Goodlatte Skips Cong. Delegation Meeting

Brent Finnegan -- February 10th, 2009

Yesterday, Rep. Bob Goodlatte was one of the Republicans that skipped a meeting of Governor Kaine and Virginia’s Congressional Delegation. Among items on the meeting agenda: Virginia’s needs in regard to the federal stimulus package.

WDBJ7 reported, “A spokesperson for Sixth District Congressman Bob Goodlatte said he had a scheduling conflict in Roanoke.”

But all five of Virginia’s Republican congressmen skipped the meeting.

Rep. Jim Moran (D) suspects that Rep. Eric Cantor (R), the House Minority Whip, organized a boycott. Daily Press reported, “Not only did U.S. Reps. Eric Cantor, Robert Goodlatte, Frank Wolf, Randy Forbes and Rob Wittman not attend, they didn’t even send aides to represent them.”

In a larger context, the snub appears to be a part of the Republican intransigence on President Obama’s stimulus plan.

56 Responses to “Goodlatte Skips Cong. Delegation Meeting”

  1. David Miller says:

    It’s not just a saying and over the last eight years it has become a far less entertaining truism.

  2. zen says:

    Well, Virginia appears to be a very pragmatic state.

  3. JGFitzgerald says:

    The fetish of unity in the Republican Party has not only made bipartisanship impossible. It has made partisanship a religion. Not the kind of religion that leads people to tend the sick and feed the hungry, but the kind of religion that leads people to slay their enemies and convert their children.

    That religion led one side in the stimulus voting. When the votes are eventually counted on the stimulus bill, I wonder if history will record who voted, or if it will judge the United States Senate on who had to vote.

    There were 61 votes among current United States senators, the supermajority necessary to overcome the threat of a filibuster in this body of arcane rules where they call each other gentlemen and proceed with extreme courtesy.

    Thirty-eight Republican members of that body knew they would lose the stimulus vote. The only question was how they would lose. Would they force one of their most senior members, Ted Kennedy, a senator serving with his tenth president, to leave his sickbed, perhaps his deathbed, to cast the deciding vote? Or would they force a more junior member, Sharod Brown, to abandon the ceremonies of his mother’s burial to come to the Capitol and vote?

    Of course the choice did not lie with the Republicans, with the losers on this cusp of history, but rather with Kennedy and with Brown. Would one of them pull away from the customs of life for the rituals of the Senate?

    Brown did. History will record that he left a memorial for his mother, got on a plane, flew to the capital, voted, and flew back for her burial, losing those hours when he might have relaxed, might have spent time with family, might have grieved. Instead, he did his duty, knowing it is what his mother would have wanted him to do.

    Had I been one of those thirty-eight who can give so little, I know what my mother would have told me to do. A vote by any one of those people could have saved Brown the trip. Mitch McConnell, who helped schedule the vote when it was so that he could leave on time for vacation, could have said to Brown, “I’ve got a safe seat; I’ll change my vote as a courtesy.” John McCain, claiming a sense of honor he often forgot when he ran for President, could have said, “I can cast a vote for this and save you the trip and my reputation will be intact. Decent people will understand why I did it.” Judd Gregg, erstwhile Commerce nominee, could have acknowledged that constancy is not his long suit, and changed his vote to let Brown mourn at home instead of in planes and cars and a five-minute trip to the Capitol.

    The whole Republican Party, for that matter, could have declined to filibuster, and said the supporters of the plan had the votes, and that the simple human decency of letting a man bury his mother was more important than procedural wrangling. But not more important, apparently, than their leader’s travel plans.

    On a Friday in June of 2002, when I had three votes for mayor and two against me, my grandmother died. She was 93. My mother was exhausted from standing vigil for a week. My family was gathering in Southwest Virginia. While schedules and arrangements were discussed, there was a chance that I would have to be at my grandmother’s funeral instead of at the City Council meeting where I was expected to be named mayor.

    I spoke to three people about speaking to the two who planned to vote against me. I pointed out that we had the votes, but that I would have to be at my grandmother’s grave. Word came back through reluctant intermediaries. Maybe something could be worked out. What was I willing to concede?

    But the day turned on the health of an aging aunt with paper-thin skin and twig-like bones, who often looked with faraway eyes at the open graves of those she’d grown up with or raised. She would be there on Sunday, and so the funeral would have to be then, and I could drive back to Harrisonburg for the City Council meeting on Monday. Except for the deep resentment that I will carry to my own grave, the question of whether my grandmother’s funeral would keep me from becoming mayor was settled.

    History should hold this against the Republican Party, the party of supposed family values. Many of those members have traded a vote for a dam in their state, or a museum, or a bridge. Many of them have juggled and negotiated over trivia and minutiae, and will again. But there was apparently no room in their rules or in their hearts for a mother’s funeral.

    Someone in that party where people of deep principle stand shoulder-to-shoulder with fetid finger-pointers, is someone who will step forward to complain of the cost of the plane that flew Senator Brown to Washington for this vote. That will be the final proof in this party of exaggerated cynicism that some know the cost of everything and the value of nothing.

  4. Bubby says:

    Sorry Zen, your best comment just got trumped.

  5. David Miller says:

    Joe, that was some heart felt ass whooping. Thanks for sharing.

Reader Tweets

Latest Flickr photos in the hburgnews Flickr pool
Announcements & Press Releases
  • Friendly City Grand Opening Set for July 9

    Friendly City Food Co-Op, Harrisonburg’s consumer-owned grocery, invites the community to come see its new destination for natural, organic and locally-produced products at the store’s grand opening 11 a.m.-5 p.m. July 9 at 150 East Wolfe Street.

  • Friendly City Becomes Member of National Cooperative Grocers Association

    HARRISONBURG, VA — Friendly City Food Co-op, slated to open this month in Harrisonburg, Va., has become the newest member of the National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA), a business services cooperative serving 120 consumer-owned food co-ops nationwide.

  • Harrisonburg Recognized as a Bike Friendly Community

    May 2: Harrisonburg was honored when the League of American Bicyclists announced the latest round of Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) designations over the weekend to kick off May as National Bike Month.