Va Dems weigh endorsing public option
It's snowing already this morning in Staunton, where state Democrats are gathering for their quarterly central committee meeting, the first since gubernatorial nominee Creigh Deeds was defeated by almost 18 points by Republican Bob McDonnell Nov. 3.
So is it the winter of the donkeys' discontent?
Sort of. There is acknowledgment all the way around that the election results did not turn out the way party members had hoped, but also a fair amount of brave face discussions that suggest the party's fortunes are better than they might first appear. After all, both U.S. senators and a majority of the congressional delegation are all Democrats.
Assuming the snow doesn't keep them away, Gov. Tim Kaine, Sens. Mark Warner and Jim Webb are all scheduled to speak this morning. And word is that former gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds has said he will pay a visit as well.
Still, there is a lot of talk in Staunton about whether November's true message was that Democrats must take bolder progressive stands so voters understand what they are all about. To that end, the central committee will today consider a resolution that would declare the party's support for health care reform including a public option.
As the resolution currently reads, it includes language indicating that the party "expects" every Democratic member of the Virginia delegation to support "health care reform legislation that includes a comprehensive Public Option similar to Medicare." That could be a bit awkward for Warner and Webb, neither of whom have exactly embraced the public option.
After a vigorous debate Friday evening about whether it is appropriate for the party to instruct its elected leaders on major issues, the smaller steering committee of the party voted to endorse the resolution but recommend that the full central committee to amend it to "encourage" elected leaders rather than "expect" them to support the public option.
"As we learned from the last election, we can't just run as Republican Lite and win," said steering committee member Linda Brooks, of Newport News, encouraging the group to back the resolution. "We want health care reform. They're watering it down. If we don't act like Democrats, we're going to lose. We'll keep losing.
December 5, 2009; 8:38 AM ET
Categories: 2009 Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , James Webb , Mark Warner , Rosalind Helderman
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