The Washington Post endorsed Creigh Deeds in this morning’s paper. I know, big shock. They’ve been carrying more water for the Deeds campaign than Gunga Din over the last six months, pulling Deeds limply over the Democrat primary finish line, and then trying to reinflate the Deeds campaign with something resembling a direction with its three-week incessant barrage about a 20-year-old thesis. With so much invested in the Deeds campaign, it’s no wonder the Post endorsed him.
But looking at the endorsement, it’s a little bit of a laugher. I thought I might highlight some of the choice portions of the “endorsement” below:
The Post: “There are plenty of reasons why Mr. Deeds is the better choice for governor in the Nov. 3 election. He has stood with Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, the incumbent, and his predecessor, now-Sen. Mark R. Warner, in support of the sane fiscal and budgetary choices that have made the state one of the best-governed and most business-friendly in the nation. Mr. McDonnell has generally spurned those policies, most notably by opposing Mr. Warner’s landmark tax package in 2004, which attracted bipartisan support as it boosted public safety and education and protected the state’s finances.”
Translation: Deeds will raise your taxes. Does it occur to the Post that when Warner raised taxes, we weren’t in the middle of a massive recession? Virginia’s unemployment rate is around 6.5%. Warner could get away with raising taxes, the economy could sustain it. It can’t now.
The Post: “Mr. Deeds has compiled a moderate record on divisive social issues that reflects Virginia’s status as a centrist swing state. Mr. McDonnell has staked out the intolerant terrain on his party’s right wing, fighting a culture war that seized his imagination as a law student in the Reagan era.”
Our take: Really? Bob McDonnell has spend the whole campaign talking about jobs and transportation. The only people who have been harping on social issues are Deeds and his handmaiden, the Post, in a cynical and transparent effort to rally independent women to Deeds. Come on — a culture war? How many ads has Bob McDonnell run regarding social issues, as compared to Deeds? Especially here in NoVA? Deeds and the Post are the ones screaming about a culture war, not the GOP.
The Post: “But the central challenge facing Virginia and its next governor is the deficit in transportation funding projected at $100 billion over the next two decades — and only Mr. Deeds offers hope for a solution. Following a road map used successfully in 1986, he would appoint a bipartisan commission to forge a consensus on transportation funding, with the full expectation that new taxes would be part of the mix.”
Our take: Nice try, WaPo. WaPo’s trying to say that “Deeds really has a transportation plan, we swear, it’s been done before in 1986.” Never mind that saying you will appoint a “bipartisan commission” is a complete dodge, because we have no idea what this commission will recommend. It’s Deeds’ way of saying he’s gonna raise taxes and try to get some bipartisan cover for it.
The Post: “Mr. Deeds has run an enormous and possibly fatal political risk by saying bluntly that he would support legislation to raise new taxes dedicated to transportation.”
Our take: I love how the Post says Deeds has “bluntly” stated he’d raise taxes. In fact, what happened was Deeds got caught in the press gaggle after the Fairfax debate by that “young lady” he so charmingly condescended to, when he admitted he wasn’t going to raise general fund taxes but implictly acknowledged he would raise other taxes (e.g., the gas tax). The Post can laud their man for his so-called “courage”, but it was really just a slipping of Deeds’ tax-and-spend mask that revealed his plans to raise taxes to pay for transportation. But the Post is right, Deeds will definitely raise taxes, so if they want to say it “bluntly,” go right ahead. Raising taxes in a recession is uttely foolish policy.
The Post: “Yet Mr. McDonnell, champion of a revenue-starved status quo, remains in denial. He professes to feel the pain of Virginians struggling with financial hard times. In fact his transportation policy, a blueprint for stagnation and continuing deterioration, would subvert the state’s prospects for economic recovery and long-term growth.”
Our take: What? This is completely unsubstantiated hogwash. Privatizing the ABC stores alone will raise enormous revenue, as will issuing transportation bonds. Perhaps the crack economists at the WaPo don’t realize it, but the state-owned liquor stores can be privatized to raise revenue. Lots of revenue. How will Deeds’ raising taxes improve “the state’s prospects for economic recovery and long-term growth”? The WaPo doesn’t say.
The Post: “Mr. Deeds has been broadly criticized, not least by stalwarts of his own party, for putting too heavy an emphasis on negative ads about Mr. McDonnell and failing to make an affirmative case for himself. If so, it reflects a failure of campaign strategy and tactics, not a lack of raw material.”
Our take: Nice try again, WaPo. Gunga Din carrying more water for one of the most rudderless campaigns in recent memory. Does anyone think that Deeds actually has something to say and just isn’t saying it? Please. If he had something to say about policy, he’d say it.
The Post: “Despite his rural roots, Mr. Deeds has been ideologically flexible enough to support abortion rights; press for background checks on firearms buyers at gun shows; oppose displaying the Confederate flag on state license plates; and warm to equal rights for homosexuals.”
Our take: Could the Post possibly be any more OFFENSIVE AND CONDESCENDING? This sentence implies that if you are a person with “rural roots,” you don’t support abortion rights, don’t support background checks for gun show sales, support the Confederate flag on license plates, and do not support equal rights for homosexuals. Why would the Post assume having “rural roots” predisposes an individual to take these positions? What a stereotype, and typical of insular, condescending, East Coast urban liberals.
The Post: “Our differences with him are on questions of policy. The clamor surrounding his graduate dissertation from 1989, in which he disparaged working women, homosexuals, “fornicators” and others of whom he disapproved, has tended to obscure rather than illuminate fair questions about the sort of governor he would make.”
Our take: Gee, who’s fault was that? When you run 40+ stories over the course of two-weeks over a 20-year-old thesis, the “obscuring” is inevitable. Cry me a river, WaPo.
The Post: “Based on his 14-year record as a lawmaker — a record dominated by his focus on incendiary wedge issues — we worry that Mr. McDonnell’s Virginia would be one where abortion rights would be curtailed; where homosexuals would be treated as second-class citizens; where information about birth control would be hidden; and where the line between church and state could get awfully porous. That is a prescription for yesterday’s Virginia, not tomorrow’s.”
Our take: Total hogwash. As AG, Bob McDonnell went after Internet child pornographers and gangs. As a legislator, he consistently supported lower taxes and economic development. And Bob McDonnell always hired individuals in the AG’s office based on merit and skill, and not gender, sexual orientation, or race. He hired the best people he could, period. To say his career was focused on “incendiary wedge issues” is utterly false. We especially liked the Post’s nod to Ted Kennedy’s infamous “Robert Bork’s America” speech with the reference to “Mr. McDonnell’s Virginia.” It was a disgusting smear then, and it’s a disgusting smear now. Shame on the Post.
The Post: “Mr. McDonnell has inspired a worthwhile debate over privatizing liquor sales in Virginia, one of 18 states that control the wholesale and retail trade in spirits. But by suggesting the state could use the proceeds of privatization as an ongoing funding source for road improvements, he has played fast and loose with the facts — first by plucking projected revenue figures from thin air and second by glossing over the question of what state services he would cut if the $100 million currently gleaned from annual liquor sales could be diverted for transportation.”
Translation: It’s a good idea, but we can’t say it because we’ve invested in the other guy to win. It is nice to see the Post worried about facts and figures “plucked from thin air.” Perhaps they might ask what revenues will result from Deeds’ hypothetical bipartisan commission on transportation or how much revenue Deeds’ gas tax that the Post love so much will generate. Thin air, indeed.
The Post: “Mr. McDonnell has sought to corner Mr. Deeds by focusing on debates in Washington over energy policy, labor union membership and other contentious federal issues. But a governor of Virginia can do little to influence the ideologically charged debates raging on Capitol Hill.”
Translation: Don’t blame Deeds for the cap-and-trade policies that will put companies out of business in Virginia. Even though the Democrats, led by Obama and DNC chair and itinerant Gov. Tim Kaine, are pushing for these policies. And don’t blame Deeds if the Democrats threaten Virginia’s right-to-work status, which has been responsible for making Virginia one of the best places to do business. Even though Deeds is being supported by all these people, is being almost single-handedly bankrolled by national unions (including the ACORN-friendly SEIU), and is reluctant to talk about either cap-and-trade or how deeply beholden to the unions he is.
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CONCLUSION: The Post has invested heavily in Deeds and the Democrats, and has tried to do what it did in the 2006 Senate race — destroy the Republican and get the Democrat across the finish line. But the Post has overreached, getting behind a candidate who cannot articulate a vision for Virginia because he doesn’t really have one, while at the same time the national Democrats are putting forth policies that are anathema to Virginia’s pro-business climate. The Post has turned itself into a pretzel trying to justify its support for Deeds, but it really boils down to one simple fact: Deeds has a (D) next to his name. As the Arlington Sun Gazette said, there are some people who will vote for Deeds only because he has a (D) next to his name. Congratulations, Washington Post, you’re one of them.