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EDITORIAL: Racing to the left

How liberal must a Democratic candidate in Virginia be?

- The Washington Times - Friday, June 7, 2013

With no contest at the top of the Virginia Democratic ballot in next Tuesday's primary, the party turns, perhaps in sorrow, to the lieutenant governor's race.

The primary pits state Sen. Ralph Northam of Norfolk against Aneesh Chopra of Arlington, the secretary of technology under Tim Kaine. With the vote just days away, the not-so-dynamic duo are trying to set themselves apart from one another with sharp lurches leftward.

In a debate Sunday in Springfield, Messrs. Northam and Chopra found common ground in promoting abortion, homosexual marriage and Medicaid expansion under Obamacare. With no daylight between them, Mr. Chopra argued that Mr. Northam isn't pushing gun control hard enough. Mr. Northam countered by proudly exhibiting his "D" rating from the National Rifle Association.

Mr. Northam promised to work to repeal a state law requiring an ultrasound before a woman can obtain an abortion. As a pediatric neurologist who should know better, he also favors repeal of legislation imposing stricter regulations on the state's abortion clinics, as though Kermit Gosnell's "house of horrors" in Philadelphia never happened. The abortion business is the only industry Democrats seem to have no desire to regulate.

On the environment, Mr. Chopra, who served as President Obama's first chief technology officer, said global warming is the most important issue for Virginians, even though the globe is no longer warming and a Pew Research Center poll in January found respondents ranked the issue dead last among 21 public-policy priorities tested. Not to be left in the cold, Mr. Northam restated his opposition to offshore drilling and to uranium mining.

With candidates like these, it takes serious chutzpah for Democrats in Virginia to accuse the Republicans of "extremism" and being "out of the mainstream." In his acceptance speech at the state Republican convention May 18, gubernatorial nominee Ken Cuccinelli noted that Democrats will use those labels against him and his ticket mates, lieutenant governor nominee E.W. Jackson and attorney general candidate Mark Obenshain. "When did it become extreme to guard our Constitution from government overreach?' Mr. Cuccinelli asked. "When did it become extreme to ask the government to spend less so our economy can grow?"

Democrats actually are out of touch. Messrs. Northam and Chopra are appealing to the Democrats' far-left base with proposals that have zero chance of passing in a House of Delegates where Republicans currently hold 68 of the 100 seats. The lieutenant governor's role is as a tiebreaker in the state Senate — the 40 seats are evenly split between the parties — where the Democratic nominee has a chance of success. As tiebreaker, either would put liberal Democrats in charge of key Senate committees. That's reason enough to prefer Mr. Jackson, the Republican, for lieutenant governor.

The Washington Times

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