From 1969 to date, the man has been (State) Sen. Wilder, Lt. Gov. Wilder, Gov. Wilder, and now Mayor Wilder. But according to Richmond Times-Dispatch political columnist Jeff E. Schapiro, in his Sunday Commentary piece -- "Same Old Wilder" -- Hizzoner has only really been consistent about one thing -- he bashes and undercuts friends and enemies, alike.
“At a change-averse City Hall, people scratch their heads in befuddlement or quake in fear. Why, they wonder, is Wilder so ruthless, so untrusting? When was he not? Reading Times-Dispatch reporter David Ress’ July 22 article on Wilder’s reign, one is reminded he is a one-trick pony with a nasty kick.”
While he’s been good at firing people, where are the bridges or schools Wilder has built? While he’s been good at exposing follies in-the-making, where are the theaters he’s built, or even refurbished? Where are the programs to cure social ills?
Other than winning, then ruling by whim -- with paybacks aplenty -- where are the signature accomplishments of Wilder's many terms in office? Any office?
Over the years, Wilder has probably done as much to hurt his fellow Democrats as he has to help them, so he certainly won’t be remembered for building up the party that has served him so well. He left the party and ran briefly as an independent, in 1994, for Democrat Chuck Robb's U.S. Senate seat. Then he suddenly pulled out of the race in October. What was that about, other than payback?
Richmond's Mayor Wilder has been as good as it gets at pointing his finger at problems. Many times he’s been absolutely right about those things, too. But where are his solutions?