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How a Democrat Loses in Virginia

Former Democratic Virginia Gov. Douglas Wilder’s resounding non-endorsement of Creigh Deeds, the Democratic candidate this year, is an important moment in an important campaign.
Democrats have recently won statewide office in Virginia with a distinctive blend of political approaches. Politicians such as Mark Warner and Tim Kaine have been seen -- and have taken great pains to be seen -- as non-ideological, pro-business, modern, technocratic and racially progressive. They successfully and simultaneously appealed to three groups: suburbanites interested in public services such as education and highways, moderates who lean Democratic but won’t support liberal culture warriors, and minorities uncomfortable with the Virginia Democratic Party’s rural, stars-and-bars past.

But Deeds has been unable to follow this script. His rural, gun-culture roots reinforce minority skepticism -- or at least cool minority enthusiasm. Wilder, in his statement, specifically criticized Deeds’s opposition to gun control. Sheila Johnson -- the co-founder of Black Entertainment Television and a prominent African-American entrepreneur in Virginia -- actually endorsed Bob McDonnell. One Virginia political observer described Deeds’s African-American outreach efforts to me as “pathetic.” Not even President Obama’s direct intervention could bring Wilder on board.

At the same time, Deeds has been lured -- by desperation and McDonnell’s grad school thesis -- to the hard left on social issues. This may shore up support among some Democrats. But it is not the way Warner or Kaine won their elections. It is difficult to imagine either of those Virginia Democrats conducting a barnstorming tour in favor of abortion rights, as Deeds has done. And it is difficult to imagine that commercials run by Deeds implying that McDonnell would confiscate the state’s supply of birth control pills and condoms and burn them on the altars of Catholic Churches (a slight exaggeration) will come across as anything but desperate. Deeds has been led by inclination and circumstance to run for governor as a Pelosi/Reid Democrat -- not a proven strategy in Virginia.

McDonnell, in contrast, is the suburban candidate in the race, with roots in Fairfax County and Virginia Beach. He was the last Republican to run statewide in Virginia and win the “Suburban Six” -- Henrico, Chesterfield, Chesapeake, Virginia Beach, Prince William and Loudoun Counties. On issues such as education and transportation, McDonnell has been far more active, creative and specific than his opponent. McDonnell is closer in political style to Warner and Kaine than Deeds is. On the campaign trail, McDonnell is policy oriented, pro-business and deferential to Obama. As Attorney General, McDonnell was tough on urban gangs -- important to minorities -- and supportive of drug courts, which provide first-time drug offers alternatives to prison. His relationship with minority leaders is strong.

If you turned off the sound in the current race for Virginia governor and merely looked at the style, approach and background of the candidates, the results are surprising. The candidate who is suburban, policy oriented and moderate in tone is…a Republican. The candidate who is rural, angry and ideologically inflamed is…a Democrat. This was enough to make Wilder think twice. It is likely to make many Virginians think twice.

By Michael Gerson  | September 25, 2009; 12:31 PM ET
Categories:  Gerson  | Tags:  Michael Gerson  
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The candidate who is suburban, policy oriented and moderate in tone is…a Republican. The candidate who is rural, angry and ideologically inflamed is…a Democrat. This was enough to make Wilder think twice. It is likely to make many Virginians think twice.

Do you do even the basic amount of research before writing? You do realize that Wilder did not endorse Warner or Kaine either?

Posted by: jbanks979 | September 25, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

This smacks a wee bit of wishful thinking, I'd say.

Posted by: nodebris | September 25, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

I thought Gerson writes for the Washington Times (daily for kooks), and not for the Washington Post.

Posted by: IpiTombi | September 25, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

"...the co-founder of Black Entertainment Television and a prominent African-American entrepreneur in Virginia -- actually endorsed Bob McDonnell."

BET? That doesn't say much. I remember them being in the tank for McCain last year.

Posted by: Crucialitis | September 25, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse

who the heck is Wilder?

Posted by: millionea7 | September 25, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

I don't expect that McDonnell is going to raise taxes, and the $500 million pledged to expand I-66 and I-95 wouldn't even be enough to acquire the land right-of-ways along either stretch of highway, much less lay down gravel, concrete and asphalt. However, I will vote for McDonnell because he may be inclined to support off-shore drilling and the royalties from that resource extraction could pay for much needed improvements not only in Northern Virginia but all throughout the state as well as keep even more drastic cuts from happening.
Women who need a choice can choose to go to Maryland, DC, North Carolina or surrounding states where aborition is likely to remain legal. I don't like that idea, but I see that as a much, much smaller issue than having no choice about being stuck in traffic every day or having few mass transit alternatives compared to a state like Maryland which has two Metro and commuter rail lines for every one in Virginia.
To those concerned about oil spills, prevailing winds and currents will take such debris and move it into the Gulf Stream where it will harmlessly dissipate over the thousands of miles downstream before it hits Europe. Oil drilling off the East Coast makes sense even though the same thing may not make sense on the West Coast where any spills would be quickly pushed onshore. We should go for it, and I'm betting my vote that McDonnell will do so.

Posted by: ripvanwinkleincollege | September 25, 2009 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Are people lining up to take a dump in Irving Kristol's grave. Good riddance that lowlife died.

Posted by: August30 | September 25, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

I was okay reading this until the note about the "Suburban 6" - Gerson totally blows by Fairfax - guess they didn't count. Second, Wilder is an odd bird in Va politics - he plays his own game, never seems to really stump for anyone. Wilder hammered Deeds pro gun owner stance (note: WaTimes article tries to slant Wilder statement to primarily paint Deeds as a big taxer). I'm definitely not in Deeds campe but this column is pretty much just a rah-rah for McDonnell, like the Times. I'll have to point out that nobody but Deeds openly says he'd do what's needed to get transportation funds. McDonnell promises and Wilder stays in his corner. It'd be a heck of lot more interesting if McDonnell would tell how he'd help Fairfax get more than $250,000 a year to maintain roads for over 1 million people.

Posted by: southVAHmptn | September 25, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

On second thought, don't make any mean comments, or Gerson will run crying to his mommy :-(

Posted by: August30 | September 25, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

If a KOOK like McDonnell wins that is a LOSS for the entire nation.
His philosophy is anathema to Democracy.
He is a RADICAL RELIGIONIST and NOW is the time to put a permanent stop to the NASTY INFECTION that he represents.
He should be treated like a LEPER.

Posted by: Tomcat3 | September 25, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Gerson: You are whistling in the dark past the graveyard in the pathetic posting.

Virginia is, in many ways, a different place since McDonnell's SQUEAKER of a "win" 4 years ago -- by 350 or so, votes! We are more diverse, younger and less socially conservative.

But we are still VERY smart! We can read a graduate/law school thesis, written by a 34 year old adult man, attending the most conservative college in the US, examine the writer's legislative history and see a Theocrat in "Suburbanite's" clothing -- quite easily.

And, while we revere Doug Wilder as our former African American Governor, we know that occasionally Doug simply likes to yell, "Get off my lawn!" to fellow Virginia Democratic politicians.

As far as Sheila Johnson is concerned, as a woman, I am appalled by her defection and know I will NEVER spend a SINGLE cent in her spa or food businesses again. She has sold our bodies for -- well, we have no idea. I suspect we will learn the true story one day. If McDonnell manages to LIE his way into office, I hope Ms. Johnson will give the millions of $$ that will be needed to keep McDonnell's minions from trying to steal away our Constitutional rights to contraception and privacy.

Creigh hasn't changed any more than Virginia has; he, like our wonderful Commonwealth has been growing, evolving and just getting better and better! And Virginia is proud to be, for the 4th year in a row -- THE BEST GOVERNED IN THE COUNTRY. That title is from -- that well-known left wing rag.

Posted by: rebeccajm | September 25, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Gerson seems to be heading further and further out into whacky doodle land.

Posted by: walker1 | September 25, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

As jbanks noted, Wilder hasn't endorsed any Dems lately. But the Wingnuts still tout this as writing on the wall.

What's important is the writing on the thesis. McDonnell is a neanderthal who would deny birth control to women, force girls to bear children even in cases of rape or incest and thinks working woman are a detriment to the family... He should go back to the 1950s - and take Gerson with him...

Posted by: UNLISTED | September 25, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Gerson's (and other Republican's) wet dream is that any victory for a Republican, anywhere is a sign of impending collapse of the Obama Administration. A small drop in the polls is heralded as 'The End". A few right-wing whackos marching around shouting down people at meeting is a sign of "America's dis-satisfaction with Obama and is the first wave of a resurgent and energized Conservative base.

They're dreaming. The title should read, "How Republicans will be bit p[layers in the dramatic changes that Obama will bring to the country."

Republicans and their extreme anti-government and anti-regulation ideology screwed things up so badly it'll take decades to fix it.

Posted by: thebobbob | September 25, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

"moderates who lean Democratic but won’t support liberal culture warriors".

Good grief, Gerson. What on earth is a "liberal culture warrior"?? Someone that bombs abortion clinics? Hmmm... no. Someone that shoots abortion doctors? Hmmm... no. Someone that cheers the use of torture? Hmmm... no. Someone that wants a constitutional amendment to allow prayer in schools? Hmmm... no. Someone that wants a constitutional amendment to ban flag burning? Hmmm... no.

Again... can't the Post do better than this?

Posted by: CardFan | September 25, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

I don't live in VA and fully expect them to elect a wing nut like McDonnell.
I'd say that someone who thinks that people shouldn't have access to contraception, that women shouldn't work, and that public schools should be Christian schools is definitely a "culture warrior". Of course, to Gerson, those views are normal, so anyone who disagrees is a "culture warrior".
And don't give me the "he was young, his opinions have changed". He wasn't 18, he was 34.

Posted by: billy8 | September 25, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

It is a shame neither party fielded a palatable candidate (the Democrats especially so, considering the weight they seem to be placing on the Virginia gubernatorial election's overall significance). That Gerson considers McDonnell a moderate is no surprise. Earlier this week he advocated that young people marry before 27 (among other things). While McDonnell may have moments of fiscal moderation, his views on social issues are anything but moderate (I don't buy the "gee whiz I'm misunderstood" or "I have changed, really" defense re his views about women and birth control. While of course he loves his daughters and would do anything for them, it's the rest of us who are not related who should worry... These are not attacks on the man's personal character but rather consideration of his long-standing views and their potential legislative impact on our lives). Deeds is from rural, homogenous, gun-toting Virginia and has plenty of labor money to throw around but still he seems unable to garner the attention he would need to beat McDonnell. His lack of a well-defined platform (besides "don't vote for McDonnell") probably is key. While I will vote in November I have no idea for whom, at least not yet. Either way I probably will hold my nose when I do.

Posted by: VirginiaReader1 | September 25, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Well...after reading about a half dozen comment to the article it's painfully clear that most of you aren't even from Virginia, or have only lived in my state for a brief time. If you were Virginian true and through, you would know that most Virginians are conservative democrats or liberal republicans. We're turned off by extremist rhetoric from either the left or the right, and are primarily concerned with taxes, economic stability, and sound social services. It's a pity that all candidates have to pander to the NoVa carpetbaggers (yes, I went there; most of you in NoVa weren't born in Virginia, yet you hold all the cards in the political game). The bottom line is this: TRUE Virginians will only vote for a candidate who keeps taxes down, opportunities up, and proves that their first concern is to us, not their personal political ambitions (Tim Kaine). The simple fact is neither Deeds nor McDonnell have Virginia's best interest at heart. So, as par for the course, it becomes an issue of choosing the lesser of two evils rather than appointing the most qualified person to the job.

Posted by: mondaavi | September 25, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

I'll vote for Bob McDonnell because I'm sure he won't go to work every day trying to sabotage our economy.

Posted by: Curmudgeon10 | September 25, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

rebeccajm wrote: "And, while we revere Doug Wilder as our former African American Governor, we know that occasionally Doug simply likes to yell, 'Get off my lawn!' to fellow Virginia Democratic politicians."

Brilliant! This is a perfect characterization of Wilder's relationship to his party in the commonwealth. His endorsement would have been a nice-to-have, but its absence is by no means "How a Democrat Loses in Virginia." Sheesh, get a grip, Mr. Gerson. And go, Creigh Deeds!

Posted by: franklinmjohnson | September 25, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Pleased remember that Mr. Gerson, despite his claims to moderation, is still conservative and an evangelical Christian, as is Mr. McDonnell. Take that into account when judging his words.

Posted by: mahkee | September 25, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Gerson is going way out on a dangling
Republican limb with this rose colored
assessment for McDonell. Virginians are apt to be more independent and less ideological than most people. McDonnell was doing well until his thesis was published. Now he looks like a zelot in moderate clothing. Notice that he has yet to take back any of the positions he took in his thesis. So one has to conclude that he still very much believes in everything he wrote when he was 34. There is nothing wrong with having arch-conservative beliefs. It is wrong, however, to disguise your true core values from the general public in hopes of garnering votes from soon to be dissappointed citizens. Deeds has done little so far to win this election. But it is MCDonnell, not Deeds, who has done much to loose it.

Posted by: dzippere | September 25, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Warner did run and did govern in a non-ideological manner. Kaine has not. Kaine is a far left hack and has made that obvious.

Warner has been a disappointment as a senator, voting far too often along party lines - rather than for what is good for Virginia.

How does a democrat lose in Virginia? Simple. Align oneself with Obama and make incoherent statements about taxes.

Everyone with more than two brain cells can see that Obama's plans are going to destroy our economy and send us spiraling down a third world rat hole. But thats to be expected from a guy who has never held a job, never met a payroll, never produced a product and done little other than rabble rouse.

Tie yourself to that wagon and you are going off into the sunset. Alone.

Couple that with the signs that ACORN's vote rigging fangs have largely been blunted and democrats now have to run on substance.

Tough job, that one.

Posted by: VirginiaConservative | September 25, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Wilder did endorse Warner and Kaine because they campaigned saying they were not going to raise taxes. Wilder is a centrist, the only Dem Governor in VA over the past 40 years to not try and raise taxes, even during the recession in his term. But besides his outing of Deeds as a high tax fiscal liberal, Wilder is more the cannary in the coal mine. If he though Deeds was going to win, he would have held his nose and endorsed him. But with big Kaine donors like Shelia Johnson endorsing McDonnell and Randall Kirk staying neutral, the backlash against national Dems and McDonnell's well-run, policy centered campaign, Wilder knows what the outcome will be. No reason to tarnish his reputation as an election swayer when he knows where the breeze is blowing. Doesn't look good for Creigh.

Posted by: OldVirginian | September 25, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

I don't have a dog in the fight, but I would suggest that people being lured into the socially moderate stance of McDonnell would be well advised to read (or re-read) his graduate thesis. I know people can change, but I've never seen a candidate distance himself from his earlier beliefs like McDonnell has.

The only one who comes close is Mitt Romney, who went from Massachusets liberal to Southern conservative faster than David Banner could turn into the Hulk.

Posted by: EnemyOfTheState | September 25, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Shocker! Gerson is contemplating the Democrats losing in Virginia.

I'm trying to contemplate Gerson saying something complementary about a Democrat, any Democrat, ever. But it's impossible, because every time I read Gerson, it's partisan politics as usual. Deeds is "desperate" and "pathetic." McDonnell is "active" and "creative." You don't have to be familiar with the race to know which one is the Republican. Gerson fancies himself a champion of conservatives. But it's not about supporting conservatism. There are Democrats in Virginia (including Deeds) who support the conservative side on certain issues. But in Gerson's world, because they're Dems, they are always wrong.

Just like he did in his last job (as G.W. Bush's speechwriter) in the most politicized administration in U.S. history, Gerson writes to score political points.

Posted by: paul6554 | September 25, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Wow, I detect a man crush by Gerson on McDonnell. Mr. Gerson, did you perchance "run into" Mr. McDonnell at the bathroom at National Airport, Richmond International?

RepublicanLuv™ is in the air!

Posted by: VeloStrummer | September 25, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

I believe Governor Wilder made an absolutely brilliant decision for the benefit of Virginia. Having actually served as Governor of Virginia, he knows first-hand better than any of us who are bloviating in this column how tough it is, and what it takes, to be a Governor of a state.

Mr. Deeds has been a career state delegate/senator for the past 19 consecutive years and has gained no job experience or skills in leading a large workforce, in managing a budget, or in individually making tough decisions in any other arena. He has no actual experience as a government, military, or business executive.

Mr. McDonnell, like Mr. Deeds, has served in the House of Delegates, and he also worked for several years as Virginia’s Attorney General, leading 300 employees and managing a $30 Million budget. He prepared himself to serve as the Commander-in-Chief of the Commonwealth’s Armed Forces by having served 21 years as a leader in the U.S. Army and Army Reserve, and he worked as a corporate manager in a Fortune 500 hospital supply company gaining experience in the business arena.

Experience matters!

Posted by: VirginianforFreedom | September 25, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

"Former Democratic Virginia Gov. Douglas Wilder’s resounding non-endorsement of Creigh Deeds, the Democratic candidate this year, is an important moment in an important campaign. "

No it absolutely is not. I recently endured four years of Wilder's nutty reign as mayor of my fair town and if one thing is clear its that Wilder has gone INSANE in his old age. He is a crazy old b@st@rd who does things like evict the school board from city hall. This most recent act of nuttery is only important in the medical sense as we see how much Larry D. Wilder's mind has eroded.

Posted by: squier13 | September 25, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Black people do not run the world, they just think they do. True in Virginia and everywhere, yet a common illness.
One which is a fatal human social weakness caused arrogance. As pretty as he is, Obama is dangerous because he can't refrain from attemptimg to mightily encourage the re-making the United States in his image. That won't happen, but there may an enormous stuggle anyway while we all re-educate and acknowledge truth of our dependence on each other to survive. I can hardly wait for an American Indian to be elected...

Posted by: USDefender | September 25, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

"Deeds has been lured -- by desperation and McDonnell’s grad school thesis -- to the hard left on social issues."

Hard Left?

22% believe abortion should be illegal
2% have no opinion
76% believe that abortion should at least be legal under certain circumstances.

So in this case Gerson believes that 76% of Americans stance is a "Hard Left?"

And personally Gerson, if you can find anyone other than yourself, Bob McDonnell, and perhaps a few others who attended universities from the stone age, I don't think "Hard Left" will define a population who has no problem with women leaving the kitchen and the bedroom every once in a while.

Posted by: helloisanyoneoutthere | September 25, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Mondaavi can't define a "TRUE Virginian" --no one can because there is no such thing.

Virginia has one of the most regressive state tax structures around and an intractible General Assembly because of the number of no-tax-increase conservatives who fill the seats. We are experiencing a gradual degradation of public services and it will get worse.

I live in Va now; I was born & raised in NoVa. I'll be voting for Deeds because the last person I want in the Governor's Mansion is someone who attracts followers like "VirginiaConservative" and "VirginianforFreedom".

Posted by: VaLiberal | September 25, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

this is getting real.
hats off to anyone regardless of party to recognize that it is the wish of the people and the fight for their betterment that far exceeds satisfying one man or party simply for the sake of doing so.

obama brought nothing to the table as a candidate and because he delivered a good speech in 2004 that he had months to rehearse everyone seems to think that is sufficient to lead the country. obama is a poor speaker. he is good with rehearsed material and or a teleprompter but he is not the speaker i would use as an example of a great speaker. and great orators can dispense with or without notes. obama can not.

why should a state suffer under someone enforsing the obvious faults of obama?

hats off to the governor. my guess is he wants to endorse the republican but out of deference for party he restrained himself.

obama is on his way out.
anyone following him will be too.
the fault is theirs for not recognizing it.

Posted by: ChooseBestCandidate | September 25, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

It's about time the people are begining to wake up to the facts. Our government could care less about the people and are only concerned about growing our government. We need more McDonnell's.

Posted by: MOMLEE | September 25, 2009 5:28 PM | Report abuse

It's not surprising that Gerson is so fond of Fraud McDonald's. McDonald's is a ChristoFascist Taliban that would have American women in Burkas, leaving the men time to cruise airport toilets for hot man to man action. Tell me, Gerson. Does McDonald's tap his feet and use a wide stance like Larry Craig, or does he show you the wedding ring under the stall? Then again, does it matter? Tapping feet and waving rings under airport toilets is the new Republican mating call!

Posted by: VeloStrummer | September 26, 2009 12:42 AM | Report abuse

Douglas Wilder should now be thinking to himself, a sanctimonious, unchristian hypocrite like Michael Gerson thinks I took the right position. Hm. Could I be wrong? Well, he is wrong, because Wilder is now helping racists--yes, racists--like Gerson.

Posted by: greenm1 | September 26, 2009 1:21 AM | Report abuse

Let's face it, Virginia has a lousy choice for governor. Deeds is unclear on his positions and "Northern Virginia's own" (he lived here until he was 5) McDonnell's ideas are simply bad. This is no referendum on Obama, this is simply a race between two really bad candidates. This was the Democrats race to lose and the party put a lot behind Terry McAuliffe (a truly bad decision) and here we are. 8 years of good government are about to be undone.

Posted by: mdoughten | September 26, 2009 1:46 AM | Report abuse

I would encourage everyone to read McDonnell's thesis. It only took me a couple of hours one evening, and I found it both fascinating and profoundly disturbing.

Much has been made of his writing on working women, homosexuals, and fornicators, and that is shocking enough. What I found more disturbing was his overall view of the ideal society, which can best be described as a Calvinistic Puritanism. While many conservatives would like to take the country back to a time before Roosevelt, McDonnell would apparently like to take us back to a time before Rousseau. In fact, he says as much, citing Rousseau, one of the leading minds of the Enlightenment, as having a vision that is destructive to society. (p. 68)

He dismisses the separation of church and state as "folklore," and furthers that argument by saying, "Government at all levels must help create the legal and financial conditions to unleash the power of the church..." (P.62) He continues in this same vein when he argues that the First Amendment was intended to prevent any interference with religion by the government, but was never intended to prevent the church from exercising political power. While written in 1989, his thesis reflects a view of society that we, as a nation, rejected in 1789 with the adoption of our secular Constitution.

Mr. McDonnell is certainly entitled to his views, but it is disingenuous for him to claim that he has moderated them over the years. His record shows that his thesis has functioned as a blueprint for his political career. Furthermore, given the current climate within Virginia's Republican party, it is unlikely that he would be the Republican candidate, or that his supporters would be so enthusiastic, if there were any real evidence that his positions had moderated.

The endless commercials featuring his "working wife and independent daughters" are simply a distraction from the more disturbing views he seems to hold. For example, one of his ads cites a Post article as saying that it can find no evidence that he has ever proposed legislation to restrict the availability of contraceptives for married couples. But that misses the point entirely.

McDonnell has a law degree, so he apparently learned and is bright enough to realize that unless the Supreme Court overturns Griswold v. Connecticut, such a law would be patently unconstitutional, and pursuing it would be waste of time and effort. However, there is nothing in his record to indicate that he doesn't still think this is a good idea, or the appropriate use of government authority and power, or that given the chance he would appoint judges who would work to overturn that precedent.

Mr. McDonnell's thesis is easily found online. Instead of just talking about it, I would urge everyone to read it. It's probably the last thing Mr. McDonnell would would want.

Posted by: alert4jsw | September 26, 2009 2:23 AM | Report abuse

Wilder is a democrat to the bone. His non-endorsement of Deeds speaks volumes, which of course the union boss bought and paid for washington compost tries their damndest to bury. Deeds is a wimp, and a waffler, and not a serious enough individual for these very difficult times. Bob McDonnell is the right man at the right time..

Posted by: SMWE357 | September 26, 2009 5:49 AM | Report abuse

Gersen wasted alot of time and space with this column......the 'pube hack could have easily just said "Deeds is a democrat".....that's all Gersen ever really says anyhow .....

Posted by: seakeys | September 26, 2009 6:49 AM | Report abuse

While I certainly agree that Deeds is not a suburbanite and McDonnell is saying he is 'hard left on social issues' is a huge stretch - unless you think McDonnell is mainstream on social issues - a real stretch for a candidate who is reflexively against any advancement of human rights particularly those of the most intimate nature where govt should have the least say. Deeds real problem will be getting the vote out, he is just not an exciting candidate.

Posted by: mgferrebee | September 26, 2009 7:33 AM | Report abuse

Thanks Mr. Gerson.

As always, an insightful column.

I look forward to voting for Virginia's next Governor, Mr. Bob McDonnell.

Posted by: furtdw | September 26, 2009 7:34 AM | Report abuse

Paid political announcement by McDonnell for Governor.

Hi, I'm Bob McDonnell and I approved this ad, and I would just like to say praise Jesus for Michaell Gerson and his boss Fred Hiatt for supporting my campaign against women and gays. Women need to get back into the kitchen and we should jail and chemically castrate gays. Then Virginia will return to the glorious white Christian State it was before the bed-wetting, gay, Muslim, illegal Mexican, liberal, socialist, commie Marxists in NOVA took it away from the loyal Sons of the Confederacy. We just pray this in your name, amen.

Posted by: coloradodog | September 26, 2009 7:53 AM | Report abuse

What a surprise, the former bush speechwriter turned general all purpose republicon propagandist thinks the Democrat has "deficiencies." Would they include a 13th century worldview and a desire for theocratic elements in 21st century America? Everyone has flaws. But if you are starting from the right premis you often come to the right conclusion. If you start from bogus ideas, like the republicon party or the graduates of Pat Robertson University where McDonnel went to school, then you cannot ever get it right.

Posted by: John1263 | September 26, 2009 8:24 AM | Report abuse

In an abortion--at least in an abortion in the third month or later (and there are hundreds of thousands of such abortions in America every year)--a baby is torn limb from limb. Deeds is so for abortion that has bragged about supporting this barbarism. So who's the extremist?

Posted by: yourstruly1991 | September 26, 2009 8:51 AM | Report abuse


I guess you didn't have a chance to glamce over the Post editorial before writing your piece of right wing thrash.

Here's a newsflash: Gerson pans a democrat shamelessly and supports a right wing nut job. How could this be? Oh yeah, Gerson is a republican hack and will never let facts interfere with his rants.

Posted by: boblund1 | September 26, 2009 9:31 AM | Report abuse

I understand WaPo needs to be balanced but isnt integrity trumps balance.

Mr Gerson article is contradictory among paragraphs.

1)Deeds supports gun rights. Deed is Pelosi/Reid democrat. go figure.

2)Somehow Doug Wilder Ex Democratic governor seems to be The BFF of the right...If he doesnt endorse a candidate that candidate is not fit for Public office..Mr Gerson By that logic no republican running in Virginia for last 20 yrs is fit for public office.

3)BET co owner endorsed Bob Mcdowell. So african Americans are for Bob Mcdowell. dont drink Kool aid mixed with sprite. It throwas a pretty big punch.

4)Mcdowell is moderate...By Moderate you mean against abortin rights, had held views against working women till age 34(very conveniently used grad thesis yes grad thesis not age 20 but 34), bogus transportation plan...

5)Lets see angry...if u really look at deeds whether or not you angry with him or not nobody can say with straight face that deeds come across as angry...its good deeds is white or we would have insuniation about angry black men..

6)suburbanite...hmm lets see with bogus transtportation plan maybe this one will not stick to mcdoweell however hard you may try Mr Grshon.

Mr Greshon Please consider returning to emploement for GWB. We Miss Axis of Evil..Iraq Crusade...Mushroom Clouds metaphors..

Posted by: x1231 | September 26, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Gerson: You are overstating the importance of Wilder's endorsement. He is admired and disliked at the same time by large numbers of Virginians. The Deeds campaign has struggled, but he is certainly closing the gap at the right time. Today's Post completed shreds McDonnell's transportation plan. This will pay huge dividends in Northern Virginia, which will make or break the Dems this year. Ask folks in McLean, Arlington, Chantilly or Falls Church if Wilder's non-endorsement matters. They all have much more important and issue -driven concerns concerns to consider. i doubt that any of them will say , "Gee, I am voting for McDonnell becasue Wilder did not endorse Deeds."

Posted by: dcotterbr | September 26, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse

"The candidate who is suburban . . . is…a Republican."

If phonus-balonus sitcom-dad TV spots make a candidate "suburban," then McDonnell qualifies; otherwise, not so much.

But of course the real point of the Rev. Mike's little screed (and every other thing he writes) is LOVING THE FETUS. McDonnell LOVES THE FETUS just as the Rev. Mike does, and so the Rev. will lie-for-Christ until his tongue falls out to get McDonnell the job. Quite a sad excuse for a life, but the Rev. seems unable to imagine better . . .

Posted by: misterjrthed | September 26, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Wishful thinking, Gerson! Your "family values" guy is a complete Neanderthal. If Virginians have any sense (and they showed a lot of it by repudiating the "macaca" candidate), they'll vote for the Democrat.

Posted by: Gatsby10 | September 26, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe Lincoln fought a war to keep these pukes in the Union . By now we would be living in harmony with a black nationalist country on our southern border .

Posted by: borntoraisehogs | September 26, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

This is a thoughtful column by Michael Gerson.

You know the left is in trouble in the VA governor race when, for example, the responses to a column such as Mr. Gerson's are loaded with invective but little substance - emblematic of the entire opposition to Mr. McDonnell, who is an obviously experienced, well-rounded and credible candidate for governor.

So, if you can't make any real arguments, why try to argue?

Posted by: FreedomFirst2 | September 26, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Gerson you read the Wilder thing totally wrong, probably because you don't know much about the man. If you knew Wilder, then you would know everything he does is strictly about himself, not anyone else. His non-endorsement of Deeds is all about payback and has nothing to do with either candidate winning or losing the race on their respective campaigns. You might notice he mentions Deeds by name three times, McDonnell once, and "I" 13 times.

Posted by: squier13 | September 26, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

If Gerson is backing McDonnell then Deeds is definitely the man to vote for.

Posted by: dougharty | September 26, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Gerson, do you support balanced budgets? If so, why would you support a man who's transportation plan will increase the deficit? At least Deeds is honest by saying "If you want something, you have to pay for it." Too many Republicans are stuck in the philosophy of Voodoo Econmonics.

As far as drilling offshore is concerned I say to McDonnell, good luck getting that through the legislature. The tourist industry, the fishing industry, and the government Naval facilities are against this. Like I said, good luck.

Posted by: commentator2 | September 26, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Has McDonnell remembered yet whether he's ever had non-missionary sex? He thinks it's his business to know whether YOU have. At least, if you want to be a judge in the state's judicial system, he wants to know what you do in your bedroom.

Oh yeah, but that thesis was just a 93-page "academic exercise". Sounds like he's banking on Virginians to be even more gullible than George Bush took them for.

We're fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan. It is an insult to our troops to vote for one of them here at home.

Posted by: B2O2 | September 26, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

I'll vote for Bob McDonnell because I'm sure he won't go to work every day trying to sabotage our economy.

Posted by: Curmudgeon10 | September 25, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

WOW a Republican trying to claim a track another record of creating a robust economy.

Wow the Koolaide Sause must be flowing today..

Fei Hu

Posted by: Fei_Hu | September 26, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

If Gerson is backing McDonnell then Deeds is definitely the man to vote for.

Posted by: dougharty | September 26, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

WOW DOUGHATY the Perfect Comment...

I agree !!

Fei Hu

Posted by: Fei_Hu | September 26, 2009 4:29 PM | Report abuse

interesting curmudgen that you should think that Republicans are good for the state of Virginia's economy, considering that Forbes Magazine currently rates Virginia, the state run by a Democratic Governor, currently the number one state in the nation for doing business.

Apparently you and your candidate McDonnell are determined to change that. Curious why?

"Virginia #1 Business-Friendly State
While at NW Works Thursday afternoon, Governor Kaine also announced that for the fourth straight year listed Virginia as the most business friendly state in America!"

Go ahead and attack Forbes Magazine and its No.1 ranking; a magazine owned by ultra conservative Steve Forbes and family. And let us know why you would want to change that economic ranking.

Posted by: leichtman | September 26, 2009 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Why is it opinion writers are not beholden to basic rules of disclosure? Gerson was a paid up member of the Bush administration. This should be reflected as a disclosure at the end of his opinion piece so readers know that this has a partisan slant to it.

Posted by: Mikey6 | September 26, 2009 6:03 PM | Report abuse

This is one of the dumbest columns I've read in a while. To talk about winning the "Suburban Six" but not mentioning by how much nor mentioning what a money lead McDonnell had is just stupid. And what about Fairfax and Arlington Counties? They're not suburban? Does he get paid for this?

Posted by: rjma1 | September 26, 2009 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Should we take McDonnell/Gilmore's word? The same potty mouth that said he disavowed his own personal beliefs, yet his voting record, his proposed legislation over the last 18 years, his own words when attacking - I mean "witnessing" against a judge, show his word is suspect at best.

Deed's plan at least starts with the basics, puts everything front and center and proposes a hard push to the freeloader party to get transportation funding in place - Without taking away from the general fund.

McDonnell/Gilmore's plan relies heavily on taking money from the General Fund (which is already reeling from reduced revenues and forced budget cuts and layoffs) Relies heavily on fantasy, Offshore Oil Drilling will be in federal waters - Soooo -no taxes for Virginia there, Selling the ABC stores, which if they went private would cost the General Fund millions in lost revenue from ABC profits, which the state current gets 100 percent of, Face it, every step of McDonnell/Gilmore's plan is fatally flawed, Remember the plan from the 2005 General Assembly selling the Pocahontas Parkway and Dulles Toll roads?

The state wound up losing MILLIONS in revenue for an upfront payment (Which is long gone) and may end up losing more millions due to a "Guaranteed profits" clause in the contracts where the state has to make up any losses in profits to the AUSTRALIAN Consortium.

McDonnell/Gilmore's plans are worse than no plans.

Every election since 1975 in Virgina has borne out the truth about Virginia and freeloaders. For decades the citizens of Virginia have been told by the likes of Gilmore and crowd that there is plenty of money in the system, and Virginians can have everything they want - For Free! Hence "No Car Tax" got him elected as the freeloaders really thought someone else will come along and pay for government services- which they demand, and transportation - which they demand.

Yep, thirty years of voting the Freeloader party into office has brought Virginia to this current state of affairs.

Taxes are what pay for those government services the freeloader party promises to Virginians - But then they refuse to bill their supporters.

Well the transportation bill is due, and the freeloader party is once again, like a con-man evading a bill collector, making elaborate plans instead of facing reality.

Posted by: maxtor0 | September 26, 2009 7:39 PM | Report abuse

SO IT'S BACK TO barefoot and pregnant and hide behind a good haircut and snake oil.

If VA is dumb enough to vote for a Cleaver Family clone who can talk the talk, then we deserve it; if we want good government in the mode of Warner and Kaine (check out then a vote for Deeds is the way to go.

Most Virginians are sick of Macaca moments; 'no-car-tax' policy; and generally stupid GOP flacks. Ponder Gilmore and think about Allen and do the best thing; vote for Deeds.

Posted by: suzeq | September 26, 2009 7:56 PM | Report abuse

I find it strange that you are commenting at all on local politics. Your beef is to find a partisan Republican angle to push--against the odds of substance and fact.

This angle of attack on Keens is absurd, tries to dig more at his Dem base than any of the silly VA Republicans who believe they have a live warm body in McDonnell. McDonnell is not undone by his grad school essay. He is not qualified to serve as Gov of Virginia because his is a contemporary Republican and by, all public evidence, a Fascist. No joke using this word: just look at what the GOP leaders in the House and Senate have been saying these last 9 months!

Posted by: walden1 | September 26, 2009 8:07 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Gerson hit the nail on the head!

Posted by: djrhood | September 26, 2009 8:26 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Mikey6. Since when is Gerson "post-partisan"? The WP must really be envious of the NY Times for having David Brooks. At least, Brooks can think and make a valid argument. He's no partisan hack like Gerson.

Posted by: gtinla | September 26, 2009 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Does Gerson know it's funny for him to talk about anyone else's "deficienties"?

He wrote speeches for George Bush,
including the speech for
"mission accomplished" joke of history.

Hard as it is to wade through his silly twisted
stuff, this is among the silliest.

Posted by: whistling | September 26, 2009 9:18 PM | Report abuse

Wilder is way over the hill and has seemingly been a loner since running Richmond. He loves when people come a'courtin' though, from Bob McD to Obama.

Bobby McD is a very accomplished liar. He has no plan for actually funding the so-called transportation plan he has proposed, other than inviting Fluor and other landscRapers to use govt highway rights-of-way for their own profit. Will the HOT lanes even work? Doubtful, but whoever allows them is at least doing "something" to get elected (and paving more of NoVa), and will be gone before we all realize it's just one big pay-to-park fiasco.

Posted by: bogbug | September 26, 2009 10:21 PM | Report abuse

Can anyone tell me why NRA endorsed Deeds against McDonell for AG, then reversed itself this time around? I can't see as how either has weakened on the 2nd amendment. Are the Gun Boys at the NRA straying from "sportsman's" issues (again)?

Posted by: bogbug | September 26, 2009 10:27 PM | Report abuse

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