This column by ACRU General Counsel Peter Ferrara was published November 7, 2013 on the American Spectator website.
The roots of Ken Cuccinelli’s 2.5 point loss to ultrapartisan national Democrat and Hillary Clinton stalking horse Terry McAuliffe were planted by Republican incumbent Gov. Bob McDonnell.
McDonnell began with a damn good start on state fiscal issues, cutting back runaway state overspending to balance the budget with no tax increases. But he finished by throwing in with the crony capitalist Northern Virginia business establishment, which always wants more tax increases (on others) to finance still more road building. McDonnell consequently ended his term by winning still another sales tax increase for roads, to further increase state spending on a Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce plan to pave over Northern Virginia.
These tax increasing crony capitalists have a long history of leading those who go along with their tax and spending schemes to political defeat in Virginia. McDonnell’s tax increasing sellout to them polluted the Republican brand just before Cuccinelli’s campaign began.
Cuccinelli actually declared McDonnell’s tax increase unconstitutional, which he had the power to do as Attorney General in Virginia. That forced the state legislature to go back and pass it again. But the fog created by the Northern Virginia party controlled press prevented this bold action from breaking through to enough Northern Virginia voters.
Then McDonnell, who had been groomed for years by Virginia conservatives precisely to win the Governor’s office, inexplicably succumbed to a personal corruption scandal, possibly caused by family financial pressures. He allegedly sold favors to lobbyists for personal gifts. That further polluted the Republican brand with the stench of corruption, on the eve of the election season.
Democrats did their part by nominating former Democratic National Committee Chairman, and Clinton fundraising chairman, crony capitalist extraordinaire Terry McAuliffe for governor. McAuliffe has no idea regarding good economic policy, or good policy on anything. But he does have long well-developed fundraising channels, which he exploited to outfund Cuccinelli on media 10 to 1.
Worst of all, McAuliffe is a stalking horse for his pal Hillary Clinton for 2016. McAuliffe’s Democrats consequently ran a dry run campaign for Clinton with their completely fairy tale Republican War on Women theme. Central to that was the completely fabricated allegation that Cuccinelli and his Republicans wanted to ban contraceptives.
The U.S. Supreme Court held 50 years ago that states do not have the power under the Constitution to ban contraceptives, in the landmark case of Griswold v. Connecticut. But the low information voters that constitute the Democratic Party electoral base do not know anything about what happened in America 50 years ago. So they succumbed to this Democratic Party manipulation of women once again, which Democrats also successfully employed against Romney in Virginia just a year ago. To low information nimrods, repetition of falsehoods lends them an air of credibility.
So expect to see Hillary Clinton campaign for President next year as the savior of American women from the supposed Republican War on them. The notion that a major political party is conducting war on half the voting public cannot be taken seriously by adults. But we are not primarily dealing with adults in America right now, at least not in regard to the half of the nation made up of Democrats.
But even the Virginia Libertarian Party lent itself to the Democrat crusade against Cuccinelli. It allowed non-Libertarian Robert Sarvis to take their nomination for Governor. Sarvis favored a mileage tax on cars, to be enforced by a driving recording device to be installed in all cars licensed in Virginia. The government would consequently have a record of everywhere you drive your car.
Not exactly a Libertarian policy. But what can be expected of a man who renounces such Libertarian economic policy icons as Hayek and Von Mises? Turns out that the Sarvis campaign was financed by leading McAuliffe/Obama campaign finance bundlers, precisely for the purpose of dividing the conservative vote. On Tuesday, while Cuccinelli lost by 2.5 percent of the vote, Sarvis took 6.5 percent from the most free-market conservative ranks of Virginia voters.
These are the reasons why Libertarian Party idol Ron Paul spent the last days of the campaign with Cuccinelli telling Libertarian voters they would be “insane” to vote for Sarvis. Cuccinelli is strong enough on Libertarian economic issues to have run with both the Libertarian and Republican nominations for Governor, something the Libertarian Party should consider in the future for both Democrat and Republican candidates who are good enough on their issues to beat out all alternative candidates. That is how the Conservative Party of New York operates, and it has greatly enhanced its clout.
Cuccinelli’s campaign was also marred by unforced internal errors. The campaign did not correct the now regular malpractice of Virginia Republicans in failing to identify and turn out their voters, an essential campaign practice for victory that the Democrats have now perfected for their voters. There are conservative Republican precincts even in Northern Virginia, where Cuccinelli was crushed, losing the whole statewide race right there. But his campaign did not identify and reach his own voters in those precincts.
My own Delegate in Virginia, Barbara Comstock, was also heavily targeted for defeat by state Democrats. But she prevailed in a narrow win, utilizing the same get out the vote strategies that were offered to, but left on the shelf by, the Cuccinelli campaign.
Cuccinelli ran on an excellent tax cut proposal financed by a cap on state spending. But he failed to invest nominally in a solid econometric study that would have forced media attention on the proposal, and reframed the entire campaign on economics, rather than Democrat falsehoods about contraceptives.
Cuccinelli also needed to address the false Democrat War on Women and contraception allegations. He should have fired back that the nonsense McAuliffe and his Democrats were peddling would actually have been unconstitutional under the long established Supreme Court precedent of Griswold v. Connecticut. With Hillary Clinton prepping in the wings for her own assault on the nation on behalf of Democrat Party Marxism (see, e.g., the new Democrat Mayor of New York), Republicans need to develop a clear and thorough counterattack, which both Romney and Cuccinelli have failed to do. As a very articulate, top drawer lawyer, Cuccinelli could have and should have been very persuasive on the point.
America cannot afford still another, Hillary Clinton term of Supreme Court appointees. That will turn the still narrowly prevailing Reagan majority on the Court into an openly socialist, Marxist majority. (See, e.g., Elena Kagan, Ruth Bader Ginsburg.) The Second Amendment would consequently be erased from the Constitution, and every other constitutional protection dear to conservatives and libertarians. The federal courts would then no longer serve as a check and balance against lawless Democrats, like Barack Obama.
A new, free market, libertarian, conservative, campaign consulting firm has now been established, Liberty Associates, that would have successfully addressed all of the above unforced errors of the Cuccinelli campaign. It includes especially economic policy expertise, and proven, seasoned, Republican, Democrat and Libertarian campaign operatives. It offers in particular proven Get Out the Vote strategies and practices. It is now available for campaigns in Virginia, and all across the country, including 2016 Presidential campaigns. New blood is so badly needed now among Republican campaign consultants in particular, today only a bunch of proven, long time losers.
Cuccinelli is young, and he will be back as a statewide candidate in the near future, possibly as a U.S. Senate candidate, if not in another race for Governor. He has worked his way up from boyhood, Fairfax County, Republican campaign volunteer, and never lost any race before. Next time, he will have a fully staffed, and well-grounded campaign team, that will help him to a flawless, winning campaign. Virginia’s two Democrat U.S. Senators are so unappealing, that opportunity only awaits.