After Bob McDonnell's drubbing of Democrat Creigh Deeds, The Washington Post should be humbled considering the paper waged what can only be seen as a politically motivated crusade to make the race about social issues discussed in McDonnell's decades-old college thesis.
This was clearly a side issue compared to the economic issues the McDonnell campaign was emphasizing. In fact, earlier today I wrote, “With McDonnell's resounding win tonight, perhaps the Post will think twice about putting its credibility on the line before making itself the opposition research arm of Virginia Democrats. But don't bet on it.”
Don't bet on it? Even my cynical view of the paper's political motivations didn't prepare me for the fact that the Post would try and arrogantly spin a humiliating episode. On the front page of Washingtonpost.com today's editorial is headlined:
Prove us wrong, Bob McDonnell
The editorial in the print edition is more sensibly headlined, “Mr. McDonnell's Victory: Lessons from a big win,” but the editorial itself is a clinic in journalistic hubris. After some backhanded compliments of McDonnell and an attempt to save face by acknowledging that Deeds' campaign was flaming-dirigible bad, the Post finally admists “We'd be delighted if he [McDonnell] proves us wrong.” Perhaps what they meant to write is “We'd be delighted if he proves the overwhelming majority of Virginia voters right and the narrow-minded powers that be at The Washington Post wrong.”
But the Post is just getting warmed up. After that telling admission, the Post concludes the editorial with two lengthy paragraphs — I'm not making this up — lamenting McDonnell's victory “will reinforce the conventional wisdom that it is impossible to win an election in Virginia, and elsewhere, on a platform that includes higher taxes.” As proof of this rather idiosyncratic take on the election, the Post writes “It's worth noting that Mr. McDonnell's margin of victory in Northern Virginia, where traffic is worst and transportation is the dominant issue, was slimmer than it was statewide.”
Of course, McDonnell still won most of Nothern Virginia, which is always more liberal than the rest of the state and not just on transportation issues. Further, McDonnell won a number of key suburban and exurban counties in Nothern Virginia that voted for Obama last fall. What's really worth noting is that the Post is engaged in rhetorical prestidigitation here, so no wonder they don't bother trying to quantify or offer specifics regarding McDonnell's showing in Northern Virginia. Otherwise, their observation about raising taxes won't stand up — and they know it.