Do They Have White Zinfandel in Prison? Va. Gov. Bob McDonnell's Secret Shame


Former Gov. Bob McDonnell (R-Va.) and his wife Maureen have been found guilty of numerous corruption charges in federal court and face serious jail time (they'll be sentenced in January).

Reason TV caught up with McDonnell back in January 2010 to discuss one of his campaign promises: He had pledged to privatize Virginia's idiotic system of state-owned liquor stores. As a matter of governance, this was a no-brainer, as state-owned liquor stores offer worse goods and service and higher prices to customers (taxpayers). It's a tough sell to claim that running a liquor operation is a core business of the state.

McDonnell wanted to change all that but ultimately failed to get it done. A coalition of big-government Democrats, who like the fact that state liquor store workers were public employees and socially conserative Republicans, who don't want a free market in something they consider a vice, sunk the plan.

The oddest moment in the video? When McDonnell offered up the tidbit that he's a big fan of white zinfandel.

Here's the original text for the video, from January 2010:

Virginia is for (Liquor) Lovers!

Bob McDonnell is a self-professed pinot grigio and white zinfandel drinker.

He's also the new Republican governor of Virginia and is taking aim at the commonwealth's oppressive and inefficient state-owned liquor monopoly. More than a dozen states still completely control the sales and distribution of all distilled spirits.

The result? Higher payrolls for state governments (state-workers are public-sector employees after all) and rotten selection and service for customers (state-sanctioned monopolies tend to diminish the shopping experience).

Despite a reputation as a social conservative, McDonnell thinks that state-run liquor stores are a bad idea from both pragmatic and philosophical perspectives. Given budget crises, says McDonnell, "we can't just do things the same old way…. Certainly there's nothing I gleaned from the [Virginia] constitution that would have me think it's better or required to have the government controlling distilled spirits."

States such as West Virginia and Iowa have gained millions of dollars in new tax and license revenues by privatizing liquor sales, says Reason Foundation policy analyst Len Gilroy. And they've also cut government expenditures by millions of dollars as well.

Will Virginia join them? McDonnell invited Reason.tv to come back in a year and check in with him. Sure thing, Mr. Governor. We'll bring the questions. You can bring the white zinfandel.

Approximately 4.30 minutes. Written and produced by Meredith Bragg and Nick Gillespie, who also hosts. Additional footage: Dan Hayes.Scroll down for downloadable versions.Subscribe to Reason.tv's YouTube channel and get immediate notification whenever a new video goes live.For more Reason.tv videos on prohibition and alchohol policy, go here.