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.

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Members have made 45 comments.

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  1. Profile photo of Commodore BTC Member

    tired of people conflating mendacity and ruthlessness with brilliance

    • #1
    • November 7, 2013 at 2:03 am
  2. Profile photo of Kofola Member

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

    • #2
    • November 7, 2013 at 2:19 am
  3. Profile photo of Fred Cole Member

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

    • #3
    • November 7, 2013 at 2:20 am
  4. Profile photo of Mollie Hemingway Contributor

    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.

    • #4
    • November 7, 2013 at 2:24 am
  5. Profile photo of Duane Oyen Member

    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.

    • #5
    • November 7, 2013 at 2:27 am
  6. Profile photo of iDad Member

    “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.

    • #6
    • November 7, 2013 at 2:29 am
  7. Profile photo of ClosetRighty Member

    Take heart, Bill DeBlasio isnt the mayor of Charlottesville. 

    • #7
    • November 7, 2013 at 2:46 am
  8. Profile photo of Arthur Herman Contributor
    Arthur Herman Post author
    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.

    • #8
    • November 7, 2013 at 2:47 am
  9. Profile photo of Roberto Inactive
    Butters: tired of people conflating mendacity and ruthlessness with brilliance · 33 minutes ago

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

    • #9
    • November 7, 2013 at 2:50 am
  10. Profile photo of Arthur Herman Contributor
    Arthur Herman Post author
    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.

    • #10
    • November 7, 2013 at 3:04 am
  11. Profile photo of James Gawron Coolidge

    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

    • #11
    • November 7, 2013 at 3:07 am
  12. Profile photo of Mike Rapkoch Moderator

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

    • #12
    • November 7, 2013 at 3:13 am
  13. Profile photo of Duane Oyen Member

    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.

    • #13
    • November 7, 2013 at 3:26 am
  14. Profile photo of Virginia Farmboy Inactive
    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.

    • #14
    • November 7, 2013 at 3:38 am
  15. Profile photo of Basil Fawlty Member

    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.

    • #15
    • November 7, 2013 at 4:17 am
  16. Profile photo of Whiskey Sam Inactive

    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.

    • #16
    • November 7, 2013 at 4:21 am
  17. Profile photo of Duane Oyen Member
    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.

    • #17
    • November 7, 2013 at 5:18 am
  18. Profile photo of Duane Oyen Member
    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.

    • #18
    • November 7, 2013 at 5:23 am
  19. Profile photo of KayBee Inactive
    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.

    • #19
    • November 7, 2013 at 5:40 am
  20. Profile photo of Basil Fawlty Member
    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?

    • #20
    • November 7, 2013 at 5:48 am
  21. Profile photo of Carol Member

    Wow, that one was close! Will there be an automatic recount?

    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. · 2 hours ago

    • #21
    • November 7, 2013 at 6:13 am
  22. Profile photo of CML Member
    CML

    My Virginia vote was also more dutiful than engaged. I expected the result, and was only slightly heartened by the closeness of the result. My company has a PAC large enough to draw personal visits by the candidates. Cuccinelli’s talk was insightful and engaging; McAullife presented a robotic litany of democratic talking points. Appalling. Nevertheless our chief political executive was fawning over McAuliffe like a junior high school girl. A smart guy, so I figured he knew the real poll numbers and likely outcome. I am so discouraged. Virginia is the mother of presidents and its recent governors have generally been top-notch, regardless of party. Unfortunately, Virginians have just elected a human cockroach as governor. Again, appalling.

    • #22
    • November 7, 2013 at 6:28 am
  23. Profile photo of Whiskey Sam Inactive
    Duane Oyen

    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. · 1 hour ago

    Horrible polling? It was a single digit race for the last few weeks to the point that McAuliffe was emailing his supporters last week and cautioning them he might lose. This was a winnable race despite everything that happened, and our side blew it. Refusing to fight for our candidates and going so far as some to even endorse the other party’s is exactly why conservatives are fed up with the GOP.

    • #23
    • November 7, 2013 at 6:32 am
  24. Profile photo of Whiskey Sam Inactive
    Carol: Wow, that one was close! Will there be an automatic recount?
    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. · 2 hours ago

    20 minutes ago

    Both sides have already said they will ask for one if they come out behind in the tally.

    • #24
    • November 7, 2013 at 6:34 am
  25. Profile photo of Arthur Herman Contributor
    Arthur Herman Post author
    Roberto
    Butters: tired of people conflating mendacity and ruthlessness with brilliance · 33 minutes ago

    Tend to agree, I think cunningwould be more apropos. · 15 hours ago

    A sense of irony helps, too. Which that comment was.

    • #25
    • November 7, 2013 at 6:42 am
  26. Profile photo of Fred Cole Member
    Cornelius Julius Sebastian: The GOP: Never missing an opportunity to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory since 2008. · 11 hours ago

    Since 2008?

    Long, long, long before that.

    • #26
    • November 7, 2013 at 7:31 am
  27. Profile photo of Cornelius Julius Sebastian Thatcher
    Mollie Hemingway
    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. · 3 hours ago

    If you go to the exit poll, you see that Sarvis voters said they would overwhelmingly have voted for McAuliffe — and not Cuccinelli — if it were a 2-party race. In that sense, Sarvis helped Cuccinelli.

    I totally get what you’re saying about the AG race but the Sarvis voters themselves say otherwise … the difference with the AG race could be anything … it could be moderate GOPers splitting their vote, for instance. But the data don’t specifically answer that question, I don’t think … · 11 hours ago

    I’d be curious to see how many Sarvis voters responded to that exit poll to assess its statistical soundness. Cuccinelli crushed Mac in indeps, which presumablymake up a large percentage of L voters.

    • #27
    • November 7, 2013 at 7:33 am
  28. Profile photo of Mollie Hemingway Contributor
    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. · 3 hours ago

    If you go to the exit poll, you see that Sarvis voters said they would overwhelmingly have voted for McAuliffe — and not Cuccinelli — if it were a 2-party race. In that sense, Sarvis helped Cuccinelli.

    I totally get what you’re saying about the AG race but the Sarvis voters themselves say otherwise … the difference with the AG race could be anything … it could be moderate GOPers splitting their vote, for instance. But the data don’t specifically answer that question, I don’t think …

    • #28
    • November 7, 2013 at 7:33 am
  29. Profile photo of Cornelius Julius Sebastian Thatcher

    The GOP: Never missing an opportunity to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory since 2008.

    • #29
    • November 7, 2013 at 7:33 am
  30. Profile photo of Virginia Farmboy Inactive
    Mollie Hemingway
    Virginia Farmboy
    Mollie Hemingway:

     

    I totally get what you’re saying about the AG race but the Sarvis voters themselves say otherwise … the difference with the AG race could be anything … it could be moderate GOPers splitting their vote, for instance. But the data don’t specifically answer that question, I don’t think … · 12 hours ago

     You do have a point, and you’re right about the vote splitting (I knew a fair number who voted Cuccinelli and then for Northam) The reason I throw the AG race out there, is because I believe it shows the party affiliation of all those who voted, and that race is neck and neck.

    Given that I’m still skeptical that the majority of Sarvis voters would have gone for McAuliffe but then vote for Obenshain. 

    If they were turned off by Cuccinelli’s social stances then the same would hold true for Obenshain, who has the same views and was unapologetic for them. If they were voting for McAuliffe because they approve of his policies, then I highly doubt they would then vote for Obenshain.

    • #30
    • November 7, 2013 at 7:40 am
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