While at the Virginia Democratic Convention this weekend, I had the opportunity to interview Glenn Nye, a Democrat running for Congress in Virginia's 2nd Congressional District. He's taking on Republican Thelma Drake, a GWB moonie if I've ever seen one.
You know that airless bubble that GWB walks around in? The one that has clearly damaged some brain cells and impaired any judgment he may have once had? The bubble from which he declared "Mission Accomplished" and continues to assert that history will vindicate him? Thelma seems to want to live in that bubble too.
While most Republicans are trying to Photoshop Bush out of the photos on their office walls, Thelma Drake is still hoping he'll ask her to the prom and continuing to insist that he's a God. That's how bad she is. Now, I do know that Thelma Drake will move heaven and earth for her constituents. I've met her more than once and I know this to be true. But still, she needs to stop drinking the Bush/Cheney Kool-Aid by the gallon.
With that background, I'll move on to Thelma Drake's challenger, Glenn Nye.
I almost feel that perhaps I should have warned Nye that MOMocrats is a little, um... different from other political blogs. He's either going to read this and rue the moment he agreed to sit down and talk with little old me, or he's going to laugh and send this to his mother. If Nye is the person I think he is, I'm going to get a laugh.
Living in Chesapeake, and working in Norfolk (just a short hop away from the 2nd Congressional District), I'd heard about Glenn Nye. Now, depending on whether I was speaking to a Republican or a Democrat, he was alternately spoken of as a "virgin sacrifice for Drake" or a "Wunderkind." I knew Nye he was young, but it didn't mean much to me until I met him. When I shook his hand n Saturday my first thought was, "There's no way in hell he's older than me." (I was right. He's 33. I'm...older than that. But not much!)
Yes, Glenn Nye is young, but I forgot that as soon as he began to answer my first question about funding for Virginia's transportation woes. We then covered a number of topics ranging from our country's need for alternative fuel sources to health care and education. But we spent the majority of our time together discussing Iraq.
Nye, like many Democrats, is pragmatic about the situation we've gotten ourselves into. He agrees that there is no easy fix or simple troop pull out possible. Nye did, however, tell me that we need to force the Iraqi government to get its house in order by coming up with an exit plan and sticking to it. The theory being that, once we begin to withdraw, the Iraqi government will be forced to fill the vacuum.
Nye is also concerned with how we care for the military men and women who've fought in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nye has been to Iraq with USAID. While there, according to the Virginian-Pilot, he ran a program finding jobs for young Iraqi men in an effort to reduce violence in the region. So Nye is quite aware of the challenges our troops are facing abroad and once they come home.
Frequent MOMocrats readers know that I've taken some flack from the McCain campaign for my quite vocal disapprobation of McCain's suggestion that soldiers be required to stay in the military longer before receiving GI benefits so that the educational benefits aren't encouraging them to leave. So I asked Nye about it. He had the right answer, citing a study reporting that while increased GI educational benefits may lead to a 16% attrition rate, it also leads to a 60% uptake in recruiting. Nye also passionately spoke about the need to fully fund the VA, update our technology and health record keeping so that we can care for our soldiers when they come home.
Now I didn't ask Nye the question I'm sure he's tired of answering: why are you running for Congress at 33 and why are you qualified for this? Instead, I asked him what he has to offer that his opponent does not. Nye cited his field work, experience with USAID, and work as a diplomat. (You can read more about his life and work experience on his campaign site.)
Switching gears for a moment, I have to admit that I let my SINGLEocrat friends down by not finding out whether Nye has a girlfriend. He is quite a cutie and a well educated one at that. I can guarantee that if Nye goes off to D.C. as a singleton, he won't remain one for long. Unattached, attractive, young congressmen are in short supply in the District and chances are this one's going to go far. When I was in law school in D.C., my unmarried friends were constantly complaining about the lack of men over 5 feet 5 inches in height. So Glenn will be snatched up by some enterprising lawyer or PhD candidate in a heartbeat. In fact, I know some I could hook him up with.
I have to admit that I had a very strong urge to tell Nye that we should just go grab a beer so I could grill him about his love life, we could trash Republicans, and he could tell me what he really thinks about this political process of ours. I hope he realizes what an asset that is.
Nye is part of the new generation of politics ushered in with Obama's candidacy for president. Although the 2nd District is pretty red, Nye will appeal to both younger voters tired of Washington business as usual and traditional Democratic voters. Although Drake is currently expected to win, I certainly wouldn't count Nye out. He's got potential. Enough potential in fact, that I donated to his campaign today.
You impressed this MOMocrat, Glenn Nye. And I don't just say that because I have two little boys who might like to go to your alma mater, Norfolk Academy, someday. (Kidding!) But seriously, the next time we sit down for an interview, there should be beer involved and I will drill you about your love life.
I'm a mom. That's what we do.
Incidentally, while looking for bloggers I met at the convention, I ran across a photo of myself interviewing Glenn Nye. WARNING! The link is to a Republican blog. I know. I know. I just wanted to warn the faint of heart.
Other posts from the Virginia Democratic Convention:
When not running around the convention floor in high heels or writing inappropriate posts about up and coming politicians, Stephanie can be found blogging about her non-political life at Lawyer Mama. You know, in her "spare" time.