Friendly Fire: Who Controls the GOP? 

Easy to get something done, right? Not so much, Sen. Ryan McDougle said on his way out of a postinaugural party at the Hard Shell for Attorney General Bob McDonnell, also a Republican. "The numbers aren't there," said McDougle, who jumped from House to Senate in a special election to fill former Sen. Bolling's empty seat.

Huh? Chalk it up to the parties within the party, the politics in politics. Look for moderate Republicans to square off against conservative Republicans this session. Need evidence? See the legislature's opening day, Jan. 11.

The Republican-controlled Senate decided against giving Bolling, a conservative Republican, money for a secretary — a traditional move. Sure, he gets almost $340,000 to hire four staffers, according to the budget bill. But no secretary?

Former Delegate Arthur R. Giesen Jr., a longtime representative, observed the debates on the subject, and described the scene in his online journal:

"Some of Bill Bolling's conservative colleagues tried to turn the tide by asking the floor leader, Senator Tommy Norment, if he had discussed these changes with the Lt. Governor-elect. His response, 'No, but knowing how fiscally conservative the former senator is and how frugally he would be in running his new office, he was certain he would approve of this cost-saving move on behalf of the senate!' The motion to adopt the changes in the rules passed easily."

Perhaps Bolling can find some good, free interns. A call placed to his office last week just rang and rang and rang ...


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