Let me now make this issue personal. Not only did I support Cuccinelli, but on more than one occasion (especially one at a fundraiser for him that he will recall) I urged him to do something that he may regard as similar to what he has done: pledge during the campaign that as attorney general he would do whatever he could to rescind racial preference policies in Virginia. (I gave the same advice to Bob McDonnell.)
Cuccinelli pointedly refused, provoking me to send the following email to three conservative friends on Sept. 26, 2009:
You three are no doubt much more experienced than I at being disappointed by Republican politicians, so I thought I would share with you our sad experience last night at a fundraiser for Ken Cuccinelli, running as you know for Va. AG.
You probably also know that he’s VERY conservative — uncompromisingly pro-life, against Kelo even before Kelo was decided, a thorn in the side of the go-along to get-along Republican old boys in the state senate, etc., etc. He gave impressive, even moving remarks to the supportive gathering in the imposing McMansion of the sponsor … about the importance of sticking up for the Constitution “as written,” about First Principles (which he seemed to capitalize even in speech) and how compromising them was not only unprincipled but bad for the party and hence for the country. Etc., etc.
All in all, very impressive, as is his record. Which made my disappointment more severe: in conversation, he refused to stand up for the “without regard” principle. I’ve drafted a blog post, which I attach below, but I probably won’t post it out of concern that maybe there was an expectation that the gathering would be private. No one said “off the record,” but I still feel a bit funny about it. … Anyway, this now makes you a select (and small) audience. What a bummer. If we can’t get Republicans as professedly principled as Cuccinelli to stand up for treating everyone without regard to race, maybe we should just pack up and go home. (Oh, wait. I am home….)
I didn’t post it, but I see no reason not to do so now, a bit late:
Depressing Words From An Appealing Candidate [DRAFT 9/26/09]
Helene (the Discriminating Wife) and I went to a fundraiser tonight for Ken Cuccinelli, the Republican candidate for attorney general in our statewide election this November. …
In many ways it is hard to imagine a more appealing candidate. A conservative (actually, very conservative) state senator who has been re-elected twice in a very liberal, Democratic district in Northern Virginia (the only remaining Republican in the delegation from Northern Virginia), he has a strong record standing up not only for conservative policies (which has often made him unpopular with other Republican office-holders) but even conservative principles, from which he makes it a point of pride not to back down.
Indeed, his remarks tonight were infused with dedication to those principles and how it is not only unprincipled but bad politics for Republicans to compromise them in misguided efforts to woo interest groups or, for whatever reason, to appear more “moderate.”
I was impressed, which probably increased my disappointment with his firm refusal to stand up for the “without regard” principle. In conversation, I gave him what I thought, and still think, a brilliant (if I do say so myself) suggestion: ask his Democratic opponent in one of their next debates whether or not he agrees that all Americans should be treated by their governments without regard to race, creed, or color. This would, of course, put his opponent (and, in fact, any Democrat) on the spot: if he agreed, he would be admitting his opposition to affirmative action; if he disagreed, he would be offending the overwhelming majority of voters who still revere that principle.
Cuccinelli, however, although he agrees with the principle, and would say so if asked (and even as a state senator, offended the higher education establishment by trying to get it to reveal data on admissions preferences), would not go, as they say, “pro-active” with it. “I want to get elected,” he said, “and there are too many people who equate colorblindness with opposing civil rights.” He was not swayed by my pointing to survey data, with which he professed familiarity, confirming that a substantial majority supports colorblindess, nor could I shame him by saying Republicans should not let Democrats continue to get away with sliming the “without regard” principle.
Disappointing. Especially now, when large numbers of people are fed up with being called racist for the offense of criticizing Obama’s health care policy and would like a politician to stand up for them.
Cuccinelli’s unwillingness to stand up for the “without regard” principle of colorblind non-discrimination during the campaign followed by his eagerness to proceed now with an equally undisclosed social agenda, one that at least appears to condone discrimination, makes his campaign silence seem duplicitous.
What? You’re not shocked that a politician was duplicitous? Then you probably also won’t be shocked at the hypocrisy, for lack of a better word, of Cuccinelli’s most outspoken critics. Do those 3,000 students and others who proclaim in Facebook that WE DON’T WANT DISCRIMINATION IN OUR STATE UNIVERSITIES AND COLLEGES! object to the racial preference policies that are pervasive in Virginia, as elsewhere? Isn’t a policy that favors some and disfavors others based on their race discriminatory?