your Goode comments and thought you might like to
read an article of mine that appeared in the Roanoke Times about two weeks
or so. I understand it really ticked off you know who" (Paul Goldman,
e-mail response, January 28, 2000).
"Virgil Goode Needs To Level With People" (By Paul
Goldman, former Chairman of the Virginia Democratic Party, Roanoke Times,
December 31, 1999).
"It is time for Congressman Goode to be honest and tell the
people the real reason he is thinking about leaving the Democratic Party.
Right now, he is acting like a typical Washington politician and showing
disdain the public's intellect. Unlike the current leadership of the Virginia
Democratic Party, I have developed a great admiration for the conservative,
people-oriented traditions of voters in Southside and Western Virginia.
When managing Doug Wilder's campaign, it was Virgil Goode who played a key
role in helping Wilder get on the party ticket and win in an amazing upset
"So it pains me to see him forget his roots and not be a straight
shooter. Yes, he is one of the dying breed of Conservative Democratic Congressmen.
And yes, many Virginia Democratic Party leaders are attacking Mr. Goode
and believe all wisdom comes from somewhere north of Fredericksburg."
"But two wrongs don't make a right; the elitism of too many
Democrats does not justify Congressman Goode's current posturing."
"Let's me be blunt: The excess LIBERALISM Mr. Goode finds among
Democrats is not the real reason he is thinking about leaving the party
of his father. Instead, his current political equation results from one
other word: REDISTRICTING."
"He is a good man with a good character. He has led the fight
against cynical politics in many areas, such as the corrupt pay, pension
and expense schemes used by too many Virginian politicians to line their
own pockets with taxpayer dollars."
"We need more of that kind of Virgil Goode, and less of this
new Virgil Goode."
"Sleight of hand may help the Hokies in the Sugar Bowl. But
it could be a bitter harvest for him when the public figures out the truth."
"And they will. The truth is the upcoming National Census requires
the Virginia General Assembly and the Governor to pass a new Congressional-redistricting
plan. Before a single Virginian is counted, one result is absolutely clear:
The current boundary lines of Mr. Goode's congressional seat will be significantly
" The new Republican controlled Virginia General Assembly and
their GOP Governor have vowed to be as partisan as legally possible in this
process. Understandably, many Republicans have no interest in helping Democratic
Goode, preferring to create a seat for a Republican. He knows, for example,
they could him in a new district dominated by Democratic Congressman Boucher."
" One can still believe in creationism and yet understand Darwin's
theory of survival of the fitness as applied in the context of Virginia
politics. Virgil Goode apparently enjoys Congress and knows this continued
enjoyment probably requires a Goode--friendly GOP in Richmond. Virginia
Republicans have not been known to run a political philanthropy; if they
are going to help Virgil, then they want Virgil to help them."
"Yet this is only side of the story. There are many Democrats,
led by Fairfax Democratic Senator Saslaw, who would work against a pro-Goode
redistricting plan, especially if he helps former Governor Allen defeat
Senator Robb. These Saslaw-led Democrats, aligned with some GOP defections
from Northern Virginia or elsewhere, could pass an anti-Goode redistricting
plan despite the wishes of Governor Gilmore and the GOP high command."
"Then there is this other angle: There are several Republicans
from Virgil's area, along with some others, who will not support any redistricting
plan that appears to be anti-Goode. Thus, if the Republican high command
were to try and gerrymander Goode into defeat for being neutral or even
pro-Robb, he could be saved a coalition of appreciative Democrats and pro-Goode
"As the preceding narrative exposes, all this maneuvering is
based purely on power politics. In this observer's humble opinion, what
benefit to his the Congressman get by pretending his soul-searching over
policy when it is really involves raw politics in its most naked form?"
"Moreover, the majority in Congress itself could change next
year, and Congressman Goode would probably prefer not to be seen as rat
climbing on board a GOP titanic."
"Thus, the fourth side to Mr. Goode's political box: the option
of running next year in the current district as an Independent, in hopes
of keeping his options open and giving the GOP enough to avoid their redistricting
wrath, but at the same time, giving the Democrats sufficient aid and comfort
to prevent them from trying to exact some gerrymandering revenge."
"Houdini died when trying to perform a less difficult escape.
Congressman Goode has no easy option, as he surrounded by incumbents all
interested in staying in Washington. The politicians in Richmond can control
his destiny, and they - and he - know it."
"Personally, I hope he stays with the Democratic Party. But
whatever he does, he should level with the voters, trust their good instincts
and demonstrate that he isn't becoming just another condescending Washington