The Obama administration did a shabby and stupid thing last week.
If you're a conservative, you're probably asking: "Which shabby and
stupid thing was that?" But this was a shabby and stupid thing
prominent Democrats think was shabby and stupid.
Virginia and New Jersey have gubernatorial elections next week. Polls
indicate that in Virginia the Republican candidate, Bob McDonnell, is
likely to win a comfortable, perhaps a landslide victory over Democrat
The White House evidently agrees with the polls. Last week the
Washington Post ran a story under the headline: "Top Democrats Seek to
Shield Obama in Case of Election Loss." In the story, two
administration officials were quoted, anonymously, as saying Mr. Deeds
was losing because he didn't follow the president's advice.
"A senior administration official said Deeds badly erred on several
fronts, including not doing a better job of coordinating with the White
House," wrote reporters Rosalind Helderman and Anne Kornblut." A second
administration official, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said:
'Obama, (national party chairman and Virginia Gov. Tim) Kaine and others
had drawn a road map to victory in Virginia. Deeds chose another
It is customary in these off-year elections for supporters of the winner
to declare the results a referendum on the president, while supporters
of the loser say the race was decided by local factors. And it is
customary for the White House to spin the results in whatever way is
But customarily, the spinning doesn't start until the election is over.
You don't heap dirt onto a political corpse until he or she is in fact
dead. And that doesn't happen until the votes are counted.
By prematurely burying Mr. Deeds, Mr. Obama's minions make the prophecy
self fulfilling. How likely are dispirited Democrats to turn out for
Mr. Deeds if the president has given up on him? Mr. Deeds may be a
goner, but diminished turnout can cost Democrats in otherwise winnable
down ballot and state legislative races.
"Evidently these 'anonymous sources' have decided those hardworking
Democrats are just collateral damage in their effort to tell the world
that if Deeds doesn't win, it is because he ignored advice," wrote
former Virginia state Democratic chairman Paul Goldman in the Politico
Mr. Goldman compared the treatment of Mr. Deeds by the anonymous White
House aides to the "ancient English kings (who would) rip out a
subject's guts and show them to him as he lay slowly bleeding to death."
"It's a %##@%& shame when our center of government, the White House,
won't talk on the record," said Democratic consultant James "Mudcat"
Saunders. "It's a lack of courage. And it goes against transparency
that Obama told us last year was going to come out of the White House."
Mr. Saunders disputed the assumption of the anonymous White House aides
that Mr. Deeds should more closely have embraced the president. To do
so would have been "devastating" in southwest Virginia, where he lives,
Mr. Saunders said.
"For them to say to say if he had listened to us they would win, that's
chicken****," Mr. Saunders said.
The premature dumping on Mr. Deeds is unlikely to shield the president
from criticism if Democrats go down to a landslide defeat in Virginia,
Mr. Goldman said. But it makes Democrats around the country
uncomfortable, he said.
"The view from Richmond, Va., is that the White House is using Deeds to
send every Democrat, and not just Fox News, a message: Forget that 'we'
thing to us it's a 'me' thing, 24/7," Mr. Goldman said.
That message could have an impact on prospects for Mr. Obama's top
legislative priority. Polls indicate the president's notion of health
care reform is unpopular with most Americans, very unpopular with
seniors, the age demographic most likely to vote in mid-term elections.
If the body count in the down ballot races in Virginia is high a
prospect enhanced by the premature burial of Mr. Deeds Democrats are
going to be more skittish about flouting public opinion on the
President's behalf. Mr. Obama and his aides have indicated that for
them, loyalty is a one way street.
That is not likely to make Democrats
from swing districts there are 84 who represent districts which were
carried either by George W. Bush in 2004 or John McCain last year
eager to walk the plank for him.