Amid all of the commentary by "pundits from afar" it is occasionally interesting to hear from knowledgeable citizens "on the ground" who are not part of the media, the political establishment, or special interest groups. Bill McCormick, a good friend, moderate Republican, and frequent RightinSanFrancisco commentor who owns a small business in Virginia, has volunteered to offer his perspective on what happened in the McAuliffe/Cuccinelli election for governor. This is just one person's opinion, but it is reflective of the many who will have to be energized if Republicans are to win the Senate in 2014 and the White House in 2016.
- The WRONG CANDIDATE was nominated. The Tea Party favorite, Ken Cuccinelli found a way to change the nominating procedure of the party to eliminate Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling, his chief rival who was favored by many Republicans. (The process was switched from a primary which relies on broad support to nomination at a convention which relies on a smaller group of activists.)
- There was NO HELP from Governor Bob McDonnell who became embroiled in a gift taking scandal which placed doubt on the integrity of Republican candidates, particularly his Attorney General.
- LIBERTARIANS who had a goal of getting 10% of the vote ended up taking about 7%, mostly from Cuccinelli who lost by about 2.5%. (Circulation of petitions to get Libertarian Robert Sarvis on the ballot was paid for by a Texas bundler for Obama.)
- Cuccinelli, popular with the Tea Party members, had a hard time stretching his popularity to the middle as he maintained strong anti-abortion, anti-ObamaCare, and anti-gay marriage positions. As the first state Attorney General to sue to block ObamaCare he was seen by many as a person not willing to work to fix the system, but as a rigid, far right opponent who would take a stand at the Alamo to repeal it.
The CHRISTIE EFFECT. With Chris Cristie leading toward a landslide in New Jersey and nothing else of note on the election calendar, the national Democratic Party was able to focus on a swing state. And focus they did. Bill Clinton seemed like a native Virginian. Hillary was there to support Clinton operative McAuliffe and get a notch for 2016. And finally, Obama. The big guns never even passed over New Jersey air space. (McAuliffe outspent Cuccinelli $32 million to $19 million with most coming from outside the state. Republican donors held back.)
Despite all of this it was close. The right candidate and the Republicans win; a strong incumbent governor at his side and he wins; a normal candidate in New Jersey and the Democrats have to divide their resources. On Cuccinelli's side was a low 40% turnout which favored his voter demographic. Also on Cuccinelli's side was the sensational gift tht he was thrown with the roll out of ObamaCare with the website fiasco and the national debate about insurance cancellations and Democrat incompetence and honesty. With all of that, neither candidate was well liked making the Libertarian stronger, and he decided the race.
In the end, the messages of New Jersey and Virginia are obvious. In New Jersey a Reagan-like heavy guy with the guts to take care of his people at all costs proved that you can get voters to cross party, gender, and ethnic lines if they respect you and see that you can get things done. In Virginia it was an unpopular Democrat edging out a Tea Party obstructionist who was seen as opposing everything rather than compromising and getting things done for the citizens. The era of compromise and cooperation has been ushered in. The era of obstructionism is ending. Democrats may hate the Tea Party in the House, but they have to love what they do to win elections for them.
My view and my pleasure to share - Bill McCormick.
RightinSanFrancisco has a more favorable view of the Tea Party - good on policy; bad on tactics - but McCormick's perspective is representative of many small "get it done" business people.
There is little choice of this week's video - Barack Obama's full throated guarantee that you could keep your doctor and your insurance policy. The dishonesty is absolutely mind-boggling. The current "what I really said" even more so in the face of 36 video clips.
bill bowen - 11/8/13