Shad Planking tickets are on sale. Last year the event was snubbed by Senator Kaine, leaving George Allen the featured speaker. Bill Bolling’s campaign poured a lot of beer. Four years ago, T-Mac made a splash, but like Allen and Bolling, it mattered not. The event is a sideshow.
Granted, it is not as disappointing as most carnival attractions. If nothing else, you get a bony lunch. And there is something else. If you have any interest at all in the anthropology of Virginia political thought, this is an enlightening event. It bears all the authenticity of a historical re-enactment. The only way George Allen could have been more at home would have been if he’d come dolled up in the confederate uniform he wore in his movie cameo role. You find vestiges of antiquated culture here you might never observe out of the closet in more accessible public venues.
That is the evolutionary branch of this event: a program to appease a demographic yearning for the comfort of a time that they dream could exist. Their future is some choreographed replay of an imaginary past. Here, the attendees who represent diversity are most often caricatures that appease that yearning. You know…they know their place, they toe the line. Radtke and Bishop offered many who would never vote for them the opportunity to feel better about themselves. All is right with the world where diversity is only skin deep.
When Democrats crash the party, you can almost sense time folding. They really can’t step through that barrier between the two perceptions of past, present, and future. So while it is an engrossing play, that is all it is. And this play is not the thing. It is long past the time when this was an event where relevant political trends could be measured or influenced.
There is every reason to attend as an observer, but no reason to take the role of respectful and acquiescing participant; particularly this year, when the program will be a Cuccinelliphant love-fest.
Last year candidate Kaine couldn’t attend due to scheduling. This year, Democratic candidates should schedule not to attend.