Sensationalism or Hypocrisy on the Left?

The Democrats are howling about a WaPo article concerning a Bob McDonnell academic thesis from 1989. Democrats wll say the thesis is proof McDonnell is too conservative for Virginia. This document, which is public record, apparently was of such importance that the WaPo couldn’t be bothered with it during the 2005 campaign, but now think it such a big story they put it on the front page.

To restate-McDonnell wrote an academic paper at age 34 (20 years ago) that Dems will suggest shows that he should not be governor.

Does anyone else scent the horrendous hypocrisy?

We have gone through several days of public grieving for the late Senator Ted Kennedy that focused on his great acheivements and scarcely ever metioned the events of July 19, 1969, and on those few occasions the clear implication was that the legislative record of the man outweighed youthful criminal matters and later adult indiscretions. The WaPo was among the first in line to suggest this.

I knew the WaPo in-kind contributions would start soon enough, but I thought they would wait until after Labor Day.

Perhaps the WaPo will lay out what criteria they are using to determine what events from one’s past are fair game in a campaign and which are not.

Apparently, a massive legislative record outweighs Chappaquiddick.  I don’t know that everyone will agree with that, and ultimately it is not a question to be decided on the mortal plain…still, consistency on such matters would be a good thing.

I also thought they would follow the path they laid out in 2006 when they dismissed writings of Jim Webb from twenty years previous alternatively as (1) not of political value because he had changed his position or (2) not pertinent to the present campaign.

Again, consistency on such matters is a good thing…

Now some will say it isn’t the same thing as Kennedy or Webb, that McDonnell has not strayed far from these positions so it is fair game.   Fair enough.

But if this is the case, and the thesis is consistent with his record in office-then how is it  front page news?

Maybe it is because they know that Creigh Deeds cannot hope to win the election talking about not raising taxes-because no one will believe him.  They know he won’t win the election talking about economic development and transportation, because if he had a faint clue as to what to do in those areas he would already be talking about it or would have tried to do something while serving in the legislature.

Nope, they know in those substantive areas Deeds is behind the eight ball, so they play the only cards they have-Sensationalism or Hypocrisy.

It is one of the two, and I will leave it to you to say which it is, but keep this moment in mind the next time you hear the Deeds campaign or the WaPo talk about the need to focus on the critical issues.


Because I guarantee you a rehash of a 20 year old thesis on social policy-much of which is determined by the Feds-will not offer any solutions to the most pressing issues facing the Commonwealth.


11 thoughts on “Sensationalism or Hypocrisy on the Left?

  1. One wonders if the WaPo has searched so diligently for such material by Deeds. Or if he even has the intellectual capacity to have produced it.

    We DO know that President Barry got a pass from the WaPo regarding his academic writings while pursuing his degree.

  2. Bwana:
    I have said this before and I shall say again, why doesn’t the WaPo just come clean and declare that they are going to be the mouthpiece for the Democratic Party and just be honest about it, rather than portray themselves as a fair and balanced newspaper. It is just more ridiculous behavior on the part of the “Washington Bleep” (as G. Gordan Liddy used to say)


  3. When Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. was 34 years old he took a trip to DC to participate in the “Million Man March.” Oh, I guess it’s OK for someone with a Harvard Law degree.

  4. Pingback: Reactions to ThesisGate

  5. Good points, and, as usual, well conveyed. My guess is that the thesis itself won’t be much of a factor. The issue will be whether the type of thinking conveyed in it is perceived as being an accurate window on McDonnell’s real views. I don’t think the comparison with Webb’s writings is apt. Webb was a Republican twenty years ago and most of his writings were either fiction (some of it surprisingly good) or were descriptive of Webb’s experiences in SE Asia during the Vietnam War.

  6. NS, I agree that the Webb parallel is not identical. What is consistent that in one case the WaPo decides that materials written twenty years ago, while the author was out of office, and that have not official governmenance impact is not of value in an election…and in another they decide just the opposite.

  7. You know, what surprises me about this Post ambush is that McDonnell’s views on this sort of thing are really very well known to anyone who has followed him for a while or who paid any attention in the last election. This really isn’t news, and they really didn’t have to go to a 20 year old paper. I can just imagine the impact this is going to have on future elections, with journalistic gumshoes prowling through university libraries looking for all kinds of caffeine (or worse)-fueled nonsense slammed together in the wee hours before term paper deadlines. But if the Post thinks it relevant to examine the man’s attitudes toward social issues (an item that McDonnell and his team have made a very clear decision to keep out of the race this time around) why not just talk about that, rather than use the academic (if that’s what one calls these things at Regent) paper? I’m now looking at the follow-up article in today’s post. They’re really going to milk this.

  8. Rest assured, “NoVA Scout” that there won’t be “journalistic gumshoes prowling through university libraries looking for all kinds of caffeine (or worse)-fueled nonsense slammed together in the wee hours before term paper deadlines.” For one thing, I would bet that, for most of them, it would be a new experience to be in a university library.

    And given that they’ll only do so against Conservative candidates, that eliminates the traffic by at least half.

  9. Actually, in the on-line Q&A today the reporters said they had no idea the thesis existed until McDonnell mentioned it in an interview with them. Apparently oppo research these days is not what it used to be.

  10. That about sums it up. Also the old adage “I may help you with the gun to shoot me with, but I am not going to give you the bullets!”
    “And that’s all I have to say about that!” (quote F. Gump)


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