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McDonnell's Views and The Post

Our Readers Who Comment are engaged in a mudslinging contest about The Washington Post's fairness and whether Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Robert F. McDonnell's role in a 2003 judicial reappointment hearing suggested that he does not think gays are fit to serve on the bench.

Many comments charge The Post with political bias; others disagree and note that McDonnell's views and history are legitimate topics for coverage of a political campaign. Today's article was written by Amy Gardner, who also wrote the Aug. 30 report about McDonnell's master's thesis in which he described working women and feminists as "detrimental" to the family.

That story has resulted in significant criticism of McDonnell in a Post editorial and from columnists Ruth Marcus and Robert McCartney. The Post and McDonnell both have attackers and defenders in one of the more raucous strings we've seen in a while.

We'll start with Paddy1, who asked, "What nonsense is the Post saving for the week before the election?"

But mykelbarber wrote, "Hopefully, Virginians will see this man for what he is: a misogynistic homophobe who only believes that white men have the right to hold jobs and compete in society."

PWC0412 said, "I'm going to vote for him simple because the Post is so adamantly against him. With that going for him, he must be a the man for the job."

EnemyOfTheState said, "I'm glad I live in Maryland." He is apparently unaware of the exploits of such distinguished former Maryland governors as Spiro T. Agnew and Marvin Mandel.

larrymperry wrote, "Any breathing Republican knows that any action against Gays,especially if the person happens to be of some ethnic group,is something to be proud of. The base will love it."

Beckola said, "I would actually respect him more if he owned up to his obviously held beliefs--but alas, he's a grotesquely hardcore conservative AND a weasel.
No offense to weasels."

B2O2 wrote, " 'Crimes against nature'? For real? This guy is straight out of the Scarlet Letter, and is more fit to lead the Taliban than Virginia. Whip the infidels, Bob, whip the infidels with a stick if they don't fit your Bronze Age values! Geez...."

VirginiaIndependent said, "I have never seen a newspaper try so hard to undermine a candidacy. The Post must know that Creigh Deeds is on record as holding a number of very socially conservative views. When will the Post run a page A1 story on his positions?"

larmoecurl quoted the first sentence of the preceding comment and asked, "Have you never read the Washington Times?"

cecil1 asked, "Is this news, or a gossip column? Just checking."

seraphina wrote, "Who cares? The real story is the Deeds still doesn't have a transportation plan!"

To which JPRS replied, "No plan is a lot better than the McDonnell transportation plan:
i.e. The Highway to Hell."

raynecloud wrote, "I sincerely hope this man isn't elected Governor. He's wrong when he says it's only about jobs, road improvements and public schools. It's also about treating people --the taxpayers, potential employees, employers, judges, etc -- fairly and equally in the pursuit of these and many other objectives. He doesn't appear capable of doing so, and in fact appears to have actively opposed attempts to do so."

ahashburn asked, "Who is running the Deeds campaign: Deeds or the press?"

waterbirds wrote, "The man is just what he stated he is: both 20 years ago in a thesis (the same thesis he proudly used as a character reference at a conservative meeting) and by his remarks in 2003. Those are his core values. Really a hoot to see some folks blaming the media for using actual quotes from McDonnell! I mean, you really wouldn't want the voters to know the character of this character - let's all hide the truth and pretend ..."

gasmonkey said, "So basically McDonnell's argument is nothing I've said before this campaign should have anything to do with my election? Why is that? Is there a statute of limitations on stupid?"

asmith1 wrote, "...Unfortunately for McDonnell, his ruling and comments during this reappointment hearing (in 2003 - just six years ago) is right in line with his philosophy outlined in his infamous thesis of 20 years ago[.] Could it be that McDonnell's narrow and bigoted views haven't really changed all that much afterall?..."

We'll close with DC2Amsterdam, who wrote, "To those trying to blame the WAPO for McD's problems. Are you for real? Do you really think that argument is going to help him win the election. Nobody cares about your (or my) posts on a newspaper website. its not going to sway a single voter."

All comments on this article are here.

By Doug Feaver  |  September 9, 2009; 7:34 AM ET
Categories:  Virginia Politics  | Tags: McDonnell, Virginia Politics  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Readers, House Democrats Divided
Next: Joe Wilson Becomes a Household Name


The Post is trying to Maccaca McDonnel. Watch how the Post will slip in references to that 20 year old thesis into every corner of the paper.

Posted by: RobT1 | September 10, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

With all of their reporters digging through McDonnell's past comments, the Post seems to have overlooked comments made by McDonnell's Democratic opponent, Creigh Deeds--only ten, not twenty years ago--that might shock the sensibilities of socially liberal Northern Virginians. Here's a full-page Creigh Deeds campaign ad from the October 29, 1999 issue of the Bath County Recorder:

"I don't believe in discrimination, but I don't believe in special rights for anyone. I have never voted to allow gay partners to receive medical insurance -- or any other benefit -- from the state."

Posted by: wpguest1 | September 10, 2009 6:40 AM | Report abuse

Today's story crosses a line. There can be no doubt that the Post is willing and eager to influence the outcome of an election.

Posted by: coastofutopia | September 9, 2009 8:54 PM | Report abuse

As Stephen Colbert pointed out, "Reality has a well-known liberal bias."

Posted by: Dale8 | September 9, 2009 7:31 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Feaver,

The bias comes as a result of WaPo making this central to the campaign, while ignoring the real issues and giving readers only puff pieces on Deeds. The bias is also obvious when compared to the reporting on Jim Webb's now infamous essay on women. The title of that story back in 2006: Va. Senate Race Goes Negative on 1979 Essay. WaPo completely ignored this issue when they endorsed Jim Webb. Apparently his explanation that his views had changed was sufficient for WaPo to endorse him without even expressing a concern over his essay. And yet we hear nothing about negative campaigning when Deeds makes this the crux of his campaign in lieu of the real issues affecting Virginians. Wapo is giving Deeds a pass and our accusations of bias will only be confirmed when this paper endorses him. He has no real plans for transportation, no real plans for jobs and opposses charter schools (which this paper supposedly supports); and yet he will get your endorsement.

Posted by: conservativemaverick | September 9, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

The poor, poor Right Wing - so ill-served, so misunderstood, so down-trodden, so beat upon . . . it's a wonder their message gets out at all.

The bad, bad Liberal Media . . .

Were it not for the RightWingNuts owning talk radio and it's bloviating gasbags, having their very own pretend cable news operation, having any number of well financed think tanks, being in bed with the National Chamber of Commerce and controlling both Houses of Congress and the White House for a substantial amount of recent history, well, I would think they just might be headed for oblivion.

The Right cannot help themselves - their innate sense of inferiority is the only thing they have left these days.

. . . and you know what?

They deserve every bit of it.

Posted by: palmtree2001 | September 9, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

When will the Post do a story on the radicalism of 0bama appointees, such as Van Jones?

Posted by: NeverLeft | September 9, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

My only problem is -- Why did the Post wait 20 years to report this story? The thesis has been publicly available all this time. I'm still waiting for the Post to stop burying the stories of how much was stolen from VA and the country by Tom Davis when he and Tom Delay perfected Pay To Play. Oh, but Davis spoon-fed your reporters to get on your good side, just so they wouldn't HAVE to engage in this shoe-leather reporting.

Posted by: achamblee | September 9, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps Deeds is not man enough to fight for Virginia in this race, or has no plans, or just likes to say "Me too!" even to the Washington Post.

Regardless, this is probably the 20th candidate the Compost has shilled for and the quality of governing in Virginia keeps going down. Things that make you go hmmmmm, indeed.

Posted by: cheekymonkey | September 9, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

if this article does not prove how bias the Post is, I do not know what will!

Posted by: loudountaxrevolt | September 9, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Benblanken wrote: "Thanks for the Post's relentless,negative campaign against McDonnell."

So publishing the candidate's own writings and words is a "negative campaign"? How do you twist the laws of physics to come to that conclusion? Or maybe you just mean the Post is publishing negatives about McDonnell which are true, and therefore important for the voters to know about, but negative for McDonnell who would rather they never see the light of day?

I always thought once the truth was established it pretty much stood on its own. To see the right try to quash, excuse or explain away the plain truth is very entertaining. They have little shame considering what they would do if similar writings and words were found about Deeds. Politics as usual I guess, at least as usual for republicans.

Posted by: Fate1 | September 9, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

I suppose it's possible that McDonnell has undergone a conversion on his road to Richmond, but comparing the blueprint he laid out in his thesis to his record as an elected official. I have my doubts.

Posted by: sensible | September 9, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse

The press elected Obama, now it looks like they want to elect Deeds as well.

Posted by: mikepcfl | September 9, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Just think of how bad it would be if the mainstream media really were biased.

Posted by: Federalist1 | September 9, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the Post's relentless,negative campaign against McDonnell. That, together with the democrats' consistent incompetence on the Hill and in the White House, should guarantee a Virginia sweep for McDonnell. Keep it up!

Posted by: Benblanken | September 9, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

If nothing else, it's been entertaining to try to reconcile the Post's conflicting beliefs: Candidate attends a sharply racist church for 20 years up until election; that's a non-issue. Candidate writes a sharply sexist thesis 20 years ago; that's a scandal.

Posted by: tomtildrum | September 9, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Forgive us lord for we have sinned . . .

We beseech thee - still the hand that reporteth the words of thy servant Robert McDonnell for it is best that those words remain hidden. Allow those that would destroy a constructed identity to fail miserably in their efforts, so that thy dominion may be established in the Dominion. Provide us with the light to see how we may enable others of faith to bring about appropriate change to the place where we abide. Above all, we pray that thy house may be firmly established within the halls of the government so that thy will may be done.


Posted by: palmtree2001 | September 9, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

"It's interesting to see the range of comments, but I haven't seen any response from the Post regarding the anit-McDonnel bias." -Posted by: dannews

Dan: Don't hold your breath waiting for it.

Posted by: OttoDog | September 9, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

The post goes for days without writing about Van Jones, but say something negative against perverts and they get in a tizzy.

Posted by: BO_Stinks | September 9, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

It's interesting to see the range of comments, but I haven't seen any response from the Post regarding the anit-McDonnel bias.

Please don't wait until just before the election before writing about Deeds' negative qualities. Voters deserve in depth information about both candidates, not just their talking points about what's "relevant" to the current campaign.

Posted by: dannews | September 9, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Wow, it's not enough to print misleading articles slamming McDonnell, but you have to have artcles ABOUT the articles, that mislead as well!
McDonnell's issue with the judge in question wasn't her sexual preference - it was the fact that she was a sexual predator who was found liable for Sexual Harrassment in the workplace (to the tune of $64,000, btw). If the WaPo thinks that judges who are members of the GLBT community should be exempt from responsibility for Sexual Harrassment, go ahead and say so. McDonnell was on therecord at the time as stating, when asked, that the judge's sexual preference was of no import whatsoever.
Yet you deliver yet another piece of quasi-journalism omitting these facts.

Posted by: OttoDog | September 9, 2009 11:12 AM | Report abuse

If only the MSM like the Washingpost put this kind of scrutiny and attention on Obama and his past. Things that make you say hmmmmm

Posted by: restonhoops | September 9, 2009 10:58 AM | Report abuse

When will the liberals' war on People of Faith end? Why do they hate us so?

All we want to do is invade their homes, invade their bedrooms and invade their lives, prevent their kids from learning science, use their tax money and the US armed forces for crusades against our religious enemies, and generally run the country like the Taliban or the Spanish Inquisition.

Is that so bad?

Posted by: bourassa1 | September 9, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

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