Glad to see that Bob McDonnell is striking back from the thesis debate..
Not quite sure what McDonnell is talking about when he says, “attacks on my character”. I suppose he is mischaracterizing concerns about the thesis as an attack on his character in order to make himself out to be the victim of unfair attacks. Maybe that’s smart politics but it isn’t terribly straight forward of him.
The attacks were most certainly NOT on his character. The attacks were on the ideas he expressed in his thesis, the plan of action to implement the ideas he expressed and his record as a legislator to enact those ideas into law.
If a candidate’s words, writings and actions as an elected official are not legitimate subjects for debate in a political campaign, what in heaven’s name is? Voters who are uncomfortable with the out of the mainstream views expressed by McDonnell are not going to have their fears assuaged by his failure to explain himself honestly. And they will surely think that where there is smoke there is fire if the best he can do is make false accusations of character assassination against those with legitimate concerns over his views.
Whatever, Dan. This is clearly an attack. These same ‘news’ sources never found the time to cover President Obama’s writings… ever. I think that if you actually read Mr. McDonnell’s thesis you might see that it is a common conservative viewpoint. I’m guessing that you have “legitimate concerns over his views” no matter what he wrote in his thesis.
But, it is always easier to have a reporter read if for you and simply give you an ‘unbiased’ summary. It is even easier if that reporter works for the Washington Post.
You say: “This is clearly an attack.”.
I never said it wasn’t an attack.
What I said was: “The attacks were most certainly NOT on his character.”.
They were not. And he knows it.
He purposefully mischaracterizes attacks based on matters that are completely legitimate for voters to consider as attacks on his character. The reason is obvious. He doesn’t want to talk about the substance because it will hurt him politically. As I said above, that may be smart politics but it isn’t terribly straight forward.
I don’t quite understand why you bring up last year’s presidential campaign. It is hardly relevant to this thread. I suspect it is simply an attempt to deflect and change the subject because you know that there is nothing unfair about discussing a candidate’s views and public record in a political campaign. It is simply inconvenient for McDonnell because it conflicts with his current campaign narrative and the way he is packaging himself as a moderate for the purpose of winning this election.
Since you brought it up though, let’s address last year’s campaign. Do you seriously propose that in the twenty one months between his announcement in Springfield and the 2008 general election that Obama was not fully scrutinized by the public and the press? Was I dreaming when for weeks on end I saw nothing on my TV screen except Jeremiah Wright? Was I dreaming when I heard over and over how many votes Obama cast as “present” while in the Illinois State Senate? Was I dreaming when I was treated to endless recitations of the words and actions of Bill Ayres?
You assume I have not read the entire thesis and have only read “biased” summaries. Did no one ever tell you about the dangers of making assumptions? Or is it simply a matter of attacking me because you don’t have an argument that holds water? What you are doing is the equivalent of increasing your volume level and pretending it strengthens your argument. It doesn’t. And attacking me doesn’t change the facts about McDonnell either. I have read the thesis.
I also take issue with your contention that the thesis represents a “common conservative viewpoint”. I would say the ideas McDonnell expressed were anything but conservative. You can be forgiven for this error because the meaning of the word “conservative” has become so twisted and misused in recent years. But conservatives (by any traditional sense of the term) would be appalled at the notion of using government power to enforce the beliefs of a small slice of Christians and to punish an entire class of citizens simply because their private actions are not favored by this religious group. Conservatives believe that government should, wherever possible, leave citizens the hell alone.
I would draw a stark contrast between a genuine conservative like Ronald Reagan and a pseudo-conservative such as Bob McDonnell. In 1978 a group with views similar to McDonnell’s put Proposition 6 on the ballot in California. This radical proposition would have denied employment as teachers to homosexuals in schools throughout California. Former Governor Ronald Reagan came out strongly and publicly against this radical proposition and, with his help, it was defeated.
But then, Reagan was not a hater. He had an open heart and a wonderful view of America. His message was a positive one. And a conservative one.
Finally, I would direct your attention to the 2006 race for the United States Senate. An essay by Jim Webb written in 1979 (27 years prior to the campaign) regarding the role of women in the military was very properly raised as a campaign issue. I don’t suppose you thought there was anything unfair about that, did you? Of course not. Because it was absolutely relevant to the choice of a United States Senator. Just as McDonnell’s thesis is absolutely relevant to choosing a Governor.
Webb faced up to that issue squarely. He owned his words. He fully explained his thinking at the time (including the fact that he might have expressed himself differently) and how his thinking on the subject had evolved. I’m sure his essay cost him some votes. But he didn’t try to weasel out of it by hiding behind false accusations of character assassination. And the way he handled it showed the voters his character.
Del. Bob Marshall, who I expect is pretty comfortable with the ideas expressed in the thesis, gave McDonnell the very sound advice that he should face this head on. To follow the Webb model rather than going the weasel route. I think Marshall is right.
If McDonnell had approached this with some backbone he would likely have put this behind him well before November. This way it drags out and voters (most of whom will not have read the thesis) will be judging based on what his handling of the issue says about him. And that is not positive.
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