November 4th is almost upon us, and unlike some election cycles many of the races this year are not yet won; the race here in Virginia between incumbent Democrat Mark Warner and challenger Ed Gillespie is one of them. For the benefit of those not in Virginia, Warner has been ads that amount to pointing out that Ed Gillespie was one of Washington’s highest paid lobbyists, and accusing him of wanting people to put their Social Security benefits at risk. Gillespie has refrained from responding to those ads, choosing instead to point out that Warner has voted with President Obama 97 percent of the time, and that he supports Obamacare. More recently Gillespie ads have attacked Warner for talking to a Virginia lawmaker about a job for his daughter, a scandal that may be a game changer.
Senator Warner is a former Governor who was very popular in Virginia and has maintained a sizable portion of that popularity since moving to the Senate, largely due to his ability to portray himself as bi-partisan and independent of the party leadership. Unfortunately Warner quickly learned that in Washington you have to go along to get along, and raced up a voting record that does not support that image. Warner toed the party line with the best of them voting with the President 97% of the time, voting for the failed stimulus bill and Obamacare despite his promise that he “would not vote for a health-care plan that doesn’t let you keep health insurance you like." His position on immigration is at odds with the majority of people in the country, supporting amnesty for illegals and despite having an “A” rating with the NRA, Warner changed his position on guns in the wake of the Newtown school shooting.
So here we have an incumbent Democrat who has to run from his voting record rather than on it still leading against a very experienced Republican challenger who has every reason to be in the lead but can’t quite seem to get there. Many pundits have examined this race and offered their take on it, but I have yet to hear anyone offer a convincing argument for why Ed Gillespie has not been able to move ahead. Admittedly Warner is a formidable opponent but the country as a whole, including Virginia, has soured on the political agenda he has championed, which should make him vulnerable to someone with the political experience of Ed Gillespie.
Gillespie has taken Warner to task on some important issues such as healthcare, jobs, etc., all of which should be safe topics. Unfortunately Gillespie cannot tackle the issue of immigration, probably the one issue that could quickly propel him into the lead, because on that issue he and Mark Warner are on the same page. The American people have shown time and again that they oppose any discussion of amnesty until the border is secure, yet neither of these candidates’ positions reflect that reality.
The problem for both candidates lies with where they place their loyalties. Warner’s popularity existed because despite his affiliation with the Democrat Party he did not come across as a far left moonbat like so many of his Democrat counter-parts. Once he arrived in Washington however, in an effort to win favor with the moonbats in the Democrat leadership he chose to vote according to their wishes rather than the wishes of the people who sent him there. The recent revelation about his involvement in the Puckett resignation scandal makes it clear that he is in fact just another hyper-partisan political hack.
Gillespie is a skilled politician who should have been able to pounce on Warner’s record, but he too is beholden to the leadership of the Republican Party who are almost as batty as some of the Democrats. In short, both candidates are being hurt because of their ties with the establishment politicians in their respective parties. Like other Democrats, Warner has to avoid being linked to Barack Obama, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi. Gillespie has to run against Warner with his hands tied in order to maintain the favor of the GOP leadership and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Perhaps Gillespie would do well to take a close look at how well that worked out for Eric Cantor.
Would it be too much to ask to have at least one candidate willing to represent us?