by Paul Goldman
The Sarvis for Governor candidacy is silly, as will be clear shortly to any serious person. Yet the Virginia media, led by Bart Hinkle (the lead editorial writer and top blogger for the Richmond Times-Dispatch), is urging Virginians to give serious consideration to Libertarian Party nominee Robert Sarvis. This bizzaro obsession – and it truly IS bizzaro – symbolizes the unprecedented nature of Virginia’s 2013 Governor’s race.
Hinkle got hired originally to help write predictably conservative Republican editorial insights from the state’s largest Republican-leaning paper. But he can’t abide GOP gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli for reasons which are not entirely clear to me. However, the RTD has never backed a Democrat for Governor in the modern age, for many of the reasons it will not support Terry McAuliffe no matter what.
Accordingly, not wanting to tell people not to vote, they turn to Sarvis. Had they been promoting Sarvis as an outlet for lodging a protest vote against Ken and Terry, perhaps arguendo it might be intellectually defensible on some level. However, they are urging serious people to consider Sarvis as a serious, qualified candidate for the job, someone who is worthy of their affirmative vote for Governor.
This “jumps the shark” into clown school. Sarvis is not a serious GUV candidate by any reasonable definition of the term. Read his website if this isn’t – as Mr. Jefferson would say – self-evident. Mr. Sarvis says he is “the best choice to represent the increasingly diverse population of Virginia” because he is “mixed race (half Chinese).” This makes him better, he says,than the other two non-mixed-race guys to lead a diverse state like Virginia. What is this, the view of a (non-serious) candidate for dog catcher? This alone, to serious people like myself with a serious record of bringing real positive change to a diverse state like Virginia, makes Mr. Sarvis utterly disqualified. Once you accept Mr. Sarvis’ slippery slope to nowhere, what’s next? It is a brainless, absurd position for any serious candidate for Governor, precisely why Mr. Sarvis isn’t one.
Bottom line: Anyone in 2013 who still thinks like this is utterly unqualified to lead a diverse state, not the other way around. Moreover, Mr. Sarvis’s platform shows why he isn’t a serious candidate for Governor.
1) Claiming to be running as the “drug reform” candidate, Mr. Sarvis supports “legalizing marijuana” and “decriminalizing harder drugs.” I am not sure what he means by legalizing, or decriminalizing, but it sounds like one of those platitudes he claims to detest. All he says is that “[r]responsible drug use that does not harm others should not be punished.” How is that determined? As a general rule, if a product is legal, those producing, transporting and selling the product are likewise not criminally liable either. So what exactly does he mean? “Harder drugs” covers a lot of ground. Plus, as I read his platform, his idea is to have ABC stores become ABCD stores: they will sell drugs too so as to raise more revenue. Really?
2) It would take too long to explain in full detail the total destruction of public education in Virginia that would occur if Mr. Sarvis’s ideas were implemented. Has Mr. Hinkle even bothered to read the Sarvis Educational Utterings? Sure, his list of platitudes contains sound bites that appeal to different groups of critics of the status quo. No one has written more pieces on reforming education than I have in recent years. But I lay out a specific set of concrete ideas, not sound bite criticisms that when taken together, would utterly wreck public education.
3) Sarvis’ answer to reducing gun violence and violent crimes in our society is this: “end the drug war” whatever that means. What does that mean?
4) On the one hand, Sarvis says he is against the Governor’s transportation plan because it raised the sales tax on the poor. But when you read another part of his platform, he endorses a big new sales tax on goods and services which, by his analysis, would be even more anti-poor since he wants to use this new revenue to eliminate or largely reduce just about every other state and local tax. Who can be against lower taxes when you can get away with saying you actually want to help the poor and will pay for it with some vague consumption tax reference? Did Bart really think no one would bother to read Sarvis’ platform?
CONCLUSION: Sarvis is a Silly candidate for Governor. His claim of being more qualified because of his heritage and that of his wife insults my intelligence. I would have thought it likewise insulted Mr. Hinkle and others. But this 2013 campaign is apparently driving sensible people to justify all kinds of things. And to think: we haven’t even hit the really nasty October silly season campaign time.