Sunday, June 7, 2009

Election Special: Comparing the Candidates' Records

Some of my good friends in the blogosphere who support Terry McAuliffe, quick to cry “foul” at any whiff of negativity directed at their candidate, have proffered the following defense of their own man’s negative attacks: The negative attacks are not negative attacks at all. Rather, they assert, these are important and highly relevant comparisons of the candidates’ respective records. If those comparisons paint Creigh and Brian in a negative light, they contend, that’s the fault of the facts, not of the McAuliffe campaign, which is just bringing the facts to light.

I’m not sure I buy the logic of that for a variety of reasons, although I am impressed by the creativity and surface appeal of the argument.

Still, with two days left to go until the election, I am more interested in debating substance than semantics, so for now I will accept the position of my McAuliffe friends on this matter and both stick to comparing the candidate’s records and not complain when they do the same.

I want to emphasize comparing record, as distinct from comparing the record of one candidate to the campaign promises, rhetoric and platforms of another, for the latter do not comprise a record. After all, the point of looking at a record is that a candidate can say anything when running for office, but a record of votes or actions taken at another time when the person’s objective was not earning statewide votes is more reliable evidence of where they really stand.

So, as a service to my readers (and the three of you know who you are), and in light of the shortening hours until election day, I pulled an all-nighter last night in order to put together a complete comparative examination of the records of Creigh and Brian Moran, respectively, versus that of McAuliffe’s on some of the key issues facing the Commonwealth. So, without further ado, the McAuliffe record:

1. Terry’s record of action on solving Virginia’s transportation crisis:


2. Terry’s record of action on bringing alternative energy to Virginia, or implementing policies designed to improve efficiency:

[more chirping]

3. Terry’s record of action on payday lending:

[even more chirping]

4. Terry's record of action on redistricting:

[silence -- crickets got tired]

Well, it looks like I’m going to have to cancel that comparison of records, because Terry McAuliffe has no record to compare with the other candidates.

Look, McAuliffe’s no carpetbagger – he’s lived in the Commonwealth for 17 years – but the fact is that before launching his run for Governor, McAuliffe demonstrated zero interest in what went on in the Commonwealth.

I understand why McAuliffe and his supporters want only to compare records with Creigh and Moran when it comes to negative attacks. It’s a one-way street; when you don’t have a record, there is nothing for the other guy to attack.

What I don’t understand is, if a candidate’s record matters so much, as McAuliffe and his supports tacitly acknowledge in their argument that comparing records is fair game, what does McAuliffe’s complete lack of one say?


  1. I guess I count as "one of your three readers." :)

    Seriously, that is the funniest take on it yet.

  2. Thanks, AIAW. It is very smart the way that the McAuliffe people have tried to frame this issue.sometimes, humor is the way to cut through absurdity.