Tuesday, February 14, 2006

If hindsight is 20/20, why are some still so blind?

A couple of weeks ago (today, as a matter of fact) we here in Loudoun and Fairfax Counties held a special election to fill the vacated State Senate seat for the 33rd District. The results, as I mentioned after the election, were not good for Republican Mick Staton. My comments at the time that he won the primary amounted to concerns that he'd have trouble going head-to-head with the Democratic contender. I was right. I've already stated my opinions (as linked) as to what went wrong and where I think the GOP here in northern VA needs to go. 'Nuff said.

Or so I thought.

Today I received a letter from the Staton campaign sent out to all the supporters thanking them for their work. I posted a Staton sign in my yard which was enough for me to get on the mailing list. I appreciate the thanks but the letter has some troubling spots in it. Here's how it starts:

::::::::Thank you for the support you have given me in my run for the 33rd District Senate Seat. While we did not win the race, it does not mean that our run was not successful.::::::::

At the risk of sounding mean, I'm afraid the fact that the GOP candidate did not win does, in fact, mean that the campaign was unsuccessful.

Think about this: The only way for the campaign to have been successful in light of the candidate not winning is for the object of the campaign to have been something other than getting the candidate elected. If the campaign wasn't about getting elected, then it was a waste of time, energy, resources, and - oh, yes - a seat on the Virgina Senate. If the campaign wasn't about winning the election, then why did we run it? Why did we not run a campaign with a candidate whose goal was to get elected.

Unless Staton did intend to get elected, in which case his campaign was a staggering failure, the efforts of all the volunteers being beside the point. More troubling, however, is this:

::::::::We ran a strong campaign with a positive message, and had I the opportunity to do things over; I would not have changed a thing.::::::::

Allow me to get this one straight. With the foreknowledge that he was going to walk into that special election and get his political ass kicked completely around the perimeter of the 33rd District and then carved off and handed to him on a stick, he would have continued to run the campaign in exactly the same way that resulted in one of the worst blow-outs the northern VA GOP has ever seen?

I can hear his core supporters now, raising a chorus of, "Damn Right! We run on Republican principles!" to the rafters. And there's exactly the point I was trying make in my last post on the subject. Knowing what we know now - that the voters here in Loudoun County are far, far more concerned with the day-to-day issues of growth, transportation, and development control than they are on the social agenda espoused by the Republican Party as embodied by Staton's supporters - many in the GOP think we don't need to change. We do. We need to address the issues of the voters squarely and loudly. We need to take control of the debate and we do that by articulating our ideas to handle those issues ourselves rather than let the Dems do that for us. It's far easier to set the tone of your own argument yourself from the word go than it is to convince people that those other guys just misrepresented you.

Mick Staton: I'm glad you're on the Board of Supervisors and I hope you can do some real good there. But we've all got to realize that campaigns such as yours don't win and we've got to make the adjustments to change that outcome.