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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Atlanta Newspaper Columnist Dumps on Wilder

Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Cynthia Tucker believes that former Governor L. Douglas (Doug) Wilder is shortsighted in his focus on handgun rationing as a reason not to endorse fellow Democrat Creigh Deeds for Governor. Wilder wrote in his letter where he announced he would remain neutral:

The present law [in Virginia] permits anyone of sufficient age, who is not a felon, to be able to buy one gun a month; twelve a year, twenty four a year for couples, etc. Mr. Deeds thinks that’s not enough and signed a pledge to repeal that law. This action would allow the truck loads of guns to come back in exchange for drugs from those Northeastern states where gun laws are more stringent.

When it passed, one gun-a-month was supposed to stop the flow of guns to states like New York. But the anti-rights crowd complain that Virginia's gun shows are providing a steady flow of guns. So, it leads one to conclude, if limiting law abiding gun owners to one handgun purchase in thirty days does not stem the flow of guns, maybe it's not the law abiding people that are the problem. Apparently both Mr. McDonnell and Mr. Deeds understands this. Unfortunately, Mr. Deeds seems to think that private sales at gun shows is to blame. But I digress.

What Tucker and others outside of Virginia don't understand is this is not about Deeds - it's about Doug. It always is about Doug. Deeds dissed the former governor by not supporting the bill when it passed in 1993 and Wilder has a long memory. The last time Wilder did not endorse a candidate for Governor, Republican Jim Gilmore followed George Allen into the Executive Mansion. At that time, it was car salesman and sitting Lt. Governor Don Beyer who learned that Wilder can stab fellow Democrats in the back too.

The fact is, Wilder's endorsement is overrated. He waited until the last minute to endorse Jim Webb over George Allen in 2006 when Allen was already showing signs of losing. He did the same for Tim Kaine in 2005. Insiders said that Wilder's endorsement in those races was more Wilder wanting to jump on the bandwagon. Folks I know in the Black Community have told me Wilder's endorsement carries very little impact these days.

We shall see if Wilder's neutrality hurts Deeds. After winning the Democratic primary in come-from-behind fashion, his campaign has been devoid of any substance on issues. Truth be known, it was not his stand on the issues that won him the primary. He simply laid back and let Brian Moran and Terry McAuliffe beat each other over the head until the Washington Post endorsed him and used the money he had stashed away till the end to promote the Post endorsement.

Unless Deeds finds a credible voice on issues like transportation and economic growth between now and election day, it is very possible that he will crash and burn come election day and it will have very little to do with the fact that Doug Wilder sat out the election.

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