Tuesday's election results generally bode well for Virginians.
Among the best outcomes was the election of former governor L. Douglas Wilder (D) as mayor of Richmond. The commonwealth's capital is plagued by high crime, abysmal public education and governance that Wilder has described as "a cesspool of corruption and inefficiency." With his talent for being politically savvy without becoming hostage to political interests, Wilder may be the only person who can bring order to Richmond.
A second wise choice Virginians made was to return Frank Wolf to Congress. The 10th District Republican is committed to serving his constituents and his country; he is no hot dog jockeying for higher position.
Many Northern Virginians are able to telecommute, thanks to legislation Wolf sponsored. Wolf also ensured funding for Metro and rapid transit in the Dulles corridor, which benefits the region. Further, his opposition to human rights abuses makes him a credit to all Virginians.
Another decent man whose star rose Tuesday is Virginia Attorney General Jerry Kilgore (R). As state chairman of Bush's reelection campaign, Kilgore delivered big. The attorney general mobilized Republican voters by warning against complacency -- even if, as he said, John F. Kerry and rural Virginians mixed like "caviar and pork rinds." Kilgore can expect his efforts to be reciprocated next year for his likely gubernatorial bid.
Gov. Mark R. Warner (D) saw his stock fall in the wake of the Republican sweep. After declaring Virginia "competitive" for Kerry, Warner showed that he lacked the political strength to provide much advantage to his man.
Sen. George Allen (R) can share bragging rights for GOP gains in the Senate. As chairman of the campaign branch of the Senate Republican Caucus, Allen helped recruit John Thune of South Dakota to defeat that state's Democratic senator, Tom Daschle. Without Daschle's gratuitously partisan leadership in the Senate, and with a more solid Republican majority in both houses, President Bush will have a more malleable Congress next year.
And that may not necessarily be good.
Bush is alarmingly impervious to opposing viewpoints -- a trait that will be more pronounced now that he claims a mandate.
Virginians will be ill-served if their representatives give the president free rein. Bush's policies have helped drive Americans $7 trillion into debt. Where are the Republicans who supposedly favor fiscal restraint?
Bush is a bad neighbor to Northern Virginia too, having turned neighboring Washington into a monument to fear. Those of us who live here are not fooled by the cowboy persona that Bush uses to play to the "heartland"; we see how he is afraid even to let traffic pass in front of the bomb-proof White House.
It isn't Osama bin Laden's fault that locals may no longer take visiting relatives to tour the White House, roam the Mall freely on the Fourth of July, play touch football on the Ellipse on Sunday afternoon or walk the west steps of the Capitol. Bush imposed those restrictions via executive agencies such as the U.S. Park Police and the Secret Service, which Congress allows to operate almost free from oversight.
Why, for instance, should the Secret Service be able to ban general aviation at Ronald Reagan National Airport -- needlessly inconveniencing private pilots and draining $170 million annually from the local economy? Virginia's congressional delegation needs to stop playing "Mother, May I?" with Bush and introduce legislation to override the president's overreaction.
If, by returning a largely Republican delegation to Congress, Virginians made it more likely that the president and Congress will be able to reform the federal tax code and Social Security and give Americans more control over such things as their own health care, then Virginians voted wisely. If, however, the Republican representatives refuse to restrain the bad impulses of a Republican president, then Virginia voters made a mistake. Under Bush, our prosperity has been eroded and our liberties diminished. Here's hoping that our newly elected representatives spare us four more years of the same.