Seldom has a defeat been more richly deserved than Terry McAuliffe's failed bid to win the Democratic nomination to run for Governor of Virginia. State Senator Creigh Deeds pulled off an improbable comeback victory in the state primary on Tuesday, overcoming the millions that McAuliffe poured into his campaign. A term as Governor would surely have been a precursor to seeking a Senate seat. Instead, McAuliffe suffered a devastating defeat that should put a decisive stop to his dreams of political office.
McAuliffe epitomizes an earlier era, when political success translated into quick financial gain. He is redolent of the sleaze that permeated the Clinton presidency without any of its redeeming aspirations. Somehow McAuliffe parlayed a $100,000 investment in Atlantic Crossing, the forerunner to Global Crossing, into $18 million. As chairman of the Democratic National Committee, his only mission was to raise funds rather than devise a new political mission for the party. It has fallen to President Obama to stake out a new course that combines electoral savvy with genuine idealism.
Deeds is a moderate Democrat who symbolizes the new strength of a Democratic party that threatens the hegemony of the GOP in the South. Virginia, once a stronghold of conservatism, has now become a battering ram that is smashing down one of the last strongholds of the GOP, which may well be starting to lose its southern base. McAuliffe's humiliating loss demonstrates that Democrats truly are coming home to Virginia and that Virginia has come home to the Democrats.