Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Taliban Bob McDonnell is not taking anything back from his batshit crazy Christan Broadcasting Network (CBN) thesis, which depicts his Pat Robertson-esque right-wing views on the role of women on society.


Blue Virginia (Hat Tip): McDonnell "All Porn Makes You Gay" Thesis Story Makes Rachael Maddow

Apparently, Taliban Bob McDonnell thinks that pornography makes young boys gay.

Lowell has more on Batshit Crazy, Bob McDonnell and the story of his thesis that made Rachel Maddow's television show on MSNBC.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Creigh Deeds Showing Leadership on Virginia Transportation Issues

Well, it takes a lot of courage to come out and say that you'll take a politically difficult position of signing legislation that is the product of bipartisan compromise that provides a comprehensive transportation solution for the State of Virginia... even if it might raise taxes during a recession. And that's what Creigh Deeds did today.

Let me be clear regarding taxes. I will sign a bill that is the product of bipartisan compromise that provides a comprehensive transportation solution. As a legislator, I have voted for a number of mechanisms to fund transportation, including a gas tax. And I'll sign a bipartisan bill with a dedicated funding mechanism for transportation -- even if it includes new taxes.

To build a bipartisan consensus to find that new revenue, and to ensure the best chance of passage, all options for funding will be on the table. We will need every legislator committed to finding a solution. In my 18 years in the legislature, I've learned that the best way to reach compromise is to be open to all ideas and get everyone involved.

Bob McDonnell has pledged not to sign a transportation bill with new revenue. His approach is to pay for transportation with money from the general fund. As The Post's Frederick Kunkle has reported, "general funds are raised from a variety of sources, such as individual and corporate income taxes. These funds can be spent . . . at the discretion of the General Assembly and the governor. The majority of the money in the general fund goes to education (45.9 percent), with the rest to health and human resources (24.2 percent) and public safety (11.1 percent)."

I do not support taking funds from these critical priorities to pay for roads. More important, neither will the General Assembly. Republicans and Democrats are on record opposing McDonnell's funding proposals.

McDonnell's idea of using general funds for transportation is not new. In 2007, an editorial in the Daily Press of Hampton Roads said that McDonnell urged "the General Assembly to exploit the gap in state road funding as a rationale for reducing state spending on education, public safety, health care and conservation. That such an ideological purpose lies behind the Republican transportation proposal has been implied all along. McDonnell made it explicit."

We can't solve this problem without new revenue. My opponent is playing political shell games, being dishonest about his revenue projections. And his idea to take funds from education, health care and public safety to pay for transportation is dead on arrival.

My approach is honest, straightforward -- and the only one that can succeed. Working together, we'll get Virginia moving again.

Creigh Deeds just served Bob McDonnell some leadership.


Monday, September 21, 2009

Women Ain't Happy With Bob McDonnell

Tsk Tsk... Taliban Bob!!

And yet Taliban Bob uses the family as a shield.

Sad state of affairs for the batshit crazy McDonnell campaign.


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Bob McDonnell: Rewriting His Record - Sponsored 35 Bills Restricting Abortion Rights

It's getting a bit closer to Election Day and people need to know that Taliban Bob McDonnell is to the right of Attila the Hun. This hasn't received enough play... so back by popular demand... here is Bob McDonnell's "record"... I think he hates women...

VOTE FOR CREIGH DEEDS... Creigh is the only candidate you can trust to protect female rights.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Just a Couple a More Photos

Bob McDonnell introduces himself to David Gregory before the debate. McDonnell was pretty funny. "I'm looking forward to your questions," he said, then adding after a pause, "Well, I'm not sure yet. I'll let you know."

Creigh waiting to go on stage

Some Backstatge Photos From Debate

Apologize for lousy quality:

David Gregory heading off to do last minute prep

Bob McDonnell pacing around waiting to be introduced, while his staff stresses out:

Two shots of Creigh as he blew past me toward the auditorium:

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Righty Blog Roundup: Conservatives reduced to laughable attacks on the WaPo

Over at Conservative blogs, bloggers have apparently abandoned any attempt to defend Bob McDonnell in connection with his thesis. Sure, the campaign and its defenders in the Righty Blogosphere have argued that the thesis is twenty years old, or that it is dirty pool to even discuss it, ot that it is irrelevant, but nowhere, as far as I can tell, have Conservatives even attempted to defend the views McDonnell expresses in the thesis, as opposed to trying to explain why they don't matter or have evolved into more Progressive attitudes.

Indeed, Righty blogs have ceased discussing McDonnell at all.

Consider, for example, the last six days of posts at Too Conservative, one of the better right-leaning blogs in the Commonwealth:

Sept 16:
* Rich Anderson Video

Sept. 15:
* 9/15 Reports: House of Delegates Round-Up
* 9/15 Statewide Fundraising Numbers

Sept. 14:
* NRA Endorses Bob (the sole post about McDonnell, the entire commentary of which reads, “Great news for the campaign.”
* You Report: Sign Wars

Sept. 10:
* HD-42: Dave Albo Up On Television
* HD-41: Bwana Goes After “Dug Out” Dave Marsden
* Lt. Governor Bolling’s First Ad
* HD-86: The Stevens Miller Mess He Hopes to Leave Behind

Other blogs with less class than Too Conservative have turned instead to simply attacking both Creigh and the Washington Post, the latter apparently for breaking the thesis story.

Of course, the argument that the Post broke the story in order to damage McDonnell's candidacy doesn't hold up because it was McDonnell himself who tipped WaPo reporter Amy Gardner off to the existence of the thesis in the first place.

Well, it had to happen, I guess. Somehow, some way, that inconvenient fact had to be dealt with.

A post this evening at Conservative blog Bearing Drift that tries to do that by attacking Gardner caught my attention for two reasons: first, for its sheer idiocy; and second, for showing the depths to which McDonnell's acolytes have to sink in order to plead on his behalf.

You can link to the post here:

Oppo-research on Bolling papers indicates McDonnell thesis was not an innocent find

Let me see if I can explain the logic of this post.

Bill Bolling, it seems, told a radio interviewer that shortly after the McDonnell thesis story broke, he learned that Democrats were doing some oppo research on his college writings.

Well, that seems to have made perfect sense to Bolling. Makes sense to me, too. Heck, based on the onging fallout in Thesis-acaca, there's obviously gold in them thar theses! I mean, of course they are being researched, by Democratic oppo-research teams, as well as Republican ones. Sheesh.

But here is what Bearing Drift then concludes from this set of facts:
Bolling said the call came shortly after the story broke, so it’s possible the Democrats were clued into doing this type of oppo-research on the rest of the field after reading the story. However, it’s awfully coincidental.

Got that? The obvious order of event, that Democrats were clued into the oppo-research of old college writings of other candidates by the thesis story, is not likely and logical, merely "possible ... [but] awfully coincidental."

And from that, Bearing Drift asserts about Gardner:
She [Gardner] went onto write “McDonnell brought up the paper in reference to a pair of Republican congressmen whom he interviewed as part of his research. McDonnell then offered: ‘I wrote my thesis on welfare policy.’”

Yet she was very quick to look into the thesis after the interview.

Was this passing comment in the interview that interesting to her? Was it vitally important to her investigative research to learn more about it?

Not likely…especially given this new piece of information:

Now, let me get this straight. Research undertaken by Democrats following the publication of Garner’s article on McDonnell’s thesis is evidence that Gardner was not telling the truth about learning of the thesis from McDonnell himself?

Pathetically, this is what Republicans have been reduced to in trying to defend Bob McDonnell and his indefensible thesis. This reasoning makes less sense than the logic I used to convince myself last Sunday that, yes, the Redskins could conceivable beat the Giants in the opener, and that is saying a lot.

In all seriousness, if Bob McDonnell would only come clean and admit that this thesis reflects his true feelings on these issues, then he can get on with his campaign. He can defend his views, and voters can decide for themselves whether his positions matter to them or not. He won't do that, of course, because as he knows, voters would overwhelmingly reject his extremist views.

But denying the obvious truth, and instead falsely and maliciously attacking the credibility and motivations of reporters who are doing a pretty good job, is unfair, unwarranted and uncalled for.

Not to mention amusing.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Choices Are Pretty Clear in Virginia's 7th Congressional District

Who would you rather have as your represenatative?

Choice 1 - Charlie Diradour


Choice 2 - Eric Cantor

Geez... I know what you're thinking... why is this even an issue? Cantor is a douchebag.

Keith Olbermann Picks up on Bob "F-Bomb" McDonnell


Visit for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Sunday, September 13, 2009

McDonnell Campaign Running Scared

Internal e-mails from Bob McDonnell's campaign reveal that they are worried about the impact of his Chistian Broadcasting Network master's degree thesis (Hat Tip: NLS).

Aznew and the Hokie Guru have written extensively about Taliban Bob's extreme views on gays, lesbians, women, and several other topics from his thesis here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here. and here.

McDonnell campaign spokersperson, Taylor Thornley, actually gives 30 talking points to supporters to use when writing letters to the editor on behalf of McDonnell. Apparently, Taliban Bob is worried that the thesis he wrote (when he was 34 effin' years old) might have an impact on women, independent, and moderate voters. Duh?!?!?


I was really disappointed that the major media outlets did not pick up this story (Hat-Tip NLS) about Bob's swearing up an storm on WTOP News. Makes me wonder if Bobby broke any Federal Communications Commission laws regarding profanity in public airwaves. Maybe the "F-Bomb" is okay?

Tsk tsk... once again, bloggers have to clean up after the mainstream media.

1:07 PM, September 13, 2009 Update - Congratulations to NLS!!! NBC Washington picked up his great story (you can see it here)!!!

Washington Post Roundup - What the Voter Needs to Know about Bob McDonnell

College football season started recently so if you're like me, you're glued to the television or you are watching this great game in person (like me at Lane Stadium in Blacksburg, VA... GO HOKIES!!) on Saturdays (or Sundays if you are an NFL fan). That means you might not get the time to read the Washington Post newspaper or catch up on political news as often as you would like. So, the purpose of this post is just to give you, the reader, a quick summary of the news about Taliban Bob McDonnell, the Republican Party candidate for Governor in Virginia (and his ads on television do not say that he is a Republican... he's lying... if you omit this fact, you are a liar). Here we go:

  • On Monday, August 17, 2009, a Washington Post editorial suggested that it is completely legitimate to question Bob McDonnell's record on social issues. After all, "determining access and limits on abortion remains to a large extent within a state's, and a governor's, purview." And Bob McDonnell "sponsored 35 bill to restrict access to the procedure." Bob McDonnell is trying to remake is image as a centrist, but anyone who sponsors 35 bills to restrict access to abortion is basically part of the Taliban wing of the Republican Party.

  • On Sunday, August 30, 2009, Amy Gardner broke the story about Bob McDonnell's thesis that he wrote for his master's graduate degree from Christian Broadcasting Network University (the school was founded by Pat Robertson and is now named Regent University). In the thesis, Bob McDonnell stated that working women are detrimental to the family and feminisim is among the "real enimies of traditional family." In Bob McDonnell's world, IF A WOMAN IS RAPED, she should be denied the right to have an abortion. And if you are single or gay or a woman, good luck in Bob McDonnell's world.

  • On Tuesday, September 1, 2009, the Washington Post stressed in its editorial that Bob McDonnell pursued a socially conservative agenda (largely in line with his thesis) over his 14 years in the Commonwealth's General Assembly. Bob McDonnell is trying to remake himself into a centrist politician... but people deserve to know where the man's views are different today. We think he is a "Culture Warrier."

  • On Tuesday, September 1, 2009, popular Virginia governor, Tim Kaine, suggested that the thesis would serve is a blueprint for how Bob McDonnell would govern the Commonwealth. We couldn't agree.

  • On Wednesday, September 2, 2009, Washington Post Columnist, Ruth Marcus, really gives us the cold hard truth on Bob McDonnell's thesis that we've referred to several times in this post. Bob McDonnell wrote this anti-women, anti-gay, and anti-single people manifesto when he was 34 effin' years old. Bob McDonnell was not a "young college student" at the time. According to Marcus, "McDonnell, actually, was 34 in 1989. He had already earned a bachelor's and master's degree in business and served in the Army. He was getting a combined law and second master's degree -- while interning at the U.S. House Republican Policy Committee and preparing to run for the Virginia House of Delegates." So, Virginia Voters, this was Bob McDonnell's political philosophy... it was not just an academic requirement... it was how he planned to govern. And Bob doesn't want to talk about these issues in the general election, but it's okay for him to rev up his base with these Tailban social conservative stances? Yeah, right.

  • On Thursday, September 3, 2009, Robert McCartney from the Washington Post questions Bob McDonnell's theory that the Christian Broadcating Network thesis is "old news." McCartney questioned the mild response from the McDonnell campaign that the thesis was just a 20-year old term paper. "It was a thesis for a combined master's and law degree. When he wrote it, McDonnell was a 34-year-old business executive and former Army officer, married with two children (he now has five), intent on launching a political career to offer what his school, Regent University, proclaims in its motto as "Christian leadership to change the world." READ: THIS PAPER IS NOT A YOUTHFUL INDISCRETION. Virginia voters do not want someone who is intolerant of women, gays, and single people as their governor.

  • And you know what? in 2003, Bob McDonnell stated that certain homosexual conduct is a disqualification for judicial appointment in Virginia. You can find more about this in Amy Gardner's Washington Post (published on Sunday, September 13, 2009) column right here. And I agree with NLS; Amy Gardner is on track for a Pulitzer Prize.

As voters, you need to read these Washington Post news columns and stories in order to see the real Bob McDonnell. Bob McDonnell stances on social issues, gays, women, and single people should scare you to death. You need to be informed when you go to the voting booth.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

All You Need To Know About Bob McDonnell

Dan Snyder supports him.

And we all know what a great eye he has for personnel.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Bob McDonnell's Amazing Record of Lying

Bob McDonnell’s disastrous interview this morning with Mark Plotkin demonstrated the extent to which his candidacy so far has been built on a foundation of lies.

Lowell at Blue Virginia does a nice job of detailing this morning’s bullshit here. If only that were extent of it.

The fact is that Bob McDonnell has been pulling this nonsense on Virginians since the beginning of this campaign. Bob McDonnell knows that if Virginians knew who he really was, he would lose this election in a landslide. That is why he has been refusing to talk about his thesis, and refusing to talk about his record. And when he does speak about them, you just can’t get a straight answer out of him.

But Bob McDonnell is proving to be the Lillian Hellman of this campaign, the play writer of whom a critic once said, “Every word she wrote is a lie, including ‘and’ and ‘the.’”

It is really quite an amazing record.

I’ll say this as well. Bob McDonnell is not only a frequent liar when it comes to his record and presenting himself to voters, he is unusually good at it.

We have been documenting Bob McDonnell’s now voluminous record of dishonesty, dissembling and distortion for a while. Here are some posts dealing with the issue of McDonnell’s lack of honesty:

* The Sublime Deceptions of Bob McDonnell (September 6, 2009)

* Silent Bob Is Speaking Loud and Clear (September 4, 2009)

* McDonnell’s Stunning Lack of Honesty (August 31, 2009)

*Meet Bob “Dubya” McDonnell: Will We Get Fooled Again? (August 23, 2009)

*McDonnell Wants It Both Ways In Flag Flap (August 13, 2009)

* Bob McDonnell on Off-Shore Drilling: More Distortion (August 3, 2009)

* Will Bob McDonnell Be Able To Fool Enough of the People Enough of the Time To Get Elected? (July 29, 2009)

Question For Bob McDonnell: Would You Invoke States' Rights To Keep Health Care Reform Out Of Virginia?

TO: Bob McDonnell:
FROM: The Virginia Democrat
SUBJECT: Your Ideolgy

Minnesota Public Radio reported yesterday that:
In a Thursday night conference call hosted by the Republican Governor's Association, a caller asked whether governors would invoke state's rights if the health care bill is passed. Tim Pawlenty said it's a possibility.

"Depending on what the federal government comes out with here, asserting the 10th Amendment may be a viable option but we don't know the details. As one of the other callers said, we can't get the other callers, we said we can't get the President to outline what he does or doesn't support in any detail. So we'll have to see, I would have to say that it's a possibility."

Pawlenty also said he hoped Republican governors across the country will get "more assertive" about addressing state's rights and possibly start suing the federal government.

Well, Gov. Pawlenty was just here campaigning for you. You have spoken about states' rights being an important part of your ideology. You have cited states' rights in arguing against Virginia's citizens gaining the benefit of extended Federal unemployment benefits.

Did you discuss this with Gov. Pawlenty?

You oppose the President's reform efforts.

If you are elected governor, would you invoke states' rights to unilaterally keep Virginia from participating in National health care reform?

Obama and Deeds - The Ties That Bind

As I have watched polls over the summer in the gubernatorial contest, I have been mildly concerned given how bad Creigh seemed to be doing. Unlike some others, I didn’t dismiss the polls or their methodology, although at the same time given how early they were, I didn’t think they were at all predictive of what would happen in the election.

The real question I had was what were these polls measuring? Their lopsided and counter intuitive results, IMHO, were attributable not to the specific candidates, but rather to three environmental aspects of the political landscape this past summer that were all lined up against Creigh.

Two of those factors, however, now appear to be moving in Creigh’s direction, and the third may as well. All else being equal, I wouldn’t be surprised to soon see polls showing McDonnell losing support and Creigh gaining it, leaving both candidates pulling in the mid- to high 40s, solidly within the MoE.

The first factor was that over the summer mainstream Conservatives, teabaggers, and your garden-variety birthers, deathers and racists, not to mention Republican Party regulars, were able to coalesce around opposition to health care reform, pulling in many people who are usually on the periphery or outside of political battles into the fray. The result was a temporary and intense spike in enthusiasm among these groups, who were united in their opposition to both the President and the Democratic Party, and their need for Prozac.

These groups, given their pack dog mentality, were further egged on by the President’s insistence on turning the other cheek in the name of bipartisanship, which they saw as a sign of his weakness and their strength. At the same time, the perception among Progressives began to grow that the President would sell out important principles in pursuit of a deal with Republicans, causing many to ask what was the point of elections if, once in office, the people we elect are subservient to the ones we defeated?

Finally, the loud, thuggish tactics of these groups at town halls over the summer drew plenty of media coverage, giving the impression of a tiny, but intense grassroots movement being much larger and more significant than it really was.

As a result of all this, from mid-July into August, Republicans were becoming hyper-energized while Democrats were becoming dispirited. This was clearly reflected in Virginia’s Gubernatorial polling numbers

Consider, in five polls following the primary from mid-June through the end of July, the margin in the gubernatorial race was: +6 Deeds; +4 Deeds; +1 McD; +6 McD; and +3 McD.

Beginning with a SUSA poll from July 27 and 28, however, the margin in the polls shot up to +15 McD, and has since pretty much stayed there, although a couple of polls showed more modest margins of +7 McD and +b McD, better but still outside the MoE.

According to Gallup, meanwhile, over the same time period President Obama’s weekly approval average took a dive. It stood at 62/31 in early June, a spread of 31 points. By the end of July, when Creigh’s numbers began to deteriorate, those figures were at 54/39, with a spread of 15.

Obama kicked ass Wednesday night, although the extent to which he has remade the debate remains to be seen. That will be determined by his actions over the next several weeks.

IF Obama follows through on his tough words –

IF Obama truly calls Republicans out by name for their lies –

IF Obama lays down the law for the Blue Dogs –

IF Obama is one the way to leading Democrats in Congress to genuine health care reform with or without Republicans –

If he does all these things, then Democrats will be fired up. We will believe that elections make a difference, and this will most certainly be reflected in greater and sustained support for Creigh.

If, on the other hand, Obama reverts to previous form, and simply pursues bipartisanship as a goal in and of itself, regardless of the boorish and dishonest behavior of Republicans, Democrats will again become dispirited. At least this one will.

Early indications are mixed. Joe Wilson gave the President, Democrats and proponents of health care reform a gift the other night, but the President tried to give it back. As a result, he again wound up playing Charlie Brown trying to kick the football as some no-name BSC congressman took on the role of Lucy pulling it away. Just has the President was graciously saying how he forgave Joe Wilson after the Congressman’s sincere apology last night, the boorish Wilson was telling reporters that his apology was not sincere at all, but that the leadership forced him to make it. And now he has put out a fundraising video in which he says, “I will not be muzzled.”

The second factor was Creigh’s month-long absence from the campaign trail in July and the manner in which it was handled. This was a tactical error that left Bob McDonnell alone to define himself as a moderate.

Indeed, Creigh’s drop in the polls, while coinciding with the dynamics of the larger health care debate going on nationally, also coincided with his absence from the public eye. Arguably, he could have mitigated his erosion in the polls had he been a more aggressive campaigner during that time.

The result of McDonnell’s efforts, however, can be seen in the most recent SUSA poll, where McDonnell is pulling 42% of the self-described moderate voter, 15% of the self-described liberals, and 31% of self-described pro-choice voters. At the same time, McDonnell is getting 89% of self-described Conservatives. Similarly, McDonnell is attracting 19% of Democrats and 88% of Republicans, not to mention 13% of Obama voters, at the same time he is garnering 90% of McCain voters.

In short, these numbers show McDonnell is attracting considerable support from people diametrically opposed to his positions, without sacrificing any of his base. (I realize that the small samples of these sub-groups call the accuracy of them into question, but the consistency among each group, even accounting for the overlap, suggests it is not simply a case of skewed numbers).

Several weeks ago, Creigh had already begun to address this, using the choice issue to expose McDonnell as the extreme social Conservative that he is when McDonnell’s thesis came along. So far, it has been a game of catch-up for him – between the Democratic primary and Creigh’s lost month, McDonnell has had Virginia’s Independent voters to himself for seven months.

That will change, however, as voters focus more on the race. While the thesis fallout has yet to show up in polls, McDonnell simply has too much of a public record to avoid the issue forever. McDonnell’s ability to conceal the huge gulf between what he really believes and how he has presented himself, will prove increasingly difficult, if not impossible.

The third factor that has been affecting the polls is the exhaustion of Virginia’s Democrats. Beginning in January 2008, the Obama-Clinton primary pitted Democrats against one-another. Following Obama’s nomination, we came together for a few months, but with Virginia being a swing state, the campaign was intense. No sooner did that intense election end that a hard fought, again intense, and a sometimes personally bitter primary campaign took its place. This lasted through June.

To an extent, the joint effect of renewed support for the President and the exposing of Bob McDonnell will counteract this, but it won’t fully address it.

Further, the fact is that Creigh was a compromise winner in the primary who benefited from the three-way dynamic of that race. While he got 50% of the vote, the intensity of his support was behind that of both Moran and McAuliffe; Creigh’s core support was only in the low 20s throughout the entire primary season. Consequently, even leaving aside his folksy, self-effacing campaign style, Creigh is unlikely to be able to rouse Virginia’s Democrats from their malaise alone.

The key here, I believe, is getting the Commonwealth’s party leaders in to stump for Creigh as much as possible. We need Mark Warner. We need Jim Webb. We need the President (and not just for fundraising). And I say let’s get the Big Dog in here, for goodness sakes.

Even with that, however, in the final analysis, it is Creigh and Creigh alone who has to close the sale.

But at least now he is competing on a more hospitable playing field.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Sean Hannity's "Self Righteous Humbuggery" on Bob McDonnell's Thesis

Looks like Sean Hannity was named the Worst Person in the World on Countdown with Keith Olbermann. This was due (well overdue) to Hannity's criticism of the Washington Post's editorials and news columns on Bob McDonnell's Christian Broadcasting Newtwork thesis... what Sean Hannity doesn't tell you is that he thought Hillary Clinton's thesis (a thesis that was written 38 years ago) was fair game for criticism in 2007. Take a look at the video below:

Yep!! Looks like complete batshit crazy MF hyporcisy to me!!

We've Lost Governer Kaine

If you haven't seen the news reports today on Governor Kaine's state spending cuts, you need to read this to believe it. Among the cuts, 593 state employees will lose their jobs and several will take forced furloughs. The last thing we need in this economy is more unemployment (especially, in the effin' public sector). However, my biggest beef here is that:

  • Governor Kaine cut higher education funding by 15% in the state of Virginia. This is unconscionable. It is downright BS. I am, quite frankly, really effin' furious that the governor that I voted for would take such Draconian measures on higher education spending. Higher education is an investment. Due to these crazy cuts, tuition rates will increase significantly (as will the student loan burden for Virginia college students). Further, universities will make make huge cuts to their liberal arts programs, etc. (and the impact will be that Bob McDonnell will get what he wants... most of our state's universities will become glorified tech schools). I guess I'm especially sensitive to this because my dad and uncle are both retired professors... my uncle, specifically, is a retired chair of the Educational Leadership and Policy Studies Divsion at Virginia Tech. Kaine has significantly harmed higher education in this state (and believe me, if anyway thinks we have state-supported higher education institutions... we do not... we have state-assisted higher education institutions... and that is a substantial difference). Virginia's higher education institutions are world-class caliber and cannot sustain their high quality with these substantial cuts. Cutting higher education spending is not a progressive policy; it is regresive to the nth degree.

I'm very pissed at Kaine right now because he basically rode in on Mark Warner's coattails and really hasn't done anything in office of major importance for progressives. I won't be a complete a*hole... he's done some work reforming mental health institutions in the state (what governor wouldn't, though) and the non-smoking thing was a victory... but today, I'm not a happy camper. Governor Kaine should know that I did not like writing this, but it had to be said. I've been a supporter of the Governor and I do not like ripping my fellow Democrats, but this was the last straw with Kaine.

A Kid's Comments On Obama's Speech

I hereby present, without comment, a Q&A with my son Jonah, age 9, 4th grader at Venable Elementary School in Charlottesville, about President Obama's speech today:

AZNEW: What did the President tell you?

JONAH: To stay in school, and though it gets really hard and rough throughout the years, to never give up in school.

What did you think of that?

I thought it was pretty cool. It would have been better if he made the speech at Venable.

Are you going to stay in school?


Was it exciting to see the President?


Are you now or have you ever been a Socialist?

What’s that mean?

Well, it’s a way of thinking that makes some grown-ups mad. And some grown-up thought President Obama would turn you into a Socialist. Do you think he might have?


Do you love America?


Do you still love America after hearing President Obama?


Do you like President Obama?



Because he’s a good president

And I have to ask you one more question.


Creigh Deeds or Bob McDonnell?

Creigh Deeds!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Sublime Deceptions Of Bob McDonnell

Bob McDonnell’s strategy for responding to Thesis-caca, like his overall campaign, is steeped in deception and dishonesty. It has also been effective.

Quite honestly, I have to admit it is somewhat frustrating, but fascinating, to watch this all unfold. While I can see and describe what McDonnell is doing, and I can divine the mechanics that allow it to operate, I can’t for the life of me figure out how he is getting away with it with respect to voters, although if a recent poll is to be believed, getting away with it he is.

Well, I can figure it out, sort of. Bob McDonnell is unusually gifted and skillful at deception. And I mean that as a compliment.

McDonnell’s goal is to maintain the moderate image he has built for himself on social issues like choice, homosexuality, discrimination, etc., because otherwise he cannot win the election. The blog Coarse Cracked Corn deftly explains how McDonnell built this image:
Earlier this summer Bob McDonnell spent several hundred thousand dollars on TV ads designed to reshape his image, to rebrand himself, to mislead Virginia voters. In those slick commercials, McDonnell was portrayed as a moderate consensus builder, open to all ideas, and willing to work across party lines. Using shades of blue, Taliban Bob seemingly attempted to paint himself almost as a Democrat. In June, with the Democrats focused on their primary, McDonnell was able to use the power of TV to fabricate an image of him as a moderate that gave him a midsummer bump in some polls.

The disclosure of the thesis, and the specificity with which McDonnell described his extreme views on social issues and his belief in a theocratic government to foist his conservative views on everyone, has obviously complicated this strategy tremendously. At the same time that McDonnell must maintain his moderate image, generally, he must also signal his Conservative base that Bob McDonnell believes deeply in each and everyone of the draconian principles that he laid down in the thesis.

Standard dog whistle politics don’t cut it here – too many people are paying attention. To accomplish this requires sophistry of the first order supported by brazen dishonesty uncomplicated by shame, morality or ethics.

First, there is McDonnell’s position that the very discussion of these social issues is either illegitimate or irrelevant in the campaign because they spring from a twenty-year old thesis. Of course, these issues are both legitimate and relevant, and they spring not from the thesis, but from a desire to know who Bob McDonnell is today. In truth, McDonnell discusses social issues all the time -- when he wants to -- but defaulting to this argument and sticking to his guns permits McDonnell to refuse to take questions at will, or dance around answering an uncomfortable one.

That basic position, which the MSM has yet to crack, has afforded McDonnell control over the coverage, and left him free to rhetorically negotiate the seemingly inconsistent goals before him -- establishing at the same time that he is a both a moderate and a batshit crazy Conservative. (This, BTW, is not a knock on the MSM. Amy Gardner and the Washington Post deserve praise for their work.)

How does McDonnell use this freedom? Cleverly. He doesn't quite hit you over the head with dishonesty, but it is there nonetheless, and it isn't buried too deep. If it wasn't close to the surface, it would not have its desired effect.

Early on, for example, McDonnell absurdly and implausibly denied his own seriousness of purpose and hard work in producing the 93-page thesis by derisively calling it a “term paper” and an “academic exercise,” and something he hadn’t read in twenty years. Of course, this was false, but left unchallenged McDonnell managed at the same time to deny the document contains any serious content (maintaining moderate cred), without disavowing any of its substance (and risking backlash from his base).

Or consider how McDonnell has addressed the hot button issue of his denigration of women who choose to work outside the home. McDonnell argues his opinion has changed, but he doesn’t state how or what prompted the change. Rather, he “proves” his opinion has changed by a non sequitor -- pointing to the fact that his wife worked outside the home and the fact that he has three daughters, one of whom served in Iraq.

Again, the argument allows McDonnell to create a moderate impression (my wife works outside the home) without actually addressing the substance of the issue, namely, whether government ought to promote policies to make it more difficult for women to work outside the home. Those are not exclusive concepts -- Bob McDonnell would not be the first nor the last politician to think one policy is good for his constituents while another works better for him and his.

In fact, the available evidence shows that McDonnell has not changed his opinions on women in the workplace at all, such as his vote against requiring equal pay for women for equal work.

And while the media has challenged McDonnell on this one, he has defaulted to his refusal to discuss it (except when he wants to) because the issue of a twenty-year old thesis is illegitimate and irrelevant to a campaign today. Then he hilariously took offence at anyone even suggesting he might think it is inappropriate for women to work outside the home.

That's the kind of touch only a true maestro could pull off.

Now consider McDonnell’s appearance on Sean Hannity’s radio show Thursday, where he was speaking exclusively to his base. In that appearance, he vigorously defended that very same thesis that only days before he dismissed as a mere term paper and academic exercise, and asserted he had not thought about in twenty years and, anyway, contained opinions from which he has evolved:
Well, the thesis was about something that I think was very important and that is that marriage and family are the bedrock of our society then and that’s been true in quotes from John Kennedy to Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama to Governor Kaine to Bob McDonnell. People believe that--what I was doing in the late eighties was looking at sort of what happened after the Great Society vision of President Johnson and the AFDC program and some other things that had undermined the traditional family to say what are these government policies that are causing the impact on women and children and families and are there some things that we can do better?

While the words seem somewhat benign -- I mean, who is anti-family? Who doesn't want to do "better"? -- in McDonnell's thesis everything derives from his core belief about the "traditional" family as a sacred unit. In other words, Bob McDonnell still strongly believes in his thesis, namely that government should be able to tell you how to live your personal life – who to marry, who to love, how and when to bear children and, ultimately, how and what deity you worship -- as long as those dictates are based on Bob McDonnell’s particular Biblical interpretation.

Again, the deception is clearly there, just below the surface. Not express, but certainly much bolder that the usual winks, nudges and code words of traditional dog whistles.

So far, at least, McDonnell's deception is working, i.e., moderates do not seem to be seeing BSC Bob yet, at least according to some of the data in Friday’s SUSA poll, which has McDonnell ahead 54-42. The poll was taken after Thesis-caca broke.

McDonnell is pulling 42% of the self-described moderate voters in the poll, 15% of the self-described liberals, and 31% of self-described pro-choice voters. At the same time, McDonnell is getting 89% of self-described Conservatives. Similarly, McDonnell is attracting 19% of Democrats and 88% of Republicans, not to mention 13% of Obama voters at the same time he is garnering 90% of McCain voters.

In short, these numbers show McDonnell is attracting considerable support from people diametrically opposed to his positions, without sacrificing any of his base.

His accomplishment is even more impressive when one considers that he has been entirely upfront about the fact that his strategy is based on deception. McDonnell wrote on page 55 of his thesis (h/t Daily Kos):
It is also becoming clear in modern culture that the voting American mainstream is not willing to accept a true pro-family ideologue because as then-Representative Trent Lott (R-MS) observed, "Americans think of themselves as conservatives; they want government reduced. But in their hearts they are liberals, they want all the goodies coming in. Leadership, however, does not require giving voters what they want, for whimsical and capricious government would result. Republican legislators must exercise independent professional judgment as statesman, to make decisions that are objectively right, and proved effective."

As Markos Moulitsas of Daily Kos explained:
Got that? "Leadership" means hiding your "true pro-family" ideology from the voters, who don't want it and aren't willing to accept it, but then governing in that fashion once elected. It is the height of cynicism -- openly violating the trust of the voter by pretending to be something you are not, masking your true intentions from an electorate that would never endorse that agenda with their vote.

Markos then asks:
Given McDonnell's open admission of dishonesty, how can any of his "moderate" policy pronouncements be taken seriously?

How, indeed?

Friday, September 4, 2009

Silent Bob Is Speaking Loud and Clear

Bob McDonnell has gone silent when it comes to answering questions with respect to Thesispalooza. Usually, this strategy does not work too well, since the refusal to answer questions tends to feed speculation that there is something being covered up.

Despite that risk, given McDonnell’s tactical objectives in managing this mess, the Silent Bob routine would appear to be his best option at this point. On the surface, the rationale for this tact is that McDonnell wants to talk about “issues that really matter.”

Still, the strategy also reveals how weak of a hand McDonnell is actually holding. By defining McDonnell's tactical goals, and examining how the Silent Bob routine, plus other tactics, might help him achieve them, it becomes clear how circumstances have left McDonnell with little margin of error.

McDonnell’s Objective # 1
The Goal: Don't allow the thesis to turn into a media feeding frenzy. By simply refusing to feed the media beast, McDonnell hopes it will eventually stop asking for food and move on.

The Tactic: Refuse to answer questions about his thesis. Accuse the WaPo of liberal bias.

Why it Might Work: Reporters constantly need fresh copy, so unless they are finding fresh material elsewhere, they will be forced to move on.

Why It Probably Won’t: Two reasons. First, McDonnell is in an election against an opponent and a significant online opposition that will not allow this issue to simply fade away and who will try to keep aggressive coverage alive. Second, the media has a strong professional self-interest in preventing their subjects from setting the parameters of acceptable coverage. Ask Al Gore what happens when the press gets pissed at you, en masse.

McDonnell Objective #2
The Goal: Are there are more cultural shoes out there to drop, possibly even more writings, almost certainly individuals who will come forward to assert that McDonnell’s views have not really changed much over the years, as four GOP legislators did this past week? If so, McDonnell would want to avoid saying anything further, beyond the carefully word-smithed answers he has already provided, that would be directly contradicted by a subsequent disclosure.

The Tactic: Simply refuse to answer questions about the thesis so he doesn’t get caught off-message.

Why It Might Work: Someone who doesn’t speak is unlikely to say anything that is stupid. And while McDonnell has already created a general impression that he has evolved in his thinking generally since penning this thesis in a more moderate direction, he didn’t specifically address most of the more egregious statements in the thesis, giving him the benefit of plausible deniability should additional evidence arise.

Why It Probably Won’t: Voters and the MSM tend to focus on general impressions, so if further evidence surfaces that contradicts the impression McDonnell created, it seem like he was less than forthcoming, whether plausibly denied or not.

McDonnell Objective # 3
The Goal: Maintain the moderate image he has cultivated without ticking off his base.

The Tactic: Utilize the dog whistle for the base, but say as little as possible to the moderates, so as not to drown out the coded message. (VB Dems has a fascinating post up about an article stating that this was the precise reason McDonnell disclosed the existence of the thesis to the WaPo to begin with, i.e., to send a message to the faithful that he was still with them as a cultural warrior even as he presented himself as a moderate in order to attract votes. I’m not sure I buy it – as a plan it is too complicated – but a very interesting idea).

Why It Might Work: Well, the Family Foundation warned McDonnell on Tuesday not to disavow his thesis too much. That was a signal. McDonnell hasn’t said a word since then, a pressure from the right has disappeared.

Why It Probably Won’t: Two big reasons. First, all of these people are, frankly, scary and nuts when it comes to their belief that they have the divine right to tell everyone else how to live their lives, so who knows what the heck they will do. Second, additional disclosures or enough pressure from the media, will force his hand to choose one side or the other.

McDonnell can yet draw to an inside straight from all of this. The keys will be whether he is able to continue avoiding answering questions and whether any new evidence comes to light of his narrow and backwards views on social issues, and his belief that Government should impose Bob McDonnell’s particular brand of Christian morality on all of us.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Blue Virginia Blogger Roundup

Good evening, Virginia.

It's a beautiful fall evening in Alexandria, VA, which means college football is right around the corner. It is less than 48 hours until Virignia Tech takes on Alabama (in the ATL) on Saturday night at 8 PM EST on ABC.

So, here's what the Virginia progressive blogging community is talking about:

  • Fake Virginia has an EXCELLENT TWEET-ATHON on that describes her thoughts on Bob McDonnell's Christian Broadcasting Network thesis. If you don't know, Bob McDonnell went to Pat Robertson's Regent University Law School in 1989 (Note to self: Pat Robertson is donating, ahem, a ton of $$$ to Bob McDonnell's campaign... Pat Robertson is not a moderate). Bob's full thesis is here.
  • Lowell has a great review of the Creigh Deeds' campaign new website which clearly depicts the batshit crazy right-wing record of Bob McDonnell. The web site, in short, basically shows the whack job social stances that McDonnell has taken on a woman's role in society (stay home and make babies and food), abortion rights (In Bob McDonnell's crazy ass world, if woman is RAPED, he believes she should not have the right to an abortion), contraception, and education. Bob McDonnell is not a moderate.
  • Aznew questions whether Bob McDonnell's goal is to advocacate a Christian theocracy in America. (Note to self: Bob McDonnell sounds kinda Talibanesque to me).
  • Anonymous is a Woman ponders the dishonest shell game that Bob McDonnell is playing with Virginia voters (Note: Bob's can't run from those crazy ass social stances).
  • Left of the Hill tells us that almost half of Virginia's likely voters are following the news headlines about Bob McDonnell's detrimental views on women (Bryan thinks there will be more momentum on this issue for Creigh Deeds as the fall campaign season moves along).
  • Finally, Not Larry Sabato wonders if Bob McDonnell voted for Pat Robertson in the 1988 Virginia GOP Presidential Primary (of course he did, Ben!!).

Oh, and Sarah Palin hearts MF crazy Bob McDonnell to the tune of $2500.

I wonder if Bob McDonnell thinks we live in Fake Virginia (that's what McCain and Palin's advisor basically said below):

Massively good times.

Leave Dan Snyder Alone, Just Leave Him Alone

I cannot believe people are bitching about the Skins suing a couple of deadbeat season ticket holders.

I've been a Skins fan for nearly 30 years, and the last 10 of those years have been particularly sweet. During that time, the team has reached the pinnacle of achievement, so if the owner who brught us this wonderful decade of football wants to sick his lawyers on a bunch of good-for-nothing fans who are just hitching a ride on his bandwagon of NFL success, I say the man has earned the right!

And to that, i have two words to add: Jeff Fucking George

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Does Bob's Thesis Advocate A Christian Theocracy in America?

It was interesting that Bob McDonnell’s view on women, particularly women working outside of the home, seemed to draw the most visceral reaction from the news media. As offensive as those statements are, however, the part of McDonnell Thesis that should be of the most concern to Virginia’s voters is McDonnell’s view on government and the ultimate source of governmental power.

McDonnell seems to interpret the Declaration of Independence as ordaining the creation of a Christian theocracy. It is truly frightening that someone that thinks like this can get so close to a significant position of executive power in the United States.

McDonnell’s Thesis states: “The civil government was ordained to secure the inalienable rights of individuals created in the image and likeness of [G-d.]” This is drawn, one assumes, from Jefferson’s assertion in the Declaration that “all men … are created equal and they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.”

One can see right off the bat that the Declaration does not specifically refer to G-d, i.e., the G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob from the Old Testament, for the document speaks solely of a “Creator.” McDonnell, however, clearly interprets it as a reference to the Bible’s deity by asserting that only individuals created in G-d’s image (See Genesis 1:26) are endowed with the magical unalienable rights.

McDonnell next asserts that the reason government protects these inalienable rights is to “facilitate a society in which other institutions are free to perform their convenantal duties to [G-d] and others.” In other words, government provides services to us in order to free us up to … well, live our lives according to the rules set forth in the Bible (presumably as interpreted by McDonnell).

With respect to the purpose of forming governments, the Declaration advises us to do it in a way that “shall seem must likely to protect [our] safety and happiness.’ Nothing in there, however, about “covenantal duties to [G-d].”

Finally, McDonnell concludes as follows: “The state alone, with the exception of parental discipline of children, bears the authority to punish wrongdoers, for the civil ruler is a minister of God to execute judgment and encourage good.”

The Declaration of Independence, however, directly contradicts this statement. Government, i.e., the “civil ruler,” does not derive power from G-d or any external force. Nor is its purpose to “execute judgment” or “encourage good.” TJ was quite clear on this point. The Declaration states: “That to secure these rights [i.e., the unalienable rights which include life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness], governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

(NOTE: McDonnell does allow that governmental “authority” is limited by the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, laws, etc., but this somewhat meaningless jurisdictional statement does not change the core assertion that the legitimacy and powers of government derive from G-d, and should be executed to serve His purpose.)

What McDonnell appears to be envisioning here is nothing less than a Christian theocracy.

In case there is any doubt about McDonnell’s vision of American government, consider the following statement from his Thesis (pp. 13-14), drawn from Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, 13: 1-4:

“Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which [G-d] has established. The authorities that exist have been established by [G-d]. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what [G-d] has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.”

Similarly, on page 62, McDonnell asserts that Republicans must "correct the conventional folklore about the separation of church and state. Historically, the religious liberty guarantees of the First Amendment were intended to prevent government encroachment upon the free church, not eliminate the impact of religion on society."

As for specific policies a Governor McDonnell might impose, in his eyes, “Every level of government should statutorily and procedurally prefer married couples over cohabitators, homosexuals, or fornicators. The cost of sin should fall on the sinner, not the taxpayer.”

Nor is this merely an academic exercise that has not had real-life consequences. After becoming Attorney General, McDonnell has a chance to pursue his vision, and he did so. Demonstrating how government could show preference to “married couples” over homosexuals, for instance, McDonnell did the following:

Immediately after becoming AG, Mr. McDonnell issued an opinion to countermand the executive order by both Governors Warner and Kaine to bar discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, basically ruling that discrimination based on sexual orientation was lawful in state hiring.

In early 2007, after The Christopher Newport University board banned discrimination in matters of admissions and employment based on sexual orientation, Bob McDonnell took the time to write the school to tell them, as the publication Inside Higher Ed put it, “it would not be legal for the university (or other public institutions in the state, which have done the same thing) to bar discrimination based on sexual orientation.”

Bob McDonnell intervened in a private lawsuit among members of the Episcopal Church in a dispute that had gay rights at its core. In a protest over gay priests, dissident members left the church, but filed suit seeking to retain church property. Mr. McDonnell, needless to say, sought to intervene in the case on the side of the anti-gay dissidents, ostensibly in defense of a state statute. But the dispute was a religious and social one, above all else, not a Constitutional one. A real estate attorney told the Washington Post that McDonnell’s intervention in the case “was a little out of the ordinary.”

So, while McDonnell’s ridiculous and offensive comments about women are interesting, and make for a good soundbyte, McDonnell’s views on the origins and legitimacy of government power, the purpose of government, the belief that government is an agent of the G-d of Abraham in implementing policy and the role such a government ought to play in the private lives of its citizens are much more dangerous, and are more critical questions for the voters of Virginia.

As we can see from McDonnell’s time as AG, these are not merely abstract questions; rather, McDonnell has clearly demonstrated that once in power, he is not afraid to implement his vision.

Hopefully, as this news story makes its way through the news cycle, the MSM media will find a way, consistent with the objectives of its news coverage, to place this critical consideration before the public.

Given the many questions still hanging about from the revelation of this Thesis, it is simply not acceptable for Bob McDonnell to travel around the state talking about his plan to appoint Bill Bolling Chief Jobs Creation Officer for the Commonwealth, while refusing to answer questions about his vision for what he wants Virginia to be in the future.

Note: My thanks to Cvillelaw at Blue Comonwealth for the research he did on the McDonnell thesis, which I drew on heavily for this.

Bill Maher on Bob McDonnell and Pat Robertson's Law School

Ode to Bob McDonnell (LSU alma mater lyrics edited for my enjoyment):

Where stately oaks and broad magnolias
shade inspiring halls,
There stands our dear Old Alma Mater
who to us recalls
Fond memories that waken in our hearts
a tender glow,
And make us happy for the love
that we have learned to know.

All hail to thee our Alma Mater,
molder of mankind,
May greater glory, love unending
be forever thine.
Our worth in life will be thy worth
we pray to keep it true,
And may thy spirit live in us, forever Regent U

Would you send your daughter to Maury Povich University?

Massively good times.

Righty Blog Roundup: Surprise -- "L'Affair Thesis" is Liberal Media's Fault

As Day 3 of L’Affair Thesis came to a close, Bob McDonnell’s supporters regressed to the default position Conservatives regress to when they get exposed as BCEs (Batshit Crazy Extremists).

It is all the media’s fault for letting people know about them.

But even as they trot out the tired and true staple, the several Conservative blogs I looked at seem to know this is not really the problem, and in their hearts do not really seem to believe in the arguments they are putting forth.

Over at Too Conservative, for example, VA Blogger in a post entitled “Too Unbelievable To Be True,” can only complain that the Washington Post did not equally criticize Gov. Kaine for being partisan when he took his job at the DNC. The cases are not equivalent, however -- the WaPo did not criticize McDonnell for being partisan; it criticized him for being divisive and out of touch -- and VA Blogger’s actual argument fails to live up to the hype of the headline.

Similarly, at Bearing Drift, JR Hoeft claims the WaPo is acting hypocritically, but he notably fails to cite a single instance of hypocrisy on the part of the paper. Reading Mr. Hoeft’s post, it is clear that the real source of his annoyance is that the WaPo is reporting the story, and not simply parroting McDonnell’s spin on it. Mr. Hoeft seems equally annoyed with the RTD’s Jeff Schapiro for the same thing. In the Conservative view of the world, of course, reporting facts instead of right-wing spin is evidence of bias.

In any event, I don’t think blaming the media will work here. For one thing, it is a tactic that rarely works over time – hence the aphorism about not picking a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel. “Working the refs” like this does sometimes result in reporters and editors bending over backwards in the short-term to criticize the other guy to show they are being equally tough on all candidates, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see some “negative” reporting on Creigh from the WaPo in the next couple of weeks, to the extent that there is any fodder to work with.

More importantly, the argument of media bias in this case is pretty weak. Where, exactly, is the bias? Can McDonnell’s defenders seriously believe that his thesis is not newsworthy? Virtually every media outlet in the country disagrees. Can they seriously believe he put all questions to rest with a single conference call? Do they seriously think the voters of Virginia would rather hear about McDonnell’s plans to name Bill Bolling Chief Job Creation Officer than watch him twist himself into a pretzel trying to explain his 18th Century vision for 21st Century Virginia?

The critical issue for Virginia, and one that as far as I can see Mr. McDonnell has not addressed at all, is whether he still believes that government should be an instrument of imposing an extreme Christian Fundamentalist moral code on all the citizens of Virginia against their will. In that sense, I guess, I agree with my Conservative friends that the issue is not so much how Bob McDonnell felt about working women twenty years ago; rather, the issue is how would he, were he to be elected to lead the Commonwealth, treat decent, law-abiding Virginians today who choose a different lifestyle than what he thinks is morally appropriate.

The people of Virginia have a right to know whether their Governor thinks they ought to be punished by their own government -- not for breaking the law, but rather for not adhering to the same moral and religious code under which their Governor chooses to live, because in the final analysis that is what McDonnell’s thesis is all about.

As a 34-year old graduate student, McDonnell clearly believed the government ought to force Fundamentalist morality on all people, whether they want it or not. As a member of the General Assembly, he repeatedly sought to do so legislatively to the greatest degree possible, even to the point of limiting access to contraceptives. He admits that on the issue of reproductive choice, he would force his beliefs on all of us if he could, i.e., if Roe v. Wade were overturned. Finally, he has a long history of – and I apologize if any find this offensive, but there is no nice way to say it – hostility and discrimination against homosexuals and lesbians.

So far, McDonnell’s response to questions about his view of government’s role in imposing his religious morality on all citizens has been to change the subject to economic issues, claiming that is what people care about. The fact is, people care about both issues.

McDonnell’s supporters can rant against the Washington Post and Jeff Schapiro all they want, but this problem will not go away until McDonnell addresses the more important issue of what he will do as Governor with respect to social issues in an honest, specific and convincing manner – which he has not yet done -- and let the chips fall where they may.

His supporters would better serve their candidate by urging him to pursue this course, instead of propagating the same old victimization canard that the media is at fault for this mess.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

2009 McDonnell same as 1989 McDonnell?

Apparently, there are several Virginia Republicans that agree with that premise and they are bucking their party and supporting Creigh Deeds. According to the Shad Plank, Senators Marty Williams and Russ Potts and Delegate Jim Dillard all think McDonnell's 1989 master's thesis (from Pat Roberson's Regent University, formerly Christan Broadcasting Network University, yep, CBN University... 700 Club University... geez) depicts a very similar social agenda that he pursued in the Virginia House of Delegates...

Selected excerpts of the Shad Plank blog post are below:

A handful of Virginia Republicans, including former Sen. Marty Williams of Newport News, are taking on Republican Bob McDonnell's 1989 thesis and saying that it matches his ensuing legislative record.

Williams and Sen. Russ Potts and Del. Jim Dillard all served in the General Assembly for the GOP, but they have been willing to break with their party leadership especially during
this campaign. After McDonnell released a transportation plan that relied on off shore drilling, future port growth and tolls on drivers coming in from North Carolina - the three men stepped away from the GOP to back Democrat Creigh Deeds.

Now Williams, Potts and Dillard are stepping out to take on McDonnell's Regent University thesis which was penned when McDonnell was a 34-year-old graduate student at the Pat Robertson-led university in Virginia Beach.

The 93-page paper including some unflattering references to women in the workplace, calling them "detrimental" to the family. The paper also takes on "cohabitators, fornicators and homosexuals." McDonnell has disavowed and repudiated the things he wrote about working women and said that the paper doesn't reflect his views, but rather was an "academic exercise" and part of a 20-year-old assignment that he has not considered or read in two decades.


McDonnell said that voters should focus on his record in the General Assembly.

Williams, Potts, Dillard and Del. Katherine Waddell, an Independent, all said that the thesis and McDonnell's record are playing the same tune.

"My biggest surprise is that he's running away from it," Williams said of the thesis. "I really do think that's who he is."


"Anybody who thinks I jump off the shelf and support every Democrat is mistaken," Williams said. "This is the first Democrat I've supported and it might be the last."

Potts said that the best political leaders govern from the center.

"Bob has never been about governing from the middle," Potts said. "He wants to govern from the far right. He believes that passionately and I respect him for that."

Potts noted that McDonnell carried 35 bills that would have restricted abortion rights.

"He was out of the mainstream all those many years," Potts said. "The record is the record, I was there."

Dillard said that McDonnell was "always pushing social issues" in the General Assembly.

"The Bob McDonnell who is running for governor is not the Bob McDonnell who we knew and served with in the General Assembly," Dillard said. "It's a total re-invention of Bob McDonnell so he can be governor."

Waddell said that the thesis cannot be dismissed as the partisan musings of a young adult because McDonnell would enter the legislature only a few years after the paper was written.

"You can run from yourself, but you can't run far," Waddell said.

Well there you go... members of Bob McDonnell's own party think he's out of the mainstream (Note to self: Sponsoring 35 bills to restrict abortion rights access is not mainstream)... and they think he is performing "plastic surgery" on his own political career so that he can be governor.

Virginians, please don't let Pat Robertson's disciple, Bob McDonnell, become governor.

Righty Blog Roundup: Tepid Defense For McDonnell

It took the Righty Blogosphere in Virginia 24 to 48 hours to formulate a defense for Bob McDonnell. Unfortunately, it is a fairly lame defense, and therefore not particularly interesting or challenging to answer.

I will note that I do sense a change in attitude over at the blogs run by my Conservative friends. This story has really taken the wind out of their sails, and their defense of Bob McDonnell seems half-hearted and obligatory, at best. That said, I’m not under any illusion that will last.

In any event, I think there are two reasons for this. First, Bob’s Manifesto is pretty indefensible, and his explanation that he has changed his opinion is not very credible, in light of his long legislative career trying to implement many of the ideas he sets forth in the document.

Second, I’d imagine that many Conservatives cannot be happy that McDonnell is running away from some core principles. Bob Marshall hit the nail on the head – by trying to pass himself off as a moderate, McDonnell is implicitly stating that there is something wrong with strong Conservative beliefs on social issues.

I would imagine many Conservatives would prefer to hear a strong defense of why mothers working outside the home is not a desirable state of affairs, or why an employer should be free to reject someone for a job because they are gay, and so on, rather than see the ostensible leader of their state party throw their principles overboard and meekly pander to what they see as the political correctness of a liberal media.

Frankly, that’s a debate I’d rather have as well, and one that I think would be much more meaningful and interesting to all voters, rather than the current election consisting of Mr. McDonnell to pretend he is someone he is not just to get votes, and Creigh having to spend an inordinate amount of time calling McDonnell out on his BS.

Anyway, over at Too Conservative, from VA Blogger we get a post entitled Deeds Not Words:
Funny that the Deeds campaign has turned their back on this maxim. As a student in the 1980s, Bob McDonnell wrote a thesis paper using words. As a legislator and Attorney General, you can evaluate his deeds.

That, of course, is the problem. When you look at McDonnell's actions as a Delegate and as AG, it is clear they are fully informed by the ideas contained and the strategy set forth in his Manifesto.

That’s pretty much all VA Blogger offers right now. He does provide a round-up of commentary from Conservative blogs (like this one, only different) that is definitely worth a look. In it he states, "I’m still putting together my thoughts on the decades-old thesis Bob McDonnell wrote, what (if anything) it means about the candidates, and how it will affect the campaign." So, presumably we'll see more on this from him.

At Bearing Drift, where the blogging tends to be, IMHO, less thoughtful and more reflexively partisan than at Too Conservative, The defense of McDonnell is a bit more spirited, with several posts addressing the thesis flap. The result, however, is more unintentional hilarity as opposed to a convincing argument, so you can head over there for some entertainment. “Bob McDonnell is a social conservative,” one post reads, “ He has never tried to hide that. He has been straightforward about his record throughout this campaign.” The author, apparently, holds the distinction of being the only person observing the race so far who failed to notice McDonnell trying to establish himself as a moderate, which, of course, is the issue at the heart of this Manifesto flap.

Also at Bearing Drift, Brian Kirwin makes an argument that seems to amount to complaining that Democrats are ... uh ... criticizing Republicans?

What? How dare we do that? What is this, an election or something?

Kirwin also brings out the old canard that Creigh and Democrats have no plan to address the challenges facing Virginia. This, of course, is ridiculous, and not worthy of response.

In fact, even Kirwin knows it is absurd, because later in the same post, he states, “On issue after issue, [Deeds’] polling has undoubtedly told him that his solutions are pretty unpopular with voters.”

Wait a sec, I thought Democrats did not have any answers. Now Kirwin says we do have solutions, only they’re not popular. I’m getting a contradiction headache.

In Bearing Drift’s world, I suppose, McDonnell has the solutions Virginians want. After all, who has failed to notice the public clamor to appoint Bill Bolling Chief Job Creation Officer?

Shaun Kenney, meanwhile, has chosen to ride the storm out by refusing to acknowledge it except in passing. So he doesn’t directly address the Manifesto flap; rather, he is on the trail of the Deeds employee who stupidly called McDonnell’s office posing as a reporter to get a copy of McDonnell’s daily schedule. An excellent use of time by Shaun!

Finally, at Virginia Virtucon, Riley did a great job of note-taking during yesterday’s McDonnell call. His notes give a much fuller picture of the call than any of the articles I have read.

If McDonnell thinks he put this issue to rest yesterday, he is sadly mistaken. Looking over Riley's notes, I am struck by the vapidity of McDonnell's defense. His position basically amounts to the following argument: “If there is anything I ever believed or did in my life that a potential voter doesn’t like, please be assured that I no longer believe that. And now since I said this, my record should be off limits.”

I don't expect this will pass muster with many in the Commonwealth's press corps.

In any event, my favorite part of Riley’s notes was McDonnell’s response when he was asked how he could reconcile his promise not to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation with his actions in the Askew matter. Here are Riley’s notes on the answer:
WashPo summary of Askew case was incorrect. Documents will be sent to reporters to follow up. If complaints or issues were brought up in advance, those would be brought up in a hearing. After hearing, number of things brought to cmte. members that made them think Judge Askew should not be reappointed. Some things were not answered honestly in the questionnaire. Questions of temperment. Evidence of sexual harassment claim that Judge Askew had been accused of by an employee. Settled for $64K by City of Hampton. WashPo article said Judge was never found guilty in court — true, but only because it was settled out of court. McD never brought up sexual orientation. Vote demonstrated that Sen. Dick Saslaw voted against her. Top Cmte. Dem Sen. Janet Howell voted against Askew. Saslaw — what went on in there was as fair as can be. Quote attributed to McD was not correct. At the time, there was a law in VA before a S. Ct. decision, acts of sodomy were punishable as a felony. If someone who was a judge were convicted of a felony that would be a factor as to whether they would be reappointed. Quoted that homosexualtiy was not an issue, believe that there were already homosexuals on the bench. Only cares about whether they would follow the law. Original story was incorrect. WashPo did not do good reporting. Testimony and demeanor and settled sexual harassment claim were the issues. McD was on the same side as Saslaw and Janet Howell.