The Commonwealth Iconoclast

A site dedicated to covering issues relevant to the Commonwealth of Virginia, and nation at large, plus other interesting things too, as I see fit...

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Cowboy George and Virginia's 2006 Senate Race

Soon, Democrats in the Commonwealth will turn their attention to determining who will take on George "I might just be dumb enough to be President" Allen. Just think, a couple of years ago Mark Warner really hadn't distinguished himself as a poltical force in the Commonwealth, and it almost appeared that in 2006 Cowboy George would coast to victory unchallenged.

Fast forward two years - Mark Warner is now a formidable poltical force in the Commonwealth, and Warner's heir apparent, Tim Kaine, is getting ready to be the next Governor after defeating George's "mini me" candidate Jerry Kilgore. Wow, things have changed so much in the Commonwealth over the past two years that even the caustic Cowboy George has had to eat a little humble pie.

Therefore Democrats in the Commonwealth have good reason to believe that Allen might be somewhat vulnerable as the 2006 elections approach. Senator Allen makes no apologies for being in line with President Bush lock-stock-and-barrell, even during the embarrassing Terry Schiavo fiasco. When you consider that Bush's approval rating has been in the mid-forties in the Commonwealth for much of the second half of 2005, Allen's fierce allegiance to Bush could be a liability (see Jerry Kilgore). But the 2006 elections are still a solid 11 months away, therefore lots could change for Bush in the Commonwealth by then.

Ok, back to George Allen. Here are a few observations and anecdotes about the former UCLA student turned good old boy:

  • George should be happy with the decision to transfer (from UCLA) to the University of Virginia instead of the University of Maryland when his dad took the Redskin's coaching job. I guess George figured that he would have an easier time competing for the 4th string quaterback position at Virginia, rather than at Maryland. George would have never had the same success in Maryland politics, as he has had in Virginia.
  • Speaking of football, hell I love football as much as anyone, but Senator Allen's incessant football analogies are getting extremely stale.
  • It's interesting to note that the bureaucy hating Allen, has one of the highest staff turnover rates on the Hill since 2001. In regards to working for Allen one of his former staff members was anonymously quoted, "It's a huge bureaucracy for a guy who claims to hate bureaucracy."
  • I get tired of Allen's constant use of the word "Jeffersonian". Ok, maybe he thinks using the word Jeffersonian at the Bent Fork's Ruritans Annual Pig Roast will make some of his supporters think he's really smart, but trust me, they haven't any idea of what Jeffersonian means. Was Allen's support of Federal intervention in the Terry Schiavo fiasco indicative of his staunch adherence to Jeffersonian principles?
  • Do all of George's campaign e-mails/letters have to give the impression that anyone who dares to challenge him is nothing more than a diabolical disturbance in the celestial battle between good old boys and evil Volvo driving, NPR listening leftist?
  • Could Sentoar Allen tone down the cowboy gear a bit? We all know that Senator Allen is a Southern California native, and would probably be more comfortable with a surfboard and a pair of Converse All Stars on his feet, and a Van Halen concert t-shirt. The cowboy imagine is nothing more than a carefully (and silly) attempt to "ruralize" his image. Job well done!

You'd be fooling yourself (even with Allen's apparent contradictions) to dismiss Allen as a political light weight who just happened to luck his way into the U.S. Senate. Allen is a fierce competitor, and loves nothing more than a partsian knock-em-down-drag-it-out fight. But there is no doubt that George and his supporters are acutely aware that in 2006 he could ineed be in for a fight, and to borrow a football analogy - they are probably drawing plays up in the sand now.

So let's take a look at who might possible challenge Allen in 2006:

  • Harris Miller, a Nova IT multi-millionnaire, former D.C. bureaucrat, and former Chair of the Virginia Democratic Party. Pros: Could tap into his personal wealth , would do well in voter rich Nova, and could cast himself as the next Mark Warner Cons: Can lightning strike twice and send another Nova millionnaire into the poltical stratosphere? What would George say? "Harris Miller is an out of touch northern liberal who has spent an entire career inside the beltway supporing liberalizing immigration, and promting activist Democratic causes. Don't let Harris Miller buy his way into Washington folks."
  • James Webb, another Nova resident, author, political pundit, and former Secretary of the Navy under Ronald Reagan. Pros: Strong military background, would cary voter rich Nova, would likely have appeal to moderates and some conservatives (especially those living in suburban areas) Cons: Other than being Reagan's Secretary of Navy, and a popular author, what are Webb's views on other issues? Is he really interested in rolling up his sleeves and fighting it out with George Allen for the U.S. Senate? What would George Say: "James Webb is an out of touch liberal who has spent an entire career inside the beltway."
  • Creigh Deeds, a State Senator from Bath County, who lost a close race to "Taliban Bob" McDonnell in last years AG's race. Pros: Creigh doesn't have to pretend, or play dress up, to be a true Virginian. Also, he has a fairly high level of name recognition now. During the AG's race the more I learned about Creigh, the more I liked him. Wouldn't it be interesting to see Allen's caustic partsian campaign versus Creigh Deeds, the embodiment of a true Virginia Gentleman? Cons: Nice guys finish last, especially in politics. What would George Say? : "Crigh Deeds is an out of touch liberal from the back woods of Bath County."
  • David Ashe, an attorney, Marine, Iraqi War Veteran, who in 2004 lost a congressional race in Virginia's 2nd District. Pros: See previous comments Cons: Who really believes that a youthful David Ashe could come out of nowhere to defeat George Allen? What would George Say?: "David Ashe was nothing more that a glorified pencil pusher during his service in Iraq. Otherwise, David is an out of touch liberal from the Tidewater area."
  • Chuch Robb, former Governor, and U.S. Senator, who has been active of late - serving on the 9/11 Commission. Pros: Robb has been there and done that. Chuck Robb was well respected and had a solid bipartsian record as a Senator. Cons: In 2000, when Robb lost to Allen, Robb appeared to be exhausted. Why would he choose to enter back into the political fray again? What would George Say: Ok, you can just imagine...
  • Doug Wilder, former Governor and current Mayor of the City of Richmond, who marches to the beat of his own drum. Pros: Mayor Wilder enjoys broad bipartsian support in the Commonwealth. Could you imagine Wilder stirring up shit inside the beltway? That would be interesting. Cons: Wilder would never want to leave the throne he built for himself in Richmond, plus there's plenty of work in Richmond to keep him busy for a while. What would George Say?: He might actually be at a lost for words if Widler were his opponent...

Ok, so there you have it. Depending on how you interperet the elections in 2005, Virginia's 2006 Senate race should be an exciting race to follow. I'm sure we'll have more to say about this in the future, 2006 is shaping up to be an extremely interesting year for politics in the Commonwealth.


  • At 12/28/2005 2:48 PM, Blogger valley iconoclast said…

    Let's throw in Gerald Baliles, former Virginia Governor, and John Grisham, author, for good measure.

    Can't wait until Allen compares himself to Reagan and Webb can reply,
    "I knew Ronald Reagan, I served under Ronald Reagan, sir you're no Ronald Reagan."

    My man is James Webb, the question is why would he put himself and his family through the meat grinder.

  • At 12/28/2005 5:05 PM, Blogger zen said…

    I like your analysis here. I like your anticipated line from Allen to each of these potential candidates.
    Besides James Webb, I haven't heard any other names being put out there. And frankly I think he may be a contender. But tis true the one name to be concerned about is Allen. I think Webb can perhaps pull a good bit of the strong military vote in Virginia.

    I know a few old-timer Republicans, and they cannot stand Allen. I think even more could get turned off if he makes a run for the Senate and then tries to bounce to the White House. It will completely expose his personal ambition over the priority of helping serve the state.

  • At 12/29/2005 7:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Virginia is still a conservative state overall but with wildly swinging attitudes depending on geography. Demographics are always changing as do attitudes. Much of Allen's past success has been attributed to the failures of his opponents (Mary Sue Terry way back when), his youthfull good looks (now well faded), and a political message that was generally in line with what Virginia wanted to hear (perhaps now out of date). George Allen has weaknesses that will sooner or later bring him down. Compared to John Warner who seemed to grow more popular with age, Allen's somewhat unpleasant personality may ultimately be the problem that brings him down. Still, in any race for the United States Senate, to win, there must be a candidate who is principled, well known, ideologically credible, and in control of a lot of cash. Also, the incumbent must have a weakness that is effectively exploited.

  • At 12/30/2005 10:11 PM, Blogger Bassizzzt said…

    Not much time to analyze your blog here, but I will be back.

    let me say that Warner didn't do a bad job as governor.

  • At 1/01/2006 3:09 PM, Anonymous Freddie said…

    It's 2006. It's too late to come up with a candidate. Since no one has stepped forward by now, there is no one with the fire in the belly to do this.


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