Our View: Buyer’s remorse?
Posted: November 6, 2012
In the rich and storied annals of American politics, L. Douglas Wilder qualifies as a consummate maverick, a genuine “I’ll do it my way” type of politician.
That said, it should not, perhaps, come as a surprise that the former Virginia governor has decided to keep his own counsel on today’s presidential election. A Democrat, he has chosen not to endorse either of the major-party candidates for the White House.
Let it be said that Mr. Wilder has been known to break with politicians in his own party. His internecine battles with former Gov. (and U.S. Sen.) Chuck Robb are tome-worthy.
But consider this: The first African American governor of a Southern state since Reconstruction not endorsing the first African American president after doing so in 2008? That’s precisely what the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported Sunday.
In a purely symbolic sense, this lack of endorsement speaks volumes. But when you examine it from core political values, it makes sense. For starters, Doug Wilder was anything but a spendthrift. His oft-repeated remark about being “tight with a buck” well-nigh defined his term as governor during the recessionary days of the early ’90s.
Thus, this comment, made in a column he wrote for Reuters and noted Sunday by the RT-D, is thoroughly in keeping with Mr. Wilder’s philosophy. To wit:
“I have campaigned for and supported the president in the past and many people now want to discuss his job performance with me. They often note that (Mr.) Obama ran as a moderate — and that is the man they threw their support behind in 2008. But some look back and say that he has governed as a left-of-center liberal who did not keep the focus squarely on jobs and economic recovery.”
It sure seems like “they” speak for Mr. Wilder, or he for them. Buyer’s remorse?
Though hardly lavish in his praise for Mitt Romney, Mr. Wilder did appear to give the Republican candidate a qualified, nuanced seal of approval.
“The Republicans endured a bad nominating process,” he wrote. “Yet in the end, they seem to have chosen a credible candidate that many Virginians tell me they would feel fairly comfortable with in the Oval Office.”
Do those “many Virginians” include Doug Wilder? Perhaps.