McDonnell should have known better

Published 2:47 pm Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Over the course of a normal human life, experience typically brings with it a certain amount of wisdom. For example, as we get older we learn that hot things burn, so we don’t intentionally touch the stove when it is lit. We also learn that tongues stick to things that are frozen, so we say no to friends who try talking us into licking a signpost in January.

Neither of these concepts requires an exceptionally high level of intelligence to grasp, merely a little bit of life experience and a pinch of common sense.

Along those same lines, one should know that as the Governor of Virginia, his personal finances will be held to a high degree of scrutiny, therefore taking over $100,000 in unsecured business loans and tens of thousands of dollars in personal gifts would raise significant ethical questions.

The fact that Governor Bob McDonnell chose to do so anyway leaves us shaking our heads in amazement.

After weeks of being questioned on the matter and remaining mostly silent on the issue, McDonnell on Tuesday released a statement indicating he had personally repaid the loans and in which he issued an apology. In it, he states, “I am deeply sorry for the embarrassment certain members of my family and I brought upon my beloved Virginia and her citizens. I want you to know that I broke no laws and that I am committed to regaining your sacred trust and confidence. I hope today’s action is another step toward that end.”

Ongoing state and federal investigation into the matter will ultimately determine, we assume, whether or not any laws were indeed broken.

Republicans will likely attempt to downplay the significance of McDonnell’s questionable decisions. Even more predictably, Democrats will call for his head.

Regardless of the outcome, a man of McDonnell’s experience should have known better. It is hard to imagine what he must have been thinking.