The Gilmore Problem

Earlier this week former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore formally announced his candidacy for the GOP nomination for the 2008 US Senate election. His announcement makes his candidacy real and not hypothetical, and should again cause Virginia Republicans to strongly consider who should be the party standard bearer next year. I suggest it should be someone other than Jim Gilmore.

It has been suggested that I am part of an Any Candidate but Gilmore group. This is not accurate. I have written both of Gilmore’s strengths and also how I think his temperment is not what is needed in the US Senate.

If I fall into an acronym group, it is SOTDOG…”Someone Other than Davis or Gilmore”. I lay out the reasons for this here, and seeminly long before anyone else suggested Eric Cantor as a reasonable alternative that would still let all three men be on the ballot in 2008.

The truth is that Cantor will not run for the US Senate. In the wake of JMDD loss to Chap!, Tom Davis has disappeared. We don’t know if he sulks in his tent like Achilles or hides in a cave like Robert the Bruce and plans his next campaign, but we know he won’t be on the Senate ballot next year.

That leaves Brother Jim…and a variety of of reactions.

Some on the Democratic side are so eager for a Gilmore candidacy they claim a search for a new candidate is a betrayal. It isn’t. Many like myself have, while noting Gilmore’s strength’s, have just as readily suggested he has too many chinks in his armor to be a strong candidate against Mark Warner. Others bloggers were Davis guys who were already disenchanted with Gilmore, so seeking a different candidate is just good politics…you know, sort of like seeking a relatively unknown former Marine to run against a long time party regular for the party Senate nomination. 😉

Othe Democrats point out Jimbo’s weaknesses and penchant for bloviation and for annoying people. Lowell finishes this report with the rhetorical question:

I am amazed that this man was ever elected to anything. Can’t Virginia Republicans do better?

The answer is yes…the question is are they willing to run.

You may ask “Why is Bwana a SOTDOG?” Simply put, I thought the Tom Davis NoVa appeal would not overcome his lack of identity or ideological sympatico with downstate voters…and that was before the “Alabama” comment, and that Jim Gilmore carries too much baggage and will lose the same Nova voters that Davis might have been able to draw in.

What baggage?  It all comes down to one thing…Gilmore is always right-just ask him.  He is tenacious, and that serves as his greatest strength and the root his weaknesses.

His tenaciousness led him to accept and overcome challenges when no one expected him to succeed, from getting into UVa Law School to becoming governor.  However, all that is overshadowed by the contradictions in his record.

To win, he has to be able to explain away the following:

-The bad will he incurred by failing to fully repeal the car tax, no to mention being unable to deliver on his key campaign promise. Why he did not attempt to cut government spending to match the revenue removed by even partial car tax repeal, and why instead did he choose to assume that an expanding business base would make up the difference? Failing that, why did he not seek to identify the funding that would be used to replace the car tax revenues.

-He is pro life within the strictures of Roe against Wade-how will that play with the social conservatives?

-He attempted to insert state government into the Hugh Finn matter…how does that play with the libertarian conservatives?

-He appointed democratic legislators in GOP leaning districts to state positions so the GOP could pick up the seats…how does that play with the ethics police?

Bottom line-Jim Gilmore has given a lot of reasons to vote against him, even if you are with him on ideology.

It has been said that in 2004 no matter what Kerry said, Bush essentially replied “9/11”

Next year, not matter what Gilmore says, Warner will simply say “He failed to repeal the Car Tax”.

So Warner will beat up on Gilmore on executive branch ethics, lobbying ethics, and Iraq…plus the Car Tax non-repeal?

That is why Jim Gilmore is a problem…and why the GOP needs to go elsewhere for its 2008 candidate.  It need not be Cantor, but it needs to be SOTDOG.

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3 thoughts on “The Gilmore Problem

  1. Bwana:
    Well, while you and I disagreed on whether Davis was a good US Senate candidate, this is one where we do definately agree. A Republican nomination for Jim Gilmore, means we all say the following “Congratulations Senator Warner!” I do not think it will even be close. 40 plus percent would be a gift to Ol’ Jim. I am somewhat encouraged to have read in the RTD that Staunton Delgate Chris Saxman is considering running for the nomination. He may not be as well known, however, fundraising can take care of that. He is a personable and likable at first meeting. He does have that quality that even if you do not agree with him at least 50% of the time, you do walk away liking him, which is a big plus. Can he beat Mark Warner? Don’t know, but he is a better alternative to Gilmore. “And that’s all I have to say about that!”

    Have a Happy Thanksgiving and do not forget to go to Klines tonight to get a footlong, fries and shake one last time!

    Bwana Fan In Vienna

  2. Wow, you guys really must like Mark Warner, not only in seeing to it that we look divided, but also in fueling a sense of inevitability in his victory — something I’m sure Warner was prepared to pay an army of consultants to generate, but who needs to when bloggers will do it for you?

  3. Well, Bill…perhaps we look divided because we are divided…or haven’t you been watching the General Assembly for the last four years or so?

    The only inevitability of a Warner win is found in a Gilmore candidacy…and in the mindset of those who look at the Gilmore record and don’t see massive problems to defend against in a year that will already be difficult for the GOP.

    There are none so blind as those who do not see.

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