The Campaign Spot

The Editorial Board of the Washington Post Finds Its Fig Leaf

The Washington Post’s endorsement of Creigh Deeds in the Virginia Democratic gubernatorial primary probably did more to make him the nominee than any other factor. Beforehand, Deeds was relatively unknown in northern Virginia; to the Democrats in the suburbs, it was the Good Housekeeping seal of approval. And the Post was clear why they preferred Deeds to the candidates from the region, Brian Moran and Terry McAuliffe. They wrote, “Unlike his opponents, Mr. Deeds has made clear that he would make transportation his first priority, vowing to tackle this region’s greatest challenge while his political capital is at its height.”

Of course, there’s some evidence to suggest the Post hadn’t looked that closely at the man they endorsed. Such as this story on the issue of transportation in the Virginia governor’s race:

R. Creigh Deeds, McDonnell’s Democratic opponent, has yet to release a detailed transportation plan, saying Monday that he would pass a “creative transportation proposal” within his first year as governor.

The Deeds campaign said the Democrat is not necessarily opposed to privatizing ABC, saying it could be a piece of the puzzle to raise revenue. “It’s an option that should be on the table,” Deeds campaign spokesman Jared Leopold said. “But one option that should not be on the table is cutting education.”

The Post put their credibility on the line behind a candidate by touting his plans on transportation, and then learned that he didn’t actually have a plan to deal with transportation. The revelation was thoroughly embarrassing, leaving the editors with a need for a new reason to justify their inevitable endorsement of the Democrat in autumn.

Enter Bob McDonnell’s thesis from 20 years ago. Today’s editorial is a sigh of relief, as the Post editors furrow their brows in concern that if elected, McDonnell would institute a theocracy.

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