As America’s relative position changes in the world, so will American politics. This reality is currently ignored by the politicians, but it is inevitable.
As America’s share of the world economy decreases and its economic rivals increase their share, Washington will find it harder to rely upon the financial resources that previously sustained its profligacy. This is a threat to the Potomac economies of the northern counties in Virginia.
Virginia, Maryland and the District have taken the bounty of the Potomac for granted; their political leaders are beguiled by the belief that the federal government will always be there to tax the rest of the union and spend in the Washington metro area, while sustaining the droves of government contractors who provide services for the government. However, after a generation of indulgent trade agreements to placate the idols of free trade and badly run wars that have cost taxpayers trillions, this Potomac consensus cannot long endure.
In keeping with the message of a one-nation agenda, the governor in every state should begin to put their governments on a responsible financial footing to be able to meet their obligations to their citizens as if the feds were no longer writing checks. How much more so the Virginians?
In a tough race for the oldest governorship in the country, Ken Cuccinelli, Virginia’s attorney general, needs to be bold with a message for Virginia’s economic future. It is a future that his Democratic opponent, Washington insider and beltway deal-broker Terry McAuliffe, will be unequipped to move toward: a Virginian economy that is not dependent on the federal government’s financial irresponsibility.
So far, the two candidates have traded barbs about the other’s shady dealings, though Mr. McAuliffe is much more a creature of the dark. Neither has made the case for their own competency to have Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson’s old job.
Cuccinelli must tell the truth about the financial ill health of the federal government and advocate a vision for how Virginia remains prosperous in a future where new powerhouses like Brazil, India and China cut into the Uncle Sam’s domination of global trade. Cuccinelli should partner with the GOP candidate for lieutenant governor, the charismatic minister Bishop E.W. Jackson, and take this message to all Virginians. They must put the focus on Virginia becoming a truly global economic competitor. Everything must point to the future.
Virginia’s education system must be able to rank high on global surveys rather than resting on high national rankings. They must prioritize the revitalization of Virginia’s poor, black communities and develop a better strategy for tackling the gang violence that reduces the quality of life and economic output of many Virginia neighborhoods.
Northern Virginia’s economic transition must be emphasized, assisted and affirmed. Cuccinelli has an opportunity to make this race – and his administration should in win in November – about who will competently lead Virginia into the future.
Let’s hope he is reading. Virginia deserves a real leadership campaign.