The bill was toned down before it passed, but the political damage lived on. It weakened McDonnell’s hopes to be picked as Mitt Romney’s running mate. It also hurt the GOP’s standing with women prior to the November election, in which Republicans lost in Virginia in both the presidential and U.S. Senate contests.
Columnist Robert McCartney. While trashing others, I think it’s only fair to acknowledge at least one bone-headed move of my own. This year, it emerged that I was severely mistaken in an Aug. 22 column about the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, the agency that oversees Dulles and Reagan National airports.
My point in the column was to defend the reputation of the authority’s 1,400 professional staff and other workers. The agency has myriad problems, but I put all the blame on the 12 political appointees on its board of directors.
It turned out the staff has had plenty of problems, too. A federal audit issued Nov. 1 found employees had improperly accepted Super Bowl tickets, trips to resorts and other gifts from contractors. Hiring of relatives was common despite anti-nepotism rules.
Journalistic lesson for self: You can’t be too cynical.
Now, the No. 1 Turkey of 2012:
Penn National Gaming. The major casino gambling company spent more than $40 million on television spots and other advertisements warning Maryland voters against various shortcomings of . . . casino gambling.
The hypocritical ads’ real goal was to prevent one of Penn National’s top rivals, MGM Resorts International, from getting permission in a statewide referendum to construct a casino at National Harbor in Prince George’s County.
Penn National didn’t want the new facility to lure bettors away from its highly profitable casino in Charles Town, W.Va.
Voters weren’t fooled — they approved the expansion. Bottom line: Penn National is out the $40 million it spent on the unsuccessful ad campaign, plus its West Virginia casino will lose much of its business.
To read previous columns, go to washingtonpost.com/mccartney.