Regent in the governor’s hizouse, or running for it anyway. I don’t think there’s too much value in holding a 20 year-old master’s thesis against anyone (I skipped reading the article til TPM excerpted it and I saw the Regent connection), but this one is radical enough that McDonnell should have to go through and explain exactly which right-wing extremist things he still believes and which ones he doesn’t.
The thesis wasn’t so much a case against government as a blueprint to change what he saw as a liberal model into one that actively promoted conservative, faith-based principles through tax policy, the public schools, welfare reform and other avenues.
“Leaders must correct the conventional folklore about the separation of church and state,” he wrote. “Historically, the religious liberty guarantees of the First Amendment were intended to prevent government encroachment upon the free church, not eliminate the impact of religion on society.”
He argued for covenant marriage, a legally distinct type of marriage intended to make it more difficult to obtain a divorce. He advocated character education programs in public schools to teach “traditional Judeo-Christian values” and other principles that he thought many youths were not learning in their homes. He called for less government encroachment on parental authority, for example, redefining child abuse to “exclude parental spanking.” He lamented the “purging of religious influence” from public schools. And he criticized federal tax credits for child care expenditures because they encouraged women to enter the workforce.
It always come down to spanking, doesn’t it?
In complete fairness, McDonnell has been less of a whack as a public servant than that thesis suggests. Nevertheless, after reading about his thesis and contemplating the possibility (however unlikely) of Republicans running the country again, I was ready to go home to take pain pills and die.