Conservatives finally discover Bob McDonnell isn’t ‘one of us’?

Matt K. Lewis Senior Contributor
Font Size:

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell has always been an opportunistic establishment politician, but I suppose raising taxes is like crossing the Rubicon for modern conservatives.

In case you missed it, here’s the backstory. As the Wall Street Journal reported, “On Friday Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and a GOP-run legislature approved a five-year, $6 billion transportation bill financed almost entirely with higher sales and car taxes.”

For this betrayal, it seems conservatives have finally declared him a RINO. (As RedState’s Erick Erickson notes, “If you are a conservative, remember Bob McDonnell thinks you’re an idiot.”) But the truth is, we should have seen this coming all along.

Consider this 2010 quote from McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin: “The governor is a long-standing supporter of ensuring that abortion clinics, and their medical personnel, are treated equally with other outpatient surgical hospitals by the commonwealth to ensure services are provided in a safe manner.”

This, of course, sounds like perfectly reasonable bureaucratic rhetoric — if you’re a Democratic governor. (Conservatives might have preferred something like: “The governor does not believe abortion should be legal, but is committed to honoring the rule of law.”)

Speaking of abortion, last October Virginia’s health commissioner, Karen Remley, resigned in protest over new state guidelines that would regulate abortion clinics like hospitals. As USA Today reported, “Remley was appointed by former governor Timothy Kaine, a Democrat, and retained by his successor, Gov. Bob McDonnell, a Republican.”

Question: Why would a pro-life governor re-appoint Tim Kaine’s health chief to serve in his administration?

But McDonnell’s not just a moderate posing as a conservative, he’s also an ambitious establishment politician. Consider McDonnell’s less-than-principled decision to endorse moderate Republican Bill Bolling for governor last year. Why did he do it?

As the Washington Post reported: “Three years ago, Bolling and then-Attorney General Bob McDonnell (R) made a deal: McDonnell would run unopposed for the GOP nomination for governor, and four years later McDonnell would back Bolling for the state’s top job.”

He made a deal…

We should have known better. You can never trust a politician who cares that much about his hair.

Matt K. Lewis