so am I
goes Republican politics in Virginia these days. Or,
if poetry isn’t your gig, perhaps this line from a
Ricky Skaggs tune will help you understand what’s
going on in at the moment, if the latest Mason-Dixon
poll is to be believed, and it is:
is too long to go on living this way!”
Virginia voters are rejecting the Republican
It is… well… a little schizophrenic. It goes
something like this: We want smaller government, we
want the government off your backs—but we want the
government hiding under your bed, and peeping in
your windows, and looking over your shoulders when
you’re in our libraries, and we want the
government poking its nose into your family business
when you’re making private life and death
decisions in our hospital rooms.
Not to Virginia voters. They understand completely.
And are rejecting it.
think I’m making up this notion of Republican
dichotomy? Consider this: John Chichester and a
handful of senior Republicans in the state senate
fired a shot across the bow of Jerry Kilgore’s
plan to make transportation a general fund line item
earlier this week by issuing a public letter saying,
in effect, “Forget it. Not gonna happen,” and
Ken Cuccinelli, leader of the senate’s Flat-Earth
caucus, announced the formation of a political
action committee to oppose the senate’s centrist
Republican leadership. And all this
hyperventilation over the so-called “surplus”?
voters are rejecting that, too. Virginia Republicans
seem to have landed, somehow, inexplicably, on a
“borrow-and-spend” mentality. Virginia
voters aren’t buying that line.
more sophisticated than that. They know you can’t
borrow yourself out of debt.
National Association of Governors reports that 42
states finished in the black this year—a
development driven largely by corporate profits, a
hot housing market, rising retail sales, and a
decided up-tick in personal earnings (read that one
“capital gains.”) And this is somehow bad?
Virginia voters know better.
to Mark Warner: Go into hiding. There is nothing you
can do to make your approval numbers go higher than
they are now. (At 74%, they're the highest in the
history of Mason-Dixon polling.)
to Tim Kaine: Go with him. Shadow this man’s every
step. He will make you the next governor of
some seeming effort to the contrary on the part of
both, Jerry Kilgore and Tim Kaine find themselves
facing this reality: This election has become a
referendum on the governorship of Mark Warner. If
that holds, Kaine will be the beneficiary, and will
be elected… unless… unless…
Russ Potts, the Winchester Independent finds a way
(finds the money) to insinuate himself into the
conscience of Virginia’s electorate between now
and November. He’s got the right message. If it
was up to the state’s editorial writers, he’d be
now, though, the lack of funding has locked him into
what amounts to a sound-proof room. That could
change. He’s at 9 percent in the latest
Mason-Dixon poll—and gaining.
Potts finds break-out money between now and
November, all bets are off. He understands—and has
since the beginning—what the poll only confirmed:
Virginians are putting a fast fade to the divisive
social issues that are the staple goods of the
Republican raison d’etre―and of the Kilgore
understands that this campaign will be won by the
candidate who can best give articulation to Mark
Warner’s brand of centrism, to the
bread-and-butter issues of government, to
transportation and education, and such.
a word or two about the West Virginia debate. The
pundits and the pointy-heads would have you believe
that Kilgore “won” it. Don’t you believe
a word of that.
is an adage in boxing that applies here: You don’t
need a referee in a boxing match. Put a 10-year-old
ringside and he or she will tell you who won the
how it was the other day in White Sulphur Springs. I
was there. It wasn’t even close. While the
state’s political writers and academics who follow
Virginia politics were telling each other that
Kilgore “won,” I checked with the 10-year-olds
They saw it like I did—Kaine mopped the floor with
August 8, 2005