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Vote McDonnell
McDonnell for governor

Date published: 10/25/2009

THE 2009 Virginia governor's race has been dismal. Judging from Democrat Creigh Deeds' ads, if Bob McDonnell is elected the savvy will invest in burqas. Pick me, Mr. Deeds pleas, because my opponent is so horrible. Mr. McDonnell, meanwhile, has penciled some changes into the worn menu of half-baked GOP ideas on transportation and called them haute cuisine. Bill Howell and Tim Kaine offered a similarly exotic hodgepodge; it fell right off the fork. Once again, to quote Irving Berlin, we say it's spinach and to hell with it.

Hearing nothing inspiring from either hopeful, the citizen must assay personal attributes. So:

Mr. McDonnell, the former attorney general and legislator, has worked harder. He has devised a detailed plan for everything short of setting out your azaleas and flossing. State Sen. Deeds has produced no such library and, on the main issue, mobility, aims to convene a bipartisan commission. For success, he would need a bipartisan legislature. He wouldn't have it, especially after his mucky campaign.

Mr. McDonnell is articulate, certainly a virtue in leadership (recall George W. Bush's chronic incoherence and its incurred cost in popular support). Mr. Deeds is not a confident speaker, giving the impression that he is confused by complexity or fears candor.

Also, Mr. McDonnell is more positive. He has run his share of absurd attack ads, but, unlike his rival, hasn't made vilification a campaign theme.

Executive capacity? Mr. McDonnell not only proficiently ran the A.G.'s office, but also, after serving four years on active duty, retired as a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve. Mr. Deeds lacks this command pedigree.

And consider how the candidates have changed. A socially moderate lawmaker, Mr. Deeds, perhaps to better contrast himself with the scholar of Regent University, has adopted the fringe-feminist view of abortion--it is all about the woman, buster!--and pandered to the gender-obsessed by pledging a Cabinet half-female. Mr. McDonnell recently flipped a position, too--but for the better. He now favors (like Mr. Deeds) a "scientific" redistricting plan to end the gerrymandering that protects the majority party and incumbents from the horrors of democracy.

A governorship lasts four years. Our view is that Mr. McDonnell would wear better and do more for Virginia. We endorse him to lead our state.