The Virginia senate has effectively rejected two of our democratic governor’s pet causes: a doubling of the state cigarette tax, and a bill to ‘close the gun show loophole’, i.e. a law to require private individuals to conduct background checks on other private individuals to whom they sell guns (firearms dealers are required to conduct the checks no matter where they sell the guns).
In a Washington Post story about this headlined ‘Va. Still Holds Guns, Tobacco Dear’, a particularly obtuse state senator from suburban Fairfax County is quoted:
“Virginia still seems to be ruled by the gun lobby and the tobacco lobby,” said Sen. Janet Howell (D-Fairfax). “I think there are many members who are unwilling to oppose them for fear of retribution at the polls. And there also is a sort of traditional Virginia ‘past’ that is supportive of tobacco and guns.”
So: this is the fault of the gun and tobacco lobbies in Virginia; but members are unwilling to oppose those lobbies because, if they do, they expect retribution at the polls.
Or, in other words, many of the citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia prefer that their state government not double the tax on cigarettes, and not make it harder to buy guns; if their representatives do not respect these wishes, the citizens are likely to vote them out. It seems to me that the vote, then, is representative democracy at work. Ms. Howell would apparently prefer a king.