Bob McDonnell’s world

Bob McDonnellReading The Washington Post article late Saturday evening on Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell’s 1989 thesis, I decided to withhold judgment until I could read the thesis myself. (The article – edited for space –  was reprinted on the front page of The Virginian-Pilot.)

So I settled down Sunday evening to read the 67-page (not including footnotes – pdf) missive. What I read was horrifying – and quite sad.

McDonnell and I are not that far apart in age; in fact, he shares the exact birth date of one of my sisters. Neither she nor I would fare too well in McDonnell’s world. For that matter, hardly anyone I know would fit into Bob’s world. His is a world of  “Leave it to Beaver,” where Dad goes off to work each morning and mom stays home to raise the kids and take care of the house.

For the first 13 years of my life, I lived in that world. My father went off to work each day and my mother stayed at home. Although we struggled, we managed to make ends meet. That world was shattered when my father died. My mother, never in good health, hadn’t worked since my parents were married, some 23 years earlier. Birth control was not an option for my parents, with the pill having only been approved the year I was born. As the result, my mother had eight kids to take care of at the time of my father’s death.

In Bob’s world, my parents had done the right thing: one wage earner, Mom at home, no use of birth control. But after my father’s death, we were a single-parent household, not a family according to Bob. And because we were poor, Bob thinks that were were dependent and irresponsible.

We were raised to believe that education was our way out of poverty. In Bob’s world, schools need only provide a minimum level of self-sufficiency; in fact, in Bob’s world, children should not be compelled by the government to attend school. He questions the validity of public school and thinks the teachers are too ignorant to teach what he calls “character.” I don’t know, Bob. I think the public schools did a pretty good job of teaching me and my siblings. The school, by the way, had nothing to do with the so-called “breakdown” of my family.

In Bob’s world,  the government has almost no role, handicapped, if you will, by the idea that it is to be “a minister of God to execute judgment and encourage good.” Of course, since we have the government in place already, in Bob’s world we just need to replace those who don’t believe as Bob does with those who do.

And that’s the part that is the scariest.

When you believe, as Bob does, that everything stems from a religious base – and a quite specific religious base – then there is no room for dissent,  disagreement or difference. Government should discriminate against you – period. Doesn’t matter if the circumstances are not of your own making: being born black (the latent racism in this thesis is amazing), poor, female or gay, you just have to buck up and deal with it.

Bob says this paper was an academic exercise:

The purpose of this decades-old academic paper was to discuss societal changes in the nation in the 1960’s and 1970’s and what government policy could do in regards to them.

He says his views have changed in the intervening 20 years and wants us to judge him on his 14 years in the House of Delegates and almost four years as Attorney General.  OK, I’m game. Over the next few days, I’ll be comparing Bob’s record to that of his fifteen thesis proposals. The first, which talks about working for the passage of strong anti-abortion laws, has already been discussed ad naseum. It is clear that part of his thesis was not just an academic exercise. We’ll see how much of the rest fell into that category.

49 thoughts on “Bob McDonnell’s world

  1. Mr/Mrs? Mouse, I am as sure in my beliefs as you are in yours. When you speak of self interest it is convenient that you want to represent some selfish woman who wants to be rid of a pregnancy because it interferes with some banal agenga. I consider your agenda to demonize women and the limited choices they live with a form of misogyny. I don’t know who you are but I feel that all of your messages on this post represent people who see the world in a way that props up biblical belief and a patriarchy that has no room for issues that real people face. Like I asked you in your first post on the McDonell issue, why are you so nervous? My thoughts on the Abortion issue,are answered by your comment that only a selfish, self interested person could be that way? What’s wrong with self interest? If that is a crime do you want self interested selfish women being forced to take home innocent babies post forced birth that they never wanted?Just a thought. Wonder how that will work out. Anyway, Im tired of engaging this. You can vote for Mr. McDonell and I will surely vote against him. In the scheme of the way the political world works this will take time. Time and rhetoric, Im sure will play out and Virginia will find its self long after I’m gone realizing that we are all important, we all have the right to engage our self interests. We have the right to disagree but no right to impose our beliefs on another. There is no harm done when you conduct your life with your personal beliefs. Please realize that there are others who do not share your world view. Amen. I’m done.

  2. tx2vadem,

    The PPI paper is by Elaine Kamarck and William Galston, “Putting Children First: A Progressive Family Policy for the 1990s,” whitepaper from the Progressive Policy Institute (September 27, 1990).

  3. Vivian,
    As I know you and appreciate your passion and hope it spreads to those that are lifeless (non-voters), I read the first comment on this page and wondered the same – why are there two sets of rules? Are there rules of engagement in politics. And if not, why not?! If there are rules about what information can be shared, it needs to be universal (to either protect all candidates/current office holders or to educate the public). If there are no rules, there should be.

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