Now that a day has passed since election day, some random thoughts…
Those who read the history of the USSR or lived through any part of the Cold War likely remember how when someone fell out of favor with the current regime, their image was airbrushed out of official photographs.
This same thing is apparently happening in Va-10. I have noticed the most remarkable thing…in the surge of joy over the big Democratic wins on Tuesday, no one is saying a thing about Judy Feder, not even in the blogosphere. I understand that after a big win you talk about the successes, but the Federistas have beat her drum-especially at RK-for over two years. Now, despite raising a boatload of money, she gets whacked by a wider margin in 2008 than in 2006! Perhaps we know now why the DCCC did not pour money into her race in the waning weeks of the campaign.
But there is no comment. No diary entries (as there were in 2006) trying to figure out why she ran so poorly. No paeans to feminism and another desire to charge the castle. The Dems have moved onto the Next Big Thing…and apparently it ain’t Ms. Feder
I guess she might take another bite at the apple. Comments have been attributed to her that she will run again or that she is going to wait for redistricting. What will be, will be. But let me offer a few observations…
First, my suggestion last June that a virtual incumbent who gets under 70% in a party primary against an underfunded opponent might have more problems than folks let on may have had more than a little bit of validity. Second, there might be something to the observation made time and time again that the tons of money Ms. Feder got were from out of the district. Last time I checked folks registered outside a district cannot vote in an election in that district. Ms. Feder got all sorts of support…except from where she needed it. Finally, I bet there were not a lot of tears shed by Democratic office holders in Va-10 about the Wolf victory. Not only do they have a working relationship with him, but a Feder win would cut them out of a shot at the seat if and when Congressman Wolf retires.
Given all that, I do wonder how long the airbrushing will continue for this candidate that so many Democrats have been praising for so long.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in Virgina, I don’t think anyone can be too shocked by the results in Va-2 and Va-5. Surprised, but not shocked. In Tidewater, there were democratic incursions against GOP legislators last year, and Ms. Drake has not been a ball of fire. Perhaps it is a long term malaise stemming from the last second way she won her seat in the first place. She couldn’t have been helped by the allegations that in an economic problem time she was making money throught the purchase and resale of foreclosed properties. Legal? Yes…but sometimes in elected office you have to choose to be Caesar’s wife.
What about Virgil Goode in Va-5, who is now trying to identify 32 votes or so that were missed, miscast, or miscounted? I have to wonder if Virgil has just overstayed his welcome. He has been in public office since 1973, has been in both parties, and regularly does something to arise someone’s ire. However, until recently the events could be seen as “good” stuff…like saying on principle that the GOP should share power in the State Senate back in 1995. Recently his pronouncements and actions have not been good stuff. They include the MZM contributions, his wrangle with Congressman Ellison in particular and commentary on immigration in general. Actions like riding a Hummer in a parade when gas was at $4/gallon, or the Eden’s Curve controversy did not help him. While it speaks to his strength that with all this, and in a huge democratic year, the margin of his loss-if it holds up-is only 31 votes. Still, this is a conservative seat that should not have been at risk but for quixotic behavior by the incumbent.
At the RPV, Jeff Frederick has to go. It is not a matter of his policy preferences or ideology, it is a matter of his being unable to do the job he said he would do. A web page that went live less than a week prior to the election that prominently featured his image on the first page, foolish attacks against Obama, and a general unwillingness to date to embrace new technology. He ran against John Hager in part by blaming Hager for past losses…time for Frederick to man up and do the same. Speaker Howell and House Campaign chair Sam Nixon need to either get him removed or isolated, because Frederick has shown what he can do-and it ain’t pretty or beneficial.
When the RPV plans the Advance for December 2008, they would be well advised to look to the man who went to Capitol Hill with Ronald Reagan and has helped guide our nation since then. Frank Wolf has had strong competition thrown at him in each of the last three elections, all massively well funded, in an increasingly pro-democrat environment, and has taken them all on and laid them out. Maybe because the Wolf campaigns are like old time Redskins football…play smart, don’t make mistakes, and don’t worry about frills. It makes sense, but so many campaigns cannot pull it off. Of course, it helps that his constituent service is magnificent.
One person who should be paying attention is Rob Wittman in Va-1. He just won his first full term, but he has to know he has Al Pollard lurking up in the Northern Neck, and there is no redistricting that will remove that threat. Wittman should follow the path of the Wolf (as the cub scouts have been known to say), and he may be around a while.
So RPV, don’t go trying to recreate the wheel when you have an expert wheelright already in your house.
There is a demographic point to consider in all this. We have seen two years of talk from RK and other Democratic bloggers about how Va-10 was turning blue. Perhaps, but we also see that demographics aren’t everything. The last two years may have seen more voters move into the 10th who would tend to vote Democrat, but it is not as if during that time they have been without a Congressman. New people have issues they need help with just like long term residents…and each time they are helped by the effective staff of a constituent focused Congressman they become more likely to support him.
Bottom line-I don’t know that you can call Va-10 a district that is leaning “GOP” or “Democrat”, but I think you can say it is solidly a “Wolf” district.
As far as 2010 goes, the GOP had better be ready to take its best shot at Gerry Connolly. Not only are first term incumbents most vulnerable, but if Connolly is reelected then Va-11-regardless of who controls redistricting-will be made as GOP invulnerable as possible.
More later…like when I lay out how the GOP can return to power.