Less Here Than Meets the Eye?
The PostÂ today has one of its periodically recurring articles about internecine warfare within the Republican Party in Virginia.Â I’m reluctant to draw grand conclusions from this immediately past election.Â To be sure, one can masticate the precinct-by-precinct, district-by-districtÂ data and see a trend toward the continued “bluing” ofÂ Virginia, particularly north of the line of the Rappahannock.Â But the Webb/Allen race was a one-off phenomenon.Â Webb was an unusual candidate for the Democrats to run, a combat-decorated marine with strong Republican ties to the past, who had the clarity of vision to see the problems in Iraq before we got into them.Â Allen, who had been one of the most avid, un-nuanced cheerleaders for the War until the very end-game of theÂ campaign, Â personally made certain that the race was interesting by jettisoning most of his natural lead at the starting line through personal gaffes and campaign response blunders.Â Take away the War, or takeÂ away Webb’s atypical background, or take away Macacca (how the hell do you spell that, anyway?), and it’s all Republican all the time around the Commonwealth in 2006.
2005 was the un-ignorable wake-up callÂ for Republicans in Virginia.Â Kilgore lost, BollingÂ barely could beat a Bella Abzug impersonator, and McDonnell eked out a 300+ vote win, albeit against a strong Democratic candidate.Â That’s what I call a disaster.Â We’ve spent the last year pretending it didn’t happen.Â Â
It’s always fun to see Jim Parmelee quoted predictably explaining that the problem isÂ that Republicans just aren’t “anti-tax” enough.Â A modest proposal is that we field-test Parmelee’s approach by having all Republicans in the 2007 GA races run on a purely and vehemently “anti-tax” platform (whatever that really means in terms of practical governance) and watch the species get completely wiped out, at least inÂ Northern Virginia.Â Â That will give us a clean slate to work fromÂ at the 2007 Advance.Â Perhaps then we could finally talk about whatÂ happened in 2005.Â