The Herd is a special White House 2012 series covering the obvious and not so obvious potential names for Mitt Romney to choose from when picking his vice presidential nominee. Each day, White House 2012 will introduce you to one of the many Republicans which we believe will at least be considered for for the vice presidency by the now inevitable Republican presidential nominee.
In addition to biographical information and a brief assessment of each potential nominee and their chances of being selected by Mitt Romney, White House 2012′s coverage also includes each potential nominee’s voting records, as well as a listing of their public statements and links to their web sites and records.
Today White House 2012 takes a look at the Governor of Virginia, Bob McDonnell.
|Born||Robert Francis McDonnell (1954-06-15) June 15, 1954 (age 57) Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.|
|Political party||Republican Party|
|Spouse(s)||Maureen Gardner; 5 children|
|Alma mater||University of Notre Dame (B.B.A.) Boston University (M.B.A.) Regent University (M.A., J.D.)|
|Profession||United States Army Officer Businessman Attorney at Law Politician|
1992 – 2005: Virginia House of Delegates
2006 – 2009: Virginia State Attorney General
2010 – Present: Governor of Virginia
2011 -Present: Chairman of the Republican Governors Association
During a February 21st, 2011 television interview, when asked“What if the party’s nominee.. came to you and said for the betterment of your Party and your country, I need you to serve as my running mate. Wouldn’t that be a difficult thing for you to turn down?” McDonnell replied simply, “Probably.” Thus prompting White House 2012 to add Bob McDonnell to what was an already early and premature list of possible running mates for whoever the nominee was going to be that we first created and posted in December 0f 2010. You see, even back then, there were certain outstanding individuals who many understood, were natural and logical potential vice presidential nominees, simply because they were exceptional leaders.
Today, with Mitt Romney’s selection of a vice presidential nominee soon approaching, McDonnell is still a natural and logical choice for Mitt Romney to nominate for Vice President.
Bob McDonnell is a solid choice. He carries little baggage, is on the right side of all the issues that the G.O.P. base wants covered and is a strong speaker who would add a level of confidence and competence to the ticket. The greatest criticism might be that he has only been Governor for what at the time will be slightly over 2 in a half years. But Barack Obama was a Senator for less than that amount of time and it was good enough to elect him President. So for a Vice President , that should be no big deal, even though it seemed to have been a big issue when Sarah Palin was nominated for Vice President in 2008..
McDonnell’s establishing himself as a potential Vice President and ultimately maybe even President, did not come over night. Getting to that point was a journey through decades of personal growth and accomplishments that really began after he graduated from University of Notre Dame on an ROTC scholarship, with a B.B.A. in management.
Upon leaving Notre Dame in 1976, McDonnell joined the service where he served as a medical supply officer in the United States Army for four years. Two and half of those years included posts in medical clinics in Germany, and for a year a half, in Newport News, Virginia. During that time, McDonnell’s never ending drive for knowledge and self improvement compelled him to obtain a Masters of Science in Business Administration earned by taking night classes from Boston University.
Upon leaving active duty service in 1981, McDonnell continued his military service as a reservist in the U.S. Army but as for a regular job, he took his young family to Atlanta where he was hired for a Fortune 500 Company named American Hospital Supply Corporation. His work soon earned him a rapid succession of promotions and after a year, American Hospital Supply Corp. transferred McDonnell to the company’s headquarters in suburban Chicago. The following year they put McDonnell in charge of their multi-million dollar custom products regional division, based in Kansas City, where he managed the corporation’s Minneapolis, St. Louis, and Kansas City offices. But feeling personally unfulfilled by his work, McDonnell took advantage of his Vietnam-era G.I. Bill benefits that were to cease to exist in 1989, and decided to to go back to Virginia where he enrolled in Regent University in Virginia Beach to seek a Masters Degree in Public Policy. Then when the young university opened a law school, McDonnell took advantage of that to also obtain a law degree.
To say the least, it was a rather hectic and sleepless period in McDonnell’s life. Others may not have been able to carry the burden of simultaneously attending law school, while pursing a Master’s Degree in public policy, and doing so while supporting his family as a sales manager for The Virginian-Pilot newspaper, and serving in the active reserves of the Army with the 18th Field Hospital in Norfolk. In total, McDonnell would serve 21 years in the U.S. Army reserves until he finally retired as a Lt. Colonel, the same rank as his father, in 1997. During these years, part of McDonnell’s pursuit of his law degree led him to also do an internship on Capitol Hill with the House Republican Policy Committee for California Congressman Jerry Lewis, and it was here that McDonnell’s personal journey took him in a direction different than his previous private sector path.
So in 1989, with his degrees in hand, McDonnell took a job as a prosecutor in the Virginia Beach Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office and in 1991 he ran for the seat representing Virginia Beach in the House of Delegates from the 84th District. He won and was reelected to the seat, six more times.
Here, as was the case with every other position and job McDonnell took responsibility for, he excelled.
Some of the most prominent bills he drafted, sponsored and shepherded through the state legilature included Virginia’s historic Welfare Reform legislation, the reform of Virginia’s drunk driving laws, legislation to abolish the death tax and to rewrite and improve Virginia’s Public Private Partnership Transportation Act. He was all the prime sponsor of Governor Allen’s Juvenile Justice Reform Initiative.
In short time McDonnell rose through the House of Delegate’s political ranks and became Assistant Majority Leader and Chairman of the House Courts of Justice Committee and along the way, in 1996 he was named the Network of Victims of Crime Legislator of the Year in 1996. In 1998 he was named The National Child Support Enforcement Association National Legislator of the Year and The Family Foundation of Virginia’s Legislator of the Year. He was again named The Family Foundations’ Legislator of the Year in 2001, and in 2005 he received the honor of becoming the Virginia Sheriff’s Association Legislator of the Year.
Then in 2006, McDonnell decided to run for Attorney General and after election results that were initially disputed, he was declared the winner by 323 votes.
As Attorney General of Virginia, McDonnell went right to work. He established a “Senior Alert” to assist in locating missing seniors with mental deficiencies, created a state of the art Sex Offender Registry, strengthened Virginia’s mental health laws, and provided new tools for law enforcement involved in online investigations of identity theft, sexual predators, and other 21st Century criminals. McDonnell also created and led Virginia’s Youth Internet Safety Task Force, which was credited with improving online safety, and establishing the ongoing Attorney General’s Task Force on Regulatory and Government Reform. That task force made over 300 recommendations to streamline Virginia’s Administrative Code, and reduce burdensome government regulation.
But in 2009, McDonnell resigned as Attorney General in order to spend all his time and effort on running for Governor, a job he won in a landslide which saw him receive more votes than any candidate for Governor in Virginia history. McDonnell’s landslide also helped to sweep many new Republicans in to the Virginia state legislature.
Upon becoming Governor, McDonnell inherited a $6 billion deficit but in a year’s time he turned it in to a $400 million surplus. And he did so after defeating a proposed $2 billion increase in the state income tax, and keeping the state’s existing car tax relief.
But perhaps the most profound immediate positive impact McDonnell has had was his ability to in less trhan two years, take Virginia’s unemployment from 7.2% to 5.6% after creating 111,900 new jobs in the state.
All this is probably why in 2011, McDonnell’s Republican colleagues chose him to be the Chairman of the Republican Governors Association. It is also one of the reasons why Bob McDonnell is seen as an obvious choice for Vice President.
- McDonnell is a skilled campaigner and legislator whose talents can only help the ticket
- “If” this a close presidential election, Virginia is a state that Romney must win in any formula that allows him to reach the 270 electoral votes needed to take the White House. Bob McDonnell can deliver Virginia to the Republican column
- McDonnell can help Romney among evangelicals who he needs to cast their ballots for him in record numbers.
- McDonnell can help Romney in the South where he needs bridge the enthusiasm gap that exists for Romney
- McDonnell’s record on jobs, energy, budgets, and deficits is an invaluable asset that will help draw sharp contrasts with Obama’s record
- His experience in law and law enforcement, and on matters concerning the Constitution is unparalleled by most other likely contenders for the vice presidency and it helps to call in to question the credentials of the Obama Administration concerning ther Adminsistrations many legal challenges to states and their sovereignty
- McDonnell’s addition to the ticket does not bring the type of diversity which other potential candidates like Marco Rubio, Condoleezza Rice or Susana Martinez can, and that diversity might be needed to help win in key battlegrounds states like Ohio and/or Florida
- McDonnell signed an executive order removing anti-discriminatory protection for gays and lesbians in Virginia, rescinding a 2006 order from Gov. Kaine which had prohibited discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation. This will mobilize liberal gay activists to the point where they may get some mileage from attempts to paint McDonnell and by natural extension, the Republican ticket, as out of touch, right wing extremists
- Governor McDonnell issued a proclamation designating April 2010 as Confederate History Month and the initial proclamation left out any anti-slavery language. McDonnell rectified this but the issue is one which the left may try to exploit
- McDonnell signed in to law a measure that mandates ultra sounds for pregnant women seeking an abortion. The measure came after McDonnell initially supported an earlier bill requiring women to get an intravaginal ultrasound before an abortion procedure
- Lacks any immediate foreign affairs experience
McDonnell has his fingerprints are all over the solutions to the most critical problems ailing the nation. On an issue such as energy, he has led the way in making Virginia an national resource for natural energy with his support drilling for oil off of the coast of Virginia while simultaneously developing new technologies for wind, solar, biomass, and other renewable energy resources and expanding investments in renewable energy sources while also incentivizing green job creation. On the issue of jobs, CNBC named Virginia “The Top State for Business” in the country and while the nation has been focussed on not counting the number of people who have dropped out of the job market, since taking office McDonnell has has created 112,00 net new jobs and the number of unemployed Virginians has decreased by 21%. That’s a reduction in unemployment obtained by counting new jobs not by stopping to count the number of people who gave up looking for jobs.
On budgetary matters, while the nation lost its AAA bond rating, and the deficit has ballooned at an unprecendented rate, McDonnell took his state from one with a record deficit, to where now each year he has been in office, it has a surplus.
As one newspaper put it On those issues important to all – taxation, jobs, schools, – Bob McDonnell did not disappoint. “Priorities were set and addressed.” And that is exactly what people want in a Republican presidential ticket and why McDonnell is only a logical choice.
However Mitt Romney may find that he can select others who have similarly positive but are more established. Like Indiana’s Mitch Daniels. Or that he could find some of similar accomplishments but unlike McDonnell, could also bring diversity to the ticket. Names like Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal and New Mexico’s Susana Martinez come to mind.
Romney may also want to try to get someone whose record lacks the type of controversial social issue positions that McDonnell has brought to the table. The thinking there is that Romney does not want to give President Obama and the left, the opportunity to focus on things will distract from the G.O.P.’s ability to get voters to focus on the Obama record and the Obama economy. With McConnell’s decisions regarding things like issuing a proclamation designating a Confederate History Month, removing so-called anti-discriminatory protections from gays and lesbians, and the decision mandating ultrasounds before a women has an abortion, Romney may fear that McDonnell could be “Palinized” and that those issues will can become the distraction that Democrats want. But such can be done with the record of any conservative. Or liberal for that matter.
So it is hard to say with any certainty that Romney will tap McDonnell for Vice President. But you can bet that McDonnell’s name is one of the top five on the short list for the job.
Recent Key Votes
Bob McDonnell on the Issues
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