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Editor’s NotebookEditor’s Notebook: Is he going to punch out a nun before Election...

Editor’s Notebook: Is he going to punch out a nun before Election Day?

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I’ve got no idea how this gubernatorial race is going to turn out – nobody does – but if one looks at how the two candidates are performing under pressure, you have to guess that Glenn Youngkin is feeling the heat a little less than Terry McAuliffe.

McAuliffe keeps showing a testiness, whether it’s with a heckler (though barely heckling) on the campaign trail or with a WJLA-TV reporter that the once-and-maybe-future governor claimed wasn’t asking good questions before stalking off in what seemed to be a huff.

Never a good look in the waning days of a campaign. Remember back to the 2008 presidential race, when the economic meltdown was in freefall across the fruited plain. John McCain was running around like the proverbial chicken with his/her/its head cut off, while Barack Obama was staying cool as a cucumber tucked away in a refrigerator. Since neither of them had responsibility for the crisis (George W. Bush was still on the job), it was all a question of optics, and Obama won that one, hands down.

One wonders if the stress is getting to McAuliffe, and if so, how he’ll react as things heat up even more over the next 12 days. And one wonders if the more placid stance adopted by Youngkin is a reflection of reality or mere wishful thinking.

(And for the record, the “punch out a nun” reference in the headline was just a chance for me to drop in a photo of the late, great character actress Mary Wickes, who played many a nun in her decades in Hollywood. Would never suggest any candidate would resort to fisticuffs, against a religious figure or anyone else …)

HEY FAIRFAX, GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER NOW RATHER THAN WHEN THE SH#T HITS THE FAN: Let me state up front that I don’t think there’s a single member of the staff of the Fairfax County elections office that wants yet another meltdown in reporting results on Election Night. They’re professionals and do their best.

But history has proven that Fairfax has trouble getting its act together, reporting-wise, and given that this gubernatorial race could be close, any slip-up is going to be watched verrrrrrrrry carefully and with a jaundiced eye.

The great fear: One side will be narrowly winning statewide (just for fun, let’s say it’s Youngkin, but it could be McAuliffe), and suddenly, a batch of hitherto unaccounted-for votes from Fairfax shows up to tip the scales the other way. That’s the nightmare scenario.

It should not be hard for Fairfax to have its election-reporting ducks in a row, but history has proved otherwise. Fingers crossed there will be no problems this time out. People on all sides of the political aisle have enough of a healthy skepticism about election reporting as it is.

LOOKS LIKE THOSE HIGHER TAXES ALREADY HAVE BEEN SPENT: Arlington homeowners next year will get hit with a third year of major assessment hikes, most likely, but it’s already being telegraphed to them that they shouldn’t expect the county government to lower tax rates to help them out.

As Gomer Pyle would put it: Sur-prise, sur-prise, sur-prise!

County officials in both 2020 and 2021 declined to lower the tax burden by cutting rates. One elected official actually said it out loud in 2020: The government needed the money more than the taxpayers did. (A “let ‘em eat cake” moment if there ever was one.) And based on the list of budget priorities espoused this week by the County Board, I’d be willing to bet homeowners will once again bear the entire brunt of high assessments.

Prove me wrong, County Board, and I’ll admit I’m wrong. But on these types of things, I’m not often wrong, now am I?

  • Scott McCaffrey


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