Before I get to the main point of this post, let me first refer you to my endorsement of Libby Garvey for Arlington County Board. As you will note, my endorsement of Libby was 100% positive, for two reasons: 1) Libby is very impressive, and richly deserving of all our votes for this position; and 2) I liked and respected all the other Democratic candidates running.
Now, though, we’re out of the all-“blue team” part of the game, and into the part where we face off against one of those “red team” guys (plus a “Green” candidate). That’s where I stop being 100% positive, for good reason. What is that good reason, you ask? Simply that today’s Republican Party has gone off the right-wing deep end in every way, basically to the point that it’s the equivalent of the John Birch Society. Even in Arlington, you ask? Well, no, there still are moderate Arlington Republicans, of course. The problem is, the guy they’ve nominated for County Board, Mark Kelly (photo courtesy of Cliffords Photography) ain’t one of them!
You sure wouldn’t know it from Kelly’s campaign website, which is as bland, vague, and non-descriptive as a political candidate can possibly get. For instance, note that in the “Mark on the Issues” section, there is not one mention of any of the following: abortion, contraception, drowning government in the bathtub, taking us back to the 1950s (or earlier) in terms of GLBT rights, enriching the wealthy and powerful corporations while slashing services for everyone else, etc., etc. Also note that the “Message from Mark” section, glosses over a few key points that you WILL find on his LinkedIn profile:
1. Kelly didn’t just graduate from any ol’ law school, he graduated from Pat Robertson’s Regent University School of Law, where Bob McDonnell wrote his crazy thesis, and which served as a feeder school to the Bush Administration, despite the school’s abysmal, “Tier 4” ranking (the lowest possible) academically. No wonder why Kelly doesn’t mention the word “Regent” anywhere on his website. Clever, clever! LOL
2. Kelly states that he worked at “one of the world’s largest think tanks,” but fails to mention its name: the Heritage Foundation, the largest conservative think tank in Washington, DC, funded by a list of donors (Charles Koch, the Scaife Foundations, the Coors-funded Castle Rock Foundation, etc., etc. According to Right Wing Watch, Heritage ” takes credit for much of President Bush’s policy, both domestic and foreign, referring to Bush’s policies as ‘straight out of the Heritage play book.'” Heritage also “supports faith-based initiatives, school vouchers, ban on abortion, overturning affirmative action programs,” and argues that global warming probably isn’t real, but even if it is, it’s part of a “Obama’s radical…agenda.” Note that there’s no mention of any of this on Mark Kelly’s website. Shocker, huh?
3. Kelly fails to mention who his current employer is, and for good reason! That would be Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS), a Tea Partier who is so far right wing that just yesterday he voted against Paul Ryan’s draconian, “reverse Robin Hood” (e.g., huge tax cuts for the rich, financed by demolishing Medicaid and, ultimately, Medicare) budget proposal, because it was “not good enough” (Huelskamp’s words). Translation: Huelskamp, for whom Mark Kelly works as Legislative Director/Deputy Chief of Staff, is even more right-wing radical than Paul Ryan. Again, no mention of any of that on Mark Kelly’s campaign website. And again, I say, “clever clever.”
So, here’s the thing. Clearly, if Arlingtonians knew who Mark Kelly really was, what he believed, etc., they’d turn out in huge numbers to defeat him next Tuesday. What’s worrisome, though, is that in special elections like these, turnout can be extremely low, and fluky things can happen. Like deep-blue Arlington potentially electing a far-right wingnut to its County Board.
Needless to say, we’ve got to make sure that doesn’t happen. So, my fellow Arlington Democrats, please make a note to yourself right now: vote next Tuesday for Libby Garvey. As a long-time resident of Arlington County who cares about keeping this a great place to live, I thank you!