Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The trap of Lambert's endorsement

So, now Sen. Benjamin Lambert has broken ranks with Virginia Democrats to endorse Republican Sen. George Allen‘s reelection.

As I recall it, Lambert was opposed to the strong-mayor to be elected by a citywide vote concept that carried Richmond three years ago by an overwhelming margin.

In that stance he stood with Sen. Henry Marsh and broke with Mayor Doug Wilder, the man who spearheaded the change in Richmond’s City Charter, and who then went on to be elected mayor in the next year. Wilder carried all nine districts in Richmond. Thus, it should be noted that Lambert’s influence over voters in Richmond is not at all what it once was.

The Webb camp should shrug off this endorsement of Allen for that reason and one more, which is even more important. The worst possible thing that Webb’s supporters could do is start trashing Benny Lambert. If Raising Kaine and its blogging team get suckered onto going ballistic on Lambert, calling him names and ridiculing him, that tactic will surely blow up in their faces.

Allen’s camp will grab that stuff and put it in front of black voters statewide, to drive a permanent wedge between Webb and those Democrats.

Let’s face it many black voters are not sure about Webb, as it is. Webb has a lot work to do in that area, already. If his camp gets blamed for disrespecting Lambert, simply because he hasn’t done what they want, Webb’s task of energizing that significant part of the Democratic base may become impossible.

Does the Netroots playbook allow for restraint, when it’s called for? We’ll see.

3 comments:

spankthatdonkey said...

Terry:
Does Wilder endorse Allen?

Politicl.Animal said...

If the "Netroots" fails this test, their influence will be limited to north of the Rappahannock.

F.T. Rea said...

My guess is that Wilder will endorse Webb at the time when his Dougness thinks he has the greatest leverage. Hopefully, he won’t wait so long that it will be too late. Webb probably needs Wilder’s endorsement sooner than later.

Politicl.Animal,

Yes, I agree. This could prove to have been an impoprtant moment of 2006‘s campaign. If the Webb camp shows restraint and savvy, even down to the ranks of the wannabe-professional bloggers, then this event will fade into the mists. In a week it will hardly matter.

But if the Webb bloggers, chiefly RK‘s team, go over the top on this one, I’m pretty sure Democrats all over Virginia will live to regret it.

This won’t be the last test, either. Sen. Allen is not without resources and the Macaca Gaffe did not end the race.