Deeds touts childhood, McDonnell touts endorsement
It is a playing field that should play naturally to Creigh Deeds. A rural lawyer who was raised on a farm Deeds speaks the language of farmers and understands the struggles they face. Today in front of over 200 professionals from the agriculture and forestry industry, the country Senator spun yarns about neighbors that taught people how to coon hunt and his own experience performing surgery on family livestock.
Perhaps no candidate for statewide office has ever had more life experience when it comes to agriculture, but farming is a bottom line business, and being there only takes you so far.
Bob McDonnell is hopeful that the same fickle attitude that lead the Farm Bureau to endorse him over Creigh Deeds in 2005 in the race for Attorney General will repeat itself in 2009. Today McDonnell acknowledged that he couldn’t possibly compete with his opponent’s life connections to farming. Instead he hope to build the case that he was the candidate for small business and there is no greater small business person in Virginia than the family farmer. It’s an industry that lead to $97 billion in economic activity, last year alone.
The problem for McDonnell is that 2005 is remarkably different than 2009. In 2005, with an economic engine humming, his free enterprise rhetoric played well to an industry looking for lower taxes and less regulation. While the farmers of 2009 are still looking for that type of help, they are also not adverse to the types of assistance that democrats are proposing. Today Deeds talked about government programs that would help to invest in alternative forms of energy that could lead to big pay-days for farmers. Harnessing new forms of crops and utilizing animal waste to create new forms of energy are at this point unproven and would need a nudge from the government. It could lead to an attractive opportunity for family farms struggling to stay afloat.
((Extended clips from the Farm Bureau forum can be found after the jump))
The key for Creigh Deeds may be to combine these more attractive policy positions with his life experience. In the video clip below, Deeds shows his ability to speak like a farmer. He demonstrates that will bring his childhood with him to the governor’s office and recall that struggle before he makes any decision that could impact life on the farm.
Meanwhile, McDonnell refuses to yeild any ground to Deeds when it comes to this key and influental industry. In the clip below, the Republican once again makes the case that allowing farmers more freedom is the path to their growth and success. He often brought up reducing regulation, putting in safeguards against eminent domain and eliminating the estate tax. Once those burdens are removed, McDonnell believes farmers will be able to thrive.
Which argument will the agriculture and forestry industry buy? Their role could be vital, especially as the two fight it out for the “non-ideological” center of the road vote.