This is no big surprise for anyone who has followed the FLS editorial board:
Mr. McDonnell is articulate, certainly a virtue in leadership (recall George W. Bush’s chronic incoherence and its incurred cost in popular support). Mr. Deeds is not a confident speaker, giving the impression that he is confused by complexity or fears candor.
Also, Mr. McDonnell is more positive. He has run his share of absurd attack ads, but, unlike his rival, hasn’t made vilification a campaign theme.
Executive capacity? Mr. McDonnell not only proficiently ran the A.G.’s office, but also, after serving four years on active duty, retired as a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve. Mr. Deeds lacks this command pedigree.
And consider how the candidates have changed. A socially moderate lawmaker, Mr. Deeds, perhaps to better contrast himself with the scholar of Regent University, has adopted the fringe-feminist view of abortion–it is all about the woman, buster!–and pandered to the gender-obsessed by pledging a Cabinet half-female. Mr. McDonnell recently flipped a position, too–but for the better. He now favors (like Mr. Deeds) a “scientific” redistricting plan to end the gerrymandering that protects the majority party and incumbents from the horrors of democracy.
It would seem as if the early strategy — to go for suburban women voters — was a bit too heavy-handed internally on the Deeds campaign for the tastes of suburban Fredericksburg. McDonnell’s planning trumped Deeds’ screeds.
Goes to show that it’s not all about what the polls are telling you either. Of course, I’m not entirely sold that Virginia will be a referendum on Obama’s presidency, either. Deeds has run a horrible campaign — perhaps the worst seen in modern Virginia political history.
Quite a feat, and I’m not so certain it’s Creigh Deeds’ or his campaign manager Joe Abbey’s fault. We’ll wait for that story to come out after the election.