06/06/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Bob McDonnell Blows the Racist Dog Whistle Really Really Loud

Think of it a "Black History Month" for proto-Klansmen. It's like a Freshman Young Republican hanging a confederate flag from a second story dorm room window as a right wing career builder.

Let's consider: We are regularly invited to "celebrate" black history month (absurd as the idea may be in its conception and execution). Virginia's Governor Bob McDonnell did not ask his state's citizens to "celebrate" "Confederate History Month." He simply "declared" its existence, leaving the celebratory aspect aspirated to the level of the dog whistle (an apt metaphor considering his audience).

If McDonnell had not wanted to be incendiary, if he had not wanted to suggest sympathy with the ideals of the confederacy, if he had not wanted to evoke an opposition to the idea of celebrating black equality, if he had, as stated, simply wanted to ensure that "a defining chapter in Virginia's history should not be forgotten," he could have proclaimed "Civil War History Month" and achieved that end. Instead, he uses language that, by association, inevitably implies 'celebrating' the confederacy, celebrating a world in which white men ruled black ones and fought for the right to enslave them, celebrating treason by the southern states, celebrating the instigation of a bloody war for the right to maintain a way of life both perverted and decadent.

McDonnell has a long history as an arch conservative. (And yes, in today's America, self-identifying "conservatives" oftentimes exhibit a passive tolerance of insensitivity towards issues of race; for instance, how many conservatives expressed outrage over this, or vehemently condemn the likes of Limbaugh when he crosses the line?) As a testament to his arch-wingnuttery, McDonnell's Regent University thesis came to light:

At age 34, two years before his first election and two decades before he would run for governor of Virginia, Robert F. McDonnell submitted a master's thesis to the evangelical school he was attending in Virginia Beach in which he described working women and feminists as "detrimental" to the family. He said government policy should favor married couples over "cohabitators, homosexuals or fornicators." He described as "illogical" a 1972 Supreme Court decision legalizing the use of contraception by unmarried couples. The Washington Post


McDonnell has clearly staked his conservative bona fides on abortion, gay rights and women's rights. He had yet to imply his sympathy for white supremacy. Having now done so, I'm sure he feels politically and personally complete.