cooch-ageddonBy Peter Galuszka

Like many, I will be truly glad after Tuesday’s election. I don’t recall a more  tedious, uninspiring campaign. At this point it seems obvious that Kenneth Cuccinelli is going down. E.W. Jackson hasn’t a chance and if any Republican makes it it will be Mark Obenshain for attorney general.

Cuccinelli has always scared the hell out of me with his hard right policies. His staff is pugnacious and annoying. Last January after  I wrote a cover story for Style Weekly, Cooch honcho and Swiftboater Chris LaCivita had a minor dispute about a quote and called me.

A smooth pro would have been polite, but LaCivita must have thought I had been in the Marine Corps with him or was easily intimidated. No Marine Corps in my case but I did spend three years reporting under the watchful eyes of the Committee for State Security in the Soviet Union. They were pros. You can tell.

LaCivita, whom I have never met in person, cursed me out with the “F” word and then informed me that “you will never work in Richmond again.” I found that odd since I have been a reporter in and around this area since the mid-1970s and don’t exactly have a shortage of work. The man’s attitude was ample evidence of what would come with the campaign he was advising.

There are too many points to repeat here of why Cuccinelli’s campaign should be a textbook example of how not to run a political race. It should be taught in classrooms and made available through the MOOCs we love so much.

Here’s a short list: Cuccinelli thought he was smart by rigging the convention and sticking it to Bill Bolling and got stuck with Jackson; he did not resign as attorney general and was dumped on with legal conflicts in GiftGate, ChefGate and GasGate; he didn’t pay back his Jonnie Williams’ goodies fast enough; he was too quick to publicly throw Robert McDonnell under the bus; he got caught with the GOP intransigence in Washington; he never could distance himself from his anti-women and anti-gay views; he had no real economic or jobs plan; GOP business donors were revolted by him; and so on.

The biggest problem was that he thought he could ride the wave of the Tea Party that had been disintegrating months before.

I’ll stop now because this is getting boring. I recommend some excellent analysis. One is in Politico. The other ran a week or so ago in the Washington Post and is by Norm Leahy and Paul Goldman.

As far as what is next, ethics comes to mind. If you are interested, read my piece today in the Post which predicts little change and why.

I’ll be revisiting the ethics material later.

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14 responses to “A Pre-Election Reader”

  1. Breckinridge Avatar

    Wouldn’t it be delicious if the Obamacare roll out debacle, coupled with the growing realization that it also disrupts things and boosts costs for those who liked the coverage they had, ends up flipping this race and there is a shocker Tuesday night? The first line in the letter my wife got, telling her that her particular policy was being terminated and she had to make another (more expensive) choice, was “due to the Affordable Care Act….” Maybe the employer would have done it anyway, but they are blaming it on ACA. A whole lot of people are getting that word.

    Well, that was amusing for a second….

    I’m not sure that the things outlined above would have made that much difference. Not TAKING gifts from Williams would have made a huge difference. Campaigns matter but on voting day you are choosing between two people. We know these two fairly well now, and in Cuccinelli’s case there is a public record to match the rhetoric, and those who are rejecting him would not have changed their minds if Chris LaCavita had warmed up for this watching Disney movies and taking sedatives. Add the number of voters who will not vote on Tuesday to the number who vote for Sarvis as a protest, and the result will be (either way) a very wounded start to a new administration.

    1. jeisrael Avatar

      To paraphrase Ken Cuccinelli–you know what they call you when you win a gubernatorial election with a bunch of Republicans staying home and others voting for Sarvis as a protest?


  2. The problem with the ACA is that it mandates minimum coverage for thinks like colonoscopies – and of course that folks with pre-existing conditions cannot be turned down and they cannot be charged higher rates differentially.

    I think for every person who gets that letter, there are two more than cannot get insurance period until now and so I’m wondering after all the shouting, how many are mad and how many are glad.

    we’ll see.

    but Virginia and other states are going to play around with fire and we’re going to see more hard right folks elected – and people are going to see
    what’s it like to have these folks in charge -and we’re going to see on that issue also because a lot of people who vote do not think that the basic concept of govt should be destroyed – even if they are not happy with the current version of it.

    the folks on the right who have no intention of really governing but instead dismantling as much as they can – because they’re replaced are going to find out if that’s what most people really want.

    And no, I’m not 100% sure how people will roll on this because there is a lot of unhappiness with govt these days but I’m pretty sure they’re not going to love the wet dream of the hard right either.

  3. Les Schreiber Avatar
    Les Schreiber

    Gender, Gender and Gender. I’ve never seen an election with an almost 25 point spread based on gender. It will be interesting to see the analysis of the data on Wednesday to confirm if this really happens. “Bare foot and pregnant” just doesn’t work in 2013.

  4. Falls_Church Avatar

    An example of the poor campaign Cooch ran is the strategic folly of his closing days. The election will be won in the battleground counties of Loudoun, Prince William, and Stafford — just like every other statewide election. It will also be won or lost on the issues of taxes, jobs and the economy — especially if Cooch is going to win.

    Cooch is an idiot for focusing on Obamacare. Even people against Obamacare recognize that Cooch can do little to nothing about it as Governor. What is he going to do as Governor for the little old lady who’s unhappy about not getting to renew her existing policy? Does anyone (even anti-obamacare folks) realistically think that Cooch will be able to do what all the republican congressmen (aside: they’re all men) combined can’t do?

    The only thing Cooch can possibly do is refuse to take the federal government’s money for expanding Medicaid, even though an expansion costs Virginians very little. But, that’s like making your entire campaign about how you’ll take one minor chink out of some huge perceived dragon.

    If Cooch loses, part of it will definitely be because he ran a lousy campaign.

  5. I think this election is going to define the limits of “blueness” (or purpleness) of Va especially with regard to RoVa and the more urban parts of the state and to include a 3rd area – the suburbs around the urban areas which tend to be Conservative on some issues but also tend to hold a great number of voting women.

    It could also be argued that we might see how much “softening” there is in the GOP ranks with respect to very hard right candidates. There is a split in the GOP – philosophically between the fiscal conservatives and the social conservatives and the allied nihilists whose core believe that “govt is the problem” but how many traditional, conventional Republicans will continue to vote for the party no matter how far right the candidate is?

    Unsurprisingly, Cucinelli presents two faces in his advertising depending on whether he is talking to urban areas where he promotes himself as a more conventional pro-business/pro-jobs, Republican and the rural areas where he struts his core hard right anti-govt miasma.

    The part that amazes me is that rural Va benefits enormously from better schools, MedicAid for the uninsured and other social services for those in need as well as state-targeted economic development – all due to RIchmond who fundamentally believes in taxing NoVa and sharing it with RoVa.

    inexplicably the voters in RoVa – are basically voting against their own interests because the hard right candidates like Cucinelli would go right after the entitlements and school funding – portraying it – as Cuccinelli has has – as a tax cut for all Virginians.

    NoVa is more than willing to pay higher taxes and spend it on better schools but much of RoVa is not so willing and really do depend on the composite index. There is a disconnect between the folks in RoVa who do not value education and are not willing to pay for it – and the minority in RoVa who know that education is key to those kids future fortunes.

    One has to wonder – if there was not a govt and not people in Richmond – who continue to believe in the concept of the Composite Index – what would happen to RoVa education. We might find out some day if we elect those who think that public schools are not worth the money.

    1. DJRippert Avatar

      “There is a disconnect between the folks in RoVa who do not value education and are not willing to pay for it – and the minority in RoVa who know that education is key to those kids future fortunes.”.

      First, I’d argue that it’s the urban crescent vs elsewhere more than NoVa vs RoVa. Poquoson clearly respects the value of an education. Henrico too.

      Second, there is a disconnect. A bunch of so-called Republicans piss and moan about Barack Obama’s wealth transfers but those same phony baloneys are only too happy to take money from elsewhere for their kids’ education rather than pay for it themselves. I feel sorry for the RPV. They have to pretend to be conservative while pandering to the socialists in drag who live outside the urban crescent.

  6. billsblots Avatar

    How is McAwful’s Virginia job growth expansion in China working out?

    In 22 years in Virginia I’ve never felt such revulsion at the candidates for governor as this year.

    1. reed fawell III Avatar
      reed fawell III

      Billsblots –

      I try to stay away from politics and particular politicians. Here conscience forces me to make an exception. I totally agree with your revulsion.

    2. well yes, totally agree but would you vote for a conservative whack job instead?

      1. reed fawell III Avatar
        reed fawell III

        Larry, to your answer your own question, read more closely billshots last sentence and my response to it.

      2. reed fawell III Avatar
        reed fawell III

        Larry, to answer your own question, read more closely billshots last sentence and my response to it.

  7. Virginia is going to go blue because the cities vote blue. What happens outside the city walls is meaningless noise. Republicans preached jobs for the people and instead threw the poverty stricken into jail. Webb then turned red counties blue against Allen. The old school ‘adults’ killed the RPV, now there’s no next generation of candidates. Soon if you see a place like Poquoson go blue you will know the GOP is done for.

  8. almost.. much of the Va General Assembly is red – as in the majority – so far.

    and that’s why we still get Conservative whack-job ideas like vaginal probes and opposition to expanding MedicAid, etc

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