The Spectacle Blog

Did Virginia Republicans Just Elect Terry McAuliffe?

By on 5.21.13 | 3:41PM

I recently asked a wise friend of mine who lives in Virginia what his take is on the upcoming election for governor between the state's attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli, and former DNC chairman, Clinton confidante and fund-raiser Terry McAuliffe.

My friend said "At this stage, it's hard to figure. Cuccinelli is really weak...McAuliffe, on the other hand, has more baggage than a wagon train. I'd say it's McAuliffe's to win. He's a colorful character, if a bit shady. Cuccinelli has a tough race ahead of him...Cuccinelli will have an awful time trying to get anyone beyond the base to vote, far less vote for him... As to Cuccinelli, I still think he and McAuliffe deserve each other and none of us deserves either of them."

Not living in Virginia, and thus having only limited contact with that state's politics since George Allen's disastrous "macaca" moment, I've been favorably inclined toward Cuccinelli as one of the leading champions of the legal fights against Obamacare, despite the results due to the treachery of Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.

Virginia is a very important state, a bellweather of purple states, and potentially critical in a presidential election. Whether the governor is a Democrat or a Republican matters.

I had been hoping that my friend was too pessimistic, though he's right far more often than wrong, but this weekend's turn of events at that state's nominating convention now has me thinking that Virginia will soon have the unbelievable spector of Governor Terry McAuliffe, a nouveau-riche carpet-bagger in perfect Clinton style.

Due, I'm told by a (different) friend who was a the convention, to a rousing speech, brimming with deeply felt conservative principle, the party nominated E. W. Jackson to be Cuccinelli's running mate, i.e. to run for the office of lieutenant governor.

Unfortunately, Jackson, who is a pastor, along with having a remarkable personal history of serving in the Marine Corps and then earning a law degree at Harvard Law School (items which the media will certainly ignore), has a history of, shall we say, extremely un-PC remarks about homosexuality.

The National Journal suggests that Virginia Republicans are "panicking" over Jackson's nomination.

In a country that is moving rapidly toward acceptance of gays, connecting homosexuality to pedophilia is political suicide.

There is a lot to recommend Mr. Jackson, from his service to his obvious intelligence to his passion for the things he believes in. And of course, Republicans are always looking to put forward black conservative candidates. But politics is, as much as anything else, about winning.

With the choice of Jackson, Virginia Republicans showed either ignorance of his history (much like the disaster that befell Colorado when Tea Party groups championed the unaccomplished-at-best Dan Maes simply because he wasn't "establishment") or of recent political history, where outrageous (both in substance and in political idiocy) statements by Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock not only cost those men their elections but likely cost Republicans control of the Senate.

It appears that even among the most politically active and theoretically well-informed, one can prove the maxim that people get the government they deserve.

Unless Mr. Jackson steps aside, it strikes me as likely that Virginia will face the depressing prospect of Governor Terry McAuliffe. For the good of his state and of the country, I hope Mr. Jackson will consider removing himself from the ticket while there's still time to find a credible replacement.

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