I pit the Virginia Primary (statewide party races)

Primaries are often goofy. I’ll admit that from the outset. Low turnout (and this year really low turnout due to the heat), wacky spreads of people voting, and so on. They’re certainly important for local candidates like delegates, and it’s sad that most voters don’t play more of a role in picking their leaders (especially since local officials often have far more say in the things that actually affect people’s lives directly). I get that.

Even so, at least for political junkies like me who hear the reality of party campaigning that the media hasn’t a clue about, this year saw some real head-slapping dumbassery from both parties, ironically for diametrically different reasons:

Republicans. Good grief. Why even HOLD a primary for your statewide offices? What a glorious waste of everyone’s time and money. For those that aren’t familiar with Virginia, there were three major offices at stake: Governor, Lt. Governor, and Att. General. Now, the Governor’s race I can sort of understand: Kilgore was the party’s pre-primed candidate just like the unopposed Kaine was for the Democrats, and Fitch’s candidacy was a somewhat unexpected protest against that (and he actually ended up doing surprisingly well for someone with almost no money staff, and the entire party ignoring him completely). But the AG and LT. Gov races were at least presented as sincere races: the party coming out to let Virginian Republicans decide who they wanted to field against the Democrats. And they weren’t. The winning ticket was already quietly pre-chosen by the state party and federal party. I won’t go into the boring details of GOTV and party politics, but let’s just say that the state party made sure of the outcome, using the money, manpower, effort, and just plain lockdown politics that make candidates in a partisan primary undefeatable. Which raises the question: why waste everyone’s time? Not being a Republican and not caring who won I can’t really do anything other than scratch my head. All that money (which could have ended up in the general) spent fighting over what was already a done deal. I’m not complaining about Republicans wanting the best ticket: that’s part of why they are so successful: they keep all their guys on a very very tight leash, rigidly manage and coordinate message. It’s very smart politics. But why have the farce of an open primary in the first place if the supposed impartial outsiders are just going to throw the race one way or the other anyway?

Democrats: they aren’t quite as intentionally bad, and yet that’s exactly why they are still bad for the exact opposite reason. Instead of some party discipline and some good sense about how to win elections, they bring us a confusing four way race for Lt. Governor. Good grief. And what happens? The “oh no, let’s not nominate the absolute worst candidate for the general!” vote gets split three ways. At least the woman who had the bright idea to publically criticize their own future running mate didn’t win. It may be heavyhanded and undemocratic, but the Republicans at least have the good sense as a party to enforce some discipline and play heavy favorites when they know it’s important. The Democrats seem to emphasize impartiality to the point where their brains fall out. Kilgore picked his ticket, had the national and state Republicans sign off on it and made it happen. Kaine’s people apparently thought that would be uncivil, and the Democratic party statewide and federally would have none of it. And the result is a running mate wildly out of step with the rest of the ticket. It could help or hurt Kaine and other Dems depending on how it is played, but for anyone that cares about winning the LG seat (and especially keeping it from going to a freakshow like Bolling) an annoying Deaniac liberal is not really the smart money.

In short, for both parties, the exercise seems like a giant waste of time. The Republicans may have well skipped the entire exercise, and the Democrats may have well flipped a four sided coin.

I don’t know. I could not have wished for a better development (for the GOP) than the Democratic candidate for Lt. Governor being Leslie Byrne. I have been tapped to be a fundraiser for Jerry Kilgore this year, and this development is welcome news.

In my home county, the local GOP doesn’t even bother holding a primary for local races (and rarely for state ones!) because it’s basically a waste of time. Party registration is something like 3:1 Democrats to Republicans, although a majority of those are DINOs. In fact, I know sworn Republicans who are registered Democrat so they can vote in the primary, since the local races are basically decided in the primary. I also know Republicans who change affiliation right before the primary to vote, then change back after voting.

In other words, because you could care less about the state or politics in general, just about your team winning.

Huh? How do you get that from what I said?

I believe Jerry Kilgore and Bill Bolling are the best choices for the state, and I believe Kaine would be a worse choice… and that Byrne would be a TERRIBLE choice.

I care greatly about the state - which is why I am involved with the Kilgore campaign and hope to add my efforts to making Jerry Kilgore the next governor of Virginia.

So why would you say I could care less about the state or politics in general? It’s precisely my care for the state that motivates my pleasure at the selection of Byrne; I believe she will not resonate well with the southern and western parts of Virginia, and will make the election of Killgore/Bolling easier.

I’m always torn about this. One of the things I really like about the Democratic Party is how it acts as an incubator of new ideas, allowing people to actually debate each other, letting talent rise to the top through debate, discussion, and, yes, squabbling. The problem is that the Republicans are well-organized and well-heeled, so there’s no debate or discussion permitted, and they can just thump dissenting voices at their will. I suppose this will wind up hurting the party one day, but it’s also not good for the state or national party. 'Twas ever thus, too: when Will Rogers famously said, “I’m not a member of an organized party. I’m a Democrat,” he captured the essence of the Democratic Party then and now. As a proponent of individualism and open discussion of issues, I see no choice but to be a Democrat, and I’m proud to call myself one.

I’ve voted for Republicans before, but it’s been a while. In the Virginia race, I’d never consider voting for Kilgore. Kaine makes a good point about how Jerry “the Duck” Kilgore keeps dodging actual debates. Worse is the way the Kilgore campaign is trying to turn this into a petty sniping match about accents, accusing Kaine of looking down his Hoosier nose at Kilgore’s Appalachian dialect. I guess if you’ve got no ideas and if you don’t want anyone to know this, it’s a good idea to start moaning about them city slickers and their highfalootin’ ways. I suppose Jerry the Duck knows what he’s doing, playing the rube card, since Governor Warner’s 2001 victory hinged largely on appealing to western Virginia, where he wasn’t expected to do nearly as well as he did.

I think the Kaine campaign has a good chance—as long as it doesn’t let Byrne stray too far from Alexandria…

I guess you are just far more conservative than I knew Bricker, especially if you are pleased with someone like Bolling.

But you still seem to care more about games than the state. Byrne could be the next Lt. Gov., which would be bad and divisive for the state and for the direction of the Democratic party.

You say “games” - I say “calculated risk.” I absolutely agree that Byrne in the #2 spot would be bad and divisive for the state and for the direction of the Democratic party. But I believe that BECAUSE that’s true, her chances of winning are small, so on balance, I welcome her nomination.

Byrne will poll reasonably well in Arlington, Alexandria, and Falls Church, and in eastern Fairfax County. Outside that area, I believe she’ll be a hinderance, especially if the GOP paints her with her association to Howard Dean.

Can I ask why we were even given a choice for Lt Gov? It seems to me - and I’m not saying I understand the job completely - that the sum of the duties for that position is to sit at the front of the room when the House of Delegates is in session and to run for Givernor after a couple of years.

Mary Sue Kilgore - haven’t seen him in downtown Y steam room in a month of Sundays. He used to make himself pretty hard to miss.

You’re wrong - he has to sit at the front of the room when the Senate is in session and run for governor after four years. :wink:

And say this:

“The Chair recognizes the distinguished gentleman from Northumberland - Mr. Chichester.”

THEN he gets to run for Governor.

It wasn’t for nothing that I worked for General Assembly.

If all goes well… I may run for state office here in Virginia in a few years.

Call me up when and if that goes down. I’d be happy to help out any way I can.

See, I knew I had it wrong. I blame my grade school teachers in Pennsylvania not covering Virginia civics.

Did the whole damn state of Pennsylvania move down here? It sure seems that way.

I grew up in Pittsburgh, and there’s a Steeler bar right in my neighborhood in Prince William County. When I lived in Virginia Beach, there were a couple of them.

Just as long as you stick to fiscal conservatism and don’t run on a platform of giving anesthesia to first trimester aborted fetuses or barring same sex people from making legal contracts with each other just in the hope chance that it might screw gays, I’ll keep an eye out for you.

Sometimes, the art of politics is the casting of illusions.

For the time being, I’m going to see if either Kaine or Kilgore ever gets serious enough to convince me not to cast a protest vote for Potts.

There is a fundamental priority of fiscal conservatism over social conservatism. If Maxim shows too much skin, I can just not read it; if Deadwood includes too much cussing, I can just not watch it. However, if taxes get too high, I can’t just not pay them.

The GOP doesn’t seem to grok this basic point.

You know, I don’t want to start another pit thread specifically for you, but I find this attitude really sort of irritating. What can you possibly mean by “serious?” What do people ever mean with stuff like this? I used to think something like this… before I actually knew what it really meant to run for office, how difficult it is to speak to voters who just aren’t interested or informed, and so on. You seem to want to dump on the candidates, but do you know why things are the way they are? Do you know what it’s like to try and get a message out under fire? Both Kilgore and Kaine have many new interesting policy proposals for good governance, many of which have little to do with any specific partisan politics. But almost no one reads or cares.

It seems like every other week I have to read some holier-than-thou editorialist whine about how politicians aren’t “real” and just trade message-tested barbs back and forth with each other. Nothing is more hypocritical: it’s the papers themselves that treat politics as catty entertainment that creates that impression, that makes that the only outlet we ever hear politicians through. Because it sure the hell isn’t the candidates fault that they can only get two sentances into any story explaining anything. They would LOVE to speak in detail about policy, to seriously respond, to meet with every voter they can. But NOBODY LISTENS to that. They try every chance they get to hold town halls to speak and answer serious questions, but nobody comes. Who’s fault is that?

I’m actually not trying to be hard on you in specific, and in fact I wish I could understand what creates concerns like yours. But I have a hard time with the bland, all too easy dismissals of modern politics.