McDonnell says he's changed his mind on some of the issues he wrote about when he was seeking a public policy degree -- especially on women in the workforce -- and his record as a state legislator and attorney general doesn't suggest he's ever used his office to punish gays, working women or feminists. But the Post is having none of it. In a particularly snotty piece, editorial writer Ruth Marcus complains that McDonnell can't "explain away" his views, noting "(t)here are so many delicious aspects to the McDonnell uproar."
Funny, the Post was not nearly as eager to make an issue of 2006 Democratic senate candidate (now U.S. senator) Jim Webb's past writings. A search of Post archives found exactly one article in which the Post mentioned that Webb had written novels between 1978 and 2001 depicting, among many other salacious scenes, a father performing a sex act on his young son. And the news headline blamed Webb's Republican opponent, Sen. George Allen, for making the subject newsworthy in the first place: "Allen Blasts Webb Novels for Sex Scenes; Veteran Says Works Reflect Trauma of War." The article goes on to explain: "Webb's books, including 'Lost Soldiers,' 'Something to Die For,' and 'Fields of Fire,' are historical novels that describe wartime horrors in Vietnam and people dealing with the aftermath of combat," adding, helpfully, "Webb is a decorated Marine who served in Vietnam."
The Post's kid glove treatment of Webb played an important role in his ultimate election in 2006. And it was particularly egregious given the way they went after Webb's opponent George Allen for having uttered a nonsensical phrase during a campaign stop, referring to a Democratic opposition researcher who had been videotaping Allen on the campaign trail as "macaca." The Post alleged -- unconvincingly, in my view -- that the term was a racial epithet, driving Allen's campaign into a tailspin from which it never recovered.