Thursday, June 01, 2006

Top Reason to Refuse to Support Harris Miller in a General Election

That's right, I said in the general election, not just the primary.

For starters because his campaign has turned a nice, mild mannered, middle-aged woman who believes in civility into a frothing at the mouth lunatic. That would be me. And ok, I probably exaggerate but not by much.

I just received my latest poison pen campaign mailing from the Miller Campaign. It's a large, slick, glossy postcard. The front of it has a big picture of Ronald Reagan that covers most of the card. Beside the picture is a quote from Jim Webb. "Ronald Reagan was a really fine president on the issues that I cared about." Then under it is a much smaller picture of Jim Webb with one of those balloons that you see in the cartoon strips when a character speaks. It says, "Senate candidate Jim Webb in his own words."

If you read the quote carefully, all it really says is that on the particular issues that Webb cared about, he liked Reagan. Those issue were probably Reagan's pro-military, pro-Vietnam, and strong defense stands. And lots of veterans felt exactly the same as Jim Webb did. In fact, until the Iraq War it was hard to find many veterans in the Democratic Party. Too many people agreed with Webb's view that the Democrats were soft on defense and couldn't be trusted with national security.

Of course that view was not the whole truth. There were veterans, like Al Gore, John Kerry, Bob Kerrey, Max Cleland, and John Murtha who served honorably in Vietnam and came home and became Democrats. But unfortunately the Democratic Party was perceived to be the "anti-war" party for a long time.

It's only because of the debacle in Iraq and the general incompetence of the Bush administration, that people's opinions are finally being changed. And that more veterans are coming home to our party.

But Webb, in the eighties, was an angry young man who believed that the nation had vilified the Vietnam veterans when they returned home. So he, like many others, found a temporary home in the Republican Party. And on the issues he cared about back then, Reagan seemed like a fine president.

I have often said that I admire the Republicans for their strategic smarts but not their issues. Suppose I ran for office. Somebody could take my statement out of context and post a cartoon balloon next to a picture of Tom Delay and say that I said I admire the Republicans' smarts and it would be the exact same type of sleazy, desperate attack as this.

However, the worst thing about this this particular piece of campaign literature is that it could be a mortal wound because if, as I hope, Webb is our nominee, it's the one that George Allen will turn against us. It's the one that all Democrats may have to explain in the general election.

I have not criticized Miller or his campaign people until now for running a hard fought campaign. They have every right to run hard and to run to win. Compare and contrast ads and even questioning Webb's loyalty and consistency are fair game.

This ad, though, goes well beyond anything that is fair game. As Miller loses ground and loses support, his campaign grows more shrill and more self-destructive.

This is the ad that burns any bridge back to party unity because it's the ad that declares that Miller would rather see the party lose than elect anybody but him. And that's plain selfish.

But then Miller has made a career and a lifestyle out of pure selfish greed. And out of hypocrisy. He has supported outsourcing, guest worker programs and privatization of the federal workforce, all of which harm the middle class and are especially destructive in a government town like Fairfax, where so many earn their living in the high tech field and as federal employees. Even Tom Davis is friendlier to government workers than Miller is.

But worse, Harris Miller, while criticizing Webb for taking a principled stand, gave generous contributions to top Republican leaders like Spencer Abraham, Dennis Hastert and Arlen Specter, not for any principled reason, but because they supported his lobbying efforts to enrich corporations at the expense of workers.

And Harris Miller proved his loyalty to Democrats with whom he disagrees by refusing to support Leslie Byrne after she won the nomination to be Lieutenant Governor in 2005. All because ten years earlier she had voted against NAFTA, and with labor, when she was in Congress.

Here's the deal for me. I believe two things. One is the golden rule. Do unto others as you would have them do to you. And also that you teach people how you want to be treated by how you treat them.

So taking Miller's example, I will not support him even should he win the primary.

But the really top reason to not vote for Miller is because his whole campaign has been an affront to party unity. It's been an affront to honesty, decency, principle, and scruples. He has basically proved that his only loyalty is to himself.

His actions as a lobbyist on behalf of the high tech industry and his actions on behalf of himself as a candidate have been destructive to the country, to Fairfax citizens and now to the Democratic Party that he purports to be so loyal to.

So, should he win the primary I will probably not support him. This blog will never say a nice thing about him. And personally, I will not vote for him.


Howling Latina said...

I e-mailed your post to some folks who are still on the fence.


Info_Tech_Guy said...

Harris Miller believes in a different variation of the Golden Rule: Those who have the gold make the rules. You can see this in his alignment with the CEO and investor class throughout his lobbying career.

The presence of Harris Miller in this election is shameful for anyone who believes that the Democratic Party should uphold the interests of working Americans.

I agree with your view. Miller understands that his activities as a lobbyist were against the interests of working Americans. That's why he runs away from questions about his past and seeks to tar Webb as a Republican (even though Webb has exhaustively answered these charges).

K said...

So you won't vote for Miller even if he wins the primary? How self-defeatingly pouty is that, given that one non-vote for Miller would equal two votes for Allen.

And, speaking of Vietnam, Webb's continuing support for that terrible American error is one of my primary objections to his candidacy. Others may still support that war, but I cannot. So Webb will get my vote if he wins the primary and might actually be able to unseat Allen, but I could not vote with enthusiasm. (And, of course, given his party-switching history, I'd have to worry he'd jump back to the GOP in some future fit of pique.)

AnonymousIsAWoman said...

k, was it pouty and self-defeating when Miller refused to endorse Leslie Byrne for Lt. Governor?

As for not being able to get over Webb's support for the Vietnam War, I was a dedicated anti-war activiist back then. But you know what, I'm more concerned about the current war in Iraq, which Webb was among the first to oppose, while Miller still enthusiastically was a cheerleader for it. Let's deal with current events not past history.

However, my major reason for not wanting to support Miller in the general election is because I actually care about the direction that the Democratic Party takes. I care passionately that they stand for something and I care about what it is they choose to stand for.

Sometimes you have to send a message that they are going in the wrong direction. If Miller wins the general election, I fear that we will see even less concern for ordinary working people and even more Democratic candidates thinking they have to court big business support at the expense of middle class jobs. That's just not a message I want my party to get.

I also happen to think it's a losing message for the party. While the rest of the Democratic Party is out there talking about the culture of corruption, the Jack Abramoff scandal, the Ken Lay convictions, and the erosion of pensions, it will cost us with ordinary voters to be sending a message that we support rich lobbyists who destroy good jobs.

Anonymous said...

i love it when girls fight!

thegools said...

I agree. However,I probably would pinch my nose and vote for Miller if he is the candidate. I dis-like Allen that much. It is not gaurunteed though.

I will support the Democratic party only so long as it represents me. Miller is a gross stretch on that matter. I find little that I can call my own in him, except his opposition to Allen, and that is not much.

Jon said...

I wouldnt vote for Harris Miller if he were running against Charles Manson

I've followed the H-1b issue for a long time, and there IS NOBODY worse than Harris on this issue, not even close

I don't think people understand the risk that Harris would present to the party in showing how bad it has sold out working people

I do think it could actually help create a 3rd party of non globalist non corportist people from BOTH parties, so maybe I'm for Harris after all...

Anonymous said...

Well you will not vote for Miller because he sent one mailer you think is terrible. I happen to think Webb's and Miller's words are fiar game.

Well you wrote one heck of a dumb post. I guess I will just not support (read) your blog anymore.

AnonymousIsAWoman said...


As my one-time friend Kinky Friedman used to say, when he played the Lone Star Cafe, in New York City, and a customer would walk out during his performance, "Ah, another satisfied customer."

Seriously, it's sad that you can't tolerate a difference of opinion. In fact, independence of viewpoint is why most people read blogs.

But so be it!

KathyinBlacksburg said...

I like your blog, but disagree that prior to Iraq you couldn't find many vets in teh Democratic party. Look no further than Congress. Many more Dems served than GOPhers.

AnonymousIsAWoman said...

Thanks Cathy. Good point. I think I said it was a perception, not necessarily an accurate one. The big problem is that we were perceived by many rank and file military and many voters as weak on defense and anti-military, not that it was an accurate perception.

Certainly, we had many well-decorated veterans who served honorably in our wars later go on to serve in Congress and in state houses and local offices.

Anyway, I'm glad you pointed it out. I never bought that we were anti-military anyway. I'm just glad that so many more veterans are choosing to run as Democrats again. I consider it an honor that they are.