Educate yourself on the issues

Published 8:07 am Wednesday, October 7, 2009

In less than four weeks, Virginia voters will go to the polls to elect a new governor. They will choose between Bob McDonnell, the Republican nominee and a former state attorney general, and Creigh Deeds, a Democrat and state senator.

McDonnell or Deeds.

Not Barack Obama.

No, the 44th president of the United States is not a candidate for the highest office in our state’s government. Nevertheless, Obama’s policies (i.e. bailouts, Afghanistan, “Cash for Clunkers”), actions (Sotomayor, Olympics), and other “issues” (birth certificate, Kanye West) are very much at the forefront of the public’s mind.

It would be wrong to give all of the credit for McDonnell’s lead in the polls strictly to voter dissatisfaction with Obama. But consider that for the last eight gubernatorial elections, the political party that won the White House the year before saw their candidate for governor defeated one year later. The last time the same party won both elections was when Republican Richard Nixon was re-elected president in 1972, and Mills Godwin Jr., who switched party affiliation to the Republicans, was elected governor in 1973. (Interestingly, Godwin was the only Virginia governor elected to two terms in the 20th century).

That is a disturbing trend. And although this might not be the year for that trend to be broken, we encourage Virginia voters to continue to keep an open mind and to educate themselves on where McDonnell and Deeds stand on the issues relevant to the state.