Sunday, May 31, 2009

OMG, Is It Doug?

I’m sitting in the den, minding my own business, watching the evening news, when I see that face and I hear that voice. My blood pressure starts to rise. My mouth starts to salivate. Is this a dream? Can it be real? Yes, it is! It’s Doug Wilder on the tube threatening to support Bob McDonnell, the Republican, for governor. There is even some speculation that Doug is going to become a Republican. Wow!

Okay, I need to calm down. I can’t allow myself to get obsessed about Doug again. I know that for more than two years Doug provided tons of material for this maven. I know that since Doug has dropped out of the public lime light my writing production has gone way down. With Doug back, this maven could soar again to his great levels of sarcasm and invective.

No! I will not allow Doug Wilder to draw me down that path again. I realize that I am a Doug Wilder addict. So, I can’t even allow myself to think about Doug. Let him do what he wants. This maven will just ignore him.

To the Republicans I anglicize an old Yiddish curse that my grandmother used to use—a plague on you! May Doug bring you all the grief that he brought to the citizens of River City!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Brian, You Make Me So Mad!

They’re back. Just when this political junkie had gotten used to seeing real “commercial” commercials on the tube, the political ads are back. Republican Bob McDonnell has been running these ads setting out his background, record and philosophy and has dubbed himself the “jobs governor.” Democratic Creigh Deeds tells us how little money he had when he left for college, explains his philosophy and then claims to be the best qualified Democrat to be governor. Democrat Terry McCauliffe is running ads explaining his programs and arguing that his business experience makes him the most qualified candidate to be our next governor. All of the McDonnell, Deeds and McCauliffe ads are positive. They say nothing about the rival candidates. (This, of course, is much easier for McDonnell because he doesn’t yet know who is opponent will be.)

Then there are the ads being run by Brian Moran. Rather than explaining why Mr. Moran should be our next governor, his ads attack Terry McCauliffe. I don’t know who is running Mr. Moran’s campaign, but they seem to be forgetting that Brian Moran and Terry McCauliffe are both Democrats. They also seem to have forgotten that the objective in this year’s contest for governor must be to keep the Republican Bob McDonnell from winning. By running these attack ads, the Moran campaign is giving Mr. McDonnell ammunition to use against Terry McCauliffe should he win the Democratic nomination. It is also making it a lot less likely that there will be a united Democratic party in the Commonwealth to run the fall campaign.

This maven has not yet decided who he will vote for for governor in the upcoming Democratic primary election. But I do know that any of the three Democratic candidates would make a better governor of Virginia than would Bob McDonnell. I also know that only a united Democratic campaign can keep Mr. McDonnell from being our next governor. That is why I am so angry at Brian Moran.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Jody Is The One

As I said the other day, the person is more important than the issues in most elections. This is especially true in the primary race for Lieutenant Governor between Jody Wagner and Mike Signer. You and I both know, trusted reader, that the Lieutenant Governor of Virginia does almost nothing. The only constitutional duty of the Looie is to preside over the state senate. Also, the General Assembly, in its wisdom, has chosen, over the years, to make the Looie a member of various statutory boards or commissions. But aside from that, it’s four years of doing almost nothing. So, the policy positions of Lieutenant Governor candidates don’t mean a hell of a lot.

Based on the experience of the two candidates and the time I have spent talking with Ms. Wagner, I have no doubt who I am voting for. Jody Wagner has had more experience in state government than Mr. Signer. She is also a person who I trust to do the right thing no matter what job she is doing. Finally, since I am a loyal Democrat, I see Jody as the best candidate to run against Bill Bolling.

So, next Tuesday, I urge you to vote for Jody Wagner for Lieutenant Governor in the Democratic primary.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

No Liberty At Liberty

It didn’t shock me too much to read that Liberty University has banished young Democrats from its Lynchburg campus. Liberty is a private institution so it need not concern itself with such Un-Liberty type stuff as the First Amendment. And, let’s face it, Liberty’s founder, the late Jerry Falwell, did not intend for it to be educating Democrats. The university’s major purpose was and is to produce leaders for what we affectionately call the Religious Right. So the big news story should have flashed when Liberty first authorized the young Dems to function, not when it withdrew that authorization.

However, it seems to this maven that Liberty University needs to change its name. When Mr. Jefferson inscribed the words “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” into what became our Declaration of Independence, I can’t help thinking that “liberty” included the right to think and express one’s views. By taking the position that doctrinal purity is more important than the right of its students to express their views, the university has forfeited the privilege of calling itself “Liberty.”

I call on you, my loyal readers, to come up with suggestions for the new name for that peculiar institution in Lynchburg. If I don’t hear from you, I will have no choice but to rechristen (no pun intended) Mr. Falwell’s university by myself.

Our Next Delegate in the 69th

When I decided to run for the School Board last year I sought the advice of my state delegate Frank Hall. After talking for a while, Frank gave me this one great piece of advice—elections do not turn on issues, they turn on personalities. If people like you they will vote for you even if they do not fully agree with your positions on the issues. If people don’t like you, they will not vote for you even if they love your positions on the issues.

Well, it’s nearly a year later. Frank’s advice didn’t help me win my election, but it sure explains how I’m going to vote in the Democratic Party primary elections next week. Let me start with the contest to replace Frank Hall in the House of Delegates (Frank has moved on to an appointed office in the Commonwealth). The candidates are Carlos Brown, School Board member Betsy Carr and former president of the Richmond Crusade for Voters, Antione Green.

Frank Hall’s principle leads me to a great case of heartburn in this election. I consider both Betsy Carr and Antione Green to be personal friends. I have known Betsy for four years. We work together in the Micah Initiative. During my campaign last summer she helped spur me on to do the grunt work of politics—knocking on doors and shaking hands. I think that Betsy is highly qualified to serve us in the House of Delegates. I would not only like to vote for her, but I would have liked to work on her campaign. But… I met Antione last year at the Crusade school board candidate forum. We quickly became friends. Although the Crusade did not endorse my candidacy, Antione and I met many times over the summer and fall discussing school issues and the campaign. I think that Antione is highly qualified to serve us in the House of Delegates. I would not only like to vote for him, but I would have loved to work on this campaign.

As you might guess, I have worked on neither Betsy’s nor Antione’s campaigns. I just couldn’t get myself to campaign against either of them. How will I vote next week? I can’t tell you now. It will be either Betsy or Antione and I probably won’t decide until I am at the voting machine.

But, you may ask, what about the third candidate, Carlos Brown? I don’t know Carlos Brown. It is possible that last year I shook his hand during the campaign, but I don’t remember. I have received several pieces of his campaign literature. I read what he stands for. I notice that he is endorsed by Mayor Jones and State senators McEachin and Marsh. Those endorsements do not sway me one way or the other.

I will not vote for Mr. Brown. Why? He’s not my friend. I don’t have any personal feelings for him. And as Frank Hall taught me—voters choose based on the person, not the issues.

My advice to you, trusted reader—vote for Betsy Carr or vote for Antione Green. They are both good people.

And to Betsy and Antione I say—Good luck next Tuesday. Whichever one of you wins the primary, be assured that I will work to get you elected next November.