The thrust of the story is that Deeds is tentative about certain issues — the headline describes him as a fence straddler — and that this uncertainty is a product of his rural upbringing. Deeds describes himself as a "work in progress," according to writer Michael Leahy, "the product of growing up on a farm, on the hard side of a mountain where the unexpected was the norm and where anyone who couldn't compromise was inviting failure." Lehy describes a childhood of farm work and uncertainty and says this upbringing helped create a politician who is uneasy making final "yes" or "no" decisions about issues.We like Leahy's closing lines:
Declining to give specifics about a complicated tax plan, Deeds said, "I could be specifically wrong." It's interesting that uncertainty is considered political immaturity these days, and we think that being absolutely certain is a sign of being a good leader.
Raised to believe in the power of compromise, he tends to see pledges and specifics as just so many holes in a frayed fence that will require patching anyway. Long ago, he learned the lessons of wily Bath County politicians, and it has shaped his style since, its strengths and vulnerabilities. He doesn't see the point in pontificating from the mountaintop. His career reflects the belief that it works best simply to drive around the mountain and hammer something out with somebody -- that results count more than white papers. But at some point, even people on the mountain want to know where you are taking them, want to see your map. For Deeds, the task is to convince voters during the campaign's final 30 days that he has one.
Deeds' latest TV ad for Southwest Virginia implies that his opponent, Republican Bob McDonnell, "has contempt for rural people, thinking of them in terms of hillbilly stereotypes," Eric Kleefeld of Talking Points Memo reports. The ad says, "McDonnell opposed eliminating the sales tax on groceries because he heard people around here shoot our food." (Read more)