Because Valley Business FRONT's publication schedule is mid-month (something we hadn't anticipated until the first issue grew to such proportions that we had to push back the publication date by two weeks), endorsements in this year's elections became problematic. That, of course, is solved beautifully by the Internet.
So, in the interest of anybody who gives a flying flip, here's the column I wrote for the November issue, which will not appear in print because the issue will show up more than a week after the election. The endorsements are mine alone.
At the most basic level—the understanding of the bottom line—former Gov. Mark Warner is the no-brainer choice to succeed the noble and esteemed John Warner as Virginia’s junior U.S. Senator.
Mark Warner’s background is as a successful business professional in the technology/investment sector and that success was apparent during his term as governor when he turned a $6 billion budget deficit (left by predecessor and current opponent Jim Gilmore) into a $1 billion surplus in four years. He did that by creating unity, dialogue and compromise—the way politics has been run most successfully.
Warner’s plan is to take control of our energy needs, to confront a sticky and difficult health care/insurance problem, to stabilize a corrupt and faltering Wall Street, to educate our children, to bring crucial broadband to all corners of our nation and create international competitiveness. His is like a solid business plan.
Perhaps most important, Warner will ask Americans to help him, to sacrifice for the future of our country, to join him in formulating solutions, to be Americans. We have, sadly, been without that request for many, many years, wasting one of the most valuable assets any political person can have: the backing of his constituency through shared sacrifice. Warner wants us to be a team again. We could go undefeated.
As with Virginia’s senate race, the national election gives us two wildly different choices. We can fall all over ourselves with fear mongering, racism, sexism, moose-hunting-ism, lipstick pig-ism, but we’re voting here on four more years or the good sense to try something different. Alcoholics Anonymous, a group that is salted with sensible philosophy, defines “insanity” as “doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results.”
Electing John McCain and his wildly radical, almost completely clueless VP candidate, whose selection is, in itself, reckless and insulting, would be the continuation of a disaster. Historically, she would have a 30 percent chance of becoming the top bulldog and that’s an unacceptably dangerous folly. Even if he stayed healthy for his entire term, his policies would continue the sinking of the USS Titanic.
Barack Obama is not a perfect candidate (Al Gore is), but he is smart, analytical, reasonable and a coalition builder—not a self-styled “maverick.” McCain has traded away his hard-earned honor and dignity by pandering to the unprincipled elements of the far right and, frankly, he never had much of a program or a chance anyway.
The three U.S. Congressmen from the Roanoke and New River Valleys—Bob Goodlatte, Rick Boucher and Virgil Goode—provide marked contrast beyond their mixture of Republican (2) and Democratic Party affiliations.
Goodlatte and Boucher, conservatives from different parties (Goodlatte the Republican), have been productive, effective (especially in technology legislation), respected members of a congress that has an approval rating in the teens. Goode is one of the reasons for the dismal rating.
Boucher is running without opposition and Goodlatte’s opponent is more token than real, an inexperienced young man with little chance. I rarely agree with Goodlatte and his 0 (that's zero) environmental rating is outrageous, but he's a good man and an honest man who has a great deal of valuable experience.
Goode, meanwhile, has become so frazzled by the carefully and brilliantly executed campaign of young Tom Perriello (“No matter how you pronounce it …”) that he has taken to the lowest form of racially-tinged, provincial (“You ain’t from around here, are you?”) fear-mongering.
Goode's campaign is a clinic in baseless, careless Rovian bloviation, ignorance and pandering to the lowest common denominator in the electorate, but he deserves to be fired because he's an ineffective congressman from a district that's in deep trouble. Goode was never a worthy Congressman and at this stage, it doesn’t look like he ever will be. He’s a cliché of worn-out catch phrases (“New York lawyer,” “marriage amendment,” “drill now”) and almost total inaction.
Perriello, meanwhile, is a breath of fresh air, another Charlottesville area opponent for Goode who is a far better choice for the job. His background in helping overthrow a dictator (Charles Taylor of Liberia), serving on faith missions, working for the poor and being a fine, fine American make him a role model. We could use one or two of those in congress.