Local Commentary

Our Man in Arlington

bartonmugA few political notes:


The Arlington County Democratic Committee’s annual Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner was held last Friday evening at the Westin Hotel on Glebe Road.

More than 250 people attended, including more candidates than you could shake a stick at – and this is an off-year election! (Actually, there is no such thing in Arlington!)

I remember very well the J-J Dinners we would sponsor thirty and forty years ago. We were very excited when seventy-five to one hundred people would show up. The state looked at us as one of the dynamic local Democratic Party operation in Virginia, and we were! But look at us now!


The three candidates for the Democratic nomination for Governor of the Commonwealth were out in full force. The way the hands were flying, every one of us must have met and held a couple of minutes discourse with all three candidates. Campaigning is not an easy job.

Of course, everyone in the room had his or her own speculation as to who would win the nomination. The great wild card, of course, is Terry McAuliffe. Without him, the nomination battle would have been a gentlemanly affair between Northern Virginia’s Brian Moran and South-Southwest’s Creigh Deeds with the edge going to Moran if he were successful in pulling out a solid Northern Virginia vote.

But McAuliffe changed the whole dynamic. At first dismissed because of alleged inexperience in Virginia politics and governance, he has shown a huge political dynamic and has an almost bottomless source of money because of his long-time position at the top of the national political heap.

The assumption on the part of many activists is that McAuliffe cannot win the Democratic primary, and even if he did, he could not win a statewide race. But these activists had better pay a little more attention. McAuliffe is an excellent campaigner all over the state, has a strong economic and social message, and plenty of campaign money. He could very well win it all.


The five Democratic candidates for Al Eisenberg’s 47th District House of Delegates seat were also very much in evidence. For the record, they are Adam Parkhomenko, Andres Tobar, Patrick Hope, Miles Grant, and Alan Howze.

While they did not speak, they were all over the room schmoozing with as many people as they could get to. That’s how it’s done in a race like this – pure retail politics.

This race is going to be won by shoe leather. There will be a very small turnout this year, so the election will be won primarily by the ability of the candidates to drag their voters to the polls. It is the candidate with the most stamina, not charisma, who will win the nomination.


Finally, if you did not hear Obama’s speech at Notre Dame last Sunday, go to the net and watch it. It will go down in the history books as one of the better speeches any president has given. It was neither conciliatory nor hostile. It was a lesson in how we should all behave towards each others’ ideas and beliefs in the diverse democratic society in which we live. The Notre Dame audience loved it too. It interrupted the speech dozens of times with standing ovations.

I’m really glad he is our president.