Home Virginia Politics Open Thread on Creigh Deeds

Open Thread on Creigh Deeds


I have very little to add to the Washington Post front-page story on Creigh Deeds this morning, except that I’m sorry to hear about his divorce and wish him well. Other than that, I pretty much agree with Miles Grant’s tweet:

Today’s WaPo article on Creigh Deeds is really depressing. Has plenty of time to reinvent himself, but is he interested?

Thoughts? Feel free to use this as an open thread to discuss Creigh Deeds, the 2009 gubernatorial race (in retrospect, now that some time has gone by), the future of the Democratic Party of Virginia, etc.

  • Hugo Estrada

    That was probably the real killer.

    Although his re-invention as a faux GOPer didn’t help. I still remember seeing on facebook how people active from this community took turns saying how the latest Deeds statement had turned them against him.

    My favorite was his repudiation of Obama “I am not an Obama Democrat” and his rejection of health care reform.

  • kindler

    He’s been through enough and since he won’t be a factor in statewide politics, there’s nothing to be gained from anyone swatting at him other than sheer sadistic pleasure.  And sadistic pleasure is something I think better befits Republicans (hence their choice of fundraiser venues)…

  • martinlomasney

    Creigh never demonstrated an appreciation for the issues facing NoVa.  Even if he personally did get them, he never persuaded those voters that he understood.  He listened to his idiotic pollster’s and campaign manager’s advice to take the D base’s vote for granted and appeal to the rural voter.

    It’s going to be very hard for a D from outside of the golden crescent to be taken seriously for state wide office until that candidate spends a overwhelmingly huge amount of time in the crescent motivating the base of the party.

    Hiatt has gone so far rightward in his editorial choices that one wonders if he chose to endorse the weakest D to help McDonnell.

    Didn’t Creigh’s vacation coincide with the filing of the divorce?  

  • faithfull

    And he will be the first Democrat I have ever abstained voting for in Virginia because of his vote allowing guns in bars. Someone who can engage in such a disgustingly panderous display that puts my family and all my neighbors in greater danger does not deserve to be rewarded with public office. This is Charlottsville for crying out loud.

    Creigh is a nice guy, and its a shame that his family situation hasn’t gone well. I wish him the best in that regard.

  • The Richmonder

    If Deeds can muster the strength to hold his seat in 2011, he can become an elder statesman.  It’s really up to him.

    He can’t credibly present himself for statewide office again.

  • Susan Mariner

    I did not support Senator Deeds in the primary because I believed, for a variety of reasons, that his chances of defeating McDonnell were the lowest of the three primary candidates.  But Deeds is a good and honorable man.  I wish him well and want him to keep fighting.  

    I will always be grateful for huge amount of work Senator Deeds did in 2007 to turn the Senate blue.  I was amazed at how often I saw him in Hampton Roads working to elect John Miller and Ralph Northam.  He helped Northam beat a very bad Republican incumbent who was previously considered untouchable and John Miller beat an extremist Republican in a very far right district.  

  • I read the Post article with mild surprise, since I also had no idea about the Deeds divorce.  And it was clear that the Post had an agenda — to portray Deeds in a particular way, which was not terribly positive.  I have no idea how long or how much of the interview was printed, but it seemed to me that the Post went out of its way to make sure a quote like “I still got things to do” and “doggone” were chosen to be included.  (How colorful!)  If I had any doubts about what they were trying to do, those doubts were removed when I actually read the article a second time on my computer and saw the picture they selected to accompany the article — a picture of a man breaking down.

    But that’s not what I read in the article.  I read a man who is in mourning.  He’s in mourning for his marriage, obviously.  I have never been divorced but I’m old enough to have seen many marriages of dear friends fall apart, and there is a mourning process involved.  Especially the long marriages that began when you were quite young (I’m someone who married young) — who you are in relation to your spouse is formed before most other ways of defining yourself (through your work for instance.)  

    He’s also mourning his ambitions.  Deeds isn’t a stupid man — he had a shot at something really big.  It was always a long shot, and he knew that, but it was a real shot.  How many shots do most people (even ambitious, intelligent people) get in one lifetime?  It’s hard enough to reach middle age realizing that certain things that you wanted and fought for in your life aren’t going to happen for you.  It’s a whole other struggle when you realize that you actually had a chance for those things, but it didn’t happen.

    The other thing I read in the article is a defiance.  It’s a quiet defiance, and to be honest, I’m not sure that it’s a defiance that comes across to someone who isn’t mountain born.  This may sound strange, but when I read the quote: “What choice do I have? You either live, or you die. If you die, you’re dead. If you live, you’ve got a responsibility to keep moving, keep working, keep fighting. The struggle goes on. That’s the position I’m in.” I actually laughed out loud.  Not because it’s funny, but there’s a black humor familiarity that anyone from Appalachia recognizes.  I’ve said things like this myself, in hard times in my life.  It’s something said over and over at every funeral in WV I’ve been to.  It’s being said, I guarantee it, to the miner’s families this week in Montcoal.  

    In my novel THE MINER’S DAUGHTER, I touch upon this quiet, even desperate defiance.  The father tells his daughter, “You always have a choice.”  That choice may be as stark as living or dying, but it does a human being psychological good to know they have SOME choice and aren’t victims of fate, (which, quite frankly, people from Appalachia often become, but that’s another post) and not someone who will be defined by their hard times, contrary to how “outsiders” (such as the WashPost) see them.  In many ways, this comment sort of sums up Appalachian thought more succinctly than any novel I could write.

    This was a petty article.  As others have said, the “real story” (about the divorce) could have been written in a few paragraphs at most.  (And the divorce IS news, as difficult as that may be for the Deeds family.)  When I read the story I couldn’t help but think that the WashPost maybe was having a moment of guilt itself — they know the role they played in helping Deeds in Northern VA during the primary.  Many of the people who write and produce the Post live in Northern VA.  There was also the oh-so-helpful editorials about how Deeds was going to raise taxes.  (It’s true, but blaring this certainly wasn’t helpful.)  I know it sounds silly to say that a newspaper may be feeling pangs of guilt (sort of like calling a corporation a person), but newspapers are written and produced by people.  Perhaps some of the defeatist attitude they were putting on Deeds is a projection of their own guilt.

    Anyway, I knew this would be a long post, and I apologize again at the end.  By all means, let’s figure out what went wrong last fall so it doesn’t happen again.  But we can do that (and have done that) while giving a good man and his family some time and space to grieve in peace.

    • faithfull

      I don’t generally agree with 1 issue voting in principle, but to me the guns-in-bars vote is a rare, extreme “fireable offense.” Its like a relationship. Its cool if you get into some fights, or don’t have the same taste in music, or curtains, or whatever. But to me that vote was straight up adultery. There’s no coming back.

      I also think, though this consideration is secondary, that we would be able to replace Creigh with a more progressive choice in the following election.

      Also, thanks for the kind words regarding the Mountain Mondays post. We should be re-starting those posts very soon at DKos, although someone else will be publishing the bulk of them. I certainly miss it, but I’m getting to spend all of my time working to pass federal legislation to end mountaintop removal, and we have a great chance to get a bill passed this year.

      Related to both points, I was able to ask Creigh to his face what he thought of mountaintop removal and he gave me a total non-answer about how he didn’t know much about it but that we don’t do much of it in Virginia. I can’t stand that shit anymore, and I don’t want Democrats who are peddling it. People are dying in our state.

  • Nothing saddens me more than to see politics claim another marriage. That’s a shame. I really feel for Deeds.  

  • Bear

    The 2009 election was won by a man who was able to package himself as something that we all know he was not–a moderate. Say what you will about Senator Deeds, but at least we knew where he stood. He was honest about dedicated revenue for transportation, and he wanted to be a Governor for every part of Virginia. What we have now is a Governor who has seemingly forgotten about transportation woes, and has routinely alienated Virginians who do not subscribe to an antiquated notion of what our Commonwealth is.  

  • leedynamo

    I respect Gretchen, but I think she maybe over analyzing here.  I have long tried to figure out whether newspapers “strategize” over the content of articles.  I’m skeptical.

    It is a shame about Deeds’s marriage.  Fred Hiatt is a useless piece of nothing, a blob, a zero.  This is a newspaper with an editorial policy that tries to be All Things To All People.  They have earned the right NOT to be taken seriously.  They want Democrats, Republicans, etc to buy their product.  That is the sum total of what their editorial policy is about.  Ok, sometimes they take brave stands on issues.

  • leedynamo

    It’s really a shame about the Deeds marriage.

    But the man spent a couple years or more running for Governor.  On the Monday night before the election, at the big GOTV rally in Alexandria, he could not give a speech.

    1) I’m sorry but the Democratic political apparatus of this state is flawed.

    2) Too many people, my friends included, keep blaming the voters and bemoaning their failure to turn out.

    Is it not true that our candidate pretty much insulted the Obama  Generation voters?  Why did Senator Whipple criticize the Obama voters (see my November post reporting on the meeting) after the election?

    We have to be honest.  If we blame the voters, it is just an excuse for our failure. I have a hard time thinking of what infuriates me more in politics.

    • …the Washington Post took a “brave stand” on an issue?  

      • somethingblue

        “Say what you will about Senator Deeds, but at least we knew where he stood.”

        Can you remind me where he stood on marriage rights for gay Virginians? Because I was a bit confused by the youtube interview where he tries to explain his five different positions on that.

        Or on health insurance reform? Because I remember him saying something about how if it passed he’d certainly consider opting Virginia out, maybe.

        Look, Deeds pandered as shamelessly as McDonnell. Just not as successfully.

        That said, I think the guy should be left in peace. The Post article was just piling on.

  • DanielK

    He lost and now we got McDonnell as our Governor. Since we’re in the company of my friend Brian I’ll just say that that was what voters wanted and 2013 will be here before we know it.  

    Now, I think this Post article actually have very good intentions in mind when they first proposed it. I worked my heart out for him during the primary and I was sacrificing my home life for it because I believed in it. In that time I learned the amount of love he has for the causes he believes in and the state he has lived in his entire life.  No one can question his desire to make Virginia a better place for everyone.  I’m not surprised that Creigh is having difficulty following the election and finding out that he and Pam divorced absolutely broke my heart as I got to know they fairly well for being just a volunteer in NoVa.

    I’m a loyal Deeds supporter, always have been and always will be.  I’m happy he is still in the State Senate because it’s the one thing keeping Virginia somewhat sane.  He’s true to his beliefs and doesn’t waiver on them even if the purists of the party don’t like it.  He lost because he wasn’t willing to pander to those people and instead stayed true to his beliefs and in turn everyone from 2008 stayed home which all in all wasn’t surprising.  Either way, Creigh will always been the man in my opinion for being who he is…..Creigh!