That this is a hot-and-heavy Democratic gubernatorial primary may not have been visible at McLean Day, but it is showing up at doorsteps around the Commonwealth. That includes my conversation with a young woman wearing a VA NARAL Pro-Choice shirt, going door-to-door the day after McLean Day.
While not explicitly stating “VOTE RALPH NORTHAM!!!,” this door-knocker laid out a (seemingly) strong case about how Tom Perriello is not really pro-choice (discussing the Stupak Amendment vote) and how Ralph Northam is a highly reliable progressive with a solid history of supporting women’s health and women’s issues.
After she had laid out the case, I thanked her for being engaged and spending her Sunday going door-to-door. I emphasized that I supported abortion rights (legal, safe, reasonable in access, affordable …though, honestly, it has been some years since I was a NARAL member). I told her that, however, I saw a mix of issues at play in the Governor’s race. I highlighted that I understood why Virginia NARAL, with its established working relationship with Northam, would support him, but wondered about the strong (not the word I used then, but how about “strident?”) opposition to Perriello, when he is so clearly on the right side of the issue in so many ways.
I had some questions for her:
- Have you read Perriello’s website or watched any of the myriad of taped, available on the web discussion(s) of women’s (health) issues, including abortion rights? Answer: No.
- Have you read or watched Perriello discussions of the Stupak vote? Answer: No.
- Did you know that, the year after the Stupak Amendment, NARAL rated Perriello as 100%? Answer: No.
- Did you know that …? Answers: No. No. No.
- Do you think that voting for George W. Bush for President (with “the most pro-life record of any U.S. president”) and other Republicans in the 1990s and early 2000s shows a strong support for abortion rights, is a sign of pro-choice attitudes and beliefs? Answer: No.
- Did you know that Ralph Northam voted for George W. Bush twice? Answer: No.
Again, I can understand why those who have worked well with a candidate — successfully, professionally, etc — would favor the person “they know.” NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia has — as I understand it — found Ralph Northam to be an informed, strong, and engaged partner (advocate?). That this leads to supporting Northam makes sense. I get it. But, the extent of denigrating and demonizing Perriello, who is light years apart from/better than the GOP and has a strong history — aside from Stupak (and has explained/discussed Stupak a myriad of times) — I really don’t get … it doesn’t make sense.
To take this to ‘my’ arena of focus, energy/climate change (and how these arenas interrelate with/impact society, health, economy, prosperity, social justice, …) for a moment: it is quite clear that Tom Perriello is stronger (more knowledgeable, more passionate, more …) in these areas than Ralph Northam. It is also quite clear that both are “in realm of reality re
#climate [and] light years better [in comparison with] @GOP/ @EdGillespie/ @VA_GOP #science denial.”
Truth be told, both Northam and Perriello have strengths and weaknesses. Both have “pasts” worth consideration and discussion, for which voters can have (legitimate) questions and should expect (legitimate/substantive) engagement from the candidates. When it comes to pro-choice voters: Perriello voted for Stupak and Northam voted for George W. Bush and other Republicans. They both, as well, have done things in their careers in support of a women’s right to health care (not just, but certainly, choice). And, whichever one is the Democratic nominee for governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia come November 2017, that person will be light years apart (day in the face of night) from their GOP opponent’s desire to make The Handmaiden’s Tale a reality for the Commonwealth’s female citizens.
- Truth in advertising, I have laid out my reasons for supporting Perriello in Choosing Tom …
- The following is a ‘twitter’ engagement from earlier this year as to one (as I put it “powerful/interesting”) lay-down on abortion rights in the Democratic Governor’s primary. Within the referenced article was the comment that “As far as reproductive rights are concerned, Northam couldn’t be more different than Perriello”. My response to that notion: “”Couldn’t be more different” would be
@VirginiaGOP/ @EdWGillespie / etc, who want #abortion criminalized, attack women’s rights.”