Assessing Robert F. McDonnell's 1989 Thesis on Social Issues
Just in time for the Labor Day kickoff to the final leg of the Virginia gubernatorial campaign, The Post dredged up a 20-year-old academic paper written by Robert F. McDonnell [" '89 Thesis a Different Side of McDonnell," front page, Aug. 30].
R. Creigh Deeds's post-primary campaign has been devoid of substance on the issues Virginians care about most, such as jobs and transportation. Mr. Deeds and the man he hopes to succeed, Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, now have one more tool with which to try and energize a Democratic base that to date has been lukewarm toward Mr. Deeds. Score an assist for The Post.
Mr. McDonnell's focus on creating jobs and getting Virginia's economy going has won him major endorsements from the National Federation of Independent Business, the Virginia Farm Bureau and the Virginia Association of Realtors. Mr. Deeds, on the other hand, has spent the summer focusing on dividing Virginians over the issue of abortion. Since that didn't help his poll numbers, he is now running on the nonissue of a decades-old college thesis.
The writer is president of the Virginia Shooting Sports Association, which endorses candidates in state elections.
Robert F. McDonnell is mistaken if he believes that Virginia voters are not interested in the positions he wrote about in 1989. Social issues, including abortion and gay rights, are what he has campaigned on for the past 16 years. If it is true, as he said, that "my views on many issues have changed as I have gotten older," voters deserve to know that. To do less is insulting to both his conservative base, which will no doubt be surprised to find out these issues no longer matter, and to the independents he is courting in the apparent hope that they will simply not find out about his positions.