Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) does not think elected officials ought to shy away from debates over polarizing social issues just because the conversations might be uncomfortable.
In a wide-ranging interview, Gov. McDonnell said he disagrees with Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels’ (R) call for a “truce” on social issues.
“These issues go to the heart and soul of what we believe as a people,” McDonnell said.
But the governor said that, for now, “fiscal issues are clearly the most important ones.”
His campaign slogan, after all, was “Bob’s for Jobs.”
“I believe that’s very much what the focus ought to be on right now, but to say we’re not going to discuss any social or values issues because they’re controversial, I don’t think is the right thing to do.”
As a legislator, McDonnell sponsored legislation to limit abortions in Virginia. He also backed a successful effort to amend the state Constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman.
“There are (issues) regarding life and marriage and family that there are public policies that I think the government needs to set,” McDonnell said in the interview.
During the 2009 campaign for governor, McDonnell was forced to bat down criticism that he was pursuing a rigid social agenda.
His now-famous graduate school thesis — in which McDonnell said working women were a detriment to the family and that government should protect against “cohabitators, homosexuals or fornicators” — became a flash point in the race, but ultimately was not the death knell Democrats hoped it would be for the campaign.
McDonnell largely avoided social issues during his first year in office. This year, he is likely to sign a controversial bill that places new regulations on abortion clinics.