Yesterday, former Virginia Governor and current Republican U.S. Senate candidate George Allen spoke on the grounds of the courthouse in downtown Harrisonburg. It was one of several speaking engagements he had planned in the Shenandoah Valley that day.
All in all, approximately thirty-five people attended the event. A little over half of this number were elected officials, press, and political staffers including: Lt. Governor Bill Bolling, Delegate Tony Wilt (R-26), Delegate Ben Cline (R-24), Rockingham County Commonwealth Attorney Marsha Garst, Board of Supervisors member Pablo Cuevas, Commissioner of the Revenue Lowell Barb, Treasurer L. Todd Garber, Clerk of Court Chaz Evans-Haywood, Sheriff Bryan Hutcheson, and City Council member Ted Byrd.
Besides Mr. Allen, the handful of speakers implored the crowd to select George Allen as the Republican nominee for Senate. However, they also reminded the audience to support Representative Bob Goodlatte for the Republican nomination as he seeks his eleventh term.
After the ceremony at the court house, George Allen and Bill Bolling, along with a couple of staff members, went over to Jess’ Quick Lunch to enjoy a couple of hot dogs. Since my earliest days in politics in the mid 90s, both the courthouse and Jess’ have served as traditional political landmarks in Harrisonburg.
As Mr. Allen was leaving the restaurant, I finally saw the opportunity to ask him the question that I had been posing to his campaign staff for the last several months. One of his staffers tried to hurry him away, but I was able to ask my question anyway regarding his position on the indefinite detention provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act. Although he seemed to be pretty annoyed by my inquiry, George Allen stated that he opposed detaining American citizens without legal recourse and supported Senator Paul’s efforts to curb this abuse. Although he indicated that he has made his position clear on this matter, if that was the case, why wasn’t I able to find it on his website and why did his staff not answer my repeated inquires? Nevertheless, if he wins both the GOP nomination in June and the general election in November, I do hope he stands by this position.
One last issue I’d like to discuss is the relatively poor turnout at yesterday’s event. After all, there were far more George Allen signs there than people. Although it is easy to make the claim that George Allen’s candidacy hasn’t really fired up the base of conservative voters, I believe that the problem runs far deeper still. After all, Mitt Romney has not yet captured the hearts and minds of the Republican base. Nor have George Allen or Bob Goodlatte electrified voters will bold new proposals to finally solve our debt crisis and get the federal government under control. Rather than offering exciting candidates that inspire on their own merits, instead the establishment drives us through terror, terror of what may happen with four more years of an Obama presidency. I believe that it is exceedingly difficult to win an election based upon mere fear alone. That is one strong reason why I am not supporting either Allen or Goodlatte for the GOP nomination. After all, what demographic will they bring to the polls in droves that the other lukewarm candidates will not? Will we see the social conservatives? What about the fiscal conservatives? Or maybe the liberty-minded?
I don’t want to see either Barack Obama or Tim Kaine in office in 2013, but if we nominate a bunch of weak-kneed Republican politicians, then don’t be surprised if 2012 morphs into the year of the donkey.