The Commonwealth of Virginia's Ultimate Blog

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Gibson handicaps the AG's race - and Mark Cole?

Bob Gibson handicaps the AG's race in today's Daily Progess. He annoints Creigh Deeds (D) and Bob McDonnell (R) as the two front runners. This I have no problem with.

He profiles the Deeds campaign and notes Deeds plan to go for the Democratic vote, but to supplement it with his rural base.

“I would not say that I’m a liberal. I wouldn’t fit easily under that classification. I still understand that in order to get elected in Virginia, you need to get Democratic votes and Republican votes and independent votes,” Deeds said.

Deeds also is the first AG candidate to release his financial information, announcing that he has raised $400K and had $304K on hand as of December 31st.

Gibson then turns to Del. Bob McDonnell and notes that McDonnell was given the honor of delivering the Republican response to the State of the Commonwealth Address.

It's here that the article takes a baffling turn.

He may have to vote, however, on a number of somewhat wacky or divisive bills, including some that could be very appealing to Republican primary voters and just as unappealing to a large majority of general election voters and the population at large.

One of those explosive little bills is Del. Mark L. Cole’s bill defining exactly when life begins and giving constitutional rights to fertilized eggs, even those that have not achieved implantation.

Through his research and his beliefs, Cole, a Spotsylvania Republican, has decided that life begins at fertilization and has introduced a bill stating that as a fact and asserting “the right to enjoyment of life guaranteed by … the Constitution of Virginia is vested in each born and preborn human being from the moment of fertilization.”

No matter that many religions do not teach that. No matter that the most popular and effective forms of birth control could be outlawed by Cole’s handiwork.

Some Republicans, including perhaps a majority of Virginia GOP primary voters, believe in undoing abortion law by such extreme means that Cole’s little pill could be hard not to swallow for a delegate facing such an electorate in five months.

The Republican-majority Senate would have little trouble killing Cole’s measure, but it could pop out on the floor of the House before that death-defining moment and cause loads of gastric distress to Republicans dying to appear pure on a GOP campaign’s right-to-life litmus test kit.


242 words of a 801 word article talking about a bill that amounts to a resolution? 30% of the article trying to create a catch-22 where none exists? And managing to provide NO insight into how Del. McDonnell himself feels about the bill?

Gibson offers some of the weakest logical analysis I have ever seen from a reporter. It's pretty clear that the right to abortion is protected by Roe v. Wade. If a court were to ever construe Cole's resolution as limiting Roe-protected abortion, then such a construction would almost certainly be overturned.

Plus, hasn't Gibson ever heard of taking a walk? (The subtle and time-honored GA practice of disappearing when a roll vote is called) If this resolution makes it to the floor, and if Del. McDonnell's people deem it to be politically damaging, then I guarantee a walk could be taken, with ZERO fall-out in the Republican primary. Only a small portion of pro-life Republicans believe that birth control pills represent a form of abortion. And of those, only a small portion would view a non-vote as a reason to support Steve Baril. This is especially true since Baril has given NO indication that he would favor Cole's resolution.

Gibson is imagining problems where none exist. Or maybe he slept in on Saturday morning.

Full text of Cole's HB1918 .


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