Monday, June 19, 2006

Sabato Makes Sense

I've always thought Larry Sabato is vastly overrated, but today he makes some good sense.

"[Allen] has never changed and Virginia has."

Just like Jerry Kilgore, Allen has all the typical GOP slime machine operatives in his camp. It's already a foregone conclusion, George Allen is going to go negative in a big way.

But it will backfire.

I remember making calls for Tim Kaine last year. Every now and then, a voter would bring up some attack from Kilgore. Now, certainly, we had answers for every attack in case a voter really pressed the issue, but my first response was always the same.

Kilgore can say whatever he wants but Tim Kaine is focused on leading Virginia forward.

Sure, it was a backhanded attack. I was saying, in effect, all Kilgore has to stand on is personal attacks, but Tim Kaine has a record of accomplishment as mayor, as lieutenant governor, and he has a plan to lead Virginia forward (see the messaging?) as our next Governor.

Kilgore had a negative message. Kaine had a positive message.

Now, it's probably true that Tim Kaine is our Governor now because Mark Warner did such a damned fine job before him, but my focusing on the positive was really well received. And we saw later in the campaign how the most egregious attacks from Kilgore backfired in a spectacular way. Certainly, Warner helped. But GOP attacks certainly didn't help Kilgore.

We live in the most intelligent "red state." Voters in the local area and across the state tend to be fairly well informed. The ones that actually had the time to talk tended to have intelligent questions. And thankfully, these voters also saw right through Kilgore's shenanigans.

I suspect the same will happen this year. As Sabato points out, George W. Bush has an approval rating below 40 percent in Virginia, and with a voting record that supports Bush an incredible 97% of the time, George Allen is obviously a blind disciple. He might have a record to run on, but it's one that obviously, Virginians don't care for. So, he has to go negative.

And here we have Jim Webb. He's a moderate Reagan administration official. His positions are not going to scare off many moderates or independents. He has no voting record to pick apart. And he's a sensible man who does represent an incredible breath of fresh air and wealth of knowledge that we could really use in Washington. Harris Miller pretty much exhausted the only real attack angle (Webb is too Republican), so Allen will have no choice but to go personal.

And it will backfire.

Jim Webb is at 41% in the polls when nobody knows who he is. Tim Kaine overcame an even larger gap than Webb's. George Allen is nothing but a Bush administration mouth piece, but Jim Webb just, you know, seems like a natural fit for the Senate.

This is going to be a close one folks.

[Update] I just noticed the following pair of sentences in my post...
"But it will backfire...
And it will backfire..."

I didn't do that intentionally... it just happened.

Some campaign get me a communications job quick!

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