The more I learn about Bob McDonnell, the GOP candidate for Governor of Virginia, the more I see what a cynical politician he really is.
His latest ads defending any criticism of his 18 year legislative record with feigned outrage are a good example. McDonnell claims any question about his record is “insulting” or an “attack on his character”. Then he trots out his wife and daughters to say he has a strong record on issues important to women — ignoring his sponsorship of 35 bills to take away women’s rights to an abortion or his belief that working women are a “detriment” to the family. He also has written that gays should be “punished” by government, so I supposed soon we will see an ad with a Log Cabin Republican saying McDonnell would have remembered that blow job if had been done right.
But if you don’t think “Fairfax’s own” is being cynical on social issues, take a look at this morning’s Washington Post editorial about McDonnell’s transportation plan. The Post points out that all the sources of revenue McDonnell proposes to pay for the roads, rail and subways Virginia needs to solve our traffic problems aren’t realistic.
Much of the plan relies on wildly optimistic assumptions, brazen exaggerations, gauzy projections and far-off scenarios: budget surpluses and revenue growth that may not materialize; interstate tolls that the federal government may not approve; royalties from offshore oil and gas wells that may not be drilled; borrowing that the state may not be able to afford anytime soon. Lump all that in a file called “Don’t Hold Your Breath.” Insert some of his other proposals — such as diverting some sales tax revenue from schools, public safety and human services statewide to pay for Northern Virginia road improvements — into a file called “Politically Dead on Arrival.” Quite simply, much of what Mr. McDonnell has in mind would almost certainly not come to pass during his four-year term as governor, if ever.
Yet my Republican friends in Northern Virginia have convinced themselves that this is workable. It’s the same tortured exercise that women voters must go through to justify voting for someone who called them a “detriment” or gay voters must do to vote for someone who calls for the government to “punish” them.
Doesn’t anyone remember the disastrous governorship of Republican Jim “Repeal the car tax” Gilmore? Gilmore’s gimmick managed to get him elected but it wrecked Virginia’s finances. Thankfully Democrats Mark Warner and Tim Kaine have done a great job in fixing the mess Gilmore left behind.
But can we really afford to risk trusting another cynical Republican who’s selling gimmicks and platitudes?