Lighthorse Harry and the Attorney General
Attorney General Bob McDonnell delivered his first formal remarks yesterday and in doing so invoked the words of Lighthorse Harry. It was the real Lighthorse harry, not the SST contributor, who said in his eulogy of George Washington that "Vice shuddered in his presence and virtue always felt his fostering hand."
McDonnell used these words to speak of upholding the high standards of the Office of Attorney General, supporting the Constitutions of the United States and Virginia, and ensuring that all Virginians are availed of their rights and freedoms under those documents.
In terms of legislative priorities, McDonnell reestablished the themes he talked about in his campaign, protecting children from violent sexual predators, removing the scourge of drugs from our communities, guarding Virginians from ever-advancing methods of identity theft, and ensuring preparation for and defense against threats to our security. McDonnell also invoked a plank of the Freedom and Prosperity Agenda by promising greater protections for private property owners.
McDonnell closed with this call to service:
With all these actions, this office will stand prominently in defense of our most fundamental principles and sacred obligations. We do not know all the issues that may confront us in the next four years. But we do know the reliability of those shared values that created this Commonwealth and have sustained it for almost 400 years.The speech is a positive statement about the man we have elected as our 44th Attorney General and the things he hopes to accomplish over the next four years. I look forward to seeing what Bob McDonnell does with the office. I believe he'll make us proud.
I earlier mentioned Edmund Randolph, who served as both the first Attorney General of Virginia and the first Attorney General of the United States under President Washington. In his final years, Randolph wrote a History of Virginia that traced our story from the settlement at Jamestown through the Revolutionary War. While Randolph covered all the major events, he focused on what he called the “Virginia character.” He outlined the origin of the “Virginia character” through the early days of suffering and starvation in Jamestown. He detailed its principles through Bacon’s Rebellion and the Stamp Act. He catalogued its traits of integrity, reason, moderation, and forcefulness. Randolph did all this in order to show how this character acted under the supreme test of Revolution. During the “season which tried men’s souls,” he wrote, “Virginia produced public agents suitable to every crisis and service.”
We in Virginia are the heirs to and guardians of that character, and you, today’s public agents, must continue to rise for each modern day “crisis and service.”