The State Houses – What’s At Stake in 2010

Thirty-nine states will be electing a governor during the 2009-2010 election cycle. Of these, eighteen races will not include an incumbent and four incumbents who will be running were not elected to their current position. The recession and huge budget deficits threaten to undercut the power of incumbency for governors running for reelection.

The Current Line-Up

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Aug
30

Could the WaPo Save Deeds Again?

By · Aug, 30 2009

Today’s Washington Post has a damaging frontpage article about Bob McDonnell’s Regent University master thesis.

Written at age 34 two years before the 2009 Virginia GOP gubernatorial nominee first ran for public office, the document undermines McDonnell’s attempts to manufacture a moderate image palatable to Virginia’s electorate. Democratic nominee Creigh Deeds’ campaign has been trying to inform voters about the true nature of McDonnell’s conservative views, which they argue put him outside the mainstream views of most voters.

The WaPo provides a huge assist to their effort. Will the paper play a pivotal role in determining the general election outcome as it did in the Democratic primary when it endorsed Deeds over his two better-known rivals?

His targets include working women, feminists, “cohabitators, homosexuals  and fornicators.” Revealing the extent of his extremist “family values” conservatism, he even denounced the 1972 Supreme Court decision legalizing the use of contraception by unwed partners. He supported “covenant marriage,” redefining child abuse to exclude parental spanking and criticized federal tax credits for child care because the policy encouraged women to enter the workforce.

The 93-page document, which is publicly available at the Regent University library, culminates with a 15-point action plan that McDonnell said the Republican Party should follow to protect American families — a vision that he started to put into action soon after he was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates.

During his 14 years in the General Assembly, McDonnell pursued at least 10 of the policy goals he laid out in that research paper, including abortion restrictions, covenant marriage, school vouchers and tax policies to favor his view of the traditional family. In 2001, he voted against a resolution in support of ending wage discrimination between men and women.

First off, in the post-Monica Goodling era, I’m surprised an advanced degree from Regent doesn’t get redacted from your resume, especially if you’ve attended numerous institutions of higher education as AG Bob has.

When asked about Regent, McDonnell generally responds that it is one of many schools he has attended. He received a bachelor’s in business administration at the University of Notre Dame in 1976, and he received a master’s in business administration from Boston University in 1980 while serving overseas in the Army.

After four years in the Army and the start of a management career with a Fortune 500 health supply company, McDonnell moved with his wife, Maureen, and two young daughters from a suburb of Kansas City, Mo., to Virginia Beach, where he enrolled in a public policy master’s program at what was then called CBN University. The school was founded by Pat Robertson and named for his Christian Broadcasting Network.

McDonnell said that he was seeking a faith-based institution that explored the Christian origins of Western law and that he and his wife wanted to return to Virginia, where they grew up. The school expected students to take their faith seriously; they were admitted only after signing a statement affirming that Jesus Christ was their savior. The school also produced a number of politically active conservatives. Its Web site used to say that 150 of its graduates worked in President George W. Bush’s administration. Regent’s motto: Christian leadership to change the world.

But, seriously, a candidate with a record of voting against a mere resolution against wage discrimination or wanting to restrict contraceptions should not be running even with the Democratic nominee among Northern Virginia voters.

McDonnell responds that his views “have evolved.”

To be fair, the women in his life – his wife and daughters – have all worked outside the home, but he has pursued some of the policy positions he outlined two decades ago and still opposes all abortions, even in cases of rape and incest.

His advocacy of abortion restrictions is well known; he sponsored or co-sponsored numerous pieces of legislation on the topic, including a ban on late-term abortions, a requirement that minors receive parental consent before having an abortion and a mandated 24-hour waiting period for women seeking an abortion. He and like-minded colleagues succeeded in repealing Virginia’s estate tax and reforming welfare law, as well as restricting access to abortion.

He also sponsored bills on four occasions to establish covenant marriage in Virginia. All four were unsuccessful. Under McDonnell’s proposals, couples choosing to enter covenant marriage would have been required to obtain premarital counseling and sign a declaration of intent acknowledging that marriage is a lifelong commitment. In addition, the time of separation necessary for couples with children to obtain a no-fault divorce would have been extended from one to two years.

Perhaps the central question of the general election is whether or not Virginians want to elect a politician who has focused most of his energy and attention on social issues during a time when the economy and jobs are the most urgent problems facing the Commonwealth?

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Categories : Open Seats, Virginia

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