Over the years, we’ve seen a lot of candidates try to distance themselves from their party or from other candidates. But, in Virginia this year, Bob McDonnell, the Republican candidate for Governor in Virginia, is spending a lot of time trying to distance himself from Bob McDonnell. He’s running from his record. Last week, we learned about McDonnell’s graduate thesis, written in 1989 when he was 34, which eschewed the idea of women working outside the home, raised concerns about contraception and, of course, did a little gay-bashing. McDonnell spent last week trying to distance himself from himself.
This week, we’re getting more recent history on McDonnell’s strong anti-gay views from a hearing in 2003, when he was a Delegate, on the reappointment of a judge. Via The Washington Post:
In comments before the hearing, McDonnell indicated that Askew’s sexual conduct was relevant, telling one newspaper that “certain homosexual conduct” could disqualify a person from being a judge because it violates the state’s crimes against nature law. The words were widely published at the time, and his remarks contributed to a lasting view that sexual orientation was at least one reason for Askew’s ouster.
Among the right-wing theocrat set, which includes McDonnell, “laws of nature” means sex acts, specifically sodomy. Back in January of 2003, a felony sodomy law was still in effect in Virginia and was only struck down later that year because of Lawrence v. Texas. Yes, those right-wingers spend an awful lot of time obsessing over gay sex.
What’s disturbing is that once again McDonnell is trying to distance himself from himself:
It is 100 percent irrelevant in this race,” he said.
McDonnell may wish his homophobia wasn’t relevant, but it is. He also now claims those remarks weren’t accurate, which the reporter who heard them disputed:
Terry Scanlon, the Daily Press reporter who interviewed McDonnell, and Ernie Gates, the newspaper’s editor, both said last week that McDonnell never complained about the quotation’s accuracy.
Scanlon, who now lives in Colorado and is no longer a reporter, also remembers asking McDonnell whether he had ever violated the crimes against nature statute himself — a fair question, he thought, because McDonnell had raised the legal point. The statute, among other things, prohibits oral or anal sexual contact, regardless of the sex of the participants. McDonnell’s response, Scanlon reported, was: “Not that I can recall.”
Not that McDonnell recalls.
Living in D.C., I get to see the McDonnell t.v. ads. He’s portraying himself as really happy family guy with lots of kids and a big smile who just wants to talk about a few issues. McDonnell doesn’t want Virginians to see the real McDonnell.