I call it “the pyramid”: The Arlington/Alexandria/Falls Church political scene that culminates, at the top, with the 8th District congressional seat currently occupied by Don Beyer.

And oh, there are lots of people who dream at night, not of sugarplum fairies (as should be the case this time of year), but of finding a way to make it to the tippy-top of the pyramid, eventually if not immediately.

In fact, I ran across one of them earlier this week – an elected official who clearly has aspirations to move up to loftier heights. (Of course, I run into lots of elected officials, most of them dreaming of bigger things, so this could be any number of people.)

The challenge for the aspirants in making it to the top of the pyramid is simple: Odds run heavily against each of them.

Firstly, Rep. Beyer is most likely sticking around for a good while. Had Republicans held the majority this year and looked like they would keep it for a tad, maybe he’d have re-thought his future, but with the Democrats moving into that position, can anyone envision any reason he’d be leaving Congress in the next eight to 10 years?

Second, by the time that day comes, many of today’s elected officials will be old – not necessarily in physical years, but they will be seen as yesterday’s news as they are joined by a new breed of Democrat that is moving into positions of power across the region (just look at Fairfax County).

Every year that his happens, current A-town elected officials will find it harder to command the allegiance of the electorate, and in fact many of them are going to have to take care just to hold on to the seats they have, given that we may be seeing a wave of primary challengers within the Democratic ranks locally in 2019 and beyond.

As an aside and brief digression, more than a decade ago, we opined several times in the paper that, much as we liked Tom Davis, he was not going to realize his dream of moving up to the U.S. Senate.

The reasons? He was from Northern Virginia (which the rest of the state loves to hate), he was too liberal for Republicans and too conservative for Democrats, and there were a number of prominent Democrats occupying offices that had much more name recognition than one of 11 members of the U.S. House delegation could muster.

Some thought at the time it was an attack on Davis, or just plain mean, to say all that publicly. It wasn’t; it was just stating what turned out to be reality.

Same is the case here. There just does not seem to be a route up the political food chain for many local officials at the moment. There’s a logjam above them and the political sands are shifting beneath them – a tough combination to overcome.

And That’s a Wrap

Today marks the last Editor’s Notebook here on our brethren Website InsideNova. But the opining continues at www.sungazette.news, so bookmark that site and follow us over. “Us” as in sports editor Dave Facinoli and myself.

We’ll see you there!

– Scott

P.S. – CLICK HERE for some opining on the Washington-Lee High School name.

(4) comments

Janet Smith

Inside Nova should also prevent Democratic Ward Heelers and Party Hacks from multiple jurisdictions from trashing Better Government Advocates in Arlington.


Will Scott return to 'free range' editorial commentary as when ACN owned the S.G.? Stay tuned to the S.G. news blog.

Allen Muchnick

Any website that prevents one person from posting anonymous attacks under MULTIPLE aliases would be a plus.

Janet Smith

Congressman Beyer is close to 70 which is old to be serving in the House unless in a leadership position (e.g., Committee Chair). As with his predecessor, the physical location of the 8th CD near the U.S. Capitol does not translate into more time spent on sponsoring legislation that directly and significantly benefits 8th CD residents, only more amendments and resolutions.

As for Scott McCaffrey moving his editorial comments to the Sun Gazette site, what will we be missing except a daily dose of Scott's likes and dislikes?

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