What will be the political fallout of the various scandals in which President Obama is ensnared? Chris Matthews thinks it will be huge.
Appearing on today's Morning Joe, Matthews mused that the IRS scandal alone would be worth 5-10 points to Republican candidates. He specifically mentioned Mitch McConnell, Tom Corbett and Ken Cuccinelli as Republicans whom the scandal would aid in their 2014 races. View the video after the jump.
The Washington Post put a poll it doesn’t like on the front of Sunday’s paper: Six months before Election Day in the Virginia gubernatorial race, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli “has a slender 46 to 41 percent edge over [Terry] McAuliffe (D) among all Virginia voters and a significant 51 to 41 percent lead among those who say they’re certain to cast ballots in November.”
The Post has tried for years to demonize Cuccinelli, so it can’t quite believe it. “But those numbers may change before then: The poll found that barely 10 percent say they are following the campaign ‘very closely’ and that nearly half of the electorate says they’re either undecided or could change their minds.” But Republicans are hardly undecided:
"Virginia's assault on abortion claims a victim," lamented the WashingtonPost.com headline for an April 28 editorial -- headlined "Virginia's assault on abortion" in the print edition -- savaging the new regulations on clinics in the Old Dominion.
It seems the Post, generally no opponent of government regulation, is staunchly pro-free enterprise when the business in question is killing unborn children for a fee. Here's how the liberal editorial board began its overwrought piece:
On Thursday, The Washington Post's Metro section put the Democrats' choice of “news” on the front page. “Democrats keep focus on abortion in Va. Race.” Post reporter Laura Vozzella relayed their outrage that GOP gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli was caught by a Democrat tracker describing abortion as a moral evil like slavery, as did one of his big financial backers, the Susan B. Anthony List.
The Beltway news operation National Journal attacked Virginia Attorney General and gubernatorial hopeful Ken Cuccinelli for his stance on political issues, particularly global warming. In a March 2 article entitled “Can Climate-Change Denier Ken Cuccinelli Win a Swing State?” National Journal asked how “[i]n storm-battered Virginia, the Republican candidate for governor still doubts the science.” The story was illustrated with a flood picture to underscore the point.
Throughout the story, Cuccinelli was depicted in negative terms: “partisan firebrand,” “extremist” and “hard-right.”
In "G.O.P.'s Ideological Split Appears in Virginia Governor's Race," New York Times reporter Trip Gabriel saw a controversial candidate on one side of the Virginia governor's race -- Republican candidate Kenneth Cuccinelli, Virginia's attorney general, who has support in the Tea Party and social conservative wings of the party.
His likely Democratic opponent? Terry McAuliffe, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee and controversial fundraiser for the Clinton administration. But judging by the paper's lack of coverage so far, only Republicans have a problem. Gabriel doesn't even mention Democrat McAuliffe until paragraph 12, and in an odd omission, calls him only "a businessman and former political operative."
The Washington Post somehow calls one of their blogs “Right Turn: Jennifer Rubin’s take from a conservative perspective.” This is an odd title when Rubin complains that a politician is destroying himself and the Republican Party by advocating conservative principles. Rubin was put on the Post op-ed page on Friday trashing Virginia’s Attorney General and GOP candidate for governor this fall: “It is not like I didn’t spot the Ken Cuccinelli train wreck coming up around the bend.”
Then, in another blog from her pro-Israel perch, Rubin blasted Chuck Hagel, but this take did not make the newspaper: “It’s fascinating, actually, to see a nominee of this importance do so poorly. Chuck Hagel, nominated for defense secretary, has gone from awful to atrocious today... It is unclear whether he was not prepped properly, whether he refused to be coached or whether he simply isn’t bright.”
As the 2013 Virginia governor's race is already underway, the Washington Post is determined to set the narrative early on for its readers, and it goes a little something like this: Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is a hard-right conservative who's too extreme for the Old Dominion, especially in contrast to job-creating businessman Terry McAuliffe. McAuliffe, you may recall, served as Democratic National Committee chairman from 2001 to 2005. [Read related posts here and here]
In the December 6 paper, Post staff writer Ben Pershing continued the narrative with his treatment of liberal former congressman Tom Perriello's announcement the day prior that he would not run for governor and that he backs McAuliffe, giving the former DNC chief a virtual lock on the nomination next June. The race is now between "Cuccinelli, a conservative who is loved by his party base, and McAuliffe," a "businessman" who "previously ran the Democratic National Committee," Pershing noted. The term "liberal" was used twice in Pershing's 17-paragraph story, in relation to Perriello. There was no exploration of the question of McAuliffe's ideological leanings:
The 2013 gubernatorial races may be in many ways a prelude of the 2014 congressional midterms. That certainly was the case in 1993 and 2009. So it's no surprise that the liberal media are doing their best to start writing the narrative about presumptive Virginia Republican gubernatorial nominee Ken Cuccinelli, who presently serves as the commonwealth's attorney general.
In a December 4 Swampland blog post, Time's Alex Altman exemplified the boilerplate comparison we're already seeing in other outlets like the Washington Post: Republican Ken Cuccinelli is a "controversial by design," staunch Tea Party conservative who could be a risky bet for the governor's mansion while his likely Democratic sparring partner, Terry McAuliffe is an ideologically nondescript inside-the-Beltway mover and shaker (emphasis mine):
As I argued yesterday, the Washington Post is already at work with its spin operation to tar Virginia Republican gubernatorial contender Ken Cuccinelli as a right-wing radical in advance of the 2013 race. The spin operation continued apace, today on the front page of the paper's Metro section, where Richmond correspondent Laura Vozzella described for readers how Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling concluded that "the path to GOP nomination looked too steep" to venture.
In her 19-paragraph story November 30 story, Vozzella hailed Bolling as the "state's multi-tasker in chief" who "has been juggling the part-time job of Virginia lieutenant governor with running for governor and working as a private insurance man." But alas, Bolling, "who shares many of [Attorney General Ken] Cuccinelli's conservative views but has a more conciliatory style" was no match for the attorney general's forces, who "pulled off something of a coup" when they "[took] control of the Republican State Central Committee."
The same newspaper that succeeded in felling Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) with its constant drumbeat of the "macaca" kerfuffle and which tried but failed to scuttle Bob McDonnell's 2009 run for Virginia governor with Thesisgate is ginning up its spin operation in service of the Democrats once again, looking forward 11 months into the future with the 2013 gubernatorial election in the Old Dominion.
Witness the November 29 front-pager by Errin Haines and Laura Vozzella entitled "Choice for governor of Va. may be stark." Right off the bat, we have bias by labeling which casts the Republican as an ideologue and the Democrat as a pragmatist.
You'd think the MSNBC "Hardball" host would be a shoo-in for the Media Research Center's annual "Obamagasm Award," but the 2011 prize went to Evan Thomas of Newsweek for declaring the president "stand[s] above the country, above — above the world. He’s sort of God."
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, columnist and author Ann Coulter, radio host Neal Boortz, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) and Red State blogger Erick Erickson were among the conservative heavyweights participating in the festivities.
[For a lengthy excerpt of the Gala that includes Neal Boortz announcing the Obamagasm Award nominees, click play on the first embedded video below the page break]
The Post dismissed as unprincipled and slippery the manner with which pro-life state legislators had pushed through a law that would require the Old Dominion's abortion clinics to be regulated like hospitals:
In late October, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) visited Media Research Center headquarters for a studio interview with CNSNews.com editor-in-chief Terry Jeffrey to discuss his state's lawsuit challenging the so-called individual mandate within ObamaCare that would require Americans, under penalty of federal law, to purchase health insurance.
Yesterday a federal District Court judge in the 4th Circuit ruled that provision unconstitutional.
The Republican Attorney General of Virginia, Ken Cuccinelli, accomplished what many others have failed to do and that is stay calm and collected in the midst of Chris Matthews' increasingly absurd charges, that even bordered on accusations of racism. Invited on Thursday's Hardball, to discuss a possible repeal amendment to the Constitution, Cuccinelli faced down a series of Matthews distortions as the Hardball host, at varying times, accused him of wanting to start another Whiskey Rebellion, questioned if he wanted to overturn the Civil Rights Act and charged that he was playing to "The old Johnny Rebs" and "Civil War buffs" in his state.
After Cuccinelli simply explained to the MSNBC host that the amendment was just an "attempt to bring back the balance of authority between the federal government and what goes on in the states" Matthews went on a tear as he insinuated the attorney general wanted to take America back to Antebellum days, as seen in the following exchange:
The Washington Post's undisguised loathing for conservative Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is on display again Tuesday. Post reporter Anita Kumar put him on the "far right" and questioned the propriety (and even the constitutionality) of his working relationship with other Republicans in Richmond.
Kumar began by noting a list of Cuccinell's "controversial" legal opinions, that "police could check the immigration status of those stopped by law-enforcement officers, that the state could impose stricter oversight of clinics that perform abortions and that local governments could allow religious holiday displays on public property. In each instance, the request for the opinion came from the same person: Del. Robert G. Marshall (Prince William), a like-minded Republican who shares Cuccinelli's far-right views."
Kumar obviously asked it this "symbiotic relationship" was unconstitutional legal activism that goes around the legislature:
Ken Cuccinelli, the conservative Attorney General of Virginia, came under attack on Friday night's All Things Considered on National Public Radio. This is one angle of Climategate the national media have noticed. But they pitch the battle as Cuccinelli vs. Science or Cuccinelli vs. Academic Freedom.
What's most infuriating is the notion that it's Cuccinelli who's "politicizing" science, and not Michael Mann's openly politicized e-mails explaining his data manipulations and plotting to censor his political opponents. Somehow, the Union of Concerned Scientists is painted as non-political.
Host Michele Norris began: "The University of Virginia says it will fight a demand from the state's attorney general. He wants the school to turn over private e-mails and documents related to a former professor's climate research. The case has sparked a national debate over academic freedom."
On Tuesday’s Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann used his regular "Worst Person" segment to attack Virginia’s Republican Attorney General, Ken Cuccinelli, for planning to take part in a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency on the issue of climate change. Responding to a joke Cuccinelli made about holding one’s breath to make environmentalists happy, Olbermann mocked the Republican attorney general in what could arguably be a suggestion that he should die, as the MSNBC host recommended that Cuccinelli should stop breathing until 2014. Olbermann: "Good idea, Mr. Cuccinelli. we`ll let you know when you should stop holding your breath. I would think sometime in 2014."
Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Tuesday, April 13, Countdown show on MSNBC:
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) has caused students across the Old Dominion to "rise up for gay rights,"* reporters Daniel de Vise and Rosalind Helderman insisted on the March 9 Metro section front page of the Washington Post.
Helderman and de Vise failed to consider the liberal leanings of the protesters, tagging the demonstrators in the lead paragraph as mere "campus activists" who are steamed over the state AG's "letter advising public universities to retreat from their policies against discrimination on the basis of sexual orienation." A few paragraphs later, Helderman and de Vise suggested that an "erosion in gay rights at state universities" would have detrimental effects on attracting and retaining students and faculty.
The problem is, Cuccinelli's legal opinion does not mandate a "retreat" from discrimination, he just noted that under Virginia law, any change in non-discrimination policy wording must be authorized by legislation.
The Daily Kos is letting its metaphors run wild against conservatives. Ken Cuccinelli, a solidly conservative state senator running for Attorney General, is described as a monster:
And whether or not dragons exist, monsters do. Sometimes they run for political office. I believe if one looks at the public record of Steve's opponent, State Senator Ken Cuccinelli, one will see someone whose record in public office and his declared intentions have monstrous implications.
Then the blogger called "teacherken" says these conservative monsters and dragons should be killed. He might mean defeating them at the ballot box. Maybe. If the writer were conservative, no one would assume anything but the real words on the page: kill.
At the edges of some medieval maps one might see the legend "here there be dragons" with illustrations of sea serpents. These marked the end of the known world, with the fears inherent in the unknown.
And yet, as children know, the monsters and dragons are part of everyday existence. They are under the bed, they are in our imagination, some seek to use them to manipulate use - pace the Glenn Becks and Rush Limbaughs and others of their ilk.
Pity the staff at the Washington Post. Their compatriots at the New York or Los Angeles Times luxuriate in a sea of enlightenment, with blue state voters as far as the eye can see. But the Posties must live and work in uncomfortable proximity to Red State Virginia, with only the thin buffer of the Northern Virginia suburbs between them and the gun-toting snake handlers.
Every now and then the Post publishes the journalistic equivalent of an involuntary shudder at its plight. The latest was an Oct. 30 editorial excoriating Ken Cuccinelli, the GOP candidate for Virginia attorney general. What gave the Post the vapors are statements Cuccinelli made about homosexuality in an interview with the Norfolk-based Virginian-Pilot.
The Washington Post on Thursday continued its quest to defeat Virginia’s Republican gubernatorial candidate, bizarrely citing a "non-partisan" group that, in reality, has endorsed Bob McDonnell’s Democratic opponent. The article by Anita Kumar contained this loaded headline: "McDonnell critics question ideology: Some saw agenda in legal opinions."
Kumar quoted Claire Guthrie Gastanaga, a lobbyist for "Equality Virginia, a nonpartisan gay rights group." Yet, the front page of Equality Virginia’s website features a press release entitled, "Equality Virginia PAC Endorses Deeds for Governor." The organization’s website makes a distinction between its political action committee (EVPAC) and its "non-partisan" activities. However, Kumar made no such clarification. How can a group be non-partisan and endorse the Democratic nominee?
As Scott Whitlock noted last week, the Washington Post editorial page thumped away at conservative Republican Ken Cuccinelli, who’s currently ahead in the race for Virginia’s Attorney General: "Given his sometimes bizarre and incendiary ideas, we worry that Mr. Cuccinelli would drive qualified and nonpartisan lawyers away, transform the attorney general's office into a staging ground for his pet peeves and causes, and make it an object of ridicule in a state where it has enjoyed a long run of respect."
But what about when Cuccinelli’s Democrat opponent, Steve Shannon, becomes an object of ridicule? The Post ignores it.
The liberal Washington Post, which for months has been running a seemingly endless series of attack pieces on Virginia’s Republican gubernatorial candidate, appears to have moved on to a new target, the GOP’s choice for Attorney General. On Thursday, the Post featured a column by Robert McCartney on nominee Ken Cuccinelli and included this ominous headline: "Cuccinelli: In your heart, you know he's to the right of right."
For the benefit of readers outside of Virginia, Cuccinelli is a pretty standard conservative. He’s pro-life, pro-Second Amendment. He’s taken positions in support of lower taxes and restraining spending. Certainly, he’s no moderate. Referring to him as "very conservative" would also be fair. But, according to McCartney, he’s a "militant conservative" and someone "who's so ardently conservative he makes [Republican] gubernatorial candidate Robert F. McDonnell sound like a mealy-mouthed moderate."
In an editorial on Wednesday endorsing Cuccinelli’s Democratic AG opponent, the Post used the same hyperbolic, scary language. The unsigned editorial derided Cuccinelli, who is currently a state senator, as a "provocative hard-liner," someone who supports "far-fetched initiatives" and holds "bizarre and incendiary ideas." The paper generally found his campaign "worrying."