In reverse

In reverse

Faced with a hugely unpopular president, a cratering national economy, an energized Democratic opposition and an increasingly restless electorate, Virginia’s Republican Party was dealt another serious body blow last week in the form of an ABC/Washington Post poll that showed the Old Dominion’s donkeys beginning to gallop away with the national election. In it, Barack Obama leads John McCain 49 percent to 46 percent among likely voters, and trounces him by a stunning 51-43 margin among “leaning” registered voters. Add to that a recent SurveyUSA poll that shows Obama up by six percentage points (and Mark Warner annihilating his senate challenger Jim Gilmore 57-34), and you might think that the mood at Virginia’s GOP headquarters is slipping from funereal to Jonestown-style Kool-Aid-quaffing despair.

But fear not, dear readers! We’ve been carefully studying the Republican Party of Virginia’s every move, and assiduously reading between the lines of their take-no-prisoners press releases (which tend to sport hopeful headlines like “Obama no match for McCain-Palin in Virginia”), and we think we’ve finally figured out the Party’s 2008 game plan: Unless we’re mistaken, the RPV is attempting the most complex, awe-inspiring and diabolical use of reverse psychology ever perpetrated upon the voting public.

Who better to welcome minorities in Fairfax to the real GOP of Virginia than George Felix "Macaca" Allen?

Yes, you heard that right. Based on recent actions, we can only assume that the Virginia GOP is desperately trying to portray itself as completely incompetent and out of touch, thereby lulling the Commonwealth’s Obama-boosters into a state of smug self-satisfaction (not a difficult feat, trust us) and causing them to stay at home en masse on election day (or at least vote for Nader), completely convinced that they’ve got this thing in the bag.

And then? Presto! President McCain.

Don’t believe us? Well, just take a look at these recent Republican highlights, and see if you can come up with a better explanation:

First, they kicked things off back in August by going to their star forward, U.S. Rep. Virgil Goode, who can always be counted on for a good political fumble. In this case, realizing how important the women’s vote is going to be in this election, Goode went out of his way to vote against the “Paycheck Fairness Act,” which seeks to redress the fact that women make, on average, 77 cents to every dollar earned by a man in this country. And not only did Goode vote against it (even though Virginia ranks 48th in the nation in terms of pay equity), but he went out of his way to say that it was “a misnamed piece of legislation” that would be “a discouragement for business in this country.” Showing some restraint, however, he has not suggested that Sarah Palin should take a 23 percent pay cut if she succeeds Dick Cheney. Yet.

Next up in the GOP’s cavalcade of incompetence were the chuckleheads on the Prince William Board of County Supervisors, who apparently have as much respect for the Latino vote as Virgil Goode has for the hard-workin’ ladies. After a rare closed-door session, the Board recently announced the appointment of Robert Duecaster, one of the loud-mouthed leaders of the anti-illegal immigration group Help Save Manassas, to a panel overseeing the county’s human services policy. Because, really, who better to deal with human services issues than a guy who has called illegals “a scourge that’s plaguing neighborhoods,” and advised his fellow xenophobes to “sharpen your pitchforks and clean off the shovels” on a local website?

And finally, in a coup de grace of campaign-season chutzpah, last week the Republicans held a rally in Fairfax County designed to convince minority voters to jump off the Obama bandwagon and support the fabled party of Lincoln. And who, pray tell, did the tactical brainiacs at the RPV get to headline this multicultural conservative love-in? Why, no other than George Felix “Macaca” Allen himself.

Brilliant. Like we said, it’s the biggest head-fake in history. And who knows? Given how topsy-turvy this election season has been so far, it just might work.