Lots of reasons are being offered for the state of the Deeds campaign. Noises are being made about a GOP blowout this Tuesday. An amazing number of smart people are taking the easy way out and blaming Creight Deeds and his campaign…and there are a number of places where the Deeds campaign obviously was lacking.
However, there are reasons that folks are not fully addressing…perhaps because it is uncomfortable to their world view. Maybe it is just easier to blame Creigh, but it doesn’t get them ready for 2010.
First, Election Day has not happened. The assumption is that Dem turnout will be depressed by the disenchantment with Deeds, and that low turnout could make for a huge HOD run.
If this happens, then the blame is all on the demo leadership. I can understand Dem voters being unhappy with the statewide ticket, but there does not seem to be the systemic unhappiness with the Democratic Party or one or more of its reps such as we have had in recent years in the GOP with Bush (national) or Gilmore (Va). The party leadership knew back in the spring there would be turnout issues because either because the bloom was off the Obama energy OR the bad guys could not easily be run against.
But the Dems had the votes to elect these folks to the HOD prior to the Obama phenomena, and if they cannot turn out those same folks now it means that perhaps the Democratic party is not as strong as some make it out to be…if the Demcratic HOD candidates get swept up because the local leaders could not turn out identified Democrat voters (as opposed to obama voters) to come out and support HOD candidates they have supported in the past, then that fault is more a matter of organization and less of Deeds.
Some have asked why Deeds is not running on the Warner/Kaine admin record…and the answer is that there isn’t anything there to run on. The “best run state” awards are there in no small part because the GOP HOD has generally staved off tax increases coming out of the state Senate. Kaine has gone on record blaming the GOP for not going along with tax increases. It is good government forced on the Democrats. So much for a platform.
Ultimately, the democrats have emerged from eight years in the Governor’s mansion without anything they can hold up as an achievement. If that achievement existed, they would be talking about it. That lack of achievement is not Creigh Deeds fault, but of the administrations he hopes to succeed. The Democrats in Richmond have not put forth legislation or ideas to define themselves, instead hoping to gain power on the cheap through GOP division or public antipathy toward GOP policies…w/o offering an alternative.
Then there is a matter of the nominee. Creigh Deeds did not suddenly spring forth from the forehead of Jove as the nominee like some mythological character. He won a primary. He was the choice of the party faithful. Teh victory of such a flawed candidate points to a weak Democratic Bench, especially in the General Assembly. Perhaps it is no accident that of the most recent Demo statewide winners (Warner, Kaine, Webb) none has their political roots in the General Assembly, which is typically a prime breeding ground for statewide candidates. The Virginia Democracy has not bred vibrant candidates, instead trying to win just as they have governed-on the cheap.
Creigh Deeds is not an electoral bubonic plague…there are systemic elements at play here that are not being talked about. I suggest that if the Virginia Democracy continues to point fingers instead of looking in the mirror, election day 2009 will be bad…and election day 2010 might not be so happy, either.