Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Leslie Byrne You Are a Class Act!

If you’re reading this blog, you probably also read the newspapers, watch morning news, and are plugged into politics. So, you probably know that Leslie Byrne did not win yesterday’s primary.

First, let me congratulate Gerry Connolly for his victory. It was a hard fought race on both sides.

I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t admit I am disappointed, sad, and hurt at the outcome. I’ve known Leslie and Larry Byrne for over 15 years and think they are two of the finest people around. For all the reasons I’ve written over the past weeks, I proudly supported Leslie’s candidacy. And I’m still proud of her.

I have no regrets that I supported her. Absolutely none. Instead, all I feel is pride that Leslie stood up for working people, women, consumers, and stood up against the war in Iraq as one of its earliest opponents. So, I would support her all over again.

Last night, in her concession speech, Leslie put to rest any question that she was a sore loser. Far from it. In conceding to Gerry Connolly, she pointed out the values they – and we all share as Democrats. She told her audience that it was important in November to elect Barack Obama, Mark Warner – and yes, also Gerry Connolly. She reminded us of how important this election will be. As somebody in the audience called out, Leslie, you are a class act.

Meanwhile, it is important to note that Gerry Connolly did not win this by running on his record as a proud pro developer centrist moderate. He won by running more to the left than he has in a long time. He claimed that he was an early opponent of the war in Iraq. He also stressed his environmentalist credentials and his support for the Cool Counties Initiative. And he certainly didn’t run as anti-union.

Although Leslie got more union endorsements and has a more pro-labor record, Connolly had the support of some of the largest unions, including the United Food and Commercial Workers, the Laborers and the Firefighters.

It is likely that Connolly will go on to win the general election against an unknown candidate who is too conservative for the 11th CD. So for now, I will give him every opportunity to prove he is true to the values he just espoused to win. If he continues to hew to the progressive line that he took during the primary, I will give him my unqualified support. If he wavers while in office, there will be other elections and other primaries. Progressives will live to fight for our values another day.

Meanwhile, I want to thank Leslie Byrne for a race well run. And repeat: Leslie, you are a class act and always have been.


Edward Harrison said...

My condolences on a hard-fought race. When the big guns came out in favor of Connolly recently, I knew it would be tough.

AnonymousIsAWoman said...

Thanks Ed. Some of the big guns - our state delegates and senators, and local officials are all good people. I've always said I am proud to call many of them my friends regardless of which candidate they endorsed.

Now, it is time to unite behind Gerry Connolly in the 11 CD, Mark Warner for U.S. Senate and, of course, Barack Obama.

There is more that unites all Democrats than there is that divides us.

Anonymous said...

"Meanwhile, it is important to note that Gerry Connolly did not win this by running on his record as a proud pro developer centrist moderate."??

Where is your actual evidence of this?
If people continue to say negative things, at what point do you believe it and start repeating it?

Kindly give a definition of progressive, as opposed to liberal. Please don't use circular logic, or simply claim that someone is. How about a record of accomplishing things? Let's start with a few ideas, shall we?

Maybe TOD?
Affordable housing with dedicated funding?
Anti-gang prevention & suppression initiatives, not punishment & prison?
Green building standards and hybrid fleet investments?
Competitive teacher and public safety personnel compensation?
Storm water conservation methods with dedicated funding?

You can do better.

AnonymousIsAWoman said...

Calm down, Anonymous. I am actually on your side and supporting Gerry. And I will, in fact, mention all those things and more when I make my formal endorsement, which will be soon.

The simple fact is that Gerry, during the 1990s, was very much a moderate, a centrist, and he has been pro business and pro developer. As some have pointed out, his record isn't much different from Mark Warner's and I haven't heard one Netroots person villify Warner for it.

But Gerry ran against a very progressive opponent. You can't say Gerry is more liberal or progressive than Leslie. Very few people could make that claim.

But Gerry is a good, effective leader. And my whole point is that he won the race by running on progressive issues such as opposition to the war, pro environmentalism and a solid understanding of the economic problems facing the country. He embraced unions, some of the largest of which endorsed him. And he wins kudos for standing up to the anti-immigration crowd in Prince William, which cost him votes there. I've praised him for that before.

Anyway, the endorsement will come shortly and you and he will be pleased with it. But yesterday's post was a time for mourning a loss. We're all entitled.

Anonymous said...


Nice response, but I'm just asking you to dig a little deeper in the label department. With all due respect, as I think you might have the brightest light bulb in the local blogging sockets, please opine to your gentle readers what makes one a progressive as compared to a liberal.

As far as Connolly as pro-developer and pro-business, again you bring it up without evidence. You may want to check on the commonwealth's background with land ownership rights and the impact of the Dillon rule on local counties, like Fairfax, that are limited in controlling by-right development.

So I think you are mixing apples and oranges with your, perhaps, unintentional labeling.

Maybe make a plea to your readership community to weigh in on the definitions? No harm with trying, is there? Maybe, just maybe, we all may learn somethng about ourselves?

AnonymousIsAWoman said...

Thank you for the compliment. As a matter of fact, I did attempt to define the terms liberal and progressive once. Here is the answer that I came up with then.

It certainly elicited a lot of response and I'm not sure myself if my distinction between the two is really accurate. But the diary pretty much deals with definitions.

As for Gerry Connolly's pro business positions, I also once dealt with that here in a complimentary manner. I even told Gerry about what I had written and he didn't object to it at the time. Nor did one of his supporters, Alice Marshall, who linked to it in her blog GOTV.

There's nothing intrinsically wrong with being pro business. I don't think any candidate is advocating for nationalizing industries or crushing corporations, after all.

It's more a matter of balancing the interests of business with those of consumers, the environment, labor, and investors. The issue is sensible regulation - oversight that protects without going too far and harming business either.

I admit that I tilt to the side of oversight and am somewhat suspicious of large corporations. But that's because I am disturbed by the growing inequity and lack of meaningful oversight that I see. I think the scale has tilted too much in one direction and needs to be brought back into balance.

Having said that, I think you will see that I will be fair to Gerry, who will make a far better representative for the 11th CD than Keith Fimian.

I will write much more about that in the coming months.

Isophorone said...

Sorry about your loss. It is always painful when the candidate you support comes in second best.

I do hope Gerry Connolly reveals what his true values are: Raising taxes, surrender against terrorism, lack of immigration enforcement (or even zoning enforcement), and deals for special interests that would make even Tony Coelho blush.

All snarky comments aside, I recognize that Connolly is a formidable candidate. Fimian will need a lot of resources to get his message across and to run up big margins in Prince William County. I do hope that there are plenty of debates for voters to meet the candidates and ask questions.

I am actually trying to help set up a Congressional candidate forum in Springfield in late September. Maybe you are interested? E-mail me if you are.

AnonymousIsAWoman said...

Thanks Iso. I am interested. I'm off the Hampton Roads now, so I will email you about it either if I can catch some time there or, more likely, when I get back.