In coming months, we can expect a flood of analysis about the 2013 Virginia governor’s race from everyone, their uncle, their aunt, their aunt’s brother in law, you name it. Why? First off, the media needs something to talk about, and with the presidential election over, 2013 is shaping up as kind of blah…except for the Cuccinelli-McAuliffe WWE/UFC Death Match®. Second, the two main contenders in this fight are highly “colorful” characters, with equally “colorful” supporters (just on Kookinelli’s side alone, can you imagine the parade of right-wingnuts who will be trolling around Virginia next year?), and of course the media loves that too. Finally, with Chris Christie’s popularity through the roof, it’s unlikely that there will be any serious gubernatorial race in New Jersey to cover, leaving Virginia – conveniently, a crucial “swing state” that just went for Barack Obama once again – as the main draw for 2013.
Of course, the fact that everyone and their uncle, aunt, etc. will be writing about the Cuccinelli-McAuliffe showdown also means that there will be a ton of drivel, nonsense, and pablum – much of it written by people who haven’t followed Virginia politics and/or don’t know the first thing about our state – filling the newspapers and airwaves. Can’t wait, huh? Well, actually, you don’t have to wait, as it’s already begun. For instance, take this new piece by “The Fix”, on “How the Virginia governor’s race just got very interesting.” Let us count the ways this is flawed.
1. The Virginia governor’s race didn’t “just” get “very interesting.” In fact, if anything, it just got LESS interesting, as we now don’t have months of Ken Cuccinelli and Bill Bolling pounding the bejeezus out of each other. In the end, it was almost certain to end up as McAuliffe vs. Cuccinelli anyway, so today’s announcement by Bolling just moves up the timetable, removes the intra-Republican bloodletting, and changes the main characters over the next few months. But of course the Virginia governor’s race was going to be “very interesting” no matter what. No s*** Sherlock.
2. According to “The Fix,” “Neither man could likely win a general election against anyone other than the person he is going to run against next year.” That’s utterly ridiculous, almost not even worth commenting on it’s so silly. So, let’s see, Terry McAuliffe couldn’t possibly have beaten Bill Bolling? Why not, exactly? And Terry couldn’t have beaten any number of Virginia Republicans – “Sideshow Bob” Marshall or any of the many hard-right-wing guys (and they’re almost all guys) who fill the Virginia Republican Party these days? As for Cuccinelli, why wouldn’t he be able to beat other Democrats? In fact, according to PPP, the Virginia governor’s race was likely to be close next year except under one circumstance: if Mark Warner decided to run. Other than that, it’s highly likely that this will be a close race next year in our “purple state,” with either party capable of winning it. I’m not sure what “The Fix” bases categorical statements like this one on, exactly, but he tends to do it frequently (e.g., his incessant narrative during the recent presidential race that it was a “dead heat”/”too close to call,” that Romney had “momentum,” blah blah blah).
3. Third, what really drives me nuts is the false equivalency being drawn here. Thus, in Cillizza’s view, “Cuccinelli will have rock-solid support bordering on fervor from the Republican base while McAuliffe – now that Sen. Mark Warner (D) has removed himself from consideration – should receive similar treatment from the Democratic base.” That’s completely absurd. As for Cuccinelli, there’s no doubt that he’ll have “support bordering on fervor from the Republican base” that tends to vote in odd-year elections (e.g., skews older, more right wing, more “Tea Party”) because he’s a true believer and rabble rouser. But Terry McAuliffe receiving “similar treatment from the Democratic base?” Seriously? Has “The Fix” ever read any progressive blogs? Last I checked, having been DNC chair doesn’t make progressives swoon over you. If anything, it’s the exact opposite. Don’t believe me? Ask Tim Kaine about the tremendous support (not!) he’s received from progressive, netroots activists over the years. Ask Terry McAuliffe how much support he got in 2009 from progressive, netroots activists (note: I was an exception to that, supporting Terry over Creigh Deeds and Brian Moran, both of whom I thought were awful candidates). The bottom line is that there is ZERO equivalence between the fervor Cooch will have on the right, and what Terry will get from the “left” (such as it is). That’s just corporate media false equivalence run amok.
4. Also silly: “But neither man is a natural fit to appeal to the centrists – fiscally conservative, socially liberal – who populate the far suburbs and exurbs of Washington, D.C. (Prince William and Loudoun counties, we are looking at you) and tend to decide elections in the state.” Actually, Terry McAuliffe is socially liberal for the most part but fairly conservative fiscally, so why wouldn’t he bet a good fit for Virginia suburbs and exurbs based on ideology? Got me.
5. “…nor will McAuliffe’s high-profile defense of all things Democratic during his tenure as the titular head of the party.” Yeah, tell that to Senator-elect George Allen. Oh wait, you mean Allen’s strategy of relentlessly reminding people that Tim Kaine had been Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, and thus a supposed hyper-partisan figure, didn’t work? You mean that being a Democratic partisan is NOT the same thing as being far-left or even progressive? Oh, I know, details details, don’t mess with the simplistic narrative the corporate media loves so much! LOL
Anyway, other than that, it’s a simply brilliant analysis by “The Fix.” Well, ok, it’s not. At all. Unfortunately, something tells me we’re in for a lot more of this silliness in coming months from the usual suspects…