McDonnell's transportation bill sent anti-tax activists into overdrive as they protested against the plan that was passed with bipartisan votes and solved a problem that had languished for 27 years.
Writer Eli Lehrer recognizes McDonnell's pragmatic leadership at a time when the Republican Party has swung ever so much further right as Democrats control the White House and U.S. Senate:
Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell is exactly the sort of candidate -- an appealing, conservative pragmatist who knows how to govern -- that the Republican Party needs if it wants to win elections. He is ideal, in large part, not because of his heterodoxies but because he appeals to the educated voters that ought to make up the Republican base. And that's why some conservative activists' efforts to turn their backs on him and write him out the conservative movement seem awfully short-sighted.Lehrer recognizes that Bob McDonnell is a conservative, and for CPAC to ignore him this year was a mistake on their behalf. The Republican Party is in the middle of an identity crisis. Lehrer believes McDonnell is the answer to that crisis:
McDonnell, as a recent Quinnipiac poll shows, has remained quite popular in Virginia in the wake of the tax increases: He has high approval ratings from almost every group and has rarely had less than 50 percent approval since he took office. Most importantly for the Republican Party's future, he polls strongly amongst people who have a college degree or more -- a group that Barack Obama won a majority of both times -- something no Democratic candidate (even victorious ones) since the 1960s had done. In fact, McDonnell's margin of approval amongst people with college education or more is greater than his margin amongst the population as a whole. A Republican party that can't capture the educated simply won't have much to run on.For those interested in the future of the Republican Party, the rest of the article, "Bob McDonnell: Yes, he has a future," is worth the read.