After President Obama became the first Democratic presidential nominee to win the state of Virginia in 2008, Republican Bob McDonnell defeated State Senator Creigh Deeds to become the state’s governor less than a year later.
McDonnell’s right-wing credentials were firm. He had all the social conservative and small-government policies of a man who was positioning himself to be a solid running mate to the 2012 GOP presidential nominee. But he ended up having to moderate a Virginia Republican Party that took Tea Partying to new extremes, with Virginia’s Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli acting as the instigator in a constant fit against President Obama and modernity.
Virginia’s Republicans came up with a law that required an invasive ultrasound before any abortion. Some called this “government-sanctioned rape” and McDonnell was to come out against the bill and claim he didn’t understand what was in it. By that time, his 2012 hopes were over.
You could call Cuccinelli “Goofus” to McDonnell’s “Gallant.” While they share many of the same policies — they both oppose abortion even in the cases of rape and incest — “Cooch,” as the attorney general is known, feels no desire to moderate his views to appeal to anyone. He’s a hero of the far right across the nation because he represents the kind of extremism that helps the Tea Party win Republican primaries and blow general elections.
President Obama won Virginia handily again in 2012. The question in 2013 as Cuccinelli runs for governor is whether the coalition of young people and minorities that came out for Obama will come to vote again.
The more Virginians know about Cuccinelli’s extreme stands, the more likely it is that Virginians come out to vote against him. Here are five of his worst positions.
Correction: Bob McDonnell defeated State Senator Creigh Deeds in Virginia’s 2009 gubernatorial election, not Terry McAuliffe as this post originally stated.
Scalia Is Too Liberal
So-called Constitutional “originalist” Antonin Scalia is widely regarded ast the most right-wing justice on the Supreme Court. But that isn’t good enough for Cooch:
“And really the way to fight back, given the governmental structure we have, the primary way is to get good judges who don’t accept what is wrong as right after a while,” Cuccinelli said recently, at the National Review Institute. “Justice Scalia is in this category: ‘Well, we’ve been doing it wrong for a while, so now it’s part of the Constitution.’ I don’t buy that. I don’t buy that. And that needs to be reflected in the judges selected by the president, not this president, but the president generally, and approved by the Senate. They need to take that a lot more seriously than they do.”
He Learned Nothing From Romney’s ’47 Percent’ Fiasco
The “47 percent” tape helped frame the narrative that Mitt Romney not only lacked concern about struggling Americans, he’d completely written them off. Since the election, Republicans like Romney’s running mate Paul Ryan (R-WI), Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Governor Bobby Jindal (R-LA) have rejected the point of view Romney was expressing in that private fundraiser caught on tape — as Romney did himself before the election.
Cooch seems to think the “47 percent” issue is still a winner. Here’s what he wrote in his new book:
The amazing thing is that they often grow government without protest from citizens, and sometimes they even get buy-in from citizens — at least from the ones getting the goodies…One of their favorite ways to increase their power is by creating programs that dispense subsidized government benefits, such as Medicare, Social Security, and outright welfare (Medicaid, food stamps, subsidized housing, and the like). These programs make people dependent on government. And once people are dependent, they feel they can’t afford to have the programs taken away, no matter how inefficient, poorly run, or costly to the rest of society. […]
Citizens will vote for those politicians who promise more benefits each year, rather than the fiscally responsible politicians who try to point out that such programs are unsustainable and will eventually bankrupt the states or the nation…Creating government dependency is the typical method of operation for big-government statists.
He’d Be Arrested To Deprive Women Of Birth Control
The Obamacare mandate that all insurance policies provide contraception to women free of charge is so offensive that Cooch said that he and religious leaders should go to jail over it. The Catholic Church, which Cooch belongs to, opposes the use of birth control along with sex outside of marriage. A 1973 study said 98 of Catholic women ages 15-44 had used birth control. Last year 63 percent of Americans supported the policy.
Went Along With Accusations That President Obama Stole The 2012 Election
Cooch, who was a birther for a few days in 2010, also briefly dabbled in the theory that President Obama stole the 2012 election, based on the concrete evidence that he didn’t win any any states that had a voter ID law — though the president actually won four states that had voter ID laws and voter fraud is actually less common than being struck by lightning… or Cooch being right about something.
His Main Republican Rival Suggested He Is Unelectable
Bill Bolling, Virginia’s lieutenant governor, was going to face Cooch in the Republican primary but decided not to run. This is likely because Bolling knew he had a better chance of winning the general election than a Republican primary. Why? Bolling occasionally works with Democrats and doesn’t think invoking the arguments of slave owners and segregationists is how you win over swing voters. “Bottom line — if Republicans want to win top of the ticket statewide campaigns in Virginia, it all starts with nominating electable candidates,” Bolling said, when he dropped out of the race. He refused to endorse Cooch.