Column: Almost Fall —The Silly Season is Underway

Column: Almost Fall —The Silly Season is Underway

Did anyone see any salutes to working people on the first Monday in September this year? Sadly, the meaning of this holiday honoring working people has become barely an afterthought it seems.

What I’ve seen lately is lots of retail advertising about back-to-school stuff for students, and a flood of advertising for political candidates. Yes, another silly season of electoral politics is underway, pretty much devoid of substantive public policy debate. Let’s take a look: Delegate Ken Plum (D), running to retain his lifetime seat serving the 36th District, is once again unopposed. I’ve not seen Ken’s goals for his next term, and they are not to be found on his campaign website. They would be nice to know. He is a reliable progressive; but needs some solid competition to renew his fighting spirit.

How many of you can name the candidates running to represent Reston in Gerrymandered 11th District seat or hammock in the U.S. Congress? The incumbent for whom the district was drawn is Democrat Gerry Connolly, a pro-business “moderate” with an edge. The others names are pretty well hidden by the mainstream media. They are: Republican Suzanne Scholte who can’t find anything that the current dysfunctional Congress has passed for which she can blame Gerry; Green Party return candidate Joe Galdo who is the only progressive in the race but is too gentle and honest to be eligible for the job; and, Marc Harrold, a Libertarian candidate who does offer goals at his website, pretty standard libertarian or covert Republican fare calling for no taxes and absolute rule by the market, sweetened with calls to end war on both drugs and other people. Between a cozy district and nearly $2 million in campaign cash, nearly 90 percent from large individual checks and PACs, Connolly is a shoo-in for re-election.

Then there is the “race” for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by self-made millionaire, conservative Democrat Mark Warner. His opponents are former national Republican Chairman Ed Gillespie, and Libertarian Robert Sarvis. Again, the challengers have very little they can blame Warner for because so little has been accomplished on his watch. And, here’s where I get my biggest laugh of the silly season. Mr. Ed Gillespie attacks Warner as a wild-eyed liberal sympathizer of the revolutionary socialist in the White House. He claims that Warner votes with Obama 97 percent of the time. This comes as a real shock to the President who would like to know where Warner is when Obama needs support on: more sensible gun legislation; a public option for health care; climate change legislation; tax reform favoring other than the rich; labor law reform improving worker access to unions; clean air regulations; etc. Meanwhile, Ed himself now claims to be a card-carrying lifetime Tea Party member. Warner has about $10 million in the campaign chest; Gillespie has about $4.2 million; and, Sarvis has a meager $50,000. Warner is polling a hair over 50 percent, Gillespie 23 percent and Sarvis 5 percent. (The other 22 percent cannot stay awake to respond!) Sarvis’ per vote cost is the lowest of the three. He will waste far less fat cat cash than the other two, but he will also come in a distant third on Election Day while siphoning most of his votes from Gillespie.

I always end by reminding folks to vote, a real struggle to say this year.