ICYMI: Which version of McDonnell is the real one?

broken-family-glass11My latest op-ed, title above, appeared in The Virginian-Pilot Thursday. I couldn’t help but think of the thesis (pdf) which figured so prominently in the 2009 gubernatorial election once it was discovered. (I wrote some about it at the time.) If nothing else, it was clear that Bob McDonnell revered the traditional family: a working father, a stay-at-home mother, and their children. The opening statements gave us a glimpse into the direction that the defense intended to take: the relationship between Bob and his wife, Maureen, had broken down.

I can’t help but feel sympathy for the governor’s family. It doesn’t matter if this is just trial strategy – perhaps an over-emphasis on normal family conflicts – having this aired in public must be humiliating. If it is true, the private agony of the deterioration of his family must be devastating to McDonnell.

One of the challenges of writing for print is that it is done in advance – and may be overtaken by events. I write Wednesday morning for publication Thursday. By Wednesday afternoon, it seems there was some pushback on the idea that the McDonnells were not speaking. Former Pilot reporter Julian Walker tweeted a couple of things that he uncovered from his sources, including this:

That certainly sounds more like the McDonnell we have observed than the one that defense attorneys tried to make him out to be. And I tried to say as much in my Thursday afternoon appearance on WVEC.

It’s early yet – this trial is expected to last five to six weeks. We’ll see if the defense sticks to this strategy.

My column appears in The Virginian-Pilot every week, usually on Thursdays. You can see the columns as they are published here, or navigate to them from the PilotOnline.com homepage by clicking on Opinion and then choosing my name at the bottom of the dropdown list. You can also see the columns by liking my Facebook page. Although my column appears weekly, I am not and have never been an employee of The Virginian-Pilot nor am I paid for my contributions to the paper.



2 thoughts on “ICYMI: Which version of McDonnell is the real one?

  1. I know better than many how taxing public service can be on one’s family life. Yet I find it thoroughly implausible that the McDonnells’ marriage is as broken as they both claim when Maureen specifically and purposefully solicited an engraved $6,000 watch for her supposedly estranged husband from her so-called “favorite playmate.”

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