Although he won’t be announcing his candidacy at the JJ Dinner this weekend, it’s generally accepted that Tim Kaine will be running for the US Senate. Whether it’s been with Hill staffers, members of the DPVA state central, or with bloggers who have been actively encouraging Tom Perriello to run, almost everybody I’ve talked to about this race expects Kaine to announce fairly soon. As the anticipation for any of the rumored possible Democratic candidates to make a decision continues to increase, however, it appears as though some folks are trying to make relatively small exchanges into something bigger than they really are.
As I’ve talked with people about this race, it appears as though there are some who don’t like the passion that supporters of various candidates display. In a facebook exchange that was forwarded to me earlier in the week, for instance, one long-time Virginia Democratic activist demanded that anyone who supported a candidate other than the one he liked should de-friend him. I was rather disappointed when I saw this because it was between two folks who have given a lot of their time and energy to electing good candidates and accomplished nothing but unnecessary friction. If an argument for toning down the rhetoric between parties is that we can disagree without being disagreeable, why can’t we do that in debates amongst ourselves as well?
Another example of people causing a rift where one really shouldn’t exist comes in the form of a post over at the Richmonder. JC usually has some great writing and has been a dedicated volunteer over the years, but simply got it wrong yesterday. His post highlighted how there were some facebook postings going around about how people should “bring vuvuzelas for Timmy’s speech” and “spread the gospel of Perriello for Senate.” Anyone who has worked in politics for awhile knows that sometimes people joke around with friends about goofy ways you could distract your opponent. These discussions rarely actually end up with the plans being implemented and are often forgotten moments later.
With that being said, I do agree with the JC when he said that it’s probably not really fair to Perriello to have other people drag his name into it. On top of that, while those conversations can be a witty escape from the heat of a campaign, they probably shouldn’t be held in a public forum where the whole world can see the interaction and misconstrue what’s being said. It probably would have been a better idea, however, to point that out in a comment on the facebook posting so the situation didn’t escalate.
I bring these interactions up because they are prime examples of the behavior that we want to avoid. The ideas currently being promoted by the Republicans in Congress make it extremely important for Democrats to remain united and make sure Virginia doesn’t send George Allen back to the US Senate. Fortunately, we have multiple candidates considering a bid that could win this race.
Both the polling I’ve seen and conversations I’ve had with other people heavily involved in Virginia politics suggest that Tim Kaine could win statewide. To back this argument up, people point to how he’s proven that he’s able to win statewide before, he remains popular in Virginia, and his national profile would allow him to raise the large amount of money necessary to run a successful campaign. And of course the grassroots have already shown over the last week or so that they’re willing to rally behind Tom Perriello because he’s the more progressive candidate. Plus, like with the numbers that show Kaine could win, there’s also polling that also shows Perriello could beat Allen.
What this all means is that we can keep this seat in Democratic hands, we just must keep focused on the campaign at hand and cannot let our emotions get the better of us.