Voting for Cuccinelli

My wife Beth and I went to vote yesterday at our usual polling place on the University of Virginia campus. I went with no enthusiasm, more out of a sense of duty, I suppose, and of bearing witness. 

Outside the polling place were two pavilions for last minute canvassing. The Republican tent was, characteristically, empty, while the Democrat team, with blue and green McAuliffe banners flying, looked cool and smug. 

For good reason. They had waged a ruthless, vicious, dishonest and brilliant campaign– not just to elect Terry McAuliffe governor but to discredit and destroy the Virginia Republican Party, and Republicans both in Washington and Richmond let it happen. 

The Cuccinelli campaign has to have been the worst for a state office I’ve seen in a long time.  

But as I said, the Democrats were brilliant.

First, starting this summer they and the local media began destroying the reputation of our sitting GOP  governor Bob McDonnell with a feeding frenzy of stories about how a wealthy backer had given McDonnell and his family gifts and financial help (which McDonnell later returned). That not only took McDonnell, who’s been a successful and popular governor — some even considered him a presidential contender in 2016 — out as kingmaker for Ken Cuccinelli’s campaign. It also poisoned the well for all Republicans in the state, and made them look like the party of corruption and sleaze. And when you are running against Terry McAuliffe, that’s saying something.              

Republican response: silence.

A host of liberal feminist groups like Planned Parenthood launched a barrage of ads portraying Cuccinelli as the second coming of the Salem witch trials.

Republican response: nothing.

Then a Texas Obama bundler named Joe Liemandt began bankrolling Robert Sarvis to run as a libertarian candidate for governor, fatally splitting the GOP vote.

Republican response: a long deer-in-the-headlights stare at polls that showed Sarvis wasn’t going away until literally the day before the election the Cuccinelli campaign got Ron Paul to come out and denounce far too late Sarvis’s bogus campaign. 

Fourth and equally fatally, the national GOP decided to pull the money plug on Cuccinelli in October, deeming him unelectable.

Given the feebleness of the campaign’s efforts thus far, that might have seemed justified. But it’s becoming clear the real reason was to be able to blame the looming debacle in Virginia on the Tea Party and the advocates of government shutdown like Ted Cruz.

That plan has backfired. Instead, the GOP missed the opportunity to seize on the growing disenchantment with Obamacare—disenchantment that almost upset the Democrats’ best laid plans here in Virginia at the last minute, and came to within 55,000 votes of pushing Cuccinelli over the finish line. Now even the mainstream media are saying the GOP made a major error in not backing Cuccinelli.

Meanwhile, here in Virginia we’re stuck with the equivalent of a Soprano family capo as governor –a liberal Soprano capo. We’re also stuck with a broken Virginia GOP and the same feckless GOP national leadership.      

Sophocles said those whom the gods want to destroy they first drive insane. Today they just make them Virginia Republicans.

  1. Butters

    tired of people conflating mendacity and ruthlessness with brilliance

  2. Kofola

    And, yet, the establishment wants to accuse the Tea Party of “purges” and “purity tests.”

  3. Fred Cole

    It’s gonna be a long couple of years for you, but three cheers for term limits!

  4. Mollie Hemingway
    C

    I’m not sure the data show that Sarvis was as much of a spoiler as he hoped. Interesting data, but many of his voters went Democratic on the downticket. For more, see here.

  5. Duane Oyen

    Isn’t the responsibility for campaign strategy and response with the candidate’s campaign?  And the oppo research “poison the well” strategy is standard stuff- that is what elected Minnesota Gov Mark Dayton, a weak trust-fund baby who has spent a lifetime in government jobs as an ego matter, and with a history of depression problems.  His ex-wife, Ms. Rockefeller (another trust-fund baby, in case you didn’t recognize the name) blanketed the airwaves for months before the actual campaign with scurrilous wild accusations and guilt-by-association over the under-funded Republican.

    This was done in Virginia by the 501(c)(3) and (4) groups, not the national Dems.  The  national conservative groups who could have helped Cuccinelli were too busy running ads against incumbent Republican senators and promoting the shutdown/defund “strategy”. 

    The cause was not helped by McDonnell taking the goodies in the first place; why our side is that dumb defies imagination.  Is it fair?  Of course not0 the other side has a lot of unfair advantages.  Get over it. 

    And stop claiming that this loss was because of RINOs, whatever that means these days.

  6. iDad

    “Now even the mainstream media are saying the GOP made a major error in not backing Cuccinelli.”

    It’s only an error if the GOP wanted Cuccinelli to win.

  7. ClosetRighty

    Take heart, Bill DeBlasio isnt the mayor of Charlottesville. 

  8. Arthur Herman
    C
    Duane Oyen: Isn’t the responsibility for campaign strategy and response with the candidate’s campaign?  

    And stop claiming that this loss was because of RINOs, whatever that means these days. · 9 minutes ago

    First, that’s just my point.  They screwed up. They take the blame.  Just not all of it. 

    Second, I never said anything about RINO’s!  It’s a term I don’t use or like.   The issue isn’t ideological, it’s strategic.  Virginia is a crucial battleground state, and whose governor sets the table for 2016.  You don’t throw a pivotal state like that without a fight, and groups like GOP Governors Association did.  

  9. Roberto
    Butters: tired of people conflating mendacity and ruthlessness with brilliance · 33 minutes ago

    Tend to agree, I think cunning would be more apropos.

  10. Arthur Herman
    C
    Mollie Hemingway: I’m not sure the data show that Sarvis was as much of a spoiler as he hoped. Interesting data, but many of his voters went Democratic on the downticket. For more, see here. · 23 minutes ago

    Interesting data, and convincing.   Still, it seems to me the issue is not whether Sarvis pulled away Republican or conservative votes, but whether he pulled away voters repelled by a Big Government, Obamacare Democrat who would registered their protest by voting R against of L.  

    Tough to say.   

  11. James Gawron

    Arthur,

    Arthur Herman

    Duane Oyen: 

    …  The issue isn’t ideological, it’s strategic.  Virginia is a crucial battleground state, and whose governor sets the table for 2016.  You don’t throw a pivotal state like that without a fight, and groups like GOP Governors Association did.   · 8 minutes ago

    Arthur,

    It’s not about RINOs, it’s not about Libertarians, and it’s not about Tea Party.  The words I have left in your quote above are absolutely true.

    Law down the law Art.

    Regards,

    Jim

  12. Mike Rapkoch

    Too many Republicans refuse to see that this is a street fight. You cannot win with gentility.

  13. Duane Oyen

    I’m tired of the reflexive blame game on this stuff.  The fact is, the first responsibility to show that you are competent and can win lies with the candidate and his/her operation.  At 6 this morning I got a Facebook post saying that Cuccinelli’s loss was the fault of “the Establishment”, whatever that is.

    Cuccinelli did not run a good campaign.  He lost.  Possibly the national party should have stayed in past 1 October- but as the post mortems show, the damage was done during the Summer, and the campaign did not respond effectively, falling farther and farther behind. 

    That would  not exactly engender great confidence that pouring money down the gopher hole would be well-spent.  When McDonnell was running, he was effective and earned support.  His AG was far less so.  The decision to back off on Oct 1 was not unreasonable; perhaps wrong, perhaps not.

    But this was not a plot by “the Establishment” to destroy the TEA Party, it was a perfectly rational choice of stewardship.  Those claiming the contrary are not making a good case.

  14. Virginia Farmboy
    Mollie Hemingway: I’m not sure the data show that Sarvis was as much of a spoiler as he hoped. Interesting data, but many of his voters went Democratic on the downticket. For more, see here. · 1 hour ago

    Given the results in the AG race I’ll sadly have to disagree with you Molly.

  15. Basil Fawlty

    Before we absolve Bob McDonnell in all this, let’s recognize that he is a demonstrably sleazy individual who entered into a deal with the Democrats to raise taxes at the behest of Virginia business interests.  I was a fervent supporter of Cuccinelli and I also believe the establishment Virginia Republican Party has truly earned its coming four years in the wilderness.  The people of Virginia have selected the perfect successor to McDonnell.  Different party, same interests, same sleaziness.

  16. Whiskey Sam

    Duane, it’s hard to respond effectively when you’re being badly outspent and your own side writes you off as a lost cause a month before the election.  It was a 2 point race.  Obenshain got more money running for Attorney General on the same platform than Cuccinelli did in the closing weeks.  That is inexcusable.  And despite not getting a damn bit of support he should have been able to count on, despite the phony scandal that he was cleared of by an ethics probe, he still nearly pulled it off.  The RNC abandoning the race is a piss-poor example of good stewardship.  

    Who is the Establishment?  They’re the RNC and GOP-related groups who refused to get involved in the race then declared it a lost cause when Cuccinelli was badly outspent.  Oops, it really was closer than that.  They’re the elected “Republican” leaders in eastern Virginia who endorsed that sleazy con artist McAuliffe because Cuccinelli was too extreme.  Oops, Cuccinelli won independents by 10 points. Guess he wasn’t that extreme after all.  It wasn’t the sole reason he lost, but it certainly was one of them.

  17. Duane Oyen
    Basil Fawlty: Before we absolve Bob McDonnell in all this, let’s recognize that he is a demonstrably sleazy individual who entered into a deal with the Democrats to raise taxes at the behest of Virginia business interests.  ……………..  The people of Virginia have selected the perfect successor to McDonnell.  Different party, same interests, same sleaziness. · 24 minutes ago

    You are talking about the traffic situation?  Are you saying that nothing should be done about that, or that it simply should not be paid for?  When I lived there, Fairfax County was ridiculously third world, with tiny two lane roads like Hunter Mill carrying large volumes, and people on Route 50 stopping every 30 feet for a traffic light.

    Not every program that benefits someone is undertaken because that someone bought you off, sometimes you need to build stuff because the 19th century infrastructure is outdated.  Would it be better to use tolls for more of the funding?  Sure.  But the gas tax does have problems due to increasing fuel efficiency, and you can make a case that something needed to be done.  And this is the state doing it, not the Feds.

  18. Duane Oyen
    Whiskey Sam: Duane, it’s hard to respond effectively when you’re being badly outspent and your own side writes you off as a lost cause a month before the election.  ………..  Obenshain got more money running for Attorney General on the same platform than Cuccinelli did in the closing weeks.  ………….. despite the phony scandal that he was cleared of by an ethics probe, he still nearly pulled it off.  The RNC abandoning the race is a piss-poor example of good stewardship.  

    ……….. RNC and GOP-related groups who refused to get involved in the race then declared it a lost cause when Cuccinelli was badly outspent.  Oops, it really was closer than that.  They’re the elected “Republican” leaders in eastern Virginia who endorsed that sleazy con artist McAuliffe because Cuccinelli was too extreme.  Oops, Cuccinelli won independents by 10 points. Guess he wasn’t that extreme after all.  ………….

    It was a not unreasonable decision, based on horrible polling- not “extremism”; had that been it, why did the same people support McDonnell? He is just as conservative and non-establishment as Cuccinelli is.

    Tell me what effective moves Cuccinelli had made to address the problems all Summer long.

  19. KayBee
    Duane Oyen:  Cuccinelli did not run a good campaign.  He lost. 

    I have to agree.  Cuccinelli should know better–you DO NOT win an election by calling your base on the phone multiple times the week before the election.  A lot more time and energy was needed on the front end, and in effectively countering McAwful’s attacks.  This [expletive] should have gone down, but instead, he’s the governor-elect.  Heaven help us all.

  20. Basil Fawlty
    Duane Oyen

    Basil Fawlty minutes ago

    You are talking about the traffic situation?  Are you saying that nothing should be done about that, or that it simply should not be paid for?  When I lived there, Fairfax County was ridiculously third world, with tiny two lane roads like Hunter Mill carrying large volumes, and people on Route 50 stopping every 30 feet for a traffic light.

    Not every program that benefits someone is undertaken because that someone bought you off, sometimes you need to build stuff because the 19th century infrastructure is outdated.  Would it be better to use tolls for more of the funding?  Sure.  But the gas tax does have problems due to increasing fuel efficiency, and you can make a case that something needed to be done.  And this is the state doing it, not the Feds. · 20 minutes ago

    Are you really saying that the equitable way to address traffic problems is to increase the general sales tax by 20% while eliminating the gas tax on those who actually use the roads?

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