Obama cabinet could mean musical chairs for Virginia

President-elect Barack Obama broke an attendance record with his October 30, 2007 fundraiser at the Charlottesville Pavilion.
PHOTO BY TOM DALY

As President-elect Barack Obama begins to announce personnel decisions for his White House, the speculation runs wild that Virginia's turning blue for the first time since 1964 could mean that a few prominent Old Dominion Democrats would land new gigs in Washington. Those rumors are particularly loud for one of Obama's earliest supporters, Gov. Tim Kaine. Kaine still has one year left before he is term-limited out of the governor's mansion, and despite the fact that he's said he will serve out his term, many believe that just as Kaine was a finalist to be Obama's running mate, he's being eyed for a cabinet post. Should that come to pass, it would set into motion a chain of events unprecedented in the history of the Commonwealth.

Since the General Assembly instituted the one-term limit in 1852, no governor has ever voluntarily left office before the end of his term. (The Union army forced William Smith, governor during the days of the Confederacy, out of office in 1865.) Should Kaine become, say, Attorney General as Politico posited Monday, that would make Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling the Commonwealth's new chief executive, thus handing over the office from a Democrat to a Republican. That means, for one year, Republicans would get to set the General Assembly's legislative agenda and make political appointments.

Such a development would also throw a monkey-wrench into Virginia Attorney General Bob McDonnell's plans to be the Republican nominee for governor in next year's election. He and Bolling have already reached an agreement that should Kaine vacate Richmond, McDonnell would step aside and let Bolling run to keep the state's top job. Bolling and McDonnell each tested the waters to decide who between the two of them would run for governor, and the state party eventually annointed McDonnell their de facto nominee over Bolling. Should Bolling run to keep the governorship, conventional wisdom has it that he would be a weaker candidate than McDonnell against either State Senators Creigh Deeds (D-Bath), Brian Moran (D-Fairfax), who have already announced their candidacies, or former Democratic National Committee chair and Clinton advisor Terry McAuliffe, who is reported to be contemplating a run.

But Kaine isn't the only Virginia Dem in the Obama cabinet mix. Sen. Jim Webb, having already served as Secretary of the Navy under President Reagan, is widely considered to be a candidate for Secretary of Defense, as Politico also reported. Webb still has four more years to his Senate term, and it would fall to Gov. Kaine to appoint someone to fill out the term. But whom might Kaine appoint?

Well, the top ranking Dems in the state after Kaine, Webb, and Senator-elect Mark Warner, are the state's recently re-elected congressmen Bobby Scott (D-Newport News, who would be Virginia's first African American senator), Jim Moran (D-Alexandria, and brother of aforementioned Brian), and Rick Boucher (D-Abingdon). Then there are rising stars Glenn Nye (D-Norfolk), and Gerry Connolly (D-Fairfax) who just flipped two of Virginia's seats in the House of Representatives from red to blue, a category to which Tom Perriello (D-Ivy) might be added come December after the imminent recount of a tight vote he currently leads. Kaine might also try to alleviate some intraparty tension and choose either Deeds, Brian Moran, or McAuliffe in order to have one fewer Dem running for the gubernatorial nomination.

However, all of the above (save McAuliffe) would require additional appointments to fill these elected officials' positions. Kaine may just simplify things and choose someone who doesn't currently hold elective office such as former congressman L.F. Payne (D-Nelson), former Lt. Gov. Don Beyer (D-Falls Church), or former governor and director of UVA's Miller Center of Public Affairs Gerald Baliles (D-Charlottesville).

But this is inside-the-box thinking. We've got a few local Democratic supporters right here in our backyard who might fit the bill. What about best-selling author John Grisham (after all, he did serve in the Mississippi House of Representatives before writing novels), venture capitalist and Mark Warner's former business partner Jim Murray (he was largely responsible for the big Obama fundraiser at the Charlottesville Pavilion last October). Or, if you want to talk about real change, even Dave Matthews Band manager and Democratic donor Coran Capshaw (though we suspect a U.S. Senator's annual salary of $169,300 is slightly less than what Capshaw is currently pulling in per year).

But, of course, we're getting ahead of ourselves.

24 comments

There has been one Governor since 1852 who did not server his full term. William Smith was removed from office in 1865 by an invading army.

I don't care what position President Obama gives me, as long as a 3/4 ton black Secret Service Suburban with a Dillon Aero gun turret is part of the benefits package. :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5vtsYIDjATY

Kaine resigning his office would be a very, very bad thing for Virginia Democrats. Giving the GOP complete control next year has "potential disaster" written all over it. Can anybody remember the last time that happened? Gilmore threw the state into a financial hole like the state had never seen before.

When you consider that Virginia's Republican's are among the most wingnuttiest of the wingnuts, abdicating power to them would be a major surrender - particularly in a state that went from red to purple to blue in just 4 short years.

FYI - Virginia doesn't have term limits. The constitution doesn't allow the governor to serve consecutive terms, but as far as I know they can win every other election.

I think John Grisham would make a good Governor. after all, he cares for distressed drivers!

Sick, that Vehicle was quite possibly the most badass thing i've ever seen. But this man can only dream....

Dear Freddie,

Correct you are, though every governor who's had the option to finish his term has done so. Note the change above.

Thanks for reading.

Sincerely,
Lindsay Barnes

Lindsay:

It's a good article and it's much discussed among my political buddies in Virginia.

Welcome to CHANGE. Rahm Emanuel is the first hint of what CHANGE looks like. Not that different from the past it seems.

Dear Freddie,

Thanks for the kind words and thanks for reading.

Sincerely,
Lindsay Barnes

can i tell you that if i had that gun turret out of my suv, i would be the most happenin-est man in town!

I would love to have one too. But I'm not sure they're available to the public even through a Class 3 firearms transaction. And most civilians can't afford to fire a Dillon Aero very often anyway! :)

Further Information:

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Dillon Guns are reliable. The M134D has system life in excess of one million rounds and an average time between stoppage of 30,000 rounds. In the unlikely event of a stoppage the weapon can be serviced and made operational again in under a minute. The multi barrel design means that each barrel only experiences a 500 round per minute rate of fire. This allows for repeated long bursts of fire and a barrel group life of 100,000 rounds.

Dillon Gatling Guns are in service with the US and Allied Armed Forces. The standard application is as helicopter crew served and fixed forward fire installations. In addition to their more traditional roles, Dillon Gatlings are supplanting M2 50 cal. Heavy Machine Guns and M240's on a number of the US Army's vehicles. Dillon M134s are also in service with the US and British navies in the fleet protection role and Special Operations fire support role.

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Weights

Fixed Forward Fire: 56.9 lbs

Crew Served Gun: 66.1 lbs

To what exact purpose would one put such a weapon on the top of a SUV? Seems like even in Baghdad one could not fire such a thing indiscriminately. Life is not a video game, but is that the fantasy? I guess I don't get it.

The SUV it is installed in is part of the Presidential Protection fleet, a/k/a Secret Service. An ordinary citizen would have no practical use for it unless the dead were to rise as blood sucking zombies one night.

Now of course if you surf the Internet much you wll find quite a few people who would like to have one handy the day ATF starts going door to door confiscating firearms from honest law abiding citizens. I have seen some pretty radical foolishness floating around the Internet for the last week about the gun control President Elect Obama has on his agenda. We all know one of the first things he will do once in office is work on reinstating the Assault Weapon Ban -- permanently. Sad part about it is most of the weapons on the Assault Weapon Ban bill aren't even true assault weapons. Trust me, it's already on his agenda. See link.... scroll down to the Justice segment....

http://74.125.45.104/search?q=cache:lZ5nLB1m2TMJ:www.change.gov/agenda/u...

Before anybody goes off the deep end, I too believe in strict gun control. Being a criminal is pretty dangerous when citizens are allowed to have firearms in their homes to defend themselves.

Why is he driving a Kia not a Volvo?

Where is Ivy?

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Luis M

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Dont know if he is still in business....

This is our future....

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