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Interesting feature today in the Washington Post about R. Creigh Deeds, the Democrat running for governor of Virginia. That election is only about 30 days away. Deeds is running against Robert F. McDonnell. The thrust of the story is that Deeds is tentative about certain issues — the headline describes him as a fence straddler — and that this uncertainty is a product of his rural upbringing. h

Deeds describes himself as a “work in progress,” according to writer Michael Leahy, “the product of growing up on a farm (above), on the hard side of a mountain where the unexpected was the norm and where anyone who couldn’t compromise was inviting failure.” Lehy describes a childhood of farm work and uncertainty and says this upbringing helped create a politician who is uneasy making final “yes” or “no” decisions about issues. Declining to give specifics about a complicated tax plan, Deeds said, “I could be specifically wrong.” It’s interesting that uncertainty is considered political immaturity these days, and we think that being absolutely certain is a sign of being a good leader. 

Deeds’ early life was uncertain. His parents divorced when he was young and he was raised largely by his grandfather in Bath County. Deeds learned country politics from his grandfather, a Democratic Party official, and he learned how the world worked from patching fence.

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