The Washington Post is endorsing Creigh Deeds, what a shock. I don't think it will mean as much as it did for him in the primary where the Post's attitude carries more weight than in the general. But still, this election has really laid bare what a disgrace the paper is and why the print media is losing money, losing jobs, and losing credibility every day. Allow me to explain.
I've been active in Virginia politics for four years now, starting right after the Kilgore-Kaine race. I've watched the McDonnell-Bolling dance from its very beginning, I took sides in it, and watched others as the two circled each other for three years. What became clear was that Bob McDonnell was never considered the right-winger, and he had formed an unspoken alliance with Tom Davis. McDonnell would back Davis for the Senate, and Davis would deliver NOVA to McDonnell in the convention. These were the rumors flying around. This was especially evident during the Transportation Compromise of 2007, where McDonnell backed the compromise that Davis had helped engineer with Tim Kaine and the legislature. I was a Bill Bolling man myself, having gotten over the idea that Tom Davis was a political genius watching him single-handedly crashing the local party around his wife's campaign in 2007. But the point of the story was that within the party, Bob McDonnell was never known to be the right-winger, especially compared to Bill Bolling. At least that was the perception among some of the cirlces I traveled, that between the two it was Bolling who was the more conservative.
Fast-forward one year, and the Washington Post has spent nearly all of its coverage attacking Bob McDonnell for his social views, supposedly defined by a thesis written 20 years ago. They have ignored his entire career as a professional, delegate, and attorney general. They have used this 20 year old thesis to create a Bob McDonnell that has never existed as a public servant, and defined him as a right winger in a way that many in his own party has never seen him as. Recognizing the mistake that Creigh Deeds has been as a candidate, someone born out of a the hatred fostered between Terry McAuliffe and Brian Moran rather than any sort of personal qualifications. Looking at it with even a short glance, its clear to everyone but the diest of diehard partisan that Bob McDonnell is far more qualified to be governor than Creigh Deeds. So like they have done so many times before, the Washington Post has taken it upon themselves to try and create a Republican boogeyman so Deeds, with his thin resume, can stammer and aw-shucks his way into the governorship.
In Jerry Kilgore and George Allen, the Post and its allies had an easy target for their smears. Both were Old Virginia, good old boys who did not connect with the New Virginia of suburban voters who weren't from Virginia and had very little connection to the gentile political past. Both also made catastrophic mistakes in their campaigns that fed the whispered narrative that they were too conservative and possibly even racist. It made it easy for the Post to give the coverage they did, to focus and define a Republican candidate by one remark, one paper, or one sentance and completely ignoring their entire career. In their 2006 bio of Allen, they spent all but a scant few paragraphs describing Allen's problems with race, ignoring his entire careeer. For McDonnell, they have done the same thing.
But this year is different, because Bob McDonnell is a product of New Virignia and its clear from poll after poll that the voters of the commonwealth feel McDonnell understands their concerns more than rural, hillbilly senator from Old Virignia. So The DCPost has been exposed this year for what it has been doing for years . . . bias journalism when it comes to Virginia. It was always known, but could never be proven because of how terrible our candidates have been and how incredible their gaffes have been. But McDonnell has committed no gaffes, and he represents nothing but the new suburban majority in Virginia.
So when the Post endorses Creigh Deeds because they claim McDonnell has taken the far right social terrian, its both laughable and a lie. McDonnell has barely breathed a note about social issues, instead he has spent the last 14 months putting together a message based on jobs. The Post claims McDonnell has never created jobs in his career, but what jobs has Deeds created? Its not so much that I feel like, "damn, the Post should endorse McDonnell." But its the reason why they are endorsing Deeds that is what makes them so exposed here. The very reason is one they created, and one that doesn't exist. What is interesting is that for nearly the entirety of McDonnell's tenur as Attorney General, there was near bipartisan acclaim for the job he did from newspapers, pundits, and legislators. He wasn't partisan, he wasn't ideological, and he wasn't obssesed with social issues. It just never happened.
McDonnell's victory that will come in November will be due to his tireless and excellent campaign that has articulated issues and policy exactly what Virginia is looking for. No matter what issue the Post tries to create on behalf of the candidate they now understand was a mistake to endorse.