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Sunday, October 23, 2016
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and NRA President David Keane at CPAC 2012.

Is the Old Dominion ground zero in the battle for the soul of the Republican Party? If recent events are any indication, the answer is yes. Tensions between pro-business moderates — who actually believe working with President Obama could be a good thing — and the ideologically rigid and reflexively anti-Obama Tea Party conservatives reached a boiling point in recent days.

Virginia’s heavy reliance on the federal government and defense industry is one reason why Republicans such as Governor Bob McDonnell and Rep. Scott Rigell came out publicly against the sequester. Today, President Obama joined Rigell at Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. shipyard in Newport News  — the largest manufacturing employer in the state — to denounce the sequester and the harmful military cuts that would come to Rigell’s district. The White House said 90,000 civilian Defense Department employees in Virginia would be furloughed and shipbulding plans would be delayed or canceled. Rigell said he favors Obama’s balanced approach of new tax revenues in addition to spending cuts, joining Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) in calling for new revenue as part of a larger deficit-reduction package.

“We need to grow our economy and raise revenues that way,” Rigell said. “I also believe that revenue has to come up a bit, first by growing the economy, but also by tax reform, which also includes eliminating lobbyist-inspired, lobbyist-written loopholes. I am in favor of that.”

Obama gave credit to Rigell for attending the event, saying being with him “is not always healthy for a Republican.”

By agreeing with and even getting up on the same stage as the president, as Rigell did today, both he and McDonnell will be blasted as RINOS (Republicans in Name Only) by the right-wing leaders of the GOP. RedState editor and Fox News contributor Erick Erickson ripped McDonnell, writing that he “is an unprincipled fake conservative whose promises are without value, an exemplar of the kind of big government, pro-tax Republican who ruined the party’s stature with fiscal conservatives.”

And that takes us to the GOP’s likely gubernatorial candidate and Tea Party poster boy — controversial attorney general Ken Cuccinelli. The opponent of probable Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe has spent his time in office crusading against health care reform, regulating greenhouse gas emissions, college campuses protecting gay students and many other extremist actions well to the right of the mainstream. Some Republican donors are getting nervous about Cuccinelli. According to Politicotwo wealthy business donors ripped Cuccinelli as too extreme and said the business community won’t support him as a candidate. One attendee said Cuccinelli  “was angry and hostile” after being slammed by the two donors.

Virginia is full of contradictions and the demographics are changing rapidly. The Commonwealth is home to the NRA and Christian Coalition, but also home to world-class public universities and an affluent population in Northern Virginia who work for the federal government or federal contractors, and take it personally when Republicans constantly demonize government. And a growing immigrant population helped turn Virginia Obama-blue in the past two presidential elections, along with electing two Democratic senators to Congress in Tim Kaine and Mark Warner.

The state that saw some of the fiercest fighting during the Civil War is now the battleground for the future of the Republican Party.

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore via Flickr 

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Copyright 2013 The National Memo
  • nobsartist

    republiCONs will do anything for money. Thats why they get into politics. They get money for nothing.

    We get what we pay for.


    • hilandar1000

      Of course the republicans sell their souls — and the welfare of the nation — for money. That’s obviously the reason they hate Obama so much. He came from a background of community service. He cares more for the people than for a high-paying Wall Street position, which, of course he could have chosen — with his extraordinary academic achievements. — And he’s succeeding, even with all the GOP obstructionism that is unprecedented in American history.

      • nobsartist

        Dont be blinded by bullshit. Obama will be making a lot of money on the board of a wall street company once he is finished.

        For someone who is just another regular guy, he sure does favor the monied.

        I think he is a shill for wall street and I was duped into voting for him twice.

        That was based on the alternatives.

        I dont feel as bad as the stupid that voted for the awol coke head twice, though.

        • highpckts

          Blinded by bullshit? Well you should know plenty about that since that’s what the GOP is all about!!

        • hilandar1000

          Sorry, Nobs, but a bit of profanity does not make your argument any stronger. You are lacking facts and trying to look into a crystal ball or use ESP or some other method that is lacking in facts. You have, however, brought to mind another problem with government in general — the problem of campaign finance. It is impossible for politicians to compete under our present laws regarding campaign finance without accepting donations from moneyed donors. That has to be changed if we are going to ever have a government that is truly “of the people”.

          • nobsartist

            Did freedom of speach go out with the pursuit of happiness?

            You criticize my opinion and then you bring up the issue of campaign finance. Open your eyes. This failure of a government was put in place using those laws.

            Obama is the result.

            The results of his effort is evident in the fact that he has really done nothing at all for the average American but he is perfectly willing to go along with making sure that you pay for government ineptness.

            Dont confuse bailing out the health care industry, auto companies and banks, all suffering from gross mismanagement with this being done for the benifiet of America.

            That bullshit went out the window when he extended the bush tax cuts which gave HIM a substantial tax cut and continued the fucking of America.

            Those bailouts will simply guarantee that he wind up on the board of directors of at least 10 companies that will be glad to pay him 2 million per year each to attend meetings a couple times a year. Meanwhile, instead of solving Americans problems, they can bring up another boondoggle like raising the MINIMUM wage to 9 whole dollars per hour.

            Just more bullshit.

  • The so-called Teabaggers (corporate patsies, one and all) are the RINOs.

    And if they wrest true control of the Party–the Party will soon be over.

    • stcroixcarp

      Long live the RINOs!

  • rhallnj

    South Carolina being generously endowed with military facilities, as well.

  • The influx of Northeasterners and Northwesterners to states like Virginia and North Carolina is a major problem for the GOP. Their traditional Southern base is rapidly becoming irrelevant, not only because of the influx of newcomers, but because the intellectual influence they exert on the rest of the population.
    The hyperbole, lies and fearmongering that is an integral part of politics, often falls in deaf ears when the audience is dominated by centrists with a high level of education more interested in facts and solutions than the traditional diatribes our “leaders” are so proned to use.

    • adriancrutch

      And so the large influx of cash to push the vote. Some can be bought.

      • John Chittick

        I hope you are not suggesting that Virginia went blue in the last two presidential elections because of an influx of cash that bought votes. If that were true, then Romney and Allen should have won the election by 20% of the vote due to an influx of GOP/Tea money. I vote in Virginia and see a major change in my neighbors’ thinking on the issues – not because their minds were “bought.” Many of my military friends and families are furious about the Sequester and blame congressional Republicans. They are turned off by the state GOP’s focus on very conservative, anti-women positions on social issues. Virginia is turning purple-blue because the GOP has drifted too far to the right with extremist positions pushed by the likes of Cuchinelli leaving independents to turn to the Democrats. 2010 was the high water mark, an anomaly, for the Tea Party. 2013 will most likely see the state go for the McAuliffe and Northam team (State Senator Ralph Northam is a well-respected pediatrician in the Children’s Hospital in Norfolk and is running for Lt. Governor – he won his last reelection against a self-funded and wealthy Tea Party candidate with 60% of the vote).

        • adriancrutch

          I’m not refering to your state,but the overall influence that the Rove model has done to the system. If he can convince more billionaire’s to trust him again,then sooner or later he will hit on something. I fear seeing manchurian candidates popping up all over. The TRUST IS GONE!

  • Virginia went Blue the last two national elections, and Rigell, from the party would ordinarily only have to worry about primary fights, had a very close general election against his Democratic contender. They are also big military states, where making Federal cuts hits home directly, immediately, and even indirectly (not only the bases, but surrounding businesses), so, the sequester threatens to make the populace know that government programs are actual real jobs, held by people they know, and when they get cut, not only do those people lose their job, but also can’t patronize the businesses. Harder to make that claim that ‘cutting government spending, fueled purely to fund high income tax cuts, HELPS business’.

    • Unfortunately, for many Tea Party members, the Federal government is a welfare instrument focused on minorities. You are right, that opinion is likely to change when thousands of Federal government workers and contractors working in military bases like Norfolk. are suddenly laid off or furloughed as a result of a poorly planned sequester.

  • Fatwah on RepubliCon and Tea Party zombies!

    Aim for the head and double tap.

  • alumahead

    From what I know about Cuccinelli, he’s about as extreme as anyone in public office. Riggell makes sense, so why is he a Republican?

    • Roz

      Real Republicans do make sense. The extremists need to be weeded out like the chocking ground cover they are.

  • Budjob

    The only thing worse than a teapartier is,TWO teapartiers.Republicans and teabaggers are all treasonous Son of a Bitches!!!

  • HUH?

    “GOP” and “SOUL”in the same sentence?!
    Sounds like the mother of all “contradictiones in terminis”!
    A party united by obsession with a soulless capitalism can hardly profess to have a soul in the most judaeo-christian sense of the word….

  • hilandar1000

    I don’t believe I indicated in any way that your freedom of speech or pursuit of happiness should be impaired. If I did give you that impression, I’m sorry. However, I do frequently point out the judgemental attitude of one who tries to tell others what the president or anyone else is going to do in the future — or what their motives were in the past — especially when I feel the facts do not back up what you perceive. I may be wrong, but it seems from what you’ve said, that you voted for Obama, thinking he was going to do more for helping whatever situation in your life that you were counting on his administration to help change.
    I don’t think any liberals are completely satisfied with what he has been able to accomplish. However, he is only human and has had some pretty unprecedented obstacles put in his path in his quest toward accomplishing his goals. All told, I feel that he has done as much as any human being could possibly do under the circumstances to adhere to the issues that he wanted to promote or change. No president has the ability to completely correct all the faults that have been ongoing for many years in a 4 – 8 years term in office. He has had to work with what he was given in many cases, and not all of it was working in his favor, to say the least. When he got to the end of his first term, he was faced with the prospect of many millions of dollars provided to the opposing party. At that point he had to decide if he wanted to throw in the towel or play the game by the rules he was given. He decided to keep fighting to accomplish his goals for the people who elected him.
    I don’t know what your specific grievance is, but he has made a difference in a lot of areas. For one thing he has helped give America a much better image in the rest of the world than it had prior to his election to office. He has set up the groundwork for a healthcare system that will make healthcare available for millions more people. He has ended one war and has set a date for withdrawing from another one. He saved millions of jobs in bailing out the auto industry. I personally, along with many others have seen the lowering of the cost of prescription medicines. He fought for ending the Bush tax cuts, but in the end had to compromise on that or people who were out of work would have lost unemployment benefits and the taxes of all Americans would have gone back to the rates they were before the Bush tax cuts.
    I have seen no facts that would indicate our president is at all interested in serving on boards for the rest of his life, and feel he will probably be able to support himself and his family by going on towards the pursuits that he was following before he took office — quite possibly in the field of community service, teaching, and writing. Granted the minimum wage of 9 dollars per hour is not going to make anyone wealthy, but it is better than the minimum wage being offered now, and is a start toward ensuring that working people share in the prosperity that they are helping to create. Granted 15 dollars an hour would have been better, but would have had no chance whatsoever of being passed into law.
    I hear your frustration in what you write and understand it to some extent. But I do feel that it is not at all fair to blame the president for all of the present frustration that people are feeling toward a government that is constantly throwing us into facing one major crisis after another.

  • Business sees ROI in winners.

    They know product line problems. They see an overpriced and obsolete line that sells only by disparaging the competition with fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD).

    They have “cash cow” products that would continue to sell with no new investment but still refresh them to avoid an attack from a slightly-improved clone.

    Many see the Democratic party as an only a slightly-improved clone of the Republicans but are repelled by disparagement. FUD no longer make the Republican line appear stable and dependable but instead makes it luddite.

    The party bought time with rebates (war spending plus Medicare drug plan) and discounts (tax cuts) but did not use the time for R&D.

    Imagine a party that leads every historic trend. Like Japan, It replaces “pro-natalist” with “post-natalist” where low birthrates save money and share the same wealth among fewer (although ageing) pockets.

    Imagine a party that is secular, rational, eco-friendly and socially liberal. Imagine one that is less militarized and that funds a robust safety net through progressive taxation.

    The technocrat product that eventually wins will have those characteristics. Republicans can sell it a decade before Democrats or a decade after.

    Many of us who are repelled by the Democrat’s anti-technology bias (fracking, GMO, organics vs. scientific agriculture, ineffective alternative medicine) are waiting for such an alternative.