Shocking. I mean that literally: the control chip must have shorted out, or something. Representative Connolly finally admitted something that we all already knew: forget about what the 2008 map looked like. This is going to be a 2004 election, or maybe a 2000 election:
Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) said if the 2012 presidential election was held today, President Barack Obama wouldn't win Virginia, a state he carried in 2008.
Speaking on local Washington radio station WTOP Friday, Connolly said, "In my opinion, no, today he would not win the state."
But, with more than a year before Election Day, Connolly said Obama still has time to regain the momentum he had in the last election.
Indeed, he has time. Whether he will have the opportunity or the ability to regain that momentum is another, much more entertaining, question.
For those wondering, the status of Virginia in the 2012 election is important largely because it will tell us a good deal about how far the President is going to slip from his 2008 total - and make no mistake about this: Barack Obama will not do better in 2012 than he did in 2008 (both nationally, and on the individual state level). If you compare the 2008 Virginia Presidential election with the 2005 Virginia gubernatorial one you'll quickly notice that while the vote totals were dissimilar, Obama generally won in the same places that Kaine did, and at about the same percentages. Compare that to 2009, where McDonnell essentially crushed Deed, including in counties that were Democrat strongholds. What concerns the White House - or what should concern the White House - is that the 2009 results may represent a combination of "reversion to the norm" +"bad candidate:" the first would be bad enough, but given the President's performance lately, the second may end up being a lot more applicable than the administration wants to admit.
And, truthfully: if Virginia is not really in play for the Democrats, then they're not going to win the next election. In fact, it won't be particularly close, either; Obama will be spending too much time fighting in formerly safe areas like Wisconsin and Pennsylvania (and trying not to lose more ground there) to concentrate on holding territory like Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, and Ohio... and the way that the map's looking, Obama needs to keep those states, too. All of them, and not just for the electoral votes: three out of four of them have critical Senatorial elections in 2012, and the fourth (NC) has a governorship up for grabs.
In other words: Connolly's right that it's early days yet, but he's also right in admitting that Obama's in deep trouble in Virginia. Which, by the way, means that so is Gerry Connolly...
Moe Lane (crosspost)