So much for Bob McDonnell's "moderate" makeover.
At age 34, two years before his first election and two decades before he would run for governor of Virginia, Robert F. McDonnell submitted a master's thesis to the evangelical school he was attending in Virginia Beach in which he described working women and feminists as "detrimental" to the family. He said government policy should favor married couples over "cohabitators, homosexuals or fornicators." He described as "illogical" a 1972 Supreme Court decision legalizing the use of contraception by unmarried couples.And on and on it goes. But wait, you ask, wasn't this just some crazy thing McDonnell wrote 20 years ago that has no relevance to McDonnell's actual political beliefs and actions? Unfortunately for McDonnell and his hope to ever be governor of Virginia, the answer to that is clearly "no." From the Washington Post article:
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.Look, let's face it, Bob McDonnell's not just outside the mainstream of American politics generally, he's even outside the mainstream of the Republican Party. Women shouldn't work? Contraception should be illegal? The government should micromanage our private lives? Heck, even Sarah Palin probably doesn't agree with all this crap. I mean, this is not just bonkers, it's "Sideshow Bob" Marshall bonkers (now THAT is bonkers!). Oh, and speaking of "Sideshow Bob," here's what he says in today's Washington Post article about the guy we might start calling "Keep'em Barefoot and Pregnant Bob."
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.
Del. Robert G. Marshall (R-Prince William), who has shared most of McDonnell's conservative positions over the years, said there is no question that the candidate is playing down his conservatism today. Marshall said McDonnell risks alienating two groups of voters: moderates who might view him as hiding his true beliefs and conservatives who might think that he is no longer conservative enough.For once, I agree with Bob "sometimes incest is voluntary" Marshall: "Barefoot and Pregnant Bob" should come clean, admit that he has a plan to remake Virginia into a Pat Robertson-inspired theocracy, and generally come out of "the closet," as his political soulmate "Sideshow Bob" puts it. Of course, as "Barefoot and Pregnant Bob" knows, that will make him utterly unelectable, but given that his "moderate" makeover has completely melted down now, he's probably unelectable anyway.
"If you duck something, that tells your opponents that you think your position is a liability," said Marshall, who is backing McDonnell. "Why else wouldn't you acknowledge it? But I'll tell you, I've got precinct captains who are annoyed that he's not answering these questions. He doesn't have to bash people in the head with it. But he doesn't have to put it in the closet, either. There's a balance you can take."
P.S. The Washington Post has helpfully (well, not to Bob McDonnell, but to all the rest of us) posted the entire thesis here. In it, you can read what "Barefoot and Pregnant Bob" describes as his version of "fundamental Republican Party principles concerning the family and the role of government" and how Republicans should "take bold action to restore the family to a position of strength in modern society." Yeah, by taking "modern society" back to the Middle Ages. Greeeaaaat.
UPDATE: The "hard copy" version of the Sunday Washington Post has this story on page A1, above the fold, to the left of the Ted Kennedy funeral news.