One of the most critical races this year in Virginia is for the seat of retiring State Senator John Watkins (R) in the 10th State Senate district (Chesterfield County, Richmond City, Powhatan County; 51% Mark Herring district in 2013). If Democrats are to have any chance of taking back control of the Virginia State Senate, we absolutely need to pick up this seat, in addition to holding all the ones we do now. In the primary, as you might recall, I backed a strong progressive and environmentalist, Emily Francis, over two opponents. In the end, Francis finished second to Dan Gecker, who is the Democratic nominee against the guy in the video, Republican Glen Sturtevant.
Since June, Sturtevant has been busy posting on social media, including a series of “Conservations with Glen” on YouTube. To date, the subjects of these “conversations” have been: education, small business and public safety. Basically, .these videos have been vapid, milquestoast, whatever other word you want to use for “saying absolutely nothing beyond meaningless buzzphrases like ‘common sense solutions’ and ‘supporting public safety from top to bottom.'” In other words, they’ve said absolutely nothing of any substance. They also have most certainly NOT been “conversations” in any way; I just re-watched the first three videos, and the only person talking in them is the candidate, Glen Sturtevant — the voters are just silent props to Sturtevant’s brilliance, apparently.
Anyway, just a few minutes ago, I saw a new “conversation” with Sturtevant pop up. When I saw the title, “Obamacare,” I was wondering how Sturtevant would manage to say nothing while avoiding the obligatory right-wing hack job on the Affordable Care Act. This time, whether by design or by accident, it turns out that Sturtevant went from vapid milquetoast to standard, right-wing idiocy and lies.
To wit, according to Sturtevant, we need to get rid of “overburdensome” (is that a real word?) “regulations so that [small business owners] can start creating good-paying jobs again.” Of course, that’s utter horse****, as the economy’s been producing jobs steadily since Democratic leadership pulled our country out of the Bush/Republican Great Recession. As for “Obamacare,” Sturtevant finally allows someone other than himself to speak, an unnamed construction worker who claims that “Obamacare” has supposedly raised the cost of health care for his business (who knows if this is true, but it is very hard to believe – would love to see the details on that one!).
In response, Sturtevant looks the guy (in)sincerely in the eyes and promises that if he’s elected to the Virginia State Senate, he’s going to work on…rolling back and fighting against…making sure that Virginia is not expanding ‘Obamacare'” and instead “bringing those free-market principles into the health care system to drive down costs and to make health care affordable again and something that you can decide as an individual what you want, not the government telling you what they think you need to have.”
Of course, for anyone who knows anything at all about the U.S. health care system pre- and post-“Obamacare,” you know that all of that is just Fox “News”-style right-wing talking points with little-to-no connection to reality. In reality, of course, the Affordable Care Act was based heavily on conservative, market “principles,” including the “individual mandate” (see here for more on that, including that it first “appeared in a 1989 published proposal by Stuart M. Butler of the conservative Heritage Foundation”). Same thing with the idea of “exchanges,” which are designed to allow consumers to compare plans at a glance and figure out which one works best for them. Same thing for keeping U.S. health insurance firmly in the private sector, instead of going to a single-payer system as in nearly every other industrialized country (or even allowing a robust “public option”). Finally, note that Republicans have never come up with a serious alternative to “Obamacare,” but instead have simply ranted and raved about how horrible it is (false), how it’s destroying the economy (wildly false), blah blah blah. Oh, and at the state level, thanks to an extremely foolish decision by the right-wing-dominated Supreme Court, Republicans have been able to block Medicaid expansion in Virginia and numerous other states.
That, in the end, is what Sturtevant is pledging to fight, since obviously the Virginia State Senate has no power whatsoever to “roll back” a federal law, in this case the Affordable Care Act. Perhaps along with not understanding economics or health care, Sturtevant also doesn’t understand the U.S. sytem of government? Regardless, the guy has no business being elected to the Virginia State Senate. Unless, of course, you want someone in there who ranges from vapid milquestoast to right-wing idiocy. But don’t we have enough of those folks in there already?