Election Day

Today is Election Day. Here in Virginia, in one of the contests of national interest, I voted. (No, I’m not going to tell you who I voted for!) Here are some of the elections worth watching:

Heading into Tuesday's elections, Democrat gubernatorial candidate R. Creigh Deeds was trailing Republican Bob McDonnell in polls by double digits in Virginia. In a three-way race in New Jersey, Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine was in a close race with Republican Chris Christie and independent Chris Daggett. And in the race to fill the vacant 23rd Congressional District seat in New York, Democrat Bill Owens was in a tight fight with conservative Doug Hoffman after the GOP's hand-picked candidate bowed out over the weekend.

Elsewhere, California Lt. Gov. John Garamendi is expected to maintain the Democratic Party's hold on the open 10th Congressional District seat near San Francisco, while New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is expected to cruise to a third term. Atlanta, Houston, Boston, Detroit and Pittsburgh also will elect mayors, while voters in Maine and Washington weigh in on same-sex unions and voters in Ohio decide whether to allow casinos.

One question the Virginia election might resolve: Is early involvement in the Christian right the kiss of death for a candidate? The Democrat gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds uncovered his Republican opponent Bob McDonnell’s master’s thesis that he wrote when he attended Regent University years ago. It contained politically incorrect ideas opposing abortion, critiquing feminism, and taking other socially conservative positions. Deeds thought he had found a silver bullet that would kill McDonnell’s candidacy. McDonnell disavowed some of what he said back then, though not his pro-life convictions. Apparently, Virginians don’t recoil from such ideas as Deeds expected them to, since McDonnell has a double-digit lead going into today’s election. (Still, I must tell my students: Be careful what you write in a term paper, lest it come back to haunt you.)

Meanwhile, in the New York election, the Republicans had nominated a liberal, pro-abortion candidate. Party leaders were aghast that conservatives, including conservative Republicans like Sarah Palin and Tim Pawlenty, campaigned for the Conservative Party candidate instead. Where is your party loyalty? But the Conservative Party candidate surged in the polls, causing the Republican to drop out of the race. Whereupon she endorsed the Democrat! Where is your party loyalty?

At any rate, if you have elections where you are, if only for local officials–who are much neglected but are very signficant– do remember to vote! It’s a duty of your vocation as a citizen!

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Jonathan

    There is less and less difference between the two party brands. They’re like McDonalds and Burger King. You really have to read the ingredients to know what you are getting nowadays.

  • Jonathan

    There is less and less difference between the two party brands. They’re like McDonalds and Burger King. You really have to read the ingredients to know what you are getting nowadays.

  • Darren

    I voted today in Virginia. I love living in a country where I have that privilege!

  • Darren

    I voted today in Virginia. I love living in a country where I have that privilege!

  • http://ledtoethiopiabyhim.blogspot.com/ Matthew Christians

    No election for me here in Wisconsin… which makes me jealous for all of you. I love voting. I thank God every time I pull the lever (err… fill in my oval) that I live in a country where I CAN vote.

  • http://ledtoethiopiabyhim.blogspot.com/ Matthew Christians

    No election for me here in Wisconsin… which makes me jealous for all of you. I love voting. I thank God every time I pull the lever (err… fill in my oval) that I live in a country where I CAN vote.

  • Carl Vehse

    If the Palin-endorsed Conservative Party candidate, Doug Hoffman, wins in NY-23, RINOs in NY and elsewhere will take a big hit to their influence.

    Of course a win by Hoffman would make Palin’s “rogue power” a hot commodity for conservative candidates running in 2010.

    And it will likely spawn more Palin children ‘rape jokes’ by late-night serial-adulterers.

  • Carl Vehse

    If the Palin-endorsed Conservative Party candidate, Doug Hoffman, wins in NY-23, RINOs in NY and elsewhere will take a big hit to their influence.

    Of course a win by Hoffman would make Palin’s “rogue power” a hot commodity for conservative candidates running in 2010.

    And it will likely spawn more Palin children ‘rape jokes’ by late-night serial-adulterers.

  • Kirk

    @4: A big factor will be the conservative party performance when they’re actually in office. Sure, they may have public support from Real Americans(TM), but will they be able to actually do anything. In a liberal state like NY, a conservative governor won’t be able to force his way with a hostile legislature. My question is, will he just be a loud mouth of opposition that is functionally ineffective, or will he work with the democrats to get things done but potentially compromise his values. Maybe it’s a false dichotomy, but if either of those things happen, I envision a measure disenchantment from the tea-party types.

    That being said, I think that the most interesting part of this election will be comparing the performances of conservative governors, like we’ll probably see in NY, with more moderate candidates, like in VA. It’s a battle of philosophy that could shape conservative ideology over the next few years.

  • Kirk

    @4: A big factor will be the conservative party performance when they’re actually in office. Sure, they may have public support from Real Americans(TM), but will they be able to actually do anything. In a liberal state like NY, a conservative governor won’t be able to force his way with a hostile legislature. My question is, will he just be a loud mouth of opposition that is functionally ineffective, or will he work with the democrats to get things done but potentially compromise his values. Maybe it’s a false dichotomy, but if either of those things happen, I envision a measure disenchantment from the tea-party types.

    That being said, I think that the most interesting part of this election will be comparing the performances of conservative governors, like we’ll probably see in NY, with more moderate candidates, like in VA. It’s a battle of philosophy that could shape conservative ideology over the next few years.

  • J

    Interesting that O’Donnell “disavowed” the supposed “politically incorrect” statements he made in the thesis.

  • J

    Interesting that O’Donnell “disavowed” the supposed “politically incorrect” statements he made in the thesis.

  • dave

    Dr. Veith, it’s the “Democratic” Party not the “Democrat” Party as you called it. I feel like there’s no possible fruitful discussion if people can’t agree on terminology and if they can’t agree to call people the names those people have chosen.

  • dave

    Dr. Veith, it’s the “Democratic” Party not the “Democrat” Party as you called it. I feel like there’s no possible fruitful discussion if people can’t agree on terminology and if they can’t agree to call people the names those people have chosen.

  • Carl Vehse

    “Whereupon she endorsed the Democrat! Where is your party loyalty?”

    Speaking of Scozzafava, has anyone heard from that other bastion of demonrat-endorsing RINOism, Colin Powell?

  • Carl Vehse

    “Whereupon she endorsed the Democrat! Where is your party loyalty?”

    Speaking of Scozzafava, has anyone heard from that other bastion of demonrat-endorsing RINOism, Colin Powell?

  • Christopher McNeely

    “It’s a duty of your vocation as a citizen!”

    Really? Is this what Luther had in mind when he formulated the doctrine of vocation? I love democracy but the conflation of democracy with some kind of Christian mandate is forced and is a problem for both ‘liberal’ and ‘conservative’ Christians. Just the terminology we use to discuss doctrinal divisions are plagued by our obsession with politics.

    Both parties in this country are corrupt and mendacious and both equally offend the gospel; to assert that voting is a duty for any Christian is an assertion too far, methinks. It seems that a little ‘two kingdoms’ theology could usefully balance out the American church’s political confusion right now.

  • Christopher McNeely

    “It’s a duty of your vocation as a citizen!”

    Really? Is this what Luther had in mind when he formulated the doctrine of vocation? I love democracy but the conflation of democracy with some kind of Christian mandate is forced and is a problem for both ‘liberal’ and ‘conservative’ Christians. Just the terminology we use to discuss doctrinal divisions are plagued by our obsession with politics.

    Both parties in this country are corrupt and mendacious and both equally offend the gospel; to assert that voting is a duty for any Christian is an assertion too far, methinks. It seems that a little ‘two kingdoms’ theology could usefully balance out the American church’s political confusion right now.

  • http://www.scyldingsinthemeadhall.blogspot.com The Scylding

    Not voting can also be a statement, and thus part of your vocation. If it is for the right reason, I guess.

  • http://www.scyldingsinthemeadhall.blogspot.com The Scylding

    Not voting can also be a statement, and thus part of your vocation. If it is for the right reason, I guess.

  • DonS

    Virginia is the bellwether of a trend back toward at least the middle of the political spectrum, which should continue in next year’s midterm elections.

    Kirk @ 5 — the Conservative Party in New York is really a shadow Republican party. They endorse Republicans unless the Republican is liberal, like Scozzafova (sp?). Hoffman is a Republican, and has already said that, if elected, he will caucus with the Republicans in the House, and will run as a Republican next year. He wanted to run as a Republican this time, but there was no primary, and the local party bosses, for some reason, selected a candidate who is obviously far to the left of the electorate, based on polling.

    I think you are confused in your post. Hoffman is running for U.S. Congress, not for NY governor.

  • DonS

    Virginia is the bellwether of a trend back toward at least the middle of the political spectrum, which should continue in next year’s midterm elections.

    Kirk @ 5 — the Conservative Party in New York is really a shadow Republican party. They endorse Republicans unless the Republican is liberal, like Scozzafova (sp?). Hoffman is a Republican, and has already said that, if elected, he will caucus with the Republicans in the House, and will run as a Republican next year. He wanted to run as a Republican this time, but there was no primary, and the local party bosses, for some reason, selected a candidate who is obviously far to the left of the electorate, based on polling.

    I think you are confused in your post. Hoffman is running for U.S. Congress, not for NY governor.

  • Kirk

    @Don

    Yeah, you’re right. I was confused. Serves me right for not paying attention. But the overall point still stands: will a tea-party conservative be able to interface with the broader political system, or will he retain his dogma at the expense of his effect? I have no doubt that he’ll caucus with the republicans, but can he work with the democrats? And, if not, is it ok with the conservative party types that he doesn’t get much done, so long as he stands on pinciple?

  • Kirk

    @Don

    Yeah, you’re right. I was confused. Serves me right for not paying attention. But the overall point still stands: will a tea-party conservative be able to interface with the broader political system, or will he retain his dogma at the expense of his effect? I have no doubt that he’ll caucus with the republicans, but can he work with the democrats? And, if not, is it ok with the conservative party types that he doesn’t get much done, so long as he stands on pinciple?

  • Orianna Laun

    We don’t have any major items such as governor or the like on our ballot, but we have two small items. One is a tax to update 911 in the area; the other is a smoking ban. Only 20% voter turnout is expected, so I’m expecting a quick stint through the polls, as opposed to last year, which took over an hour. Just goes to show–what, I don’t know, but it shows something.

  • Orianna Laun

    We don’t have any major items such as governor or the like on our ballot, but we have two small items. One is a tax to update 911 in the area; the other is a smoking ban. Only 20% voter turnout is expected, so I’m expecting a quick stint through the polls, as opposed to last year, which took over an hour. Just goes to show–what, I don’t know, but it shows something.

  • Carl Vehse

    From a Chicago Tribune column:

    Imagine this. At a time of political turmoil, a charismatic, telegenic new leader arrives virtually out of nowhere. He offers a message of hope and reconciliation based on compromise and promises to marshal technology for a better future that will include universal health care.

    The news media swoons in admiration — one simpering anchorman even shouts at a reporter who asks a tough question: “Why don’t you show some respect?!” The public is likewise smitten, except for a few nut cases who circulate batty rumors on the Internet about the leader’s origins and intentions. The leader, undismayed, offers assurances that are soothing, if also just a tiny bit condescending: “Embracing change is never easy.”

    So, does that sound like anyone you know? Oh, wait — did I mention the leader is secretly a totalitarian space lizard who’s come here to eat us?

    Welcome to ABC’s “V”

  • Carl Vehse

    From a Chicago Tribune column:

    Imagine this. At a time of political turmoil, a charismatic, telegenic new leader arrives virtually out of nowhere. He offers a message of hope and reconciliation based on compromise and promises to marshal technology for a better future that will include universal health care.

    The news media swoons in admiration — one simpering anchorman even shouts at a reporter who asks a tough question: “Why don’t you show some respect?!” The public is likewise smitten, except for a few nut cases who circulate batty rumors on the Internet about the leader’s origins and intentions. The leader, undismayed, offers assurances that are soothing, if also just a tiny bit condescending: “Embracing change is never easy.”

    So, does that sound like anyone you know? Oh, wait — did I mention the leader is secretly a totalitarian space lizard who’s come here to eat us?

    Welcome to ABC’s “V”

  • Cincinnatus

    I, for one, am fine with congressmen of any party “not getting things done.” The Congress of the early 1800′s was one of the greatest rhetorical and representative bodies known to human history, and they weren’t all that concerned with “effects” and “results.”

  • Cincinnatus

    I, for one, am fine with congressmen of any party “not getting things done.” The Congress of the early 1800′s was one of the greatest rhetorical and representative bodies known to human history, and they weren’t all that concerned with “effects” and “results.”

  • Kirk

    @15, See also the exponential increase of executive power during that period. I see a correlation. But, depending on your philosophy, you may not feel this was a bad thing.

  • Kirk

    @15, See also the exponential increase of executive power during that period. I see a correlation. But, depending on your philosophy, you may not feel this was a bad thing.

  • Carl Vehse

    “No Man’s life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in session.” – quoted in a decision by Judge Gideon Tucker [1 Tucker 248 (N. Y. Surr. 1866)], but sometimes attributed to Mark Twain, Daniel Webster, or Ambrose Bierce.

  • Carl Vehse

    “No Man’s life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in session.” – quoted in a decision by Judge Gideon Tucker [1 Tucker 248 (N. Y. Surr. 1866)], but sometimes attributed to Mark Twain, Daniel Webster, or Ambrose Bierce.

  • DonS

    Kirk @ 12: What does “work with the Democrats” mean to you? To Democrats, it means “roll over and stop obstructing our legislation”. I don’t want my legislator working with Democrats. Not as Democrats are currently constituted. They are in the pockets of government unions, the gay lobby, the abortion lobby, the gun control lobby, the teachers’ lobby, the seniors lobby, the secularists lobby, the environmental lobby, etc. They don’t care about bankrupting our kids, or subjecting greater and greater swaths of our economy to the control of bureaucrats. And they certainly don’t care about hard working taxpayers.

    “Getting things done”, in my opinion, is amassing sufficient numbers of conservative, liberty loving representatives in Washington to thwart the horrendous measures currently being imposed on our great country, including health care takeover, economy-strangling environmental regulation, hate crimes laws, abortion rights laws, further “stimulus” giveaways, and the like. Then, hopefully, we will begin to amass the numbers necessary to begin to roll back and correct some of this excess, though, of course, it is virtually impossible to rescind an entitlement program once it has been put in place.

  • DonS

    Kirk @ 12: What does “work with the Democrats” mean to you? To Democrats, it means “roll over and stop obstructing our legislation”. I don’t want my legislator working with Democrats. Not as Democrats are currently constituted. They are in the pockets of government unions, the gay lobby, the abortion lobby, the gun control lobby, the teachers’ lobby, the seniors lobby, the secularists lobby, the environmental lobby, etc. They don’t care about bankrupting our kids, or subjecting greater and greater swaths of our economy to the control of bureaucrats. And they certainly don’t care about hard working taxpayers.

    “Getting things done”, in my opinion, is amassing sufficient numbers of conservative, liberty loving representatives in Washington to thwart the horrendous measures currently being imposed on our great country, including health care takeover, economy-strangling environmental regulation, hate crimes laws, abortion rights laws, further “stimulus” giveaways, and the like. Then, hopefully, we will begin to amass the numbers necessary to begin to roll back and correct some of this excess, though, of course, it is virtually impossible to rescind an entitlement program once it has been put in place.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    I’m glad for this, and also that the local school referendum failed.

    (serves them right; in this economy, they were more or less asking for a raise….sorry, I’m not getting one this year, you can make do, too)

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    I’m glad for this, and also that the local school referendum failed.

    (serves them right; in this economy, they were more or less asking for a raise….sorry, I’m not getting one this year, you can make do, too)


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