Youngkin and the ‘Government as a Business’ Trope

Virginia's governor is finding running a state harder than running a venture capitalist firm.

WaPo’s Gregory Schneider (“Va. Gov. Youngkin arrived like a GOP star, but arena failure clouds legacy“):

No Virginia governor has come into office with a deeper dealmaking background than Glenn Youngkin, who as former co-chief executive of the Carlyle Group made a fortune acquiring and merging companies around the globe.

But as the Republican chief executive of a purple state, Youngkin has struggled to translate that business acumen into political success — or even economic development success, with the demise Wednesday of his much-touted plan to bring the Washington Wizards and Capitals to Alexandria.

While Youngkin and his group of financial experts had negotiated with team owner Ted Leonsis to cut what the governor called “the single largest economic development deal in Virginia’s history,” the governor was never able to work the same magic with members of the General Assembly who had to sign off on the $2 billion project.

The plan’s failure wipes out a significant legacy-making opportunity for a novice politician who burst onto the scene in 2021 and drew national attention as a fresh Republican face. In his first two years in office, Youngkin enjoyed state coffers overflowing with federal pandemic relief funds and a friendly GOP-controlled House of Delegates. But as the clock winds down on his four-year term, the governor has lost the legislature to Democrats and seen his priorities slip away.

“He’s a total lame duck right now,” said Robert Holsworth, a Richmond political analyst who has studied Virginia governors for decades. “He has shown tremendous political inexperience.”

Bringing the Caps and Wizards to Alexandria was a no-brainer and I blame the state senate, not Youngkin, for this own-goal. Still, he is just the latest example of success in business not translating to a high-level political job.

“I so fundamentally believe that this is a giant mistake that we didn’t have to make. The Senate didn’t have to do this,” he said. Led by Finance and Appropriations Committee Chairwoman L. Louise Lucas (D-Portsmouth), the Senate blocked a bill that would have authorized the arena and stripped language from the state budget. Though some House Democrats initially voted for the arena, the project was unpopular in Alexandria and never built a strong constituency in the General Assembly, where even some Republicans did not support it.

Youngkin said he was disappointed but not surprised when Leonsis called Wednesday to say he was going to stay in the District instead. “I suspected that he was worried,” Youngkin said. “He had options — and listen, all companies have options. … I always knew he could go someplace else if we didn’t say yes and do the work.”

Youngkin had warned lawmakers that failure to approve the arena deal could harm the state’s vaunted reputation as a good place to do business. Leonsis said as much on Wednesday in an interview with The Post: “My experience was that I had a better experience on the business side in D.C. than I just did in Virginia, which was really, really surprising and eye-opening.”

While bringing the DC NBA and NHL teams would have been an economic coup for the state, there’s always massive resistance from Northern Virginia residents to big projects. The area is already overpopulated and traffic can be a nightmare, so adding in further delays during the construction phase and during game days is problematic. Additionally, the current incarnation of partisan politics is such that a Democratic legislature does not want to give a Republican governor—even one limited to a single term—a big win.

But others have overcome such odds.

Those words sting in a Virginia that boasts of being twice named by CNBC as the best state for business under Youngkin’s Democratic predecessor, Ralph Northam. It finished at No. 2 last year.

“The last governor who made us number one for business two years in a row was probably a lot more collaborative on these projects,” House Speaker Don L. Scott Jr. (D-Portsmouth) said in an interview. Though Scott has developed an unlikely camaraderie with Youngkin — sharing a weekly morning Bible study during the legislative session — he faulted the governor for not doing enough to build support among lawmakers.

“I think leadership matters and style matters, and we did not have the leadership and style that it takes to get a project like that done with so much at stake,” Scott said.

Now, dropping from #1 to #2 on a ranking by a business website is not a particularly meaningful measure. But Northam was a seasoned politician, having spent six years in the state senate and four as lieutenant governor before becoming governor. That means he understood how Richmond operates and had built relationships; Youngkin was a complete neophyte.

So, for example, Northam was able to get Amazon’s “HQ2” built in Arlington despite the same sort of heavy local opposition that the Caps/Wizards deal had. He managed to overcome it, even while embroiled in an embarrassing scandal over appearing in blackface in a decades-old college yearbook.

Despite his success in the private sector, Youngkin as governor has had some noteworthy misses in the economic development realm. He failed to persuade the Biden administration to locate the new headquarters for the FBI in Virginia, with Maryland winning even though the agency itself favored a site in Springfield. And when Ford Motor Co. expressed interest in locating a major battery plant in Southside Virginia to supply electric vehicles, Youngkin himself blocked the deal, citing concern that the operation was a front for a Chinese manufacturer.

The plant went to Michigan instead; the Virginia site, in a region desperate for jobs, remains unused.

I don’t blame Youngkin for losing the FBI headquarters. Rather clearly, the Biden administration overrode the Bureau’s own recommendation to reward a reliably Democratic state and the expense of one with a Republican governor. (And gave weight to putting it in a predominantly Black area.) I haven’t read enough about the battery plant to have an opinion.

But Youngkin has announced deals for the massive $1 billion Lego plant in Chesterfield County as well as headquarters relocations for Boeing and Raytheon. Asked if he sees a difference between public and private dealmaking, or whether he’s learned any lessons, Youngkin said that “it requires a General Assembly that wants to work with us.”

His responsibility, he said, lies in presenting good opportunities. And Youngkin said he believes his administration worked “tirelessly” to educate lawmakers and engage with them about the arena.

Others disagree with that assessment.

But Holsworth, the political analyst, said he saw a significant difference in the way Youngkin approaches big initiatives compared with previous governors. When Republican George Allen wanted to impose new education standards in the 1990s and had a Democratic legislature, he said, the governor appointed prominent Virginia educators to key administration roles and mounted a campaign around the state to build support from lawmakers and local officials — all before any votes were taken.

Similarly, in the 2000s, Democrat Mark R. Warner logged miles around the state and made endless PowerPoint presentations to persuade business groups and a GOP legislature that Virginia had to raise taxes to preserve its high bond rating.

Youngkin made no such broad effort to pave the way for the arena, Holsworth said, or for a proposed overhaul of the state tax system that the governor rolled out in December. Instead, Youngkin began touring the state after the General Assembly adjourned March 9, campaigning to handpicked Republican crowds against what he dismisses as the “backward budget” passed by lawmakers and condemning the Senate for not supporting the arena. At the same time, he is rolling out scores of vetoes of Democratic legislation — including Thursday, when he vetoed bills to create a legal cannabis market and increase the minimum wage, two of Democrats’ top priorities.

“It’s just not a very keen understanding of the political dynamics of Virginia,” Holsworth said.

It’s probably unfair to compare Youngkin’s situation to Allen’s, or even Warner’s. Allen was governor from 1994 to 1998, when the state was very Republican. In those days, Virginia Democrats were relatively conservative. The state was definitely trending purple during Warner’s tenure (2002-2006) but the atmosphere was much less contentious. But, again, both were comparatively seasoned. Allen had spent a decade in the state legislature and, while Warner was primarily a businessman, he had deep political experience, sitting on numerous appointed boards and serving as chair of the state Democratic Party.

Running a state or a country really shouldn’t be one’s first job in politics. Indeed, it’s hard to think of a success story in the modern era.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. MarkedMan says:

    Bringing the Caps and Wizards to Alexandria was a no-brainer and I blame the state senate, not Youngkin, for this own-goal.

    Whoa. Explain to me why spending $2B dollars to coax billionaires to move a stadium a few miles is a no brainer? While I agree that being a major league town brings a tangible benefit, and unlike football 41+41 home games aren’t nothing in terms of helping the surrounding businesses, the Washington Area is a major league area regardless of where the teams actually play.

    Aside from the bad business deal this would be for VA, Youngkin doesn’t help his cause in other ways. His brand of barely moderated dickishness turns people off, despite how his PR reps try to portray him. And his political acumen sucks. By going this alone and making it all about him he didn’t build any real base for this massive expenditure in the legislature. And he brought it to a vote because he seemingly didn’t know ahead of time that it was going to fail. Amateurish.

  2. Matt Bernius says:

    Running a state or a country really shouldn’t be one’s first job in politics. Indeed, it’s hard to think of a success story in the modern era.

    100% this. I’d also add “being an agency head” to that list.

    I’ve worked with and around municipal, county, and state governments since 2018. One thing I’m struck by is how much hubris there is in the private sector about how “easy” it should be to run a government like a business. That includes my own hubris when I started this work–I still catch myself falling into that trap from time to time.

    That hubris is often manifested in “I bet they never thought of trying this idea or approach” from the private sector. Spoiler alert: they probably have… years ago… and it didn’t work for any of a number of reasons if it wasn’t adapted to the structures of government.

    Then there is the point you and Steven have touched on multiple times James: namely that most business leaders/executives have never had to deal with anything analogous to a legislature before.

    That’s before we get to the biggest issue: Under capitalism, the point of businesses is to maximize profit (hopefully balanced with growth and sustainability). That isn’t the point of government–and in many ways, it’s deeply contrary to the idea of good government (at least as many of us understand it).

    Running the government as a business appeals to ideals that political philosophers like Weber argue are baked into American society. But it really isn’t good practice.

    Aside: this isn’t to say that there cannot be crossover between business and government. Some management and organizational strategies definitely cross over.

  3. Sleeping Dog says:


    Yup stadiums and subsidies for pro sports is usually a lose.

    The short answer to this question is “No.” When studying this issue, almost all economists and development specialists (at least those who work independently and not for a chamber of commerce or similar organization) conclude that the rate of return a city or metropolitan area receives for its investment is generally below that of alternative projects. In addition, evidence suggests that cities and metro areas that have invested heavily in sports stadiums and arenas have, on average, experienced slower income growth than those that have not.

    St. Louis Fed

    The Senate saved VA from a boondoggle at the price of Youngkin’s ego. Cheap at that price.

  4. Not the IT Dept. says:

    At what point in our past did business equate to deal-making? Deals are part of business, no question, but in the old days we understood that it also meant the boring stuff of creating a product or service and bringing it to market? Oh, and training and maintaining an experienced work force.

    We used to be a serious country once.

  5. MarkedMan says:

    @Sleeping Dog: I live equidistant from Baltimore’s baseball stadium, Camden Yards, and its football stadium, Ravens Stadium*, and I walk past them multiple times a week. My gut is that by being a mulit-team (albeit two), major league town, Baltimore derives some tangible benefit when it comes to attracting big businesses, although I don’t know how to put a dollar amount on that. There is another benefit, not often talked about: these provide giant areas within the heart of the city, owned by the state, with easy access on and off major highways, light and heavy rail train access, and foot access to tens of thousands of people. They have massive open areas (parking lots and the fields) where helicopters can land. When I first moved here there was a snowstorm after the NFL season was over and before COVID was really a huge thing. I was out for a walk and noticed that every parking lot surrounding Ravens Stadium had been plowed. It’s a big expense and I wondered why. A few months later we were deep into COVID and I found out: these are part of Baltimore and Washington’s emergency planning system. There are plans in place to use these publicly owned facilities as places to evacuate to, setup field hospitals, etc. In fact, I got my first two COVID shots in Ravens Stadium and had multiple tests done at the nearby Convention Center, which was also a field treatment hospital. I don’t know how to value that in dollars, but it’s something.

    On the negative end, neither Stadium generates as much local business as the boosters claim. However, the difference between the baseball and football stadiums is dramatic. A sea of parking lots separate the two, but on the other sides of Camden yards are neighborhoods or thriving businesses, which do modest non-game traffic but are vibrant and busy for the 81 home games and dozen or so other major events. But around Ravens Stadium – nothing. Or rather, other “destination” facilities, meaning places people drive to and then drive away from. Top Golf. A casino (man, you want to talk about huge businesses that bring zero benefit to the local area!), and some popups that are closed except for game days (Ravens game days, not Orioles). Admittedly, the local bars and restaurants do a great business during game days, but that’s only 8 or 9 days a year. It’s a nice bump, but no restaurant owner is building a business around that.

    *Actually currently named for some random bank or another that has nothing to do with the team or the construction of the stadium and could change tomorrow if it put a dollar more into the pocket of some random billionaire

  6. MarkedMan says:

    @Not the IT Dept.:

    At what point in our past did business equate to deal-making?

    And the Youngkin’s Carlyle group is a private equity firm. They don’t create anything, but instead buy already existing things and slowly suck them dry, extracting as much wealth as possible as they grind them into the ground.

  7. inhumans99 says:

    A lot of politicians have forgotten that as a politician their job is to be political (and to go all both side here, I will even say some Democratic politicos are guilty of this too), which means they need develop relationships across political aisles to really get much of anything passed or built. The art of politicking is not what it used to be in this country.

    When GOP politicians go around a state and just put in appearances in front of predominately Republican audiences they are pretty much shooting fish in a barrel, which might be fun for a while and give the politician a rousing reception with hoots and hollers and cheers from a very friendly audience, but in the end this does nothing to move the needle, as this post of James very clearly illustrates.

    I want to sound maybe a bit cheesy with what I am about to say, and maybe some folks will roll their eyes, but I do not think it is too early in the election cycle this year to say that I do not feel an ill wind blowing when it come to the chances of Biden holding on to the White House.

    I do feel that there are some folks who are very much hardcore GOP cheerleaders who are trying to point out that an ill wind is indeed blowing when it come to the GOPs chance to get back in the White House, or grow more powerful in Congress, certainly I think folks in the GOP should not dismiss Charlie Kirk’s words that Trump is not doing enough (and Trump’s excuse of having to be in court vs out and about campaigning for office only goes so far as an excuse) to show to the U.S. as a whole that he wants to do more than lock up his political opponents if he re-takes the White House and break bread with anti-semites.

    I feel that some in the GOP really do see this as an issue they need to overcome, but as of this morning I feel like all I hear are crickets when it comes to tangible ideas to get the GOP train back on the tracks.

    I get that the tendency is too cringe, laugh, or what have you, when someone random on the internet tries to sound portentous, like I am about to do, but not enough folks in Congress are viewing Trump as a true existential threat to the GOP party’s chance to remain even a tiny bit relevant in the immediate years to come.

  8. DK says:


    Youngkin doesn’t help his cause in other ways. His brand of barely moderated dickishness turns people off

    That part. Did Youngkin make any outsized effort to persuade Alexandria residents or gladhand its officials and representatives? Doesn’t appear so from this reporting.

    A skilled Republican politician would have attempted you scratch my back, I’ll stratch yours legislative horse-trading: okay, Democrats, I’ll give you legal cannabis, you give me the stadium. That’s how the sausage is made.

    Youngkin’s preference seems to be running to Republican audiences and Fox News to antagonize the stakeholders whose votes he needs. It’s not good political strategy for his situation, and he shouldn’t escape blame for acting like the CEO of a corporation instead of the Republican governor of a blue state. The Democrats who control the state assembly are not his employees.

    (Contrast that with Biden, who wisely resisted hammering Kevin McCarthy and House Republicans during last year’s budget negotiations, resisting calls for such attacks from party faithful like myself. Biden was right; I and others were proved wrong. Experience matters.)

  9. Andy says:

    Here in Colorado, we’ve had two very successful businessmen as Governors – Hickenlooper and Polis, who held other offices before winning the Governorship. So I agree that prior experience is crucial for that higher-level job.

    Personally, I think the combination of political and business experience can be very good, especially compared to many one-dimensional politicians who have only done political work, especially for executive-level positions.

  10. just nutha says:

    @inhumans99: Racists are a serious and large contingent of the country. They need to either be absorbed into the body politic of two/multiple parties or form their own separate (and probably preferable to themselves) unit. The GOP has chosen racism for most of my life and virtually all of the adult portion of it. The GOP train is on track.

  11. Grumpy realist says:

    @Matt Bernius: the main difference between government services and standard business is that government services have to cover everyone, even the people who are economic liabilities. Whereas businesses (outside of public utilities) can just not sell to anyone who is a money pit.

  12. SKI says:

    @MarkedMan: Just a quibble: Camden Yards has more stuff around it because it is on the north end of the overall campus pressed against the city itself where there were businesses already present when it was built (Heck, even Pickles Pub pre-dates Camden Yards by 4 years). M&T is below that towards the highways with 295 and the train tracks hemming it in. I don’t think that is a function of the sports as much as the pre-existing geography.

  13. MarkedMan says:

    @SKI: Fair. But at least part of my impression is that I use Ravens Stadium as my shortcut to get to the Pigtown collection of brew pubs. I walk from my house and then use the Stadium light rail pedestrian overpass (it goes over the heavy rail tracks) to reach one end of the stadium and then circle around it. And I can tell you that the amount of people visible on non-game days is negligible. Even the runners just use it as a turnaround. There is exactly one open to the public business on its outskirts, M8 brew pub, and I know for a fact that the reason there is a brew pub there at all is that rents are much cheaper than anywhere else in the area because there is no foot traffic. The original brew pub there, Checkerspot (now in pigtown) created the neighborhood foot traffic that led to its success, not the other way around. Heck, the stadium isn’t even visible from the brew pub, just one of the easternmost parking lots.

  14. anjin-san says:


    Whoa. Explain to me why spending $2B dollars to coax billionaires to move a stadium a few miles is a no brainer?

    Second that. Here in the People’s State of San Francisco, Oracle Park and Chase Center, two beautiful, absolutely world-class sports facilities that revitalized the rather decrepit areas they were built in were both privately funded. The owners can afford it.

  15. SKI says:

    @MarkedMan: I’d suggest, as someone that lived in Pigtown (or a block away depending on how you define it) while M&T was being built, that that area actually has more activity and functional businesses than it did in the 80’s or early 90’s.

    So, to clarify, I make no arguments at all against the point that the stadium aren’t driving activity on non-gamedays. My quibble was more that the discrepancy for activity between OPACY and M&T isn’t the sport they host but the geography relative to the daily functions of the city and people.

  16. Beth says:

    Here in Chicago the McCaskeys (Bears) and Jerry Fucking Riensdorf (White Sox/Bulls) have put the screws to everyone they possibly can to get the City/County/State to pay for new stadiums for two teams that suck ass. Soldier Field and Comiskey Park* are two very nice, very serviceable stadiums. I will actively campaign against any politician who gives them a dime. Thankfully, Pritzker has done a decent job of saying no. There is absolutely ZERO reason to give billionaire any money for stadiums. Especially when the owners are tight fisted weenies who can’t field a winning team.

    @Matt Bernius:

    Then there is the point you and Steven have touched on multiple times James: namely that most business leaders/executives have never had to deal with anything analogous to a legislature before.

    I have to deal with a lot of young utopian queers, mostly of the “communist” variety. I keep trying to explain to them that even if their idea is absolutely perfect, they still have to get significant buy in from a ton of different stakeholders. They tend to see this as a downside and their brilliance will win out. It’s deeply frustrating. However, it is hilarious to watch them shit their pants when you point out that what they really want is an authoritarian strongman of their team to tell them what to do.


    A few months later we were deep into COVID and I found out: these are part of Baltimore and Washington’s emergency planning system. There are plans in place to use these publicly owned facilities as places to evacuate to, setup field hospitals, etc. In fact, I got my first two COVID shots in Ravens Stadium and had multiple tests done at the nearby Convention Center, which was also a field treatment hospital. I don’t know how to value that in dollars, but it’s something.

    This is interesting and something I haven’t thought of. Comiskey is right smack dab on the highway directly outside of the Loop with pretty straight shot easy access to the Loop and Northern Indiana. It’s got a TON of parking lots around it. I’ve long wondered why Reinsdorf didn’t buy the parking lots from the State, put up one massive parking structure on one of them and then redevelop the rest into a mini-neighborhood. It’s right by the highway, the Redline, Metra, it would be great and I would love it. On the other hand, it’s a great staging area if the shit hits the fan.

    *Die hard Bridgeporter here, the only the acceptable name is Cominsky.

  17. steve says:

    I agree with Andy that the combo of having been in business and then some political experience can pay off once you reach higher levels of government. However, I think that is true of many other professions. It helps to have a real world background. That said, I am not aware of any evidence that a business background is superior to other backgrounds. It’s a popular idea with voters but AFAICT it mostly results in politicians who are supportive of businesses that they like, less supportive of those they dont. In particular they are less likely to understand, support tor deal well with social issues or areas where there is not a strict monetary return evident like national defense. I can find studies to support what I have offered but not one to support the idea that business is the best profession prior to a political career. Maybe it exists but I am not aware. I would think political science would have literature on this.


  18. Sleeping Dog says:


    Much of the benefit that you mention, can be described as “amenity benefits,” yes it is good to have professional sports in town, just like it nice to have, good museums, a ballet company and symphony, etc. So there is a value, the question is always, at what cost to the public and the answer nearly all the time is the benefits of professional sports aren’t equal to the tax dollars spent.

  19. Jen says:

    Ha. New Hampshire tried this once. In a state with 2-year gubernatorial terms, Craig Benson barely lasted a single term. Americans are enamored with the idea of “running the government like a business,” as though that’s some magic formula. (Another, similarly nonsensical comment is “I have to live within my household budget, so the government should live within theirs.” Uh, huh. Sure. You can move or get a side gig or decide not to pay your kids an allowance. Government cannot do any of those things.)

    Somehow, I doubt we’ll (collectively) ever learn that government is necessary and requires a very specific set of talents to run properly, the most important of which is EXPERIENCE IN GOVERNMENT.

  20. Slugger says:

    “Government should be run like a business.” What kind of business? Don’t many businesses go under? Don’t businesses overcompensate the top and exploit the line workers? Aren’t there lots of nepobabies in every business? Have the people who say that ever worked for a large corporation?

  21. Gavin says:

    A Republican is shocked the real world doesn’t function like his top-down authoritarian escapist fantasy? News at 11.
    Youngkin is unfit to be a project manager, let alone a governor. The only way he Gets Anything Done is by yelling and threatening.. which shows his incredibly shallow understanding of both people and the issues he is being hired to solve.
    Here’s a bet that the things Youngkin did in business would have been better if he learned how to establish buy-in of stakeholders instead of just “I’m right because I know I’m right, and you should follow me because my words are magical.”

  22. Gustopher says:

    @Jen: Given Republican policy preferences, I’m kind of glad that they keep pushing unqualified gubernatorial and presidential candidates. When they win, the damage is limited.

    Uh, huh. Sure. You can move or get a side gig or decide not to pay your kids an allowance. Government cannot do any of those things.)

    Cutting Social Security, Medicare and other government supports is probably the equivalent of not paying your kids an allowance. And Republicans are always happy to try that, but, so far, none were as effective as Bill Clinton “ending welfare as we know it” because Republicans just aren’t good at government. They do a lot of damage, but not nearly as much as someone skilled could.

    I guess what I’m saying is we need a constitutional amendment to let Elon Musk run for President.

  23. anjin-san says:


    I seem to remember that about 15 years ago, the Cubs’ owners were trying to get public funds to renovate Wrigley Field, which I believe the team owners also own. So, sure, tax dollars should go to improve the property of a billionaire. Absolutely. Now let’s cut funding for feeding hungry children in America.

  24. gVOR10 says:

    I retired to FL from Cincinnati. I thought the hugely expensive clusterfwck around Cincinnati’s Paul Brown Stadium had killed any idea of government supported stadiums, but apparently no lesson lasts. I’ve forgotten the numbers, but during that whole screw up back around 2000 the Enquirer cited a study on economic impact. The Reds brought in X million dollars of business. The Bengals, who only play eight home games in a season, and at the time had no hope for post-season, brought in like X/3. The Symphony, which got basically no government support, brought in something like 4X.

    Which reminds me, the thing we loved about Cincinnati was that it was pretty much the smallest city with basically all the big city resources.

  25. Beth says:


    Oh that nightmare. The gall of the Rickettses. Lol, even Rahm knew that we would raise up and rip him apart with our hands. The absolute worst part of Wrigleyville now is just how disgustingly sanitized it is. It’s like a Disney streetscape for racist White Suburbanites. It is so grossly devoid of character. I’m not one to say that things have to stay gritty and dirty and shitty forever just for “character”, but I was just in Brooklyn and it was obviously cleaned up and expensive, but it felt real. Like, this is a place that New Yorkers in habit and live in and work in. Wrigleyville is just fake. A suburbanites fantasy city.

  26. anjin-san says:

    Chase Center in SF is also a successful concert venue, Bruce Springsteen played there last night. I caught Roxy Music at Chase a while back – for an arena concert experience, it was very good. Both privately developed sports venues have become huge wins for the city and the Bay Area.

  27. MarkedMan says:

    @SKI: You lived in Pigtown! When? If you are ever back in the area I’d be happy to buy you a beer, if you are of the hops persuasion.

  28. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Gustopher: You’re going to have to explain that Constitutional amendment idea in greater detail. I’m not seeing how “drive the federal government into bankruptcy” pencils out to anyone’s advantage.

  29. Mikey says:

    I have two opinions on the proposed move of the Capitals and Wizards to Potomac Yards:

    1. It was a terrible idea and far more people than just those who live in Alexandria would agree with me.

    2. It was nothing more than a pressure tactic by Leonsis to get what he wanted from DC. Mission accomplished.

    As far as Youngkin goes, meh. He’s been a fairly mediocre Governor and spends too much time pandering to the fringe, although to his meager credit he doesn’t appear to be a full-on MAGA moron.

    And yes, as we see with him and exponentially more with Trump, a successful (or pretend successful) business career absolutely does not translate to competence in public office.

  30. al Ameda says:


    Second that. Here in the People’s State of San Francisco, Oracle Park and Chase Center, two beautiful, absolutely world-class sports facilities that revitalized the rather decrepit areas they were built in were both privately funded. The owners can afford it.

    Many people, I dare say most people, don’t realize that when the San Francisco Giants’ Ownership Group financed and built their beautiful waterfront baseball stadium, that they were the first ones to self-finance their stadium since Walter O’Malley self-financed Dodger Stadium. The Giants’ Group, like the O’Malley 40 years before, wanted to maximize all aspects of revenue deriving from the gate, parking, merchandise, and food.

  31. wr says:

    @anjin-san: “I caught Roxy Music at Chase a while back ”

    I had to see them at Madison Square Garden, which is a pit. And far too big — they sold literally half the tickets for the place, which meant they could have exactly filled Radio City Music Hall, a place that deserved them…

  32. Mimai says:

    I agree that Cincy is a great town. The CSO punches well above its weight and is a cultural gem.

    And to be fair, it received a hefty “rescue” donation of $80ish million from Nippert several years ago. I don’t hold that against the CSO — it’s the reality of most major arts organizations. Minor ones too, just with smaller donations.

    I do, however, give a side-eye to this: Leaders seek $20M from taxpayers to help symphony with Coney Island conversion.

    Full disclosure, I haven’t studied the particulars. Hell, I’m not even a Cincy resident. I only mention it because it’s relevant to the discussion.

  33. SKI says:

    @MarkedMan: I lived on W. Barre in the mid-90s. Normally when I’m back up there it is to tailgate in Lot C and go to the Ravens games and am drinking Bourbon & Ginger but glad to meet.

  34. Kazzy says:

    @Mikey: “2. It was nothing more than a pressure tactic by Leonsis to get what he wanted from DC. Mission accomplished.”

    An oft-used tactic from these guys. Streinbrenner would regularly threaten to move the Yankees to NJ if he didn’t get what he wanted.

  35. DrDaveT says:


    although to his meager credit [Youngkin] doesn’t appear to be a full-on MAGA moron

    I have decided that he just has better camo. I have yet to see him decide or act in any way other than what a die-hard MAGA would do; he just looks less deplorable while doing it. His campaign was successful in part because he convinced a lot of swing voters that he wasn’t one of THOSE Republicans… and then he proceeded to essentially be just another one of those Republicans.

  36. Raoul says:

    I’m neutral as to CAPS and Wiz moving to NoVa but the location that was chosen was an unmitigated disaster. There is simply not enough egress for a place that’s is already overflowing with traffic- note that there simply no access from the East (river and parkway), North access is already impacted by airport traffic, and West access is just one 4-lane winding heavily congested street (Glebe). Most of the traffic would probably need to go through Old Town. The nearest highway exit is close to two miles away and it is the already over saturated 395 entering the city. One was probably looking at 180 days and nights of around the clock traffic from the late afternoon until close to midnight. Just an absolute nightmare.

  37. anjin-san says:


    I hate arena concerts, Roxy Music and Paul McCartney are the only ones I have been to in the last 40 years. It’s just not a good way to see a band. For an arena, Chase was a decent experience, and it’s a fun place to see a basketball game.

    What got me was the cost. Decent but not great floor seats, parking, grabbing a quick dinner for 2 at the show – $500. I’m done with that. I do feel for artists, they are getting screwed by streaming services and have to do expensive tours to bring $$ in. I saw Springsteen in Berkeley on the ’78 tour for the equivalent of $31 today. I’m out.

    That being said, Roxy Music at Radio City Music Hall would have been stellar.

  38. wr says:

    @anjin-san: ” I saw Springsteen in Berkeley on the ’78 tour for the equivalent of $31 today.

    Was that the Berkeley Community Theater on the BHS campus? I saw Jackson Browne there in 74 and Joni Mitchell on her Court and Spart tour. When I was in high school, I had tech friends who worked in the theater and they’d sneak me in. I remember seeing Tangerine Dream that way — not really the most exciting show, just three guys sitting at banks of synthesizers…

    Didn’t know Springsteen played there — I must have already been off to Seattle. Did see him a couple years earlier — the Born to Run tour — at the Oakland Paramount…

    And yeah, I’m too old for stadium shows, too. Didn’t even go to see Peter Gabriel this time, since he was at MSG.

  39. anjin-san says:


    It was at the Berkeley Community Theater. There’s a very high-quality recording of that show:

    I think that’s the only show I ever saw there, which seems crazy, but there were so many great shows back then that it would be hard to have seen more than a fraction of them. I also saw him at The Paramount Theater in ’76, on what I’ve heard referred to as both “The Lawsuit Tour” & “The Tour After The Born to Run Tour.”

    Those were definitely the days. Also saw him twice at the Oakland Arena on The River tour, once with fantastic seats, but I thought those shows were poor imitations of the shows I had seen in smaller venues, and that led to my long boycott of arena shows.

    I’ve read that Springsteen was very conflicted about moving into larger venues, knowing that the quality of the audience’s experience would decline, but the financial argument for larger shows is pretty much inescapable, especially for someone who had missed out on making a fortune in the mid-70s due to legal problems with his former manager.

    The quality of shows at BCC in the 70s is mind-boggling. Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Grateful Dead, The Who, Zappa, The Allman Brothers, Van Morrison, Joni Mitchell, Yes, Santana, Linda Rondstadt… All on your high school campus!