Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Early thoughts on the election

It has been a long night – and it’s not over just yet. Webb leads in Virginia but there will possibly be a recount. For what it is worth, there was a state-wide recount in last year’s Attorney General’s race. The candidate going into the recount with a lead maintained that lead throughout with very few changes in votes. That, of course, was last year but we can only hope.

Assuming the count holds, this is good news for Virginia and for the nation. Jim Webb is a good man with a lot to offer the country. I have no doubt Senator Webb will give me and others heartburn from time to time but we can live with that.

Senator Allen, on the other hand, had an undistinguished career as a member of the majority in the U.S. Senate and was phony as a three-dollar bill. He liked to parade around the state dressed up in a cowboy suit…because that’s what Virginians do or because only real men wear cowboy hats or who-knows-what. Yeah, I know – it doesn’t make any sense but you haven’t met George Allen.

Last summer, Allen was assuming his re-election would be a mere formality giving him the national kick-off he needed to run for President. Many saw him as the anti-McCain candidate, a stand-in for George Bush. That plan is now dead and I think the nation can thank Virginia for that. Not that I wish the Republicans well but they are better off without Allen.

As for the “gridlock” issue some commentators keep harping on, all I can say is Congress has already been in gridlock. We have seen one party rule in Washington for a number of years now yet what ever happened to President Bush’s proposal to privatize Social Security? Where’s the flag burning amendment to the constitution congressional Republicans put so much faith in? What happened to President Bush’s immigration reform plan? Congress did pass a plan for a Berlin-Wall type fence on the border with Mexico but didn’t even fund it. We have had gridlock. The difference is now we will have gridlock with executive oversight and we will have gridlock with investigations into corruption. Who knows? Given the quality of the new leadership coming into power, maybe we won’t have gridlock. Maybe the Democratic leadership will do that the Republican leadership failed to do – work with the executive branch as an equal.

I will have to say I am very disappointed in the vote on the so-called marriage amendment. I’m not surprised by the outcome – these amendments have been passing all over the country – but had hoped, based upon the over-reaching language and the closeness of current public polls that maybe, just maybe, Virginians might stand up to this not so subtle bigotry and defeat this awful proposal or at least pass it narrowly. Unfortunately, it passed and passed by a wide margin. We have our work cut out for us.

More election thoughts to come.

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