Right before Labor Day, Larry Sabato tossed out an idea that’s been circulating for months in Democratic circles: the GOP could be blown-out in the November elections. This provided the RTD’s Jeff Schapiro with an opening to expand upon the theme, and wonder if the only thing standing in the way of such an electoral disaster is the attorney general campaign of Republican Mark Obenshain.
Mark’s going it alone, Jeff says, plotting a course that takes him as far away from his ticketmates, and their many, multiplying, weaknesses, as possible.
That makes for good copy. It’s also an indication that the statewide campaign’s final narrative is being formed.
The Republican ticket is finished. All that’s really left now is properly identifying the scapegoats.
The most likely candidate for that role: E.W. Jackson. The Washington Post has a lengthy piece on the Jackson campaign. It is not favorable and contains remarks from more than a few, unnamed Republican sources who say that Jackson is, for all intents and purposes, finished (a charge the Jackson campaign hotly disputes).
Ken Cuccinelli is a contender for the title of the man who sank the GOP, and Bob McDonnell is not to be overlooked for his role in the coming debacle and let us not forget the man sitting on the sidelines who has made a new career for himself as dart thrower: Bill Bolling.
It’s the sort of narrative the press loves because, if the November debacle actually occurs, it will only be the beginning of the story. Afterwards, there will come the recriminations, which could lead to the GOP crack-up that some have long predicted. That’s the kind of copy that has “Pulitzer” written all over it.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I wrote on Friday that before folks on the right began prepping for the circular firing squad, they should take a deep breath and understand that the real campaign for statewide office has only just begun. These next few weeks, with voters actually paying attention, are the ones that matter. The press knows this. Larry Sabato knows this, too. Otherwise, we would not be reading what was once a Democratic fantasy of a November sweep becoming the accepted narrative.
The question becomes, then, whether the right will allow this narrative to become fact.
It’s a choice with ramifications that go well beyond November.