Sunday, October 18, 2009

Creigh Deeds in Newsweek

A Modern Day Will Rogers...

Last summer, Creigh Deeds, the Democratic candidate for governor of Virginia, killed a 270-pound black bear with his car near the little Appalachian town of Millboro, where the two of us grew up in the 1970s. The bear had lumbered out of the woods and Deeds couldn't brake fast enough. The bear died instantly. The candidate's car didn't fare much better. The news went out over the police scanner, and within a few hours most everyone in rural Bath County knew all about it. It wasn't long before Deeds started receiving urgent calls from locals. They weren't worried about him. They wanted to know what he was going to do with the bear. "People kept coming up to me for days," Deeds recalled recently when I traveled around the state with him. " 'Can I have your bear, Creigh, can I have your bear?' " They wanted to use it to train bluetick hounds for hunting, or to make a rug, or to eat.

For more than 20 years, Deeds has served the people of Bath County locally and in the Virginia Legislature. They like him in part because he is one of them, and because he's nothing like the picture that pops into your head when you think of a politician. Deeds is the opposite of slick and rehearsed. His accent is country South, not Southern genteel. His campaign speeches ramble. He sometimes tells stories that are funny and endearing, but that don't seem to have a point. "People said a fella from Bath County can't be the nominee," he told a crowd in Danville last month. "Now they're saying a fella from Bath County can't be governor." The punch line of the story: "But I know you gotta do right by people … I grew up on a dirt farm. We ate hogs and deer."

In many respects, Deeds is a Democratic political consultant's dream candidate for a Southern state like Virginia. He's more conservative than many Republicans. He fishes and hunts, and knows the parts of a hog without consulting Cook's Illustrated. In previous races for governor, political handlers made big money trying to make candidates look like authentic Southerners. Mark Warner, the popular former Democratic governor and now U.S. senator, was a Harvard Law grad from Indianapolis who'd made millions incell phones. But on the campaign trail, he talked about guns and NASCAR to appeal to voters like the ones Deeds grew up with.

Deeds doesn't need to fake it. Voters like my parents and their neighbors know he's the real thing. People tell stories about the year he knocked on nearly every door in the county when he was running for his first elected office. They remember how he was nearly killed at 12 years old, when he was struck by a runaway truck that rolled down the steep hill in front of the school during the homecoming football game. Deeds lay in a coma for 16 days, then suddenly woke up.

Everyone knows his mom, Emmie, a letter carrier, who still delivers the mail to my parents. My mom, who has a beauty shop in her house, used to cut Deeds's hair. My dad has served with him for years in the Millboro Presbyterian Church. (Deeds was three years ahead of me in school. We played basketball and rode the same schoolbus, but we weren't close friends.) The people back home supported Deeds, 51, as he worked his way from local commonwealth's attorney to state delegate to state senator. Now that he's running for governor, the people of Bath County still like him.

Read the article:


John Doe said...

We don't dislike him for where he is from, or for the fact that he hunts and fishes, or the fact that he is folksy. WE DISLIKE HIS POLITICS.

Some of us remember what he said during the primaries, as quoted by his water carriers at the Washington Post:

"Deeds, who contends that he will not be outflanked as “the most progressive candidate in this race...”

You can dress up a pig and sprinkle it with perfume, but it's still a pig. SUUUUUEEEYYYYYYYY!!!!

Anonymous said...

Creigh(whats in your wallet)Deeds will not win the people of Va know we have enough BIG spenders in office now.

Karen said...

Heavens yes, Virginia can't afford progress! We need a return to a time when women knew their place and only wealthy men got an education. All this talk of progressiveness and change is scary bad.

Bubby said...

You dislike his politics? Creigh Deeds is well known as the most bi-partisan politician in the Virginia General Assembly! We're at least 8 years into the change ding-dong, Virginians are a moderate electorate who want progress not ideological gridlock.

You might want to pull up stakes and move to South Carolina - they're still buying and selling your brand of politics.

Anonymous said...

Bubby it is going to be a bad year for you. Last year at this time Obama was only up 2 points in the polls and he won. Creigh(whats in your wallet)Deeds has NEVER been any closer than 5 points. Stop and think for a minute about how he won the primary. Bob McDonnell will be the next governor of Va.

Anonymous said...

I took a ride threw Bath county this weekend for Creigh(whats in your wallet)Deeds to be loved so much in his county it sure is alot of Bob McDonnell signs there.

Jedi 007 said...

It's spelled "through", not "threw" when used in such a context.

Anonymous said...

You got my point anyway.