The New Virginia

The Washington Post takes a look at the collapsing Republican position in Virginia — Democratic governor, one Democratic Senator, and now 40 percent of Virginians say the next president should be a Democrat and just 33 percent want a Republican. Beyond the more obvious points, I like to think that this also does show something about the significance of governing.

When Mark Warner first ran for governor in Virginia, it was pretty clear that only a “different kind of Democrat” kind of Democrat could win in the state. But not only did Warner win, he governed in a popular manner. And while he continued to be a “different kind of Democrat,” he didn’t shy away from being a Democrat and playing a role in the national party. Tim Kaine and Jim Webb have very much continued in that tradition — neither are central casting Democrats, but both have actually represented the national party on national television in State of the Union responses. And as a result, their performance in office winds up not just keeping them afloat personally, but also serves to rehabilitate the party’s overall image.

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