Home Ralph Northam A mailbox filled with ….

A mailbox filled with ….


It’s election season…thus our mailboxes (physical and electronic) are stuffed with material.

Yesterday’s mailbox had three mailers together that sort of felt like a version of “The Good, the Bad, and the the Ugly” or, as I expressed it to someone:

  1. laughing amused
  2. ill-at-ease uncertain
  3. basically disgusted

Let’s quickly go through them in that order.


The Good: Susan Platt* got me cheering …

Take a look at the front side of this mailer.

Wouldn’t you want to see this when you opened your mailbox?

Is there really more to say?

Kudos to Platt (her team) for putting this together … and here’s a bit of further feedback: in this household, this got the voters to read/consider the material on its other side.

The Bad: Ralph Northam got me scratching my head

With his campaign mailer, Northam had me scratching my head.

How much scrutiny can this take?

I looked at this ad … read the bullets … and, well, wondered.

  • “The progressive choice for governor …”
    • Really?
    • Okay, if it is Ralph versus any Republican candidate in the general election, this is hands-down true.  But, Ralph Northam has described himself in mixed terms over the years — with some what might call ‘conservative’ fiscal views, much centrist on working to get along with the GOP in the legislature, and a few arenas where he is strongly in the “progressive” ranks.
    • The term “progressive” is perhaps murky but it is hard to see anyone seriously putting that imprint on Ralph prior to Tom Perriello’s insurgent campaign against him (from the left).
    • What might be considered reliable names (Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Bill McKibben…) in the ‘progressive’ political world have, if they’ve endorsed, endorsed Tom Perriello for Governor.
  • “Stood up to the NRA, casting the tie-breaking vote …”
    • To cast the tie-breaking vote is the Lt.Gov.’s sole true legal responsibility in Virginia.  In a situation like this, wasn’t Northam just representing Gov. McAuliffe and standing alongside the Senate Democrats?  Hmmmm…
    • An another matter, Northam didn’t protest as Gov. McAuliffe cut a deal with the NRA in January 2016.
      • As The Washington Post‘s headline put it: Gun-safety activists decry Virginia governor’s ‘gift to the gun lobby’. “‘Governor McAuliffe should reconsider this dangerous gift to the gun lobby,’ said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety.”
      • Gov. McAuliffe’s gun deal with the NRA, which followed AG Herring’s long-overdue enforcement of Virginia law: “not only repeal[ed] Herring’s decision but also allow[ed] blanket reciprocity with all 49 others states, many of which fall well short of the requirements in Virginia code.” It even allowed ‘Virginia residents who are unable to obtain a concealed handgun permit in the commonwealth to go out of state to get a permit and carry on our streets!'” –  Lori Haas, Virginia state director for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence
    • Again … hmmmm … is this really something to brag about?
  • “Defeated the tobacco industry … passing a statewide smoking ban in restaurants and bars”

” Anti-smoking and health advocates argued that the proposed ban does not go far enough. The American Heart Association, American Cancer Society and American Lung Association vowed Thursday to fight the bill. They say it lacks enforcement — violating the ban would bring only a $25 fine for businesses.”

“Peter Fisher, a vice president at the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, called the proposal ‘a step backward. It looks like a bit of a missed opportunity,’ said Fisher, whose organization is opposing the bill.”

“But Kaine said the proposal is a “good example of compromise” and “a true bipartisan achievement.”

Kaine and Howell started working behind the scenes on a compromise months ago. Last summer, the Kaine administration floated a proposal to limit a ban to evening hours, before alcohol starts flowing. Howell didn’t show much interest in the idea. Howell restarted the negotiations after he grew worried about the looming November elections, GOP delegates say. Since Howell took over as speaker in 2003, Democrats have picked up 11 House seats. If Democrats pick up six more seats in the November election, they will gain the majority.”

      • Three points to draw from that article
        • Not necessarily a great bill from the perspective of those concerned about tobacco health impacts.
        • Any mention of Ralph Northam as the key deal maker? Nope.
        • Nostalgic for the days where “if Democrats put up six more seats in the November election, they will gain the majority.”

Elections are often about sound-bites, not substance, and Donald Trump’s occupation of the Oval Office proves that at least a good share of the electorate doesn’t (choose) to look past or into the sound-bites.  Where each of the Northam’s ads bullets might have some truth within them, it is unclear when digging into them whether they are fully truthful.  As this section is headlined, Ralph Northam got me scratching my head.

The Ugly: ‘undisclosed parties’ got me feeling sick to the stomach …

The third mailer is part of “a smear campaign” by undisclosed parties against Tom Perriello.

Tom Perriello hasn’t …
  • This mailer states that “women can trust Ralph Northam” and then lays in with an attack on Perriello.  The facts of this are true, to be clear, this is true: Perriello did vote for the Stupak Amendment.  What’s missing from this?
    • Perriello has (a) repeatedly discussed this and explained why he thinks that was an error; (b) worked (in a variety of environments) for women’s health access/rights since then; and, (c) a platform re women’s issues (including the right to choose) that easily rivals Northam’s.
      • Note: Both candidates are far better on women’s health issues (including choice) than anything that seems remotely possible with the GOP control of the legislature.
    • As to “hasn’t always,” according to him, Ralph Northam repeatedly voted for GOP candidates who were absolutely against “the right to choose”, including voting for George W. Bush twice.  If Northam “always supported the right to choose,” why did he cast those votes?
    • Both Perriello and Northam have strengths, strong points in their history, and both have some past actions to explain to the voters.  While a “true” point, in the factual bill citation for this smear attack ad, it is not a truthful engagement with the issues.
  • Key to the ad, a somewhat somber photo of Tom Perriello with a red stamp: “Not a progressive”
    • As per above, “progressive” might be a difficult to truly define, Tom Perriello has significant progressive credentials — from running the Center for American Progress’ Action Fund, to his leading role in creation of Avaaz, to the long list of progressives who have endorsed him.
    • As to “progressive,” certainly seems — in looking over this mailer — that there was coordination going on … that is certainly the sense with the Northam ad emphasizing “progressive choice” and the undisclosed donors asserting that Perriello is “not a progressive.”  Hmmm … simply coincidence?
Who are the “Virginians for a better future”?

There is a “slime campaign” against Tom Perriello “by undisclosed parties.” This mailer (see return address/statement to the right) is part of that $83k anonymous attempt to influence the election. As per the Roanoke Times, “though the identities of the PAC’s backers are unclear, the ad campaign was created with the help of companies with ties to prominent Virginia Democrats backing Northam, including Gov. Terry McAuliffe and influential state Sen. Richard Saslaw of Fairfax County.”  Let me say, I am far from the only voter in the Virginia Democratic primary disgusted by anonymous people spending >$80k in attack ads in the days just before voting …


Truth in advertising…

I don’t know who I will vote for in the Lt.Gov. race even at this late a moment with my choice “narrowed” to Susan Platt and Justin Fairfax. I see reasons to vote for each of them. As to reach-out material like mailers and advertisers, just like Susan’s ad (and her working with the PGAP protest when the PGA played at Trump’s course) appealed to me, Fairfax’s recent “Drawing the Virginia Line” ad is, well, great and a message well worth fully embracing by the entire Commonwealth-wide Democratic Party ticket in the general election.

I will be voting for Tom Perriello for Governor, as laid out in Choosing Tom… (My reasons for doing so are shared, clearly, by others as environmentalists and climate advocates clearly choose Tom Perriello.) My belief that Tom would be a better candidate in the general election and better governor has strengthened since then.  And, as laid out there, I will work to support to get the Democratic Party candidate elected come November because the climate-science denying, Trump-supporting GOP option would damage the Commonwealth and undermine its future.


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