Here, silly season has already kicked off in earnest by VA Blogger at Too Conservative with a post claiming that Sharon Bulova, candidate for Chairman of the Fairfax Board of Supervisors, put an ad up on Craigslist for field staff for door-to-door canvassing. VA Blogger surmises from this that Sharon doesn't have an adequate campaign staff, and that she must be hiring everything from entry level canvassers to her campaign manager from employment ads.
Not so. As I pointed out in a comment on Too Conservative, Sharon has a seasoned, competent staff and this is a non-issue. In fact, it's probably scraping the bottom of the barrel for petty nitpicking. Here's why.
In a special election, it's all about the ground game. Especially in one with a low profile like this one. And the turn around time is ridiculously short. The election will be held on February 3. That gives both sides only a month to reach voters, who are largely burned out and uninterested. Heck, even activists are tired after the intense 2008 campaign season.
The other problem is that both Herrity and Bulova have low name recogntion. In Sharon's case that's because she hasn't had a seriously contested race to compete in. She's a pro business, moderate, centrist Democrat, who is in step with her district. The GOP never had an interest in challenging her before. The upside of that was that she was able to focus on working hard for Fairfax County and she was spared from focusing on all the campaign hoopla. But the downside is that because she was a journeyman worker bee rather than a charismatic flash in the pan politician, she has quietly contributed to the success of Fairfax County, which has consistently been named the best managed county in the country by pro-business groups like the Chamber of Commerce.
Of course, VA Blogger, and no doubt he's only repeating what the Republicans hope will be their best talking point, is trying to pin the county's $650 million deficit on the Democratic management of Fairfax. But that argument failed back when the Keith Fimian camp first tried it out on Gerry Connolly, and it won't work now. Here's what The Chronicle said back then.
Blaming Connolly for the budget challenge that the county faces best illustrates Fimian’s total lack of understanding of the critical issues facing the county, state and federal governments. It would appear that he doesn’t realize that virtually every local government in metropolitan Washington is struggling with the same issue. For example, last year Fairfax County was able to close a significant budget shortfall and maintain essential programs with only a three-cent increase in the property tax rate, which, for the average taxpayer, represented no actual increase in taxes as a result of the decrease of the average assessment. By contrast, Republican-controlled Prince William County raised their tax rate by 27 percent.What the newspaper said then is equally true now. And it is a lasting testament to not just VA Blogger but to the refusal of the Republican Party, including Herrity himself, to acknowledge facts.
The truth is Fairfax County has not been mismanaged by anybody. But this country experienced a financial meltdown that began with an unregulated mortgage industry, a series of foreclosures, and exotic mortgage based derivative investment instruments that had an international domino effect that brought economies crashing down across the globe. This was a failure at the top of the Republican administration in Washington, DC that made the financial and business world collapse like a house of cards, not just in Fairfax or in the U.S. but across the world. Just as Gerry Connolly couldn't be blamed for that, neither can Sharon Bulova. But if Republicans want to stick with that argument, ok. The more they do, the more I'll point out that with eight years of an incompetent Bush administration, seven years of a Republican dominated Congress and a conservative, anti-regulatory philosophy that dates back decades, this is their recession. Their failure. They own it. And they are not going to be able to slither out of it and blame anybody else for it. Period. End of story!
Meanwhile, all the GOP has is Pat Herrity's family name, a recycled charge about mismanagent of Fairfax that didn't work the first time around, and a silly accusation about Craigslist. It's not much to base a campaign on. But when you have an inexperienced candidate with not many accomplishments, you give it the best shot you can.