There is a lot of finger pointing going around right now as to who is to blame for the Republican losses in the 2013 elections. Well I have a finger too, here’s who I’m pointing it at.
First round goes to Bob. The investigation into the gifts given to Governor Bob McDonnell hurt every Republican just by the guilty-by-association verdict. As unfortunate as that obstacle was, it was not something that doomed any candidate. The real problem that Bob’s Rolex created was that it made the incumbent Governor campaign kryptonite. Our candidates were out fundraised despite working their tails off making calls and doing the leg the work. Campaign fundraisers, meet and greets, etc. could have had a sitting Governor headlining the event, which would have drove up turnout and increased the total amount donated for the night as well as increased the publicity of the event which would have increased name recognition. Same goes for door knocking rallies and phone banks. But no campaign wanted their Governor to be the headliner and that hurt us 2013.
Next up is Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling. For the last four years Bill has been sitting in the Senate thinking about what color drapes he’ll pick for the Governor’s mansion. Things didn’t work out like he thought, so he sat out and kept his supporters with him. He could have done a lot of things to help the candidates but he was too hurt and that hurt us in 2013.
Next up is Senator Ted Cruz. Serving as the real Speaker of the House, Cruz chose to shutdown the federal government in an attempt to stop the ObamaCare rollout. This proved to be a costly miscalculation by the rookie Senator. The ObamaCare rollout imploded, but this was after weeks of negative press on Republicans, who were all blamed for shutting down the government. Our candidates could have hit the stump hard with the failures of ObamaCare, but instead they had to answer questions about the shutdown. The 2013 elections must not have been taken into consideration by Cruz when his ill-conceived plan went into action. Timing is very important in politics and the time of the shutdown was a perfect point in the campaign calendar for the Ds to take advantage. From NoVA to Norfolk, the commonwealth has a ton of government employees and contractors who were adversely affected from a political maneuver by some guy living comfortably in Texas. Add Cruz’s appearance in Richmond for the Family Foundation Annual Gala and the Ds had enough ammunition to tie Virginia Republicans directly to “the architect of the government shutdown,” as said by that Terry McAuliffe radio ad I heard over and over and over. Guilty-by-association hit hard on the shutdown issue as moderates saw Republicans as willing to wreck things in order to fulfill a personal vendetta against President Obama. Too bad it was immaterial to voters that most Republicans running in Virginia this year were against Cruz’s poorly calculated political maneuver, but the Ds don’t care about facts and used the shutdown to hurt us.
Next round of finger pointing goes to the Robert Sarvis voters. It is difficult to rationalize why anyone would vote for Sarvis, but people did. Math experts will tell you that if everyone who voted for Sarvis had voted for Ken Cuccinelli then Cuccinelli would have won. Well it never works out like that but I blame those Sarvis voters for not voting for Cuccinelli anyway. I bet the majority of that group would rank Cuccinelli second and McAuliffe third on their list of choices. It is just too bad that by voting for their first choice they helped their last choice win.
Note that that finger went to the Sarivs voters and not to Robert Sarvis. He’s a fool for running but the system allows him to do so and the campaign process allows us to vet the candidates. This leads us to a very simple defense against terrible candidates: don’t vote for them. I didn’t like Sarvis and I did something about it; I voted for Cuccinelli.
That’s enough finger pointing. Time to move on to 2014.