Not long ago, I argued that Democratic candidates ought to be trying to make transportation infrastructure an issue in areas where voters care about such things and where Republican anti-spending dogma was undermining projects, such as New Jersey, where Chris Christie rejected the new tunnel under the Hudson River.
In the debut debate yesterday in his Senate race against George Allen, Tim Kaine offered a clear reminder of why Barack Obama came very close to picking him as his running mate in 2008 -- he is about as loyal a defender as Obama could ask for. This is not much of a surprise -- I remember meeting with Kaine at the Democratic convention in Denver and being struck by just how strong his identification with Obama was.
When the Democrats seized control of the Virginia state Senate in 2007, then-Gov. Tim Kaine proclaimed that "Old Virginny is dead." Now that Republicans have, pending a likely recount, reclaimed effective control of the Senate—a 20-20 tie, with the Republican lieutenant governor breaking ties—the question is whether Old Virginny will storm back with a vengeance. And if so, what that will mean for the vice presidential prospects of Gov.
In some presidential cycles, an incumbent’s reelection strategy doesn’t matter all that much. When the economy is very strong (1984), the incumbent wins big; when it’s very weak (1932), he loses even bigger. And when a party chooses a nominee seen as outside the mainstream (1964, 1972), it suffers a crushing defeat. It’s possible that one or more of these circumstances could prevail next year. The economy could over- or under-perform current projections; the Republicans could choose a nominee who’s too conservative or lacks credibility as a potential president.
In the wake of defeats in New Jersey and Virginia, Democrats and the Obama administration are being advised to move to the center. I think the Republicans are well advised to take that advice, but I am not sure about the Democrats, and I am not sure what the "center" means in this case.
Republicans are proclaiming victory after their candidates won statehouses in New Jersey and Virginia. And well they should. These were both states that went for Barack Obama in 2008. But how much do these elections really say about Obama and the prospects of the national Democratic Party? Some network commentators, citing suspiciously high approval ratings for Obama in New Jersey and Virginia, claim the elections say nothing at all about the president and his party.
If Creigh Deeds loses today—and few candidates have hoisted themselves out of the kind of hole he’s dug—let it be known that the Commonwealth of Virginia missed out on having a very nice man in Richmond. “When you elect a governor, you elect not only their positions, but you elect their character, their heart,” declared Senator Mark Warner, to a gamely cheering crowd of about 150 in Alexandria’s Market Square last night.
Whenever I read the words, "You're not from around here, are you?" I automatically imagine them being said with a serious Southern--or at least rural--twang.