Thursday, February 21, 2013

Pick Your Poison

Politics in my adopted home state of Virginia have set up a sort of Sophie’s Choice for me this November.  The gubernatorial election looks like it will pit Democrat Terry McAuliffe against Republican Ken Cuccinelli.  None of the above should win in a landslide. 

Both parties stand to lose if their standard bearer wins the governorship since both candidates embody the worst stereotypes of both parties.

On the Democratic side, Terry McAuliffe is a prodigious fundraiser.  His background includes stints as a Jimmy Carter fundraiser, head of the Democratic National Committee, and head of the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign fundraising efforts.  See a pattern?  Terry is a fundraiser, and a good one, but that only qualifies him to be a fundraiser.  His connections and past experience beg for charges of corruption and undue influence.  He is a master of spin and while that may be a secondary requirement for a good governor, experience in elected office may be slightly ahead.

I am not sure that’s he’s that popular among Democrats in the state, thankfully.  In 2009, he ran in the primary for governor but was rejected by voters in favor of Creigh Deeds, the weakest Democratic candidate the party faithful could find.  Deeds was a sure loser from the day he was nominated, and yet the party still picked him over McAuliffe.  That ought to tell you something.

On the Republican side, we have Ken Cuccinelli, the darling of the far, far Right.  When he runs, the social agenda of the Republicans will be front and center, the same agenda that has driven women and minority voters away from the party in droves.  Cue the “Blame the Media” chorus for their temerity in highlighting his positions that are published in his newly released book.  I am confident that talking about his positions on health care and immigration will be labeled “distractions” from the real issues, like food stamp abuse and too many suspicious people voting.   

When Virginians are asked today who they will pick in November, it’s a dead heat (literally, in my view).  There is a wild card, however.  GOP Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling pulls in 13% if he is added to the mix, and he is not an announced candidate at this point.  That’s pretty good poll numbers for a guy who doesn’t have a reality TV show or an incendiary blog.  This RINO could upset the political apple cart in the Commonwealth, and I hope he does.  I am pro-more choice in this governor’s race.

I do not know GOP Lt. Governor Bill Bolling.  I do know that the Cuccinelli people are afraid that if Bolling enters the race as a 3rd party candidate that the election will swing to McAuliffe.  They could be correct, and then we’d have a new Democratic governor, elected without a majority who has never served in elected office but throws a good party.  That could set the Democratic Party in the state back for decades. 

Of course, if Cuccinelli wins, there is one positive.  The Virginia limits its governors to one term, thereby limiting his damage to the social contract.  So there’s that.

This is what I do know.  Given the current choices, I am willing to listen to Bolling and I am predisposed to liking whatever he says.  If Cuccinelli hates him, that might be good enough for me.  

I guess what I’m saying is, “Please don’t make me stay home.”

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