Friday, June 5, 2020
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The Scalpel vs. the Hatchet: For Lt. Gov., A Contest of...

Ralph Northam As I listened to Democratic Lieutenant Governor candidate Ralph Northam at a fundraiser last night, it occurred to me that the two candidates for that position couldn't possibly be more different.  It is, in short, a race between an accomplished professional who takes everything he does seriously -- and a rabble-rousing demagogue who's never succeeded in anything other than spreading extremism.  

Dr. Northam's day job is as a pediatric neurologist.  Think about it: he treats kids with brain injuries and disorders -- not a position you can BS your way through or in which you can do a half-assed job and call it a day.  It's a highly skilled profession on which children's lives and futures depend.  And he's been in practice for over 20 years, after serving as a physician in the Army and completing residencies at two Army Medical Centers, including Walter Reed.  

He's been in the State Senate since 2007, where his signature accomplishment was the law banning smoking in restaurants, protecting the health of their workers and patrons.  Now think about that -- he got a solid smoking ban in a state where tobacco has been king since the colonial era.  

Northam, is in short, a serious professional, someone who focuses on resolving important challenges -- which, it's worth reminding everyone in this age of Tea Party craziness, is exactly and only what we want our government officials doing.

And then we have the Reverend E.W. Jackson, the extent of whose seriousness on matters of governance may be summed up by the video from his failed Senate campaign where he smashes watermelons labeled "Federal Budget", "Unemployment" and "Obamacare" with an axe.  

E.W. Jackson, the Anti-Environmental Candidate for Lieutenant Governor


Luckily for Ralph Northam, the senator's environmental positions appear 'radically liberal' in comparison to his drive-the-planet-into-the-ground opponent for lieutenant governor, E.W. Jackson. Not only are Jackson's political positions on the environment inimical to its preservation, Jackson represents the wing-nut group of conservatives in Virginia whose primary forte is cooking up conspiracy theories regarding every level of government.

Jackson has argued, for instance, that the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality is a puppet of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 'killing' Virginia's coal-mining sector as a result. While Jackson may believe it's just good politics, a part of me also thinks that Jackson actually believes some of the far-fetched conspiracy theories that he spins out for the mainstream media to print across its front pages.


Who’s the Best Matchup Against E.W. Jackson? Aneesh Chopra.

So let's be clear -- any sane person ought to be able to beat the loony melon-smasher E.W. Jackson for Lieutenant Governor.  And I'd support any Democrat, Independent, Green, Liberal, Socialist, Reform, Whig or Tory candidate running against him.  

That said, it's the responsibility of every Virginia Democrat -- every one of whom better be planning to vote in our primary June 11th -- to choose the BEST candidate to beat him, the one who will beat him by the largest margin and thereby send the strongest message against extremism.  

I've decided that choice would be Aneesh Chopra.  

Just look at what the two men stand for, and it quickly becomes clear that this is in many ways the perfect matchup for Democrats:

- The future (tapping the power of innovation) -- vs. the past (tapping the power of fear and hatred);
- America, land of immigrants -- vs. America, land of xenophobic immigrant-bashers;
- A message of inclusion -- vs. a message of stereotyping and shutting out perceived "outsiders," including gays;
- A future of clean energy-- vs. a retreat into the past out of fear of crazy anti-environmental, anti-science conspiracy theories;