Now VA-02 has *two* Democrats to choose from!

Now I will admit very quickly — I supported Kenny Golden very early on in the VA-02 race for a number of reasons.  As a Navy veteran, someone who paid his dues to the Republican Party, as a former unit chairman, and as a close friend of former Virginia Governor George Allen, you couldn’t help but like the guy.  Plus, I thought he was every bit the Jeffersonian conservative he — at the time — sounded like he would be.

That, of course, is when it all came crashing down.

First, Golden jumped ship from the GOP primary contest to entertain his own independent bid.  Given the fact that there are a number of independent/Libertarian bids for Congress, I didn’t see too much harm.  Besides, I disagreed with the jump, but when you put in that much time and effort into the Republican Party and not get the support of friends, one could see where an independent shot makes emotional sense.

Then… I saw this.  And you should see this too, because this is not the guy I knew working with the state party:

In case you don’t want to see the entire video, allow me to offer you some highlights:

* Golden does highlight his reason for leaving the VA-02 primary as a lack of loyalty from those he had helped in the past. Tough pill to swallow, and I can understand (though disagree with) that motivation… still, there it is.

* Kenny Golden is personally pro-life, but does not believe human life in the womb deserves the protection of our laws. In fact, if you believe that human life deserves the protection of our laws from womb to tomb, Golden identifies you as one of these “ultra pro-lifers” and claims it’s a religious rather than a reasonable justification to protect human life.

* Golden also believes in creating civil unions for homosexual couples. So the power of the state should not be used to save the lives of babies, but should be used to create civil unions! No word on whether this is a religious motivation or a reasonable one…

* Golden opposes drilling for energy off Virginia’s coastline, and says his reformation on this idea came in the wake of the BP oil spill in Louisiana.

* Golden’s top priority?  Fighting the War on Terrorism. First consistent item I’ve seen so far… draws comparisons between Islam and the COMINTERN.

* Wants a 2% reduction in each of the top 10 departments, and admires Obama’s call for a 5% reduction.

* Vivian Paige wonders how an “independent thinker” like Golden ended up in the GOP? Golden describes his experience, roots in Virginia, business roots, and describes most independents as fringe candidates.  The difference with himself?  He’s not a partisan… and will not hack a partisan line.

I will say this much: Golden has always been an independent thinker, though never an opportunist, which some have come out and charged him as being.

What strikes me as a difference this time is that Golden has opted to moderate himself on a series of key points, or perhaps bought into the idea that sloughing off the social conservative wing of the GOP somehow will merit deeper consideration from others in VA-02 who grow distant from Nye, but cannot stomach the hard core conservative roots of Scott Rigell.


Of course, this has been a running battle in conservative circles since the Goldwater era, and the recent topic of many Washington insiders over the last two weeks.  Quin Hillyer with the American Spectator gave a resounding refutation of the idea that moderating the conservative ethic holds the slightest bit of water.  To wit, Hillyer quote conservative icon Barry Goldwater:

Conservatives are interested in the whole man, while the radical-liberals confine their interest to the material side of his nature. Conservatives believe that man is in part an economic and animal creature, but that he is also a spiritual creature with spiritual needs and spiritual desires.… The conservative respects the individuality of man, realizing that man’s spiritual and material development is not something that can be directed by outside forces. Every man, for his individual good and the good of his society, is responsible for his own development. The choices that govern his life are choices that he, not a super-state, must make. And these are choices that must involve the whole man [emphasis Goldwater’s own], if they are to be the right choices. If life were concerned only with material things, as the Liberal approach indicates, then I suppose the conduct of some men might be justified. The materialistic philosophies of Marx and Engels, which call for the suppression of the individual and glorify the collective, are only acceptable to people who deny the possibility of a more significant explanation for man’s existence….

The Liberals, with their emphasis on collectivism and conformity, and their willingness to use compulsion to achieve their ends, are actually suggesting a course of action which thoughtful men have rejected throughout history. The reason man must be treated as an individual is because he has an individual immortal soul. Thus, his freedom comes from God — as do all of his rights. In the scheme of things, government’s only proper role is in the protection of man’s God-given freedoms and rights. [All emphases again are Goldwater’s own.]

The conservative recognizes that the concentration of power in the hands of the few has always been the undoing of those who aspired to the fruits of freedom. Aware of the overbearing evidence of history as to the truth of this postulate, the conservative is fearful of the concentration of power which accompanies central government.

In short, one cannot divorce economic liberty and moral order.  Otherwise, one cannot be properly called a conservative.  Hillyer adds:

[N]ote what Goldwater said about “the whole man.” Note that the concerns are not merely economic or material. Note that both the roots and the fruits of conservatism are spiritual as well. And note that the spiritual and material parts of conservatism are not an “either/or” proposition, but a “both/and.” They are necessarily so. They are not two separate features grafted into a coalition, but naturally part and parcel of each other and mutually dependent on each other as complementary features of a single whole.

Whether the cause be continued deepwater drilling or freedom from abusive lawsuits or protection from union thuggery, whether it be battles against regulators run amuck or against Supreme Court justices who put their own values above the law, the duty of the whole man is to rise up from stupor on behalf of liberty. That’s why conservatives these days need to be political activists, whether TEA Partiers or otherwise, and need to use their activity on behalf of both economic liberty and of the moral order which is both its nursery and the greater result of its full flowering. Conservatism is more than mere fusion of economic freedom and the moral order; it is the recognition that both are of the same root, tree and branch, and that they must continually be watered and tended. As Goldwater wrote, “These are the choices that must involve the whole man, if they are to be the right choices.”

Beware the conservative who chooses to confuse license with liberty, just as one should equally beware the conservative who claims tyranny over any part of the human race to be the price of your liberty.

I sincerely hope Kenny Golden re-evaluates his positions on these issues, because I do consider him a friend even if he’s chosen poorly this election cycle.  Until then, there isn’t much that distances Golden from the policies of Glenn Nye and any so-called centrist progressive.

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