John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


McDonnell In the Cross-Hairs

Posted on February 27, 2013

Bob McDonnell established an important principle last week.

He said that if the government is going to spend a lot more money, it will have to pay for it.

Some call that a betrayal of principles.  I call it responsible governance.

For those who don’t live in or near the Old Dominion, Bob McDonnell is the Virginia governor who signed into law a package of spending increases and tax increases to pay for the spending.

It wasn’t just any spending, though.  It was spending to dramatically expand Virginia’s highway system.  And the tax increases were all tagged directly to users of that highway system.

McDonnell campaigned on taking care of the Virginia highway system, so this shouldn’t have been much of a surprise.  But conservative activists, as is typical for conservative activists, went bat-shit.

Eric Erickson, that bloviator from Georgia, was particularly harsh in his assessment of McDonnell’s leadership on highways.  Apparently, Erickson has never been stuck in traffic on Highway 66 or near Tyson’s Corner or in the new and improved Mixing bowl or in the disaster that is 95 from DC to Richmond.

Republicans, if they are to distinguish themselves from Democrats, should make responsible governance one of their principle themes.  And paying for basic government services at the state level, like highway funding, is a building bloc on that theme.

Bob McDonnell is personally very conservative.  But he didn’t campaign on a platform of being a conservative ideologue.  He campaigned on the idea that he would fix Virginia’s roads.

That is why he won his election.  And that is why his approval ratings will soon hit sixty percent.

Conservative activists seem to hate governors who get high approval ratings.  They apparently dislike Chris Christie so much that they didn’t invite him to their annual Washington gathering this Spring.  CPAC doesn’t like politicians who get 75 approval ratings.

Conservative activists never quite trusted Mitch Daniels, probably the most successful truly conservative governor in history, because he had the temerity to suggest that Republicans should focus more on economic issues and less on divisive social issues.

And now conservative activists hate Bob McDonnell, because he stuck to his campaign promises.

The Virginia governor is a leading contender for the White House in 2016, and ironically the one thing that might hold him back is this whole trans-vaginal probe thing that was pushed not by McDonnell, but by…wait for it….the same conservative activists who now seemingly hate him.

The Republican Party won’t survive if its biggest stars get excoriated by its most passionate activists for the sin of keeping their campaign promises.