Democrat—Republican Differences Sometimes Blur
No one would ever accuse George Allen, the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate from Virginia, of being anything but a hardcore conservative, a carrier of the corporate water, an agent of the wealthy one percent, and a guy with little interest in the economic well-being of most Virginians.
The same could be said of political newcomer Chris Perkins, the career military officer and now defense lobbyist running to represent us in Congress in the 11th District. OK, Chris may be more so. He has only disdain for public education (of which he is a product) and would have the Federal Government eliminate funding for nearly everything except the DoD, his longtime cocoon.
But, then look at their Democratic opponents: Ex-Governor, now candidate for Senate Tim Kaine and the gerrymandered Gerry Connolly, the “incumbent” candidate for Congress in our new 11th District. Their stances on issues of economic equity or fairness are barely distinguishable from their rightwing Republican opponents!
As governor, Kaine led the charge to do away with the fairest tax of them all, the inheritance tax. That was his gift to wealthy friends and campaign contributors, to protect them from having to pay tax on all that unearned income. Last week, Mr. Kaine said he was open to considering ways to levy income tax on all Virginians, by definition including the unemployed, those on social security, the disabled and all the others in Mr. Romney’s famous 47 percent. Kaine’s staff has tried to clarify his Romneyesque statement on income tax for all, but his record as a champion of inequality is clear.
With no other alternative for the U.S. Senate on the ballot, Kaine gets the nod from me on election day because he is more progressive than Allen on women’s issues, the environment, education, and health care.
Rep. Connolly’s record on economic fairness is less blatant than Kaine’s, but he also tends to favor the very wealthy. Last year, when President
Obama suggested addressing the national deficit in part by asking the wealthy—those earning over $250,000 per year—to once again pay a fairer share of the income tax, Mr. Connolly was aghast. He echoed Republican arguments for continuing the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy-presumably to be paid for by slashing programs benefiting middle and lower income Americans.
As the 2012 election has drawn closer, Mr. Connolly has muted his public
statements on tax cuts for the wealthy in the face of a deficit he says he wants to reduce. But, don’t be fooled; he opposes the President on this issue. And, he is not alone among Democrats with campaign coffers to fill. When I wrote to him and encouraged him to change position, I got a classic non-response response.
What to do on election day? Mr. Perkins is no alternative for moderates, much less progressives. Independent Mark Gibson offers some moderation, but the only progressive in the race is rookie Green Party candidate Joe Galdo. Mr. Galdo’s odds of winning are slim, but the idea of voting for a genuine progressive committed to fairness and greater equality sure has a lot of appeal!