As I watch the campaign betweeh the Cooch and the Hoot, I am struck by the ongoing lack of specificity coming out of the Oleszek campaign. She has attacked Cooch for both taking the no tax increase pledge, and then again for voting for the 2007 Transportation funding act, which effectively doubles back on the pledge. After taking a whack at Cooch, Hoot says some very vague but pretty things like:
“As a State Senator, I would have shown leadership on this issue and worked in a bi-partisan manner to get these fees removed, while working towards a comprehensive transportation plan that addresses our transportation crisis in northern Virginia.”
Riiight…a combative statement full of sound and fury and signifying nothing. Given that none of the other Democratic state senators was acting in a bi-partisan manner during this session, I am not seeing how her plan was going to make things better.
In fact, her comment kind of reminds me of Donald Sutherland in The Dirty Dozen during a troop review: “Very pretty, general…but can they fight?”
Hey, anytime I can reasonably reference one of the finest movies of the 20th century I will…and note the reference was to her comment…but it is comments like that are so nonsensically non specific that cause me to chuckle…and gain her the title “The Hoot”
But in another sense, one cannot fault The Hoot for her non-specificity. The Democrats in the General Assembly made a combat decision not advance their own program. They gambled that the GOP would implode over transportation and offered no substantive alternative. When the GOP was able to make their plan stick in the Senate, then many House Dems voted for the plan. They didn’t have their own plan to vote for as a protest, and they wanted to be able to say they were able to get something passed.
This method of opposition is a bankrupt way to lead-wait for the other party to make a mistake. It is this method of opposition that led the WaPo to note the lack of a Democratic message in this campaign. Of course, when your only plan is “I’m not the other guy”, it makes it difficult to create a substantive unified message that will sell from Wolf Trap to Big Stone Gap. This lack of a message has been noted elsewhere, and apparently democrats ain’t happy about it.
I think the problem may well be one of terms. In the US, the party that has the most seats in the legislature is the Majority party, and the other folks are in the Minority. These are not very muscular terms.
Compare to Great Britain, a constitutional monarchy where the party in the majority is the Government party, and the other guys are in Opposition. Each is creates its own policy, and the government puts its into effect while the opposition offers theirs up to not only fight off the government party but also to show what they will do when they take the reins at Downing Street.
The Commonwealth of Virginia would be better off if the Democrats acted like the Opposition Party, and not the Minority Party. Then they would have a real message, which would mean folks like The Hoot would be able to assualt The Cooch with real plans and not glittering generalities.
Better still, if the Democrats acted like the Opposition, proposed alternative legislation, and offered a message…WOW, then maybe the GOP would have to come up with its own message and run on the same.
Now that’s a campaign I would like to see!