As a legislator, attorney general and candidate for Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, Robert F. McDonnell said he opposed abortion in all but one instance: if continuing the pregnancy would put the woman’s life in danger.
However, judging by his spokesman Tucker Martin’s statements to The Washington Post, now that McDonnell has convinced himself that he has a shot to be the Republican nominee for Vice President, it appears we all misunderstood where he has been coming from these past two decades.
All this time, Governor McDonnell’s real position has been like that of former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. Romney, whose position on abortion has shifted over time, makes exceptions for rape and incest as well as the life of the woman.
If this is Bob McDonnell’s idea of making himself more acceptable as a Vice Presidential nominee, he has sadly misread the politics of the Romney nomination.
The greatest impediment to Mitt Romney’s election as President remains the belief of many conservatives that he has no commitment to the conservative agenda and no core values beyond getting himself elected to office. To overcome conservative skepticism of his candidacy, Romney must start by picking a principled conservative Vice Presidential nominee. That means someone who has an unimpeachable commitment to the pro-life cause.
That might have been Bob McDonnell at one time.
McDonnell’s shift on abortion takes away the one thing that he brought to the table to allay conservative concerns about Mitt Romney. Far from making himself more acceptable as a potential Vice President, all Bob McDonnell has done by walking away from his long-held position on abortion is to remind conservatives of Romney’s biggest problem, and in the process, show conservatives he is just another politician who will abandon one of our most important principles to promote himself.