Virginia Loves Republican Rule

by Jonah Goldberg

There’s a legitimately shocking story in the Washington Post today. Okay, the story isn’t shocking. The shocking part is that it’s in the Post, the front page no less. It’s all about how Virginians really like their Republican leadership, because the Republicans — wait for it — have done a really good job. Sure, it’s in the Saturday paper, but this is had to be a tough call for the Post’s editors. After all, about a year ago, they were convinced that McDonnell’s grad school paper disqualified him from office, if not from participating in decent society.  Here’s the beginning of the piece:

President Obama and other Democrats are going around the country making the same argument as party leaders made in Virginia last year: If you elect Republicans, they’ll drive the car right back into the ditch.

Virginians overwhelmingly ignored that advice, and a year later many say they have few regrets and are generally pleased – if not ecstatic – about what Republicans have done.

Voters, including some who didn’t back him, credited Gov. Robert F. McDonnell with working hard and engineering deep budget cuts from a generally fractious General Assembly with relatively little heartache. The result of those efforts was a narrow surplus by the end of the fiscal year, achieved through bipartisan action and without the tax increase that Gov. Timothy M. Kaine proposed before leaving office.

“This state hasn’t gone backwards,” said Steven Herborn, 55, of Chesapeake. He has supported candidates in both parties over the years but wants Republicans to take over Congress next week.

“Nothing bad has happened,” he said. “The schools are no worse. The roads? We’ve always had a problem with the roads in Virginia.”

Despite dire warnings from Democrats about what will happen if Republicans take over, the message doesn’t seem to be sticking. In a Washington Post-ABC poll this month, 50 percent of Democrats said a GOP Congress would be “a bad thing.”

And more than a dozen independent voters in Virginia who backed Obama in 2008 said in interviews that they didn’t think the state had moved backward under McDonnell and Republicans in the past year. A few who didn’t vote for him still gave him credit for working hard and focusing on the right priorities.

McDonnell is “making an effort,” said Charlottesville retiree Ross Crebbs, who voted for the governor’s opponent, state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D). “That’s what he was elected to do. He’s visible. He’s trying. And, agree or disagree with him, we can see it.”