Saturday, August 31, 2013

Cuccinelli's surrogates will only hurt his campaign


On Friday morning I asked who Ken Cuccinelli could use as surrogates.
Now ask yourself, who can Cuccinelli use as a surrogate? Bob McDonnell? Nope. George Allen? Perhaps, but very limited appeal. Jim Gilmore? Ugh, no. Bill Bolling? Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! The Republican candidate for Attorney General, Mark Obenshain, might not embarrass Cuccinelli, but the last thing Cuccinelli wants is Lieutenant Governor candidate E.W. Jackson speaking on his behalf. For all intents and purposes, Cuccinelli has no running mates, as Obenshain may want to put some distance between himself and Cuccinelli. John Warner isn't going to help Cuccinelli. Eric Cantor might be persuaded to help, but he's a busy guy and is generally hated outside his own 7th Congressional District, so no real help there. What about some help from out of state? Chris Christie has his own race to run and is from a different part of the GOP than extreme Cuccinelli--highly unlikely. Sarah Palin? Hah, Palin would come if Cuccinelli paid her speaking fee, and she'd probably knock him down two more points in the polls. Bobby Jindal? I don't see him making much difference. Cuccinelli's situation is so dire that Republicans with national reputations might be reluctant to associate with what may be an incipient electoral disaster for the Republican Party of Virginia.
Now we have an answer: Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, and Ted Cruz. Yes, that's right--Ken Cuccinelli is so desperate for surrogates the he is opening the door to the Republican Party's 2016 wannabes. Cue the sound effect of a stereo needle being scratched across an LP record. In short, Ken Cuccinelli's campaign is no longer about Virginia in 2013; instead it will be about the Republican horse race for 2016. Each of Cuccinelli's would-be surrogates is problematic in one way or another.

Ted Cruz is a wannabe Joe McCarthy. Ted Cruz has a long history of telling lies--even the right leaning PolitiFact confirms Cruz's status as a political liar par excellence.

Then there is Rand Paul, a polarizing figure even within the Republican Party. Paul is a notable opponent of Civil Rights legislation, while Virginia is a state with a large population of non-white voters. Paul is also carrying on a personal feud with the very popular Republican "moderate" Chris Christie. Pandering to Paul will probably piss off Christie supporters--who were probably already Bill Bolling supporters.

And then there is Marco Rubio, perhaps the most controversial Republican surrogate of all. Rubio badly misread the conservative appetite for immigration reform and came out as a strong advocate for legislation opposed by the vast majority of Republican rank-and-file. Rubio is being heckled viciously in his own home state of Florida, where there is a lot more sympathy for immigration reform than Virginia. The Republican Party of Virginia's base opposes immigration reform with a level of passion that is hard to characterize as anything other than racism. What sort of reception does Ken Cuccinelli imagine that Marco Rubio will receive from Virginia Republicans? I think he will be lucky to escape a tar and feathering.

If Ken Cuccinelli is desperate enough for surrogates that he is willing to invite the 2016 Republican nomination circus to town, then it suggests that his campaign--if not on life support--is at least at the point where it feels the need to roll the dice at wild odds.

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