By Dave Andrusko
Democrats in Virginia were able to beat pro-life Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli for a ton of reasons (as in a ton of money) but first and foremost because long before people consciously were paying any attention to a 2013 gubernatorial race, Democrats tarred Cuccinelli with the ‘extremist’ ‘out-of-touch’ label. It was eerily reminiscent of the playbook President Obama successfully used against Mitt Romney.
It helped Terry McAuliffe, the Democrats’ candidate for governor, that the major newspapers treated Cuccinelli like a piñata. Only occasionally would they probe into McAuliffe’s checkered past.
So it comes as absolutely no surprise that after pro-life New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie won a landslide victory Tuesday that today’s Washington Post would carry a story with this headline: “Democrats begin effort to negatively define Chris Christie before 2016 [presidential] campaign.”
Their fear is understandable. NRL News Today noted not only the breadth of Christie’s overwhelming victory—60% to 39%–but the depth. (See “Christie cruises to victory in New Jersey, Cuccinelli loses in cliffhanger in Virginia.”)
In addition to carrying 63% of the vote among men, he won 57% of the female vote (a constituency he lost four years ago to his Democratic opponent). That same CBS News exit poll found that Christie quadrupled his numbers about Democrats: 8% of Democrats voted for him in 2009 and 32% Tuesday.
And as the New York Times’ Kate Zernike and Jonathan Martin noted,
“In a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans by over 700,000, Mr. Christie won a majority of the votes of women and Hispanics and made impressive inroads among younger voters and blacks — groups that Republicans nationally have struggled to attract.”
There were lots of comments—and many different approaches—outlined in the story by the Post’s Philip Rucker. The most illuminating was the last. Rucker wrote
“Ben LaBolt, a senior aide on Obama’s 2012 campaign, said Democrats should make an ‘early investment’ now to attack Christie. LaBolt noted that the last presidential candidate to tell his own story coming out of a reelection was then-Gov. George W. Bush of Texas — who went on to win the White House.
“’There was a bit of a missed opportunity during the campaign itself,’ LaBolt said of Christie’s reelection race. ‘At the national level, Governor Christie really got a clean shot at introducing himself, which is unfortunate.’”
Indeed, whether it is Gov. Christie or any other pro-life Republican, the last word you know you will ever use to describe the Democrats’ attack is “clean.”