I've been saying this for a while: if the Virginia GOP pushes through even a part of its extreme social agenda this year, it will make Bob McDonnell a pariah in national politics. McDonnell will be made to wear such travesties as the personhood bill, the transvaginal probe bill, and the many voter suppression bills around his neck like an albatross (if you don't get the reference, go reread "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner"). Consider the following from The Atlantic magazine:
If McDonnell signs the PAP bills, he will become the face of extremism and overreach in Virginia, see a corresponding drop in popularity, and be less likely to help Romney and Allen win Virginia. If he refuses to sign the bills, he will undoubtedly enrage the culture-warriors that Romney will be hoping to placate with his VP pick. Just this week Romney was forced to reassure voters that his VP pick would be "conservative to the core." Signing the bills could also damage McDonnell's presidential chances down the road. Most people in the country don't yet know McDonnell. If their introduction to him is as the governor who signed state mandated vaginal probes into law, well, let's just say he may have trouble appealing to women voters.Read the rest at The Atlantic.
In fact, McDonnell is already on ice with female voters. He wrote a charming thesis for his master's degree at Pat Robertson's Regent University that included such gems as arguing that government policy should favor married couples over "cohabitators, homosexuals or fornicators" and called a Supreme Court decision legalizing contraception for said fornicators "illogical." (He also had some choice lines about radical feminists that would make a Rick Santorum proud.) McDonnell's Democratic opponent tried to make an issue of the thesis in 2009 but wasn't able to get much traction due to voters overriding concerns about the economy and a general backlash against Democrats. The combination, however, of McDonnell's signature on the PAP bills and his previous statements about women could very well prove a death knell for his national ambitions.
Long story short, McDonnell is damned if he does and damned if he doesn't. If he signs the bill, he's the poster boy for the GOP's culture war overreach, and if he doesn't he's the guy who betrayed the Right's culture warriors just when it seemed like victory was in sight. Bob McDonnell is screwed, and it was his own party that did it to him.