Concern Over EW Jackson
In the words of a great man, “There you go again.”
EW Jackson scored a stunning victory for the GOP nomination for Lieutenant Governor at Virginia’s state convention Saturday. His grassroots support sustained itself through four votes, some drama and misdirection on the part of his rivals’ supporters, and even the sotto voce “I like him but I’m concerned about who he’s surrounded with.”
Already there are some on our side who seemingly want to seat him next to Akin, Mourdock, Angle, O’Donnell, (Palin?) et al. Bishop Jackson “will be the face of the GOP for the next six months” we’re admonished. ”Cuccinelli is now in trouble.” warns another (always unnamed) insider. Jackson does a bold social conservative gut check, and there is a sizeable paper trail on his views of Barack Obama’s views on Islam and world politics and justice. He intends to separate Christians from the Democrat party. He has traditional views on marriage and other social issues, which, surprise, aren’t radical at all for a large flock of followers of pastors, black or not, all over the country. Cuccinelli’s opponent Terry McAuliffe has uttered and apologized for multiple racial misfires. Cuccinelli is even considered too far to the right by some and is being goaded into moving to the center. The Governor/LG/AG race is not a “ticket.” Those races have split between the parties in the past. But now it’s all about Jackson.
I’m not black. I don’t live in Virginia. But I’ll do some concern trolling of my own here. The GOP’s black outreach is anywhere between pathetic and nonexistent. Bishop Jackson has called out all the usual race baiting suspects on the left, from the Congressional Black Caucus on down. Reince and Rand are nice guys and mean well where minority outreach is concerned, but Jackson packages the party and the message for a constituency that is dead to us. I don’t agree with everything he has said, but I’ve lost track of the number of times a blue state R threw away core issues like taxes, the first or second amendment, only to get the disclaimer “well, at least he/she is an R.”
Every finger wagging about “the big tent” is usually followed by some advice to throw evangelicals and social conservatives out of that tent. But the reality is social conservative voters turned out in greater numbers in 2012 than they did in 2008. The “reach across the aisle” wing of the party is 0-2 in Presidential elections. Blue/purple state Republicans can never move far enough to the middle or left to endure more than one election cycle, it seems. At times, Scott Brown was unrecognizable as a Republican, but I supported him in both campaigns.
You can disagree with Jackson’s position details as much as you want, but it’s something else entirely when you regurgitate the other side’s talking points that maintain he takes the whole party down with him, and contribute to a repudiation firing squad mentality. You can take issue with the nominating process, but it’s chiefly the same as the one that elevated Mike Lee over Bob Bennett, though Lee did eventually have to win a primary. Primaries are not without defects. They are open in many states, meaning they can be sabotaged by the other party either through votes or running Trojan horse candidates who are not who they say they are, or whose candidacies are intended to split the vote and deny a presumptive frontrunner the nomination. And they are unquestionably skewed toward incumbency.
Earl Walker Jackson has a law degree, and began his transformation from Democrat to Republican in Boston, of all places, where he served as chaplain for the Boston Red Sox and fire department. It’s not his first rodeo in politics. He ran unsuccessfully for Senate in 2012, losing in the primary to George Allen, who was defeated by Tim Kaine. He can hardly be called a “flavor of the day,” a label that dogs the likes of Herman Cain and Dr. Ben Carson. He’s a Constitutionalist and his commitment to liberty and freedom is without blemish.
Time to put the “sky is falling” self-immolation behind us and get behind those who proved themselves through superior ground games in bona fide nominating conventions and primaries.