Bob McDonnell's thesis
The Republican candidate for Virginia governor gets tripped up by what he wrote 20 years ago

Virginia gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell may be having his "macaca moment," said Tom Schaller in FiveThirtyEight. The Republican is "scrambling" to explain his 20-year-old master's thesis, in which he wrote that working women were "detrimental" to families, and that government should favor married people over "fornicators." McDonnell's thesis won't hurt him as much as former Sen. George Allen's racially tinged "macaca" comment, but it won't help.

If what McDonnell thought back when he was a student is such a big deal, said Cal Thomas in TownHall, why aren't reporters "similarly aggressive in rooting out Barack Obama's records from Occidental College, Columbia University, and Harvard?" The truth is that McDonnell's views—although they remain conservative—have changed in the two decades since he wrote the thesis.

"Stuff you do when you’re 34 can’t just be written off as youthful indiscretion," said Matthew Yglesias in Think Progress. McDonnell wrote this "outrageously right-wing master's thesis" just two years before he was first elected to office. As The Washington Post noted, in a decade as a state legislator McDonnell pursued many of the goals outlined in his thesis, including abortion restriction, covenant marriage, and school vouchers. If he's had a change of heart, he should at least tell voters "what he 'really' thinks."



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