The Washington Post has again endorsed Senator Creigh Deeds for Governor of Virginia.  Ironically, it appears that Mr. Deed’s courageous stance  that he would not rule out a dedicated transportation tax  solidified his endorsement.  His opponent, Attorney General Bob McDonnell, has proposed a hodge podge of ways to cannibalize various state services like education, health and public safety. 

The entire Washington Post endorsement may be read:

A LEGACY of sound policies, coupled with the proximity of the federal government, has partially protected Virginia from the harsh retrenchments that the recession has forced on many states. Yet the commonwealth faces a daunting crisis in the form of a drastic shortfall in transportation funding, measured in the tens of billions of dollars, that threatens future prosperity. If the current campaign for governor has clarified anything, it is that state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds, the Democratic nominee, has the good sense and political courage to maintain the forward-looking policies of the past while addressing the looming challenge of fixing the state’s dangerously inadequate roads. The Republican candidate, former attorney general Robert F. McDonnell, offers something different: a blizzard of bogus, unworkable, chimerical proposals, repackaged as new ideas, that crumble on contact with reality. They would do little if anything to build a better transportation system.

There are plenty of reasons why Mr. Deeds is the better choice for governor in the Nov. 3 election. He has stood with Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, the incumbent, and his predecessor, now-Sen. Mark R. Warner, in support of the sane fiscal and budgetary choices that have made the state one of the best-governed and most business-friendly in the nation. Mr. McDonnell has generally spurned those policies, most notably by opposing Mr. Warner’s landmark tax package in 2004, which attracted bipartisan support as it boosted public safety and education and protected the state’s finances. Mr. Deeds has compiled a moderate record on divisive social issues that reflects Virginia’s status as a centrist swing state. Mr. McDonnell has staked out the intolerant terrain on his party’s right wing, fighting a culture war that seized his imagination as a law student in the Reagan era.

But the central challenge facing Virginia and its next governor is the deficit in transportation funding projected at $100 billion over the next two decades — and only Mr. Deeds offers hope for a solution. Following a road map used successfully in 1986, he would appoint a bipartisan commission to forge a consensus on transportation funding, with the full expectation that new taxes would be part of the mix. Mr. McDonnell, by contrast, proposes to pay for road improvements mainly by cannibalizing essential state services such as education, health and public safety — a political non-starter. And rather than leveling with Virginians about the cost of his approach, as Mr. Deeds has done, Mr. McDonnell lacks the political spine to say what programs he would attempt to gut, or even reshape, in order to deal with transportation needs.

Mr. Deeds has run an enormous and possibly fatal political risk by saying bluntly that he would support legislation to raise new taxes dedicated to transportation. It is a risk that neither Mr. Kaine nor Mr. Warner felt they could take. But given that the state has raised no significant new cash for roads, rails and bridges in 23 years, Mr. Deeds’s position is nothing more than common sense. It is fantasy to think that the transportation funding problem, a generation in the making, will be addressed without a tax increase. A recent manifesto from 17 major business groups in Northern Virginia, calling for new taxes dedicated to transportation, attests to that reality.

Yet Mr. McDonnell, champion of a revenue-starved status quo, remains in denial. He professes to feel the pain of Virginians struggling with financial hard times. In fact his transportation policy, a blueprint for stagnation and continuing deterioration, would subvert the state’s prospects for economic recovery and long-term growth. And it would only deepen the misery of Northern Virginia commuters who already pay a terrible price — economic, personal and psychological — because of the state’s long neglect of its roads.

Gleeful Republicans, convinced that Mr. Deeds has dealt his own candidacy a lethal blow by his stance on taxes, have seized on it as evidence that Mr. Deeds is heedless of the financial strains on ordinary Virginians. A recession is no time to raise taxes, they say; never mind that any solution is unlikely to be in place until recovery is underway. Of course, these same Republicans, Mr. McDonnell included, screeched about the Warner tax increase, first calling it unneeded (during a short-lived budget surplus) and then — when it began to look inadequate — preferring not to talk about it. In Mr. McDonnell’s view, there is never a good time to invest adequately in the state’s critical infrastructure.

Mr. Deeds has been broadly criticized, not least by stalwarts of his own party, for putting too heavy an emphasis on negative ads about Mr. McDonnell and failing to make an affirmative case for himself. If so, it reflects a failure of campaign strategy and tactics, not a lack of raw material. In fact Mr. Deeds — a decent, unusually self-effacing man who calls himself “a nobody from nowhere” — has a compelling life story and an admirable record of achievement as a legislator from rural Bath County.

As we noted in endorsing Mr. Deeds in June’s Democratic primary, his record in the legislature ably blended the conservative interests of his constituents with an agenda reflecting the prosperous, politically moderate face of modern-day Virginia. He has been a longtime champion of a more enlightened, bipartisan system of drawing voting districts, a stance to which Mr. McDonnell only recently gravitated. He has played a constructive role in economic development by shaping the Governor’s Economic Opportunity Fund, which provides incentives for investors in Virginia, and he has stood for responsible environmental policies, including green jobs and alternative energy research. Despite his rural roots, Mr. Deeds has been ideologically flexible enough to support abortion rights; press for background checks on firearms buyers at gun shows; oppose displaying the Confederate flag on state license plates; and warm to equal rights for homosexuals.

As for Mr. McDonnell, he deserves credit for having run a disciplined, focused, policy-oriented campaign. As a candidate, a statewide official and a lawmaker, he has maintained a civil, personable manner. His intellectual agility, even temper and facility with the grit of policy have inspired the respect of colleagues, staffers and rivals. He is a dexterous politician.

Our differences with him are on questions of policy. The clamor surrounding his graduate dissertation from 1989, in which he disparaged working women, homosexuals, “fornicators” and others of whom he disapproved, has tended to obscure rather than illuminate fair questions about the sort of governor he would make. Based on his 14-year record as a lawmaker — a record dominated by his focus on incendiary wedge issues — we worry that Mr. McDonnell’s Virginia would be one where abortion rights would be curtailed; where homosexuals would be treated as second-class citizens; where information about birth control would be hidden; and where the line between church and state could get awfully porous. That is a prescription for yesterday’s Virginia, not tomorrow’s.

Mr. McDonnell has inspired a worthwhile debate over privatizing liquor sales in Virginia, one of 18 states that control the wholesale and retail trade in spirits. But by suggesting the state could use the proceeds of privatization as an ongoing funding source for road improvements, he has played fast and loose with the facts — first by plucking projected revenue figures from thin air and second by glossing over the question of what state services he would cut if the $100 million currently gleaned from annual liquor sales could be diverted for transportation.

Mr. McDonnell has sought to corner Mr. Deeds by focusing on debates in Washington over energy policy, labor union membership and other contentious federal issues. But a governor of Virginia can do little to influence the ideologically charged debates raging on Capitol Hill. Mr. McDonnell also has claimed he would be more effective at creating jobs. Yet while Mr. McDonnell has been an activist public servant, he has no significant record, either as a lawmaker or as attorney general, of promoting policies to encourage job growth.

Mr. Deeds, lagging in the polls, lacks Mr. McDonnell’s knack for crisp articulation. But if he has not always been the most adroit advocate for astute policies, that is preferable to Mr. McDonnell’s silver-tongued embrace of ideas that would mire Virginia in a traffic-clogged, backward-looking past. Virginians should not confuse Mr. McDonnell’s adept oratory for wisdom, nor Mr. Deeds’s plain speech for indirection. In fact, it is Mr. Deeds whose ideas hold the promise of a prosperous future.



92 Thoughts to “Mr. Deeds for Governor”

  1. Opinion

    Elena… it’s MOST important that folks like you read Beck’s book so you may articulate why many of his ideas are so dangerous. It is difficult to argue about that which we don’t understand.

    Like I said, a good bookclub topic as long as all are searched for weapons at the door. I honestly believe there will be a hotly contested election in 2012. We need to start influencing the outcome now. Step 1, understand the power brokers.

  2. Moon-howler

    Opinion, I am in total agreement with Elena. I would rather be waterboarded than to read him. I do watch him, as an intellectual pursuit. Does that count for something?

    Old whoremonger Dick Morris has best sellers too–speaking of someone being the poster child for the term ‘turncoat.’

    Opinion, you and I both agree on the concept of ‘know thy enemy.’ That’s why I watch. It is important. I will see if I can muster up the …courage…to read him. but you are right. He is new new kid on the insanity horizon.

  3. Opinion

    On the other hand, M-H And Elena, if you really prefer water boarding, I can give you both a referral… and perhaps arrange a discount for two.

    Watching him does count; however, his latest book is actually a fun read which makes it quite accessable to a wide range of people. Like I said, he’s a smart guy. His discussion of the Constitution is (IMHO) excellent.

  4. Moon-howler

    He sure has the art of entertainment down to a fine science. He certainly appeals to a certain type of person. Of course, so did you-know-who. (He who shall not be named on this blob)

  5. Moon-howler

    Anti Voldemort?

  6. Opinion

    The really great politicians were also great entertainers! Figuring out what he plans to do with his wealth and power is the interesting part.

  7. Emma


  8. Moon-howler

    I guess they had to be. They had to entertain the masses and get the masses to vote for them.

    Whoremonger comes fromhis Clinton staffer days and why Clinton fired him.

  9. Slowpoke Rodriguez

    Beck is dangerous…to the left!

  10. Moon-howler

    Beck is dangerous to the left,the right, and the middle. Slowpoke, you never acknowledge the middle. everyone left of you is far left.

  11. Emma

    Of course, Beck, Hannity and Limbaugh are showmen who occupy their time slots to bring ratings to their networks. If they were nothing more than Joe Middle-Of-The-Roads, no one would watch/listen.

    Obviuosly, someone is watching/listening.

  12. Emma

    “Obviously,” I’m trying to type without my reading glasses. My bad.

  13. Opinion

    Since lots of folks are speculating about what Glenn Beck is, here’s the answer:,8599,1924348,00.html

  14. TWINAD


    Comment on Glenn Beck…LOL! And I totally agree.

    Deeds absolutely has my vote.

  15. Elena

    I do see your point now. The thought of contributing to Becks lunacy concerns me though. I’ll see if I can get it from the library.

  16. Firedancer

    Also today in the Washington Post there was a listing of the highest campaign donors to each candidate. The Washington Redskins donated $50,000 to McDonnell. That doesn’t seem right. Do sports teams support political candidates?

  17. Opinion

    Thank you (re Beck’s book). I think of History’s tyrants, lunatics, and despots who rose to power and how things might have been a bit different had we listened to them rather than ignore them to be intellectually armed to stop them. I would like to take our Country back… not lose it completely.

  18. Opinion

    To get back on the subject of this thread (that ties to the Beck discussion), we have all read McDonnell’s thesus (his plan for taking Virginia backwards) yet it still looks like he might be our next Governor. Is there a lesson here? Does charm, superior speaking abilities, a few empty promises, and good hair trump all else?

  19. Last Best Hope

    I like to compare Glenn Beck to Jerimiah Wright. Both have devout followings that are limited to a certain ethnic affinity, and, outside of such narrow minorities, both are only interesting to the extent that their antics damage the politicians they haplessly aim to support.

  20. Moon-howler

    I don’t see that comparison, LBH. Have you watched Beck?

    Opinion, I totally agree with you about knowing those who would overly influence our county. I have been laughed at for years for listening to people who were ‘unlikely’ to have an audience like me. Have you read Beck’s new book? We are counting on you to fill us in. I will watch if you will read.

  21. Opinion

    I have Beck’s book in front of me… and will fill you in.

    Last Best Hope I suggest you read that Time article (link above) before drawing any conclusions about Beck. There are a lot of unhappy folks in this Country looking for someone to tell them what they want to hear. We have seen that pattern in History before many times.

    M-H, you asked the right question when you asked LBH if he ever watched Beck. I’m surprised how many folks I talk to (and I talk to quite a few folks about political issues) hate Beck (I won’t tell you what one gentlemen compared me to just for buying the book) while having never actually watched him or read anything he wrote as a matter of “principle”. They prefer to draw their conclusions from youtube snippits, the traditionally liberal press and Beck’s opponents (Olbermann, Maddows, etc.) I’m a “news junkie” and watch both sides (Fox & MSNBC). I do like Blitzer’s Situation Room on CNN and the BBC for real news).

    Stay tuned…

  22. Gloworm

    Big Surprise, Glad to see you back to blogging though, You seemed to have lagged when the Washington Post poll showing McDonnell+9 came out, Don’t blame you, this race has been boringly dominated by McDonnell, Too bad the McDonnell campaign wouldn’t release the “Gus Deeds Meltdown” tape. It would have given us some meat to feed on

  23. Gloworm

    Like the new handle? I think it’s catchy, I’m a light in a dark world…

  24. Gainesville Resident

    Slowpoke Rodriguez :

    Opinion :
    I’ll admit it, I’m voting for Deeds because he’s not McDonnell. I prefer “Deeds, not words”.
    I just don’t trust guys with hair that great, a perpetual smile, lots of easy solutions who run for office.

    That’s fair. I had to hold my nose and vote McSame because he wasn’t Hussein. The second sentence, I thought you were talking about Johnny “Beefcake” Edwards for a moment!

    Either that, or ex-Gov Baglovadech (or however you spell his name) – talk about “great hair”!

  25. Last Best Hope

    It’s true, Opinion, I have seen clips of Beck just as I have seen clips of Jeremiah Wright. Both were shown to me for the same reason: to discredit a political party or a political candidate. I do not subscribe to the racial antagonism that is at the heart of either man’s paranoid delusions, and am thus not inclined to learn more about their genesis or their aims. Those what show me clips of Beck and Wright are seeking to discredit the Republican Party, or discredit the President. Other than that, there is no interest in the theology of such men, other than within the very narrow confines of their respective churches. That is how it should be.

  26. Opinion

    @Gainesville Resident
    Baglovadech (or however you spell his name)! Another great example of what I like to call the “great hair” syndrome!

  27. Opinion

    @Last Best Hope
    LBH, just curious… have you read the book with the same title (The Last Best Hope by Joe Scarborough)? A GREAT book that probably best captures my personal political philosophy (with a few exceptions not worth introducing here). Some folks are pushing a Petraus/Scarborough ticket for 2012… I would pay attention to that one.

    Joe doesn’t think much of Beck either; however, he did read the book. I’m afraid I just don’t find your opinion really that interesting because its based on watching a “narrow confine” created by others who want to decide what you think. I prefer to draw my own conclusions.

    But I’m ok with your approach… there’s room for all of us.

  28. Moon-howler

    The problem with just watching clips of Beck is that you usually just see his extreme side. You don’t see the likeable side of his personality which is ‘the hook.’ I don’t hate Glenn Beck. He has a very likeable, psychotic side. He has self deprecating humor and he appears humble. He is a strange phenomena but not one to be taken lightly.

    While Rush Limbaugh is nasty and sneering, Glenn Beck has a different appeal and one that is far more dangerous, in my opinion.

  29. Moon-howler

    Speaking of Rush, I have been enjoying the whining I have been hearing. First off, Rush Limbaugh is whining that no one wants him and therefore his football team purchase is out. Well…why is he surprised that he is seen as too controversial? He has made millions off of being ‘too controversial.’ Now he is whining. Rush, grow up.

    Fox News is also whining because they are locked out by the White House and are trying to justify past behaviors. Whine! Day after day the ‘news casters’ get up and berate, throw in their own comments, do everything they can to run down the Obama administration. Now they are whining about the shabby treatment they receive and trying to downplay their own role in what has happened. They also need to suck it up and stop whining. No, it isn’t just their commentators and opinion folks.

  30. Opinion


    While Rush Limbaugh is nasty and sneering, Glenn Beck has a different appeal and one that is far more dangerous, in my opinion.

    Absolutely agree, M-H! I think you summed it up nicely with your “…very likeable, psychotic side…comment. That’s a dangerous combination in the wrong hands.

  31. Opinion


    I would love to see Rush PLAY football WITH any NFL football team. I would pay to attend that event.

    You know, I believe that Fox news is important to the survival of the Republic. The historically liberal media tends to give the White House a pass (ignore acorn, overlook Ayers, to name a couple). While Fox is “off the charts”, they do serve the watchdog function that the Founding Fathers intended. You don’t have to watch Fox news as a primary news source (personally, I watch BBC at 7:00 and 10:00); however, I’m glad they (Fox) are watching the current administration.

    History has taught us that the first thing tyrants do is shut down opposition press. I am not a fan of such initiatives. I AM an Obama fan (although I’m watching that Petraus/Scarborough ticket evolves); however, I do not agree with their strategy of shutting down the only real opposition press out there. In a Democracy where free speech is protected by the 1st Amendment, What do they have to hide?

  32. Moon-howler

    I don’t think that ‘Acorn and the White House’ is really a story. I don’t think that Bill Ayers and Obama is really a story. The story has had the life breathed into it by Fox News. That doesn’t make it real.

    Fox News invents things. They comment throughout ‘news’ which shouldn’t be happening. They haven’t been shut down. The administraton just choses not to deal with them.

    My real problem with Fox is that it creates so many ignoramouses. I know people who live and die by what they see on Fox. It forms their entire political opinion. There is no CNN or BBC to balance things. I have also seen things stepped up considerably since Obama got in office. The election was interesting also.

    This isn’t honest reporting of events. This is making the news. I disagree that anyone is being shut down. In fact, Fox is gaining momentum from their controversy with the White House.

  33. Opinion

    While you make many valid points, I must point out that those ignoramuses are all voters… and some of them simply disagree with us (on some things). We certainly can’t count on MSNBC to keep the Whitehouse honest.

    By the way, I was talking more about Acorn in general. I watched Beck’s coverage. He actually focused on Acorn with the White House connection as an interesting detail. Acorn has been cited so many times for questionable activities (advising pimps how to set up and finance Child Prostitution businesses in more than one city being the latest – all captured on film) that (IMHO) they deserve to be examined (and certainly don’t deserve our tax dollars). The mainstream press passed on this story entirely.

    I do feel sorry for people who “live and die” by any one network or commentator’s opinion… I prefer to draw upon multiple sources and then develop my own opinion. I’ll admit that I occasionally throw Fox into that mix… with an understanding of their perspective.

    I am surprised no one has brought up Rupert Murdoch, the owner of Fox (and many other news outlets), in this conversation. He is truly the “puppet master” behind O’Reilly, Beck, Hannity, and the rest of the Fox faces yet he manages to avoid being the story… he IS the story. If you haven’t looked into his ideology, I strongly recommend a quick goggle search (and perhaps… dare I say it… another book). “Inside Murdock’s Brain” is the latest book about him; however, there are many others (representing a variety of perspectives). For a shorter introduction to Mr. Murdock, I suggest

    Note that I picked a Progressive website for maximun effect. Google will give you a bazillion other choices for information… all of it (of course) biased and suspect. My opinion, he makes Beck Look like “saints” by comparison. Murdock is the real threat to the Republic.

  34. Moon-howler

    Yes he is and somehow he does avoid being the story. The Foxites try to make George Soros the anti Christ. Really I think we might have 2: Murdoch and Soros. What a concept.

    Very interesting article, Opinion. Very detailed. I learned a lot. I particularly liked the Murdoch time line.

    Yes, he is dangerous. Definitely the puppeteer. I can see a cartoon forming in my head at the moment.

    And yes, all those ignoramouses are voters. And they refuse to listen to anything else. I bet I know 20. I take heat here for listening, but I want to know the contrarian side. I do a fix of real news later in the day.

    Interestingly enough, I have been hearing that Greta is ‘fair and balanced’ in the defense of Fox whining fest. I think Greta has gone over to the dark side. I would have agreed a year and a half ago. Now I think she is just as bad as the others.

    The fact that we know all these people’s names speaks volumes….

  35. Opinion

    Murdoch and Soros… what a ticket for the White House in 2012!

    I never really watched Greta… I do watch Sheppard Smith occasionally. he actually strikes me as a good reporter.

  36. Moon-howler

    He generally keeps his opinion mostly out of things. Greta used to be a good reporter. She is way too opinionated now, in her line of questioning. It is more like ‘when did you stop beating your wife’ I have been disappointed in her for sure.

  37. Moon-howler

    It seemed to start when she got directed to go worship Sarah Palin. It has not let up at all.

  38. Opinion

    Sarah Palin…. no… I’ve used up more than my fair share of the blog this time around… next time.

    I can’t help myself… I wouldn’t be surprised if she came to Virginia to support McDonnell (but he probably doesn’t need her help).

  39. Moon-howler

    LOL use as much space as you would like, Opinion.

    Sarah Palin is a cult or something. I haven’t figured her out. I like First Dude though. 🙂

    She might come to VA to help out McDonnell. I see where Lowell on Blue Virginia is questioning McDonnell to see if he shares his mentor Pat Robinson’s view on creationism. Shudder.

  40. Opinion

    Thank you, M-H. You are always the gracious host.

  41. Opinion

    A forum for civil conversation amongst people who may disagree on some issues is surprisingly hard to find these day. (IMHO) that’s a problem that puts our Republic at risk.

  42. Moon-howler

    Oh it certainly does pose a serious problem.

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