The eyes of the country will be on Virginia this coming November to see whether or not the Democrats can continue their march towards making Virginia a consistently blue state.
The Republican Party standard bearer will be Bob "Taliban Bob" McDonnell who is now apparently attempting to depict himself as a moderate. I've known Bob McDonnell personally since 1994 and while I truly do not see him to be a bad person, a moderate he is not.
He is the darling of Pat Robertson and James Dobson's Virginia affiliate, The Family Foundation. Put another way, if Bob McDonnell is a moderate, then so are James Dobson, Fred Phelps and Pope Benedict XVI. Back in 2003, McDonnell was a part of the lynch mob that barred Circuit Court Judge, Vebena Askew from reappointment to the bench based on rumors she might be - the horrors - a lesbian. Lambda Legal at the time reported as follows:
"There is certain homosexual conduct that is in violation of the law," said Robert F. McDonnell, a Republican member of Virginia's House of Delegates and chairman of the legislature's House Courts of Justice Committee. "It certainly raises some questions about the qualifications to serve as a judge." Virginia's sodomy law criminalizes oral and anal sex between straight and gay couples -- including private, consensual intimacy between adults -- but is almost exclusively used to discriminate against lesbians and gay men. McDonnell was referring to Newport News, Virginia, Circuit Judge Verbena Askew, whose reappointment is set for a hearing Friday.
I doubt McDonnell's views have changed even in light of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Lawrence v. Texas which struck down Virginia's sodomy statute. In the coming campaign, it will be crucial for Democrats to make sure the public knows just how much of an extremist McDonnell truly is. It will likewise be crucial that the three contenders for the Democrat nomination NOT so damage one another that they assist McDonnell in achieving a victory in November. Here are some highlights from a Washington Post column that looks at McDonnell's allege new found moderation:
Democrats don't yet claim Virginia as their own, but they have won two straight governor's races, both U.S. Senate seats, two out of three House seats in the Washington suburbs and a majority in the state Senate. So who does the Republican Party choose to pry the door to the Washington suburbs back open?
How about a hard-core social conservative who was groomed for politics at the Rev. Pat Robertson's Regent University law school, a man who has spent most of his adult life in Hampton Roads and Richmond, a clean-cut fellow with a military bearing and an unabashed conviction that he can become Virginia's next governor by pushing hard on many of the same issues that have sent his party to defeat again and again in recent years.
McDonnell contends that he stands a far stronger chance of winning -- and capturing support in the Washington suburbs -- because he's focusing more on transportation and health care than on the guns, gays and God hot-button issues Republicans have tried to ride to Richmond in the past decade. . . . . Yet as he prepares to take on whoever emerges from June's Democratic primary, McDonnell is positioning himself as a moderate who shares the growing popular disenchantment with the GOP.
With the governor's race turning into the nation's premier political contest this year, McDonnell is bringing in the big guns of his own party, including Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, "and a number of other rock stars," probably including Alaska's Sarah Palin.