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 CONTROLIt 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.
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)
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: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.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, "AmericansGot 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
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
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.