Virginia GOP’s war on moderates
LAST YEAR, REPUBLICANS in Richmond did their utmost to drive the state’s independent and swing voters into the Democratic column. Witness their mean-spirited, provocative and extremist stances to mandate transvaginal ultrasounds; make voting more difficult for minorities, youths and others who may lack photo IDs; oppose a highly qualified judicial nominee who is gay; loosen the state’s already lax gun laws; and mandate drug testing for welfare recipients.Some of those measures were enacted, some were defeated and others were watered down. All helped brand the GOP as the party of intemperance, alienating moderate voters, particularly in Northern Virginia, which accounted for a third of the state’s ballots. As Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) has noted, that region’s overwhelmingly pro-Democratic tilt turned Virginia blue in 2012.Now, as state lawmakers again convene in the capital for a 45-day legislative session, the question is whether Republicans, who control the General Assembly, have learned anything from the election. Early indications are they have not.