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David Reynolds: Bill Bolling and Charlie Brown

What is it about Republicans that they can’t stand a good political fight? Are they all of the established country club wing of the party who prefer the non-contact sports of golf and tennis to the rough and tumble of a good partisan fight? Are they all Charlie Brown’s up against a Lucy who keeps saying that she will not pull away the football?

It appears so. Republicans keep falling flat on their backs. We have Bill Bolling’s announcement of last week as Exhibit A. Virginia’s Lt. Gov. Bolling said that he was giving up his fight to become our next governor before there was a fight. Mr. Bolling’s reasoning goes something like this, “I am unwilling to be part of a process that could seriously damage our image and appeal.” Spoken as a true Republican. No wonder the GOP’s future looks bleak.

Bill, the political process is about winning elections and governing – not party image and appeal. That’s for fashion shows. All you had to do was beat out one guy at a June convention in order to run in November and then sit in the governor’s chair. Maybe that’s it! That one guy is not your typical, well established, Republican. Rather, he is a man without a GOP DNA. He relishes a fight.

Remember, this is the same Mr. Bolling who showed his true colors before, colors that tend to run. Our permanent Lt. Governor, or so it seems, drew the short straw with our current governor, Mr. McDonnell. The two of them decided who the GOP would anoint first to be Virginia’s next governor. Bob would run in 2009, with Bill getting his turn in 2013. Well, 2013 will never come for Bill Bolling. Or to put it in his own words, “Not everything we want in life is meant to be.” Now, that’s positive thinking!

Bill, now I see why you decided not to run after deciding to run. There is little for an established member of the Charlie Brown Party to run for. If you win you just end up with a job in the public sector that costs the taxpayers money, a job you believe should be in the private sector anyway. As a result, those fierce Democrats, the party of government, land all the top plum government jobs. Makes sense to me.

Now the GOP spotlight is on Ken Cuccinelli, who was asking for a bruising intra-party fight will Bill Bolling. Ken Is still standing because he has fire in his belly and strong views in his head. Not your typical Republican.

Bill Bolling knew that he could not put on enough weight to compete in a contest that calls for two heavyweights. And it will be a big bout! If you didn’t care for this year’s focus on Virginia in our presidential wars, wait until next year. Virginia and New Jersey are the only two places where the Washington press corps will set up camp in 2013. And our camp is just across the river.

In New Jersey the story will be can the unions knock off Governor Chris Christie and successfully accuse him of spawning Hurricane Sandy. But in Virginia it will get really nasty – no place for a candidate from the Charlie Brown Party. Ken Cuccinelli, a member of his own party, can handle it. He knows about Terry McAuliffe and how he ran Bill Clinton’s 1996 reelection campaign and his wife’s 2008 attempt to move back into the White House. Terry is as tough as Lucy.

So, Bill, you did the right thing. It was a smart decision to stay on the sidelines. If presiding over the Senate in Richmond gets too exciting, you can always take that short ride to Mechanicsville and return to selling insurance. Nothing personal, you understand, I just believe that politics is of a higher calling.


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