As I was looking for my birth certificate this morning (don’t ask), I ran across a business card from Bob McDonnell. The card has no date on it, but it goes back to the time when we first met, when he was serving in the House of Delegates representing the 84th district. He was assistant majority leader then, according to the card. I do remember the occasion where we met – it was at a debt reduction party for a mutual friend, who had lost her race for city council in Norfolk. I even remember what Bob and I discussed: he was heading a panel on tax reform and me being a CPA, I gave him an earful on how it could be done.
I say all that to say that while McDonnell and I don’t agree on much politically (and his hits on family friend Verbena Askew certainly made him persona non grata with my sisters, who went to school with her), there has not been any pleasure in reading – and watching – the daily reports of his failures to disclose gifts from Jonnie Williams and his company, Star Scientific.
I think a lot of folks believe this reflects poorly on McDonnell. While that is true, I think it also reflects poorly on Virginia. Being the subject of nationwide jokes is not fun. Even if McDonnell is not charged in this, the legislature needs to take up serious ethics reform and financial disclosure reform. We were promised, after the Phil Hamilton mess, that such reform would be undertaken. Obviously, that didn’t happen. It needs to be a priority in the next General Assembly session. And we need to figure out how to hold the members of the legislature accountable if it does not.
In the interim, I think McDonnell needs to give serious consideration to resigning*. I don’t know how he can continue to stay quiet – as he has to because of the ongoing investigations – and be effective as governor. Go ahead and let Bill Bolling finish out the term. Get Virginia out of the national spotlight for this – and let the fall contests be the reason why the nation’s eyes are on us.
I think it’s best for all concerned.
* – I nearly choked on my coffee this morning when I read one “reporter’s” account of the letter issued yesterday by Senator Chap Petersen, calling for McDonnell’s resignation. In that “reporter’s” mind, Democrat = liberal. To describe Petersen as a liberal is to stretch the definition to include, well, just about everybody.