There was an error in this gadget

Monday, August 31, 2009

Bob McDonnell's Shell Game With Virginia Voters

The media, both old and new, has been lit up like a busy switchboard by Amy Gardner's startling expose of Bob McDonnell in last Sunday's Washington Post. Ever since then, Democrats have been going viral and Republicans have been trying to back pedal, ignore it, distract the public with something else, or worst still, portray McDonnell as the mainstream of Virginia.

No, Bob McDonnell is not in the mainstream of even Republican conservatism in Virginia. But he's playing a dishonest shell game with voters. Here's what he really is - what you'll find if you know which shell to look under.

He's an out there theocrat on the far right of his own party. And his thesis was no academic exercise by an 18 year old, as some Republicans are trying to portray it. Bob McDonnell wrote his now widely reported thesis when he was a 34 year old, just a few years before launching his political career. What he did was lay down a blueprint in that paper, and then he executed it and followed it doggedly until it was time to reinvent himself for a different era. Here's what Andrea Mitchell of CNN has to say:



McDonnell and his fellow travelers are saying don't pay attention to McDonnell's words as a 34 year old grad student, but examine his record in office instead. So, ok, let's do that. Here's an eye popping list of just some of the theocratic positions, completely consistent with his post-grad thesis, that he tried to enact while in the Virginia legislature:
AS GOVERNOR, MCDONNELL WOULD BAN HEALTH CENTERS ON COLLEGE CAMPUSES FROM DISTRIBUTING PLAN B BIRTH CONTROL
2004: McDonnell Voted To Ban College Health Centers From Distributing Plan B Birth Control. The Virginian-Pilotwrote that McDonnell, on February 17, 2004, was one of 52 state House members who voted to pass HB1414, which was a bill sponsored by Delegate Bob Marshall to ban “health centers on college campuses from distributing the morning-after pill.” More specifically, this was a bill to prohibit “state supported colleges from distributing the morning-after pill at their health centers,” wrote AP. (The Virginian-Pilot, 02/18/04, History of HB1414, 2004, and The Associated Press State & Local Wire, 02/16/04)
Deeds Supported Expanding Access To The Morning-After Pill. In 2001 and 2002 Deeds voted to make the morning-after pill available from pharmacists without a prescription. (HB2782, 2001; SB623, 2002)

AS GOVERNOR, MCDONNELL WOULD CLASSIFY SAFE METHODS OF BIRTH CONTROL AS ABORTION AND SUBJECT BIRTH CONTROL TO THE SAME RESTRICTIONS AS ABORTION
2003: McDonnell Voted To Kill A Bill That Would Have Defined “Contraception Not To Constitute Abortion.”Bob McDonnell voted to kill a bill that defined contraception “as the use of any process, device, or method to prevent pregnancy, including steroidal, chemical, physical or barrier, natural or permanent methods for preventing the union of an ovum with the spermatozoon or the subsequent implantation of the fertilized ovum in the uterus.” The bill passed the Senate unanimously. [History of SB1104, 2003]
Deeds Voted to Define Contraception Not To Constitute Abortion. Deeds supported legislation clarifying that contraception does not constitute abortion, subsequently ensuring that restrictions placed on abortion were not placed on legal contraceptives. [History of SB1104, 2003]

AS GOVERNOR, MCDONNELL WOULD ALLOW PHARMACISTS TO DENY LEGAL BIRTH CONTROL TO WOMEN
2001: McDonnell Voted Against Allowing Pharmacists To Dispense Emergency Contraception. In 2001, McDonnell voted against HB2782 in every instance. It was a bill that would have allowed pharmacists or health professionals to dispense emergency contraceptives, much like “pharmacies to dispense immunizations even to persons who are not patients.” The bill would also ensure “that nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and physicians may dispense emergency contraceptives.” [History of HB2782, 2001]
Deeds Voted To Allow Pharmacists To Dispense Emergency Contraception. In 2001, Deeds voted for HB2782, a bill that would have allowed pharmacists or health professionals to dispense emergency contraceptives. [History of HB2782, 2001]

AS GOVERNOR, MCDONNELL WOULD SUBJECT WOMEN TO DEMEANING “INFORMED CONSENT” LAWS
McDonnell Introduced Informed Consent Bills For 4 Consecutive Years As Legislator. As a member of the House of Delegates, Bob McDonnell introduced legislation 4 years in a row for a “requirement that each woman be given, at least 24 hours before the abortion, an explanation of the proposed procedures or protocols; an instruction that she may withdraw her consent at any time prior to the procedure; an offer to speak with the physician who is to perform the abortion; a statement of the probable gestational age of the fetus at the time the procedure is to be performed; and an offer to review printed materials that must be developed by the Department of Health.” McDonnell also introduced a similar piece of legislation in 1997 requiring informed consent and including a $500 fine for non-compliance. (HB1371, 1998; HB2108, 1999; HB1482, 2000; HB2570, 2001 and HB2778, 1997)

Deeds Voted Against McDonnell’s Informed Consent Bills For 4 Consecutive Years As Legislator. As a member of the House of Delegates, Bob McDonnell introduced legislation 4 years in a row for a “requirement that each woman be given, at least 24 hours before the abortion, an explanation of the proposed procedures or protocols; an instruction that she may withdraw her consent at any time prior to the procedure; an offer to speak with the physician who is to perform the abortion; a statement of the probable gestational age of the fetus at the time the procedure is to be performed; and an offer to review printed materials that must be developed by the Department of Health.” McDonnell also introduced a similar piece of legislation in 1997 requiring informed consent and including a $500 fine for non-compliance. Creigh voted against all forms of this legislation and (HB1371, 1998; HB2108, 1999; HB1482, 2000; HB2570, 2001 and HB2778, 1997)
It seems that if you examine McDonnell's record it stands as part of the same radical, theocratic, dominionist philosophy as his thesis. It's cut from the same cloth and its perfectly consistent.

What is inconsistent is his insistence, now, that it was a mere academic exercise of a school boy. But even that is consistent with the kind of stealth campaign he is waging. As Kos points out:
However, a less-noticed passage is potentially more explosive, and could form the foundation of a potent narrative if the Deeds campaign ever gets off its ass and runs a real campaign. Turn to page 55 of the McDonnell thesis:
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
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
McDonnell would not be the first radical rightwinger to win an election by painting himself as a moderate and then veering sharply to the extreme right once in office. And in Virginia, governors only serve for one term. That's enough time to do a boatload of damage and never be held accountable by voters afterwards.

But one thing becomes clear. That is that if you take McDonnell at his words and examine his past history, including his record in Virginia, you would find that it is perfectly consistent with his thesis and every thing else he has stood for from the time he studied at Pat Robertson's Regent University until right now. He's a dangerous theocrat willing to fool the public to get in office and enact his religious agenda.

The only way to stop that is to lift up all the shells and look under them. Then, you'll find the real Bob McDonnell. The one who is radical right and wrong for Virginia.






14 comments:

Mike Licht said...

Bob McDonnell also lost the crucial Virginia fornicator vote.

See:

http://notionscapital.wordpress.com/2009/09/01/gop-scholarship-loses-crucial-virginia-fornicator-vote/

Joshua's Dad said...

I like the Kos story citation -- hiding your true identity from voters can (and should be) a potent campaign narrative.

I still think that Deeds should be careful pointing out different viewpoints on abortion issues, because that very much cuts both ways.

Of your examples:

1) The first, relating to Plan B at state schools, relates to the Catholic position that Plan B causes an abortion by making the uterus less receptive to a fertilized ovum. Accordingly, the Catholic position would be that supporting such a position would be state funding of abortions.

2) The second, relating to a definition of contraception, would be objectionable to the Catholic Church because of the clause "or the subsequent implantation of the fertilized ovum in the uterus", which is considered to be an abortion in the eyes of the Church.

3)The third bill, relating to a conscience clause for the dispensing of Plan B by pharmacists, would be characterized by the Catholic Church as a bill relating to an abortion pill, not a contraception pill, as it potentially functions, in part, by inhibiting "subsequent implantation of the fertilized ovum in the uterus." See 1 and 2 above.

4) The fourth bill, related to informed consent, could cut both ways, because some may think that a woman should be better informed of an important decision that she plans to make, so that she is not pressured into a procedure by the father, "friends", or family.

From what I have seen, generally attacking Bob on abortion is not working. The soundbites above the examples initially shock the reader (perhaps into action), but Bob has plenty of time to establish these votes as (close enough to) mainstream, e.g., defensible by Catholic teachings, the right to exercise one's conscience, and governmental precedent (e.g., the Hyde amendment). If Bob is successful at doing that, there might be backlash to such tactics (much like the Palin "death panel" situation).

But attacking Bob on his tendency to adopt "theocratic positions" (as you have), and his persistence in forwarding social issues, to the detriment of other important issues such as jobs and the economy, should work, especially if you can persuade that Bob is dishonest in his motives. Which at this time, appears like it may not be too difficult to do.

Thank you for your insightful analysis and collection of information.

AnonymousIsAWoman said...

Mike, yeah, those fornicators sure are a tough base to please.

AnonymousIsAWoman said...

Joshua's Dad, thank you for your well thought out comments. Always a pleasure to read your take on this difficult subject, even when we don't always see eye to eye.

The main thing I disagree with you about is that McDonnell's extreme positions on contraception are close to the mainstream. I don't think so, even for many practicing Catholics. Many Catholic laypeople are divided on contraception and disagree with their own church. So do some parish priests, as a matter of fact.

Be that as it may, I wouldn't dream of arguing with a Catholic about his or her personal faith. Nor would I ever try to persuade him or her to use contraception or have an abortion.

But the simple truth is the Catholic Church's position, especially on contraception, and their definition of when life begins (at conception) are primarily religious positions and definitions.

Just as I wouldn't dream of arguing with a Catholic about those definitions, as they apply in that person's faith or life, I would not want somebody else's religious position imposed as the law, or enforced by the state, on non-Catholics or even non-Christians.

Those holding traditional, conservative religious views are certainly welcome to try to persuade others to follow their faith tradition and join their church - I don't share some people's antipathy for proseletyzing, as long as it's done respectfully and only to those willing to listen.

But if you can't win hearts and minds and get people to follow your faith voluntarily, you should not be trying to impose it through legal means.

That's a very long way of saying that I still support separation of church and state, however much I respect religious people.

And you are quite right - the real issue isn't abortion or contraception but respect for the Constitution and resisting the imposition of theocracy.

BTW, there were a lot of other unpalatble things in that thesis that had nothing to do with abortion and contraception, including an attack on secular education and public schools.

More of that is coming out too.

jeffkramerak said...

who knows what the deal is here...things have been crazy ever since the new year with politicians! They can't be trusted, PERIOD.

Joshua's Dad said...

"More of that is coming out too."

Looking forward to it -- thanks!

Anonymous said...

Obama openly used drugs,is friends with Bill Ayers a admitted terrorist, and went to church with Rev. Wright who openly said G D America along with alot of other racial comments and he got elected so i don't think something Bob McDonnell wrote 20 years ago will hurt him. After all look what the USA just elected for president a man who has never done anything but been a community organizer and it is really showing now.

AnonymousIsAWoman said...

You know, Anonymous, I'm actually glad you brought this up, and here's why.

Last week as I was riding in my car, listening to Classic Rock, when the Crosby, Stills and Nash song, "Ohio" came on. One of the lines goes something like this (from memory so subject to slight inaccuracy) "Four dead in Ohio. Nixon's comin', We're finally on our own...."

I got a chill thinking that in many ways today's extreme right, with its teabaggers, birthers, and town hall demonstrators, are not very different from the protesters of that earlier era.

The values may be very different, but the tactics and the illogical passion are very much the same. In fact, even some of the symbols are the same.

In 1976, with the Bi-centennial, it was the leftwing who appropriated the Gadsden flag and "Don't tread on me" logo. They even went around quoting the very same Thomas Jefferson line about watering the tree of liberty with the blood of patriots and tyrants. The similarities, in fact, are eerie.

So eerie that it made me think: how much difference is there between Bill Ayers and those who now brandish their guns? Who defines who is a terrorist?

Having said all that, Barack Obama, by the way, was never friends with Bill Ayers. They merely were acquaintances. Ayers has apparently cleaned up his act, reformed, and become respected in the education field in Chicago. So, yes, their paths have crossed. That hardly makes them buddies.

I've crossed path with Abbie Hoffman but I certainly would never consider myself a follower of his. I met him once at somebody's house a couple of years before he died. But that doesn't mean I support his rather silly ideas. Anybody who knows me knows I'm not that radical. In the course of living you meet lots of people whose ideas you are not responsible for.

As for the Rev. Wright, Obama left his church and disavowed his ideas too. That is good enough for me.

As for Obama's competence, his administration is still very young, give it time. At this point in time, Bill Clinton too looked ineffective and people wondered about his competence.

Yet his turned out to be a remarkably successful administration that left this country with a budget surplus, a healthy economy, and real wage and job growth. By most measures, his was a successful administration. But it had a bumpy start too.

Bush, on the other hand, was very successful at the start and ended up truly a miserable failure by most metrics. He left a huge deficit, a failed economy, and he completely dropped the ball in Afghanistan, the only country that actually attacked America. He saw Saddam Hussein, who had nothing to do with 9/11, executed but Osama bin Laden, who was responsible for one of the worst tragedies on American soil, still mocks us from a cave in Pakistan. So, please don't ever get me started on Bush-Cheney and security. Just please don't even go there or I'll really tell you what I think and it won't be my normal moderate self, I promise you.

Hint: I'm not a dove - I just like hitting the correct target.

Anonymous said...

Its a good thing you are not a dove because dove season starts today.

Anonymous said...

Where is Barry Butler i need to talk with him,

AnonymousIsAWoman said...

I don't know where Barry Butler is - do you think I run a social networking service :)

And 8:21, do people really shoot doves? And please don't answer that or I'll get depressed. I'd rather release them at extravagant weddings (I saw that done recently at a wedding in Cleveland's Little Italy section of town).

Anonymous said...

I know you don't run a social networking service he made a comment to me a few months ago on Drews site that is no longer up just would like to call him on it now nothing against you.Barry just stuck his nose into something he had no idea what he was talking about. I wont answer your question out of the respect i found for you a while back.

AnonymousIsAWoman said...

Don't be upset, or hurt. I was just having fun with you - hence the smiley I ended it with.

Truly, I don't know how to reach Barry Butler. Have you tried Off K Street, which is his site?

Here is the link to it:

http://offkstreet.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

No i didn't know he had a blog thanks alot.