He has really hit the panic button. As polls show a tightening race, and as news for Democrats elsewhere in the state (hello Representative Barbara Comstock) suggests low enthusiasm among Democrats, he’s now attacking Ed Gillespie like he’s running behind. Maybe he knows something we don’t? [read_more]Warner’s latest campaign ad is a straight-up negative smear. It attacks Ed Gillespie as being responsible for Enron’s collapse and the attendant impacts, when in actuality all Gillespie did on Enron’s behalf was advocate for the freer energy markets that have led to cheaper energy prices for everyone…something Warner’s patron in the White House vigorously opposes.
But here’s how you know Warner is really desperate: the invocation of the third rail in American politics, social security. The ad shamelessly plays to fears among older voters that politicians will do something to steal the social security benefits they worked a lifetime to accrue. What’s worse is that it cites to a policy of George W. Bush from 10 years ago, and not to anything Gillespie is talking about on his own, or any of the policies he’s proposing.
This is not the tactic of a man with a comfortable lead. It is not the tactic of someone who knows he’s going to win (because there will always be a substantial portion of the electorate turned off by this kind of transparent negativity). No, this is the tactic of a cornered beast who knows he’s about to lose unless he lashes out with everything he’s got.
Gillespie has the champ on the ropes, and has caught him off guard with a couple of good body blows. We’ve got two weeks left now for Gillespie and his allies to knock Warner out with with a few strong right hooks: the Warner #BRIBESTORM, the 97% sycophancy, and “We can’t afford six more years of the last six years.” Turn this into a turnout race, with low Democrat enthusiasm, and we have a real chance to pull off a stunning upset.