In late January, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell delivered
the GOP response to President
Obama's State of the Union address. Ever since, he's been touted as a
serious presidential contender who could bring moderation to the
Republican Party. But McDonnell's electability is now in question
following his proclamation honoring Confederate History Month
He didn't mention the role of slavery in the state's history—which has
outraged large swathes
of the country. He
has since apologized
but will that be enough?
Undercuts His Appeal, writes John
Dickerson at Slate: "What he endangered was his image as a
post-ideological 'future face of the Republican Party.' McDonnell is the
one conservatives point to as an example of someone who can govern
without becoming polarizing. He flirted with becoming the opposite case:
the latest proof of a party trying too hard to appease its base."
His Base, Offends Everyone Else, writes Steve Benen at The Washington
Monthly: "The GOP's far-right base already adored McDonnell, but in
contemporary Republican circles, that never seems to be enough -- party
officials keep trying to do more to impress right-wing activists, no
matter how insulting or offensive the efforts may be to everyone else."
On, He Deserves Credit, writes Civil War buff Ta-Nehisi Coates at The
Atlantic: "My initial reaction is that this is one of deep, heart-felt
happiness. I have spent the past year and half studying slavery and the
Civil War, with a specific focus on Virginia. I have become tied to
people who died long ago, and have inherited some piece of them. I took
McDonnell's original statement as an affront to people I love. That he
changed, even though he must have known that his actions would be
reported as a 'surrender,' deserves note."
- Let's Put This Into
Perspective, writes Candace Moore at Newsbusters: "The
only reason the issue had been dormant for eight years was because two
Democrat governors had refused to take part. Before then, it had been
common for Virginians to observe the event. Since 2011 will be the 150th
anniversary of secession, McDonnell can be excused for thinking it
might be relevant."
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