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WTF, or, If Moran Had It So Wrong, Why Is Deeds Following the Same Playbook?

by: Catzmaw

Sat Oct 03, 2009 at 14:51:20 PM EDT

A few months ago after my candidate Brian Moran lost the primary I agreed to wholeheartedly support Creigh's candidacy.  Well, things happened and I have been distracted from that intention with pressing family obligations, but I retain a reputation among my friends and relatives as an opinionated busybody who thinks reading position papers and watching C-Span is jolly good fun.

Today, one of those confused friends turned to me for guidance in the Governor's race.  Here is what he wrote:  

Sorry to have to ask, but I bet you have an answer.

Does either of these pathetic losers even HAVE a platform? Judging from the ads, the only reason to vote for either of them is that the other one is so awful. Not one single word from either about what they'd do in office.

I'm considering voting for "none of the above," or for Pigasus. Or writing in "[my son's name]" ... at least he has some positive ideas...

Now, this was an interesting question, because the fact is that I HAVEN'T been paying that much attention.  No time.  But I've noticed what my friend noticed, which is that I'm really not hearing that much from the Deeds campaign that would make me - a likely voter with strongly Democratic leanings - want to vote for Creigh Deeds.  My answer is on the flip.

Catzmaw :: WTF, or, If Moran Had It So Wrong, Why Is Deeds Following the Same Playbook?
Here's what I wrote:

Well, believe it or not Deeds has a decent platform and plan for how to address the transportation issue in this state, but appears to be hampered by an incipient case of timid candidate syndrome brought on by acute fear of talking turkey about taxes.  He was successful in the primary by sitting back and letting McAuliffe and Moran beat each other up, but has not mounted an aggressive case for why he should be governor.  Rather than learn from the faults of the Moran campaign which focused almost exclusively on warring against McAuliffe, the Deeds staff instead appears to have wholeheartedly adopted the Moran approach of attacking McDonnell for his neanderthal social concepts.  All well and good to a point, but Northern Virginians don't care half as much about values issues as they do about the transportation crisis.  I'll bet you would never know - at least from the election ads we're seeing - that Virginia is facing NO funds whatsoever for roads in two years.  We won't have the cash.  Meanwhile, we're seeing a McDonnell campaign in Northern Virginia which is almost exclusively based on "vote for me, I'm from Fairfax County".

McDonnell is attacking Deeds for appearing to waffle on the issue of taxes.  He's playing apparently competing statements by Creigh to the effect that he won't support new taxes and then appearing to say he will.  ALWAYS with the taxes, these Republicans, and the Democrats are too timid to realize that the best approach is to say:  "Hells yeah, we need some freakin' taxes.  Y'all think these roads and our infrastructure are going to build and maintain themselves?  Y'all think Virginia will maintain its status as the best run state in the Union without some sensible solutions for our increasing gridlock and other impediments which affect our attractiveness to businesses thinking of relocating here?  What's wrong with a sensible approach wherein everyone benefits by putting a little bit in and getting a lot out of their investment?  Y'all think we can maintain our status if we adopt the McDonnell plan to CUT school funding and hamper our schools' reputations as some of the best in the nation?"

WHY is the Deeds campaign focusing on social issues and NOT on the real practical problems facing this Commonwealth?  Beats me, but any vote for anyone other than Deeds IS a vote for McDonnell and I know you won't want that.  Unfortunately, I don't think the Deeds campaign is going to get very far with a motto of "Vote for Deeds Because He's Not McDonnell", but given the failure of the campaign to really give us much more than that, it will have to do for you, my friend.

Just to make sure I had my facts straight I went to the Deeds website.  Sure enough, in the section devoted to transportation he's talking about how we should keep all our financing options on the table.  This is politi-speak for "yes, I'm considering the possibility that we might have to raise taxes."  Okay, fine.  Sometimes grownups understand that if they want something of value they have to pay for it.  They understand robbing Peter to pay Paul - the McDonnell method - is a lousy way to run a family budget, so can't possibly be a good idea for government administration.  When did we adopt the idea that taxes, ALL taxes, of whatever amount and for whatever purpose are always bad?  Do we really think that voters are so stupid they can't be given good, solid reasons why they might want to vote for the guy who's open to all possibilities over the guy who starts out by saying we should pay for the roads on the backs of our children and our public safety?  

For crying out loud, someone in the Deeds campaign needs to kick it up a few notches and start telling Virginians the truth.  Stop shying away from the "T" word.  If we are currently one of the best run states in the nation then there isn't a lot of fat to be cut away.  Where are the ads telling Virginians - one adult to another - that we are facing some huge future problems and the only way to deal with them is to KEEP all our options open instead of tying one hand behind our backs and trying to solve them that way?

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So, how should Deeds do it?
I've talked to dozens of undecideds, and lots of them are under the impression that Deeds will raise taxes - which is a turnoff for them.  I usually respond that: a) he hasn't said he'll raise taxes, he's just keeping all options on the table, and b) the argument that if you want something, you'll have to pay for it.

I think if Deeds really wants to talk taxes, he should explain just how much it would cost per Virginian to fund our transportation projects.  My guess is that it wouldn't be an unreasonable amount.  I haven't met anyone that's being taxed to death here.  

I also agree that the anti-Bob campaign is not going to be enough to put Deeds over the top.  Creigh is going to have to get more aggressive but also more substantive.  

If he's going to go negative, then maybe more emphasis
on the plan to dip into the general fund.  I think the ramifications of McDonnell's proposals have to be more starkly presented.  There should be more blunt talk about the challenges facing Virginia, especially in transportation.  Creigh should emphasize that this crisis has to be resolved or else we're all in trouble, and he can emphasize that there are a number of ways to fund these repairs.  He should also meet some of McDonnell's proposals head-on.  McDonnell is acting as if selling all the ABC stores will miraculously provide the funding needed.  How is that possible?

[ Parent ]
Unreasonable amounts
I think it depends on the problem you are trying to solve.  If it is just to match federal dollars or maintain the existing infrastructure, that is not a lot.  And I think most voters equate reasonable to perceptible.  To really put a dent in congestion though, that would be well above the perceptible threshold (based on the last estimate we have anyway).  

[ Parent ]
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