16 thoughts on “Why Creigh Deeds is the right guy for Democrats.”

  1. Let me get this straight, the argument here is that Brian Moran has an accent because he was born in Massachusetts, so he can’t be elected governor? Are some people really that provincial? What about Mark Warner, who grew up in Connecticut, lives in Alexandria and doesn’t have a Virginia accent? What about George Allen, who grew up in California and lives in Alexandria as well? What’s the point here? That only people born and raised in rural Virginia can become governor?

  2. So much for my gubernatorial dreams… Despite being raised in rural western Virginia (Shenandoah County) from kindergarten on, I was born in Noo Yawk (on Lawn Guyland) and I still say “chocolate” and “toilet” kinda funny.

  3. Not Brian Moran,

    The short answer is ‘yes.’

    Mark Warner doesn’t really have any sort of accent at all. It’s almost a flat, mid-west accent that betrays nothing of it’s origins. Much like that of Tim Kaine. That ‘nothing’ accent is more palatable to rural Southerners than a Ted Kennedy sound. It is neutral, rather than conspicuous.

    George Allen is all hat and no ranch, but he did pick up the accent and did a good job of pretending that he was something other than a spoiled Los Angeles pretty boy.

    Look, my family on both sides is from around Boston (although I grew up much farther South). So I’m not thrilled about the reality of this accent thing. But it’s the truth. It sucks, but it’s the way it is. Not that everyone will vote against him because of that. Only a relatively small percentage of Democrats and moderate conservative swing voters. But certainly enough to throw the general election.

    The one and only major loss that Virginia Democrats have experienced since 2000 was John Kerry in 2004. If I was a Republican strategist, I would be rubbing my hands together and chortling with glee at the idea of going up against Brian Moran. It would take me about 5 minutes to spin him to the voters as John Kerry’s carpetbagging doppelganger. Anyone who has followed politics for a little while will only have to think about this for about 30 seconds to see the absolute and unpleasant truth of what I’m saying. The writing is on the wall.

  4. While Jack’s analysis of Brian Moran’s “accent problem” may not be perceived as fair, I think he’s right. I say this as Massachusetts native, with a very recognizable accent, who has happily planted roots in Virginia.

    It’s not the accent, by itself that’s the problem. It’s the way the accent feeds the narrative. Residents of Northern Virginia may not understand the extent to which they are perceived by much of the rest of Virginia as being the liberal, out-of-touch with the regular-guy Northeasterners of the Commonwealth. Brian Moran fits that profile of the smart, politically-savvy operator who’s going to tell folks what to do and every time he speaks, he reinforces that narrative.

    So, no, it’s not just the accent. I think that there could be others with a Boston accent whose career, experience and beliefs are different, who wouldn’t face the same difficulty.

    This sort of voice problem is not limited to Brian Moran. We remember that Jerry Kilgore, who was perceived as being a weak leader, experienced difficulty because of the whining (dare we say, effeminate) tone of his speech.

    Brian Moran can’t, at this point in his career, change his accent. His only hope is to change the narrative.

  5. Um, okay, so what we’re saying is that Virginians as a whole are so thick-headed they won’t vote for anyone who sounds like a Yankee? We’re that shallow? Experience, legislative effectiveness, organizational talent, articulate leadership are all for naught if you don’t sound like a Virginian, or at least a flat-accented Midwesterner? Hell, if that’s all it takes to lose a gubernatorial election I think I’ll start looking for another state to move to. This is too much.

  6. Catzmaw: I assert that this is hardly limited to Virginia.

    A corollary of the old saw “all politics is local” is that most folks prefer their politicians be (or at least “feel like”) locals. And locals here don’t tend to sound like Bawstunners.

    Accents and vocal mannerisms are part of a candidate’s general podium appeal, regardless of location.

  7. Catzmaw,

    This is nothing so uniquely thick-headed. All people everywhere are more likely to support a potential leader whom they perceive as being ‘one of them.’ There are a number of ways of appearing to be ‘one of them’ and sometimes that means growing up in a particular place and other times that means a clear commitment to shared values. It’s hard to see what path Moran can now take towards that in non-Northern Virgina.

  8. So what we’re saying is that Virginians as a whole are so thick-headed they won’t vote for anyone who sounds like a Yankee?

    Nope, that’s not what we’re saying. We’re saying that Virginians won’t elect a liberal, strongly partisan operator who’s going to tell folks what to do. And, we’re saying that is the perception of Brian Moran in much of Virginia (among those, besides Democratic activists, who even know who he is). And, we’re saying that his accent reinforces that narrative. If there was a different narrative, that accent would be less of a problem.

  9. The core of the claim still remains – he talks funny, so forget about him getting elected. Ah, the sophistication of Virginia politics.

  10. The one and only major loss that Virginia Democrats have experienced since 2000 was John Kerry in 2004.

    Well yeah, but we haven’t won a Presidential since 1964, including 1976, 1992, 1996, and 2000, when we should have been able to carry Virginia.

    There will be a primary, whoever gets the most votes will win, and then go on to the general election.

    If Mark wins the Senate seat, which seems very likely, the Republicans will be down to two statewide elected officials. They will have an huge investment in protecting their nominee, on the other hand they will be weakened.

    It is true that Virginia Democrats have historically lost when their party held the White House, but I think historical patterns will not hold. There is a distinct possibility of a Republican implosion next year. Such an implosion would dramatically change the political equation.

    There is a good possibility of Virginia Democrats picking up two new Congressional seats, if we play our cards right we could could pick up four. Should we have a net gain of four congressional seats we will deal a devastating blow to the fundraising, grassroots, and moral of Virginia Republicans. That will dramatically change the nature of the 2009 election, not just governor, but at every level.

    So while I can see why people would endorse their favorite, there is no need to get ahead of ourselves. We can create a lot of opportunities depending on how we conduct ourselves in 2008.

    I will also repeat what I said at Vivian’s blog. Creigh and Brian both understand the proper way to use blogs and Democrats could learn a great deal from their example.

  11. Can you envision an otherwise-impeccable candidate for governor who speaks with a middle eastern accent winning the Republican nomination? I can’t. These things count. They shouldn’t. But they do. Of course, it’s not the accent per se that’s problematic, it’s the framing that it permits.

  12. Creigh will get the nomination because he is more appealing to a broad spectrum of Virginians. The fact that Moran sounds like a carpetbagger surely doesn’t help Moran’s appeal, but I think most voters here in the Commonwealth will vote for a man who has demonstrated that he will support and defend our Constitution. Creigh Deeds has a very good record on that account and is well known across the state, while Moran is known just among those poor devils stuck in beltway traffic in the breakaway socialist republic known as NOVAville.

  13. MB: Carter and Clinton had local accents in the places where they were considered locals.

    (Obviously the presidency isn’t a local office.)

  14. I think you missed my point: *nobody* can have a purely local accent for a national office.

    For state offices, however, you can have a local (and thus a non-local) accent.

    That Moran can overcome his accent and win in Northern Virginia (local for a House office) doesn’t mean that he can overcome his accent and win statewide (local for a Senate office). “Local” means different things for different offices, and it ceases to have meaning for national office (read: the Presidency). That was the point of my mention of Messrs. Carter and Clinton.

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