Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Nail-biter in Virginia

The polls closed in Virginia a bit over an hour ago, and Kerry lovers are on tenterhooks, pins and needles, or the edges of our seats, depending on personal preference. The lead in the Democratic primary keeps going back and forth between Miller and Webb. Why do we care so much? Merely because John Kerry endorsed Jim Webb? Well, yes, but it wasn't merely an endorsement. (Nor was it the fact that none of us were thrilled with Miller's condescending dismissal of Kerry's endorsement of Webb.) It was one of those jaw-dropping and then heartwarming endorsements, the kind that makes you sit up and take notice and then become emotionally invested in the outcome. See, back when JK testified before the Senate in 1971, Jim Webb was one of the people who was not at all happy about it. He made that clear in a column he wrote back in 2004: He did condemn the Swift Boat Liars, it's true, and we want to give credit where it's due for that -- but he also criticized JK for that testimony. Then there was the fact that, according to reports, he refused to shake JK's hand for 20 years because of his Senate testimony. He went on to vote for JK in the election, which helps, but still, there's only so much Kerry-dissing we can take.

Bottom line, when the Miller/Webb contest started heating up, a lot of Kerrycrats were not happy about Webb -- to put it mildly. Some of us snarked about Webb in public discussion threads. One thing you can say about Kerrycrats, we're loyal to our man. And then we heard that JK and Jim Webb had had a couple of long, heart-to-heart conversations and settled their differences, and that JK had agreed to endorse Webb. And why is that totally cool? Because finding the common ground, overcoming differences and focusing on getting the job done is what John Kerry is all about. John Kerry doesn't hold grudges; he holds a set of ideals. He isn't about living in the past, but about working for the future. If anyone could sit down with someone who refused to shake his hand for decades and help find enough common ground so that the two would end up feeling proud to campaign together, it's John Kerry. Obviously, Jim Webb is quite impressive too for being big enough to set aside differences and focus on what needs to be done, but around here, we're a wee bit partial to Kerry.

So there's a lot to be excited about. Pundits say that JK's endorsement may well be the factor that puts it over the top for Webb. I like to think that the Universe responds to positive efforts, at least sometimes, and JK's determination to build bridges and work things out with people would surely qualify as something that merits a positive response.

You can follow the action here: Virginia election results Click frequently for updates and curse or squee as appropriate; I've already crossed myself at least twice.

Or go to the DailyKos diary where it's being liveblogged. You can almost smell the adrenaline.

UPDATE: Webb won!!!! The final DKos post is here. Looking at the results, now it seems as if Webb won it in a walk. But for a while there it was going up and down, with Miller a few points ahead of Webb and then the lead switching back and forth. *whew*


At 9:10 PM, Blogger Kerryvisionary said...

Excellent history of the situation, DK, and also some extra-cool phrasing. I love this: John Kerry doesn't hold grudges; he holds a set of ideals. He isn't about living in the past, but about working for the future.

At 7:53 PM, Blogger beachmom1 said...

Wonderful post and captures the order of events. I did end up voting for Webb, and I cannot tell a lie that that Kerry endorsement and the story that went with it was definitely a big factor in why I switched from Miller to Webb.

At 10:39 AM, Blogger DreamingofKerry said...

Beachmom, Thanks for your comment! It's wonderful that Kerry's endorsement played such a role in your decision. If I lived in Virginia, I would never have considered voting for Webb in a million years -- until Kerry endorsed him.

Everyone seems to acknowledge that Kerry's decision had a large impact on the outcome. From the media coverage of this election, I gather that the CW has shifted from "Kerry's a loser that no one takes seriously" to "Kerry's a heavy hitter and anyone who wants to win had better take him seriously."


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