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Friday, March 24, 2023
Editor’s NotebookEditor's Notebook: Cue the theme to 'The Jeffersons'

Editor’s Notebook: Cue the theme to ‘The Jeffersons’

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Why cue the theme to “The Jeffersons,” as the headline notes? Because it looks like somebody is aiming to be “Movin’ on Up.”

Was it unfettered sense of self or unbridled political ambition – or a combination of both – that led Fairfax Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano to the op-ed section of the New York Times, laying out (on March 31) his plans to defy the U.S. Supreme Court if and when a change to Roe v. Wade comes about?

Not that anyone, literally anyone, was asking the question, “Does Steve Descano have plans to defy the U.S. Supreme Court if and when a change to Roe v. Wade comes about?” But apparently it was a slow news day at the paper of record in a country gone off the rails.

Having done this a looooooong time and having watched a looooooong list of local-yokel politicians with ambitions seemingly far beyond their reach, I’m always curious of the thinking. Perhaps Descano sees it as a hop, skip and a jump to Virginia attorney general, then governor, then president. (If so, I’m changing his party affiliation from ‘D-Fairfax’ to ‘D-Lusional.”)


One suspects the incumbent’s path to re-election as Fairfax’s prosecutor next year likely will be an easy one; having snuck into office on the back of big outside bucks and the organizing power of the party’s left, he’s now the incumbent, and those of a more moderate bent seem disinclined to take him on.

But if he has political ambitions, Descano’s stuck where he is for the moment; one presumes going into the General Assembly would be seen by him as a step down, not up, and it’s three years until the next statewide elections. As for an appointed post, like U.S. Attorney? Also seems he’d be angling for something larger and with a higher public profile.

Anyway, watch this space: One doubts Descano has the temperament to settle into the role of prosecutor-for-life, as did some of those who have held the job across the region in the past.

CAN’T WE JUST GET ALONG? We had coverage yesterday over the dust-up after Gov. Youngkin vetoed legislation proffered by Del. Alfonso Lopez, which would have stripped the word “alien” from the Code of Virginia and replaced it with other terms, like “non-citizen.”

Certainly didn’t seem like unreasonable legislation, which probably is why a good number of Republicans in the House of Delegates supported the measure at the outset. (Republicans in the Senate, however, balked, but they remain in the minority in that body.)

The recommendation by the governor – convene a working group to study the implications, then return to the matter in 2023 – also didn’t seem terribly unreasonable. Had they wanted it, compromise between the Ds and the Rs might have been possible.

But by this point, on this issue and others, both sides had gone to the mattresses, so to speak. The Republican House of Delegates voted on a party-line 52-48 to agree to the recommendation; the Democratic-run state Senate did not even take up the proposal, leaving the gub’ner no choice but to either sign orf veto. Not surprisingly, he did the latter.

After the veto, Lopez came out with a statement coming oh so close to calling the governor racist. (Youngkin must be used to it by now … comes with the territory for Republican elected officials these days.)

Had Democrats swallowed their pride just a little and agreed to the governor’s recommendation, the ball would have moved forward on this issue. Choosing not to, one probably can forget about this change being made for the life of the Youngkin governorship.

Sigh …

– Scott McCaffrey

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