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Cuccinelli’s tea bag is leaking

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By Rick Howell

It might be just about time to head into your kitchen, select your finest knife, and get ready to plunge it into the political turkey we know as “Ken Cuccinelli for Governor.”
    Cuccinelli has so much going against him, it’s very difficult right now to see how he could pull this out on November 5.
    And please don’t misunderstand; I’m not sympathetic. He is a right-wing extremist of “tea party” origin, and he needs to be defeated. In that respect, he’s his worst enemy and always has been.
    His nomination – and the method of it, which I’ve written about previously – was a theft from the more mainstream state party establishment that had preferred Bill Bolling.
    But as Cuccinelli’s fate looms, Virginia Republicans are again about to reap the same defeat that national Republicans are facing and for the same reason: They have yet to tame, crush, or find out how to marginalize the “tea party” fanatics that are killing their party’s chances at the polls.
    First, for Cuccinelli, the opinion polls are devastating. Like it or not, the polls are almost always correct. They’ve consistently shown Democrat Terry McAuliffe ahead since early summer.
    The latest survey shows McAuliffe up 47 to 39 percent, demonstrating again that Cuccinelli can’t break out of that 38 to 42 percent range that is the stuff of losers.
    Details in the polls show that women and independents are leaning heavily against Cuccinelli. Libertarian Robert Sarvis comes in anywhere from 6 to 10 percent, another factor that’s crippling to Cuccinelli. He needs every vote Sarvis might get.
    But the real hammer on Cuccinelli’s head right now, of course, is the government shutdown, engineered by the “tea party” ideologues in Washington. The last thing “Cooch” needed was a show of insanity from his buddies on Capitol Hill.
    It’s clear that the public understands the shutdown well enough to know who’s mostly to blame: the self-styled “tea party” insurrectionists who think that, somehow, they can reverse the last two presidential elections and keep health care safely in the hands of insurance companies.
    As the national GOP suffers decline in the polls – led by the low numbers for the two top tea-bagger senators, Ted Cruz (“Green Eggs and Ham”) of Texas, and Mike Lee of Utah, those ripples are escalating down to Virginia and surely affecting this governor’s race.
    For his part, Cuccinelli has been careful not to campaign on the emotive obsessions of the “tea party.” But his record as an extremist in the legislature and as attorney general have thoroughly defined him.
    Women haven’t forgotten his support of the ridiculous “personhood” amendment, which would have given “legal rights” to fertilized eggs, nothing more than a thinly-disguised attempt to go after birth control and abortion rights.
    Many independents won’t forgive his persecution of the University of Virginia, which he took to court and forced the institution to spend many thousands of dollars so he could prove the “global warming hoax.”
    Here in Virginia – and throughout the nation – Republicans have got to figure out that extremist, right-wing politics is not what the country wants.
    It does not represent where most people are politically, and that’s why the 2008 and 2012 elections turned out the way they did.
    And in the Old Dominion, well, this isn’t your gran-daddy’s Virginia, with its massive resistance to civil rights, and its conservative Democratic Party.
    Ken Cuccinelli might still win this election, through some bizarre and unforeseen circumstances, but it looks like the writing is on the wall.
    Somewhere, in an alternate political universe, past luminaries such as Eisenhower, Taft, Teddy Roosevelt, and probably even Ronald Reagan, are utterly saddened and disgusted at the state of their once great party.

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Rick Howell, a Bedford native, can be reached by e-mail at RickDem117@gmail.com.