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Fred Barnes has an interesting piece in the new issue of Weekly Standard. The headline is “Off-Year Blues… But next year, Republicans might be singing a happier tune.” Here’s one nugget from the piece that caught my attention:
“The last Democrat to win Virginia was Lyndon Johnson in 1964. Bush won the state in 2004 by 8 points. ‘The right Democratic candidate can win Virginia,’ Governor Tim Kaine said last week. ‘The wrong Democrat can’t.’ Kaine, a Democrat, has endorsed Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination.”
Is Gov. Kaine correct? If Democrats nominate Hillary Clinton, are they doomed to lose Virginia?
It’s an important question to consider following our party’s statehouse losses earlier this month. Democrats think what happened in the state elections are a sign of things to come. But in reality, it’s misplaced optimism by the other side to link the 2007 state elections to the 2008 presidential campaign.
This month’s state level elections were more of a house cleaning. Yes, we as a party need to cure what ills us in if we are to regain touch with Virginia voters. We need to reinvigorate the Republican brand in the Commonwealth. .
But I don’t see this being reflected in the presidential-level vote in Virginia. This was not an election based on national issues. And Hillary Clinton will not help Democrats here. Gov. Kaine is right – at least on this political matter.
I’ve been intrigued by some of the observations about the state of the Republican Party that appeared in the Virginia blogosphere after the state elections. Here are some postings that caught my eye:
Bearing Drift: “We’re in one of those change modes. It’s not an embracing of Democrat principles, because history also shows that once the voters get a taste of that, they prompt a Republican resurgence. People just want a shift, and today as long as it’s different, it’s alright.”
Bacon’s Rebellion: “The Rs have to convince voters that they’re both serious about fighting tax hikes and capable of addressing Virginia’s very real challenges. If what we hear from the Rs in 2008 is more politics of symbolism — flag burning amendments, prayer in schools, etc. — they will fail miserably. If they can advance an agenda that solves real problems and keeps spending/taxes in check, they can re-emerge as winners.”
As the finance chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia, I’m keenly interested in what the blogosphere has to say about the direction of our party. I also remain both an optimist and a realist. That’s why I agree with the following blogger who smartly observed:
X Curmudgeon: “If you go to the Wikipedia entry for “United States Presidential Election–2008” you’ll already see Virginia listed as one of about 15 battleground states. With 13 electoral votes up for grabs, Virginia is worth the fight.”
Yes, Virginia is worth the fight. And we will win it.