Magazine October 17, 2011, Issue

Pothole Pragmatism

Gov. Bob McDonnell (Steve Helber/AP)
Bob McDonnell does divided government right

Richmond, Va.

Elsewhere, in swing states such as Wisconsin and Ohio, Republican governors are under siege. Union heavies have swarmed capitol rotundas, schoolteachers are marching in the streets, and businesses are struggling. And as the recession continues, poll numbers are plummeting for GOP executives. But here in Virginia, a purple state carried by Pres. Barack Obama in 2008, Gov. Bob McDonnell, a first-term Republican, is a cross-aisle favorite with a 67 percent approval rating. What gives?

Chalk it up to pragmatism, McDonnell tells me as we chat in his third-floor office, a few steps from the governor’s mansion. “It’s the same situation

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