The Virginia Republican Party is serving voters that precious combination of desperation and authoritarian impulse for which the national GOP is becoming known:
The Republican Party of Virginia wants voters in the Feb. 12 GOP presidential primary to sign a pledge that they will support the party's nominee.
The state Board of Elections approved the request yesterday.
Those who wish to cast a ballot in the Republican presidential primary will have to sign a statement that says, "I, the undersigned, pledge that I intend to support the nominee of the Republican Party for president."
Let's say you want to renovate your house, but you don't have the quarter million dollars it's going to cost lying around. What do you do? Get a home equity loan? Pshaw - that's for little people. Me, I get an Israeli billionaire defense contractor to give the money to a Brooklyn marble salesman, who then cuts me a check. That's what I do.
Young voters are particularly important in this election, not because they alone will pick the next president, but because of what their increasingly progressive attitudes suggest about the evolution of politics.
Above: Presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., speaks to supporters during a fundraising event last weekend in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Rodolfo Gonzalez)
It seems that every four years, someone pops up to say that this will be the election determined by the young, that they will mobilize and vote as never before, forcing the candidates to look not to the nursing home and the Elks Club for the crucial votes, but to... well, to wherever it is the kids hang out these days. And after the election, graying commentators note with a contemptuous chuckle that once again, the young stayed home, too busy with their video games and their clubbing and their youthful indiscretions to bother to vote.
Discussion of Robertson's endorsement of Giuliani has conveniently ignored the fact that Robertson is a controversial, extreme figure even among conservatives. What we really need to consider is what this will mean for the tone of next year's election.
It has become a familiar ritual: highly ideological political actor says something shocking or controversial; media demand that establishment figures of the same political stripe repudiate the remarks; the other side attacks the establishment figures for their tolerance of extremists in their midst.
We sometimes think of local governments in strongly progressive communities as ineffective nearly to the point of being comical. While potholes go unfilled, the collection of aging hippies on the town council debates passionately how they're going to respond to the crises in Darfur or Burma, and whether the town should retain a chakra consultant. This is a caricature, sure, but it contains more than a little truth.