Rachel Maddow on "Executive Directive" vs. "Executive Order"

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Sounds awesome, right? Sounds like a man who might want to run as a compassionate conservative at the national level some day. The thing is, the details matter here. In Virginia, an executive directive doesn't have the weight of law behind it like, say, an executive order, which is what he used to rescind gay rights. An executive directive is like a...a request. So Governor McDonnell is basically saying to state agencies, c'mon guys, do me a favor, no gay discrimination ok? It's very convincing coming from him, right?

By the way, according to Howard Fineman of Newsweek, the McDonnell people think they "deftly threaded the needle here." But, as Fineman points out, they may only have "deftly threaded the needle within the confines of the people who vote in Republican primaries in places like Virginia." The real motivation here, according to Fineman, is political - specifically, Bob McDonnell's "national aspirations" and desire to portray himself as a "moderate, compassionate conservative." How McDonnell's going to reconcile that with Ken Cuccinelli and the other "social conservatives" is beyond me, but it should be an interesting next four years.