McDonnell vs. Deeds I: Bush, Taxes and Transportation
If you don’t want to spend too much time reading or watching back the first debate in the race for Governor of Virginia, allow me the opportunity to sum it up for you as succinctly as I can.
Bob McDonnell loves George W. Bush.
Creigh Deeds loves taxes.
Neither of them have a good plan to fix the transportation problem.
While I might be a bit sarcastic in my tone, those three statements wrap up the essence of this exchange. It certainly wasn’t a game changer, but it does lay the groundwork for the upcoming campaign. It also gives us insight into how these two teams are hoping voters view their opponent.
From my perspective, Bush, Taxes and Transportation were the three most interesting nuggets that emerged from the action. Here is a break down of all three:
The boondoggle that is Northern Virginia’s highway system is now going on its (at least) third run as a major issue in a campaign for Governor. No one can seem to develop some sort of consensus and in Hot Springs, the two candidates spent plenty of time sparring over which one is best able to change the situation.
While McDonnell has presented a plan he thinks will work, Deeds criticized it as filled with old ideas that have never met the muster of the General Assembly and still won’t if and when Bob McDonnell gets there. He also claims that McDonnell’s plan robs funding from education, just so the Republican can avoid raising taxes.
Meanwhile McDonnell accuses Deeds of offering no substantive plan, in part because the only real idea he has involves raising taxes. McDonnell scored a bit of a point when he put Deeds into a position where he said “nothing is off the table”, allowing McDonnell’s campaign staff to infer that met new taxes were a possibility. Which leads to topic number two..
((More on Deeds and taxes and McDonnell and Bush, including video after jump.))
Deeds and taxes:
It is obviously an old Republican tactic to paint a Democrat as a tax and spender and unfortunately for Creigh Deeds his strong desire to find a solution to the transportation problem leaves him vulnerable. While McDonnell can look like a hero to his base by slashing programs to help pay for the problem, Deeds must develop a comprehensive and expensive plan without taking a cent from democratic core programs like education.
McDonnell attempts to build the case that Deeds loves taxes and wants more of them, by looking back at his lengthy legislative record and finding every single time he has ever voted for anything even resembling a tax increase. McDonnell then backs Deeds into a corner by asking how he plans to pay for a transportation problem without raising taxes. At this point, Deeds seems reluctant to provide an answer.
After building the tax and spend case, this video clip shows how McDonnell went for the kill. Judge for yourself how well Sen. Deeds’ responded.
McDonnell and Bush
Just like taxes for the GOP, tying Republicans to the Bush legacy has become a favorite tactic of democratic campaigns. Who can blame them?It has worked very well. Much like McDonnell slowly built the case that Deeds loves taxes, his opponent subtly found ways to paint the republican as a radical right winger, who opposes abortion at all cost, is opposed to substantive efforts to clean up the environment and finally, supports and embraces George W. Bush.
McDonnell did find a few opportunities to point out examples of where he and the former President do not agree, but by in large he did not run from the Bush legacy. He said he was impressed by the way he kept the country safe after 9/11 and credited his tax cuts with stimulating economic growth in the U.S. McDonnell went as far as to say the economy was “overheated” during the Bush years. Even more interesting was the way McDonnell eventually weaved his way back to the current administration. It seemed that he was almost comparing the highlights of the Bush years, with his perceived low lights from the early days of Barack Obama’s time in office. The clip is below.
I know that these two issues in particular are the two issues that will get the most attention over the next few days, because it is the ones both campaigns have used in e-mails to the media and debate wrap posts on their web sites. I wanted to put as much of the clips up there as possible, so you can glean for yourself what was said.
Debate one in the books and at this point, no difinitive plans for debate two. This campaign is now well underway.