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by
Matt Vespa

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November 6, 2013 - 2:35 pm
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Last night’s loss to Democrat Terry McAuliffe was tough to swallow.  The infinitely better man, Republican Ken Cuccinelli, lost by 54,946 votes. Yet, it wasn’t because he was “too conservative”; that’s the one thing I don’t want to hear concerning why he lost. Simply, Ken Cuccinelli ran a bad campaign.  For one thing, he failed to fight hard for the issues that have worked in his favor.  This shift away from the social issues allowed McAuliffe to run with them at will – and define Cuccinelli before he could do so himself.

Case in point, the anti-sodomy fiasco. It’s standard practice for Virginia prosecutors to use this law when it comes to bringing sex offenders to justice.  Is that controversial? Is that extreme?  After that, the McAuliffe squad hit Ken for being “too extreme” on contraception, divorce, abortion, and climate change. There are many more reasons why this campaign failed, but it’s not because Ken Cuccinelli holds “extreme” views.

Ben Domenech of the Transom had ten good points detailing why Cuccinelli went down in defeat:

1. Cuccinelli got killed fundraising.

Say what you will for McAuliffe’s sleazy car-dealer approach to politics: what turns off voters works with the donor class, and boy does it.  McAuliffe convinced liberal donors to pour millions into the state in negative ads, and the drumbeat hitting Cuccinelli has been non-stop and impossible to avoid for the past three months on the airwaves. What’s more, with the exception of the RGA, Cuccinelli largely lacked the kind of support that has flowed from national organizations into the state in the past. In 2009, the RNC spent more than 9 million in Virginia to elect Bob McDonnell – this year, they’ve spent around 3 million. Cuccinelli expected he’d become a national election – he did for the Democrats, but not the Republicans.

2. Cuccinelli’s campaign (manager) suckedA smart campaign would’ve taken steps to mitigate the donor advantage, particularly in Northern Virginia. Cuccinelli has been outspent in each race he’s ever run, but the truth is that while the party’s moderates backed him up (Romney, Jeb, and others all fundraised for him), the NOVA business community didn’t. A smarter campaign would’ve made it harder for McAuliffe to get this support early on – but a campaign that gets shaken up two months out from Election Day isn’t a smart one, typically.

3. Cuccinelli tried to tone down the things that actually worked for him in the past

There’s a valid point in Maggie Gallagher’s report here about social issues and the Republican Party: essentially, that the talk of a truce is impossible, and that candidates would be better off defending themselves and even going on offense as opposed to fighting a defensive war.  Cuccinelli’s decision to run largely as a candidate in the Bob McDonnell model – one who talked about jobs and taxes, not guns and taxpayer-funded abortion – was a decision consistent with the conventional wisdom about the state, but the gap between it and his background and resume as a socially conservative populist created real problems. The War on Women rhetoric has now worked in back to back elections in Virginia, against a moderate Mormon and a conservative Catholic, and combatting it in future elections will require something more than just not talking about it, which cedes the conversation to the media and the left.

4. Cuccinelli had the baggage of his past fights which the left used very well.

This is true of Cuccinelli’s fights on marriage, abortion, climate, but particularly true of the issue of his defense of a sodomy statute on the books in Virginia. I doubt Cuccinelli ever realized how big of a liability this would be, but again, he’d have been better off defending himself vocally than shying away from it. Gay Republicans openly compared Cuccinelli to David Duke, and the indication that Cuccinelli wants to go around rounding up people for engaging in consensual sex was ubiquitous to any conversation about him on social media. Of course, in my county, there are nine convicted child abusers and sex offenders who were convicted under the statute, and I’d like to know which ones of them deserve to go off the books… but that defense was never offered. The irony is that Cuccinelli is personally less socially conservative than Bob McDonnell (remember that Regent thesis?), who accounts for numbers 5 and 6.

5. The whole McDonnell and Star Scientific scandal

Cuccinelli’s “run like Bob 2.0” strategy presumed that the popular governor would be on the trail every day backing up his attorney general. This strategy exploded when McDonnell, a pure as the driven snow boy scout (indeed, the off-putting thing about McDonnell for me has always been that he’s a little too perfect – the hair never out of place). McDonnell was so popular, in fact, that even after the donor scandals that the Washington Post has beat the drum on for months, he’s still more popular than Cuccinelli or McAuliffe, and probably would be winning a re-election race right now if Virginia law allowed him to run. The scandal will probably just result in a fine and a settlement for failure to report gifts, but it effectively removed McDonnell from the race and dealt a psychic blow to him and his supporters that absolutely impacted the election.

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45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Um...there is this thing called Liberty, sometimes called Freedom, and when you stomp on it a not inconsequentially sized group of generally conservative voters stays home. I am so sick of the excuses made for the idiocy of sodomy laws and "legitimate rape" and all the "social conservative" (clueless moralist busybody) crap that we have to swallow every election. Here's a news flash, when the RINO establishment says that social conservatives lose us elections THEY ARE CORRECT...that said, go along to get along pro-statist, crony capitalism and "moderation" ALSO loses us elections! No big surprise that the RINOs can identify losers...they are the experts!

The "War on Women" narrative works because there is a grain of truth in it. If not, then why are so many anti-abortion activists willing to go for the rape/incest exclusion? If one undivided cell is a person then why are we murdering people for no other reason than their parentage? Gee, could it be because this is mostly about punishing girls for being "whores"? If not, and if first trimester abortions really are honest-to-god murders, why are there any abortionists left alive? Do we not have the courage of our convictions?

At the end of the day, at some level, we all know that a blastocyst is not a person and a 36 week pre-born infant IS. There is a line somewhere and figuring it out is work for adults. We also know that when someone claims that they can't prosecute people who commit aggravated sexual battery on a CHILD, without recourse to a law that just happens to define gay sex as unnatural, prurient, abominable and illegal, that this is a hell of a lot more about hating gays (and gay men at that) than it is about some quest for sublime justice.

The Socons lost the gay marriage debate, even among Republicans, because so many of us know cute gay couples who are in love, and we are able look past any little twinges caused by imagining their private lives because they are decent people. Toleration (not necessarily acceptance) and compassion do not a RINO make, nor does a lack of these traits brand one a conservative. The winners will always be the happy warriors who trust in their fellow citizens to do right on balance, and see their place as always and forever to obtain for them the freedom to live their lives by no man's leave, and the protection of those rights when they be won.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
To: Reince Preibus
From: Bilgeman

In Re: Principles of Electoral Politics

Dear Reince;

If YOU won't fight for the GOP candidate by spending and log-rolling for him, even if he was not the preferred man of the Money Boys, then I won't vote for the GOP candidate that the Money Boys have propelled into a race where i would have preferred someone else.

I voted for Cooch, you decided that the opportunity to hang a shiner on Obama's eye over ObamaCare AND kick Hillary's creature to the curb wasn't worth the bucks.

I voted for Romney, although I would have preferred to vote for Rick Santorum.

Sometimes, you lead the dance, sometimes I do. If we both don't keep that in mind, we aren't going to go to the prom...at least not with each other.

See you around the rodeo;

Bilgeman
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
So having just bitched about nominating people with these basically indefensible views above, I'd now like to mention that you are dead right. We have a Party, the job of the party is to elect Republicans. This guy, for all his faults, was clearly electable, and better than the alternative. I personally can't stand Rick Santorum, and I'm virtually certain he would have lost by a margin that would have made Goldwater look like Reagan, but had he been the nominee, I would have showed up and pulled the lever for him. These establishment Republicans are a cancer. They think they own the party and we just work here. The argument between you and me occurs during the primary (or caucus or whatever). Then we suck it up and respect the outcome of that argument vote for the winner. Especially now when our differences are negligible compared to the chasm between us and the modern left.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Short version: The Stupid Party.

You lost to a corruptocrat. Nice work.

Here's a tip: It does not matter what the polls say, you have to fight very hard for the Purple States. You have to fight every time. It's not about which racers you can win. It's about not letting States become more and more Blue.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
This election mirrors the National electorate in it's political demographics. Where Democrats win they win really big in a few districts. Republicans win many districts in normal elections by 4-8 points. That is why the Democrats have been winning at the state and presidential level while the Republicans win population based representative bodies. As you pointed out Romney carried a majority of House districts but since the margin in many districts was under 10 points he could not overcome the the 80-90+ Democratic totals in a few districts.

The Republicans hold a lock on the Virginia House of Delegates. I can't imagine that McAuliffe believed he could even get a working majority of the legislature to enact his agenda, if he has one beyond looting the state. A Republican governor can get enough votes to compromise with Democrats out of party loyalty. Good luck to Terry in trying to get the same result.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
I know Boyd Marcus and he's a fat ass, self serving sh1t bird, just like his master, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling.

Bolling undermined Cuccinelli from day one, as it was supposed to be Bolling's turn to be Governor.

That Bolling would release his flying monkey on Ken is not a surprise, but Bolling has really hurt his future political ambitions.

Unlike George Washington who was, first in war, first in peace, first in the heart of this countrymen, Bill Bolling is only first in line at the buffet.

45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
How many losses are we going to shake off before it's too late?
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
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