Obama’s Swing-State Blues

Virginia Democrat Creigh Deeds is running for governor…and running away from President Obama.

by Kimberley A. Strassel
The Wall Street Journal
September 25, 2009

Not so long ago, Democrats were thrilled by the long length of Barack Obama’s coattails. Creigh Deeds would be a lot more thrilled today if he could just step off.

Mr. Deeds is the Democratic state senator running for governor of Virginia, and while he’s at it, running away from his commander in chief. It ought to worry Democrats that their top recruit for the year already views their Washington agenda as a liability. It ought to worry Mr. Deeds that there seems no escape.

The Virginian’s problem is that he’s a little too important to party leaders. The Obama White House isn’t half as worried about what Virginia means for next year’s elections as it is what Virginia means for this year’s health fight. A wipeout in the Old Dominion could send Blue Dogs scampering for cover. If health care isn’t done by Nov. 3, it may not get done. Mr. Obama needs Mr. Deeds to win.

Then there’s current Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, moonlighting as new head of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). He claimed Mr. Obama’s victory last year in his state proved “old Virginny is dead.” This is his home turf, his gubernatorial legacy, as well as the first big test of his ability to continue his party’s electoral victories. Mr. Kaine needs Mr. Deeds to win.

And don’t forget Big Labor, which worries that a prominent Democratic defeat might slow its political momentum in Washington. Labor has also been itching to make purple Virginia a proving ground for ambitions like rolling back right-to-work laws. The unions need Mr. Deeds to win…

Printed in The Wall Street Journal, page A13

Read the rest of this Op-Ed piece here.

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