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A View from the Cheap Seats by Garren Shipley arrow Archives

A View from the Cheap Seats Blog post by Garren Shipley
Posted July 27, 2009 | Copyright © The Northern Virginia Daily
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Big pictures, little thoughts

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Yeah, it's been quiet here in the Cheap Seats. I acknowledge that. But rather than give you some sort of "I've been busy" excuse, I'll just admit something that causes me a great deal of discomfort.

I don't know what to think.

Yeah, yeah, cue rimshot and snarky laughter from people who know me. But I mean that sincerely. This election has truly proven to be a different beast than anything I've covered before, or even seen, in a decade of dealing with matters political.

At the top level, the race between Democrat Creigh Deeds and Republican Bob McDonnell has been more energized than anything I've ever seen. It's true that most people don't pay attention to politics until the World Series is over, but both candidates have been out swinging for the fences early and often.

McDonnell has gone on the offensive on issues like education and transportation, while Deeds has already called in the heavy hitters for his campaign -- President Obama and Vice President Biden have either promised or already made stops on his behalf.

In the mid-ticket range, Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and Democratic nominee Jody Wagner have both made stops near Cheap Seats HQ, both taking extremely heavy shots at each other for July. Bolling's complaints about  Wagner's role in bad state revenue estimates and Wagner's shots at Bolling's plan for creating jobs would be more at home in October than July.

At the bottom of the ticket, the fight between Democrat Steve Shannon and Republican Ken Cuccinelli is the single most energized attorney general fight I've ever seen. After weeks of beating each other over the head about Supreme Court decisions and debates, Shannon released a Web ad today trying to tie Cuccinelli to some eyebrow-raising remarks by Republican 99th House of Delegates district candidate Catherine Crabill:


If I had to be pinned down, I'd say the overriding theme of this campaign so far is desperation.

Republicans desperate to prove their string of losses is an anomaly, Democrats desperate to prove they can win without President Bush to run against and President Obama to run with. Republicans desperately want to prove that the Democratic wave wasn't real support, but just Bush fatigue. Democrats are desperate to prove that their massive win in 2008 wasn't just a populist flash in the pan. 

Voters have a sense of desperation all their own, at least from what I pick up on at Wal-Mart and Costco on a weekly basis. Unemployment seems to lurk around every corner, and every other neighbor is moving out due to foreclosure. People I talk to sit on the front porch and drink cheap beer, wondering when the next economic shoe is going to drop.

Maybe I'm wrong (and expect to hear from my readers if I am), but it looks to me like everyone involved in this thing is desperate in one way or another.

Thankfully though, if I know anything about human nature, making decisions based on desperation always leads to a great outcome. Right?

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