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Afternoon Read: McDonnell's "Tone-Deafness," "Inattention to Detail"

The Economist ran a piece Friday analyzing what the impacts of the controversial Virginia abortion could be on Mcdonnell's future political career.

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    Alex Wong/Getty Images
    Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell (R) and Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (L).

    The Economistweighed in Friday on how the Virginia ultrasound abortion bill might impact Gov. Bob McDonnell, highlighting the salience of this state controversy in national discourse.

    The article states that McDonnell’s ambitions for national office (his name has been circulated as a vice-presidential potential) may be threatened by his inability to control the excess in his party, specifically the ultrasound abortion bill.

    The originally proposed bill would have required women to get an invasive transvaginal uiltrasound prior to getting an abortion.

    McDonnell originally supported the bill but, amid national criticism, later called for the bill to amended.

    The final bill called for women to get an abdominal ultrasound before an abortion and made the transvaginal ultrasound optional.

    “Making this invasive procedure, involving the insertion of a wand, compulsory is akin, say Democrats and women’s rights advocates, to a sexual assault. The aim, supposedly, is to confront women with the reality of their fetus.”

    The piece questioned how McDonnell couldn't have foreseen the public backlash of the bill.

    “The fact that Mr. McDonnell had not foreseen a public backlash to the vaginal-ultrasound requirement seems, to some, to illustrate his tone-deafness and inattention to detail. Both could have adverse consequences for the governor, who, as a prospective running-mate for Mr. Romney, fancies himself as a bridge to conservatives wary of the moderate front-runner.”

    The Economist points to other avoidable controversies, including one from 2010 when McDonnell signed a proclamation celebrating Virginia’s confederate past, but failed to mention slavery.

    This latest embarrassment recalls one that threatened Mr McDonnell’s candidacy for governor: his thesis as a law student in 1989 at a university founded by Pat Robertson, the television evangelist. In it, Mr McDonnell argued that feminists are “detrimental” to the family and that public policy should favour married couples over “cohabitators, homosexuals or fornicators”. When it comes to Republican politics in 2012, he was clearly ahead of his time.

    * Maryland Rep. Roscoe Bartlett’s mustache flap that made international waves isn’t going away anytime soon and is even being used against the veteran politician in his congressional race.

    The people behind the STACHE Act—a satirical proposal from the American Mustache Institute that calls for up to $250 in tax breaks for mustache related grooming supplies—reached out to Bartlett earlier this week for his support.

    An aide in Bartlett’s office said she would pass the proposal on to the Ways and Means Committee. The Baltimore Sun said this was just a nice way of her saying “Thanks, but no thanks.”

    But the Weekly Standard questioned whether the aide should have forwarded the proposal along without Bartlett’s approval.

    Even though Bartlett says he has never heard of the Stache Act, The Sun reports that his opponents have been trying to tie Bartlett to the proposal.

    VIA The Sun:

    "This bill could be sexist," state Sen. Kathy Afzali, who is seeking the Republican nomination for the seat, told WUSA-TV. "With people in District 6 -- probably about 15 percent unemployed -- I think we have some other issues that are a little more important than facial hair."

    State Sen. Rob Garagiola, a Democrat, sent an e-mail to supporters on Thursday under the subject line "serious times call for serious people." In it, Garagiola notes that he has been talking about the economy while "Roscoe has been arguing with the American Mustache Institute over whether or not he supports the STACHE Act -- a tax credit for people with facial hair."

    "This bill isn’t funny," Will McDonald, a spokesman for Democrat candidate John Delaney told Roll Call. "This is exactly why so many Americans want new leadership in Congress."

    At the same time, the American Mustache Institute admitted that the group is using all this publicity to raise money for charity.

    At this point, it’s really unclear who the joke is on.

    * The Virginia Supreme Court halted Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli's demand for a former University of Virginia climate researcher's emails Friday, ruling that he lacked authority to subpoena the records.

    Cuccinelli, a global warming skeptic, said he is investigating whether Mann defrauded taxpayers by using manipulated data to obtain government grants

    Read more from the Associated Press here.

    * Gov. O’Malley’s proposal to increase gas taxes is seeming increasingly unlikely because of persistent public outcry toward the measure, according to The Washington Times.

    The governor calls for a 6 percent gas sales tax to be phased in and would be used toward transportation projects.

    Critics say that with the economy the way it is, this tax will overburden tax payers.