Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Right Wing Backpeddling

OneNewsNow has an article that speaks to a real problem that hardcore right wingers have when trying to run for public office.

Gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell (R-Virginia) appears to be backing away from a thesis paper he wrote at Regent University in 1989 that said Republicans should promote welfare policies that “prefer married couples over cohabitators, homosexuals, or fornicators.” In the paper, he also described working women and feminists as “detrimental” to the family.

In a statement released by his campaign, McDonnell says his beliefs have changed since the Reagan era and that he should be judged on 14 years in the Virginia House of Delegates and more than three years as attorney general. McDonnell adds that what he wrote in the thesis on working women “was simply an academic exercise and clearly does not reflect my views.” In addition, he maintains that government should not discriminate based on sexual orientation.

So now he’s in trouble with his base and with those he’s trying to win to his side. The right is criticizing him for backing away from the views they support, while the moderate voters aren’t likely to buy the excuses and will see this as an expression of his real views:

Victoria Cobb is president of The Family Foundation, which once gave McDonnell its “Legislator of the Year” award. Cobb urges McDonnell to be very cautious not to downplay his strong conservative record.

“If he is seen as someone who is flip-flopping on issues or backing away, no matter what the issues are, that is always viewed by the electorate as a negative,” she contends. Victoria Cobb (Family Foundation)”People want a consistent leader on issues, and they want someone who they knew ten years ago agreed with something and still supports that position. And so, he needs to tread very carefully as he looks at his views.”

Cobb says although she understands McDonnell’s desire to reach out across the aisle and to other voting blocs, there is no need to distance himself from previous positions.

But in fact, he may have to back off them to get elected. Virginia is not the hardcore conservative state it once was.