressional counterparts paid dearly in the 2010 elections for their liberal legislative overreach. They lost a whopping 63 House seats (and their majority), along with six in the Senate.
While it’s true that, “at the end of the day, [Virginia Democrats] won,” S. Chris Anders, director of Virginia Constitutional Conservatives, wrote that “there are 7 gun grabbers who won [House seats] by 5% or less in 2019.” They will likely find themselves in the electoral crosshairs in 2021, and that’s more than enough to flip the House back to Republican control.
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