Ken Cuccinelli was a squish, which brought his ticket-mates down with him. Period. (UPDATED)

We are now over a week past Election Day 2013, and a dangerous revisionism is sweeping across the right in Virginia. I have watched in amazement as Ken Cuccinelli has practically escaped all blame for what is arguably the worst performance by a Republican nominee for Governor since 1985 (using percentage of the total vote as the standard). I’ve seen blame thrown at his ticket-mates (well, one of them anyway), the Republican National Committee, the “establishment”, “RINOs”, Bill Bolling, etc.

However, take a broader view of the election and it becomes clear that Cuccinelli did this to himself and his ticket-mates, with a horrific slew of mistakes on the tax issue. Ken Cuccinelli lost because he was a squish.

I know I am just about the only blogger in the Virginia rightosphere to say that, but let’s be honest. Would any other Republican who spoke with pride about his role in raising taxes – not once, mind you, but twice – get the accolades and pats on the back that Ken is receiving now? To ask the question is to answer it.

Outside of Virginia, most of the high- and medium-profile races were in the northeast. In New Jersey – a state that gave Obama 58% in 2012 – a pro-life, anti-same-sex-marriage Republican Governor ran for re-election, but with a record of lowering taxes. Chris Christie did two points better than Obama. Meanwhile, in Westchester County – a suburb so full of limousine liberals that Obama did better there than he did in Fairfax – Republican County Executive Rob Astorino faced a barrage of negative ads about his social conservative view. However, he also had a record of low taxes, and won re-election easily.

If that’s not enough, consider this. Ken Cuccinelli actually did come closer to victory (2.5%) than Mitt Romney did (3.9%), but in the areas most affected by the tax increases Cuccinelli defended and praised, he lost by a larger margin than Romney’s.

I have seen Republicans in Virginia fall for the same, failed model for a dozen years: social conservatives hoping to win over the center by supporting, defending, or refusing to oppose tax increases. It has been an unfettered disaster, and Ken Cuccinelli was just the latest to make that mistake…bringing down his fellow statewide candidates in the process.

The message from 2013 is crystal clear: Republicans who take pride in raising taxes will lose, period. Folks, Ken Cuccinelli did this to himself.

Cross-posted to the right-wing liberal

UPDATE: I would also note that in Prince William County, long considered the swing county in the state, only one Republican Delegate voted for Plan ’13 From Outer Space; he went on to become the only incumbent GOP delegate in the county to be defeated at the polls.


12 thoughts on “Ken Cuccinelli was a squish, which brought his ticket-mates down with him. Period. (UPDATED)

  1. I believe the entire ticket pulled each other down….like a threesome that didnt know how to swim…………or attract anything besides the far-right wingers!! Face it….your party is DEAD!!! If you listened to the likes of Bobby Jindal, you might get somewhere…………….we really do need a 2-party system, but until you change, we will not have one!!!

    1. Ken, a 48-46 win is just a win. The party is dead? So 46% of the state are hard core right wingers? Cool!
      Look. If the party pulled together instead of sniping because their guy did not win the primary the 30K votes could have gone the other way. If the party got more money form the RNC, and some help on the stump 30k votes could have gone the other way. Sorry, but you are wrong … again.

  2. oh good grief DJ, “squish” ?? I am not saying I don’t share some of your frustrations. But Ken did oppose the Transportation Tax hikes, and proposed and ran on a tax cut, emphasizing his $700 per family cut vs McAwful’s $1700 increase. And since Ken only lost by some 50,000 votes, it IS plausible that certain establishment forces cost him the race (Bolling working hard to discourage the business community to shun him, Marcus taking pro-life and other GOP lists for suppression calls, McDonnell killing the GOP brand with a $6B tax hike and the Williams scandal, the RNC/RGA pulling out where a million or more could have won it, etc). I agree with you GOP candidates MUST clearly stake out and be the champions for tax cuts, and Ken could have done better in this regard. But he was hardly a “squish”.

    1. He opposed the $6B tax hike initially, but backed a smaller one, then took credit for making the tax hike constitutional. He also boasted about his hideous HB3202 vote.

      I stand by my label.

    2. yes, those facts, along with his refusal to sign a pledge against higher taxes and his bone-headed position on not repealing the $6B McDonnell tax hike, gave concern for sure. I make no excuse for him here.

      but his tax cut plan — which we’ve not seen the likes of since Gilmore’s No Car Tax — showed where he’d lead.

      That’s why I think the “squish” label is a bit much.

    3. It wasn’t a tax cut, it was a tax shift (with revenue clawed back from deduction elimination). As policy, if was fine, but it was not a tax cut.

    4. sure, he made the “revenue neutral” argument to head off the cries of cutting schools, etc …, and you and I’d have liked him to advocate more. I’ve no doubt he’d have actually wound up cutting overall state revenues as Governor. But apparently he can’t get even some credit from you for pushing to cut the overall tax rates and making tax reduction an issue in the race. He was the only candidate talking about it.

      given his past stellar record overall, and making tax reduction in the campaign –the label is just over-the-top.

  3. Ken Cuccinelli is definitely not Bob Marshall. When he ran for the Senate, Marshall did worse. He could not get the nomination.

    Frankly, I don’t think it makes much sense to blame Cuccinelli. Look at the guy in the White House. He won twice. Even after his sheep’s clothing had started to tatter, he still won.

    Did Cuccinelli run as Conservatively as we would have liked? No. Unfortunately, he responded to lots of pressure FROM THE VOTERS as well as the news media.

    Big corporations own most of the news media. They are getting their message out, and Conservatives are not. That’s a big problem, and it is not a problem one man can solve by himself.

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