A Republican’s word is . . .

You won’t hear any of our stalwart local or state GOP politicians mention this amid all of their political posturing over Metro to Dulles, but didn’t there used to be something known as (a) civic duty and (b) living up to your word and promise?

The Washington Post has an illuminating article today reporting an e-mail trail that documents our Republican governor and attorney general’s trail of broken commitments over the Metro project.

After months of negotiating with the transit authority and other jurisdictions over Virginia’s participation, and wringing considerable concessions, Virginia officials repeatedly assured the authority that it was fine with the new language they had secured for the project’s labor provisions (just a few punctuation changes were all that remained, they said at one point). In particular, the authority had accepted language provided by our publicity starved state attorney general Ken Cuccinelli, whose office certified that the provision as negotiated would fully comply with Virginia’s misnamed “right to work” laws.

But apparently deciding that pandering to the extreme right wing of their party (which has an outside influence in the party machine that will determine Cuccinelli’s hardly concealed ambition to run for governor in 2013) was far more important than (a) the interests of the citizens or (b) good faith, Governor Bob McDonnell and his AG did an about face and started backing out of the deal.

Besides reneging on a clear pledge to provide $300 million in state funds, the state officials reneged on their agreement on the labor provision and suddenly upped the ante; Cuccinelli’s office even reversed itself and said its earlier opinion that the provisions fully complied with Virginia law was mistaken.

Nothing like a little union-busting red meat to help rouse the troops!

Apparently learning a thing or two from its mentors, our local Loudoun GOP supervisors are playing the same game. The county committed itself after lengthy negotiations last year — including forcing Metro to abandon its plans for an underground station at Dulles and substitute a less expensive (and less convenient) above-ground station as a condition for Loudoun’s participation. Now the board is on the verge of doing its own about-face and reneging on the county’s pledge.

Even if it was negotiated by their predecessors, a pledge is a pledge. The authority negotiated in good faith and agreed to the string of demands Loudoun and Virginia officials made. It’s simply dishonorable to pull the plug after the other participants made concession after concession to meet your terms.

Even local GOP state delegate Joe May has been dismayed by the antics of his fellow party members, noting the constantly shifting ground rules.

The current score card has three supervisors ready to vote to go back on Loudoun’s agreements and “opt-out” of Metro to Loudoun — Janet Clarke (R-Blue Ridge), Ken Reid (R-Leesburg), and the utterly predictable Eugene Delgaudio (R-Sterling); two are on the fence — Geary Higgins (R-Catocton) and Suzanne Volpe (R-Algonkian).

 

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