Skip to main content

Donkeys on defense
Are Virginia Dems already throwing in the towel?

We’ve made no secret of our utter befuddlement when it comes to Virginia’s completely complacent state Democratic party. Although the commonwealth has become increasingly competitive at the presidential and (2010 notwithstanding) congressional level, you’d be hard pressed to find a Democratic member of the General Assembly who seemed passionate (or even mildly optimistic) about the party’s future statewide prospects.   

Sure, the Dems still command a bare majority in the state Senate, and Majority Leader Dick Saslaw can always be counted on for an upbeat quote touting his party’s electoral outlook. But actions speak louder than words, as they say, and the recent history of the Old Dominion’s donkeys is anything but reassuring.

The party’s most immediate obstacles are twofold. The first is the ongoing statewide redistricting process, which seems all but certain to help Republicans add to their already sizable numbers in the House of Delegates (they currently outnumber Democrats 59-39, and also have the votes of the chamber’s two independents). In fact, the House redistricting was so harsh, Democratic Minority Leader Ward Armstrong actually has to move several miles and run in a new district simply to keep his job.

On the other side of the Assembly, the compromise Senate plan was, in theory, supposed to help Democrats increase their majority, but many experts are voicing skepticism. Saslaw is pinning his hopes on well-known Lynchburg exterminator Bert Dodson to capture the newly created 22nd district, and is also hoping for a Dem upset in the rejiggered 13th. But both of these districts — while freshly drawn, and thus technically open seats — lean Republican, and are by no means easy pick-ups for team blue.

Which leads us to problem number two: enthusiasm, or the complete lack thereof. If there’s one thing that plagues Virginia’s Dems at the local level, it’s a palpable passion deficit. While Republican recruitment for both House and Senate vacancies is going like gangbusters (with 3-5 candidates competing for many open seats), Democratic candidates seem to be arriving late to the party, if they arrive at all.

Now call us crazy, but as we watch this process unfold, we can’t help but think that it might help if the Assembly’s Democrats stood up and actually started acting like Democrats. That would mean, among other things, not voting to make the federal healthcare insurance mandate illegal in Virginia (yes, senate Democrats did that), and maybe even speaking up for tolerance and inclusiveness when one of your colleagues makes a particularly asinine remark.

And look, here’s a perfect opportunity! Seems like oft-deranged Del. Bob Marshall has got his panties in a bunch because the Richmond Federal Reserve Bank is currently flying a rainbow flag directly beneath Old Glory to celebrate Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month. In a typically over-the-top missive to bank president Jeff Lacker, Marshall demanded that the bank immediately remove the “homosexual flag,” because gay activity “undermines the American economy,” among many other terrible things.

Wow, what a load of hogwash. Well, we’re sure that one of Marshall’s Democratic colleagues immediately sent a strongly-worded letter of support to Lacker, decrying the homophobic house member’s retrograde ideas and thuggish, inappropriate demands.

Anyone? Anyone? Saslaw? Bueller?

Sigh. Oh well — good luck in November, guys.

Cross-posted from C-VILLE Weekly.

Originally posted to Hard Left on Tue Jun 21, 2011 at 05:41 PM PDT.

Also republished by Virginia Kos.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site