Virginia Mainstream Project Seeks A Wider GOP Current, Which Would Benefit Us All

Published 1:56 pm Thursday, May 30, 2013

If Republican Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling hadn't announced formation of the Virginia Mainstream Project prior to the GOP's convention, he certainly would have done so afterwards.

There is nothing mainstream about the trio of Republican candidates emerging from the convention, which was held for the specific purpose of deep-sixing the gubernatorial aspirations of Bolling and handing the party nomination to Ken Cuccinelli.

The attorney general is joined by E. W. Jackson as the party's nominee for lieutenant governor and Mark D. Obenshain, who'll run for attorney general. Jackson made the most headlines following his nomination, with reports he has called the Democratic Party “anti-God” and labeled gays and lesbians as “sick” and “perverted.” Writing an opinion piece last fall for The Washington Times, Jackson, a minister, wondered how Democrats have “managed to hold on to black Christians in spite of an agenda worthy of the Anti-christ.”

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What a sweeping and unjust condemnation in those statements of millions and millions of Americans and the Virginians included in their number, among them residents of Farmville, Prince Edward, Buckingham and Cumberland. Judge a tree by its fruit, Jesus said, explaining that a good tree cannot bear bad fruit and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. God is love, Jesus taught, with his beloved disciple John emphasizing that dominant theme of Christ's ministry in his own New Testament writings. It is difficult to find any morsel or crumb of God's love in those statements by Jackson.

Bolling issued a post-convention statement rightly saying that “some of the things he (Jackson) has said are simply indefensible. These kinds of comments are simply not appropriate, especially not from someone who wants to be a standard-bearer for our party and hold the second-highest elected office in our state. They feed the image of extremism, and that's not where the Republican Party needs to be.”

Expect plenty of prime time for Virginia on The Daily Show and The Colbert Report.

Two television shows, for those who do not know, on The Comedy Channel.

The results of the GOP convention, contrived to block Bolling from the governor's mansion, may, ironically, do the very same thing for Cuccinelli's convention-fueled bid for power.

There is no doubt that a Republican primary would not have produced this GOP ticket for the fall election in Virginia.

Even Bolling must hope the GOP ticket falls in order for the Virginia Mainstream Project to gain traction within rank and file Republican voters and the many Virginians inclined to vote independently of political party, and for the candidate, instead.

The Virginia Mainstream Project will certainly benefit the Commonwealth of Virginia as, of course, it will benefit the state's Republican Party.

The Bolling-led initiative has three primary missions and though two of the three are party-specific the presence of the bipartisan third leg of the stool-the one that makes it stand upright and invites Virginians of all political inclinations to have a seat-is most important.

Yes, the project is geared to “recruit, advise and support mainstream Republican candidates for state and local office”…and to “develop and promote responsible conservative policy solutions to the most important issues facing Virginia, with an emphasis on fiscal policy, economic development, tax reform, education reform, transportation and health care.”

But even those seemingly partisan goals, partisan in terms of GOP-leaning philosophies of government, are in the best interests of all Virginians. We must have the best that both parties and philosophies have to offer. There are good and bad ideas on both the liberal and conservative side of the political aisle. No party has a monopoly on effective solutions to the challenges we face. Bring wise legislation to the table from the left, the right and the center and let's work together to produce the best package of legislative tools.

The mainstream's got room for everyone's canoe. The far right and the far left will only capsize us all as we are squeezed between the riverbank and the rocky rapids.

Which brings us directly to the Virginia Mainstream Project's third primary mission, actually listed as number two-“provide a platform to continue discussing the need for mainstream approaches to governing Virginia that put policy ahead of politics and seek to promote compromise and bipartisan cooperation to solve the most important challenges facing the Commonwealth.”

Those words should be every politician's creed and the criteria by which we, the voters, cast our ballots in each election.

Policy must be placed well ahead of politics or we marginalize everything that matters most.

Compromise and bipartisan cooperation are essential or the shouted competing partisan monologues will drown out every attempt at voicing reason.

All the words meant to elect one party and burn the other at the stake are simply fodder for Jon Stewart, Steven Colbert and Saturday Night Live.

The ashes are our own.

Laughter may be the best medicine but a nation's ridicule isn't the serious prescription we need for the best future of all Virginians.