This past Thursday, a Democratic friend of mine emailed me to ask what I thought about Courtney Lynch. Who’s that, you ask? As the Washington Post reports, Lynch is a “political newcomer” who “announced Wednesday that she is running against former Gov. Tim Kaine (D) for the seat being vacated by Sen. Jim Webb (D).” The Post added that Lynch is “an officer in the Marine Corps and holds a law degree from William & Mary,” and that “she plans a campaign focused on jobs creation and fiscal responsibility.”
My initial response was simply to ask whether there was any reason I should take this candidacy seriously in any way. Among other things, I asked my friend the following questions about Lynch:
1. Who is she and what has she done?
2. Does she have any money or access to any? Kaine will have a ton.
3. Does she have any grassroots support, or likely to grow any fast?
4. Does she have any party support, or likely to gain any?
5. Does she have any support from any significant quarter?
6. Does she have any real rationale for her candidacy, like a strong progressive challenge to Kaine?
I added that, to me, #1 is important, #3 more so, and #6 is crucial. I also wrote that, if I saw a Democratic candidate who I thought a strong progressive and a serious individual with a real chance at beating George Allen, I’d strongly consider supporting them in a primary against Tim Kaine, given Kaine’s far-less-than-progressive record as Governor on issues ranging from the estate tax (he signed its repeal), the environment (he strongly supported a new coal-fired power plant in Wise County), the “transportation monstrosity” (he signed it, complete with “abuser fees” and unconstitutional “regional taxation authorities”), etc. Perhaps, I suggested, I could get behind someone like Bobby Scott, but with money (Scott’s got none, basically) and a much more serious commitment than Scott seems to have to building a strong campaign and running hard.
Anyway, my friend encouraged me to further check out Lynch, so I went to her website. What I found did not impress me, to put it mildly. Just a few examples from her “platform” include: 1) strong support for “public-private partnerships” (meh); 2) a pledge to “lower corporate tax rates for both big and small businesses” (blech); 3) a statement that we all should “[r]ealize the value the oil and gas industry provides in jobs creation and resource supply” (you mean, like polluting the Gulf of Mexico and keeping us addicted to carbon-based fuels that are destroying our planet?); 4) support for “free trade,” but no mention of “fair trade”; 5) a pledge to “[r]esponsibly cut government spending” (wow, that’s inspiring – not!), etc. That’s bad enough, but then there are all the things I did NOT see on her website, including the words “environment,” “global warming,” or “climate change.”
Finally, looking at her bio, I see no evidence of any involvement in progressive or Democratic causes whatsoever. Overall, I see no sign of Courtney Lynch being any more progressive (or, to be more accurate, less conservative) than Tim Kaine. Given that, what on earth would be the rationale for her candidacy, other than the fact that she’s “a fresh face” (aka, “completely unknown”)? I’m not seeing it at all.
Nor am I seeing any sign of serious ideas, ideology, grassroots support, actual or potential political viability, a strong personal/political narrative, SOMETHING motivating her candidacy. Again, I’m seeing none of that on her website. None whatsoever. All of which is why I will NOT be supporting Courtney Lynch for Senate, as much as I’m not a big Tim Kaine (to put it mildly), but also as much as I want to make sure we hold this seat in Democratic hands, and that we keep it far FAR away from extremist nutjobs like Felix Macacawitz. So, for now, and unless/until a better option comes along, chalk me up as a Kaine supporter, albeit not a particularly enthusiastic one.