Chris Graham: McDonnell’s political obit
It wasn’t that long ago when the pundits had you pegged as the GOP vice-presidential nominee, and that was before you formally endorsed Mitt Romney, right before the critical South Carolina primary.
The endorsement of a Southern Republican governor before a key Southern primary was sure to push Romney over the top toward his inevitable nomination.
And then you’d turn your attention back to state politics for a time, pass an austerity budget that stuck it to the Democrats and their constituency groups, particularly the teacher lobby, before riding off into a spring and summer of traveling the country with Romney and prepping for your turn at Game Change.
A funny thing happened on the way to being the second most powerful man in the world. First, Romney flailed in South Carolina, and continues to muddle along toward what now seems an interminable nomination battle that may linger on into the fall and a brokered convention.
Meanwhile, back on the home front, Senate Democrats, showing backbone not indigenous to the species, have managed to block the austerity budget and seem poised to keep McDonnell tied up with matters in Richmond through the spring and possibly longer.
Oh, and for good measure, there was that string of embarrassing social-issues bills that have practically neutered McDonnell as being able to voice even the slightest bit of criticism of Democrats as being mainly interested in using the power of the government to overreach into people’s lives.
You can now just about forget it, Bobby, because 2012 is going to mean fighting for scraps of the budget that you thought would define your term, giving a few stump speeches anchored in Virginia for whoever the Republican nominee ends up being, then getting ready for a 2013 that will mark the end of your run in elected politics.
Unless you can actually convince yourself that in 2014 you have even a sliver of a chance of knocking off Mark Warner from his perch in the U.S. Senate.
Too bad for you. Really, seriously.