By Carten Cordell and Kathryn Watson │ Watchdog.org, Virginia Bureau
ALEXANDRIA—In what could either be seen as one in a series of victory laps, or curtain calls, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling touted the business successes of Gov. Bob McDonnell’sadministration to the Alexandria Chamber of Commerceon Thursday.
But halfway through his remarks, Bolling tacked toward the issue of hyper-partisanship, firing salvos in the direction at both the Left and the Right.
“I learned a long time ago in government that governing has to be about more than breaking the dishes,” said the two-term lieutenant governor who has served under both a Democrat and a Republican governor. “It has to be about solving problems and getting things done. And to do that, sometimes you have to compromise.”
The remarks contrasted what is expected to be a hotly-contested gubernatorial election this fall, but also help draw eyes to Bolling’s new undertaking, the Virginia Mainstream Project.
A PAC geared to the recruitment and support of moderate Republicans at the state level, the Virginia Mainstream Project stands at odds with the Cuccinelli-backed tea party grassroots movement that propelled the attorney general, and convention-stunner E.W. Jackson, to the top of the GOP ticket.
“I think our party is a party in search of an identity,” Bolling told Watchdog.org. “It all starts with the kind of candidates we nominate and the kind of campaigns we run.
“Clearly the (Virginia GOP) is prettily solidly controlled by tea party groups and the Ron Paul folks. The result of that has been the party has been pulled further to the right and that makes it more difficult to connect with moderate and independent voters you need to win elections in Virginia and it makes it more difficult to govern once you get elected.”
During his speech, Bolling harped on both the Democrat and Republican lawmakers in Richmond, saying they’re becoming more and more like the divided lawmakers in Washington. And that, he said, is the greatest challenge Virginia faces — avoiding the “Washington-ization of Richmond.”
“The solutions to the challenges facing our state will not be found in the extremes,” Bolling said. They won’t be found on the right extreme, and they won’t be found on the left extreme. The answers to the challenges facing Virginia will be found in the mainstream.”