out of political retirement, Doug Wilder is back in
the public spotlight as Richmond's new mayor -- with
a mandate to kick butt and take names.
you think a black, anti-tax, conservative Democrat
who raises tons of Main
(if you’re a dolt, read that
"Republican") money and crushes the living
daylights out of a sitting mayor, might change the
statewide political equation in Virginia
this one is a little long in the tooth — he’s
73, but he doesn’t look it — nor act it.
And he’s got a "cesspool" to
that’ll happen. If
you don’t think he’s been in swamps before, ask
He’s always had game.
Now he’s got something better — in
politics, a lot better.
Wilder’s got base again.
And not just base — he’s got that rare,
rare kind. He’s
got cross-over base — Democrat and Republican,
conservative and liberal, black and white.
does that translate to?
Don’t be stupid.
Politically speaking, you could get the
people who love Doug Wilder into a phone booth.
(He’s made his way, not by biting the hand
that feeds him, but by biting the hand until it
feeds him. There
is a difference.)
no, it’s not "liberal".
Wash your mouth out with soap!
It translates to leverage.
Folks who are wary now of Wilder’s leverage
already make up a considerable crowd.
Their numbers will increase dramatically over
the next year or so.
Allen cozied up early.
The two denounced Gov. Mark R. Warner’s
proposed tax increases in a public display of
Republican Congressman Thomas Bliley cozied up
early. The two
were joined at the hip in the successful effort to
make the mayorship election a citywide, popular vote
Republicans cozied up early, inviting Wilder to
keynote their House Republican Caucus retreat.
Tim Kaine cozied up early, endorsing Wilder
against his friend and fellow Richmond
laborer, Hizzoner R. C. ‘Rudy’ McCollum, Jr.
worry, all the other statewides will be around
sooner or later to touch the hem of his cloak, too.
Of course they will, every single one of
them, Democrat and Republican.
Or they should.
The smart ones will.
say Wilder put a shellacking on McCollum would be an
a distance, it was like watching the Rodney King
beating all over again. He swept the field in all nine city precincts
first popularly elected mayor in 56
a win that one-sided can be a two-edged sword, too.
An 80-10 margin is not just a mandate, it is
more a de-mandate. Richmond’s
voters have demanded change and Wilder’s got to
deliver now. And
my guess is that he will.
He has shown signs of having a short
attention span in some of his other endeavors, but I
doubt this will be the case here.
other thing about such a whop-sided win is this:
When your approval numbers are 80-10 going
in, the only real direction you have to go is down.
And Wilder’s inevitably will settle some.
It’s hard to keep that many people happy
for very long.
that reality is in the future.
In the meantime, Wilder has a tough,
nitty-gritty day job in front of him.
Will he bite hands?
Guarantee he will.
Will he get what he wants?
Guarantee he will.
voters have made him their mayor, but they’ve made
him something else, too. As the statewide aspirants
slide into orbit around him over the next year or
so, Richmond voters will understand that they’ve
made Wilder the center of the political universe in
no mistake, Doug Wilder knows what to do with that.
Doug Wilder knows leverage.
November 15, 2004