Well Virginia sports fans, the ‘race’ for the Executive Mansion in the Commonwealth got a little less interesting after Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling’s recent announcement that he would not be running as an independent for governor.
Bolling cited three reasons for his decision. First, it’s difficult to run for governor when you’re short on funds. Bolling noted that the obstacle of raising money was one main contributing factor to his decision. Second, Bolling said he was reluctant to cut ties with the Republican Party even though he feels a “growing dissatisfaction” with Virginia’s political climate (mainly due to the far right and uncompromising positions of many within Virginia’s Republican Party. Bolling’s “growing dissatisfaction” with politics in Virginia was his third reason for not running for governor.
However, Bolling appears ready, willing, and able to continue giving his opinion about what is wrong with Virginia’s politics and, in particular, Ken Cuccinelli. As an “independent voice,” Bolling will attempt to balance a political scene that Bolling implies has run amok.
In an email Bolling sent to his supporters making the announcement he wouldn’t run for governor, he said this: “Throughout this process my focus has been on one thing – what’s best for Virginia? I love Virginia and I want to make certain that we have a Governor who is committed to governing our state in a mainstream way; a Governor who will keep his focus on the big issues facing our state and work with Republicans and Democrats to solve problems…”
Hold on, so Bolling is saying that he wants a reasonable politics? Outrageous!
Even though Bolling is hardly the paragon of progressive values I’d like to see in elected office, he’s part of a dying species of politicians (whether only recently or not, whether sincerely or not) who have chosen to take ‘the middle path’.
And with Bolling officially out of the race for governor, an importantly critical voice may have also left with him. Bolling no doubt understood that he was always a long-shot for governor, even as the Republican nominee. But at the very least, as an independent, Bolling could have been the relatively unbiased voice of concern for all Virginians.
And yes, it does fuel my defense of Bolling that his critiques of the Virginia political climate seemed to fall almost exclusively on the Republican Party in general, and Ken Cuccinelli in particular.
But if a spade is a spade, call it a spade, regardless of what party, what nationality, what religion, or what color that spade is. In short, speak the truth, always. I have no illusions that Bolling could have simply found a political niche he wanted to play out, but what he said was true and I hope that Virginia’s Democratic Party candidate for governor will do the same.