Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Bath County Hillbilly

There are only two gubernatorial elections during this off–year, New Jersey and Virginia. Both parties are keenly aware that the country at large is using both as a barometer of Republican success in 2010. But it seems that the Washington Post may be having second thoughts regarding its choice.

In fact, as the Democrat’s gubernatorial primary was drawing to a close, the Post surprised many political observers by endorsing the unpolished state senator Creigh Deeds over happenin’ guy Terry McAuliffe and liberal heart–throb delegate Brian Moran.

But now Post has contracted a near–toxic case of buyer’s remorse after Deeds’ primary victory.

There is the slightly condescending tone when describing Deeds’ political background in rural Bath County. The word rural appears so often in Post coverage of the Deeds’ campaign that I assumed it was his nickname. And there are the references to Deeds’ “authentic” and “folksy” speaking style and his “stammering” tendencies, which is code for “this hayseed can’t get the marbles out of his mouth.”

Now while the New York newspapers get to squire around Jon Corzine — a Wall Street mover–and–shaker who knows about wine, rather than moonshine, the Post is unhappily stuck accompanying this Bath County bumpkin to the ball.

So if the king maker is uneasy, what are mere voters to think about voting for Deeds in November?

When the Post initially crowned Deeds I just assumed they picked the frontiersman because they wanted a candidate who may have actually been born in a log cabin. Creigh, with his quaint first name, would add the common touch and help Dems fight the elitist label that damages the party outside Brie and Chablis precincts of Northern Virginia.

The Posties certainly had me sold on Creigh’s backwoods bona fides. Why when Deeds had his auto crash while campaigning this summer, I just assumed it occurred when his coonskin cap got turned around and the tail suddenly blocked his vision.

A closer look at Deeds and his campaign only proves the Post is being superficial and merely judging based on appearances and GPS coordinates. Any iconoclastic views diverging from national Democrat orthodoxy that Deeds may have harbored while holed up in his mountain fastness, have been scrubbed off of him by his association with standard–issue beltway Democrats. He is just as clueless regarding economics and market forces as any candidate. Deeds just does it in buckskin instead of Armani.

Creigh came to Prince William County — a suburb of Washington, DC in early September to tout his “small business plan” to a group of local capitalists. As he strolled along the streets of Occoquan he proclaimed, “The whole idea is to create a culture of entrepreneurism. When you create a job you give a person an opportunity to feed their family for a week.”

That’s sharecropper or migrant–worker level employment, if you ask me, which may be in keeping with Democrat emphasis on encouraging the importation of illegal immigrants.

Most people’s career horizons extend beyond a week of beans & franks, but hey, I guess any attention to private sector job creation from a Democrat is a start. Maybe if he can attract some Obama stimulus dollars, Deeds can guarantee two weeks of vittles.

Deeds also wants to help government continue to bulk up by offering a scholarship to cover half the cost of college tuition for students who do “public service” jobs in Virginia after graduation.

To illustrate how hard it is for college students, Deeds explained, “"When I left for college, I left home with four $20 bills that my mother gave me. Four $20 bills wouldn't buy you a biology textbook today."

Deeds never asks the obvious question regarding higher education, which is why do college costs continue to rise every year, far in excess of the rate of inflation?

It’s not like raw material costs are increasing at Virginia Tech. On the contrary, colleges and universities get to charge their raw materials as freshmen stream into the dorms each fall. It could be that Democrats who insist on subsidizing loans for college costs help insulate college administrators from market forces and the consequences of their price gouging.

Instead, Deeds uses a lame reflection on his past that only serves to illustrate how little Democrats understand about money. I’m no economist, but I can tell Creigh that the $80.00 Ma Deeds gave him in 1976 is worth $224.00 in 2009 dollars due to inflation. Just a brief web search reveals that the most expensive biology textbook retails for $144.00. So not only can “Rural” Deeds afford his biology textbook, he will have his original 80 bucks left over.

Which confirms Deeds is just as ignorant of the free market as Barney Frank and Henry Waxman.

So the Posties can relax. There is no danger reporter allergies will be aggravated by hay bales at the inaugural hoedown. Deeds has been tamed. Should he win, I’m certain he will even leave his flintlock at home so as not to frighten the gun–shy from Alexandria.

Michael R. Shannon