Principles of Self-Defeat
There's an old adage that says that victory has a thousand fathers but that defeat is an orphan. However, it seems of late that defeat has finally been adopted. Both the blogosphere and the mainstream media seem to be aflutter with opposing claims of which faction put the nail in Jerry's coffin. Was it the conservatives or the moderates that abandoned us of Election Day? (I guess Jerry learned that lesson about being all things to all people) However, I see the problem in a different way: its a geographical one. Namely, NOVA versus everybody else.
Now, during most of the 90's and to a degree this last primary, the battling seemed to be primarily between the various geographical regions. Richmond had the power, the West was the "most Republican" etc. However, all the vitriol seems to have coalesced towards Northern Virginia. Granted, this may have a slight ideological component. Simply put, things are different between 66 and 95. The zeitgeist is totally different. They have different concerns. Being five minutes late for work in the Valley is fuel for a major argument; I'm sure its par for the course in NOVA. Its Jay-Z instead of Tim McGraw. Now this is oversimplifying things for sure, but the fact is that Northern Virginia is the least Virginian part of Virginia. Problem is, they're electing the same Governor we are out in the sticks.
This may be harsh, but this time we put up an individual who was argurably the most Virginian of recent candidates, and we lost big time. As much as we hate to admit it, he probably turned off NOVA. Maybe it was a combination of a stealth strategy on his part and a generally bad media strategy on ours, but at some point Tim Kaine just took Northen Virginia and ran away with it. We need candidates who can appeal to both the base and the centrists that compose the majority of Northern Virginia. The problem is, the Republican Party of Virginia is simply mortified by this possibility. They seem to think that Northern Virginians are somehow impure, that they simply cannot be as Republican as we are. That and they speak with an American Neutral accent or even *shudder* a northern one. But this logic is highly flawed. Let's say, hypothetically, that we had in fact nominated Chairman Sean Connaughton. Do you really think that the REAL base (not the rabid, vocal anti-tax activists) would have sat on their hands and handed him percentages in the high 50's? Highly doubtful. Despite any foibilies on his fiscal policy, the Chariman definitely would have held things together with the SoCos. AND he would've brought in those all-important centrists. But I think, that at the end of the day, primary voters were absolutely mortified by the prospect of putting "that boy from Connecticut" on their beloved ticket. Now granted, Senator Allen isn't the genuine article. But he does a darn good job passing (or converted very well). However, as much as it may pain me, as a born and bred Virginian with a humble lienage of 300 years, maybe its time to drop this litmus test of a minimum residency period. Remember, we're electing a Governor for all Virginia.
Now I'm sure that I will soon be accused of RINO coddling. But what I am suggesting here is not an abandonment of our core values. Indeed, I think that at the end of the day an efficient, liberty based government appeals to everyone. We may differ on the means, but that is a fundamental principle aligning the mainstream of our party (and I honestly think that Chichester, Stolle, Potts et al are the fringe). What I am saying is that we need to be careful on the packaging. We don't HAVE to have a NOVAian on the ticket next time, but we do have to pay attention to their sensibilities. Its simply a different ballgame there; the death penalty is not their issue, and the robocalls didn't work. Hopefully we can talk about this at the Advance (and I think Allen 2.0 may be the answer. LP-lite, anybody?).