We get a new impression: To us, the prosecution of Bob McDonnell seemed like a shaky idea.
He doesn’t seem to have done very much to help businessman Jonnie Williams. We thought the prosecution was a bit of a stretch, with a bit of a banana republic feel.
We’d prefer to see progressives learn how to win fights with such governors at the polls. Unfortunately, as our new progressive world unfolds, we keep getting saddled with leaders who don’t seem well suited to this approach.
We also weren’t crazy about the coverage in the Washington Post. That extends to this morning’s reporting, where Justin Jouvenal asks the jurors how they felt, not how they reasoned; where Rosalind Helderman, in our view, still tabloids it up just a tad.
McDonnell didn’t seem to do very much for Williams. Meanwhile, the amount of money Williams gave him in money and loans is a very tiny amount, as compared to the mountains of cash which go to some of the journalists who clowned about this case the most.
Rachel Maddow clowned incessantly. In our view, she betrayed the ethics of her profession to a larger extent than McDonnell seems to have done.
That said, we got a new impression last night about the reason for Maddow’s animus toward McDonnell. Our new impression began to take form in this part of her discussion of McDonnell’s career:
MADDOW (9/4/14): The Lord and Pat Robertson, in part, did open up other doors for Bob McDonnell and his family values crusading conservative career. It ascended from there.Over the past few years, we’d seen Maddow focus on the “Governor Ultrasound” part of McDonnell’s tenure. Last night, we were surprised to see how much of her animus seemed to stem from McDonnell’s anti-gay legislation and ideology—a part of his tenure we’d didn’t recall seeing Maddow discuss.
I mean, as a state legislator, he had been a crusading antiabortion activist. He sponsored or co-sponsored 35 different antiabortion bills. As attorney general, he authored that anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment and he got it put on the ballot. As a candidate for governor, he had a little hitch when the Washington Post reported on the thesis that he’d written as an adult student at Pat Robertson’s university because that thesis explained his view that public policy should be designed to punish cohabitators, homosexuals and fornicators—in favor of straight married people.
But he overcame that hitch when that was reported, and he did win election as governor of Virginia in 2009. Once he was elected, in no time, he used his new authority as governor to rescind the state’s hiring protections for gay people. He overtly changed state policy to remove protections that previously were in place that said you couldn’t be fired for being gay. Bob McDonnell got elected government and immediately moved to change that policy to overtly say, “Yes, you can be fired for being gay in Virginia.”
We’re not saying she hasn’t discussed that part of McDonnell’s tenure. We’re saying that, in our recollection, her focus on the ultrasound bill seemed to form the basis for her loathing of the man she wanted to see “humiliated and ruined.”
We agree with Maddow on the substance here. Like Maddow, we don’t think McDonnell should have “used his new authority as governor to rescind the state’s hiring protections for gay people.” We think it’s a shame that he did.
That said, we were surprised by the obvious anger in Maddow’s voice in this and other parts of her discussion. She had always seemed to focus on “Governor Ultrasound.”
We think the ultrasound law was hideous too. That raises the basic question:
What do you do about it?
Maddow seems to be spending a lot of time praying for people to get thrown in jail. That’s pretty much the way banana republics function:
We try to throw their people in jail. They try to lock up ours!
Our question today would be different: Why can’t liberals and progressives learn how to win these fights among the voters? Again, we’ll state an unhappy impression:
Emerging liberal leaders like Maddow don’t seem especially well equipped to change average voters’ minds.
Maddow clowns and snarks and shouts and mugs and generally makes a spectacle of herself on the air.
She clowns for the choir in ludicrous ways. As a general matter, this probably isn’t a very good way to change the minds, or influence the views, of the general public.
Maddow clowns for the choir, then tries to get The Others thrown in jail, preferably for the rest of their lives. She wants to see people thrown in jail because they once took a ride in a white Ferrari.
All around the emerging liberal world order, we think we see emerging leaders who may not know how to approach average voters. Over at Salon, Brittney Cooper’s willingness to die seems like a prime example.
Professor Cooper is willing to die. Reading her piece, she wondered this: Is she willing to win?
Average voters are going to vote. How do we plan to persuade them?