Thursday, August 21, 2008

The end of the Silly Season

The palpable anticipation for Sen. Barack Obama’s announcement of his choice to round out the national ticket is THE story today. Many Virginians are pulling for Gov. Tim Kaine to be that choice. Some Democrats want it so much they have developed a scenario that sees Kaine abandoning the Governor’s Mansion -- which would promote Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling to governor -- as a good thing for Democrats, down the road.
What I really like about this is the disarray that it would throw Virginia Republicans into. They’ve managed to plan out the 2009 election pretty neatly, with AG Bob McDonnell running for governor and Bill Bolling running for reelection as LG. But with Bolling already in the governor’s mansion, that leaves McDonnell running for reelection as AG, at best, and challenging Bolling for the nomination, at worst. Bolling would be a much weaker candidate for governor than McDonnell—he’s milquetoast next to McDonnell—which has got to be a big part of why Bolling stepped aside for McDonnell to run. Short of a challenge by McDonnell, Virginia Republicans would be stuck with Bolling as their ‘09 candidate.
Click here to read “Governor Bolling: Good for Virginia Democrats.” by Waldo Jaquith.

Waldo has some good points. But such a scenario puts a lot of balls in play, and it creates dynamics that may not be so easy to control a year from now.

My hunch -- which may look bad any minute, if the text message from Obama says, “Tim Kaine!” -- is that all along Kaine has been a willing decoy to keep the field seeming to be larger than it really has been. The publicity hasn’t hurt anyone and, obviously! Virginians have enjoyed the attention the state has been getting.

Why not Kaine?

Two reasons: No. 1: Kaine doesn’t help the ticket enough. No. 2: Kaine won’t leave the Governor’s mansion early, because it is too un-Virginian. Tradition has it that our governors, who can’t run for reelection, don’t play around in national politics while they are still in office. Remember Doug Wilder's flirtation with a presidential run?

Meanwhile, my enthusiasm for Obama is only growing. Forget about the slump in the national polls that he has experienced during August. Forget about flag pins on lapels. The Silly Season is almost over now.

Rejoice! The Democrats have a nominee that has the ability to inspire enthusiasm and hope like no one since Bill Clinton; perhaps no one since John F. Kennedy.

No matter who Obama picks, what will put him in the White House will be his own ability to convince voters that their country's real problems can be solved by making the necessary changes. Next week, I expect him to get specific about what those changes need to be. His acceptance speech, with a monster-sized crowd cheering him on, is likely to draw a viewing audience unlike what anyone has seen in many a moon.

And, regardless of what mischievous Republican blowhards say about not caring what other countries think, the opportunity a President Obama will have to make people all over the world believe in the American Dream, again, is exciting to contemplate.

--Words and art by F.T. Rea


Waldo said...

But such a scenario puts a lot of balls in play, and it creates dynamics that may not be so easy to control a year from now.

I definitely agree with that. Though I didn't acknowledge that in my blog entry, I probably should have.

F.T. Rea said...


Without a doubt, it's fun to be living in a state with successful Democrats being considered for the national stage.