Issues? What issues?
Virginia voters may be excused if they won't be able to make an informed choice in the Nov. 7 U.S. Senate election.
Republican Sen. George Allen and Democrat Jim Webb seem to have spent more time apologizing than talking about how to move the country forward.
Allen apologized for referring to a Webb campaign aide as "macaca," whichcould be a racial slur. Webb apologized for demeaning women in the military in an article he wrote in 1979.
And whose fault is that? The Washington Post had a three-week m-word fest -- imagine 17 articles about issues instead?
The contest has reached the point where Quentin Kidd, a political scientist at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, said he doesn't think either campaign can get back on track with a discussion of substantive issues.
Kidd blames the negativity, in part, on an attempt by national Democrats to rough up Allen and ruin his presidential prospects. Allen has spent much of the campaign on defense.
But Kidd said Allen brought some of the trouble on himself with his macaca comment caught on camera at a campaign event in far Southwest Virginia.
Larry weighs in:
Larry Sabato, political commentator at the University of Virginia, said there has been a discussion of issues.
"Iraq is such a dominant issue that it has overshadowed other issues," he said.
Larry, if the news isn't covering it, what difference does it make?
The campaigns say they ARE talking about issues:
Dick Wadhams, Allen's campaign manager, said Allen has been discussing issues. He announced an energy policy on the floor of the Senate and has run television commercials promoting education and Internet safety, he noted.
And except for the TV commercials, nobody's heard a word in the news about this.
Kristian Denny Todd, spokeswoman for Webb, said Webb has been discussing issues, but the Allen campaign has chosen to change the subject.
Webb announced his position on the war in Iraq and foreign policy during the macaca controversy, and it got little attention, she said.
Kristian, I appreciate a good spin as much as the next guy, but to suggest that Allen CHOSE to spend a month on macaca, sorry, but no cookie for you.
And I think we know Webb's position on Iraq -- it's all the other issues we are in the dark about.
A third candidate, Independent Green candidate Glenda Gail Parker of Alexandria, is promoting more rail transportation in Virginia. She has adopted the nickname "Gail for Rail" Parker. She also is speaking out against the burgeoning budget deficit.
There's a third candidate?
But as an independent without the means to promote herself, Parker has received little attention.
And yet Webb managed to get millions in free advertising from the media. Maybe she needs a good scandal to jumpstart her campaign.
An article about not discussing issues, instead of an article about issues. Maybe that's why we don't know about the issues?