I’ve posted a few excerpts from my interview with Jim Graves. Now I’d like to share my own impressions and analysis.
Graves knows how to win. In business, in politics, whatever — he’s serious about winning and he puts in the work required. Graves has done his due diligence in this race, and he has a plan. I think Bachmann will find him a formidable opponent. That doesn’t mean he’s a shoo-in by any means, but he wouldn’t have entered the race if he didn’t have a plan for winning.
On policy, Graves strikes me as just to the left of center. He’s far to the right of where I would like the Democratic Party to be, but on the other hand, he would be a vast improvement over Michele Bachmann. Most importantly, he’s in the right place on the economy — he understands that our economy is built on consumer demand, not on “trickle down” from the rich.
I am concerned, though, that Graves intends to focus on style over substance. When I started off the interview by asking him what his big issues were, his response was “the tenor of Washington.” Although it’s true that the atmosphere in Washington has grown poisonous, I think that’s a cop-out as a campaign “issue.” It comes off as wishy-washy, and leads to statements like this, released after the Supreme Court’s decision on the Affordable Care Act:
Now is the time for the country to move forward as bending the cost curve of health care is critical to getting our economy back on track. We all agree there are challenges before us. Unlike my opponent, Michele Bachmann, we are not interested in politicizing issues. Rather, we seek to come together as a nation and work towards bipartisan solutions to our challenges. [Via press release, emphasis added]
Sorry, but politics is all about the issues. You’re supposed to politicize the issues. If you don’t, what in the world is your campaign going to be about? Constantly returning to the refrain that everything is too politicized is the sort of approach that consistently nets the Independence Party 10 percent, and no more.
If Graves will decide to run on the issues, instead of the vague bromide that “Washington is broken,” I really do think he’s got a shot. The numbers show that voters in CD6 don’t really like Michele Bachmann, despite her several successful campaigns for re-election. With no Independence-Party candidate in the race, Graves could make it happen.
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