In days of yore, political endorsements from Chuck’s Common Sense could change the course of great kingdoms and alter the political and social landscapes of large continents. As such, these endorsements were sought through means of bribery and chicanery that remain the stuff of legends.
Offers of sprawling estates with hereditary titles were not uncommon. One enterprising Sultan proffered first choice of 25 virile indentured servants. Also included, of course, were endless indulgences from the Catholic Church—including direct influence of the Holy See. An offer of 75 longships from one Viking warlord was tactfully declined. An Asian master sent 225 war elephants to “stamp out all who may not automatically genuflect to your limitless intelligence and wit.” Again—tactfully declined. One emerging African nation tried to secure an endorsement by means of a series of strategic marriages and couplings that would have given CCS de facto control of the entire continent.
Alas, those heady days are over. In modern times, the editor can be successfully bribed with a case of Sam Adams, and/or a two-pound bag of fresh Eastern Virginia peanuts. (Roasted AND salted in the shell). Authentic North Carolina BBQ is also effective.
With such paltry offers of fealty these days, CCS is forced to consider actual politics as it hands out endorsements. And so we shall do today as we consider the race for the Fifth District Congressional seat in Virginia.
Two newcomers with zero political experience are running for the open seat in the sprawling Fifth. Incumbent Republican Tom Garrett opted not to seek re-election after serving one term.
The district is decidedly conservative. 53% voted for Trump in 2016. 52% supported Romney in 2012. The last Democratic success came when newcomer Tom Perriello rode the Obama coattails to a narrow upset win over long-time incumbent Virgil Goode in 2008.
The District is sparsely populated and is roughly the size of New Jersey. It runs from the North Carolina border, north to the Washington exburbs. It’s two population centers are Danville at the southern end, and Charlottesville near the northern end.
The two major-party candidates have never held elected office. Democrat Leslie Cockburn is an Emmy award-winning investigative journalist and filmmaker. She is a California native who now lives in Rappahannock County. Her resume is impressive in her chosen field. Clearly she has seen politics from a unique angle and that prompted her to change careers. Also, Cockburn said she decided to run because of frustration over President Donald Trump and the policies of his administration.
The Republican nominee is Denver Riggleman. He is a 48-year-old distillery owner living in Nelson County. Riggleman served in the Air Force from 1992 to 1996 before accepting a scholarship to the University of Virginia. In 2013, he and his wife founded Silverback Distillery in Afton. Riggleman said his experience as a small business owner dealing with Virginia ABC regulations led him into politics.
Cockburn’s impetus for a political career seems to be doubly-fueled by her dislike of President Trump and her experiences as an investigative journalist. As someone who spent nearly thirty years in the news business, I can empathize with the view you get while “seeing how the sausage is made.” Her politics appear to be reliably liberal. That does not make Cockburn nor her supporters bad people. But they subscribe to the notion that the federal government is a great force through which good things can be accomplished. To a Constitutional Libertarian like me, this is kryptonite.
The driving force behind Riggleman’s run appears to be his recognition of the great *harm* that can be done by an over-abundance of government. As someone who recently had to wade through the labrynthian, Byzantine, Sisyphean inner workings of Social Service in order to procure something that had already been bought and paid for; I can certainly understand Riggleman’s obvious frustration in having to wade through a predictable bureaucratic quagmire in order to do something as basic as open a distillery.
That experience seems to have imbued Riggleman with a libertarian streak. During one of the debates, he said…
“Common sense should be the driving force behind legislation instead of party politics.”
Yes, I realize these are just words. But they are good words. They are words that should be uttered by every last politician who is drawing breath.
Both candidates for Virginia’s 5th Congressional District seem like honorable people who have run a (mostly) clean campaign. They also represent two diametrically opposing views on the role of government. One sees federal policies as a means to achieve great good—the other sees them as incompatible with liberty. To the question of “what can be done to fix X,Y, and Z;” one candidate looks to Washington—the other looks to the people. One candidate asks “what can the government to do make your life better,” the other answers, “stay the hell out of my way.”
It is with pride and enthusiasm that Chuck’s Common Sense endorses Republican Denver Riggleman in Virginia’s Fifth District Congressional Election.
Now…where’s my case of whiskey!?!