Would we really be talking so much about the Democratic primary if not for McAuliffe? And does anybody really think McAuliffe cares about being Governor of Virginia?
Here’s one way to look at today’s three-way Democratic gubernatorial in Virginia: It’s all about Terry McAuliffe, and he probably wouldn’t have it any other way. If McAuliffe wins, it would be due to his organization and laser-like focus on jobs and the economy. It would confirm that money and name ID do matter. And, of course, it would set up an entertaining and TV cable-friendly general election against Republican Bob McDonnell. But if McAuliffe loses — to surging Creigh Deeds or (less likely) Brian Moran — it would be due to concerns about his electability. It would confirm that the best-known and best-financed candidates don’t always win. It would provide evidence, as we wrote yesterday, that newspaper endorsements (like the Washington Postâ€™s nod to Deeds) can impact a race. And it would be another electoral loss for the Clintons and their friends, especially in Virginia (where Obama beat Hillary last year, 64%-35%).
And that last part is possibly the most important. We’ve shifted away from a Clinton-controlled party and that would be a good thing indeed.
Because while there’s no doubt that those folks knew how to win with the slash and burn tactics of Begala and Carville, if Dems want to continue to build on their successes they need to adopt the Plouffe and Axelrod way of doing things.
In short, flashiness and vitriol is (slowly, but surely) being replaced with substance and bridge building. And that’s good for everybody, not just Dems.