By Tom White – Virginia Right – Origianlly Posted September 04, 2014
By now everyone living in Virginia has heard that former Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife Maureen have been found guilty on 11 and 9 Federal counts respectively.
They are now both convicted felons. Conspiracy and fraud as well as failure to provide the honest leadership Virginian’s were entitled to were the deeds of which they were convicted.
After meeting Bob McDonnell in 2009 and listening to his speeches about his conservative philosophy, about honesty and integrity of our elected officials and his faith and trust in God, I decided to work as hard as I could to get this man elected as Virginia’s governor. During the campaign I spoke to Bob numerous times, covered and photographed and too video of more whistle stop events than I can count.
I made phone calls from the Victory Center and was there several times each week. I believe in Bob McDonnell’s message with all my heart and, by extension, my faith and trust in the Republican Party in Virginia was solid. I had seen what was happening in Washington DC since the election of a far left wing Democrat, Barack Obama, and was determined to be a part of the comeback based on a message of solid Conservative principles and fiscal responsibility.
And Bob McDonnell had the message honed to a fine edge and it resonated with Virginia. With McDonnell’s strong leadership and lofty promises the Republicans swept the top 3 offices in the state.
On election night I had an invitation to the “War Room” at the Richmond Marriott to watch the returns with the candidates but by the time I finished my poll duties and drove downtown, the election was called. It was a VERY early call. But the victory party was thrilling. And yes, alcohol was involved.
And just after the election, my phone rang with a conference call from Governor-elect McDonnell. He thanked us for our hard work and he ended the call by telling us to hold his feet to the fire.
The inauguration was a high point that was second only to the Inaugural Ball. The culmination of nearly a full year of hard work, long nights and so much time away from my family had finally ended with the party to end all parties. This was even better than the victory party on election night, and that is saying something.
But for me, watching the first dance of Virginia’s new first couple was a feeling I am unable to put into words. And the fact that the couple’s daughter Jeanine recorded the vocals to the Shania Twain song “You’re Still the One” that her parents danced to was magical. I recorded the video below of the first dance. This was the perfect couple. So much in love and I was looking forward to the next 4 years.
If you followed the trial at all about the estrangement of this couple, the disconnect and the marriage on the brink of failure, it is simply impossible to reconcile that story with the words and the looks on the faces of Bob and Maureen as they danced.
And for the next 3 years or so things in Virginia went well. I visited the Governor’s Mansion for several events, spoke with the Governor and his wife and always found them both to be very down to earth people. Not at all like the stories I heard during the trial.
But Bob McDonnell’s last year in office was a stunning reversal from his first three. He had taken over a state that was deep in debt, the former governor Tim Kaine saw higher taxes as the only solution, an idea that Bob McDonnell laughed at. And for 3 years we ran a surplus. McDonnell had proven that a fiscally conservative approach, lower taxes and smarter ideas were better than a tax hike.
But that 4th year, McDonnell pushed for the largest tax hike in Virginia history – larger than the Kaine plan that was defeated 0-100.
It was like Bob McDonnell stuck a knife in my back. And as I heard the stories about the behind the scenes arm twisting and threats of stripping people from Committee’s to force their vote, all of the good will I had built up for bob McDonnell over the years flew out of the window. Bob McDonnell was another big government Progressive that had played his part as a Conservative well enough to fool me.
But I must thank McDonnell for one thing. He opened my eyes to just how corrupt politicians can be. With that single tax hike he proved to me that I really can’t blindly trust anyone in office. And my focus on this blog changed with that tax hike. And while that may not be fair to other politicians that have yet to break my trust, it is nonetheless a fundamental belief I now hold. That all politicians are liars and crooks. And I am right more than I am wrong with that belief.
So the fallout for me is that I do not trust anyone elected to political office. And for better or worse, Bob McDonnell is by far the most influential politician in my arriving at that philosophy.
So when I heard of the charges against Bob and Maureen McDonnell and listened to the circus, I was not surprised.
They tried to convince the jury that they were having marital problems to avoid the conspiracy charges. I didn’t buy that. And there have been a few clues that this was all a charade that came out today. After the verdict and for the first time since the trial began, Bob and Maureen left in the same car. And one of the reporters interviewed some of the neighbors at the house Bob and Maureen share. The reporter noted that Bob had moved out and was living with his priest while Maureen remained at the house. Then the reporter went on to say that one of the neighbors said Bob cut his own grass and always asked this neighbor about her family even during the trial. the reporter seemed to miss the evidence that Bob was not totally out of the house.
But I thought the jury would buy the “we’re estranged” act. Apparently these two are very good with acting and lies. they fooled me, that’s for sure.
Now they both face jail. Up to 20 years I hear. And Bob McDonnell has lost his state retirement by being convicted. Ironically due to a bill he signed. Oops.
And they were offered a plea deal. If Bob had plead guilty to one felony, a little jail time was all he would see and Maureen would not be charged. He turned down that deal and wound up with 11 felony convictions and Maureen 9. I bet he wants a Mulligan on that one.
There are a lot of corrupt, elitist, entitled politicians in office. This jury sent a message that we expect better. We demand better. Politics in Virginia has been in the gutter for a while. Entitled politicians who run roughshod over the people that put them in office will not be tolerated in Virginia. Eric Cantor and his slating pals will attest to that. And using your office for personal gain will not be tolerated either.
I am sorry that Bob and Maureen were not the people I thought they were. I think we are all sorry about that. I have met all of their kids, talked to some of them more than others, and they are really good people. And I feel sorry for them and what they will miss with their parents in jail. 20 years in jail is a long time when you are 60 years old.
But I hope this will teach other politicians a lesson about working for the citizens of this Commonwealth or the nation. But somehow, I believe this lesson will be forgotten as soon as someone dangles a Rolex in front of their greedy little paws.
You simply can’t trust a politician.
About Tom White – Tom is a US Navy Veteran, owns an Insurance Agency and is currently an IT Manager for a Virginia Distributor. He has been published in American Thinker, currently writes for the Richmond Examiner as well as Virginia Right! Blog. Tom lives in Hanover County, Va and is involved in politics at every level and is a Recovering Republican who has finally had enough of the War on Conservatives in progress with the Leadership of the GOP on a National Level.