In a Wall Street Journal Online column on Saturday, columnist Fred Barnes seemed to be ready to waive the white flag for this November's Virginia gubernatorial election. Why so glum, Freddie? Creigh Deeds is the Democrat nominee!! Run for the hills! He was the "conservative" Democrat candidate!
What were the Democrats' options? Terry McAuliffe? Beltway insiders and media pundits assumed he was a shoo-in. After all, he was part of the Clinton inner circle. He was a mover and shaker in the party. I'm sure McAuliffe led the race in name recognition, but I think if asked most would have responded, "I know the name, but I'm not really sure why." In the incestuous world of the political insider, he would be a juggernaut.
State Senator Brian Moran ran as Nancy Pelosi's poolboy in a campaign that I hope is emulated by Democrats in other parts of the country. He ran as a hard left "Progressive." He, and losing Democratic lieutenant governor hopeful Mike Signer, seemed to believe that the 2006 and 2008 elections were positive referendums on America's desire to become Sweden. In truth, the Democrats tried their best to prove they were more conservative than the Republicans. It worked.
While Barnes correctly pointed out that Deeds' only conservative issue seems to be his support of the 2nd Amendment, he seems to think that may be enough for Virginia voters. The truth is, Deeds is another tax-and-spend Leftist in a time where people are starting to question that practice. Democrats won in the last two federal elections by accurately accusing the Republicans of reckless spending. Of course, they should have quoted the Joker in the 1989 "Batman" movie when he said "wait'll they get a load of me."
Bob McDonnell will win in November with a campaign based on growing the economy, not redistributing wealth. He will focus on energy development rather raising energy taxes to pay for technologies that do not exist in a practical manner. He will advocate for the right of workers to choose whether to unionize without pressure from union thugs.
Fred Barnes and other Republican pundits need to cut the fatalist whining. The Deeds nomination is actually a positive development for the GOP. McAuliffe would have turned the race into a mud wrestling match. Moran's extreme Leftist views would have been easily defeated, but would have often caused the campaign to detour into divisive social issues. Deeds is not a loon or a bomb thrower and that is to his personal credit. However, he does represent the type of tired Big Government policies that have created crisis and difficulty across America. The Virginia GOP should welcome the opportunity to contrast their vision for Virginia's future with that of a mainstream Democrat. With unemployment on the rise, energy prices soaring and limited government in the greatest danger it has seen, a focused Republican party can take back the state.