Local Commentary

Our Man in Arlington

bartonmugLast week, this column was a cri de coeur (it’s French, look it up) about Creigh Deeds’ faltering campaign for governor. His opponent, Bob McDonnell, was experiencing a growing margin in the polls and Deeds was being urged by supporters to redirect and reenergize his campaign.

I neglected, however, to make it absolutely clear that I believe that Creigh Deeds’ elevation to the governor’s office is absolutely essential for the future economic and social well-being of Virginia, and particularly Northern Virginia. A major effort to greatly improve Northern Virginia’s transportation system is essential to the region and the state, and Creigh Deed’s proposals – both on the revenue and expenditure sides are both realistic and doable. McDonnell’s plans may play well on paper, but that’s all. His proposals are nothing but shell games, with a master grifter running the game.

As the Washington Post said in its Sunday editorial endorsing Deeds, McDonnell’s transportation plan is “-a blueprint for stagnation and continuing deterioration, [and] would subvert the state’s prospect for economic recovery and long-term growth. And it would only deepen the misery of Northern Virginia commuters who already pay a terrible price – economic, personal and psychological – because of the state’s long neglect of its roads.”

Of course, this will probably mean raising taxes somewhere along the line – often a politically deadly position. Deeds has accepted that possibility, which makes him politically courageous, and shows that he is soundly grounded in reality, a positive trait in a governor and a trait that McDonnell is conspicuously lacking.

The same can be said for a host of economic issues now facing the state. In every case, Deeds’ proposals and past record in the General Assembly show his solid record of voting for economic progress; McDonnell’s is almost an exact mirror image.

Deeds also has a clear record as a moderate in social issues such as abortion rights, same-sex issues, gun rights, and birth control, another area in which McDonnell’s past and present positions strongly suggest that he will promote regressive policies to the detriment of many Virginians.

Deeds’ campaign has shown definite improvement in the past week, and there is every indication that it will continue to improve. Barack Obama plans to come into Virginia for Deeds, which should be an important incentive for the large number of new voters who gave Obama a strong majority in last year’s presidential election to vote. Polls indicate that fully half of these voters do not intend to vote this year. While this is not unusual in an odd-year, non-presidential election, it is of crucial importance that Deeds reverse that trend.

Northern Virginia is the economic engine that drives our Commonwealth. The infrastructure of the roads and rails which drive our economy are filled with potholes and dangerously weak areas – not to mention that it is woefully inadequate.

It is no exaggeration to say that this is one of the most important statewide elections in Virginia’s recent history. You will have no right to complain when you are stuck on congested roads or slowed rails if you don’t cast you vote on November 3.