Who said "Virginia is for lovers?" Not today. Today Virginia was for winners. Creigh Deeds, this doesn't mean you.
Today, the Old Dominion was all for the new governor -- Bob McDonnell, an Iraq War veteran with 21 years in the U.S. Army. McDonnell's victory was almost as decisive as the one he experienced in the war -- winning by an estimated 63-37 percent with about 30 percent of the votes in. That's when major networks ABC and Fox News called him as winner.
It wasn't just a victory for McDonnell, it was a loss for the twin titans of the left -- President Barack Obama and The Washington Post. Obama had backed Deeds, then backed off the collapsing campaign. But late campaign literature from the Deeds camp made it look like Obama was running for governor, not the state senator.
One mailer featured the president with the words "Hope, Opportunity, Change" in big type and "Creigh Deeds" in appropriately tiny point size. Obama tried to rally the flagging campaign in its final days at a rally at Old Dominion University. But those mighty pecs weren't enough to lift Deeds across the finish line.
Back in May, few had heard of the obscure Democratic politician until The Post elevated Deeds' candidacy with a strong endorsement. Deeds had that natural Post style -- he liked higher taxes. The paper's endorsement noted how he "courageously voted for a proposal that included raising the state's gas tax, unchanged since 1986." The Post endorsement didn't stop there. The editorial team truly loved the guy. "The knock on Mr. Deeds is that he's a nice guy," they wrote.
The news division obviously thought so as well. The race was marred by continued complaints about where The Post's editorial support ended and where the news section began. In late August, the paper's search for its latest "macaca moment" led it to a 20-year-old McDonnell thesis on feminism and family issues. The paper then flogged the story like the rowing scene from "Ben Hur." In just 11 days, the paper targeted the GOP candidate 12 times.
The crusade was so over-the-top that it drew a parody from The Weekly Standard. That piece, headlined "Post Runs Another Story About Its McDonnell Story," mocked reporter Anita Kumar's consistent attacks on the candidate. In classic Onion parody style, The Standard began this way:
"Three days after publishing a story in hopes of generating a controversy over a master's thesis written 20 years ago by GOP gubernatorial hopeful Bob McDonnell, The Washington Post will publish another story today about the reaction to its original story."
When the Post formally endorsed Deeds, it was anti-climactic. The paper took one more shot at McDonnell saying his "silver-tongued embrace of ideas that would mire Virginia in a traffic-clogged, backward-looking past."
On election day, the Web sites of the two candidates said it all. McDonnell's was all about the candidate and how he voted on election day. Deeds' site was all about his lefty support -- trying to boost his base with either the Obama rally or his various newspaper endorsements with The Post front and center.
But voters, not editors get to have the last word in politics.
Dan Gainor is The Boone Pickens Fellow and the Media Research Center's Vice President for Business and Culture. His column appears each week on The Fox Forum and he can be seen on Foxnews.com's "Strategy Room." He can also be contacted on FaceBook and Twitter as dangainor.