“The bad news is Virginia’s reputation for clean government is pretty clearly undeserved. Regardless of the outcome of this trial, no one (was) going to look at this as other than a tawdry mess,” said Stephen Farnsworth, a political science professor at the University of Mary Washington, in Fredericksburg, Va. “The good news is there are plenty of states that are more corrupt than Virginia.”
But when it comes to the true test of a state — its economic climate — Farnsworth said Virginia’s proximity to D.C. and the ocean and its relatively low regulatory environment will outweigh the recent spate of wrongdoing and the McDonnells’ spectacular fall.
“Businesses are interested in professionally run, efficiently run state governments,” he said. Until that changes, he said, lawmakers will continue to take the lofty ideals of Virginia’s founding fathers to heart.
“To paraphrase [Pulitzer Prize-winning author William] Faulkner: It’s important to remember that the past is never dead. It’s not even the past,” he said.