The 2009 election is only minutes away from ending, but I wanted to get a head start on 2013 by endorsing Ken Cuccinelli for Governor four years from now.
As I explained last night, Deed's defeat came down to three strikes.
The problem for the Republicans is that they can't count on the "Creigh Effect" in 2013. As noted by other Democrat pundits, Deeds actually helped depress his own base with his campaign. Sure, we knew that a lot of the first time Obama voters weren't going to come out again in 2009. But Deeds, by attacking health care reform and cap and tax, actually alienated liberals! Democrats will be sure to nominate a liberal in 2013, meaning that one of the three strikes against Creigh will be off the table.
This should help the Republicans win over moderates and independents though, right? Maybe, maybe not. The problem is that our soon to be Governor-elect is facing a historic fiscal crisis after eight years of Democrat rule. McDonnell will be facing a budget in shambles and will be forced to cut spending. Eliminating waste from the state budget is good but there's always the risk of offending special interests who can then whip up voters into a frenzy. Difficult choices will be made and McDonnell and the GOP will have to defend them. But unlike Mark Warner, who was able to raise taxes due to RINO support like Rob Hurt, McDonnell won't get political cover from the Democrats. Independents and moderates will prone to Democrat attacks claiming that McDonnell is cutting funding to "vital services." Just look at how Clinton bounced back from 1994 to win reelection in 1996.
So two of the three strikes will be gone. And let's add another strike . . . one against Republicans. Demographics. We'll have four more years of the same demographic trends that have made Virginia less red and more blue. More liberal dependents on the federal government in Northern Virginia. More youthful Obama voters. Maybe even a bumper crop of illegal immigrants granted amnesty by Obama next year?
The only hope for Republicans will be to nominate a Republican candidate for Governor who can keep the conservative base energized. We can't have a reverse "Creigh Effect" by which our nominee tries to shift to the left and pander to liberals. The result would be an almost certain defeat. Between Bill Bolling and Ken Cuccinelli, the most likely candidates for Governor in 2013, there's no question. Cuccinelli will keep the conservative base energized. About the only way I'd change my endorsement is if George Allen wanted to run.
Minutes away . . .