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America is at a crossroads and Tim Kaine is the man...

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The already infamous "super" PAC, American Crossroads, began running its two-week ads across Virginia this week attempting to tie Democratic Senate candidate Tim Kaine to the hip of President Obama's policies. The message that American Crossroads is attempting to perpetuate is that Mr. Kaine put the betterment of President Obama over the betterment of Virginians.

All told, Crossroads is doling out $1.6 million for the 30-second ad that fiendishly throws sound bites of Tim Kaine into a distorted mix of one aggregated falsehood.

Former Virginia governor Kaine did much to put Virginia in a healthy economic and social position while he was in the executive mansion of Virginia.  Not only did Governor Kaine avoid poking around and restricting the rights of women, Gov. Kaine went on to conserve 400,000 acres of real property in the commonwealth from development  while always working on growing Virginia's economy.  

If American Crossroads would put half of the money it spends on ads attacking a man who has proven his commitment to the people of Virginia into helping Virginians out, it could help to make up for all of the bad policies that were pursued by George Allen during his time as governor in Virginia.  

Winners, Losers, and Others from Yesterday’s Primary

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Briefly, a few winners and losers from yesterday. In general, the day belonged to the Republican Party of Virginia since most of the focus was on its contests. Generally not that much unusual to note, but if you have anything to contribute or simply disagree, please jump in.

Winners

1. Democrats in Alexandria. Imagine, left to their own devices and without a slate, they managed to choose six diverse and capable candidates for city council.

2. Republican conventions. Formalize incumbent protection over there, will you? The RPV really should get out of these embarrassing and unnecessary primaries when they already know who they want to run. Let's see what they decide come Friday. (Though a 3:1 beat down by Ken Cuccinelli in a primary might be something to behold.)

3. Jim Moran.  A solid and well-deserved victory only surprising by his opponent's meager showing. "Not the incumbent" usually can gather 30% on that distinction alone. (See Bob Goodlatte)

4. Incumbency.  Always a good bet and better now than ever.

5. George Allen.  This man of solidly adequate accomplishment and famous lineage stands a fumble away from the goal line. Virginia may become the first state ever one of just a handful of states to elect a Senator who was unable to win re-election to the United State Senate as an incumbent.  

New Super PAC, “Reclaiming Freedom,” Backs George Allen for U.S. Senate

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The so-called Reclaiming Freedom Super PAC recently came out in favor of U.S. Senate hopeful, George Allen. Formed earlier in 2012, the PAC was put together by Republican "political operatives" seeking to take over the U.S. Senate for the GOP.  

According to a release by Reclaiming Freedom, Allen's political record is touted and in particular his abolition of parole and welfare reforms, his support of the Bush tax cuts, and his continued support for a balanced budget amendment (a politically practical pipe dream but an apparent political must for conservative politicians on the national stage).

At the moment, Allen's latest Super PAC backer has no total expenditure data available to identify who the donors for the PAC are  and whether or not it will draw from some of the same donors as other conservative PACs such as Crossroads GPS.

What's clear from the name of the PAC is that it conceives of its mission as "reclaiming freedom," a freedom which has apparently been lost under Democratic leadership. If this group and others like it mean the freedom of the wealthy to do as they please (i.e. to make risky investments that throw the U.S. economy onto the edge of financial collapse), then I would like to think they're absolutely right.  

How to ruin a country: George Allen’s energy and environmental playbook

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To more clearly elucidate their mutual views on energy, government regulations, and President Obama's healthcare reform, George Allen and 12 local business leaders met for a morning roundtable discussion Friday in Springfield.  

Without stepping too far out of bounds of his limited political lexicon, George Allen stated that "My thoughts on energy are that it should be affordable, reliable and preferably American." The ironic thing about this comment is that if he were to become Virginia's next U.S. senator and he were to help approve the Keystone XL Pipeline, it's unclear how much of the crude would stay in the U.S.! Oh, and the price of oil would also increase in the U.S.  

What's more, George Allen and his political and business allies clearly have a good time annihilating the environment, at least if it means "more jobs." Last I checked, though, the clean energy sector also exists in the U.S., a sector which also creates "more jobs."  But in the world of George Allen, there are "immediate" sources of energy ready to be sucked up and spewed out into the atmosphere, so why not use them?  

Bullying Story: Mitt Romney’s Macaca Moment?

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Mitt Romney debateGeorge Allen MacacaAs Lowell detailed with in his book Netroots Rising with Nate Wilcox, George Allen's macaca moment wasn't just about one use of a bullying racial slur - it fit a pattern of mean-spirited, racially questionable behavior by Allen. The polls didn't move right away, but kept moving steadily as Allen's bungled, ever-changing attempts at explanation prompted voters to ask themselves again and again, "Do we really know George Allen?"

As Josh Marshall writes at TalkingPointsMemo today, the Mitt Romney bullying episode may prompt a similar re-examination of Romney's moral character:

High school for a 65-year-old is a long time ago. I'm 43 and it seems like a long time ago. I was a different person in many ways. What strikes me most about this story is Romney's intense equivocation. First he didn't remember the incidents. Then he apologized to anyone who was offended but without saying he remembered anything specific. Then he said that he definitely didn't know or think the kid they attacked was gay, even though he apparently didn't remember the attack.

None of that really adds up. And I think this is long enough ago that if Romney just came clean and said it was almost 50 years ago and he regrets it that would be sufficient for most people.

If Romney had immediately copped to the episode & apologized, it could've been a chance to show newfound compassion & personal growth. Instead, after getting testy again just yesterday and with his clueless campaign directing reporters to former classmates who actually confirm the bullying, Romney's prickly flim-flamming non-apologies are reinforcing everyone's worst impressions of him - a dishonest, untrustworthy jerk.

UPDATE by Lowell: TPM reports that "Mitt Romney clashed with a state commission tasked with helping LGBT youth at risk for bullying and suicide throughout his term as Massachusetts governor over funding and its participation in a pride parade. He eventually abolished the group altogether." So, how has this guy changed since high school, exactly?  

Ben Tribbett on Obama’s Majority and the Senate Race

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The numbers reported for President Obama in Virginia earlier today are not a harbinger for a Kaine victory. That is obvious from the poll. Last month, Ben Tribbett examined some of the changes in the electorate and how those will affect the down ticket races in 2012.

Earlier today, I commented that the electorate's memory fades dramatically over the span of six months. Lowell pointed out that if the public is reminded about it constantly, with a barrage of advertising, it is like it happened yesterday. However, I recalled Ben's comments (toward the end of this video) about bringing up the macaca incident recently at a college Democrats chapter. Over half the audience, he said, had no idea what it was.

"People who don't know all that information, don't have all that history, are very vulnerable to cross-over." - Ben Tribbett

After looking at the numbers and considering Ben's analysis, Lowell's observation that the Republicans are doing Kaine a favor with their attempts to hang Obama around his neck is insightful. The President is far from an albatross.

Tim Kaine’s Focus on Military and Veterans Affairs

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Often, when politicians parade out military and veterans, it is uninformed pandering. Active duty members have served as shields to buffer misbegotten strategy for a decade. Veterans are useful symbols adorning campaign literature and appearances. But Governor Kaine's Norfolk veterans' round-table was a very welcome departure from the norm.

Kaine told the group he was there to "get up to speed for the job that he hopes to have come January." Looking forward, he hopes to pick up Jim Webb's military and veterans portfolio when he enters the Senate and provide continuity to the efforts of predecessors John Warner and Webb. Mark Warner, who will be the senior Senator from Virginia has his own set of interests on the commerce and banking side. So, Kaine believes he can build upon his experience as the state executive by hearing from veterans about Federal issues facing the military and veterans.

Though Kaine did not serve in the military, as Governor during two active wars his role as Commander in Chief of the Guard became a significant part of the job including trips to the theater and, sadly, attending too many funerals. This led to a passion for the issues involving the guard, reserves, veterans, and military families. While he had no role in making the conditions of war any better he did work with the legislature to make Virginia a better place for those affected by the wars. One of the only parts of Virginia government that grew during his term as governor was the Department of Veterans Services. One other aspect of his life that stokes the passion for these issues is the fact that his son will graduate from college this semester and be commissioned as an officer in the Marine Corps.  

George Allen’s Haunting Past

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Yesterday's Shad Planking drew its normal school of bony fish enthusiasts, gaggles of gun guys and gals, and passels of Republican wannabes. Missing was the usual covey of Democratic candidates, along with any sign that Ken Cuccinelli has a prayer against Bill Bolling. For George Allen it was same old.

George's same old is this: No matter the facts, no matter your past, pretend there were no witnesses or records and that the electorate has selective amnesia. Yearn for a return to a fanciful, nostalgic past that is a combination of shared myth and vision among supporters. It is as if a team of marketing psychologists are crafting the Republican meme to manipulate perception among the easily influenced. Fortunately for us, this is still a small demographic, despite Republican efforts to cripple education in America.

In what Allen's team probably thought was a dual-edged sword, Allen took on the role of fiscally responsible philanthropist to show how a responsible private sector champion could eliminate waste while supporting the common welfare. Unfortunately for him, there is memory of his uncomfortable 2006 appearance in Hampton, Virginia at an NAACP forum where Allen balked at joining the organization when invited. There is another memory of grassroots supporters planting 10,000 or more Webb signs along the approach to Shad Planking. Allen's team simply knew they couldn't organize a competitive effort without paid stooges and feared another Kaine groundswell. Instead, his team (he's never demonstrated this kind of resourcefulness) decided to hand a check (funded by the campaign?), to the Ruritans, a group his base can easily identify with. This was designed to call out Kaine for typical liberal wastefulness. But the Kaine campaign didn't cooperate. Allen's prepared text had to be modified at the last minute, but his team lacked the acumen to avoid calling out Republican Representative Randy Forbes who did not meet the Allen standard for fiscal responsibility. Oh, by the way, Allen's four 4 x 6's didn't come cheap.

I am supporting the reelection of the President

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Perhaps some will be surprised by this post.  After all, I have been and remain highly critical of the administration on a number of issue, most notably on education.

Some may remember my post in February, Dear Mr. President,, in which I raised some of my concerns as a teacher.   Yet even in that post I noted

There are things your administration has done that we respect, at least most of us.  The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act meant large numbers of teachers and other public employees did not lose their jobs.  Under ARRA, for the first time ever the Federal government for two years just about met its commitment to provide 40% of the average additional costs imposed by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.  There was also the $10 billion in funds to support local government employment that also save some jobs. We acknowledge these things.

I have been a critic because I want this President to succeed.  I approach things keeping in mind both a candidate who said that change comes from the bottom and that he wanted us to come to Washington with him to make that change, and a former President, FDR, who once told supporters: "I agree with you, I want to do it, now make me do it."

This President HAS done a lot of good.   This President HAS made a difference.  This President HAS earned the right to continue in office.

And the alternative is too horrid to consider.

Please keep reading.

Allen attacks EPA for protecting human and environmental health

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First it was minority and elderly voters, then women, and then the environment. Ok, maybe the environment has been on the GOP hit list for some time now. Oh yea, there are also those minorities...

But given the Richmond Times Dispatch's obvious sympathy with wannabe U.S. Senator George Allen's attacks aimed at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for releasing new carbon dioxide emissions limits for new coal-fired plants created to protect public health and mitigate further global warming, it stands to reason why anyone would want to retain coal as a source of energy in Virginia given its scientifically documented detrimental health and environment effects.

In the case of George Allen, the answer is clear. Allen is as much a tool of the fossil fuel industry as the shovel is the tool of a digger.

The motives of the Richmond Times are not so clear-cut, if for no other reason than the money that backs the newspaper is not as readily transparent as that which backs George Allen. But if we give writers for the Richmond Times the benefit of a doubt and assume that they are half-way intelligent, then their simplistic logical connections (more carbon regulations will necessarily result in the devastation of particular parts of Virginia's economy!) seem influenced by something other than a mere lack of intelligence.