Plenty of people cynically dismiss politicians of every stripe by saying they’re all alike. Why vote? they ask mockingly, it only encourages ‘em.
Elections prove all politicians aren’t the same. Virginians who were too bored to bother with 2009’s statewide elections are already being taken to school by the two of the Republicans who were sworn in two months ago.
Yes, for better or worse, Gov. Bob McDonnell is going to make a difference. McDonnell is not likely to be mistaken for his predecessor, former Gov. Tim Kaine, any time soon.
However, in the last few days Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has become the most talked about Republican in Virginia. At this writing he looks more like a throwback to the mean old days of institutionalized discrimination than any statewide figure in a long time.
Move over Virgil Goode and Bob Marshall, it looks like Cuccinelli is determined to be the Flat-Earth Republicans' top dog in Virginia.
Cuccinelli’s much-in-the-news letter to Virginia’s colleges and universities has instantly made him into a fresh-faced hero to this country's angry legions of Dittoheads and Sarah Palin fans.
Make no mistake about it, Cuccinell’s move was calculated to do just that. There was no widespread outcry for him to weigh in on this matter. His rather uncalled-for opinion seems to provide cover for university personnel, who might like to use their own homophobic beliefs as a basis to deny someone a job, or acceptance into a program, etc.
In other words, Cuccinelli is saying that only the General Assembly can direct state-supported schools' personnel to be fair in their dealings with all citizens.
How this bizarre legal opinion/stunt will hold up in court tests probably doesn’t concern Cuccinelli all that much. His short-term strategy appears to have more to do with him showboating his way into national prominence than it does with establishing his legal chops.
When a judge puts the kibosh to Cucinelli’s opinion it won't matter so much, because he will have already reaped the benefit he wanted in the first place. For the next four years Cuccinelli is in place to make as much mischief of this sort as he pleases.
Which means that for the next four years we Virginians may see a lot of our tax money devoted to reanimating the zombies of all sorts of issues we thought had been resolved long ago.
That’s how Flat-Earth Republicans operate. They pick at scabs, hoping fresh blood from yesterday’s thought-to-be-healed problems will distract Democrats so much they will lose their focus on today’s battles. That strategy seeks to tie up Democrats defending social gains made decades ago, at the expense of spending time on today’s problems, such as healthcare reform.
Flat-Earth Republicans are prepared to unravel Medicare and Social Security. From their propaganda it looks like they would be happy if all abortions and trade unions were illegal. It seems they would actually like to return to something akin to the time before voting rights were extended to all citizens, before trust-busters in government began to regulate capitalists.
They will continue to tell us it’s about lower taxes and more freedom. But force-marching us all across a narrow bridge to the 19th century appears to be the true agenda.
Yes, you can’t always get what you want … you get what you elect.
-- Words by F.T. Rea
Update No. 1: Click here to read Andrew Sullivan's reaction to the new McDonnell decree.
Update No. 2: Click here to read "Baliles: Cooch's Legal Reasoning Flawed" at Blue Virginia.