Sunday, October 31, 2004

# Posted 8:11 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

"DEMOCRATS RALLY FOR KERRY, WEED": That's an actual headline from the UVA Cavalier Daily. You see, Al Weed is the Democratic candidate for Congress in the 5th District of Virginia. His signs and buttons are very popular in Charlottesville.

One middle-aged woman complained to a friend of mine that malicious Republicans had stolen the "Weed for Congress" sign from her front lawn. My friend explained that this was very unlikely.

Weed's opponent is incumbent Virgil H. Goode. I had personally hoped that Al and Virgil would run together on a "Goode-Weed" ticket, but the candidates have dashed my hopes and reverted to the adversarial relationship common among Democrats and Republians...which means that I have to figure out who I'm going to vote for.

So, check back here in a little while and I'll have some answers for you.

UPDATE: This Al Weed press release is priceless. It provides a detailed discussion of how "Weed for Congress" signs have been stolen all across the district, but can't bring itself to admit the real reason why.

One woman says that she has caught college students stealing her signs at 11:30 or midnight, but since the last sign was stolen at 4:00 AM, it must have been the Republicans. (Or perhaps college students who realized that they would caught if they kept stealing the signs before people were asleep.)

In another "bizarre case",
a large sign was stolen sometime Thursday night and a deer carcass was thrown over a fence into the yard where the sign had been removed, as if to send a message of intimidation.
Or perhaps a message of "we are really drunk, so we're going to steal 'Weed' signs and play a few rounds of Toss the Carcass.

UDPATE: I'm voting for Weed. He's a real left-winger with a bad position on Iraq, but Goode really doesn't have much going for him. In fact, neither his campaign site nor his government homepage contain much information at all. I even looked for his speeches in the Congressional Record, but couldn't find anything substantial.

In the House, Goode's main accomplishment seems to have been the introduction of a bill establishing English as the official language of the United States. I presume that this effort is an extension of Goode's position on immigration, which is
We need to stop illegal immigration. I am opposed to granting amnesty to those persons who come into this country illegally.
In other words, Goode has no real ideas on this subject, but will waste everyone's time in the middle of a war on stupid symbolic gestures.

On the usual range of domestic issues that I care about, Goode is on the other side. For tax cuts, anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage, etc. Even on the issues where I prefer the Republican stance, Goode is on the wrong side. In addition to being a protectionist, Goode actually voted agains the No Child Left Behind act.

So what about Al Weed? The thing that I like most about him is that he has an impressive record as a business owner and entrepreneur. He won't be your typical anti-business, anti-market liberal Democrat.

Weed also has a good military record, including a tour of duty and bronze medal in Vietnam, where he was a green beret. He also served in the reserves for almost forty years, including ten months of active duty in Bosnia. Given the importance of Special Forces and the National Guard in our current situation, Weed's experiences should prove beneficial.

The weak point is his position on Iraq, which is a little bit hard to make out. The short version is
With no weapons of mass destruction found in Iraq and Saddam's regime gone, [Al Weed] thinks it is time for our allies to assume a greater role and for the U.S. to bring our troops home.
Talk about delusional. He says there's no point to staying in Iraq but expects our allies to take over the occupation. Anyhow, the long version of Weed's stance on Iraq is rather different
We owe it to our troops to bring them home when the job is done. [Emphasis added. --ed.]...

Hopefully, we have set the stage for the development of a free, democratic, and pluralistic Iraqi society.

If the new Iraqi government and the people of Iraq want our troops to stay and help rebuild their country, we should oblige. If they want us to leave, we should oblige that wish as well...

There is no risk to our military credibility if we withdraw on an American timetable....

To stay indefinitely puts us at risk of being dragged into a guerilla war without a foreseeable end and cost us dearly in lives and resources. As a veteran of the Vietnam War, I speak from experience when I say that this is a possibility that we must carefully avoid.
Still pretty bad, but at least he understands that democracy is the outcome we are working towards and that we should stay if the people of Iraq want us to (although I'm guessing he assumes that they don't.)

Not that any of this offers much consolation. But my vote for Congress is more about domestic policy, so what I want is to get rid of the Republican majority. By the way, did I mention that Weed is a protectionist who favors single-payer universal health care? So he's not the kind of moderate Democrat I like. But there isn't much future for Weed's ideas in the current political environment, so I'm not too worried.
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