Virginia Is For Haters

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Memo to Bob McDonnell: NICE TRY.

As a general rule, most conservative politicians live a double life. The closeted gay ones, or the ones with secret Argentinian mistresses, lead a triple life. The double life I'm speaking of is, of course, Moderate Vs. Crazy. Basically, it's like every Republican politician is married to two women - essentially Carly Fiorina and Orly Taitz. "Carly" just wants her damn tax cuts. "Orly" wants to prove that Barack Obama is a secret Kenyan so that she can stop him from throwing unborn babies into his Nazi ovens. Successful Republican politicians have to keep both wives happy, while never, ever letting one of them find out about the other.

That's where Bob McDonnell fucked up. See, he's running for governor of Virginia on a straight-up "I'm Married To Carly" ticket. Classic, old-school, white male, business-friendly, "don't mind me, I'll just be over here cutting taxes and kicking the poor" Republican. Until they dug up his college thesis, and his college thesis turned out to be, to use the refined terminology of the political analyst, a fucking doozy and a half.

Keep in mind, by the way, because McDonnell would rather you didn't, that the thesis wasn't written by a Young Republican frat boy in his early 20s with that animal's traditional flair for ideological overbearance. No, this was written in 1989, when McDonnell was 34 and attending known thought-abattoir and wingnut factory Regent University. In the 93-page thesis, he promoted every Moral Majority talking point known to exist at the time. Anti-gay. Anti-working-woman. Anti-abortion. Pro-spanking. Pro-school-prayer. Anti-birth-control. Anti-church-state-separation. Pro-covenant-marriage.Anti-feminism.* As I mentioned, a fucking doozy and a half.

McDonnell's defense, essentially, has been that his time with "Orly" was just a youthful fling, and that he's sown his wild oats, settled down with "Carly", and no longer thinks it's "illogical" that married couples can legally use contraception. Oh, and that there's a whole bunch of stuff in a 93 page thesis.

But has he actually mellowed? It's possible. But here's the thing. You don't spend years in Regent Fucking University to go on and live your life as a moderate, fiscally-conservative Republican. You either embrace the crazy, or you reject the crazy and become an avid liberal. Which is a bold assertion, I know, but can you think of a single crazy Christian conservative from the late 80s who's truly mellowed out in the past two decades? I mean, Michael Schwartz hasn't. Twenty years ago, McDonnell was citing Schwartz's social conservatist "scholarship" to support his own thesis. Twenty years later, Schwartz is reminding us all that porn makes you gay. Pat Robertson's still nuts. Jerry Falwell died nuts. If there were a cadre of anti-birth-control wingnuts from the 80s who are now responsible, McGovernite intellectual Republicans today, McDonnell's claims would hold more water. Well, except for this one, which would be bullshit under any circumstances. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"No. I think those are a couple of quotes out of a 100-page document, Chris, and what the whole purpose of the — of the thesis was to say, Look, families are the bedrock of society. And I think there’s broad agreement on that, and that government programs should not undermine the family, because that will lead to more government spending for problems that occur when the family’s not intact." - McDonnell, on Fox News Sunday.

Whoops. That's a dead giveaway. "government programs should not undermine the family". He hasn't mellowed at all. That's exactly the same rhetoric as the Howards and the Wildmons and the other "pro-family" groups out there. Because the only way you can see government programs as "undermining the family" at all is if you narrowly define "family" to essentially mean the Duggars. Married straight Christians who spend as much time breeding as they can manage. That's precisely the "pro-family" agenda McDonnell outlined in his thesis 20 years ago, and the only reason he doesn't want people to think he still believes it today is that Virginia is, at least by a few percentage points, more Carly than Orly. And his odds of becoming governor are a lot slimmer if Virginians catch on to his double (or, who knows, maybe triple) life.

*According to news reports, at least. If you think I'm going to read a twenty-year-old Regents University thesis clocking in at 93 fucking pages, you clearly have a very warped idea about what "due diligence" means in a YAD context.