In an NBC/Marist poll released on Thursday, former Governor Tim Kaine was up six points against his GOP rival, George Allen. While the race for U.S. Senate in Virginia is sure to be closer than six points, the results taken from a sample of 1,076 does give Virginians in favor of relatively sound policy an elevated glimmer of hope.
But for many among the liberal base of the Democratic Party of Virginia, Tim Kaine represents less the exemplar politician than the lesser of two evils (i.e. whichever Republican candidate he’s facing). Virginia’s Democrats outside of Northern Virginia, in general, are more representative of the “Blue Dog” Democrats than the more liberal Democrats like Al Franken and Dennis Kucinich.
The result has been an absence of liberal political candidates in central and southern Virginia for Virginia’s liberal base to latch on to.
While it is sometimes difficult to fault a careerist politician like Tim Kaine or Mark Warner for prudently playing their political cards, their reluctance to embrace liberal policies on a number of different issue fronts has left the liberal Democratic base without much of a political voice and a consequent feeling of exclusion.
So what can the liberal Democratic base in Virginia do, vigorously and frequently attack Tim Kaine and/or Mark Warner, throw a monkey wrench into their political machinations every now and then, passively or actively support them and let them go about their business?
While I would like to say attack, attack, attack, the truth is that the alternative (i.e. the VA GOP candidate) is usually so repulsive that the policies of Kaine and Warner appear wholly sensible by comparison, and they know it.
Liberals in Virginia will not however passively or actively support Kaine and Warner indefinitely if they continue to follow a centrist path that the GOP has already eliminated as a possibility.
For the moment, though, a George Allen victory to the U.S. Senate would take on a feeling akin to the loss of a close family member. That is, let’s hope it doesn’t happen.