IS THAT IT FOR ROMNEY'S SECRET JESUS WEAPON?
I think the chances of the rest of the folks on Mitt Romney's VP short list just got a whole lot better:
Gov. Robert F. McDonnell is backing off his unconditional support for a bill requiring women to have an ultrasound before an abortion, focusing new attention on one of the most controversial pieces of legislation in Virginia’s General Assembly this year.
Until this weekend, McDonnell (R) and his aides had said the governor would sign the measure if it made it to his desk. McDonnell, who strongly opposes abortion, will no longer make that commitment.
But delegates and governor's staff were scheduled to meet Tuesday night to strike a compromise after learning that some ultrasounds could be more invasive than first thought....
As a potential VP candidate, McDonnell is screwed either way. If he signs the bill, obviously, this becomes an issue with moderate swing voters in the general election -- but if he backs away from it, the Christian rightists Romney desperately wants to motivate in the fall will see McDonnell as a guy who was bested by evil liberals. They would have been content with him if he'd presided over a state where this wasn't the law, but once the possibility that it might become the law was raised, he had to win. He damn well couldn't face off against -- ick -- feminists and back down. Crushing liberalism is what being a right-winger is all about.
Chris Christie is obviously a better choice for Romney -- I suppose it's a risk for him to go after Rick Santorum's remarks on Satan, but I think he threads the needle deftly here:
"Listen, I think anything you say as a presidential candidate is relevant. It is by definition relevant. You're asking to be president of the United States.... I think it is relevant what he says. I think people want to make an evaluation, a complete evaluation of anyone who asks to sit in the Oval Office," the New Jersey governor said....
"Do I think it's the things we should be as a party talking about and emphasizing at the moment? No," he said.
"I think the idea of the fighting against religion piece of this goes to more to Obamacare issue and the invasion of Obamacare into maybe some religious freedom issues. I think that's an interesting conversation and an important one to have in the context of overall Obamacare and what's that going to mean for the country if it goes forward after the Supreme Court arguments this spring," he said.
Oooh, nice job of palming the Jesus card and then playing it yourself!
Christie walks a fine line on this stuff. He's not a religious-right hero, though he holds his own. (In the new Quinnipiac poll, when Republicans are asked who should emerge as the party presidential nominee in the event of a brokered convention, Christie blows away the field among moderates and non-born-agains, but essentially ties Jeb Bush and Sarah Palin among conservatives and born-agains.)
What saves Christie among the Jesus crowd, I think, is the perception he creates that he isn't losing. They should be appalled that he'd even be willing to put gay marriage to a vote in New Jersey -- but when he puts in in terms of, in effect, Put it to a vote, and screw you homos if you don't like it, he comes off as a winner. Which is all even the Jesus-y right wants. (And mouthing off at Warren Buffett is a plus as well, on the right.)