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Friday, October 11, 2013

Gov. McDonnell On Shutdown: Bad Choices And Failure Of Leadership To Blame

Bob McDonnell, the Republican governor of Virginia. (virginia.gov)

Bob McDonnell, the Republican governor of Virginia. (virginia.gov)

A Republican plan to temporarily raise the debt ceiling didn’t pass muster at the White House last night, but both the President and Republican House leaders have agreed to keep talking.

Some Republican governors are also unhappy with how their party is handling the budget standoff.

The Republican Governors Association website features a video showcasing a handful of governors, including Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal, Scott Walker of Wisconsin, and John Kasich of Ohio, who aim to set themselves apart from the government impasse.

Virginia’s Republican Governor, Bob McDonnell, is also distancing himself from what he calls “the dysfunction of Washington.”

He joins Here & Now‘s Meghna Chakrabarti to share his thoughts on the government shutdown.




Well, given those low poll numbers, some Republican governors have tried to distance themselves from how their party is handling the federal budget standoff. Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell wrote a strongly worded op-ed in the Washington Post condemning what he calls the debacle on the Potomac.

Gov. McDonnell joins us on the line. And Governor, you've criticized the shutdown and the way the government, or governing I should say, is going on in general, saying it's not rational. So what would you do to inject rationality back into Washington?

GOV. BOB MCDONNELL: Well, it's probably even stronger than that. I said our country is broke. We're $17 trillion in debt and heading the wrong way, over a trillion dollars in new deficit spending in the last five years, and our political process is broken.

And I say, you know, it starts at the top. The president's refused to have a budget passed and can't get a budget through the U.S. Senate even when his party was in charge, and he won't have any serious discussion about entitlement reform and spending cuts, and so there's no way we're going to get our fiscal house in order until you do that.

At the same time, Republicans were very unrealistic in thinking that they were ever going to have the U.S. Senate or the president agree to defund Obamacare, which is the top achievement of the president. I don't agree with the policy, but that's - it is certainly an achievement for him, and that was never going to happen. So there's blame to go around, but it starts with the president leading.

CHAKRABARTI: It starts with the president leading, you say, but what about, you know, the now 70 percent of Americans, according to this NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll that just came out that find that Republicans are putting politics ahead of what's best for the country?

MCDONNELL: Well, I say some of that is press-driven. I mean, it's just - that's not rational, and it's just - that's the problem with Washington. Everybody wants to blame one side. (Unintelligible)...

CHAKRABARTI: Wait, just Governor, if I may, can I - I just want to be sure I understand what you're saying. You're saying that this poll finding 70 percent of Americans, basically you're saying that those 70 percent are not rational?

MCDONNELL: No, what I'm saying is that the press started, I think a month ago, just lining it up as though this is all Republicans' fault. But Meghna, think about it. You know, the president controls the executive branch, and his party controls half of the legislative branch, and somehow it's all the Republicans' fault. That doesn't make sense.

I said the Republicans, my party, to think that they were going to be successful in defunding Obamacare was just not realistic, wasn't going to happen, and of course that was leading to a government shutdown. But I'm saying the president, having no budget for the United States of America and refusing to have any serious discussion on entitlement reform, it's clearly unrealistic on his part that the United States of America is going to have trillion-dollar-plus budget deficits every year, and somehow that's the right course for the country. That's bad leadership.

CHAKRABARTI: I wonder what you would advise your Republican colleagues, then, in Washington to do now because they are of your party. I mean, I hear your criticism of the president, but what would you advise, you know, House Speaker Boehner to be doing?

MCDONNELL: Well, I've got my hands full in Virginia. So I don't - what I would say is they've got to stand up for fiscal responsibility. I think that is critically important. But you can't shut government down, and you have to pay your bills. But at the same time they've got to continue to keep the pressure on the president to get a budget. You know, no budget for nearly five years, unacceptable.

CHAKRABARTI: Bob McDonnell is the governor of the state of Virginia. Gov. McDonnell, thank you so much for joining us today.

MCDONNELL: Well, very nice to be on. It's a critically important topic for our country, and hopefully a reasonable statesman will rise up, and we'll have something done, and we'll get the government back to work.

CHAKRABARTI: Well, you heard Virginia Gov. McDonnell's prescription there, but I'm wondering how you would inject rationality back into Washington, if you do indeed think we've reached a state of irrationality in how we govern in the United States of America. Let us know at hereandnow.org.

Still to come, an investigator with Human Rights Watch documents what could amount to war crimes by the Syrian opposition. That's coming up a little later in the show. News is next, HERE AND NOW. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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  • Whitesauce

    Gov. McDonnell? Really? I would think there would be better people to talk to than someone his recent record of ethical lapses. He was right to suggest he has his hands full in Virginia. He’s trying to stay out of jail.

  • pjchooch

    You let Bob McDonnell off the hook with just his talking points…

    The House is responsible for writing the budget. The House Republicans have in fact, written several, but they have also repeatedly refused to go to conference with the Democrats (19 times). This is why there is no budget.

    It has nothing to do with the President, other than as a scapegoat.

  • LincolnX

    Could journalists please call these politicians when they distort the truth? Here’s the White house budget, which is submitted every single year – come on, Governor! http://m.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/budget/fy2013/assets/budget.pdf

  • EisenhowerRepublican

    Wish you could have reminded Gov. McDonnell that the deficit has been cut in half, from 9% of GDP to 4% of GDP. The idea that Obama advocates, or stands for, or promotes, trillion dollar deficits, is a myth — completely made up by the right wing media out of whole cloth. The jump in the deficit was the result of the recession. Now that we’re in recovery, it’s coming back down. Using it as an excuse to cut Social Security benefits — ‘entitlement reform’ — is dishonest.

    • X-Ray

      It’s gone from $9 Trillion debt to $17 Trillion under the Obama tenure. That’s the bottom line. Doubling of the debt, doubling of the cost of debt service. That’s going to be a drag on the economy from now on.

      • EisenhowerRepublican

        Yes, the debt is high, though not record-breaking, as a percentage of GDP. It’s the accumulation of all annual deficits throughout history, minus what’s been paid down. But the increase in debt under Obama is not his doing. It’s the result of Bush policies — two wars, tax cuts benefiting primarily the rich, and a huge giveaway to the drug companies — plus the fallout from the biggest recession since the Great Depression. None of this Obama could control, and his response to it has been perfectly sound, although, in the case of the stimulus, not large enough. The resulting debt is not a drag on the economy at these interest rates, if we adopt sensible measures to protect the recovery. That means (1) no Republican brinksmanship to raise the rates at which the government can borrow and (2) no stupid austerity.

        • X-Ray

          Bush signed off a withdrawal of American troops in Iraq before he left office. But when the time came, Obama wanted to extend the cmmittment and was only rebuffed by the Iraqis who wouldn’t agree to the status of forces agreement (SoFA). So Obama didn’t end that one. Further, Obama didn’t end the Afghan adventure in 4 years of his tenure and now wants to extend support for another 10 years. Obama overspent the Federal revenue by over One Trillion Dollars in each year of his tenure. Not enough stimulus? Too much say I. Obama has been, and continuous to be a feckless leader, while blaming his failures on the previous administration, with the help of people like you.

  • Amanda

    He’s being disingenuous with his blame of the president not having a budget. There’s a reason it’s called an impasse- maybe the dems don’t accept cutting entitlements but the GOP has spent those 5 years not accepting raising taxes too. It takes 2 to tango.

  • galegal

    The way to inject some reason and sanity into government is to send those tea party folks packing. There is no place in government for anarchists. A co-worker was overheard stating that “If there were term limits this wouldn’t be happening”. All evidence is to the contrary. What do you suppose the results would be if every couple of years we started over with a new crop of barn burners who wanted to make their mark before they had a clue what they were doing? That’s pretty much what’s at the base of the current problems.

    • N_Jessen

      Agreed. I think campaign finance reform and conflict of interest regulation are more important than term limits.

  • RoninNY

    It’s pledge time at our local NPR station and I’m withholding my donation because I’m getting sick and tired of NPR, and YOUR program bringing on right wing or GOP idiots to spew their talking points and NOT bringing on a Democrat to give their side. Using a neutral ‘analyst’ is not the same, because some of them get caught up in wimpy false equivalence ‘they both need to blah blah blah”. What are you folks afraid of? Right wing nutjobs are NOT your listeners unless they’re tuning in to troll. THEIR so-called ‘news’ sources already label NPR as a haven of commie socialist bark bark bark. If I want to hear the Heritage Foundation or right wing tea party zombies, I have a lot of choices, like Fox, CNN (Fox lite),or all the radical right radio shows..

  • X-Ray

    He right, especially on the failure of leadership on the President’s part. He just sits on his hands and says he doesn’t need to negotiate. Even if that was true, it isn’t good for the country.


    His false equivalence is false.

  • Al Gamow

    I’m assuming NPR strives to get as close as possible to a 50/50 representation of Democrats and Republicans on its various shows. That’s the way it should be.

  • Constitutional Reset from Va i

    The interview host does not have authority to take Bob McDonnell off the hook.

    Bob Mcdonnell’s appetite for taking felony to be his personal prerogative is legion and conclusively evidenced. Yet it is a custom of felony that on its exposed surface is so widely perpetrated that he ignores his oath bound duty “The Governor shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” from http://constitution.legis.virg
    He does this even though he knows he could easily and advantageously restore his own virtue, and that of his Virginian and federal republics, writing a vast number of wrongs in the process just by acknowledging his thousands of high felonies to his Lt. Governor Bill Bolling and plead for pardon under the virtue of parole oath.

    His only obstacle is criminal conceit of authority and pride. Unless he repents while he still can, ultimately those things which he holds so dear will be his bitter reward.
    Each human comes to a end point where they no long have any choices to make.
    At that time the veil of ignorance that allows our freedom of choice no longer serves any purpose and as all of substance, energy, order, spirit and freedom that was everything that we thought was us will return to its source.
    All that will remain of us is the fullness of truth as to what our consequence is.

    Bob McDonnell,
    trusts in his conceits about what he did, what he knows, what he had, who he knows
    rather than trusting in the higher authorities that are willing and able to pardon him,
    is choosing to experience the Glory of God as the fires of hell.

    And Virginia, will live with the results of Bob McDonnell’s felonies long after Bob McDonnell is dead. Every Virginian has compelling motive to without vanity prey God that bob McDonnell ask for pardon while he can so that his felonies are not the legacy he leaves Virginians to live in.

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