Chris Cillizza takes a look at the extent to which the Confederate History Month controversy may have hurt Bob McDonnell’s future political prospects:
[D]oes the controversy have any lasting resonance — particularly in regards to McDonnell’s future on a national party ticket?
We spoke with a handful of senior Republican strategists about that question and, while all of them suggested this was a surmountable problem, they disagreed about the seriousness of it overall.
“It’s a lasting scar mainly for its combination of stupidity, insensitivity and ignorance about the civil war,” said one senior party strategist granted anonymity to speak candidly. The source did add, however, that McDonnell “has a lot of time to make amends and put it behind him.”
Others were far more sanguine about the impact (or lack thereof). “Sixty days and its ancient history,” said one GOP big wig. “Mountain out of a molehill,” wrote another party strategist in an email to the Fix.
But, as Cillizza points out, McDonnell’s unforced error may have more lasting consequences:
“When it comes to [vice presidential] picks, most nominees want to pick someone that won’t create controversy,” explained one senior GOP strategist, speaking without attribution in order to offer a candid assessment. “When combined with his thesis controversy, he could be caricatured, fairly or not, to the many voters who don’t know him during the introductory phase.”
[M]atters of race — particularly with the nation’s first African American president in the White House — are a bigger issue than giving a single bad speech. And, assuming McDonell is in the mix for vice president in 2012, it’s a near-certainty that this incident will be part of the equation that the nominee will consider when making his (or her) selection.
Yea, I agree.
Before this controversy, I would have said that Bob McDonnell could be considered among a handful of younger Republican politicians who could be considered to be a contender for the Vice-Presidential slot in 2012. Not anymore. Maybe in the future, but not in 2012.