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October 21, 2009

Virginia’s Dirty Deeds

Kevin E. Dayhoff

In less than two weeks, on November 3, our neighbor to the south, Virginia, will conduct a gubernatorial election that may give us our first insights as just how the nation really feels about the jumbled mess in which our great nation finds itself after about nine months of rule by President Barack Obama and the Democrat-controlled Congress.


The contest pits Democrat Virginia Commonwealth Senator Creigh Deeds against former Virginia Attorney General Bob McDonnell; and it has attracted national – and actually – international attention.


On October 9, Michael Gerson wrote in, “The Virginia race does not merely reflect national trends; it will help determine those trends.


“The November election may come at a key moment in the health care debate, just as conservative Democrats are being asked to take a political risk in support of Obama and reform. A Democratic loss in Virginia would send a message: The risk is greater than you think.”


Actually, that is an understatement. In many ways, Senator Deeds is “carrying the burden of a Democratic Congress – and the increasingly heavy burden of Obama,” notes Mr. Gerson, who also calls to our attention that currently “Congress has an approval rating of 21 percent – 10 points lower than the approval rating of Gov. Mark Sanford of South Carolina.”


Mr. Gerson goes on to say that both “Deeds and Obama are now in a difficult political position. At a recent forum, Deeds refused to identify himself as an Obama Democrat – hardly flattering to the president…


“Either Obama realizes that his high-profile involvement would undermine Deeds, or the president doesn't want to squander his credibility on a losing campaign. Neither explanation is good for Democrats.”


One of my favorite lines in Mr. Gerson’s column explained Senator Deeds’ campaign well: “Deeds has made plenty of mistakes that can't be attributed to the national political environment, including a tendency to make policy proposals that would leave blank space on a note card.”


The complexities, complications, paradoxes, and enigmas present in this election contest could fill a textbook. However, to give you some of the flavor, Senator Deeds is a second amendment supporter who is also opposed to partial-birth abortion, and was endorsed by the National Rifle Association instead of Mr. McDonnell in their 2005 match-up in the state’s attorney general contest.


Senator Deeds has also run one of the most negative political campaigns in memory. So much so that even “Virginia newspapers are in broad revolt against Deeds' tactics,” according to many enthralled political observers, including Mr. Gerson.


Virginia newspapers are “employing descriptions such as ‘flatly dishonest,’ ‘below-the-belt and beyond-the-pale’ and ‘disingenuous and deceitful.’ Some editorialists have taken to calling the Democratic candidate ‘Dirty Deeds’…”


Senator Deeds, who – to be sure – is no poster-boy for Democratic Party liberalism, except for his tax and spend attitudes, has attacked Mr. McDonnell’s social conservatism.


Mr. McDonnell did not do himself any favors by penning a 1989 graduate school thesis, at 34-years-of-age, that on its face arguably portrays him as woefully intolerant of today’s socially diverse population. He has tried to paint the unfortunate meanderings as a youthful excess.


For a while, Mr. McDonnell started losing the independent middle-of-the-road voter that will decide this contest until his opponent stole a page from President Obama and the national ruling party and overplayed the issue, while Mr. McDonnell came across as a genuine, if not flawed, real person grappling with difficult social issues.


Mr. Gerson explained that “for Deeds’ Democratic campaign consultants – drawn to culture-war controversy as though it were catnip, laced with meth, coated in cocaine – the temptation to overreach was just too much.”


And then to add insult to injury, the august Washington Post came riding-in to further help the McDonnell campaign by endorsing Senator Deeds.


We’ll leave my rant as to why in the world newspapers endorse political candidates for another time. However, it has been called to my attention over and over again that The Washington Post has unfortunately served as a biased peripheral web site, public relations advocate, and shill for the Democratic Party candidate, Senator Deeds. So the endorsement came as no surprise.


In an October 13 report, the Rasmussen polling firm noted that Mr. McDonnell “has been trying to link Deeds’ fortunes to those of President Obama. Deeds last month seemed to distance himself somewhat from the president but now says he hopes Obama will come to the state to campaign for him.”


Well, last Friday, The Virginian-Pilot of Hampton Roads reported that Senator Deeds will be getting his wish. “President Barack Obama will campaign in Virginia with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds on Oct. 27…”


Of course, the McDonnell campaign is just as delighted that President Obama is coming to the commonwealth as it is with the Post endorsement as many pundits believe that both developments will swing more votes in their direction.


Strike three for Senator Deeds.


The nascent, mismanaged, and misguided Democratic political machine in Virginia has run a horrible campaign and they deserve to lose. They have totally misjudged the mood of the commonwealth.


Whatever shortcomings Mr. McDonnell may possess, they have all been overcome by his thoughtful personable approach which is refreshing to even those who do not agree with all his positions.


His careful understanding and subsequent articulate discussion of the issues has been a ray of hope in an otherwise bleak national political landscape.


Mr. McDonnell talks about ideas, fiscal responsibility, jobs, transportation challenges, drilling for oil off of the coast of Virginia, and public safety.


Contrast that with Senator “Dirty” Deeds who has no vision, no ideas, and campaigned “below-the-belt and beyond-the-pale,” maligned his opponent’s character, talked about wealth redistribution and raising taxes, attempted to silence his critics and attacked his opponent’s social views he has so purposely and inarticulately mischaracterized.


Count on Mr. McDonnell’s title on November 4th to be Virginia governor-elect.


Kevin Dayhoff writes from Westminster. E-mail him at


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