The Dillard Doctrine

Urban Conservative Commentary on Politics & Life

Something to Consider

I said, a few weeks back, that I wasn’t going to discuss the 2012 Senate election here in Virginia (or the presidential one, for that matter) until we got done with the General Assembly elections in 2011.

I’m still not going to, at least not in the context of attacking candidates (not my thing, and enough people have fun with that). However, there’s one thing that I haven’t heard discussed yet that we all might want to keep in the back of our minds…since, you know, elections wait for no man.

In the midst of all the talk about government spending, healthcare, the deficit, etc., something that’s important to us here in Hampton Roads is our large military presence. Couple that with an almost equally large military concentration in Northern Virginia, and it’s easy to see why Virginia has had representation on the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), going back to 1819 (a Virginian, James Pleasants, was the third chair of the Senate Committee on Naval Affairs-one of the predecessor committees to the SASC).

Recent history suggests that our military presence here is due to take a(nother) hit-and soon. A brief recap-Ft. Monroe is closing its doors, as is JFCOM. We’re still fighting with Florida about keeping the East Coast carriers all in Norfolk, and urban/suburban sprawl could easily sound the death knell for NAS Oceana, as it did in 2005.

And the next round of BRAC closings is slated for 2015. Our next junior senator gets these issues handed to them.

Republicans will knock Sen. Webb’s politics, just as Democrats knock Sen. John Warner’s. But there’s a bipartisan respect for both men and their knowledge of military affairs. Both are veterans themselves, as well as past Navy secretaries. So to say that these two men understood Virginia’s special relationship with the military may well be an understatement; in many ways, they helped define and grow it.

Why is all this relevant to 2012? Because currently, no Warner or Webb exists. Not that I can see among the present contenders.

On the Democratic side, Tim Kaine can make a case as a former governor. Tom Perriello’s former district didn’t carry much military weight (hence his assignment to the Transportation/Infrastructure and Veterans Affairs committees). And Bobby Scott…well, BRAC 2005 and the JFCOM closure happened on his watch, and in his entire time in the House, has never been on the House Armed Services Committee (although all of his fellow congressmen from Hampton Roads are, including freshman(!) Scott Rigell).

On the Republican side, George Allen can make a case as a former governor. You can’t really hold the fact that he wasn’t on SASC against him, as Sen. Warner held the seat. However, BRAC 2005 happened on his watch as well. Jamie Radtke’s father was Air Force, as was David McCormick’s. Corey Stewart’s main issue-at least for now-is immigration. And Bob Marshall is worried about DADT in the ranks of the state’s National Guard, which doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.

(Disclaimer: yes, I’m leaving the person I’d like to see run out of this, so as not to cheerlead. However, if you’re reading this, PLEASE run….please?!)

In fairness to Sen. Mark Warner, he’s more of a businessman than a military expert (and no, I don’t hold that against him). So someone out of the above is more than likely, going to take the spot on SASC.

Since we’ve started this discussion a whole year and a half early, let’s include our local military matters in it. Because it would be a shame to see those issues overshadowed by everything else.

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