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Should Progressives Support Glenn Nye’s Reelection?

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Should progressives support Rep. Glenn Nye's reelection in the 2nd Congressional District of Virginia? That's a question I've been thinking a lot about the past few months. Before I begin, let me just be clear that I'm not a Glenn Nye fan. At all. Having said that, however, I'm completely not a fan of Republican nominee and used car salesman Scott Rigell. No thanks. Finally, as far as I can determine, independent Kenny Golden is a non-factor in this race. So, in the end it comes down to three realistic options for progressives: 1) actively oppose Glenn Nye's reelection, but without any reasonable alternative to vote for; 2) neither actively support nor actively oppose Nye, just sit on our hands and let god sort it all out (as the saying goes); or 3) hold our noses, suck it up, take one for the team (add your own cliche here), and do what we can for Nye despite the fact that he's been utterly abysmal from a progressive point of view.

With that, here are the main arguments I've heard other people make, and which I've come up with myself, for and against progressives supporting Glenn Nye's reelection.

FOR SUPPORTING NYE
1. If we don't reelect Glenn Nye, we'll be stuck with Scott Rigell indefinitely/forever, the Democratic Party in the 2nd CD will be in ruins, famine and pestilence will descend upon the area.  Well, you get the picture!
2. Scott Rigell is basically Ken Cuccinelli in a district that is the home of Pat Robertson and Regent University, has the most military people in the country, has zero Democrats on the 11 member Virginia Beach city council, where progressives should be grateful to have ANY Democrats at all, even a Glenn Nye "Democrat."  
3. Control of Congress could hinge on this race, and we certainly don't want Speaker BONE-r and Majority Leader Can'tor!
4. The chance to replace Nye was last spring, but nobody primaried him for the Democratic nomination. At this point, it sucks but we're stuck with the guy.
5. Nye's not ideal, but he does vote with the Democrats 82.7% of the time. On the other hand, 82.7% makes Nye the 6th "worst" Democrat in the House in terms of party loyalty, so maybe that's actually a reason for progressives not to support Nye.

AGAINST SUPPORTING NYE
1. See point #5 above.
2. Also, see Progressive Punch, which has Nye as the 4th worst Democrat in the House of Representatives in terms of his progressive "score." That, of course, includes votes and positions against almost everything we care about, including health reform, clean energy and climate legislation, and now the Bush tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires. Blech.
3. Nye's horrible progressive score looks even worse when you consider the fact that his district is a swing district (Kaine won it, Obama won it, Warner won it). The three Democrats ranking below Nye in terms of their progressive score are all in "Strong Rep" districts. So Nye has no excuse, at least no good one, for his anti-progressive voting record. In sum, Nye is the worst Democrat in the House of Representatives in terms of his progressive score relative to his district's partisan lean. Double blech.
4. Nye didn't just vote the wrong way, now he's running a campaign that actively attacks Democratic and progressive ideals, leadership, and legislation (e.g., health care, cap and trade, the economic recovery package). In doing so, he's harming the long-term Democratic "brand," as well as undercutting Democrats like Tom Perriello who took courageous votes to help move this country forward. That's not acceptable.
5. If progressives let Nye get away with voting and running a campaign the way he has, and if he wins, the lesson to be learned will be that moving "right" and dissing/ignoring progressives works. That's not acceptable either.

So, those are the main arguments I've been hearing. For a few more thoughts, see after the "fold."

DCCC Abandoning Tom Perriello?

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If true, this truly sucks.
"We are going to have to win these races one by one," said Representative Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, conceding that the party would ultimately cut loose members who had not gained ground.

With the midterm campaign entering its final two months, Democrats acknowledged that several races could quickly move out of their reach, including re-election bids by Representatives Betsy Markey of Colorado, Tom Perriello of Virginia, Mary Jo Kilroy of Ohio and Frank Kratovil Jr. of Maryland, whose districts were among the 55 Democrats won from Republicans in the last two election cycles.

What's so frustrating here is that all of these Democrats - Markey, Perriello, Kilroy, Kratovil - voted "yes" on the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES), and two - Perriello and Kilroy - voted "yes" on the Affordable Health Care for America Act. Yet these are the candidates the DCCC is talking about ditching? Lame.

So, a few questions for the DCCC: 1) Are the polls on these representatives' races really worse than those for Glenn Nye and other supposed "Democrats" who voted "nay" on both ACES and health care reform?; 2) More broadly, shouldn't you be rewarding Democrats who took tough/courageous votes for Democratic Party priorities and not rewarding those who decided, as Monty Python might say, to "run away!?!"; 3) Should you really be spending the money that we give you on candidates who go around bashing their own party, its ideals, and its leadership?

Yes, I understand that this is politics, and that it can be ruthlessly Machiavellian. But seriously, DCCC, do you really expect activists to give you money and support when you do @#$@ like this? Just sayin'.

UPDATE: The DCCC has issued a statement (see after the "flip"), essentially denying the New York Times story. I guess time will tell...

UPDATE #2: Paul Goldman weighs in with some interesting thoughts on all this.

Now THIS Is a Good Ad

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How about more ads like this one by Glenn Nye, touting the hard work he's doing for his district, instead of ads attacking his own party and its leaders? C'mon, it's not so hard!

Mark Warner Makes His Best Case for Glenn Nye

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Senator Mark Warner makes his best case for Glenn Nye at a Campaign Rally on August 25 at Green Run High School in Virginia Beach. Are you sold? Psyched? Sleeping? Sick of it all?  Feel free to discuss in the comments section.  

Glenn Nye’s New Ad Attacks Democrats, Misleads on “Wall Street Bailout”...

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Uh, just a few problems with this ad (higher-quality version here): 1) attacking fellow Democrats - including Mark Warner, who's doing a fundraiser for Nye this evening, I'd point out - for voting "aye" on the "Wall Street Bailout" and also "aye" on health care reform, is not cool; 2) claiming to have voted against the health care bill because it "cost too much," when in fact the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said it cut the deficit by $1.3 trillion over 20 years, is fundamentally dishonest; and 3) claiming to have voted against the "Wall Street Bailout," when that vote actually took place in October 2008, BEFORE Nye was elected, is really really not cool. As Virginia Young Democrat Kristin Smith writes:
Why is Glenn Nye saying he voted against the Wall Street Bailout in his new TV ad when he wasn't even in office yet? Also, why does he keep insinuating that he's an "independent voice"? Nye stop backing away from the Democratic party before I back away from you
In general, I'd say that attacking members of your own party - and undercutting those fellow party members' talking points - simply because you're desperately trying to save your own skin, is not acceptable. But that's exactly what Glenn Ney is doing here. It needs to stop, immediately.

UPDATE: On Nye's supposed vote against the "Wall Street Bailout" (which, while unpopular, almost undoubtedly prevented a complete economic meltdown in the fall of 2008), perhaps he means this "symbolic" vote, which was "rendered...moot" by the Senate's defeat of "an identical resolution" (with Webb and Warner both voting "nay," by the way). So, technically Nye can say he "voted against the Wall Street Bailout," but only on a meaningless, symbolic vote long after the "bailout" was already signed into law by President Bush, and also after the U.S. Senate had already defeated an identical bill.  

Nye, Rigell, Golden Debate in Virginia Beach

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The three Congressional candidates in Virginia's 2nd CD - Rep. Glenn Nye (D), Kenny Golden (I), and Scott Rigell (R) - debate this evening in Virginia Beach.  Right now (7:30 pm), there are only 10 people watching this on the live feed, so apparently there's not a lot of interest (or it wasn't well publicized, or both), at least online.

UPDATE 7:33 pm: Glenn Nye just said we should extend the Bush tax cuts for everyone, including the wealthiest. And he wonders why progressives aren't excited about him? Blech.

UPDATE 7:45 pm: The Shad Plank reports, "All three of the campaigns blanketed Virginia Beach Boulevard with yard signs just in case there was any doubt about the extra traffic in central Virginia Beach - and there's a serious crowd filing into the auditorium at Princess Anne High School."  Also, "attendance is very solid for and August debate - but then again this district has been a target for Republicans since the day that Nye beat Thelma Drake in 2008 - so it's no surprise to see a healthy turnout."

UPDATE 7:50 pm: Of course, the other two candidates are total wingnuts, at least from what we're seeing at the debate tonight. Right now, Kenny Golden is talking about repealing health care reform and how wonderful Ken Kook-inelli's lawsuit is. Next up, Scott Rigell talks about how health care reform will destroy America, how he will vote to "defund it," blah blah blah. Glenn Nye brags about how he "listened to my district" and "stood up to my leadership" on health care reform. Blech. Vivian Paige tweets, "I'm one of your constituents @GlennNye and you did not vote the way I wanted on healthcare." Amen!

UPDATE 7:59 pm: The candidates compete over who can be a stronger advocate for veterans. And the ustream feed dies...we'll see if it ever comes back.

Nye Joins Cantor in the Panderocracy

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Congressman Nye joins the shameless "Support the Troops" chorus of Cantor and all who proffer use of the HOV lanes as honor for service rather than offering substantive support by calling for an end to the waste of American blood and treasure in foreign misadventures. Cower behind the troops, again.

Beyond the fact that this is part and parcel of establishing a separate military class and walking away from the concept of the citizen-soldier, it is idiotic; it is unenforceable; it rewards personnel whose only sacrifice has been a paper cut when opening their paychecks. It gives short shrift to civilian members of DoD. But nice stab at reaching out to the same people Palin abuses. It is a modern day Napoleonic ribbon.

"Traffic congestion is a serious problem in Hampton Roads, and our HOV lanes are often under-utilized," Nye said. "This legislation will help ease traffic for everyone in the region, and make sure our military and emergency response personnel get where they need to go." - Glenn Nye

Kenny Golden on Scott Rigell, the GI Bill, “FreedomFest”

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I recently had the opportunity to interview Kenny Golden, independent candidate for Congress in the 2nd congressional district of Virginia (currently represented by Democrat Glenn Nye). The interview is fairly long, so I'm breaking it up. You can read Part 2 here. Enjoy.

Blue Virginia Question
In at least two instances now, Scott Rigell has been asked, on camera, for his opinion of Senator Webb's GI Bill. In both cases, Rigell has refused to answer.  Why do you think Rigell won't respond to a simple question regarding whether or not he supports the GI Bill for our veterans?

Kenny Golden Answer
I have no idea why Scott would choose not to answer a very straightforward and reasonable question. It certainly makes him appear reluctant to address an issue that is very important to those of us who have served on active duty. Moreover, it makes him appear weak on the issues and reluctant to engage in unscripted conversation. The public deserves to know how a candidate stands on a particular issue.

The Post 9/11 GI Bill was an important step in helping our promises to our veterans. Actually, my daughter and I both benefited from its contents.  She is leaving active duty after 13 years and heading for Veterinarian School at NC State. (I hate the Wolf Pack, I lost a cartilage down there) She will earn her degree completely through the new bill.  We can't underestimate it's positive effect on the All Volunteer Force either, but there are still many things we must do especially locally here in the 2nd at both Portsmouth Naval Hospital and the VA Hospital in Hampton.

Blue Virginia Question
Recently, there was a "Freedom Fest" rally in Norfolk with Sarah Palin, Oliver North, George Allen, Bill DeSteph and other figures from the far right of the Republican Party.  Scott Rigell chose not to attend, you apparently were not invited, and a couple of conservative bloggers were evicted.  What is your opinion of "Freedom Fest," of Sarah Palin, and of the hard-right social conservative wing of the Republican Party?  Also, would you have spoken at this rally if you had been given the chance?

Kenny Golden Answer
Based upon what I heard in the beginning, I actually thought "Freedom Fest" was going to be more of a Tea Party event. I know there had been some excitement expressed by various people associated with that movement. I viewed it as an event at which those concerned with the fiscal situation of our country could gather, not so much as a social conservative gathering. However, as things progressed it became apparent that it was to be a Republican "Love Fest" expressly for Scott Rigell.  I was and remain extremely disappointed with Steve Batten, as he twice promised to recognize me in the audience. In fact, he saw me at the rally and confirmed that, but failed to show the courage to make that a reality.  Rigell's sponsorship, along with that of Gary Byler probably prevented him from doing so.  I was hurt by his failure to recognize me, particularly in light of several very personal conversations Steve and I shared.

That said, yes, I would have taken the opportunity to speak had I been asked. As an Independent, I need to reach out to all people. George Allen and I go way back to our days as football players at UVA, when we were roommates. We may not agree totally on all issues, but I still consider him a good and valued friend. I certainly would not have had a problem being on the same stage with him.

Interview with Kenny Golden: Opinion of GOP, Tea Party

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I recently had the opportunity to interview Kenny Golden, independent candidate for Congress in the 2nd congressional district of Virginia (currently represented by Democrat Glenn Nye). The interview is fairly long, so I'm breaking it up. You can read Part 1 here. Enjoy.

Blue Virginia Question
What attracts you to today's Republican Party and where do you differ? Same question for the Democratic Party.

Kenny Golden Answer
I am not really attracted to either party at this time. I think the partisanship that the two parties have developed over the past few years has been detrimental to the country. There is a severe shortage of statesmanship in Washington. It's time that we do what is good for the country, rather than what is good for a particular political party.

Blue Virginia Question
Given that you've been a Republican for many years, why are you now running as an independent?  Do you believe the Republican Party has shifted to the right in ways that make you uncomfortable?  Or, are there other reasons for leaving your long-time partisan home?

Kenny Golden Answer
Actually, I am running as an Independent because the Republican Party strayed from its values. Under President George W. Bush, government expansion and spending were anything but Republican in nature. Spending was out of control under his watch along with then Speaker Dennis Haskert. President Bush could have taken action to stop it, but never once did he exercise his veto authority during his entire tenure in office, the first in over 200 years to attain such a record.  Thus, spending went totally out of control and, unfortunately, it has worsened under our current leadership.

Interview with Kenny Golden: Response to Shaun Kenney

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I recently had the opportunity to interview Kenny Golden, independent candidate for Congress in the 2nd congressional district of Virginia (currently represented by Democrat Glenn Nye). The interview is fairly long, so I'm breaking it up. Here are the first two questions, which respond to a post by Shaun Kenney on conservative blog Bearing Drift in which he charged that there are now "two Democrats to choose from" in VA-02. More to follow, but for now, enjoy!

Blue Virginia Question
According to Republican blogger Shaun Kenney, writing recently on "Bearing Drift," your candidacy now means that "VA-02 has two Democrats to choose from!" According to Kenney, "there isn't much that distances Golden from the policies of Glenn Nye and any so-called centrist progressive."  Do you agree or disagree with these characterizations of your candidacy?

Kenny Golden Answer
The problem with Shaun's assessment is that it is based on a single issue: abortion. I do not believe the Federal Government should be involved in the Pro-Life/Choice issue. First of all, this issue should be decided at the state level. In other words, invoke the Constitution's 10th Amendment. Furthermore, you can't go around preaching smaller government, claiming to be a conservative, while at the same time promoting legislation that involves the Federal Government in a decision that is extremely personal.  Take a look at the website and you'll see "Give a Child a Chance", my idea for curtailing abortions as much as possible.

My personal position is definitely anti-abortion.  However, it is my personal religious belief and is not something I should impose on another.  I'm married to a staunch Catholic, and Francie and I decided long ago if our daughter became pregnant we would keep the child and or help raise it outright.  Fortunately, we didn't have to face that problem.  I certainly don't think that makes me a centrist by his definition. A Constitutionalist, yes, but certainly not a centrist.

Also consider this: Unlike both of my opponents, I never once supported an issue that would have lead to a greater tax burden on our citizens or one that would have increased the scope of government. The GOP nominee cannot make this claim. So perhaps Shaun got the names of his second Democrat crossed up. He's still a great friend and I told him I owe him a beer next time down for helping me with the Democratic vote.