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.
VENUE, ADMINISTRATION, CONDUCT OF MEETING: I've been told the convention was held in Northern Virginia at the urging of at least one prominent Congressional staff person with extensive roots in NoVa, and was originally planned for the Patriot Center at George Mason University. When it became evident that DPVA could not fill the Center, the event was moved to the University's Center for the Arts, because no one wanted DPVA's convention to look like the Romney rally in an empty stadium. This cost the DPVA a massive cancellation fee, which still resides in the hands of GMU and can supposedly be used as a "credit" by DPVA for some future event; rather than, say, cash on hand for candidate recruitment and campaigns.
The Center for the Arts was about the right size, and has good sound, but suffers from not having a center aisle for ease of getting to one's seat, distributing such things as ballots, or even evacuating at intermissions or during emergencies. The Center was made available to the DPVA only until 2 PM, which meant that the Convention had to marshal and conduct its business in 5 hours, 9 AM to 2 PM. This included organizing itself from scratch and voting - not only on resolutions but also on presidential electors and delegates to the national convention. In addition, those 5 hours included eating lunch and listening to speeches by a long list of prominent officials and other persons of repute, not to mention necessary repeated roll calls and personal potty breaks. Obviously, the Chair of the meeting, who is the Chair of DPVA, had to run a taut ship and everything had to go expeditiously for this to work. Unfortunately, the Chair called us to order 15 minutes late, so we were behind the power curve from minute one.
It would be only a toehold because any resolution presented at the convention will fall short of calling for the constitutional amendment the nonpartisan Move To Amend (MTA) advocates but which members of the State Central Committee and others fear as too radical an objective. There are distinguished opponents of the MTA outside the Party who are aligned with the position of officials like Frank Leone who oppose a constitutional amendment and believe that this injustice can be ameliorated with less extreme measures. It is that kind of entrenched opposition within the DPVA which makes the weaker resolution the only option that could see the light of day this Saturday.
A resolution protesting the ruling is weak medicine compared to full out support for a constitutional guarantee against corporate abuse of free speech, but it is a step in the right direction for gaining momentum in Virginia. The Virginia MTA supporters are currently courting elected officials in local NOVA jurisdictions with the goal of passing resolutions at the city/county level.
Mr. Leone, who is not alone objecting to a constitutional amendment, has reportedly stated that, as an attorney, he cannot possibly espouse an opinion that "would mess with" the rights granted by the First Amendment to the Constitution. While this is not a completely unreasonable objection, it does harken back to past efforts to water down or stonewall any initiative within the DPVA which might end up as a resolution passed at a state convention. This is the kind of conflict between what might be personal agenda and the will of the grassroots that has been the bane of Democratic activism.
The DPVA is historically reticent about advocating anything that might look like a plank much less a platform. There are office holders and legislative assistants (who make a living on incumbency) who prefer the candidates be allowed the freedom to wander off the Democratic ranch in order to preserve their seats. That kind of rudderless and unanchored raft did much to influence the rapidly declining prospects in 2009 and 2011. The opportunity for this resolution to be acted upon at the convention Saturday is a step, albeit small, in the right direction.
Hard to say if the Southside Republicans drew a short or long straw among the 5 districts holding conventions that day. The conventions were called long before speakers could be lined up and announced as part of the calls even if it were appropriate. But what is it about Hampton Roads that the loonier of the Party is perceived the greater draw? Michele Bachman speaks today in Portsmouth and again at the Regent University commencement this Saturday.
Maybe the Mittster will visit Virginia Beach with Michele today for an audience with Pat Robertson in an attempt to get an evangelical base pass.