Friday, September 5, 2014

"The Republican Party's Vision for the Family": On the Rise and Fall of Governor Bob "As the Family Goes, So Goes the Nation" McDonnell

Rachel Maddow, commenting in the video clip above on how "family man" Bob McDonnell's wife-dumping defense failed him yesterday when the court hearing his case returned a guilty verdict against him and his wife on eleven counts of corruption:

But that square-jawed, good-hair, looks-like-a-reasonable-guy appeal that made the national Republican party pick out Bob McDonnell as the one they wanted to show off, as an appealing Republican leader who seemed like a good new face for the Republican party: what that always ignored and what I think is in some cases being ignored today in the reaction to the verdict, what that doesn't tell you is really who he was. 
And how he got himself into a position of power in the first place, not in the national press, not in national politics, but in Virginia specifically. And who he was and how he became governor really was through the televangelist hardcore social conservative family-values power structure, in which he promised that he would be the man to save marriage in Virginia, that his personal family values would become the public policy of the state of Virginia. He would remake the state's Christian morality in the image of his own Christian family and his own Christian marriage. 
That is how Bob McDonnell became Bob McDonnell. That is how national Republicans even ever got his phone number. That's how he rose to power in Virginia. That's who he was.

But as Rachel notes, when it came time for Governor Ultrasound, the Governor from the 700 Club, to mount his defense, McDonnell decided that the way he was going to fight the charges and save his own skin was to blame his wife. As Rachel emphasizes, McDonnell's defense was built almost entirely on attacking his wife Maureen. She was the Eve who bit the apple and caused his downfall. 

And then, as Rachel adds, once the trial was underway, he really did leave his wife, and he let slip that he had moved in with his priest.

McDonnell, whose master's thesis at Pat Robertson's Regent University made the case for covenant marriage and subservient roles for wives, built his defense on the theory that his own union was too much of a failure for him and his wife to mount a conspiracy. 

Bob McDonnell to Pat Robertson on 25 May 2006 — this is what he learned at Robertson's Regent University (the clip is embedded in Rachel Maddow's clip above):

It gave me a great understanding of the limited role of government and the important roles of the church and the family and other institutions in society and what happens if government tries to take on those roles and can often make a mess. But [it] also gave me the real importance as being a Christian elected official, that it's not just what you say, but it's also the style of how you say it and acting in a degree of civility and trying to build bridges to get things done without compromising principle . . . .

Bob McDonnell on family values — these are principles he wanted to enshrine in Virginia law as an exemplar of Catholic family values:

1. Government policy should favor married couples over "cohabitators, homosexuals or fornicators." 
2. Working women and feminists are "detrimental" to the family. Feminism is among the main "enemies of the traditional family." 
3. "[W]hen the exercise of liberty takes the shape of pornography, drug abuse, or homosexuality, the government must restrain, punish, and deter" (on this, see Amy Gardner, Washington Post). 
4. The Supreme Court decision in 1972 legalizing the use of contraceptives by unmarried couples is "illogical."

As a family-values governor of Virginia, Bob McDonnell signed into law a bill requiring abdominal ultrasounds for women seeking an abortion. As governor of Virginia, Bob McDonnell has supported the state's ban on same-sex marriage, tossed out partner benefits for same-sex couples employed by the state approved by his predecessor, and opposed adoption of children by same-sex couples.

All in the name of his Catholic family values . . . . 

I believe the world is hungry, even desperate for people of character with a heart of service to others.

McDonnell in his 1989 M.A./J.D. thesis at Pat Robertson's Regent University:

As the family goes, so goes the nation.

The thesis  was entitled, "The Republican Party's Vision for the Family: The Compelling Issue of the Decade."

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