By 2014 the Republican Party will have had two years following the Presidential defeat, to reposition their party as more inclusive of the demographics that voted overwhelmingly against them in 2012. As of July 2013, the Republicans have simply continued their war on immigrants, the poor, gay rights, and most notably, on women. And so it is those groups that will provide the strength to knock the Republicans from key positions in late 2013, and 2014.
My next few articles will focus on some key battlegrounds in the fight to turn America blue.
Virginia is one such place.
In November 2013, Virginia will head to the polls to elect a new Governor. Moderates have a choice, they can choose to vote for Democratic nominee, and ex DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe; a moderate himself. Or they can choose to elect the Republican nomination, current Attorney General of Virginia, Ken Cuccinelli.
Ken Cuccinelli is your typical Tea Party style Republican, dedicated to nothing more than rolling back gay rights, rolling back employee rights, and attempting to ensure that safe access to abortion disappears from Virginia. He has fought on this basis for quite some time.
Recently Cuccinelli worked to force abortion clinics to upgrade to hospital level, thereby threatening the existence of abortion clinics in Virginia. This is a common GOP tactic in restricting access to abortion. Cuccinelli provided support for his particular war on women, with a speech that completely rewrote history:
“Start right at the beginning – slavery. Today, abortion. History has shown us what the right position was, and those were issues that were attacked by people of faith aggressively to change the course of this country.”
– Yes. The Attorney General of Virginia compared abortion to slavery. The enslavement, vicious beatings, forced labour, abuse, rapes of a people based solely on the shade of their skin….. Cuccinelli compares to abortion. He also seems to be unaware of the split in Christendom in the US during the antebellum period on the issue of slavery. People of faith both supported, and opposed slavery. They certainly weren’t united. Maryland’s “Society of Jesus” owned slaves and heavy handedly put them to work. And despite the official anti-slavery position of the Methodist Church; Southern Methodist church’s continued to support slavery even after the civil war. Cuccinelli is entirely wrong to suggest Christianity was responsible for the end of slavery. Christian propaganda is a wonderful tool wielded by the Christian Right.
On gay rights, Cuccinelli wishes to ensure that gay people have few protections and rights as possible, stating:
“It is my advice that the law and public policy of the Commonwealth of Virginia prohibit a college or university from including ‘sexual orientation,’ ‘gender identity,’ ‘gender expression,’ or like classification, as a protected class within its nondiscrimination policy, absent specific authorization from the General Assembly.”
Along with women, and gay people, Cuccinelli also isn’t too keen on reality. Ken Cuccinelli believes himself to be correct, and practically every reputable scientist on the planet to be incorrect, when it comes to climate change. So much so, that upon taking office in 2010, he filed a lawsuit requiring the Environmental Protection Agency overturn its ruling that greenhouse gases endanger public health. Of course, the case failed. He then …. and i’m not making this up…. mocked the EPA by suggesting everyone hold their breath for a minute to prevent release of carbon dioxide to please them. That is the extent of the potential Governor of Virginia’ understanding of rising Co2 levels.
He then attempted to launch a fraud investigation against a scientist at the University of Virginia. The District Court, followed by the Supreme Court threw his case out.
His one man political crusade against reality prompted the University of Virginia to state:
“His action and the potential threat of legal prosecution of scientific endeavor that has satisfied peer-review standards send a chilling message to scientists engaged in basic research involving Earth’s climate and indeed to scholars in any discipline. Such actions directly threaten academic freedom and, thus, our ability to generate the knowledge upon which informed public policy relies.”
The Washington Post stated that Cuccinelli had:
“….declared war on the freedom of academic inquiry”
– Though, Cuccinelli’s position on climate change hasn’t been completely negative for him. During the first four months of 2013, he managed to raise over $2,500,000 for his campaign, mainly from gas and oil interests. That should certainly strengthen his anti-climate change position.
Cuccinelli’s current war, is on…… again, not making this up……. oral and anal sex.
Perhaps he thinks it’ll speak to a Virginian sense of heritage given that in the founding years of the nation, the Virginia legislature decided death was the appropriate penalty for “sodomy”. (Though, Thomas Jefferson did try to commute this to the much more liberal-minded punishment of castration).
All ‘Sodomy’ laws were scrapped by the Supreme Court in 2003. In Virginia, the law broadly criminalised oral as well as anal sex. Ten years later, the potential Governor of Virginia wants the law upheld. He insists that his new idea for Sodomy laws would only involve cases of rape and minors. And yet, in 2004 when a bipartisan group of State Senators proposed a similar law, Cuccinelli voted against it. Just how far Cuccinelli can be trusted in not prosecuting consenting adults, can possibly be deduced from a 2009 speech in which he states:
“My view is that homosexual acts — not homosexuality, but homosexual acts — are wrong. They’re intrinsically wrong. And I think in a natural law-based country, it’s appropriate to have policies that reflect that … They don’t comport with natural law
– Seems to me that Cuccinelli wishes to criminalise homosexuality. And this man is running for public office… not in 1950. But in 2013.
Cuccinelli is also a ‘Right-To-Work’ supporter; despite a recent ‘National Education Association’ study finding that:
“worker-friendly states are significantly healthier, are more productive, have less poverty, and with citizens who enjoy longer life spans. In four of the seven measures (GDP per capita, poverty, insurance and life expectancy rates) so-called “right-to-work” states come out significantly (and statistically) worse.
These findings have broad policy implications in those states where lawmakers are wrongly considering RTW measures, and should inform the good efforts of union members and allies to quell those efforts. Instead of pursuing laws that actually lower the standard of living in their states, policy makers should look for ways to elevate everyone’s standard of living. Enacting RTW laws is not only misguided, but in fact counterproductive to achieving such ends. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “In our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard against being fooled by false slogans, as ‘right to work.’ It provides no ‘rights’ and no ‘works’.”
– Like with climate change, Cuccinelli is ignoring the facts on what actually works to provide a better standard of living for Virginians. He ignores facts, in order to progress a far right, damaging agenda. He is not a rational man. He is an extreme ideologue.
So you can see, a typical Tea Party-esque politician that cannot be trusted with an ounce of power. He cannot be trusted with women’s health and women’s freedom issues, he cannot be trusted with gay rights issues, he cannot be trusted to stay out of your sex life, and he cannot be trusted with free inquiry and scientific advancement. For McAuliffe to win (he currently trails in the polls), those inclined to vote Democrat, or those that consider themselves moderate, must come out in force on election day. It is the only way to defeat a very right winged, very anti-women, very anti-gay rights, very anti-science Tea Party extremist straight from the 1950s. His statements and lawsuits as Attorney General are bad enough. As Governor, Ken Cuccinelli would be a disaster for Virginia.
I hope that in November 2013, Virginia turns blue.