Saturday, August 01, 2009

Will Obama and Kaine Turn Virginia Red Come November?

From time to time I get contacted by political campaigns either to ask that I cover issues or opposing candidates or for my thoughts on how to reach out to the gay voters - not that any of the Virginia statewide Democrat candidates for governor, lieutenant governor, or attorney general have done much reaching out to date. I expect that to change very soon in the case of Jody Wagner, candidate for lieutenant governor, who I have previously endorsed and who has a gay-friendly track record. The same holds true for Steve Shannon the candidate for attorney general who publicly opposed Virginia's anti-gay marriage amendment and even wrote an editorial as to why the amendment should be voted down. As for Deeds, I unfortunately expect no outreach efforts to LGBT Virginians and I very much fear that he will lose to Bob McDonnell in November.
Despite Deeds' shortcomings, the biggest problem that these three Democrat candidates face - and Wagner and Shannon are excellent candidates - is the dis-engagement of many Virginia Democrats who feel that they worked their hearts out and dug deep in their pockets to elect Barack Obama and elect addition Democrats to Congress and have received NOTHING in return for their efforts. LGBT Virginians have received nothing from Obama - ditto for Governor/DNC Chair, Tim Kaine. For gays and non-gays alike the same problem exists. With a Democrat in the White House and Democrat majorities in the House and Senate, little has been accomplished because of the ridiculous efforts for "bipartisanship" - i.e., reaching out to members of the GOP who will NEVER cooperate and who seek only to torpedo any real change. The public gave the Democrats all the tools they need to effect change and they have bungled it badly. Campaign visits to Virginia by Obama will not have the effect he believes - people are looking for delivery on promises, not more pretty words.
Yesterday, when an aide from one of the state wide campaigns called me, I expressed the above stated view and to my surprise the aide acknowledge that it was a major concern that the failures of Obama and the Congressional Democrats to deliver would potentially severely compromise the statewide Democrat candidates. I expressed my view that unless Obama signs a stop loss order to suspend Don't Ask, Don't Tell or delivers on some other promise to LGBT voters BEFORE election day in November, he will have convinced LGBT Virginians that voting Democrat is a worthless effort - basically pissing into the wind - because the Democrats simply talk a good game but fail to deliver. Other core Democrat constituencies have likewise been left feeling they were lied to.
I truly hope someone carries this message to the White House and Congressional Democrats because they are clearly putting Virginia at risk for a GOP sweep - something that will set the state back dramatically and allow McDonnell to appoint all kinds of Christianists and extremists to state positions. The mere thought of it makes me shudder.

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