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Friday, February 3, 2023
Editor’s NotebookEditor's Notebook: Close-close-close? We'll see-see-see!

Editor’s Notebook: Close-close-close? We’ll see-see-see!

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Interesting that so many political pundits, prognosticators and prognosticatrixes (“prognosticatrices”?) are telling us the Virginia gubernatorial race is going to be close-close-close.

And it may well be. But it seems all they’re basing such a prediction on is the polls (which are both questionable at best and all over the place to boot) and gut instinct.

Let’s take the way-back machine to this very week in 1980 – lo, those 41 years ago – when a much much much younger (but still adorable) Scotty was taking confirmation class at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Vienna.

The class was held on Tuesdays evenings, so one installment coincided with the Carter-Reagan presidential showdown, which at the time all the pundits also were telling us was going to be close-close-close. (By Election Day, both the Reagan and Carter teams apparently knew that was not going to be the case, but they weren’t letting on.)


I remember leaving confirmation class and getting in the family chariot – a venerable 1974 Pontiac Grand Am which was a fantastic vehicle in its prime but was rusting away (as so many vehicles of that vintage did after a few years ) – about 9 p.m., and asked my dad if there were any initial results yet.

I remember the response clear as a bell. “Oh, it’s all over,” he replied as he gunned the leaded-gas-fueled, steel-encased monster of Detroit’s handiwork and we headed for home.

(My father’s political leanings have ebbed and flowed through the years. I’m guessing that, having seen four years of Jimmy Carter and figuring that was plenty, he was one of the Reagan converts that year.)

So we’ll see what happens tomorrow. It’s possible it will be a nail-biter. But it’s also possible that either of the candidates – and by “either of the candidates” we are talking primarily McAuliffe – may have had a weekend-before-the-election collapse like Carter did in 1980. Lordy: When your main message of the past week, as McAuliffe’s has been, is that parents are either racists or dupes, it’s kinda hard to see that resonating as a winning strategy. But we live in interesting times, and the D’s may be able to pull it out, but hook or by … well, best not to complete that sentence.

EVERYBODY TRYING TO HELP (OR PERHAPS BAIL WATER IN THE SINKING SHIP): No, that smell wafting across Northern Virginia political circles at the end of last week wasn’t the Old Dominion’s newly legalized marijuana. It certainly appeared to be the whiff of desperation … on the part of Democrats.

It looked as if every able-bodied Democratic elected official was trying to use his/her e-mail lists to push recalcitrant Democratic voters to the polls for early voting, which ended on Saturday. The theory, I guess, is that Democrats who haven’t been passionate enough about this election to vote early are not likely to be willing to stand in line to vote on Nov. 2, either. So the window of opportunity to get their votes in was closing fast.

One of those missives came from Arlington School Board candidate Mary Kadera. Remember when, less than a year ago, Kadera positioned herself as a tough-questions-asking renegade whom the Democratic establishment has reason to fear? Seems like she’s already been tamed.

Another e-mail to backers came from incumbent School Board Chairman Barbara Kanninen, who has been trying to get out of her current gig for some time now, as her run for County Board in 2020 proved. Maybe if McAuliffe wins on Tuesday, she’ll get a state job for her loyalty to the team.

– Scott McCaffrey

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