My state will still have a Democratic governor for the next four years, much to some Republicans' dismay. I sort of sympathize with their feelings right now -- the race was tight, and it's never fun to lose; we Democrats certainly felt that way last year -- but this paragraph in the AP analysis just cracked me up because it makes the Kilgore supporters sound like such drama queens:
As Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine's victory over former Virginia Attorney General Jerry Kilgore became apparent Tuesday night, GOP conservatives were shocked into silence. Men and women wept and children huddled in prayer circles, eyes closed and heads bowed, as Kilgore's victory party became a wake.
(I would laugh if it were about people from any party, just to be clear. The sentence just makes it sound like a nuclear war broke out. I'm pretty much laughing at the AP reporter. I hope.) The weeping is bad enough, because let's face it, nobody died.
I think the more reasonable reaction is numbness or disappointment, though, not abject despair. And for some reason the bit about children huddling in prayer circles strikes me as absurd. I can see that happening in the wake of, say, a school shooting, or after Rosa Parks' death. But Virginia's governor is constitutionally limited to one term (which is bizarre, but I digress), the Republican candidate won the lieutenant governor spot (what will happen to him after he is convicted of fraud, I wonder?), and the GOP retained its majority in the legislature. All in all, not much to cry about. The Republicans can take comfort in their two U.S. Senate seats.
On another bright note, this paragon of virtue lost. Thank God:
Craddock told the class he had a friend who'd studied in Africa and told him the reason there's an AIDS epidemic there is because "Africans will have sex with anything that has a pulse."
... Regarding his comments about African sex, Craddock said, "Sex runs wild in Africa. One of my best friends went to Africa and got her doctorate from Johns Hopkins [University] studying the AIDS culture in Zimbabwe. And she said one of the main reasons [there's so much AIDS there] is that sex is just rampant in Zimbabwe."
However, he added, "I was not talking about anybody here or black people [in general]. I was talking about a specific circumstance. If you have sex with anything with a pulse, AIDS is going to spread."
First of all, you can't say things like that, even in the context of "my friend told me" or "let's pretend," if you are in the public eye and then be shocked at the backlash. (Paging Bill Bennett.) Second, he repeated the statement and defended it! Gee, I'd love for him to be my kid's youth pastor. Yes, AIDS is a problem in Africa, and some of the sexual practices that are common in certain countries there are exacerbating the problem, but you can't put it the way he did. You just can't.
At any rate, Amy Sullivan has an interesting take on Kaine's win and what it might mean for Christian Democratic candidates in the future:
Tim Kaine's victory in Virginia ... shows how a religious Democrat can neutralize the recent Republican advantage on cultural issues and character.
Kaine talked about his faith consistently, starting from the very beginning of his campaign. He didn't throw it out as an honor badge for which he should get instant credit, but explained how his work as a Catholic missionary in Central America formed his commitment to public service. And although Kaine relied on his Catholicism to explain his personal opposition to both abortion and the death penalty, his insistence that as governor he should not impose his religious beliefs on others by blocking either one was an argument voters--if not pundits--understood and supported.
I'll be honest: Kaine didn't excite me much. (Neither did Kerry, except in his capacity as Not!Bush.) But I'm not sure it's good for politicians to be too exciting. I'm losing my taste for extremism and, well, flash. Kaine knows how to govern, doesn't do stupid things, is politically moderate, and seems to be a good guy. I hope he lives up to that assessment. In the meantime, congratulations, Tim.