In what ought to be manna for conservatives following eight years of Democratic rule in Virginia and Democratic control of the White House and Congress, McDonnell said, "The circumstances of our time demand that we reconsider and restore the proper role of government. Without reform the continued growth of government threatens our very prosperity."
Unlike some conservatives of the recent past, McDonnell does not come off as anti-government. He simply wants government to do what it is supposed to do and leave the rest to its citizens. He explained his reasoning: "We must properly fund the core principles of government, but -- equally important -- we must utilize innovation, privatization and consolidations to deliver government services more effectively." This sounds like what Margaret Thatcher did in England and Ronald Reagan partially achieved in the United States.
McDonnell appeared to rebuke the philosophy of too many liberal Democrats that government should be primary and the individual secondary when he said, "...as we enact these reforms we must remember this: that government cannot guarantee individual outcomes, but equality of opportunity must be guaranteed for all."
There were more pledges, including one to make Virginia "the energy capital of the East Coast" by pursuing new energy technologies, as well as responsible offshore drilling for new oil resources.
Unlike some politicians, McDonnell has a core philosophy, summed up in this paragraph from his address: "The Founders' capstone on the Constitution is the Bill of Rights. No federal mandate nor program crafted by either political party should undermine the central principle of federalism, enshrined in the birth certificate of America by those who pledged their lives, fortunes and sacred honor."
Governor McDonnell's attitude, philosophy and ideas can be the foundation of a renewed Republican Party. If he succeeds, he will be a powerful force within the party and a strong contender for higher office where he might do for the country what he seeks to do for Virginia, the home of eight presidents ... so far.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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