Home The sad fall of Bob McDonnell
Local

The sad fall of Bob McDonnell

Contributors

bob-mcdonnellAs recently as last week, former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell was talking with reporters covering his corruption trial about perhaps running for governor again in 2017, and it wasn’t hard for at least GOP partisans to imagine that being within the realm of possibility.

McDonnell, after all, was on the short list of possible running mates for 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, and when he left office in January, even as prosecutors built their corruption case against him, he was among the most popular departing governors in the history of Virginia, and for good reason. A social conservative, McDonnell ran on a platform that cast him as “Bob’s for Jobs,” and despite letting himself get diverted briefly by diehards in the General Assembly with a social-engineering agenda in 2012, he largely governed that way, falling in line with his two most immediate Democratic predecessors, Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, with a focus on making sure Virginia was among the best states in the nation for business, and even outpacing them in one respect.

The transportation funding compromise that McDonnell forged in 2013, breaking a 27-year logjam, elevated McDonnell’s stature more than him being vetted for a national ticket ever could.

The future was McDonnell’s, blocked not by those pesky corruption charges, which were surely going to go away, but by the Virginia Constitution, which doesn’t allow governors to succeed themselves in office, and by the lack of higher offices to run for in the immediate future.

(Even without corruption charges on the horizon, there’s no way McDonnell risks his political star by challenging Warner’s Senate seat in 2014; he was way, way too smart to roll the dice on something that stupid.)

But a run for governor in 2017, maybe a run for the U.S. Senate in 2018, challenging Kaine, wasn’t out of the cards, and there was even a feeling that after shrugging off the corruption charges, McDonnell’s name might come up again in the national-ticket discussion in 2016.

And why not? In addition to being a popular former governor, McDonnell has an easy charm and likeability on par with a Warner or even a Bill Clinton, to a degree that even people on the other side of the aisle who couldn’t name a single policy position that they would hold in common with McDonnell could nonetheless point to his affability as a reason for wishing him future success.

Politicians with those qualities, his record, his success, in getting elected and in achieving public-policy initiatives, don’t come along every day.

Rarer still are those with the immense gifts that Bob McDonnell has who then end up facing decades in prison after being convicted on multiple counts of public corruption.

The word Wow! keeps coming to mind.

– Column by Chris Graham

Contributors

Contributors

Have a guest column, letter to the editor, story idea or a news tip? Email editor Chris Graham at [email protected]. Subscribe to AFP podcasts on Apple PodcastsSpotifyPandora and YouTube.

Latest News

missing person
Local

Police: Charlottesville family concerned about 23-year-old man last seen in May

college world series
Sports

Live Coverage: UVA, UNC tied at 1-1 in the sixth in 2024 College World Series opener

UVA (46-15), the #12 national seed, faces North Carolina (47-14), the #4 national seed, in the opening game of the 2024 College World Series at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha.

elijah gertrude
Sports

Breaking News: UVA finally confirms Elijah Gertrude out for 2024-2025 season

It’s finally official: UVA Basketball announced Friday, in a conveniently timed news dump, with the focus of the UVA Athletics fan base on the College World Series, that Elijah Gertrude is out for the season after a scooter accident on April 30.

family concept two boys IVF twins
Health, Politics, U.S. & World News

‘How dare you?’: Senate Republicans reject legislation to protect IVF access

woman inside her home with hand fan
U.S. & World News

Beating the extreme heat: Funds available for AC for families in public housing

richard sanders and weapons seized
Local

Charlottesville: Man arrested with machine gun in Tonsler Park

road work
Local

Traffic alert: Travel lane shifts in Harrisonburg on westbound Route 33 begin June 18