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All is not fair in love or politics: Bolling throws a tantrum
The Juvenile Antics of "My Turn" Politics, by Mary Walsh

 Virginia Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling announced last month that he was suspending his campaign for governor.
Steve Helber/ASSOCIATED PRESS
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Date published: 12/9/2012

I ADMIT IT. I love 2-year-olds. They are, hands down, some of the cutest people on the planet. Two-year-old eyes dance with happiness, their exuberance is boundless, and if you could bottle their energy, you'd have the next blockbuster vitamin supplement. As Bill Cosby once said, "If I had an army of 2-year-olds, I could take over the world."

As darling as they are, 2-year-olds are prone to tantrums when the world doesn't go their way. They are still egocentric: Reality not matching their expectation creates quite a hubbub. While meltdowns in a 2-year-old are developmentally normal, in adults the behavior is not so endearing.

Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling chose to clamorously drag himself out of next year's gubernatorial race, bemoaning a number of reasons in an email to supporters. Citing his blue-collar roots, he gives a sense of pride in his accomplishments. I always find it somewhat amusing when politicians do this--it's almost as though they seek credit for their own blue-collar credentials by association.

Bolling paints himself as both a Virginia lover (not a bad thing) as well as a martyr and victim of the political process: "Four years ago, I decided to set my personal ambition to be governor aside and join with Bob McDonnell to create a united Republican ticket. Time has proven the wisdom of that decision. Gov. McDonnell and I were elected in 2009 by historic margins, and for the past three years we have successfully worked together to get Virginia back on the right track." There are a number of striking thoughts in this paragraph.

First, his reason for seeking public office is personal ambition. This is the worst possible reason to run for office. Run because it is the best thing for the country, or the state, or because you feel called to do so, but for Heaven's sake, don't cite personal ambition! Time has proven the wisdom of his decision--in other words, he didn't like it at first. Gov. McDonnell circumnavigated the traditional route to his office as well but was by far the better candidate the last time around.

Lt. Gov. Bolling did the right thing--it just took him a while to realize it.


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Mary Walsh is a freelance writer in Spotsylvania County.