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Deeds’ Desperate Gamble

By Greg L | 31 August 2009 | Virginia Politics | 35 Comments

The story that so far no one has dug into is why the Deeds campaign (through the Washington Post) chose now to dig into Bob McDonnell’s college thesis to find a hidden supposed bogeyman.  When campaigns traditionally go into high gear after Labor Day, who’s trying to drop an “October Surprise” in August, of all times?  The timing here suggests there’s more to this story, and it’s not about whether Bob McDonnell wrote about policy options supporting marriage that even Governor Tim Kaine supports.  There’s likely more to this story.  Much more.

McDonnell has been crushing Creigh Deeds in the polls, by between nine and fifteen points for the past several months.  Donors see these, and begin to figure that sending money to Deeds is a waste, which is a very reasonable conclusion.  With the campaign finance reporting period ending tonight, if Deeds shows lackluster results that may cripple his ability to gather campaign funds through the rest of the election, other than the reliable union contributions and those from the party, his campaign could end up on life support.  Deeds needs something to rescue his faltering campaign, and instead of springing some twenty year old thesis paper written by McDonnell in order to get a good grade from a Christian university in October, when the electorate might not have enough time to process it objectively and react emotionally at the polls, he pulls the trigger now.

It’s unlikely that this was just a matter of the Washington Post not sticking to Deed’s campaign strategy and running this story earlier than he wanted.  Given what I’ve seen from the Post, I seriously doubt that’s the case.  They’ve been close to the Deeds campaign from the beginning, consistently support liberal candidates, their primary endorsement certainly was a big part of his success in the primary, and I have a really hard time believing that if the Deeds campaign asked them to defer this story the Post would refuse.  Deeds knew this would run now, because they have quotes in the Post article.  They wanted this run now.  There’s a reason for that.

So what happens when a campaign starts running what they think are the big negative attacks early?  It gets the phones ringing, and gets the contributions rolling in.  In this case, it gets them rolling in at a critical time, when Deeds needs to prove his campaign is still viable after months of lagging behind terribly.  Democrats really do seem to think that money is the determining factor in campaigns, and Deeds hasn’t been getting a whole lot from the looks of his last campaign fianance report.  After a few months of looking like he’s effectively out of the race, this last minute cash might make his campaign look a lot more viable going into the last sixty days of the election.  It could keep his campaign afloat, and allow him the chance to fight his way back.

The problem here is that by November, this will all be old news.  Really late in the cycle a surprising negative attack can bring you votes.  Earlier in the campaign cycle it can bring you cash, so what Deeds seems to be doing here is trading potential votes later, when they’re needed, for cash now.  That’s a pretty desperate tactic, since it’s the votes that win you an election and trading them away for the opportunity to keep a campaign afloat is simply bad strategy.  You have to be pretty desperate to fire your political ammunition too early for it to translate into votes.

I’ll be very interested to see Deeds’ campaign finance report ending August 31.  If that report shows that a significant portion of his money showed up in the last few days and the campaign wasn’t getting contributions to speak of in late July through mid-August, that will confirm this hypothesis.  We’ll know that Deeds’ big strategic play for the election cycle had to be pissed away early in order to financially rescue his campaign. Very likely, he will have fired all of what he thinks is his most important political ammunition, praying that any lingering effects might get him over the top.  Strategy-wise, that’s just plain dumb. 

Deeds has clearly been struggling with his lackluster campaign, and the Democrats have not been flocking to him as he hoped.  To see him plucking out of the archives Bob McDonnell’s twenty year old thesis papers when Deeds’ own papers are as strangely unavailable, as are Barack Obama’s, really has to make me wonder whether this early attack is a sign of desperation more than part of a real campaign strategy.  Although we’ll have to dig through the finance reports in order to really see what happened, this really looks like a “Hail Mary” pass thrown in the middle of the second quarter of a football game to try to prevent you from walking into the locker room at halftime being down twenty-eight to zero.  When you’re pulling that stuff, you know the rest of the game is going to be ugly.

Maybe Deeds is as lost in the woods as I thought he might have been.  I didn’t think his campaign staff could have possibly been that bad.

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  1. BattleCat said on 1 Sep 2009 at 5:24 am:
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    I saw this and thought the Washington Compost better hit its knees and thank God for Sunday coupons, otherwise they’d never sell a paper. Last I checked, our “science czar” coauthored a book advocating forced abortion and sterilization of “undesirables”, and total global destruction by 2020…..but this thesis! now that’s news!!

  2. Anonymous said on 1 Sep 2009 at 6:47 am:
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    Actually (BattleCat), the Thesis is news. For independent Conservatives such as me (a Fiscal Conservative who considers small Government and no taxes the heart of the movement) who don’t buy into the Religious Right’s agenda, it’s a “deal breaker”. I was going to vote for McDonnell as the better of two poor candidates; however, I logged onto Deed’s website and made a (rare) donation to his campaign as soon as I finished the Post Article (and checked out his Thesis personally).

    McDonnell was 34 and a veteran when he wrote this thesis and has spend a 15 year career working on it. I don’t plan to be part of putting him in a position to fulfill it. I think most of Northern Virginia agrees with me.

    I think the race just got a bit tighter and look forward to the next poll numbers (as the game has changed).

  3. ShowMeTheBirthCertificate said on 1 Sep 2009 at 7:56 am:
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    It depends. If more voters think abortion should be legal, this is a good strategy for Creigh. He has two months to bang the anti-life drum, and if there is one thing that gets libtards out to vote, its the oppotunity to make killing innocent children part of the consitution. If more voters are in favor of permitting children to live, this is a bad strategy, because he will have two months to pound in an ineffective message.

  4. Gnarly said on 1 Sep 2009 at 7:58 am:
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    The other problem that the Deeds campaign has made for itself is that they have declared anything that a candidate has said, written, or done during their college years is fair game in this race. This gives his campaign a good, long stretch of time to worry that something will surface from Creigh Deeds’ college years that will come back to bite them.

    They opened the window and set this standard. It could very well blow up in their faces now. Just think about it….highly likely something is there.

  5. NoVA Scout said on 1 Sep 2009 at 8:09 am:
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    I suspect the timing has to do with the fact that Deeds has not been running that well and that the centrist campaign of the Republicans has been effective. I don’t think it’s any more complicated than that. Rs can’t win any more in Virginia statewide by running on buzzwords and platitudes of the far right. So the people around McDonnell have actually run a substantive, moderate campaign. It works, especially when the candidate is media-genic, has a resume that includes honorable military service, and is well-funded. Deeds is trying to put McDonnell back in the box he has occupied for most of his political career. Too early to tell whether it works. My guess is that the subject of who is the real Bob McDonnell won’t grow stale by November.

  6. Snapped Shot said on 1 Sep 2009 at 8:39 am:
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    Today’s Must-Read: Of Deeds and Desperation…

    Updating yesterday’s astroturfed controversy over Bob McDonnell’s decades-old thesis, J.R. Hoeft over at Bearing Drift demolishes the Democratic candidate in a way that only he can:

    Recently, the Deeds campaign and the Democratic attack machine ha…

  7. ... said on 1 Sep 2009 at 8:44 am:
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    How many commenters have read it?

  8. Matt said on 1 Sep 2009 at 8:46 am:
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    College years? A 34 year old veteran is not the same as a pimply faced 18 year old. Most of us have our world views pretty well established by the time we are in our 30s. So either McDonnell believes these things or he is flip flopping to gain electoral advantage.

  9. Gnarly said on 1 Sep 2009 at 9:54 am:
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    Yes it is…a college paper is a college paper. You are writing to prove a predetermined thesis or assignment, giving consideration to the school and professor who will judge it. He wasn’t filling out a candidate questionnaire.

    Everyone acts as if we have NOTHING else out there to judge McDonnell’s thought process and philosophy…and that he has no legislative record and 4 years in a STATEWIDE office. His record is extensive for all to see. I might add that McDonnell has a daughter who has served the United States in Iraq and two daughters currently pursuing Master’s Degrees. His record does absolutely nothing to reinforce theories that can be dug out of a 20 year old paper.

    The problem for Deeds is that they are so obsessed with finding the next Maccaca moment, that they are forgetting to run a campaign….and now they have this added complication of declaring that ANYTHING a candidate expressed (written or by actions) in college is fair game for fodder in this campaign. I can’t imagine any candidate wanting that to be the standard in a race, but apparently Deeds is willing to go there….at his peril.

    That’s politics I suppose. With plunging poll numbers, the Deeds campaign took a calculated risk that they will undoubtedly regret.

  10. anony said on 1 Sep 2009 at 12:41 pm:
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    Anonymous 6:37 am

    Yeah right…who do you work or volunteer for? We are expected to believe that you were a McDonnell supporter that read and inhaled the Washington Post story (uhm, right there, you kind of have a crediblility problem because few McDonnell supporters would rely on the WaPo for their info) and after reading it, you suddenly believe that your previous candidate of choice is a right wing nut job who will keep women barefoot and pregnant (even though his family does not show that to be the case) and overturn Roe v. Wade and you felt so upset by the appearance of this paper that you disregarded everything you knew to be true about Bob McDonnell and got on the Deeds website, and contributed. Then you were still so bothered by the college paper that you were on the computer checking blogs at 6:30 am so you could post your newly found love of Deeds.

    If anyone believes that, try this on for size:
    I was a Obama/Deeds supporting left wing radical feminist who smoked mucho dope on college with my fellow marxist liberated women friends, believes in abortion on demand at the taxpayer’s expense, believed in a woman’s right to marry another woman and supported a single payer health care system for women only (and no healthcare for men because they only hold women back). After reading the Washington Post article, I decided Deeds is crazy and now I love McDonnell and logged onto his website to contribute. Don’t you believe me?

  11. Prester John said on 1 Sep 2009 at 1:29 pm:
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    Funny how the Dems are so concerned about something McDonnell wrote 20 years ago but they don’t have any curiosity about what BHO wrote 26 years ago.

    But then again even if they wanted to read it they couldn’t because somehow neither BHO nor Columbia Unversity can find a copy of it.

  12. Anonymous said on 1 Sep 2009 at 3:16 pm:
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    You have me confused… with someone who cares… whether or not you believe me. “It is what it is.” Your sound reasoning, logical argument and high literary standards certainly didn’t do much to change my mind.

  13. REG said on 1 Sep 2009 at 8:18 pm:
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    Anonymous said on 1 Sep 2009 at 6:47 am:

    Actually (BattleCat), the Thesis is news. For independent Conservatives such as me (a Fiscal Conservative who considers small Government and no taxes the heart of the movement)

    . . . So, why would you toss money at a politician who will not meet your stated “heart of the movement” preferences for “small government and no taxes”? Really hard to connect those dots. . . do you seriously think the Dems will scratch that itch?

  14. ... said on 1 Sep 2009 at 8:49 pm:
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    No taxes? Well, that would be nice, but, I’ll settle LOWER taxes.

  15. FED UP said on 1 Sep 2009 at 10:18 pm:
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    Prester John said on 1 Sep 2009 at 1:29 pm:

    AMEN to that!!!!

  16. Anonymous said on 2 Sep 2009 at 7:53 am:
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    REG, you asked me an honest question (about why would I vote…) so I’ll give you the same answer I gave to McDonnell’s Northern Virginia Campaign manager (when last we chatted)….

    The only thing that scares me more than anything Deeds can do is what a member of the Religious Right (regardless of party - the whole voting “brand” thing frankly is the act of people looking for a tribe… not a leader) committed to the things McDonnell said he would do. I respect everything McDonnell believes; however, when he states his intent to implement them as part of a Republican strategy (face it, the Party I used to love has been “hijacked”), he’s off my list.

    History is measured in Centuries… not years. I can live with Deeds for a few years… I can’t live with McDonnell. I don’t want to roll the clock back to a time when Virginia cared a bit too much about things that I (and many others) consider a matter of personal choice.

    Again, fair question… honest answer.

  17. Patty said on 2 Sep 2009 at 9:34 am:
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    Let’s look at some facts about sex outside of marriage. Marraige as defined as between a man and a woman:

    unwanted pregnancies
    absentee fathers
    abused children
    sexually transimitted diseases such as AIDS, HPV

    And that is what you want for our country.

    Let’s have an honest answer from you. Quit hiding behind the term “religious right” and be honest. You should just come out and say that you hate God and that you hate Jesus Christ….because those who you call “religious right” are those who simply trust what Jesus Christ said.

  18. Robert L. Duecaster said on 2 Sep 2009 at 10:12 am:
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    The guy deserves everyone’s vote just for having the ability to write 65 coherent pages. The last time Creigh Deeds, or his ally Guvnor Goober handled that many pages was when they got together to trade their Marvel comic books.

  19. Anonymous said on 2 Sep 2009 at 11:32 am:
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    Anonymous 6:37 am –

    (a Fiscal Conservative who considers small Government and no taxes the heart of the movement)

    If you actually bothered to read the thesis, the ultimate end-game of strengthening families was to reduce the amount of welfare and social services that the government needed to provide, thus resulting in less government and, gasp, LOWER TAXES.

  20. ... said on 2 Sep 2009 at 1:07 pm:
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    “If you actually bothered to read the thesis”

    It’s too long & complex. We need a dumbed-down newspaper story written at a 6th grade reading level to help us understand.

  21. Anonymous said on 2 Sep 2009 at 1:08 pm:
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    Patty, if you simply “trust what Jesus Christ said”, you would stop worrying about what other folks are up to in this life and start worrying about the next. To be honest, you sound a bit like the Pharisees that Jesus so despised: Matt 23:13 “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.”

    Anonymous, reducing assistance to the least among us is one accurate assessment of his thesis. Assuming you are lf the same mind as Patty, these are the very people Jesus would have helped. You might want to bone up on the Beatitudes (if you’re not a Christian, never mind).

    I would prefer a world where we don’t need taxes to help the least among us because churches and communities fill that void. Unfortunately, that’s just not the way it works any more (for those groups who excel in this area, such as the Mormons, I salute you!)

  22. ... said on 2 Sep 2009 at 1:39 pm:
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    “Unfortunately, that’s just not the way it works any more”

    Why is that?

  23. ... said on 2 Sep 2009 at 1:42 pm:
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    It’s probably the same sort of reason that one of my friends thinks that global warming is a big issue, but personally will do nothing about it. I expect he thinks that it’s the Government’s job to find a solution.

  24. Patty said on 2 Sep 2009 at 3:06 pm:
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    Let’s look at a behavior that you think should be private but in your mind has no affect on the public, homosexual sex. One of the biggest scourges of disease that has reached epidemic porportions is AIDS. It is a fact that it started through homosexual sex and is still the leading disease among homosexual men.

    Look at how much it costs:



    The cost of this disease is in the billions. So much for private actions not affecting anyone.

    I’m sure the public option will spread the cost of this disease to all taxpaying citizens.

    As far as your statements about Jesus:

    If you think for one minute that Jesus tolerated sin, you’re dead wrong. He died on the cross because of our sins. If you think His grace gives you a license to sin it would be as if you went back in time climbed upon the cross and spit in His face. In John 8:11 He told the adulterous woman to “sin no more.” In John 3:19-21 “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”

    It is easy to pick and choose which part of God’s Word, the Bible, you will believe and then ignore the rest. You need to take your own advice “and start worrying about the next” life because this is what Jesus said: “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you, depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.” Matthew 7:22-23 which shouldn’t be hard for you to find since you know about the Beatitudes.

  25. REG said on 2 Sep 2009 at 5:49 pm:
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    Anonymous ,

    I see that you indicated “If you actually bothered to read the thesis, the ultimate end-game of strengthening families was to reduce the amount of welfare and social services that the government needed to provide, thus resulting in less government and, gasp, LOWER TAXES.”

    Well, I don’t really have time to go read the candidates college homework, but would agree with your summary that the end game of strengthening families would be as you stated. I think those are standard conservative values and goals. Strengthening families, would / could lead to those outcomes.

    My initial post was actually questioning your seemingly knee-jerk reaction to send dollars to a candidate that does not offer a glimmer of a chance, to meet your self described core belief (less govt, lower taxes). So, the truth is you have liberal beliefs, that trump your conservative leanings. Well, you seem to be exactly the target audience for this desperate campaign tactic, from a candidate that is scrambling to pull a rabbit out of his hat.

    I think you have made a foolish investment (was it a large donation?). We will see in November.

  26. Anonymous said on 2 Sep 2009 at 6:27 pm:
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    The fight against the Taliban in Afghanistan and the fight against the religious right in the United States feel very similar to me. Both groups advance agendas that impose specific religious values on everyone (regardless of “everyone’s” personal beliefs), consider women as second class citizens, and are willing to resort to violence to get their way. Substitute the word “Taliban” for “Republican” in McDonnell’s paper, and I believe the Taliban would be comfortable implementing it as a strategy that is consistent with their values. The Taliban is also a big proponent of “conservative values” (only they prefer to misquote the Quaran instead of the Bible).

    Since there’s a bit of time between now and the election, I will be listening very carefully to Deeds and McDonnell. If I had to vote today, it would be Deeds. He happens to be the only alternative at the moment. I assume you’ve read the latest poll numbers… Deeds “glimmer” is a bit brighter as folks like me switch sides and write checks (particularly here in Northern Virginia). Yes, we will see in November.

  27. Greg L said on 2 Sep 2009 at 7:41 pm:
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    That is pathetically ridiculous.

    The Taliban murders innocent women and children by stapping bombs to their kids. What you consider the “religious right” would not in a million years come even close. To equate the two really makes me wonder if you understand Christianity at all.

  28. Anonymous said on 3 Sep 2009 at 7:48 am:
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    Greg (re innocent women and children… an ironic choice),

    Actually I was thinking of Dr. Tiller and the Religious Right’s abortion clinic terrorism. The Washington Examiner published a very relevant article on the subject:


    Do you see the similarities between Deeds strategy and the Taliban’s?

    Thanks for posting my comment, by the way. While I disagree with some of the things on this blog (and agree with others), I respect your willingness to publish alternative viewpoints.

  29. Greg L said on 3 Sep 2009 at 8:42 am:
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    The psycho that murdered Dr. Tiller is about as representative of the religious right as Jeffrey Dahlmer is representative of animal welfare activists. No surprise here you’re relying on the “Atheism Examiner” to support your facetious argument.

  30. Patty said on 3 Sep 2009 at 9:06 am:
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    I see you are using the typical liberal propaganda device by using a straw man. Doesn’t work. Maybe you should try another tactic.

    Since you like to quote scripture maybe you should think about Romans 1:28-31. You should read the whole chapter. Better yet, you should read the whole book. How about 2Timothy 3:1-5 and Titus 2:1-14.

    Mrs. F each day brings you closer to your appointment with the Lord….2Cor. 13:5.

    And please spare us of you having to have the last post on a thread. It gets old fast.

  31. Anonymous said on 3 Sep 2009 at 10:18 am:
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  32. BattleCat said on 3 Sep 2009 at 3:00 pm:
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    Hey, REG and Anonymous,


    Lick it!!!

  33. Anonymous said on 3 Sep 2009 at 4:24 pm:
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    If down from a 15 point lead in a couple of a days is a good thing, you’re right on.

  34. REG said on 3 Sep 2009 at 5:41 pm:
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    Thanks for the exchange of ideas. However, you do have some wild ideas. That whole Taliban vs Religious Right comparison thing is absolutely off the wall crazy. Others have properly responded to your comments. . . try to have a good day.


    I don’t know why you grouped me with Anonymous in your last comment? I actually agreed with your initial comment on this thread. I do get the Post for the coupons and perhaps the sports section. My most recent and best use for the leftovers of that paper were to protect my garage floor from oil drips leaking from my old car.

  35. BattleCat said on 3 Sep 2009 at 9:58 pm:
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    Reg, I must have gotten my names crossed up. Sorry ’bout that. You don’t have to lick it :) (sorry, what I think is funny is what a 10 year old boy thinks is funny).

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