I attended the Norfolk City Democratic Committee meeting tonight. Unlike our Virginia Beach counterparts, we only meet once a month, on the first Wednesday.
One of our speakers tonight was a Webb representative. This is the very first time anyone from the Webb campaign has visited the NCDC meetings. (I believe a Virginia Beach supporter of Webb has been coming to the NCDC breakfast, which occurs on the first Saturday each month. As I have a hard time getting up that early, I haven’t made the breakfasts in a while.) I was just glad that Webb finally realized that the NCDC existed. Norfolk is primarily a Democratic city and one would think that a candidate for the Democratic nomination might feel it important to spend some time here. I’m not knocking the Beach, but there just aren’t that many D’s at the Beach to start with. (In the June 2005 primary, Norfolk had 7,381 voters while the Beach had 3,059. Of course, neither of these are numbers to write home about.)
I always feel sorry for candidate representatives. They are going to get questions that they just can’t answer, because, well… they aren’t the candidate. This was no different. A number of questions were asked that the representative couldn’t answer. In a couple of cases, he started to give his own opinion. To his credit, he often said that he wasn’t sure of Webb’s stance on a given issue and offered to find out and get back to the questioner with the answer. I was a little surprised that he didn’t have any Webb material to hand out – no palm card, no fliers, no bumper stickers, no signs – nothing.
After the meeting, he and I chatted outside for a while. The man is a passionate Democrat, with a capital D. I found that refreshing. He acknowledged that Webb should have been to Norfolk by now (he was here for a campaign kickoff downtown near the Wisconsin but hasn’t been here since, although he is coming into Norfolk this weekend). I expressed my concern regarding what I perceive to be the divisive nature of this campaign and the threat that Webb supporters are making online to not support Miller should he win the nomination. He told me that he was concerned about these things as well. He said that he believes we Democrats have to unite behind the nominee because the overall goal is to beat George Allen.
There was no yelling, no hyperbole, no name calling. Just two people having a conversation about the Senate race, each respecting the other’s viewpoint and concerns. I wish the Virginia blogsphere could have been there, to see how reasonable people can carry on a conversation. Because, in the end, it is about beating George Alllen.
With just a few days left to go before the primary, let’s try to remember that. And be nice to each other.