It’s going to be a long four years:
Gay and lesbian state workers in Virginia are no longer specifically protected against discrimination, thanks to a little-noticed change made by new Gov. Bob McDonnell.
McDonnell (R) on Feb. 5 signed an executive order that prohibits discrimination “on the basis of race, sex, color, national origin, religion, age, political affiliation, or against otherwise qualified persons with disabilities,” as well as veterans.
It rescinds the order that Gov. Tim Kaine signed Jan. 14, 2006 as one of his first actions.
It would be bad to prevent LGBT Americans from being legally protected in the first place, but it’s far, far worse to strip them of protections they already have, which is what McDonnell just did.
Then again, this shouldn’t surprise anyone–back during the campaign, Bob McDonnell’s law school thesis gave us a window into his radical right-wing views. There was no evidence that McDonnell had changed any of his views since then–in fact, he pushed those same beliefs while serving in VA’s legislature–and this just confirms how much of a right-wing ideologue he truly is.
The good news is that McDonnell is limited to only one term in office. The bad news is that he has only just begun to wage war against American values.
Successful Gubernatorial candidate Tim Kaine gives some retrospective advice to failed Gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds:
Kaine said the key to victory for Democrats in a highly competitive Virginia is recognizing that party members need not be “apologetic” about their affiliation to find success. He noted that about 200,000 more people voted in the Democratic primary for president on a frigid February day in 2008 than cast ballots for Deeds this year, and said McDonnell successfully spooked Deeds by suggesting that Virginians had grown anxious about the Democratic agenda.
“I think the issue of being nervous about the Virginia electorate was overdone and I think Creigh did exactly what the McDonnell campaign hoped he would do, which was distance himself from the president and national issues,” Kaine said.
The absolute worst thing Democrats can do in 2010 is to abandon their core values.
Democrats lost in 2002 and 2004 because they ran away from their beliefs and tried to act like Republicans. Democrats won in 2006 and 2008 because they embraced and ran on progressive ideals.
I live in VA and I can tell you that Deeds ran an abysmal campaign–it was something you would expect a Democrat circa 2002 to have run. He ran away from his party, away from progressivism and away from his President; Deeds ran a soft, weak campaign steeped in ideological capitulation.
Embracing your base vs. running away from them makes the difference between winning and losing.
Democrats can’t allow themselves to be cowed by the right. Why do you think conservatives are always concern trolling about Democrats being too liberal? It’s because they want to scare Democrats away from progressivism, because weak Democrats create Republican majorities.
Want proof? Just ask Governor-elect Bob McDonnell. I bet he could tell you all about it.
With 99% of precincts reporting, Republican Bob McDonnell leads Democrat Creigh Deeds 59% to 41%; major news outlets have projected that McDonnell will be elected the next Governor of Virginia.
With 96% of precincts reporting, Republican Chris Christie leads Democratic Governor Jon Corzine 49% to 45%; major news outlets have projected that Christie will be elected the next Governor of New Jersey.
What does this mean? Well, as I said earlier today, the fact that the GOP won both Governorships is significant, particularly in New Jersey.
Of course, “significant” doesn’t mean “predictive.” As I’ve noted several times before, neither of these states can really be construed as consistent bellwethers, meaning that nobody can really draw any conclusions about 2010 from today.
It looks like the conservative spin machine is firing up, looking for the most favorable ways to portray whatever today’s election results end up being. Let’s counteract their spin and look at what today’s major races might actually mean:
It’s telling that conservatives are portraying VA—the one race they’re pretty much guaranteed to win—as today’s most important election. That’s right-wing logic for you—the races the GOP win are significant while any races they lose are insignificant.
Now, I’m not saying that a GOP win here wouldn’t mean anything—it’s always meaningful when a Governorship changes parties—but I don’t think it would be as significant as many Republicans will try to make it out to be.
If your state is holding elections today, get out there and vote.
And if you have any free time at all then go volunteer for the candidate/cause of your choice. You can click on the icons below for information on how to help progressives win today:
The Washington Post has the scoop on what Virginia’s Republican gubernatorial candidate really believes:
At age 34, two years before his first election and two decades before he would run for governor of Virginia, Robert F. McDonnell submitted a master’s thesis to the evangelical school he was attending in Virginia Beach in which he described working women and feminists as “detrimental” to the family. He said government policy should favor married couples over “cohabitators, homosexuals or fornicators.” He described as “illogical” a 1972 Supreme Court decision legalizing the use of contraception by unmarried couples.
With 60% of precincts reporting, Creigh Deeds (50%) leads Terry McAuliffe (26%) and Brian Moran (24%) in VA’s Democratic gubernatorial primary. That’s a pretty insurmountable lead, even with 40% of precincts outstanding; at the risk of being premature, I’m going to call this one for Deeds (who, in the interest of full disclosure, I voted for).
Deeds had a late surge in the polls to become the strong front-runner. Even though a lot of people had started to consider Deeds an also-ran due to his dismal early polling, primary elections are volatile and Deeds ended up emerging as the safest choice.
McAuliffe had a lot of money and connections but no electoral experience, and his checkered past as head of the DNC and Hillary Clinton campaign flack was a major strike against him. Brian Moran portrayed himself as the progressive alternative to McAuliffe’s establishmentarian record, but Moran’s newfound progressiveness always rang somewhat hollow. And all of the sniping between presumed front-runners McAuliffe and Moran left Deeds virtually unblemished.
Deeds was the safest choice, being the only candidate in the race who had run for statewide office before. In fact, he ran against the GOP’s gubernatorial candidate, Bob McDonnell, for Attorney General; Deeds lost by only several hundred votes, the smallest margin in VA history.
A Deeds-McDonnell rematch is both poetic justice and welcome news, since VA is certainly more progressive-friendly than it was in 2005. As The Washington Post said, Creigh Deeds will be a Governor in the successful Warner-Kaine tradition.
UPDATE: File this under things I’ve never seen before–a Twitter concession from Brian Moran:
And make sure to stop on by and show your support for newly-minted Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds.