we have a mixed bag, it seems. Kaine won decisively,
laying what we would call in this part of the world
an old fashioned a-whipping on Kilgore. Bolling took
the lieutenant governorís slot, and at this
writing it looks like McDonnell will be the attorney
general by a catís whisker, although Deeds has
laid on a team of lawyers for the recount. Heís
1500-1700 votes short, best I can tell. That works
out to something less than two votes per precinct.
And some folks think their votes donít count!
defer to the academics to give us the big picture
meaning on this one, but a couple of things did
stand out, even to my dullard sensibilities. For
starters, Bolling and McDonnell both out-polled
Kilgore significantly. You donít have to be the
brightest bulb in the marquee to know that some
60,000 Republican leaning voters stayed with the
colors down-ticket, but then split and went for
Kaine in the governorís race.
second thing that stood out for me was this ó
those NOVA and Tidewater suburbs that were supposed
to be so solidly Republican reversed field this time
and went Democratic, giving Kaine a margin of some
80,000 to 90,000 votes. And hereís the
shockeróhe would have still won without it! You
could take that margin away from Kaine and he still
around the state seemed to want to credit everything
and everybody but Kaine for his win. Some blamed it
on Bush. A few openly gave the credit to Warner. A
few Republican turncoats blamed it on Kilgore.
(Jerry should brace himself for the piling-on
thatís sure to come.) A few blamed his motherís
trouble out in Gate City. One or two even opined
that the weather somehow played a role in the Kaine
victory. Most of that day-after-the-fact wisdom may
have some validity, but it puzzles me that observers
seemed reluctant to concede that Kaineís was a
brilliant campaign. Hey, all winning campaigns are!
troubles didnít help Kilgore, thatís for sure.
Doesnít take Einstein to figure that out.
Warnerís popularity is in the stratosphere, no
question about that. No question that he nudged
Kaine up a few points. Larry Sabato says 10, and
heís a smart guy, but Iíd say thatís a little
high. If Sabatoís estimate of the bump is close,
how to explain the lack of coattail transfer where
Byrne and Deeds were concerned? Maybe it was just
that short, snappy jackets were the vogue in this
no mistake, Warnerís stock, as high as it was
before the election, is even higher now. Virginia is
the template for national Democrats now; Tuesday
night marked the beginning of Mark Warnerís run
for the White House.
course, Democrats everywhere were trying to see
great omens in the Virginia and New Jersey
governorship wins. Iím not familiar with the
dynamics in the New Jersey contest, other than the
fact that it was about twice as nasty and twice as
expensive as ours was ó most things in New Jersey
are ó but I would urge a little caution among
Democrats here in Virginia. Iím not sure that
weíve turned the corner yet, not sure at all that
we can read ďlet the good times rollí into what
Russ Potts out of this election and take out the two
stupid, overreaching death penalty commercials that
Kilgore put up against Kaine ó (Adolph is adios in
campaigns; you wonít here his name again anytime
soon) ó and this race looks a lot different on
Wednesday morning. Take Warner out of it and this is
a Republican sweep.
hey, you canít take these things out! They were
part of the deal! They were part of our fascination
with this thing we call Ďpoliticsí!
things reaffirm themselves after every election.
No matter what happens, when it is over, the winners
look like geniuses, and the losers look a lot less
so; and one of the dogs always catches the truck.
Both can be fun to watch.