Since I split my time between Washington, DC and Hampton Roads, VA, I have been following the big political races of both areas. Earlier, I wrote about an aspect of DC Mayor Adrian Fenty's loss to City Council Chair Vince Gray. Now I want to focus attention on the House member who represents the area where I stay in Virginia, Glenn Nye.
I think that Glenn Nye is going to lose in the 2nd Congressional district. When I see his ads, I see a man who is trying desperately to appeal to people who did not vote for him. It is true that the 2nd is a GOP leaning district. But his term seems to have been catered to people who are not in his base, or even among the people who actually supported him in the last election. His vote against health insurance reform is particularly damning, because whatever it was he told himself to justify his "no" vote, it will not suffice for the people in his district who had an expectation that he would support the President on health insurance reform. As a result of this vote, and some others, Nye now has an unenthusiastic base. Nye seems to have abandoned the people who put him in office, and now they are wondering what to do in November.
Meanwhile, down in Florida, Rep. Alan Grayson is poised to hold his seat, in another GOP leaning district. Grayson has been an unapologetic Democrat. He has shown himself to be for the Democratic base time and time again, and as a result, his constituents are eager to send him back to Washington. Grayson shows that he has principles, that he listens to the people who actually supported him, and is fearless in the face of Republican chicanery. Nye? Not so much. Nye looks like he is running scared.
What I've come to admire (begrudgingly) in GOP politicians is their willingness to say "fuck you" to those who don't agree with them, because they know that their supporters are looking for that strength (even though I think most of their principles are sketchy at best and dangerous at worst). Rep. Grayson represents a similar bent on the Democratic side, and he is being rewarded for his authenticity.
There is nothing Glenn Nye can do to change his votes in the House, but I am more than confident that he, like many of his fellow "Blue Dog" Democrats, will not survive the onslaught of the likely mid-term election voter for this year (those who see Obama-Pelosi-Reid as a trifecta of evil, and long for President McCain). Perhaps he will learn a lesson, if his loss comes to pass: stick with the people who actually pulled the lever for you, not the people would never support you (remember that "D" is tied to your name).
UPDATE 09/29/10: I wanted to make sure I posted this before anyone tried to suggest I was hiding facts. The latest poll has Rep. Grayson now trailing his GOP challenger among likely voters. Even with that said, my point about an energized base still holds.