When it comes to the blame game that the Democrats are playing with regards to them getting swept in the Virginia statewide races, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) has his theory. According to Kaine, who was also governor of the commonwealth from 2006 to 2010, congressional Democrats "blew the timing" on passing the $1.2 trillion infrastructure package and $1.75 trillion reconciliation social spending bill.
His remarks came on Sunday's edition of "Face the Nation."
VIRGINIA POST MORTEM: @timkaine tells @margbrennan Virginia Republicans were "hungry" after losing the White House and majority and won the state's governor's race.— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) November 7, 2021
He concedes, however, "bluntly, we blew it" when it comes to passing Biden's spending bills *after* the election. pic.twitter.com/UHRmh1onuF
The House, thanks to help from 13 Republicans, passed infrastructure late on Friday night. Soon after the House also passed a procedural rule dictating that the reconciliation spending bill, also known as President Joe Biden's Build Back Better agenda, will be voted on later this month. That vote was held up because the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) had not yet scored the bill, something that had made moderate Democrats wary about casting a vote in favor of it.
"I think congressional Democrats blew the timing. We should have passed these bills in early October. If we had, it would have helped Terry McAuliffe probably win the governor's race. It would have been good for President Biden," Sen. Kaine offered to host Margaret Brennan.
Sen. Kaine had expressed his frustration about the timing last week as well, as I noted in a VIP piece shortly after the Virginia election.
As Hanna Trudo wrote for The Hill:
Centrists who had argued it would have made more political sense to pass the infrastructure bill weeks ago to boost Biden and Democratic candidates said the election losses were proof they were right.
“Mark and I told the caucus that this would happen if we didn't act promptly, and it has in fact happened,” Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) told reporters this week, referencing Virginia Sen. Mark Warner (D), as reported by NPR.
“I mean, only in Washington could people think that it is a smart strategy to take a once-in-a-generation investment in infrastructure and prevent your president from signing that bill into law,” Warner said this week.
Where Republicans performed better than expected in the suburbs, Kaine mentioned that Brennan was "right" and acknowledged that there "were some jurisdictions where we didn't perform the way we used to. But I do attribute that to Democrats in Congress not delivering. And, again, the Republicans were hungry."
The Virginia elections also took center stage in a panel discussion later in the program, between Brennan and CBS' John Dickerson and Amy Walter, the publisher and editor-in-chief of the Cook Political Report.
DEMOCRATIC PANIC? @jdickerson and @amyewalter weigh in on party landscape as Democrats grapple with fallout from loss in Virginia governor race.— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) November 7, 2021
"To solve a problem you have to diagnose it, then you have to you have to fix it, but everyone is giving a different diagnosis." pic.twitter.com/vWBRgMzNu0
Dickerson pointed out that "there's a huge fight over the diagnosis" and Democrats "can't even get to the executing the solution because they're still arguing over the diagnosis. And that's the fix that Democrats are in right now."
When Brennan followed up by asking "is the local really about the national," he expanded further:
Well, yes and no. As Amy pointed out, that ugly national picture that is hurting Democrats -- as you would expect it to because of history -- that ugly national picture is made even uglier when it looks like nothing's happening in Washington.
What you heard from Senator Kaine, or what I head, implicit in everything he was saying was, pass this bill, pass this bill, so we can talk about something on the campaign trail, shift the topic off of other things and talk about what we're doing. So his message was, boy, this week really set us -- you know, we've got to get going on this legislation. It may not work but you've got to have something. And a legislation -- a piece of legislation that's passed is better than having nothing.
The panel also acknowledged how Governor-Elect Glenn Youngkin led on the top issues of the economy, education, and taxes.
However, the panel did fall into a similar pattern from the mainstream media when it comes to how Critical Race Theory (CRT) has been regarded.
After Virginia's education show-down, is critical race theory a new cultural wedge issues?@jdickerson tells @margbrennan: "They're related. There is nothing more sensitive in American life than race and no worse place to talk about sensitive issues than in a campaign." pic.twitter.com/Yr0a5dtc6b— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) November 7, 2021
Brennan suggested that CRT was becoming like the Defund the Police mantra, with Dickerson offering that "they're related. There is nothing more sensitive in American life than race. And no worse place to talk about sensitive issues than in a campaign, because it's about attack and fuzzing up issues."
His take on opposition to CRT was that it is "brought in, in the political context, to fuzzy everything up. So you have people who both don't like the idea -- who are just straight-up racists, and those who don't like to be called a racist because they're questioning the idea of defund the police."
For all of this talk on "race," it was not mentioned that Virginians elected Winsome Sears as the first woman and first Black woman to lieutenant governor and Jason Miyares as the first Latino and first son of an immigrant to the commonwealth's attorney general. Other media outlets have similarly been quick to dismiss or even ignore the historic wins for this diverse ticket.