Why I stick to my guns on Creigh Deeds


It’s interesting what happens when a democracy gets stuck with a two-party system, isn’t it?

After my original September 2 post about Creigh Deeds’ environmental stance and again after my September 8 follow-up, I got some passionate and informed comments from readers. I’m always glad when that happens. But I was struck by what more than one commenter said: that by pointing out the Deeds campaign’s lack of environmental focus, I was "trying to push voters toward McDonnell."

Believe me, people—I do not want you to vote for McDonnell. As I said at the end of the September 8 post, I myself will be voting for Deeds. But as I made clear in that same post, I am frustrated by that lesser-of-two-evils choice. I’m a registered voter in Virginia and have no serious candidate who truly represents my views on these issues. In effect, I am disenfranchised by the lack of a third party. So are all Virginians—including, it would seem, some of the commenters—who despise mountaintop removal and dread uranium mining and yet end up backing Deeds, who hasn’t taken a firm, clear stance against either one.

Take a look at this piece from the Virginian-Pilot. It starts off claiming a "stark contrast" between Deeds and McDonnell on environmental issues, and partly bears that out. But the further down you read, the less convincing Deeds sounds. He supports the Wise County coal plant, for crying out loud! That’s like a candidate being painted as a feminist and then saying we’ll have to live with a little sexual assault.

Being greener than McDonnell—who, as commenters rightly pointed out, would be a treehugger’s nightmare in office—is not much of an accomplishment. Those of us who tend to support Democrats have the right and responsibility to demand more from our candidates. Doing so doesn’t amount to stumping for the opponent.