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McDonnell: Smart play; GOP debate tonight the reason?


by Paul Goldman

In the end, Governor McDonnell had to cut his losses, surely by the time of tonight’s GOP debate. Personally, I would have preferred that he make the point about it being time for med-school wannabees in the Virginia General Assembly to stop playing doctor, we have trained professionals for that, just get out of the way, and let them practice medicine.

But he took my advice, went out and got some expert opinion – I would have preferred a formal group, but informal is okay, it was clear what they would recommend anyway.  His statement in pertinent parts, with my commentary:

“Over the past days I have discussed the specific language of the proposed legislation with other governors, physicians, attorneys, legislators, advocacy groups, and citizens.”

Fascinating. What Governors did he speak to? Two are running for the Senate!

“I have come to understand … the medical practice and standard of care currently…”  said the Governor.

Now get this.

“I believe there is no need to direct by statute….Mandating an invasive procedure in order to give informed consent is not a proper role for the state. No person should be directed to undergo an invasive procedure by the state, without their consent, as a precondition to another medical procedure.”

McDonnell is getting into anti-government mode like a good conservative is suppose to.  

“For this reason…I am requesting that the General Assembly amend this bill to explicitly state that no woman in Virginia will have to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound involuntarily. I am asking the General Assembly to state in this legislation that only a transabdominal, or external, ultrasound will be required to satisfy the requirements to determine gestational age. Should a doctor determine that another form of ultrasound may be necessary to provide the necessary images and information that will be an issue for the doctor and the patient. The government will have no role in that medical decision.”

Does this end the matter or answer all the questions raised by this Big Government Conservatism Push by Virginia Republicans?  Hardly; there is more to the general issue and this specific issue.

But it is clear the Governor of Virginia heard the 1,000 Alice Pauls out there earlier in the week, in the cold, standing up for the 1st, the 14th and a few other Amendments at the same.

Moreover, in our mass communication culture, you’ve got to pay attention to the comedy shows, the talk shows, and the digital space, not to mention the TV news and the like. In this world, once you get behind the media curve, even Einstein couldn’t figure a way back.

McDonnell cut his loses today, that’s what a smart politician does. The guy is ready for the national scene in my view. But I ask again: Why would a guy who knows how to play the game want to run with Mitt Romney, who is a sure loser?

Meanwhile, to all those gutsy women who showed the late-to-the-party Democratic males in the GA how to play the game: Well done.  Now that you’ve got their attention, press your advantage!

One last thought: so much for Jill Vogel’s hopes to run statewide.


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