Sabato Takes His Swipes

I've often enjoyed reading the commentary of University of Virginia professor and political analyst Larry Sabato. Not because I agree with him, which I normally don't, but often just for the humor that I find in his typical rage against the right. How anyone sees this guy as objective is beyond me. In today's Virginian-Pilot, Mr. Sabato finally "comes out," so to speak, making it abundantly clear about his view of conservatives and in particular, the dreaded "Christian right." Shockingly, he urges Republican nominee for governor Bob McDonnell to distance himself from conservative Christians:

In his campaign for governor, McDonnell is positioning himself as a moderate Republican.

"One of the underlying concerns that many thoughtful Virginians have about McDonnell are his ties to the Christian right," Sabato said. "I can't tell you how many times senior people have asked, 'Who will Bob McDonnell appoint to the 4,000 appointments he gets?' 'Who will run the college boards of visitors and the state agencies?'

"The reasons these questions matter to the people asking them is they fear it will be the far right and the Christian conservatives," he said.

"I can guarantee you whoever the Democratic nominee is, that's going to be one of his major lines of attack: McDonnell is tied to the far Christian right and he will disproportionately make his appointments from that group. And that's not where Virginia is anymore. That will send the key independent and swing voters to the Democrats."

So, let's see . . . if you are a "thoughtful Virginian" you clearly have to be concerned about McDonnell and the "Christian right." The implication is, of course, that if you are the "Christian right" you must not be thoughtful.  (You know who you are — the "poor uneducated and easy to command" as the media once referred to you.)

Plus, and perhaps most importantly, those ties "will send key independent and swing voters to the Democrats." Not "might send" or "probably will send" or "could send," but Mr. Sabato categorically has decided that if you are an independent or swing voter you simply aren't going to vote for a conservative. I guess you might as well stop thinking now.

Let's cut to the chase here. The last people Republican candidates need to be listening to are media pundits (next to, perhaps, their consultants). Sabato clearly wants Democrats to win elections — the debate over his objectivity is over. This is really what he's saying: "If you're a Republican please don't run as an actual conservative Republican with any of those principles you used to talk about, you know, back when you used to actually win elections.  Since you have been losing by avoiding principle, please continue with that strategy. It'll work this time, I promise."

This diatribe (which J.R. Hoeft at Bearing Drift addresses masterfully here) is getting seriously old and it is astonishing that any "thoughtful Virginians" are influenced by it.

It does all bring back memories of Charlie Brown and Lucy and the football.  Remember, Lucy would promise time and time again to hold the ball and this time she'll actually let Charlie Brown kick it. And Charlie Brown eagerly falls for the lie every time. 

Time will tell whether Mr. McDonnell listens to Lucy and goes to kick that football again.