Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Ol' McDonnell's charm in Ohio, too?

IF YOU ARE LOOKING for a hint or two about the nature of life under a governor like John Kasich, you might want to check out his newly-arrived fellow Republican conservative Bob McDonnell of Virginia. It would be too extreme, perhaps, to mention McDonnell's instant executive order as governor that stripped gays and lesbians from protection against discrimination in their jobs. In so doing, he erased an order by his predecessor, Tim Kaine (now the Democratic National Committee chairman) that guaranteed such protection. (McDonnell's anti-gay stance should come as no surprise: He's of the same mind as his close friend, TV-preacher Pat Robertson, and is an alum of Robertson's Regent University.)

But on the economic front, McDonnell immediately went after the state's $4 billion deficit with a series of proposed cuts that, as they usually do, fell heavily on the lower end of the economic pyramid: Medicaid, dental services, home care for invalids. free medical services. Schools and local governments all took hits, as well as state parks, five of which would be closed.

His proposals are being thrashed out in the legislature and it isn't clear what will survive or be modified. As for McDonnell, he says he understands the pain but his program will be accomplished without raising taxes (which says nothing of the local governments that will somehow have to find relief from taxes). In a consoling mood, the guv said:
"There is no doubt in my mind that it will cause hardship for our citizens, that real Virginians with real difficulties, whether it be medical or education or others, will be adversely affected by the decisions of the legislature and my decisions over the course of the next two years." Real Virginians with real difficulties? Can an unreal governor know the difference?
By the way, in case you missed it, McDonnell, now considered to be another rising star in the GOP's right-wing firmament after the pratfall of Bobby Jindal , was chosen by the party's leadership to respond to President Obama's State of the Union speech. Yeah, I watched him for a minute or two until he told a wildly approving Virginia House of Delegates that he favors "jobs with dignity" for everyone. Cool. But it wasn't until a few days ago that we learned he didn't mean to include gays, who may not be real Virginians these days.

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