Republican George Allen was the keynote speaker at Wednesday's Shad Planking in Wakefield which clearly turned into his playing field for the day. In a sea of Allen signs and shirts and supporters, he was the main draw along with fish and beer.
But in a political year that has two Virginia titans -- two former governors -- challenging each other for the U.S. Senate seat, the question begs to be asked: Where was Democrat Tim Kaine?
The annual gathering at Wakefield was, after all, begun by Democrats more than 60 years ago as king makers would sit around under the pines drinking beer and eating shad. Over the years, it evolved into one of the top three bi-partisan events in the Commonwealth but this year Democrats were scarce which had some asking, "Where are the Democrats? Where is Tim Kaine?"
According to Bearing Drift colleague Tim Donner in this video filmed at the Shad Planking, the Wakefield Ruritans invited Kaine months ago but his campaign did not respond. Three or four weeks before the event, the invitation was reissued but still no response from the Kaine campaign so the Ruritans made George Allen their keynote speaker.
That's when the Democrats said that if Allen was going to be the keynote speaker, they were going to boycott and, by all accounts, that's exactly what they did. Not one single Democratic candidate was seen on the grounds which conjures up images of the kid on the playground stomping his foot when he didn't get his way, gathering up his marbles, and going home.
As a result, Shad Planking 2012 has gone into the history books as a Republican event.
Joining the Ruritans at their annual event is exactly the type of venue where Allen is most comfortable and, indeed, he seized the opportunity to make the event his oyster as he spent the day among supporters shaking hands, swapping stories, posing for photos, and being trailed by numerous reporters.
Democrats missing from Shad Planking ... is that a sign of what's to come this fall? Stay tuned....