After roiling supporters with her vote yesterday on Medicaid expansion, Sen. Jill Vogel (R-Fauquier) today decided she needed to try to deflect some of the heat she’s getting. After all, Vogel just spent the better part of the last two years campaigning for Lieutenant Governor and carefully leading gullible people to believe she was a conservative. Her alleged opposition to Obamacare in Virginia, and her alleged understanding of the negative fiscal and moral implications of Medicaid expansion, played a large role in that.
It is therefore understandable that her supporters felt betrayed by her vote. Because they were.
So, Sen. Vogel is now in damage control mode. But she’s not doing a very good job of it. The first rule when you find yourself in a hole: stop digging.
In a lengthy email to supporters this afternoon Vogel instead dug the hole a little deeper. I’ve pasted the full text of the email below, but here’s the essence of it:
Vogel reminds us the she voted against Medicaid expansion in the past. She even goes so far as to say that “there is no ambiguity about where I have been regarding concerns about expanding that program,” and that she has previously “expressed my grave concerns” about the fiscal impact.
And then there is the pivot. Everyone remembers the old saying that everything before the word “but” is #*!$. With Vogel, it’s no different (except she uses “However”). Here’s the guts of her message:
“However, Medicaid is merely one part of this budget and as negotiations progressed I pressed for many important things to be included in the budget that were very important to me and to my district. To succeed in getting good measures included and then to vote against them is both negotiating in bad faith and shows a total lack of integrity. The people of my district elected me to work in their best interest. For the greater good, we should pass a budget before the nearing deadline and not shut down government.”
(Emphasis is mine). That’s right…she said that working successfully to get good things in the budget means that you have a “total lack of integrity” if you end up voting against it, regardless of whether it’s loaded down with stuff you say you oppose. She goes on to cite some of the good stuff in the budget, including funding for a judgeship in Loudoun that she and Sen. Dick Black (R-Loudoun) worked for.
So, Sen. Vogel apparently believes Dick Black lacks integrity for voting against the budget. Presumably also every other one of her colleagues who voted against it who also had a positive impact on what’s in the budget. Astounding.
Further, Vogel says she would have been negotiating in bad faith not to vote for it. Of course, Sen. Vogel, it shows a lot of bad faith to your voters–those who re-elected you on your supposedly proud and steadfast opposition to Medicaid expansion, and to all those supporters of yours who worked so hard to try to get you elected when you voted for that budget. But the only way it would show bad faith to vote against that budget would have been if you had made a deal to vote for Medicaid expansion in return for something you wanted. Is that what you meant by bad faith? What did you get in exchange for betraying your supporters?
In any case, your supporters (and, I gather, your Republican colleagues) are disappointed, and will have long memories. To say the least.
For everyone else, here’s the whole email: