Finger Pointing Fiesta
Wednesday, November 09, 2005 :::
Oh there will be a lot of it in the next few days. Shaun has a preliminary, with more to come. Jim Bacon has a more wonkish take.
I don't disagree with any points either of them makes. But I'll add a few things too (of course).
It appears as though Republican conservatives went fishing and GOP moderates went for Kaine (somewhat). I don't know how to slice and dice that with real numbers, but I do think the old, festering dislike some of my friends on the right had for Kilgore translated into the results. Bolling and McDonnell polled higher than Kilgore (and McDonnell is in the fight of his life). In areas where Kilgore should have done well, he stumbled, sometimes badly (think Virginia Beach, Henrico, even Chesterfield). My hunch, and that's all it is, is that conservatives who didn't make other plans on election day did pull the levers (or punch the screens) for Bolling and McDonnell, but not for Kilgore.
And while it will be easy for people to say it was the death penalty ads that hurt Kilgore, or the president, or the feckless GOP Congress...well, they probably didn't help, but I lean toward the notion that Kilgore never fully connected with the base. And Kaine took full advantage of it.
And I hope these results drive a stake through the heart of the idea that the "72 hour" campaign can save anyone's fanny. You've got to have a fanny worth saving for it to work.
I also give immense credit to Kaine for running a fairly smooth campaign that effectively masked his life-long beliefs. And if he does nothing else, he should praise Mark Warner to the skies now and forever more. Warner's popularity shielded Kaine, and Kilgore had no counter for it...not even George Allen.
And where was George Fitch? He's running for the state Senate. I hope he wins.
And what of ol' Russ? He wasn't even a spoiler. I hope that every day the Senate is in session, and he looks up at the dais and sees Bill Bolling looking down upon him, he realizes just how big a pickle he's in for the remainder of his term.
The Jaded JD makes a number of very interesting observations on the fallout as well. None moreso, I think, than how these results will reflect upon House Speaker Bill Howell. Will he be a casualty? I do not know.
And as for the 2007 races...hoo-boy. Unless the GOP pulls itself together very quickly in NoVa, there may not be any Republican Senate members after the next election.
Now who's up for a "Dotson '09" effort?
::: posted by Norman Leahy at 11/09/2005