Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Marsh against Webb; Yawn

Senator Henry Marsh is a man with a long distinguished career in politics. In the upcoming Virginia Democratic senatorial primary he opposes James Webb. Marsh favors Harris Miller. I’m not at all surprised.

In my book it hardly matters.

Let me be the first to say that Virginians owe former Richmond mayor Henry Marsh much in the way of gratitude. While he is a courageous man, he is also a man whose ideas were formed during the Civil Rights struggles of the 1950s and 60s. Unfortunately, Marsh's style proves that old liberals can sometimes be just as inflexible as old conservatives. At times he acts as if nothing has changed and that he’s still fighting the battles of 40 years ago.

For example: Marsh strongly opposed the movement in Richmond to change the City Charter to allow for the direct citywide election of the mayor. He managed to find all sorts of hidden racist demons in that proposed change, in spite of the fact that many local black leaders were on the bandwagon for reform. Marsh insisted it would water down the black vote and transfer power back to the rich white people who used to run Richmond.

Determined to maintain the status quo, Marsh played the race card.

By the way, SLANT first called for this same change back in 1992. After that initial piece I wrote several more OpEds for various publishers which endorsed the at-large mayor concept as a way to improve the City of Richmond‘s government. Each time I can remember being told by plenty of “experts” that as long as Marsh opposed the idea, it was dead-on-arrival. They were convinced Marsh controlled the black vote in Richmond.

Their notion was outdated. The self-appointed experts were wrong.

Another local black politician, Doug Wilder, was leading the push for the change. When Marsh opposed Wilder, his old friend from college days, Marsh rolled the dice and lost.

By losing that political fight so badly Marsh exposed the fact that he no longer enjoys anywhere near the sway over black voters in Central Virginia, or the Democratic Party, he once did. The Wilder/Bliley proposal passed by a whopping four-to-one margin in a citywide referendum. It carried all nine districts.

So, James Webb’s disappointed supporters should calm down. The days of a Henry Marsh endorsement, or rebuke, mattering very much are long gone. That hardly means Marsh is a lowdown party-splitter. It just means he’s somewhat out of touch with the times, again.

Furthermore, I don’t see any good in calling Harris Miller names. Miller is trying to win. He still thinks he can. That doesn't make him, or Marsh, into a traitor. Perhaps Webb’s blogging team should take a deep breath and swear off the hyperbole for a couple of days.

If Webb is going to be the golden boy who can beat George Allen, if he's the world-beater his blogging supporters have been saying he is, the man simply needs to handle this. If Marsh can knock candidate Webb off this easily, then he never stood a chance against Allen.

Webb will surely have to explain his stand on Affirmative Action. Not everyone will be pleased with it, especially those who are wallowing in nostalgia with Marsh. But please get this straight -- everyone who criticizes that 1960s program, designed to help make up for past discrimination, is not a racist.

Many good Democrats are surely ready to see a timetable for Affirmative Action, as it is, to be phased out and replaced by a newer program more targeted to specific problems.

Let’s give Webb his chance to deal with this problem. He had to know it would come up, so he shouldn’t be surprised by it. Besides, I don’t think most endorsements mean anywhere nearly as much as they used to.

Bottom line: If Webb’s supporters go bonkers every time a Virginia Democrat doesn’t do exactly what they want this spring, I can’t imagine how that will help Webb win the nomination.


Sean Holihan said...

Here's the thing that many people are forgetting: Its not just Marsh. Its Spruill, its Lambert, its Lucas and Dwight Jones, Donald McEachin and Roslyn Tyler.

However, it’s not just them. It's also people like Sen. Whipple and Del. Adam Ebbin that represent the democratic base that Miller has started to wrap up.

One voice may not matter so much anymore in Virginia. But a pure cacophony of elected legislator's voices do.

Alice said...

Sean Holihan - precisely so, and the teachers haven't even come in yet.

The Richmond Democrat said...

Miller's attempt to paint Webb as a racist will fail. And one more negative attack will split the party, making it certain that, even if Miller gets the nomination, he'll lose the general election.

I've heard of one Miller volunteer who was so angry at the neverending negativity without any positive vision he was threatening to destroy the petition signatures he had gathered for Miller.

Food for thought.

Anonymous said...

I find this thread so funny.

1. If Sen. Marsh had endorsed Webb, then the dozen Webb bloggers would be loving life, praising Marsh.

2. Trying to paint a minimalits damage control view of these endorsements is really silly.

3. To me, this campaign is over. You bloggers tried to paint Miller as slow and inept, etc., but what really is happening is a well coordinated thus well-timed endorsement chain that gives obvious momentum to Miller, thereby causing Webb bloggers to spin away.

4. The funny thing is that only about 100? or 200? people will read these bolgs, not the thousands supporters of the politicians who endorsed Miller.

But who am I to spin? So by all means Webb bloggers, spin away! It does not seem to be working out for you guys, does it?

Webb Will Win said...

Pro Death Penalty
Pro Outsourcing
Pro Offshoring
Pro Parental Notification

And one deliberate misinterpretation of Webb.

Get real - this means nothing since it's just another lie.

Anonymous said...

Do forget the most important issue in this election year and where Miller stands on that:

Miller has been and remains a strong supporter of Bush's invasion of Iraq

Anonymous said...


Some of the individuals you name have not endorsed Miller. He just took the liberty of saying they did. Shows what he thinks of the African American Community!

Info_Tech_Guy said...

"I don’t see any good in calling Harris Miller names. Miller is trying to win. He still thinks he can. That doesn't make him, or Marsh, into a traitor. Perhaps Webb’s blogging team should take a deep breath and swear off the hyperbole for a couple of days."

I will continue to attack Harris Miller at every opportunity on my blog, The Modern Patriot at modernpatriot.blogspot.com

I will do this because Miller is a liar and a fraud. I have done this for more than 3 years because of Miller's prominent role in the pro-outsourcing and worker replacement corporate lobby.

On April 14, I published the AFL-CIO letter and fact sheet (on the Modern Patriot) denouncing Miller which the Washington Post erroneously attributed to Raising Kaine.

My site and my focus is primarily anti-Miller because he is the enemy of the American middle class and a cancer on our political system.