(Let whoever wants to run throw their hat in the ring, then have a primary election? Where does Aimee get these crazy ideas? – promoted by TheGreenMiles)
I understand that running for Senate is a huge deal, and a decision not to be made lightly. That said, it's been speculated for months that Webb might not run, and while insiders may have said otherwise, his bank account and silence reflected as much. The idea of running for Senate in 2012 had to cross a few minds before last week. Beyond that, though, George Allen has made his intentions clear more recently, he's been pretty obviously running since well before election day 2010. We've got some catching up to do.
So I wonder why there's been such a silence on the Democratic side–why the party collectively has allowed to let the message (other than the awful DNC logo redesign/branding) become that we're coaxing Kaine out of retirement–that we have no bench, that Virginia must take from the past rather than move towards the future. I will disclose here that I'm not a fan of Tim Kaine, and haven't been for years. I guess that will necessarily enter into the equation (see above), but that's not really what I mean for this diary to be about.
I guess my question is, have things gotten so bad in the state of Virginia Democratic politics that instead of seeing candidates come forward and boldly announce their intentions to run, everyone's either waiting for an ex-governor who seemingly has a right of first refusal, or for a formal invitation by the Democratic party elites? Have Virginia Democrats really become so spineless that we have to constantly ask for permission before we act?
Despite my rhetoric, I completely understand the political implications of announcing this early given the current situation. That said, it would be amazing to see just one candidate willing to go out there and say that they want to run, outline their vision for the state, and not wait for Kaine (substitute other names for other years…). And this has implications beyond someone announcing or not announcing early on in a Senate race. Yes, getting out in front of the rest of the field and being bold about a decision to run would show some spine that seems to have been missing in Virginia Democratic politics of late. But beyond that, I'm worried that there's no one fighting as a voice for the voters.
I would love to see a candidate not only say they will accept a primary system, but for them to pledge that they will FIGHT for one. At this point, I'd even take them saying they'd accept a primary. This is how bad things have gotten.
The party should exist to help Democrats run and get elected. It shouldn't be something they're afraid of, or have to constantly ask permission from. I understand the desire of those in DPVA (as well as their candidate favorites) to avoid the primary system. I understand what might be entirely honest fears about what happened in 2009. And maybe if the party had anointed someone via convention, things would have been different in 2009. But then again, probably not. And the more they do this, the more it just looks like smoky backroom deals and anointed candidates.
Here's the problem. I've been hearing chatter about the idea of a convention not only in 2012 but also in 2013. Who will stand up for the voters? Who will fight for a primary? There is a real leadership void to be filled here.