There’s a big election coming up Tuesday, and to a certain extent the Commonwealth of Virginia’s future depends upon it. The same could be said about the supervisors’ races in Roanoke County. Both also portend a major impact on yours truly. Will I have lots of newsworthy and entertaining subject matter for future columns, or not?
That’s a chief question on my mind. For that reason I’ve decided to make some not-so-serious endorsements. Keep in mind that what follows is from me, not anybody else, and it’s not about what’s best for state and local government. It’s all about what’s best for me. All you Ayn Rand fans out there can appreciate that concept.
So with tongue firmly planted in cheek here we go:
For governor, Republican Ken Cuccinelli
Our lightning-rod attorney general is promising to focus on more jobs for Virginians, a laudable goal. It evokes the promise he campaigned on when he first ran for Virginia Senate — to focus on transportation. Back then, Cuccinelli quickly did an about face and embarked on an ultra right-wing social agenda that’s defined his political career. Leopards don’t change their spots, and I believe Cuccinelli will play the same game as governor.
Chances are high his administration will be both newsworthy and entertaining. Especially if he appoints Del. Bob Marshall to his cabinet, or signs legislation that effectively shuts down all the Planned Parenthood clinics in the state, or wages an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court after Virginia’s boy-girl only marriage amendment is declared unconstitutional. I expect he’ll do all three.
Second, I’m anticipating Gov. Cuccinelli will direct state police to open fraud investigations aimed at scientific research at state universities across Virginia. You may think he learned his lesson after all the unfavorable publicity he got in his fraud investigation against Dr. Michael Mann, the former University of Virginia climate scientist. But you could not be more wrong.
That spectacular stunt earned Cuccinelli the political fealty of know-nothing right-wingers across the United States, which was the entire purpose. Cuccinelli will need them when he runs for president in years to come. (You know he’s ambitious from the way he ruthlessly stabbed Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling in the back on the GOP nomination for governor.) The easiest way to keep the know-nothings on board is to investigate scientists again, because that crowd hates science. And once Cuccinelli is elected president, he can go after Mann again, too.
Third, as attorney general, Cuccinelli has insisted his office utterly lacks jurisdiction to prosecute the fake-named fraudster “Bobby Thompson.” Thompson, you may recall, ran the U.S. Navy Vets scam that cheated Virginians out of millions of dollars. Coincidentally, he also contributed $55,500 to Cuccinelli’s Attorney General campaign.
As governor Cuccinelli will no longer be able to make that claim, because Virginia State Police indeed have jurisdiction to investigate Thompson. I anticipate Cuccinelli will never direct them investigate Bobby Thompson, though. Who knows? — he might even appoint Thompson to lead the Virginia Department of Veterans Services. More great columns with pour forth from either move.
All of the reasons above only scratch the surface on why I prefer Cuccinelli to Terry McAuliffe. Hey, a Cuccinelli governorship may turn Virginia into a national laughingstock like North Carolina, but it’ll give yours truly an endless well of material.
For Lieutenant Governor: Republican E.W. Jackson
Bishop E.W. Jackson has little to no experience in politics aside from a last-place finish in the 2012 contest for the GOP’s Senate nomination. That alone isn’t enough to earn him my support, but his fanciful tales about a poverty-stricken upbringing, the stuff he’s written in books suggesting yoga is the spawn of Satan, and statements he’s made about gays certainly help tip the scales.
The Devil is always an attention-getter in columns, and Jackson in a statewide office promises lots of devilish material. Exactly the opposite is true with his Democratic opponent, state Sen. Ralph Northam. He’s a boring physician. If you’ve ever partied with a medical student you know exactly what I’m talking about. They’re total killjoys.
What clinches my support is Jackson’s decision to choose Roanoke Tea Party members to run his campaign. I know both Greg Aldridge and Chip Tarbutton, who live in Roanoke County and Botetourt County respectively. They’ve been deeply involved in politics at the local, Senate district and statewide level for the past three or four years. Although every one of those efforts has been a loser, they and the Roanoke Tea Party have provided great material for me. More of the same is surely coming my way if they can get their guy elected.
For Attorney General: Republican Mark Obenshain
Both Republican Sen. Mark Obenshain and his Democratic opponent, Sen. Mark Herring, have the same first name, and both have more or less pledged to give the axe to Assistant Attorney General Sharon Pigeon. She’s a subordinate of Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, and she’s the one who went out of her way to advise Consol Energy lawyers in their fight against nervy Virginia landowners who actually want to be paid royalties for gas that company took off their land — can you believe that? Coincidentally, Consol has contributed more than $100,000 to Cuccinelli’s campaign, but he had absolutely nothing to do with Pigeon’s efforts — of course.
Obenshain also was responsible for killing an egregious bill a few years back that would have forced grieving, would-be mothers who had miscarried to report those tragedies to police (within 24 hours) so they could be properly investigated by authorities. For this Obenshain deserves enormous credit. Put aside the fact that he sponsored that bill, too. What we know from this is that the guy learns from his mistakes. Herring hasn’t made any mistakes like that, so we don’t know whether or not he learns from them or not.
Where Obenshain really stands out, though, is in his noble fight against slavery. True, it’s a practice Virginia reluctantly agreed to end (and did) at a little meeting in Appomattox awhile back. Obenshain knows well that we can never rest on those laurels, that we must remain vigilant to prevent plantations from making a comeback. That’s why he’s made the fight against human trafficking a key plank in his campaign. Curiously, Herring has said absolutely nothing about it — as if he thinks slavery ended 148 years ago, or something, and belongs in the history books. If elected, Obenshain will keep that issue in the forefront. More good column material.
For Roanoke County Supervisor: Republican Al Bedrosian and Independent Ed Elswick
If Al Bedrosian is elected Roanoke County supervisor from the Hollins District, we can expect to see another kerfuffle raised on the Board of Supervisors over sectarian prayer at board meetings. Bedrosian is all-in on Christian prayers at public meetings (but not ones from other religions). He believes we are a Christian nation, founded on Christian values, and that of course our government should reflect Christian faith and tradition — only. In that respect he appears to aspire to a theocracy — kind of like Iran.
Although it’s not a formal plank in his campaign, Bedrosian supports installing the Ten Commandments in Roanoke County schools. Both of those will be great moneymakers for the legal community, from the fierce court battles they generate. Call them “jobs-for-lawyers” issues. Bedrosian also seeks to alienate just about every resident of the entire Vinton District by killing the plan to build a new library there (he believes the county can’t afford it). All of those items will make for excellent column material.
Ed Elswick has already proven to be great material. He was elected a Republican, then ditched the GOP to become an independent, and a little while later he aligned himself with the Roanoke Tea Party. In the middle of the Great Bent Mountain Wind Turbine Debate, he stomped out of a meeting after he didn’t get his way. That’s always a news- and chuckle-worthy move for a politician. He paid close attention at one board meeting I attended when Roanoke Tea Party members described “flaming windmills” in graphic and alarming details. Lately he’s been on a property-rights kick that even Supervisor Butch Church couldn’t support. His Republican opponent, accountant, ice-cream shop owner and former supervisor Joe McNamara, is boringly capable and about as much fun as Sen. Ralph Northam.
My support for Elswick and Bedrosian is contigent on two factors, however.
The first is that they each win their races. Both of them will have to take office for the Roanoke Tea Party to gain effective control of Roanoke County government. That’s where the truly great column material is.
The second is that Roanoke County supervisor Butch Church does not get appointed the to the full-time job of Roanoke County spokesman. If that happens, he’d have to resign his supervisor’s seat, which would deny the Roanoke Tea Party a board majority. In that case, even if Bedrosian and Elswick win, they will be ineffectual outsiders. All we’ll have then are two supervisors who will unnecessarily drag out Board of Supervisors meetings while the others outvote them on every big issue. Which is no fun.
So there you have Dan’s tongue-in-cheek recommendations. Consider them or not. Voting takes place tomorrow, unless you’re a Tea Party member, in which you should go to the polls on Wednesday.
Just kidding, Tea Partiers — you get to vote Tuesday, too.
Don’t miss your chance. The future of our state and valley depend on you. May the best candidates win!