That big splash you heard was...? The 200-proof political question in Virginia today, which is: Which major Republican will be the first to jump ship on Governor McDonnell? Splash!
So far, only two Democratic Senators have called on Governor McDonnell to resign. No splash. Both are considered NOVA "liberals" by the press, although this is rather silly in the case of Chap Petersen if you know his voting history. But a backbench Dem calling on a GOP Governor to give up the ghost isn't going to shake McDonnell off his limb. Still, Virginia politics is in uncharted waters. What is liberal, what is conservative; it is all a jumble.
However, confusion doesn't reign over this fact: His Excellency Bob "I've got a Rolex and You Don't" McDonnell is Dead Governor Walking. He is also Bankrupt Governor Walking, if he is really run up a $1 million fee by going all the way in a fight with the federales assuming they indict him.
Politics is a brutal business. Money talks, and everything else walks, as the saying goes. If you have enough money, if you pay off enough people, you can get away with what McDonnell did. Heck, it is penny ante corruption compared to what else goes on.
But this too is clear: Governor McDonnell is in denial, he just doesn't get it. His Governorship is ruined. No Republican thinking about a future in VA politics can defend him. Which begs the question: Who will be the first major Republican to jump the shark and publicly call for McDonnell to either come clean or get lost?
So far, only Delegate Bob Marshall, one of the body's most conservative members, has dared speak out publicly, declaring the Governor's gift taking as unacceptable, mind-blowing and if not illegal now, it has to be made illegal by the next General Assembly. But Marshall has always been the most anti-establishment of Republicans. Moreover, he is not in the GOP leadership.
So who jumps first? We should know by July 20. This is the day of the first debate between Cuccinelli and McAuliffe. The first question is almost certain be about McDonnell, don't you think? Cuccinelli will need to have a kick-ass answer: and he will need to have lined up Speaker Howell, etc, to back him up. If not, his chances of winning will depend solely on McAuliffe making a rookie mistake.
Cuccinelli can dominate the debate and the headlines coming out of the debate with the right answer: or he can do the same but with everything highlighting the wrong answer. As Joe Louis famously said about Billy Conn: He can run but he can't hide. Having thought about it from a 200-proof political angle, Cuccinelli does have one possible right answer: but it is high risk, meaning he would be playing without a net.
Right now, the bet is: He punts. This would then give the ball to McAuliffe. It is hard to see Terry missing such a softball pitch. Like it or not, the Governor's race is now all about McDonnell.
Nixon resigned in August of 1974, a few months before the mid-term election, as the GOP leaders were calling for him to go in hopes of starving off disaster at the polls. It didn't work. But they knew having Nixon stay would be worse. Moreover, Nixon knew that if he stayed, the election would be a referendum on him.
McDonnell now faces the same fate. So do the Republicans. Splash! Will we hear this sound prior to July 20 We will know in 9 days.
The purpose of Blue Virginia is to cover Virginia politics from a progressive and Democratic perspective. This is a group blog and a community blog. We invite everyone to comment here, but please be aware that profanity, personal attacks, bigotry, insults, rudeness, frequent unsupported or off-point statements, "trolling" (NOTE: that includes outright lies, whether about climate science, or what other people said, or whatever), and "troll ratings abuse" (e.g., "troll" rating someone simply because you disagree with their argument) are not permitted and, if continued, will lead to banning. For more on trolling, see the Daily Kos FAQs. Also note that diaries may be deleted if they do not contain at least 2 solid paragraphs of original text; if not, please use the comments section of a relevant diary. For more on writing diaries, click here. Thanks, and enjoy!