Sunday, July 14, 2013

This Forum Thought Virginia Republican Governor Robert McDonnell Was Destined to Be a National Political Figure

This Forum Was Wrong

The drama that continues to follow the horrendous ethical lapses of Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell make clear that as far as national aspirations are concerned, this man is toast.  McDonnell and his family have accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars from wealthy Virginians in return for providing support for their businesses, not disclosed a lot of it and is hiding behind the claim that he followed the letter of the law. 

The story is a basic one in politics, a feeling of entitlement when one serves in public office, a desire for the good things in life and opportunity to cash in.  McDonnell and family received a huge number of financial benefits from one such party, the head of a maker of health products and in return he and his family championed those products.  As the story comes out, it is pretty clear that McDonnell will finish out his term (it expires this year) and go on to political obscurity.

With a federal investigation well underway, downcast McDonnell allies say they see little hope that the governor’s reputation will recover, and some privately express doubt that he’ll be able to serve out his term. They describe a pervasive mood of shock and gloom throughout the governor’s extended political family.

McDonnell himself is said to be frustrated and distraught, in a state of disbelief but not denial about the gravity of his predicament. His friends say that McDonnell firmly believes that he has done nothing illegal, and he told the Richmond station WTVR that in his 37 years of adult life, “No one’s raised questions about my integrity or my character.”

Note the arrogance here, and note the lawyerly language, the “I am not a crook” mentality.  And no one raised questions about his integrity because no one knew what he was doing.

Mr. McDonnell should have been a natural for national office, possibly the VP nomination in 2016.  He is an ardent conservative, but not strident.  He won a big election in a swing state and has governed moderately for a Republican (he has wanted to jail women for having an abortion for example, or if he has he has kept quiet about it).  He is an attractive, polished campaigner. 

It was a mystery why he was not chosen the VP nominee in 2012, but if the Romney campaign knew what everyone knows now, that mystery is solved.  So finish your term Mr. McDonnell and then please just go.

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