As Virginia Republican Governor Bob McDonnell tries to wheel and deal his way out of a felony conviction for corruption so brash, arrogant and ignorant it perfectly fits his moniker of “family values Republican”, the Attorney General he endorsed as the current gubernatorial candidate, Ken Cuccinelli (R), has been pretending it’s no biggie.
Well, it was no biggie until it looked like a federal grand jury was coming together and then all of the sudden, Virginia’s head lawyer suddenly wanted to take credit for the investigation into his boss.
The problem for the Tea Party-backed Ken, other than his extremism coming back to haunt him, is a trail of Star Scientific corruption following Cuccinelli that looks a lot like the trail of felony corruption that’s causing Gov. McDonnell to flee his office. Cuccinelli also owns $10,000 of Star Scientific stock, which sets him above even McDonnell in the private interest department. He also failed to properly disclose that investment, along with some gifts and such from Star Scientific. He didn’t “remember” to make the disclosure until after Star revealed it was under federal investigation. We see you, Ken.
It’s one thing to talk about gifts, disclosures and the like, but to see it all laid out for you in context is illuminating. Gifts are supposed to be disclosed so that they have less of a chance of buying influence over law, policy, etc.
Back in May, before the criminal aspect of Virginia’s Republican Governor was common knowledge, Brian Devine at ProgressVA “put together this timeline to shed light on the lucrative relationship between one company, the Governor, and Attorney General of Virginia. From free flights, to wedding gifts, to FBI investigations, ProgressVA wants to help you see, understand, and then share with others, the extent of their exploitation and what McDonnell and Cuccinelli believe is acceptable.”
(Go to ProgressVA to see this graph in all of its larger glory.)
Seeing as Virginia is growing increasingly moderate, Ken Cuccinelli is working hard to erase moments like the time he tried to ban consensual sex as a “crime against nature”.
And he’ll want women to forget that even Republican women are fleeing his “anti-woman” ticket because “I simply cannot support them,” as they would “end a woman’s right to make her own health care choices, including access to birth control.”
It’s not just Republican women who have a problem with Cuccinelli’s fringey, tea extremism. Republican businessmen do, too. In March, Politico reported on a very tense meeting Cuccinelli had with top GOP donors:
Shapiro (Gary Shapiro, CEO of the Arlington-based Consumer Electronics Association) spoke up next and was even tougher on Cuccinelli. As a hushed room looked on, Shapiro, who sits on the board of the influential Northern Virginia Technology Council, said the state’s centrist-oriented business community won’t back the Republican standard-bearer because he’s out of the mainstream.
“Gary just slammed him,” said one attendee.
Ken will want voters to forget that both he and his running mate charged Planned Parenthood with being racists, as a way to try to get rid of the organization that does more to prevent abortions than any “pro-lifer” out there ever has. Yes, Mr. Cuccinelli, we all remember the 2011 speech to the Virginia Christian Alliance and a May 2008 edition of your newsletter. Good times.
But if Cuccinelli can get the public to forget those things and buy his “moderate Republican” lie (every single time you hear this phrase, you need to check yourself quickly with Walker, Snyder, and Scott who all ran as “moderates” and “businessmen” in order to enact a social extremist agenda and attack unions, minority voting rights, women, gays, etc.), can he also get them to forget his dirty, greedy, unethical and possibly illegal recent dealings with Star Scientific?
Here’s how he’ll do it. Cuccinelli will rely on every Republicans’ go-to. He will accuse his Democrat opponent Terry McAuliffe of being a big spending taxer, palling around with the wrong kind of people (aka Democrats), supporting Obama/ObamaCare (read as the Republican base does: Marxist Socialist Kenyan black people on welfare sucking up the federal teat) and he’ll drag out ad hominems and ugly, unrelated associations.
In other words, Cuccinelli won’t have a discussion about the issues or his policy positions or his ethics or lack thereof. Oh, no. He’ll make sure his opponent is busy answering “when did you stop beating your wife” charges. Veiled racism will accompany a focus on social issues like “traditional marriage” and “prolife” family values in order to sort the independents out. If you’re on the side of Jesus, well, you best hop over to Cuccinelli’s side, no questions asked.
Cuccinelli and McAuliffe were essentially tied according to Real Clear Politics analysis of all of the polls prior to GiftGate, with other analysts showing a slight lead for McAuliffe, who has been described as a “middle-of-the-road kind of guy” — in other words, a better fit for purple Virginia. This would be heartening for Virginia if Republicans weren’t so good at the Jesus-hates-them-people shiny balls of distraction.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.