Of course this is an inherent problem with Virginia's cockamamie system that limits governors to one term. Not only do you lose the ability to retain a competent governor -- and Virginia has had two straight -- but you give every incentive for a candidate to feint to the center and then govern from the extreme once in office. Lots of people supported McDonnell because he insisted he was not a social issues warrior. Once he's in office, it's obvious that he lied, but the voters can't do anything about it.I'm okay, with a lot of hesitation, with the two-term limit on the presidency. The dangers of the things that a president-for-life could do seem to me just barely sufficient to override the dangers of a president no longer accountable to the voters, although I'm willing to listen to arguments the other way. But for pretty much every other office, and certainly for governors, Members of Congress, and state legislators, term limits are a lousy idea.
Good government types tend to believe that if only pols were freed from re-election constraints, they would do the right thing and serve the public interest. The obvious problem with that* is that sometimes what a pol really believes has nothing to do with the public interest; it's just what he happens to believe. Elections -- the incentives involved in re-election -- are the mechanism that democracies use to ensure that pols serve the public interest, because...and this seems beyond the goo goo mentality to understand -- voters are the public. Yes, yes, sometimes voters can mistake short term gimmicks for long term effects, and sometimes voters actually want things that other observers think are foolish, but in general, a politician who keeps voters happy is doing so because she is representing them well. Which is, you know, good democracy in action.
*Outside of all the other perverse incentives term limited pols face such as the likelihood that they'll be especially responsible to those who might employ them in the near future, the lack of experience that term limited pols bring to their jobs, and the selection effects of disqualifying those who can't or won't serve for a short time.