“Ramesh, while I agree with you regarding the futility of the GOP echoing Clinton’s ‘micro-issue’ strategy (school uniforms and the like), I think the bigger issue, which was hinted at by Barone [I think he means Barnes--RP], to some degree, is that the ‘inner ring’ as a political entity is growing (i.e. expanding geographically). The fact that Kaine did as well as he did, not just in Fairfax but in parts of Loudon and PW County–and the failure of the GOP rebels in VA to knock off incumbents in the Virginia House primaries this year–could well be seen as evidence that the outer NoVa suburbs are ‘maturing’–I hate that word, but you get my drift) into the voting patters seen in the Northeast 20 years or so ago. If Arlington, Alexandria and close-in Fairfax are what Nassau and Westchester are today, then outer Fairfax, Loudon and PW are what Nassau was 20 years ago–and we all know where that trend goes.
“On the other hand, the factors that are driving the NoVa suburbs to the left (and North, so to speak), are driven by demographic changes (influx of Northerners/people who make their living interacting the with government) that is unique and not being repeated in the suburbs of Atlanta, Charlotte, Cincinnati, etc.”
That last bit strikes me as a trifle optimistic. If part of what’s driving the trend is that rising real-estate values in the inner ring are pushing families out, and the total number of families with several children down, then NoVa may not be an outlier.