Abortion in Virginia: McDonnell The conservative Economist hmmmm. <excerpts> 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. > In April 2010 Mr McDonnell signed a proclamation celebrating Virginias Confederate past, but failed to make any mention of slavery. He also appointed Fred Malek, a prominent Washington fixer and fund-raiser, to head a study on shrinking state government. He did not seem to knowthough plenty of others didthat Mr Malek, as an aide to Richard Nixon, was once assigned to find out how many Jews worked in part of the administration. This latest embarrassment recalls one that threatened Mr McDonnells 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.