Rove, RoVa, NoVa--Make It Your Mantra!
Karl Rove knew what would happen. He told interviewers that he had special secret polls that told him so. The Republicans would hold on to both houses of Congress. Independents would sit out this election. And, of course, Sen. George Allen would retain his seat, courtesy of good Virginians who understand what Allen has done for them over many years in office.
The president's political guru was so certain of all this that he took time out of his busy schedule to enjoy the comedy stylings of the Washington Post's Style section. Rove also spent some time on Election Eve visiting on the radio with talk show host Hugh Hewitt. Rove told Hewitt not only that "we'll have a Republican Senate and a Republican House," and that "I feel very good about Missouri. Feel very good about Virginia," but also that the Style section's recent riff on the cultural differences between northern Virginia (NoVa) and the rest of Virginia (RoVa) revealed an essentially elitist mindset among Post journalists.
Here's the president's longtime political chieftain on the Hewitt show:
"Well, you know, it's interesting. The Washington Post, you've got to remember the mindset. Most of the people who are commenting on these races live inside the Beltway, and get the coverage of the Washington Post. The Washington Post coverage of Virginia is so elitist, it's unbelievable. They ran an article, which was one of the most revealing pieces of journalism I've seen. They ran it in the Style section, but the fact that the editors of the Post would consider this useful material....it contrasted Northern Virginia, NVA, with what they called the rest of Virginia, ROVA. And they said that language in Northern Virginia meant something different than the rest of Virginia. For example, they said in Northern Virginia, when you said the word lab, you were referring to your dog, your family dog. Whereas in the rest of Virginia, use the word lab, you were talking about the place where you cooked up methamphetamine.
Rove: And I think that is indicative of how the Washington Post, and hence, a lot of people who read the Washington Post, understand Virginia, which is only through the eyes of what's inside the Beltway in Northern Virginia. And George Allen was an accomplished governor of the state, and has served the state ably as both a Congressman and as a Senator, and people have not forgotten it.
We've discussed the NoVa/RoVa riff here on the big blog and quite a number of you agree with Rove about it, while others found it to be in good fun, and were happy to join in the game. Tuesday's vote only provided further evidence that Virginia is evolving into two distinct and polarized populations, one in the Washington suburbs (along with a couple of demographically related pockets around the state) and one in, well, the rest of Virginia. On the Webb-Allen race and on the marriage amendment, this is a state divided. Rove may not like it when those differences are described so starkly, and certainly the effort at humor entails exaggeration, irony and a host of other comedic tools, but the vote tallies from Tuesday describe a reality that even the president's political guru now must see, even without his secret magic polls.
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