Delegate Mark Keam - Virginia's 35th House District

Sun Gazette Weighs in on Delegate Keam's Work


Sun Gazette Newspapers

Editorial: Since When Is Talking to Political Opposites a Crime?

(Created: Wednesday, October 13, 2010 4:35 AM EDT)

In less than three weeks' time, Democrats nationally are likely to be handed a defeat that could, from their point of view, range from mildly disappointing to catastrophic.

Yet, what are Northern Virginia Democrats worrying about in this pivotal last few weeks? One item that has them all hot and bothered is the appearance by Del. Mark Keam (D-35th) at last weekend's Tea Party convention downstate.

Keam was about the only Democrat to be found. He accepted an invitation to participate on a panel discussing legislation promoting transparency in government operations, an issue people across the political spectrum can find common ground on.

The response from the left flank of the local Democratic establishment, and those who lurk on the political blogs, has been sad but instructive. They have been flaying Keam for his supposed temerity in interacting with those who view the world differently than some Democrats do.

Even a campaign aide for U.S. Rep. Gerald Connolly, who should have known better, threw some mud in Keam's direction over the appearance.

Keam has stood his ground, unapologetic about the apostasy with which he has been charged. "Both sides seem to talk solely to their own bases and do not even bother to reach out to the middle or to the other side," Keam send in response to the brouhaha. "It appears that the most extreme voices have dominated the national conversation and left the average American turned off from politics."

Indeed. We have now gotten to the point where hyperpartisans on all sides have hijacked the political discourse, making "disagreeing without being disagreeable" a relic of past times.

Our view? Keam should be saluted for taking his case to the other side, not ripped by some within his own party. Their petty and juvenile reaction in what we were promised by President Obama would be a post-partisan era is perhaps one reason the Democrats are going to get knocked around on Nov. 2.

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