Webb, he recalls, had a 15 percent chance of beating the popular Republican until Allen said "Macaca" and imploded. Webb, though, is a Southern Democrat and a former Republican who walked easily between the moderate portions of each party. Michael, like me, is an unapologetic liberal, a trait I consider courageous and admirable in today's climate of personal destruction politics. Michael is smarter and better at explaining his positions without becoming annoyed than I, as well, which is better for the political arena.
Michael has asked me to support him every chance I get and I don't mind giving that a try for the few of you who might want to know what I think, so I'll pass this exchange between us this morning to give you an idea what Michael believes:
Me: I want you to understand that I fully support your efforts toward winning a general assembly seat, although you're probably too good a guy to wish that on. You and I share a political philosophy--we're almost parallel--that is far to the left of most people we know, including the moderates and that's tough to hide in a political campaign. Jim Webb is an old-line Southern Democrat, which is why he easily walked between parties and why he even had a chance against Allen. I'm waiting for the first person to ask you about gun control, tobacco subsidies, LBGT rights, health care, abortion, gay marriage and the like. But, again, I think what you are attempting is noble in the same way Sancho Panza admired his buddy, Don.
Michael: You're right on all counts of course. The first person who asks me about gun control I'll say, "I ride a motorcycle everywhere. The state of Virginia requires me to earn a drivers license, buy insurance, have it routinely inspected and I can have my right to drive revoked at any time if I disobey the rules.
"Why? Because it is deemed a public safety hazard. I don't believe our founding fathers felt gun ownership should be any different. I'm not looking to take anybody's gun away who uses it responsibly, but today guns are increasingly a public health risk and I don't believe someones right to own a gun trumps another person's right to not be shot." If over 50 percent of the voters in my district disagree, then I'll lose.
"But I think times are changing. The GOP is increasingly viewed as radical, disruptive, ineffective, racist, and vindictive, even by their own party members. Many of the voters in my district are voting for a GOP that doesn't exist any more, the GOP of Eisenhower, Reagan, Godwin, and Holton"