Last month, the Washington Post revealed that Virginia’s Republican gubernatorial candidate, Bob McDonnell, had written a master’s thesis at Regent University in 1989 “in which he described working women and feminists as ‘detrimental’ to the family,” said that “government policy should favor married couples over ‘cohabitators, homosexuals or fornicators,’” and criticized “as ‘illogical’ a 1972 Supreme Court decision legalizing the use of contraception by unmarried couples.” After reading the thesis, TPM’s Eric Kleefeld and Zachary Roth said it represented “a manifesto of the anti-gender-equality right-wing.”
The thesis has since become a central issue in McDonnell’s race against Democrat Creigh Deeds. On Fox News Sunday today, host Chris Wallace asked McDonnell if his thesis represented a “radical agenda.” McDonnell replied that it did not:
WALLACE: … it was revealed that in 1989 you wrote a master’s thesis in which you said — and let’s put up some of the things on the screen — this has obviously been a big issue here in Virginia — The new trend of working women and feminism that is ultimately detrimental to the family. You criticize tax credits for child care. And you even opposed a Supreme Court ruling legalizing birth control for married couples. Mr. McDonnell, isn’t that a pretty radical agenda?
MCDONNELL: No. I think those are a couple of quotes out of a 100-page document, Chris, and what the whole purpose of the — of the thesis was to say, Look, families are the bedrock of society. And I think there’s broad agreement on that, and that government programs should not undermine the family, because that will lead to more government spending for problems that occur when the family’s not intact.
When McDonnell said the thesis was “20 years ago and some of my views over time have changed,” Wallace played a clip from an ad being run by Deeds, which said that McDonnell has supported his thesis agenda as a legislator. “In fact, we checked the record. As a legislator, you voted against a resolution that would have called for ending wage discrimination based on gender,” said Wallace. “You voted against extending child care services. And you voted against extending or requiring health insurance plans to cover birth control. So it’s not just the thesis.”