From the “there’s no pleasing some people” category (or is it the “live by the sword, die by the sword” category?), we now have this.
After eight years of Democratic rule, Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell was seen by conservatives as a political savior, someone who would restore the state’s right-leaning policies and traditions. But less than four months into his term, many conservatives have grown disenchanted, even as he has made direct appeals to causes they care about.
Two recent high-profile efforts to cater to parts of the conservative coalition — declaring April as Confederate History Month and slashing funding for Planned Parenthood — only further agitated many.
McDonnell’s failure to mention slavery in the Confederate proclamation led to a cycle of national ridicule followed by an apology from the governor, dampening whatever boost he might have gotten. And although McDonnell removed most state funding from Planned Parenthood, he stopped short of his campaign promise to cut all funds from the nation’s largest abortion provider, leaving many social conservatives feeling let down.
As if all that isn’t bad enough, McDonnell also endorsed that known liberal/radical/commie John McCain. Even worse, McDonnell “angered conservatives by issuing a directive outlawing discrimination in the state workforce, including on the basis of sexual orientation.” Apparently, certain “conservatives” saw McDonnell’s toothless, anti-discrimination “directive” as – get this – “legitimizing homosexuality.” Gasp.
In short, as much of a right wingnut as “Pat Robertson’s Manchurian Candidate” has been as governor, it’s apparently never enough for the far-right-wing “base” of the Republican Party here in Virginia. Apparently, these people won’t be happy until Virginia secedes from the Union; is turned into a Pat Robertson-ruled religious theocracy, with enforcement by Grand Inquisitor Ken Cuccinelli; is armed by the NRA (or is the NRA too squishy for these people?); is taxed by…well, noone, since there won’t be any taxes, except maybe on poor people; has its environment protected by BP, Exxon Mobil and Dominion Power; has its workers’ safety ensured by Don Blankenship; has its education provided by charter schools and home schools, the godless public schools abolished; provides health care, if you can get it at all, in exchange for some chickens; changes its state flag either to “Don’t Tread on Me” or to the Confederate battle flag; outlaws “sodomy” and makes “sodomites” subject to caning (or worse); jails abortion providers and women receiving abortion services; etc., etc. And even then, it probably won’t be enough for the Pat Robertson and Grover Norquist crowds. But until that glorious day comes, it looks like they’ll have to put up with the “gutless” Bob McDonnell and his “bad cop” sidekick, Grand Inquisitor Kookinelli.
As for the rest of us? We can just scratch our heads and wonder, how did Virginia go so far off the deep end after becoming a moderate, “purple” state during the 2000s? Were Mark Warner, Tim Kaine, Jim Webb, and Barack Obama some sort of strange aberrations in Virginia’s political history? Or, was 2009 more the result of a nasty recession causing a toxic political climate; a fundamentally dishonest-but-slick Republican gubernatorial candidate; and a disastrous Democratic gubernatorial nominee who, I’d remind everyone, also lost statewide in 2005, when Democrats were becoming ascendant. My guess is that 2009 was the latter case, that the inexorable demographic changes we’ve seen for years in Virginia are continuing, and that eventually – November 2010 would be nice! – there will be a strong backlash to the backlash. In the meantime, witness what “conservative” ascendancy means, never forget it, and never EVER let anyone tell you again that elections don’t have consequences or that your vote doesn’t matter!