Governor McDonnell’s desperate rant at the UVA BoV, treating the members like a group of misbehaving children, will further erode his leadership image. While he partied in Park City and San Diego, the situation further soured. Same lack of character shown by Pennsylvania’s Republican Governor Corbett in the Sandusky investigation.
Bob McDonnell has consistently demonstrated that he is all show and no go. Always at the ready to take credit for anything that plays well with his constituency, he chides responsibility when a misstep challenges the façade of success. This time, though, the Texas two-step isn’t serving him well. He has drawn unwanted attention.
Take his running job creation and trade mission storylines. Neither of these campaigns was designed to lift the Virginia economy. Both were empty vessels floated to buoy his resume. If perchance employment grew and/or foreign investment occurred, he could always claim credit via post hoc ergo proctor hoc attribution. Hey, don’t let credit go wasted. Democrats in Virginia aren’t having any of it.
But in the cases like his failed attempt to privatize the Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) stores, his big lies about righting the Virginia Retirement System while robbing the trust to “balance the budget,” and handouts to indigents like Dan Snyder and Donald Trump, all things he can’t deny he owns, he’s left a trail of deceptions whose accumulation along with his well-documented reactionary pronouncements on social issues, have derailed his ambitions. He may end up the lamest of lame ducks.
It comes down to character. The association with Tom Corbett is apt. Tom Corbett accomplished nothing of note during over seven years as Pennsylvania’s Attorney General. Bob McDonnell used his time in office as AG as a stage from which to campaign for governor. Evidence against Sandusky ignored by Corbett was pursued by someone more aggressive and led quickly to indictment, trail and conviction. Clear evidence of Medicare fraud occurring during McDonnell’s term as AG, a cause celeb for his supposed constituency, had to wait for an AG with a focus and has resulted in the recovery of millions of dollars McDonnell left on the table. Cuccinelli, love him or hate him, has energized the office, almost making it a going concern with proceeds from his pursuit of fraud. There is no reason to believe McDonnell would have risked prosecuting Sandusky either; not when it risked alienating a powerful constituency.
Corbett and McDonnell were concurrently AGs of their respective states. Maybe McDonnell stumbled upon his ABC idea over cocktails with his counterpart. The battle over privatization of state liquor stores has been smoldering for over three decades in the keystone state. The initiative recently suffered another setback in the state legislature there; unlike in Virginia, conservative ideas aren’t just flavors of the day in PA. It is probably no accident that the study funded by the McDonnell administration was a Pennsylvania product. It could be a cut and paste adaptation of the PA arguments. The same basic arguments for privatization, ineffectively re-crafted to fit the Virginia landscape were retread by McDonnell in his half-baked effort for instant transportation gratification. Turns out that the concept is even less justified in Virginia than in Pennsylvania. And much like Corbett, McDonnell was never invested in the idea enough to go to the mat for it.
Regularly, McDonnell has managed to distance himself from controversy. He is the master of equivocation and members of his constituency are the masters of sublime naivety. He hides, not decides. What that means is that nothing changes and those who love McDonnell fear change more than anything else. But the mess at UVA demanded leadership from jump street. Instead, almost two weeks into the crisis, we got the kind of rant an ineffective parent might leverage with dependent children; never grown ones. But it was a familiar tactic that claimed “It’s not my problem. Fix it.” And the bottom line at UVA is that change has happened. It is never going to be the same again. And it all happened while Bob McDonnell was off on a taxpayer funded boondoggle and attending parties focused on image.
Please Willard, pick Bob.