The Spectacle Blog

‘A Conservative Rock Star’

By on 12.28.10 | 9:35AM

Politico's Ben Smith notes, offhandedly, that Virginia attorney general Ken Cuccinelli's "high profile lawsuits have made him a conservative rock star," linking to this Time profile.

Cuccinelli's high-profile actions have included suing the EPA for planning to regulate greenhouse gases, subpoenaing UVA to investigate climate scientist Michael Mann for his role in the Climategate controversy, and arguing that state schools do not have the right to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation. Most importantly, of course, is his lawsuit that led to a Virginia district court judge ruling that the individual mandate that is a key part of Obamacare is illegal. 

It's interesting that the same headline-grabbing lawsuits and statements that made Cuccinelli a rock star among conservatives also made him an object of derision among mainstream liberals. For taking on climate scientists and university anti-discrimination polices as well as abortion clinics and the constitutionality of the health care bill, he was regarded as a harmless, if embarrassing, wingnut. At least he was, up until his health care lawsuit threatened the viability of President Obama's signature legislative achievements. 

It's a sign of the disconnect between what Democrats on Capitol Hill think they can do to the public at large, and what the public thinks they should be allowed to do. Consider a quote that Time produces, just one of many such quotes from Cuccinelli that would seem outlandish to anyone who favored the health care bill: 

The health care law, he said at a Sept. 12 Tea Party rally, is an affront to American liberty perpetrated by an Administration with less respect for the concept than King George had.

Pretty extreme, right? But then read Cuccinelli's explanation:

"It's not so much that they wanted to trample [the Constitution]," Cuccinelli says of the health care law's backers. "It's that they didn't care."

This is indisputable. Nancy Pelosi bore witness to Cuccinelli's claim when she responded to a reporter's question about the constitutionality of the individual mandate with "Are you serious? Are you serious?" So who's more of a wingnut: the guy who pointed out that the Democrats didn't care about the Constitution, or the Democrats who mocked him for it, right up until a federal judge sided with him?

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