So long as Democrats held onto the Virginia senate, the governor was protected from the worst impulses of the right. All that is coming to an end.
State mandated-transvaginal probes! Well Virginia, you certainly know how to get a gal's attention. This weekend I went home to Virginia, partly to give my parents their granddaughter fix but partly to survey the political landscape. My home state has suddenly become the focus of national attention due to extreme anti-woman legislation that looks ready to be passed by the Republican legislature and could yet be signed into law by Republican Governor and vice presidential hopeful Bob McDonnell. The truth is that Virginia's lady problems go way beyond what I like to call PAP (Probes and Personhood).
For years, a slim Democratic margin in the Virginia Senate and a hold on the governorship kept extreme legislation from becoming law. But since Republicans took over both chambers and the governor's mansion, each bill has been more hard-edged than the last. With PAP, the Virginia GOP seem to finally have crossed a line -- and it may well doom McDonnell's national ambitions.
In 2009, the Democratic nominee for governor, Creigh Deeds, was swept away by a rising tide of anti-Obama Tea Party fervor and Bob McDonnell became governor, pledging to focus like a laser on jobs. In fact, his campaign slogan was "Bob's for Jobs." Poor Creigh didn't stand a chance against someone whose name actually rhymed with jobs! Democrats, however, held onto the State Senate by a slim two-seat margin. The divided government was good for McDonnell, who clearly harbors national ambitions for 2012 and beyond. The Democratic Senate acted as a levee holding back the steady flow of extreme legislation coming out of the Republican House of Delegates. In addition to keeping the worst laws off the books, the Democratic Senate unknowingly did a favor for Bob McDonnell by saving him from becoming the critical deciding factor between Republican red-meat radicalism and mainstream sentiment in an increasingly purple state.