Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Why Deeds Will Lose

Last week I was up in the Democratic hotbed of Northern Virginia. I was talking politics with some friends and asked who they were voting for for governor. They were all voting for Creigh Deeds. I asked them why. The only answer I received was “because he’s not Bob McDonnell.” Ay, dear reader, there’s the rub. None of them were particularly enthused about Creigh Deeds—he was just the ABM (Anybody But McDonnell) candidate. Even this late in the campaign, my friends really knew nothing about Senator Deeds. And, if he weren’t running against ultra-conservative Bob McDonnell, they had no reason to vote for him.

But, you may ask, isn’t Creigh Deeds the one who won the Democratic primary by a landslide? Isn’t he the one who received half of the votes cast in a three way race, in which he had by far the smallest campaign chest? How can someone who was so popular among Democrats in June be virtually unknown now?

Let’s look at Creigh Deeds’ campaign message. It is very clear to this maven that Senator Deeds is running as the ABM candidate. His campaign ads tell us why we shouldn’t vote for Bob McDonnell, but say nothing about why we should vote for Deeds. What is Senator Deeds’ campaign theme? What has he done to demonstrate that he is the person who should be our next governor? What do we know about him? About his family? What does he believe in?

On the other hand, let’s look at Bob McDonnell’s campaign. It has stayed on message from the beginning. He is “The Jobs Governor.” He has the attractive family. He is the guy with solutions to all Virginia’s problems. Even when he has been attacked based on the views he expressed in his master’s thesis, he has stayed on message. He runs some defensive ads, but mainly it’s still family and jobs.

What has happened to the effective campaign Deeds ran in the primary? Has he forgotten that he won the primary because he was the only candidate who was NOT running negative attack ads against his opponents? In the primary campaign Deeds was the one with the family (I remember that he went away to college with only a few bucks in his pocket and mom’s advice). Deeds was the one who stayed on the positive message of what a good governor he would be.

So, where did it all go bad? Surprisingly, it was when Bob McDonnell’s master’s thesis was made public. Somebody on Deeds’ campaign staff decided that this was the weapon that would win the campaign. Suddenly, all of Deeds’ campaign was focused on that thesis and how it affected McDonnell’s votes in the legislature. Gone was “Deeds will be a great governor” as a campaign theme. In came “Bob McDonnell voted against abortion and contraceptives for married couples.” And now, with the ads issued in response by the McDonnell campaign we have a “he says, he says” dispute with nobody knowing who is telling the truth. This is NOT the kind of campaign that wins elections in Virginia.

And now, this maven is getting e-mails from the Democratic governors and from the Virginia Democratic Party and from the Deeds campaign begging for more money. They all tell me that if they only have enough money they can prevent the Republicans from reversing last year’s great victory. But will more money make a difference? Not if it is going to be spent on more of the same. This campaign will not be won by money. It will be won only by a campaign message that tells me and a million other Virginia voters why Creigh Deeds is the right man to be our next governor.


Roger Mc Cauley said...

The Maven is probably the last honest man. I know him well and it was his intellect and not his emotion or his inclination that resulted in such an insightful evaluation. Never change, Maven.

For another example of his honesty, I suggest that you stay on the Blog and read his entry about Bill Bolling. BUT you must also read the comments. Although both (at this time) disagree with his position, he printed them both when he could have ignored them both and only three people ( the two authors and the Maven) would have known

Meade Skelton said...

I hope he loses. I dont think I could take it if Virginia turned into a socialist liberal northeastern state.

Roger Mc Cauley said...


The solution is to work like hell and be sure that all of your friends with like ideas do the same.

Keep the Faith.

www.facebook.com/webstersditionary said...

Go to yesterday's Politico 44 for Brad Todd's tell-all about the McDonnell campaign's advertising strategy. McDonnell's glib on-air personality (quite different from his demeanor in chambers) reminds this reader of Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards (D) and Dave Treen (R) who ousted Edwards, then failed to get re-elected. Reading Treen's obit in today's Washington Post brings Lincoln's wonderful words: "It is true that you may fool all of the people some of the time; you can even fool some of the people all of the time; but you can't fool all of the people all of the time." Who's the more foolish, the one who votes or the one who doesn't?