As an old football player, I’m only too familiar with the phenomenon of the “Monday morning quarterback.” But the Democratic party, and specifically, the Obama White House political operation, have a new variation: They’re now doing Monday morning analyses in advance of the game. And in the case of the Virginia Governor’s race, the Democrats seem engaged in Friday mourning for their candidate, R. Creigh Deeds.
Virginia’s Republican gubernatorial candidate, Bob McDonnell, holds a comfortable lead in every published poll. McDonnell seems to have weathered the worst that the Washington Post could throw at him. The Post dredged up McDonnell’s Master’s thesis, written some twenty years ago, and tried to hang its clumsily-worded themes around the mature candidate’s neck.
The Post stories--which they stretched out for nearly a week of extensive front-page coverage--suggested that Bob McDonnell had a problem with women in the work force. McDonnell mildly replied that his wife--mother of his five children--and his daughter either had been or were currently in the paid labor force. McDonnell’s ads featured his daughter as a serving Army officer in Iraq. The point of the attack--that McDonnell was some kind of Neanderthal--never really interested Virginia voters. And when Creigh Deeds focused on this “issue” in his relentless attack ads, the strategy merely earned him the unenviable sobriquet “dirty Deeds.”
Deeds’ campaign seems not to have caught fire this fall. White House political operatives--on condition of anonymity, of course, are trying to discount the loss they anticipate in the Old Dominion. “Deeds ignored advice, White House says” reads the latest front-page headline in the Post. If you’re the team quarterback in Virginia, that’s hardly the press coverage you need to see less than two weeks from game day.
The story details how Deeds failed to reach out to “several key constituencies” in Virginia. The Barack Obama campaign in 2008 was the first Democratic presidential campaign to carry Virginia since 1964, so those national Democrats had earned some bragging rights, they felt.
What a difference a year makes. Then, it was all hope and change. Barack Obama’s well-oiled campaign in Virginia operated smoothly from 82 local election headquarters. The McCain campaign had only one state headquarters operation, and it was co-located with the national campaign.