WaPo Seeks to Put GOP Gov.-elect McDonnell 'In a Bind' Over Pat Robertson's Remarks

It failed to make his master's thesis at the university Pat Robertson founded a campaign killer, but the Washington Post is still intent on finding ways to damage governor-elect Bob McDonnell even before he takes office.

In a Metro-section front-pager today, Post staffer Rosalind Helderman insisted that some recent remarks by Robertson about the nature of Islam following the Fort Hood shooting have "put McDonnell in a bind" and are forcing the Republican governor-elect "to confront how he plans to handle his friendship with" the "long-time ally" and "highly controversial figure."

Just four paragraphs into her story, Helderman cast McDonnell as one who "tried during the race to convince Virginians that he was a social conservative who could speak more broadly to issues that cross party lines."

Of course, McDonnell did just that, winning the Virginia governor's race by an 18-point margin (59-41 over Democrat Creigh Deeds) in a race where the economy, taxes and transportation were the key issues, so it's specious for Helderman to paint the governor-elect as though he were someone of whom moderate voters were skeptical.

Helderman went on to quote "Virginia political analyst Robert D. Holsworth" as positing that "he will not be able to simply say 'no comment,' himself, forever," about Robertson's characterization of Islam as a "violent.... political system" that was "bent on the overthrow of the governments of the world and world domination."

Just as President Obama had to formally denounce Rev. Jeremiah Wright, "McDonnell will probably face continued questions about Robertson's stands through his four-year term," Helderman insisted, citing Holsworth.

Of course, for that analogy to hold true, President Obama would have to be persistently dogged by the media throughout his presidency every time Jeremiah Wright says something stupid, something which hasn't and won't likely happen, in large part because the media are not intent on damaging Obama in the way that the Post was and is with McDonnell.

What's more, Wright was Obama's long-time pastor. He married the Obamas baptized their children. McDonnell, a Roman Catholic, has received financial contributions from McDonnell and earned a law degree from his university, but has never been under the weekly spiritual authority of the Protestant evangelist. The relationships between Wright and Obama and Robertson and McDonnell are hardly analogous.

All the same, the paper that tried to make McDonnell's thesis his "macaca" moment seems now intent on morphing Robertson into McDonnell's Rev. Wright. It's abundantly clear the Post is not aiming to be a neutral observer and chronicler of McDonnell's tenure in the governor's mansion, but rather the weaver of a negative narrative. 

Religion Campaigns & Elections Christianity Virginia Washington Post Government & Press Bob McDonnell Rosalind Helderman