Your thesis and you

vWhen Robert McDonnell, the newly-elected governor of Virginia, wrote his master’s thesis for Regent University in 1989, he said, in part, that working women and feminists are “detrimental” to the family. He also calls the family “God-ordained.”

This Tuesday, he was elected by a healthy majority of 59 percent to 41 percent.

Sad. But National Organization for Women is using that quote as part of fundraiser. Take that, Gov. McDonnell. And let this be a lesson to us all: Whatever you put in your thesis? Just might come back to haunt you.

And thanks, Sister Cynical, for the link.

Published by datingjesus

Just another one of God's children.

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30 Comments

  1. Yes…have read and heard this ad nauseaum.

    There is a lot more to this story that lots of Virginians understand:

    – Writing anything other than what he wrote would not have been acceptable at RU. This is Pat Robertsons university.

    -As attorney general, he had lots of women and even gays in positions of authority.

    -He and his family are whole lot pretty than the democratic candidate. Like it or not, that counts for something.

    -The statewide information technology public-private outsourcing deal with Northrup Grumman was put together under Warner and carried on by Kaine. It is a failure that has angered a lot people and with NG insisting it needs millions dollars more per year to break even…even though they have failed to meet the contract. That splashed the other two statewide candidates as well.

    -McDonnell also ran right down the center.

    -Turnout was 39%….a million democrats that voted a year ago did not vote this week.

    -Deeds barely edged out Terry McAuliffe for the nomination. Downstaters saw Terry as a carpetbagger…would have been a winner though.

    -Deeds could only get elected in his district, which pretty much has more bears than people.

    There was one Republican race in Virginia that was lost…Del Phil Hamilton, currently under federal investigation for negotiating an appropriation for ODU’s teacher quality institute in exchange for a $40,000 dollar/year job where he did absolutely nothing. He negotiated this on his public email account with Newport News School district where he worked part-time.

    He was one of the most powerful members of the Va house. No more though.

    1. Thank you for this perspective. I understand trying to pass through Regents University and meeting the graduation requirements. I also understand that he’s said he no longer clings to those beliefs, or at least, he no longer clings to them entirely. It is interesting to see that as way station on his path through life, though. Do you think he’ll be a good governor? I ask not to pick a fight, but because I know you keep up with this stuff.

      1. When I went through a conservative Christian university I still never wrote anything I didn’t believe. But, my beliefs now are like a 180 from where they were then. I really hate when something like this is brought up because for a minute there, I believed that he said it and believes it. If he no longer believes this then it shouldn’t be an issue.

        1. You could argue that it’s not fair to bring up things from the past, but I stand by all my college papers, ignorant and otherwise.

            1. The way I typed that, it sure sounds that way, yes. No. I think my core beliefs are the same, but the way I get to the goals I set for myself and the world are different. I still believe things should be fair, like I was taught in Sunday school. I still believe we all should share, ditto. I believe in a woman’s right to choose, the same as always. I believe God made some of us heterosexual and some of us homosexual. I believe people shouldn’t text while they drive. That’s new. No, I kid. I have no idea what I said in college in my papers, but I haven’t changed all that much. That’s probably not something to brag about. I know I didn’t beat any one over the head with the religion stick, which is probably the closest thing I’d have to an embarrassing stance.

              1. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with believing the same way you did a decade ago or whatever. Like you said, it grows and expands and all. But I’ve been where that guy was. I was pro-life, anti-feminist, etc etc… But I’m not anymore and if I prove that through my actions then what I said ten years ago shouldn’t really matter anymore.

                1. I get what you’re saying. And I’m probably glazing over some of my earlier-held beliefs that would horrify me to admit now. By college, I’d abandoned some of the more egregious ones, but certainly not all of them.

      2. Well, both right and left are guilty of dredging up ANYthing with which they can embarrass their opponents, no?

  2. I just don’t know. Gov Kaine has been a disappointment in many ways and never seemed to understand that his success as gov was tied to directly to staff and his relationship with senior staff across all the agencies.

    Also, we are lucky to have the only one-term gubernatorial setup in the nation so one can only do so much damage.

    He may be good, he may not be. Time will tell. However, he is governor and I will do my damndest to serve honorably the citizens of the Commonwealth.

    These guys have my respect, even when I don’t like them. All the US presidents, even Nixon, have my respect whether I approved of what they did or stood for. The jobs are tough and everyone wants a piece of you.

    1. Too true. I don’t know why any one would want the jobs, frankly. And is that true, one term per governor? Lord, we could have something like that here in CT and save ourselves a world of hurt, I bet.

  3. Keep in mind, Bob’s thesis was not written in his early 20s…he was 34 when he wrote it.

    His beliefs may well of changed…I don’t know. On the other hand, many of his political actions while in the house and as AG suggest otherwise.

    In 13 years my beliefs have changed, but not radically, so I really have no idea how much his could have changed. As I said originally, his hiring decisions are contrary to his thesis…as his support of his oldest daughter’s time in the Army in Iraq.

    1. Excellent point. I did not know he was an older student. Certainly all my papers in graduate school — I was an older student, too — are up for grabs, should I run for office. Which I won’t.

      1. AND he was finishing a LAW degree at the same time.

        At Fort Eustis in Newport News Bob worked at McDonald Army Hospital as the Medical Supply Officer. And in April 1981 he left active duty. But he didn’t leave the service. All told Bob would serve 21 years in the U.S. Army, both active duty and reserves, retiring as a Lt. Colonel in 1997.

        Bob took the family, including first daughter Jeanine who had just been born, to Atlanta to put his business degrees and military experience to use with American Hospital Supply Corporation, a Fortune 500 company. It would begin a period of quick promotions and several moves. After a year Bob was promoted to the company’s headquarters in suburban Chicago. A year later the company placed Bob in charge of their multi-million dollar custom products regional division, managing the Minneapolis, St. Louis, and Kansas City offices. Based in Kansas City, Bob was moving rapidly up the corporate ladder. But something was missing.

        Bob was still eligible for the Vietnam-era GI Bill, but those benefits would disappear after 1989. Bob realized that he wasn’t done with his education, so he used the GI Bill benefits to get back to Virginia and enrolled at Regent University in Virginia Beach to seek a Masters Degree in Public Policy and Communications. A few months after enrolling in 1985 this young university announced the creation of a law school, and Bob applied for admittance. It began, as Bob calls it, “the years without sleep.”

        Bob simultaneously attended law school, continued his work for a Master’s Degree in public policy, raised his young family, worked as a sales manager for The Virginian-Pilot newspaper, and served in the active reserves of the Army with the 18th Field Hospital. Good preparation for a gubernatorial campaign!

        It was during those law school years that Bob did an internship on Capitol Hill with the House Republican Policy Committee. Serving the committee, spending some time with its Chair, Congressman Jerry Lewis of California, and others, Bob realized that he wanted to be more involved in public policy, and the way to do it was through elected office. He wouldn’t wait long to pursue that direction.

        McDonnell graduated from Regent in 1989 and took a job as a prosecutor in the Virginia Beach Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office. Serving on the front lines of the criminal justice system Bob worked cases that brought home to him the need for greater victims’ rights and policies that put criminals behind bars longer, and kept citizens safer in their homes. He now sought a greater role in making Virginia a safer and stronger place.

        While it is tempting to explain this thesis away as student “idealism,” at the time in his life he has more more than enough real world experience to know what his deep-seated beliefs are.

        So, one is left with two questions:

        1) Did he believe these things and have those beliefs changed?

        2) Did he write what he knew would be passed and would aid his conservative career?

        More and more I believe I like #2 better. And I hope it is the case as I can live with insincere pragmatism (Shucks, it is how I live my life).

        1. I wasn’t thinking in terms of a political career, myself, when I was in law school. Oh, wait. I wasn’t ever in law school. But I do think you have to be willing to stand by what you say, or explain why you’ve left that original stance. I’m glad you’re keeping us up to snuff on this, bub.

          1. Why should anyone be held to defending anything they wrote in college?

            There was no prefatory statement (to my knowledge) saying “These things I believe, now and forever”?

            Even at places like Regent, Jerry Falwell’s Liberty U (also in Va), Bob Jones’ U and more serious colleges, the only true objective is to pass and graduate. Students who believe otherwise when it comes to theses and dissertations tend to never graduate.

            All college assignments are exercises in thought, analysis, research, and writing. There is no reason to try to make more out of them than that.

            Whether we like the guy or not.

            1. Well, I can see asking the question when it’s something as egregious as what was written here. But if he says he doesn’t I don’t have any reason to believe otherwise, you know?
              I’d be very sad if I had to prove something before I was allowed into the feminist or liberal fold. And you should have seen some of the stuff I used to believe!

              1. The point of growing old is growing up, I think. And we all come to embrace different things in our, say, 50s (ulp) than we did in our 20s. I don’t mean to imply that I’m precisely who and what I was when I first entered college. That would be just sad.

            2. I disagree, respectfully. I think if you write something, you ought to stand by it. If you go into public office, in particular, your writings — past and present — are one way voters can educate themselves about you and your stances. Everything else is so stage-managed. Obviously, as Vegas has said, you can change your mind, but I’d want to hear how and why.

              1. Uh-huh. Does that include wrong answers on tests as an issue of bad judgement or intent?

                Besides, technically, under federal law, unless the thesis or dissertation is actually published, they are protected under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. Period.

                ALL other writings for school have this protection unless published elsewhere by the author or with the express written permission of the author.

                1. I did not know that. Is that to protect the public from our wild and crazy youth? Or our wild and crazy youth from the public?

      2. Hmm, that does seem like it would be different. I don’t know, I’m 32. I changed my thinking let’s see…maybe 8 or 9 years ago? Still, I have to believe people can change. Not that I have any reason to believe that he has.

        1. No and I think it’s fair to allow that he might have changed. But I’d need to hear it from him and see it from him, as well.

      3. That’s so interesting (your take on this) I was so careful not to write anything I didn’t believe. I had one professor who I did not agree with on many things. I would put his answer on the test and write mine in the margin. Something like, “I don’t agree with this” but I always felt like I was a total dork for doing that. I attribute it to my rebellious streak.

        1. That, or you’re brutally honest. I’d go with that explanation. I only had one professor with whom I very much disagreed. I nearly flunked the class and if I had flunked the class, I think I would have walked away a little proud of myself. That’s what having a hard head will get you.

  4. Actually, FERPA, the Federal Privacy of 1974 (FERPA was the same time) and most nearly all the matching state laws around the same time were a reaction to the activities of CREEP.

    (Please do NOT disappoint me by asking me to spell that out.)

    When congress and others realized that the Nixon administration had been going to FBI files, IRS records, and various university records to uncover dirt on students and student groups, it was obvious that something had to be done. Thus was born the Buckley Amendment and FERPA.

    Unfortunately, over the years, due to an overzealous bureaucrat, it had been tightened down to something unrecognizable by the good Mr. Buckley.

    Some of us have been working for years for modest changes, which have happened, and appear to be continuing.

    1. Ah, CREEP. Did no one stop to think about the acronymn? I’ve always wondered that. Anyway, back to the task at hand, thank you for this, Tod. This is interesting to me, and it’s stuff I do not know.

      1. You are more than welcome. It is actually quite interesting how much has come out of those years. It is also disappointing each time I encounter higher ed colleagues who don’t understand the genesis of FERPA, all the while glibly quoting and misquoting it.

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