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Tom Davis Unplugged

He won’t be at the Republican Convention this weekend, but that doesn’t mean Tom Davis is keeping quiet:

Rep. Thomas M. Davis III, R-11th, who once hoped to be the Republican nominee for Senate, will not attend this weekend’s nominating convention in Richmond.

Davis, 59, says it’s not a jab at anyone, noting, “I’ve got work to do.” But the retiring congressman doesn’t mince words about the Virginia GOP or its chances to beat Democrat Mark R. Warner in November.

“I don’t know how you stop him. He’s got all the money in the world. He’s got the wind at his back. We’ve got a weak candidate,” Davis said in an interview.

Unfortunately, I think Davis is probably right, and that it really doesn’t matter which candidate the GOP chooses this weekend. In fact, I’d bet that Marshall would do worse against Warner than Gilmore but, when you’re likely to lose anyway, the margin of defeat really doesn’t matter to much, does it ?

Davis goes on:

Davis said the party’s decision to have a nominating convention, instead of a more inclusive primary, is emblematic of its disconnect with the fastest-growing part of the state — Northern Virginia — and, by extension, moderate voters who are turned off by values-based politics.

“People aren’t paying higher gas prices because somebody had an abortion or registered a gun,” he said.

University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato said the party’s convention decision clearly was directed at Davis.

“The Virginia Republican Party would rather be right than be president, senator or governor, and I mean ‘right’ in an ideological sense,” Sabato said.

Davis, who served for four years as the chairman of the Republican congressional campaign committee, said that aside from a few party leaders, the state GOP is missing a chance to be Virginia’s dominant party.

“My argument to the downstate folks: Henrico and Chesterfield [counties] are becoming more like Northern Virginia than they are like the rest of the state,” Davis said.

“They don’t seem to understand that if you come out of [Northern Virginia] down [200,000 votes], it doesn’t matter. You can’t make it up,” he said.

That is a less you would have thought the Virginia GOP would have learned in 2005, 2006, and 2007. Now, they seem hell bent on repeating the same mistakes again.

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6 Responses to “Tom Davis Unplugged”

  1. James Young says:

    The thing is, Davis (and those like him) were saying the same thing back in the early 90s. And lo and behold, with a strong Conservative message, the GOP managed to go from also-rans to the majority party in Virginia.

    With due respect to Congressman Davis, this isn’t about values; it’s about an unpopular war that the far Left has successfully used to demonize the GOP. And if Tom Davis admits THAT, he has to admit his complicity in the decline in GOP fortunes. On the other hand, if he can attack those wascally Wight-Wingers, he can posture as standing apart.

  2. J. Tyler Ballance says:

    When the Republican candidate equivocates; or seeks to appease, the result has been a Democratic victory.

    When their has been a strong, confident, conservative candidate, the statewide margin of victory for Republicans is 52% to 47%.

    Warner can spend all the money in the world and Virginians will not support him over a strong, confident candidate, such as Bob Marshall.

    Warner fooled a lot of people with his “good ol’boy from Novaville” routine last time, and he may fool them again. However, if the traditional conservative base is motivated to get out to vote for Bob Marshall, the Democrats’ leadership know that they face, 52/47, no matter what marketing gimmicks they play on television.

  3. D.J. McGuire says:

    “They don’t seem to understand that if you come out of [Northern Virginia] down [200,000 votes], it doesn’t matter. You can’t make it up”

    Well, then, wouldn’t it make sense to nominate the candidate who has won nine elections in Northern Virginia?

    I’m just sayin’.

  4. DJ,

    A hard-right conservative candidate is not going to win Northern Virginia. The fact that Marshall wins his district merely means he’s a good legislator, not that he is any more in tune with NoVa has a whole than Jim Gilmore is.

  5. J. Tyler,

    Is it possible for Gilmore to beat Warner ? Yes, not likely.

    Is it possible for Marshall to beat Warner ? Yes, but less likely.

    However for either of those two things to happen, something big is going to have to change between now and November.

  6. James,

    It’s more than just the war, it’s the fact that the GOP — both in the Administration and Congress from 2001-2006 has shown itself completely incapable of governing and unwilling to stick to principles of any kind.

    The public is pissed at them, deservedly so.

    Davis shares much of the blame for this, but that doesn’t make his observations invalid.

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