Schapiro Analysis for July 9, 2010
Jeff Schapiro's analysis of the week's Virginia politics.
Farrar: Jeff Schapiro of the Richmond Times Dispatch joins us this morning by telephone for his weekly analysis of Virginia political news. Good morning, Jeff.
Schapiro: Good morning, Wayne.
Farrar: Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has spoken out in favor of Arizona's immigration law, which is a subject of litigation now in the federal courts.
Schapiro: Yes, and Ken Cuccinelli is hitting yet another hot button and one would assume that his very conservative constituency would expect nothing less; the Attorney General describing the US suit against Arizona, his words, as almost mind-boggling. Of course, the state of Arizona has extended to local police the power to demand papers from those people it believes who are in this country illegally.
Now the federal government says this is all a little too much, that it is the federal government's job to control the borders; it's Cuccinelli's contention along with the contention of a number of fairly conservative people and even some on the Democratic side that the United States government isn't doing enough; of course, this has been a big issue in the Virginia General Assembly and to some degree, the former Attorney General, the current governor, Bob McDonnell tries to dance around this issue somewhat, but this is going to, again, call attention to the very different approaches of the Governor and the Attorney General, an Attorney General who says he isn't going to run for the Republican nomination for governor in 2013, but presumably will be under some pressure from his supporters to do so.
The Attorney General has the view that really the federal government has no authority in this matter, at least challenging Arizona in court, a claim, of course, that the federal government has made in its request that the federal courts reject the Cuccinelli lawsuit, challenging what Republicans deride as Obama-care.
Farrar: US Attorney General Eric Holder acceded to a request of Republican Governor Bob McDonnell which was contrary to a request of out-going former Democratic Governor Tim Kaine regarding the requested transfer of a convicted Virginia murderer to a German prison.
Schapiro: Yes, a bit of an embarrassment for Tim Kaine on the way out the door; he agreeing with the federal government to some degree that, again, Soering, a University of Virginia student who, along with his young lover, is accused of, convicted, is accused, was convicted of killing his lover's parents. The idea was that he would be returned to Germany so that he could be closer to his family; the McDonnell administration had taken exception with this idea, as did Attorney General Cuccinelli, so this is a bit of a talking point, a positive talking point, presumably, for our governor, with Attorney General Holder saying that Soering will remain in the country for now.
Farrar: Senator Jim Webb has spoken out on off-coast oil drilling.
Schapiro: Yes, the senior Senator saying that the US should secure oil derricks against terror attack; now this Democrat, Mr. Webb, favors off-shore drilling but he also favors the Obama administration order pause in the inch-up in exploration for oil and gas on Virginia's coastline. It's apparently clear, at least to some folks, that Webb is now trying to have it three ways: you know, yes to drilling, yes to a delay and yes to strengthening security along the coast, which would mean, presumably mean, even more delays. One wonders if the only off-shore threat that Jim Webb fears is that of a possible re-match with George Allen, the Republican he defeated in 2006 and who is also closely aligned with the energy companies.
Farrar: About a minute to go, Jeff. Governor McDonnell is seeking ways to pay for the maintenance of Virginia's rest stops, highway rest stops, many of which were closed as a cost-cutting measure in the previous administration and which Governor McDonnell reopened. Now he's seeking ways to pay for their operation, including possible privatization, even we might be seeing some ads on the walls of these rest stops.
Schapiro: Yes, as you'll remember 19 of these rest stops were closed by the Kaine administration to help balance the budget; Governor McDonnell promptly, and this thing was a promise he made as a candidate, promptly moved to reopen those 19 rest stops. Now the administration is looking for ways to keep them all open, and as you say, perhaps privatization, although that's not really a surprise coming from this administration; I wonder if we'll be seeing some Charmin ads in the stalls.
Farrar: Right. Okay, Jeff, thanks very much, our time's just about gone for today, so we'll say so long for now and talk to you next Friday.
Schapiro: Roger that.
Farrar: Jeff Schapiro of the Richmond Times Dispatch.