Thursday, October 08, 2009

Has McDonnell Changed His Stripes?

Hopefully, the Deeds for Governor campaign will be spending more time on positive ads rather than the negative stuff that’s been keeping them distracted. However, that doesn’t mean that this maven cannot spend some of his time analyzing Bob McDonnell’s master’s thesis. Between now and the election, when the inspiration comes to me, I will be looking at some specific issues raised by Bob’s thesis. (I know that last month, in a fit of cutting and pasting, I set forth most of the significant things that Bob said in his thesis. However, it is clear to me that was just too much material to digest.)

Sadly, Bob McDonnell lives in an evil, dangerous world. On page 20 of his thesis Bob says:

“. . . [P]olicy decisions must be made with the cognizance of the nature of man. . . . [M]an’s basic nature is inclined toward evil, and when the exercise of liberty takes the shape of pornography, drug abuse, or homosexuality, the government must restrain, punish and deter.”

Later, on page 61, Bob says:

“Policies, however, must be sufficiently realistic to acknowledge that man lives in a broken and sinful world formed by his inherent selfishness. . .”

I am glad I do not live in Bob McDonnell’s world. I see people as basically good. Certainly they make mistakes and sometimes succumb to the urge to do bad things. But, on the whole, I believe that the citizens of Virginia are good and decent people. Not Bob.

So, how does Bob’s world view reflect on his view of the proper role of government? On page 14 of the thesis, he says:

“The state alone . . . bears the authority to punish wrongdoers, for the civil ruler is a minister of God to execute judgment and encourage good.”

Perhaps Bob’s view of the role of the civil ruler served him well as the Commonwealth’s head prosecutor. As prosecutor it makes sense to see your job as a battle against evil. However, I’m not sure this is the kind of world view we want in the man who will be our next governor.

Bob McDonnell says he has changed many of the views he expressed in his master’s thesis when he was only 35 years old. Perhaps his view of the world is one of them.


Tom White said...

Just so I am clear, is it your policy to not approve views in disagreement to your own? Is that why my comments have not appeared?

Bert Berlin said...

Actually, Mr. White, I don't have a policy. I do, however, publish every comment that is posted unless it is abusive or uses profane language. If your comments have not appeared, it is because I never saw them. Are you sure you actually posted them?

Tom White said...

I did. It was a comment that was in disagreement with your taking a sentence or two totally out of the context of the paragraph (the state alone has the right to punish - this was a comment on the Feds overstepping their constitutional authority).

I also pointed to a post on my blog that takes an honest look at the thesis, which was done as an exercise to explain the dramatic increase in women living in poverty, how it came to be, and what could be done to reverse the phenomenon.

It was McDonnell's opinion that the trend was due to the erosion of the traditional family. And restoring that family would be beneficial to the plight of women in poverty.

It also points out that Republicans should lead by example and not necessarily by legislation.

There was nothing sinister or controlling in this thesis. Just a genuine desire to offer a solution to help the plight of women.

Without reading the whole thing, you may miss that. Especially if you wanted to miss it in the first place.

My post is at

I apologize for jumping to the conclusion that you did not want dissenting views in your post. There are some that do just that without apology. But I tend not to read them after I find that out.

Bert Berlin said...

Just a few things:
Although my quotes are short, I did not quote out of context. Mr. McDonnell was NOT talking about the federal government overstepping its bounds. He was talking about the relative roles of what he describes as the three God-ordained institutions of society: family, church, state.
Second, I did read the entire thesis (at least three times). The assertion that it was merely an exercise to help the plight of women living in poverty is not supported by the text of the thesis itself.