Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The betrayal of Jim Gilmore

Virginia conservatives have long argued that Jim Gilmore got a bum rap when he was Governor of Virginia. They've argued that the budget crisis that consumed his term in the Governor's Mansion wasn't his fault, that he was a victim of circumstances or a hostile press. They have argued that Gilmore is a misunderstood champion of Republican ideology. Gilmore himself has sought redemption in a renewed political career: an abortive run for the Republican presidential nomination and now a run for the U.S. Senate.

The Republican Party of Virginia's Central Committee met not that long ago and decided to hold a convention to select their party's candidate for the U.S. Senate next year instead of a primary. That move was widely seen as a coronation of Gilmore. Gilmore's only competitor at that time, Congressman Tom Davis, saw the writing on the wall and dropped out of the race, consoling himself by dropping half a million dollars of the money he had collected for a senate run into his wife's failed bid for re-election.

Gilmore seemed to have the Republican nomination locked up. Gilmore finally had his chance at redemption, but then the very people who have been portraying him as a misunderstood conservative genius began abandoning him in droves. The Right side of Virginia's political blogosphere has been engaged in a desperate search for someone else--anyone else--to run for John Warner's Senate seat.

We of the Left do not understand this sudden change of heart on the part of our Republican colleagues. Haven't you always maintained that Gilmore has been unfairly accused? Have you not said that Mark Warner is over-rated, that his reputation and popularity are overblown?

For Virginia's Republicans, what better opportunity to stand up for your beliefs? Why not step forward and help Jim Gilmore recover his reputation and win his political redemption? Why this sudden betrayal of your fellow Republican?

Like many Democratic bloggers in Virginia, I can look back to this time two years ago when we were looking for someone to take on George Allen. We chose someone who a lot of people thought was a long shot, someone who was down by double digits, but we stuck by Jim Webb, committed ourselves to the fight, and in the end, we prevailed.

Apparently Virginia's Democrats are made of sterner stuff than her Republicans.

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