Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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November 7, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

VIRGINIA....A prediction: For the next few days, the fashionable political spectator sport in the blogosphere will revolve around contentious but self-assured arguments about how Democrats managed to win control of the Virginia senate and What It All Means™. Possible reasons: (a) the housing bubble, (b) conservative displeasure over actual conservative land use policies, (c) demographic changes, (d) Virginia Dems finally stood up for themselves, (e) Virginia Dems tacked to the center, (f) Virginia Republicans are in disarray, (g) local issues that are meaningless on a national level, (h) something else, or (i) all of the above.

Whatever the consensus turns out to be, I'm declaring right now that I think it's wrong. And somewhere in my archives there will be a post to prove that I thought this all along.

Kevin Drum 1:32 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (49)

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Comments

Whatever it means, it's good for the Republicans.

Posted by: Jim M on November 7, 2007 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

(j) immigration didn't matter despite all those overtly racist TV ads that were run in the DC metro market (have already seen this today);(k) the vote machines were hacked.

According to the sticker they gave me, "I voted in Alexandria."

Posted by: ajw_93 on November 7, 2007 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

or maybe people just decided to pull the lever on ALL Democrats running regardless of qualifications or issues. Assuming all politics are local, it sure does look like any politician with an "R" attached in front of his name, suffered from the ongoing Bush hangover.

Posted by: patriot actor on November 7, 2007 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

It means Cheney is going to have to pull a Musharraf for the Republicans to win in 2008.

Posted by: tomeck on November 7, 2007 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

The transformational demographics of Northern Virginia are the reason why the Dumbocrats won something. Who votes in off-year elections anyway?

Northern Virginia will likely break off in the coming years and form its own state. To balance it, Southern California should break off--thereby adding one reliably red state (Orange County and San Diego County) to the country to balance a reliably blue state (Fairfax and Loudon Counties are fairly blue these days.)

I'm all for adding new states to the Union. I wonder what our Paultards think of such a thing. You all know, of course, that the Ron Paul phenomenon comes as Lyndon LaRouche fades from the political landscape, yes?

Posted by: Norman Rogers on November 7, 2007 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

Hahahah. Kevin, I thought you wrote for the Onion!

Posted by: Ryan on November 7, 2007 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

"I'm declaring right now that I think it's wrong. And somewhere in my archives there will be a post to prove that I thought this all along."

Great conclusion Mr. Drum! You're an honest pundit, which might be a liability as you take the final step to the BigTime, with the Kleins, Beinerts, Chaits and Cohens.

Posted by: luci on November 7, 2007 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

To be minimalist, I think it means at least that the Republican(tm) brand has been tarnished on a lasting (for a few years) basis, and that 2006 was not a complete fluke.

I would add to Virginia that my little town in upstate New York went mostly Democratic where local issues (of which there was a biggie) did not intrude. The sensible people were almost entirely on the D line, or a couple of limited-issue independent parties, and the D's got most of the votes. This was a substantial change from the past.

Posted by: David in NY on November 7, 2007 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

There goes ole' Normy pissing into the wind again. Hey Norm, don't forget to bring a towel with you next time. You'll need to wipe the piss off your face.

Posted by: ny patriot on November 7, 2007 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

Whatever the cause, the prevailing media message will be that this is, ultimately, good news for President Bush and the Republicans.....

Posted by: Stefan on November 7, 2007 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

I see Rogers has adopted his "political seer" persona today. Based on the utter stupidity of his predictions, I doubt it would have gotten the doctors to give him his day pass. I wonder how he managed to escape the facility.

Posted by: DJ on November 7, 2007 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

Well, here in non-northern Virginia we're still stuck with an R for State Senator to match our continued R in the US House. Northern Virginia trends far more DC than VA, but don't count on that to carry the state. We still have a lot of work to do before 2008.

Posted by: Jeremy on November 7, 2007 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

Traffic - especially in Loudon / Prince William counties sucks. The GOP is largely rural (non-Northern Virginian) and goes unaddressed, or addressed in bizarre ways.

2) Related to traffic, the (rural) GOP passed for weird and very high "user fees" to avoid raising taxes to raise revenues. It pissed everyone off - especially cause out of staters caught breaking the same law didn't get the high fees.

3) I imagine the "hating and fear" get old when you've got real problems hitting close to home. Watching vacant properties and a dozen for-sale / foreclosure signs pop around you tends to sharpen your focus.

Posted by: Patrick on November 7, 2007 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

Damn it, Jim M scooped me! Teach me to post wihout reading comments first.

Posted by: Stefan on November 7, 2007 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

What it means is that we in Virginia realize we're not going to be sending any Presidents to Washington, and we'll have two junior Senators in 2009, so the way to maintain the vestiges of our 18th century influence is to have our elections in off years so people will pay disproportionate attention to them.

But really, it's just that the state is becoming less rural and more suburban. The Senate seats that switched were near Washington or in Hampton Roads, where developers turn farms into strip malls and good ol boys into "smart-growth advocates".

Posted by: JimVA on November 7, 2007 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

The growth of northern Virginia has been bluing the state for a while now. For example . . .

In '88, and again in '92, GHWB's percentage of the VA vote exceeded his percentage of the national popular vote by 7.

In '96, Dole's VA vs. US margin was 6.

In '00, GWB's VA edge fell to 4, and in '04 it slipped to 2.

And counting . . .

Posted by: penalcolony on November 7, 2007 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

Southern Democrats were the first to impose Jim Crow. European illegal immigrant Virginians have nothing to fear from their Democrats.

Posted by: Brojo on November 7, 2007 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

I'm all for adding new states to the union -Norman Rogers

How is that welfare state of Iraq working for ya 'colon-ial' man?

Posted by: Ya Know... on November 7, 2007 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

You all know, of course, that the Ron Paul phenomenon comes as Lyndon LaRouche fades from the political landscape, yes? -Norman Rogers

LaRouche has been peddling his paper for twenty years and has had no imapct on politics left or right. Furthermore Ron Paul also has the most military supporters/donations.

In this on FOX, the interviewer points out that Ron Paul is receiving more money from military personnel than all other GOP candidates combined, as he offers a message of bringing the troops home, non-intervention, and small government.

So much for your Larouche theorem, NotMancynn, email that to your Pals.

Posted by: Ya Know... on November 7, 2007 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

RON PAUL IS THE MESSIAH!

Posted by: Yous Know on November 7, 2007 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

Reporting from the trenches of Northern Virginia...

What it means is that our state is becoming less "Southern" and more "Mid-Atlantic." And this not only applies to Northern Virginia, but other urban/suburban areas in the state as well.

It also means we have a popular Democratic Governor and an extremely popular ex-Democratic Governor who will soon be our next Senator. And let's not forget the general anti-Republican sentiment thanks to you-know-who.

The Republican legislature has a lot to answer for as well. These are the guys who tried to fix our gargantuan traffic problems by imposing the infamous "abuser fees" traffic tickets. This is a topic that EVERYBODY was talking about, was pissed about, and knew who to blame.

Obviously, the Republicans didn't get the traction on the anti-immigrant fervor that they'd hoped for, but if we are wise we should not discount this as an important issue in the future. There is a lot of resentment and frustration brewing out there. And it WAS a important factor in selected races.

BTw, the gay thing? The gun thing? The God thing? Turns out it didn't matter all that much.

Finally, it means that Northern Virginia is where candidates come for votes and THE Power in Virginia politics. (As if we didn't learn that from last year.) Perhaps now we can get the attention and consideration that our population deserves.

Posted by: LAS on November 7, 2007 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

So much for your Larouche theorem, NotMancynn, email that to your Pals.

I'm not sure what your taunt is intended to do. I do not have "pals." I have good friends who join me in laughing derisively at the notion that Ron Paul is anything more than a self-styled political hack who has gone looking in the fringes for a reliable revenue stream and has suckered in a few thousand "Paultards" who will keep sending him money until the end of time in order to maintain access to something that they claim is a viable movement.

LaRouche and his supporters live out on the fringe, moving money around and using what little resources they have to sustain a lifestyle for Mr. LaRouche. All Ron Paul is doing is copying the marketing scheme, which is to stake out a place on the fringe, champion a few ideas that radicalize a libertarian or anti-government minority, and create a structure that funds him and whatever organization he has brought in around him.

So, as much as it pains me to have to explain it to you, the "Paultards" are a fringe movement of people who have fallen for a huckster and a shyster who is lining his pockets with whatever he can get out of you, and as Lyndon LaRouche moves further and further into the past, Ron Paul is styling himself to be the heir apparent to attract nutjobs and whackjobs who would never participate in normal politics to begin with.

Your blind, uninformed support for Ron Paul indicates to me that you wouldn't be participating in a normal Democratic/Republican political process anyway. Your loss means nothing in the grand scheme of things. There are always going to be fringe movements.

Pardon me for having the ability to explain that to you.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on November 7, 2007 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

Another view is that it is just a part of the trend that will quickly make the Republican Party irrelevant. Demographics changes were going to make the Republican party irrelevant around 2030. The failures of the Bush Administration has just sped the process up by about 20 years.

Posted by: superdestroyer on November 7, 2007 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

I'm in the northern VA district that as of this morning, was 91 votes away from being able to vote out on of the last traditional religious conservatives in the region.

Yes, Virginia is trending blue, and it's very gratifying to many of us who have put in the shoe-leather and opened out wallets. But there is still plenty to do.

Posted by: geml on November 7, 2007 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

Transportation was a (the?) big issue for Dems here in the O.D.. Some of it's power was blunted, however, because Gov. Kaine altered the transportation bill to exclude non-residents from the abusive driver fees. That seemed to be the part of the bill that had the most visceral effect on voters.

Two things seem to have saved Repubs from a greater beating yesterday. They exploited frustration over illegal immigration and several Repub districts voted more along traditional lines than had seemed likely just a few weeks ago. Some of that is GOTV efforts by Repubs and some of it is just how the districts are.

For what it's worth, the Dems in Virginia mostly seem to think that they should have done better.

Posted by: Brian on November 7, 2007 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

Much to their chagrin, Republicans are starting to see trends similar to Virginia in New Hampshire, Colorado, Arizona and Nevada.

In 2000, none of the eight Western states had Democratic governors. Now, five do.

Posted by: Pug on November 7, 2007 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

Well you have my number. I sign up for a b and c (it's all about urban sprawl in Northern Virginia).

http://rjwaldmann.blogspot.com/2007/11/yes-virginia-is-santa-claus-talk-about.html

I do have an original proposal for the Democrats.

Posted by: Robert Waldmann on November 7, 2007 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not sure what your taunt is intended to do. I do not have "pals." I have good friends who join me in laughing derisively at the notion that Ron Paul is anything more than a self-styled political hack who has gone looking in the fringes for a reliable revenue stream and has suckered in a few thousand "Paultards" who will keep sending him money until the end of time in order to maintain access to something that they claim is a viable movement.
Posted by Norman Rogers

The only problem is that all of these "good friends" are between Rogers's ears.

Posted by: DJ on November 7, 2007 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, Brian, really wasn't seeing that Republican GOTV here in NoVA. The money and the ads, yes, but not the people and not the door-to-door.

The Republicans seem dispirited and more inclined to hang together than do anything useful. In my heavily-Republican precinct, there were at least 6 volunteers at every single shift all day long. This kind of effort for a delegate and senator race that was uncontested! Why didn't they send those people further south where there WAS a contested race and where they might have done their party some good? Perplexing.

Posted by: LAS on November 7, 2007 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK

LAS, think what you like. I'm not in NoVA (thank God.) From what I can tell GOTV helped Cuccinelli, Vogel, and Marshall (this is the only race where I have first hand info) among others.

Posted by: Brian on November 7, 2007 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

brian: "For what it's worth, the Dems in Virginia mostly seem to think that they should have done better."

If Kevin's ever-polite resident concern troll brian was 'roid ragin':

"Dat all you got? You're a fuckin' wuss! Ya wanna know why, chump? It ain't enough to just break my nose and my front teeth -- Nooo! You're a fuckin' wuss because you didn't also break both my arms my fuckin' ribs!"

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on November 7, 2007 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

Rather amusing comment, Donny. You certainly betray your ignorance of Virginia politics. I suppose that since you're in Hawaii, that understandable.

Posted by: Brian on November 7, 2007 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

BTw, the gay thing? Turns out it didn't matter all that much.

That's because there no anti-gay laws left to pass in Virginia. The next step would have to be concentration camps, and even the GOP isn't ready to go there (yet).

Posted by: Jenna's Bush on November 7, 2007 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

How about this: "Virginia: The New Michigan"

Posted by: DF on November 7, 2007 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

I live in Prince William County, where Democrats didn't do so well. A Democrat beat the Republican incumbent in my senate district, no thanks to the people in my county, where 7 of the 9 precincts(the other 32 lie in Fairfax County) voted for the Republican.

I agree with LAS above, except for the immigration issue. The people in our county bought into it, hook, line and sinker. We reelected an 81-year old Democratic senator who's respected by people on both sides of the aisle, but lost all the other state races and all but one or two of the local races.

The Help Save Manassas crowd got their delusional voters out in force, thinking that reelecting our chair of the board of county supervisors with his empty "crackdown on illegal immigration" resolution is going to solve all of their problems. When the dust settles, and they realize that the resolution will resolve very little because there is no funding ($325k for a $14 mil exercise), the resolution restricts very few services, doesn't do a thing about overcrowding in homes and we're being hit by lawsuits that the county can't afford, their dear savior will be well on his way to running for governor or Congress.

Of course, these same people all voted for Republicans for the General Assembly, because Democrats are the "illegal immigration lobby."

Posted by: pol on November 7, 2007 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

Correction: Prince William County elected a Dem to the House of Delegates, as well.

Posted by: pol on November 7, 2007 at 5:53 PM | PERMALINK

I get the impression from my mother in Loudon County that voters were more practical than ideological this time around. Many of the "property rights" supervisors were replaced by slow-growth Dems (making the Board balance much like it was 8 years ago or so). People are concerned about quality-of-life issues as all these hideous developments creep over the county.

Posted by: Tilli (Mojave Desert) on November 7, 2007 at 6:30 PM | PERMALINK

Pol, when I said the immigration WAS an important factor in several races, those were the ones to which I was referring.

Let's not mince words here, either: this is an issue that Democrats are talking about as well--and feeling the frustration and resentment a lot of their Republican neighbors are feeling. It is something we really have to watch and address. IMHO.


Jenna Bush, that didn't keep Republican Jay O'Brien from trying to use the gay wedge issue against his Democratic opponent. (O'Brien lost, btw) Gay marriage is no longer the bogeyman, fyi, now it's teaching the "gay agenda" in public schools.

And Brian, if you're not in NoVA (and I'll thank God for that as well) how do you know how the Republican GOTV effort shaped up? I'm here and from what I've personally seen, the ground game just did NOT compare to earlier years.

Posted by: LAS on November 7, 2007 at 6:31 PM | PERMALINK

The immigration issue is more of an issue in PWC than in Fairfax County. The Fairfax chair of county supervisors set that tone, I believe.

Interestingly enough, there was a poll done in Prince William in June in which only 3.2% of the respondents thought illegal immigration was a pressing issue in the county. In mid-July, the county was making headlines with its resolution to curb illegal immigration. This was an election year ploy, through and through, by our dear leader, Corey Stewart.

An interesting thing happened yesterday. I worked outside the polls for 6 hours yesterday. During that time, I had a lot of people who walked up to me and asked for a Democratic sample ballot. They were disgusted with the current tone of intolerence in the county and were voting for change. Sadly, there weren't enough of those folk.

Posted by: pol on November 7, 2007 at 8:08 PM | PERMALINK

LAS, one of the things I noticed this time at my voting precinct in the Woodbridge area was that there were a lot more Republicans working outside the polls. For the past several elections,there were times when they had no representation for several hours at a time.

Posted by: pol on November 7, 2007 at 8:39 PM | PERMALINK

It's really not that complicated. There's a general sense that the state is simply not being well run, and the Republicans don't have a signature issue like gay marriage or taxes that they can trot out to scare people; they've all been used. The issues that frustrated this Richmonder:

1) Property valuations that were absurdly high
2) $1,000 speeding tickets for in-staters only
3) Horrible roads
4) Over (and I mean WAY over) crowded jails
5) Lack of public health institutions
6) Lack of action on these or anything else.

Posted by: Gheby on November 7, 2007 at 9:53 PM | PERMALINK

"the Republicans don't have a signature issue like gay marriage or taxes that they can trot out to scare people; they've all been used"

Well, unfortunately, they've found an issue in PWC -- illegal immigration. Help Save Manassas now has an offshoot in Culpeper and Herndon, so it may be coming to a neighborhood near you.

Posted by: pol on November 7, 2007 at 10:08 PM | PERMALINK

BTW, it's Loudoun County, with two u's. "Loudon," I believe, was the name of the character on "Newhart."

From Prince William County, where we're still trying to determine whether we want to be suburban (yay! Extend Metrorail to Potomac Mills -- well, someday!) or southern (boo! Be backward on immigration and other social issues!)...

Posted by: Vincent on November 7, 2007 at 11:08 PM | PERMALINK

What I know for sure about Virginia is this: my Republican opposite number at the polls in Norfolk yesterday told me, confidentially, that he was so exasperated with his side's inability to set a state budget that he half-hoped the Democrats would take charge for a while. Also, he signed a Democratic presidential primary petition.

Posted by: Randy on November 7, 2007 at 11:12 PM | PERMALINK

From Prince William County, where we're still trying to determine whether we want to be suburban (yay! Extend Metrorail to Potomac Mills -- well, someday!) or southern (boo! Be backward on immigration and other social issues!)...

I know we're in trouble when Loudoun County has more Democrats on the Board of Supervisors than Prince William County. Loudoun County, home of Patrick Henry College, breeding ground for embeds in the Bush administration -- and of Rick Santorum.

Posted by: pol on November 7, 2007 at 11:46 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, hey, pol - Patrick Henry College and Rick Santorum represent newcomers. Old Loudoun leans conservative but in a pragmatic (fiscal conservatism) way.

Posted by: Tilli (Mojave Desert) on November 8, 2007 at 1:55 AM | PERMALINK

Old Loudoun leans conservative but in a pragmatic (fiscal conservatism) way.

Pragmatic conservatism -- good; wingbat nutso conservatism -- bad.

Posted by: pol on November 8, 2007 at 6:46 AM | PERMALINK

For the record, I'm a highly partisan Democrat and I thought the high "abuser" fees for egregious traffic violations were a long overdue step in the right direction. Traffic violations (criminality) probably causes more deaths and horrible injuries than any other crime, and yet we shrug it off with wrist slaps. It's time we got tough on the idiots who think they can drive any way they please.

I do think it should apply to everyone, not just Virgnia residents, but I suspect they did that because of enforcement issues.

Posted by: Virginia on November 8, 2007 at 10:02 AM | PERMALINK

I grew up in McLean, which is the wealthiest and best educated part of Virginia. I find it facinating that it has voted strongly for Kerry, Webb, Kaine and as of 2 days ago a new liberal democratic delegate in the General Assembly. Perhaps a dark cloud on the horizon for Republicans everywhere?

Posted by: downtowngym on November 8, 2007 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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