Attacking Republicans seems to be the sport of the day, not only by Democrats, but also within the Republican Party. Recently, Marco Rubio and Chris Christie were attacked by the right wing of the GOP for not being conservative enough on their policies about immigration and other issues. Now add Bob McDonnell to that list.
Conservative bloggers like Willie Deutsch at Bearing Drift have joined with Democratic bloggers in the mindless act of becoming participants in attacking the Virginia Republican Governor. What should be more disconcerting is the effect this circular firing squad will have on GOP gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli who has also been caught up in the controversy with his own issue of unreported gifts from Star Scientific and Jonnie Williams. When the far right is done with Bob McDonnell, will they then turn their guns on Cuccinelli?
In the words of Richmond Times-Dispatch political writer Jeff Schapiro, "... all Democrats have to do is watch a great Republican tradition: cannibalism."
The hemorrhaging needs to stop.
Interestingly enough, in the shadows away from this controversy stands Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling. The far right had its fair share of attacking him earlier this year by calling him a RINO and questioning his conservative credentials. In hindsight, perhaps Bolling did the wisest thing by stepping aside in this toxic environment. Meanwhile, as Jim Hoeft reported, it's business as usual in the LG's office as he goes about the job of working for the people of Virginia.
The LG is also on the minds of the editorial board at Charlottesville's Daily Progress, wondering what if concerning Bolling's aborted campaign for Governor. Noting the issues surrounding the Governor, the Daily Progress wrote:
“Much of this has occurred on center stage during a summer that was supposed to have belonged to Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, a better man who stands in the shadows, cast there by a party that failed him and failed Virginia.What the far right's circular firing squad is doing is driving people like Laura Lennox of Richmond to consider a write-in vote for Bill Bolling while others have taken to Facebook.
Undercut by state GOP leaders whose political IQ’s can only be measured in minuses, Bolling was thrown to the side by Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, a man with more baggage than Samsonite.
Rather than hold a primary to allow voters to select the next Republican candidate for governor, party string-pullers conducted the rough equivalent of a meeting in a smoke-filled room, holding a convention to hand Cuccinelli the nomination.
Bolling could have taken his shot in 2009 — surely, he wishes now that he had — but he agreed to stand aside to unify the party, paving the path to McDonnell’s sweeping victory. The idea was that Bolling would wait his turn until 2013.
Then along came Cuccinelli. One wonders how strongly the capital’s most powerful Republican stood for the friend who helped him win election. There are apparent prices to be paid for McDonnell’s friendship. Williams is Exhibit A, evidently.
That has stirred rumblings about McDonnell’s possible early departure from Richmond. A conservative blogger claimed over the weekend that two sources told him the governor was preparing to resign in a plea deal to avoid ethics charges. McDonnell’s staff quickly denied the rumor.
It’s a sign of how deep the governor is in his own mess. Were he to be forced out, moving Bolling into the mansion, Virginia would be served in the interim by a leader superior to the alternatives being offered up for the fall. Perhaps Bolling might gain fuel enough for a write-in run.
That might be a dream, but it is far pleasanter than the nightmare now being lived out in the state’s highest office.
The loser in all this is the Republican Party, both statewide and nationally. Maybe we all need to reconsider the 11th commandment often quoted by Ronald Reagan: Thou shalt not speak ill of another Republican.