Anybody who was looking could see the changing tide, but the magnitude of the Democrats' defeat today in Virginia was stunning, personified by the loss of Shannon Valentine's House of Delegates seat in Lynchburg. Valentine was truly one of the brightest and shiniest of the new stars in that body (one I projected as a governor) and she went down to a non-descript, marginally-accomplished right-winger. Ditto Jody Wagner, a sharp, intensely qualified professional. The ballot was dotted with solid, smart, qualified people who were beaten with 60 or 70 percent of the vote against them. Their ideas rejected soundly.
The theme: "No!"
It is the word for the Republican Party and the word Virginians felt they needed to shout at this juncture. No new ideas! No limits on pollution! No regulations on misbehaving businesses! No taxes! No state programs (unless them benefit me and only me)! No laws limiting personal bazookas in bars and schools! No laws restricting where cigarettes are smoked!
It's the rule of the day and the law of this part of our land now. We have elected a governor who will return us to the principals of Jim Gilmore with a little religious intensity thrown in for good measure (Women, to the kitchen!).
Looks like a dark cloud to me. I'm afraid I overestimated our people. I was wrong and, I suspect, we got what we deserve.