That Darned Cuccinelli Is Not Performing to Script!

by James A. Bacon

Attorney General and assumed Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli may be a populist conservative politician, but that doesn’t mean he’s predictable. Who ever would have imagined him fighting to restore the voting rights of nonviolent felons?

A House subcommittee voted down this morning proposed constitutional amendments that would provide for the automatic restoration of voting rights for non-violent felons who had served their full sentences and paid all fines and fees. But it wasn’t for a lack of trying on Cuccinelli’s part, who testified in support of the legislation.

Whoah, what’s that all about? Aren’t Tea Party Republicans like Cuccinelli supposed to be into African-American voter suppression? What’s going on here? Why is he trying to expand the franchise?

Some will attempt to divine a crass political motive behind Cuccinelli’s stance. He knows he’ll bleed a lot of moderate Republicans so he’s got to make up their votes somewhere else. He thinks he can skim off some cultural conservatives in the African-American community, perhaps, and restoring voter rights for non-violent felons will burnish his bona fides in the black community. That sort of thing…

Yeah, maybe. Or we could just take his words at face value:

I have long railed against politicians ratcheting up several low-level, nonviolent offenses from misdemeanors to felonies — what I call ‘felony creep.’ Many lower-level offenses should not result in the permanent loss of civil rights for individuals. That’s why we ought to make it easier for those who have committed certain nonviolent offenses and served their punishment to regain their place in society. I am in favor of setting out in the code a list of selected nonviolent felonies for which restoration of rights would be available.

Maybe Cuccinelli just thinks it’s wrong to deprive minor felons of voting rights. After all, as he noted in his press release, in November 2012, he issued two opinions strengthening the governor’s power to restore civil rights to former felons — the right to serve as a juror and the right to seek political office.

Cuccinelli is a man of principle. You may not like his principles but he sticks to them. He does not stake out positions based on political expediency. He’s also unpredictable. He does not conform to liberal-bogeyman stereotypes. It’s going to be an interesting year ahead.

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5 responses to “That Darned Cuccinelli Is Not Performing to Script!

  1. re: ” He thinks he can skim off some cultural conservatives in the African-American community, perhaps, and restoring voter rights for non-violent felons will burnish his bona fides in the black community. That sort of thing…”

    that says reams more about Conservative thinking than “liberal” bogeyman thinking……

    We’ll see WHERE the Cooch actually campaigns – geographically and culturally and what he actually says to the constituencies that the GOP seems to have trouble getting votes from these days.

    The ball is in HIS court and totally up to him to define – and to disarm the boogeyman talkers. Of course if he actually decides to go where no GOP normally goes these days…he WILL have to be careful with his code words……

  2. It’s time for the New Cooch and he knows it as well or better than any of us. He’s milked to dry the mindless faux conservatism that has been all the rage in Virginia for the past several years. He’ll keep those types. But he knows he has to get another demographic to win. We will see a big recalibration now.

  3. Jim,
    You digress into tangential-land. The Cooch is true to form here. He helped free convict Haynesworth after DNA tests show he did not commit the rapes for which he spent 27 years in prison. This is part of his general script and has been for years.
    This has absolutely nothing to do with the Tea Party.

  4. Not performing to script?

    This Cuccinelli movie is the sequel to the Bob McDonnell flick of four years ago.

    In the original movie, the character played by Bob McDonnell used the election as an opportunity to distance himself from his far right wing beliefs as documented in his infamous thesis.

    In this remake, B-list actor Ken Kookinelli chooses a few non-controversial areas to try to erase his last four years of ultra conservative lunacy.

    Not performing to script? This is exactly the script.


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