The Virginia GOP’s E.W. Jackson Problem

The Virginia GOP's nominee for Lt. Governor could pose a problem for the party.

Jackson Cuccinelli

On Saturday, after a day that lasted nearly thirteen hours and a Lt. Governor’s race that ended up going to four ballots before finally being decided, the Virginia Republican Party selected Bishop E.W. Jackson, an attorney and religious leader who has become something of a star among the Tea Party crowd in Virginia over the past several years, as their nominee for Lt. Governor. The victory was something of a surprise given the fact that most observers expected either businessman Pete Snyder or Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart to end up being the one on top. Indeed, despite the fact that Jackson had led each of the three previous ballots, it seemed as though the establishment of the party was going to end up rallying behind Snyder rather than going with the untested and controversial Jackson. Thanks in no small part to behind the scenes political machinations between Stewart and Snyder, though, Jackson ended up going over to the top and winning the nomination. Now, many Virginia Republicans are nervous:

A minister who compared gays to pedophiles and Planned Parenthood to the Klu Klux Klan is not the No. 2 candidate Republican Party reformers had in mind for the marquee race of 2013.

Neither did the top of the ticket, Republican gubernatorial nominee Ken Cuccinelli, who has beendownplaying his own socially conservative record in favor of a more mainstream message focused on the economy.

So how in the world did archconservative African-American pastor E. W. Jackson cinch his party’s nomination for lieutenant governor of Virginia on Saturday night?

Blame Virginia’s quirky political process, a raucous convention speech and a racial undercurrent for vaulting Jackson—an also-ran in the 2012 Republican primary for the U.S. Senate—onto a stepping stone to the top job in one of the closely watched swing states in the country. Blame Cuccinelli, who steered the party away from holding a potentially more competitive primary and toward a convention that ensured his nomination but left the lieutenant governor’s slot up to only a few thousand hard-core activists to fill.

Jackson’s unexpected entrance into the Virginia statewide elections this year is one of the starkest examples of the challenges facing the GOP as it tries to broaden its appeal on the way to 2016.

“We learned a lot of lessons in 2012 that we’re trying to point out to people, but not all the people are going to listen,” said Ari Fleischer, a former White House press secretary who helped lead the national party’s sweeping examination of the 2012 election and produce a 97-page report of recommendations.

A more informal but similar soul-searching is taking place in Virginia, where the Republican establishment is worried the party will be better known for requiring women seeking abortions to get ultrasounds than for passing a sweeping transportation funding deal. A small group of Republican donors, business leaders, and former elected officials has met in Richmond twice since April about the tea-party’s movement’s impact on the GOP. According to a participant in both meetings, the group is concerned that Cuccinelli is too conservative to win a general election in state that voted twice for President Obama—and that was before Jackson joined the ticket.

After Jackson was nominated, Fleischer posted on Twitter, “Jackson’s anti-gay slurs are indefensible.” Jackson has called gay people “perverted and “very sick people.” He was less overt in his convention speech, though he referred to protecting traditional families.

“If you’re going to grow the party, it’s helpful to nominate candidates who are deeply conservative but inclusive of other people, as opposed to condemnatory,” Fleischer said. “To denounce people in such a fashion is not how you grow the party.”

Jackson’s rhetoric puts Cuccinelli—whose own opposition to same-sex marriage and abortion has earned him a loyal conservative base of support—in a tough spot.  He and the Republican Party have a strong motivation in keeping the politically inexperienced Jackson afloat: With control of the state Senate evenly split between the two parties, the lieutenant governor breaks tie votes.

Forced into an awkward arranged marriage, Cuccinelli’s top advisers have urged Jackson to put aside his social crusades and reinforce their campaign’s message on job growth. But until the campaign is comfortable that Jackson is on board with the plan, Cuccinelli is expected to keep his distance from Jackson after completing a two-day statewide tour with him on Tuesday.

“We are not going to be defending our running mates’ statements, now or in the future,” Cuccinelli said in a written statement on Monday that sought to strike a balance between asserting his independence and not throwing Jackson overboard. “The people of Virginia need to get comfortable with each candidate individually, and that’s what this process is all about.”

Not if the Democratic Party has its way. With gubernatorial nominee Terry McAuliffe facing a Republican-friendly electorate in November and struggling to explain his less successful business ventures, Democrats immediately seized on the nomination of the controversial minister from Chesapeake.

The Virginia Democratic Party circulated a side-by-side comparison of inflammatory quotes by Cuccinelli and Jackson on homosexuality, abortion, and President Obama. Democratic operatives also circulated a video of Cuccinelli calling Jackson a “powerful, powerful fighter for first principles” that is likely to become fodder for television attack ads. One liberal blog posted under the headline, “This is the lunatic Virginia tea-party Republicans just nominated for lieutenant governor.”

Other Virginia Republicans agree:

Asked if Jackson was trouble, another senior Virginia Republican responded, “Oh. My. God. Yes.” The danger, the Republican said, is that Jackson will bring Democrats to the polls who might otherwise stay home. “You just don’t want one candidate to rile up the base of the other side. That’s what you’re trying to avoid.”

And, Jennifer Rubin thinks that Virginia Republicans may have blown it:

The Virginia Republican Party was already taking a risk, dumping a gubernatorial primary election in favor of a convention, in order to assure the ideologically emphatic Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II the nomination. Then on Saturday, a small turnout of party die-hards picked a nominee for lieutenant governor who is nothing short of outrageous.

African American lawyer-turned preacher E.W. Jackson has called gays “perverted” and “very sick people psychologically, mentally and emotionally.” He has said the president has “Muslim sensibilities.” He has compared Planned Parenthoodto the KKK. He previously got less than 5 percent of the vote in the GOP primary for U.S. Senate in 2012. He is by any definition an extremist, someone who could not muster even minimal support from GOP primary voters.

And this is the No.2 man on the ticket, with whom Cuccinelli is now campaigning on a 10-city tour of the state. You can be sure that his opponent will be taking footage to be used in ads linking Cuccinelli with Jackson’s language and view.


The danger is that average Northern Virginian voter will look at this pair, conclude Cuccinelli shares Jackson’s views and vote against them both. If Cuccinelli has any hope of keeping his losses down in Northern Virginia, he’ll need to reject Jackson’s views (e.g. No I don’t believe gays are perverts. . .) and quit campaigning with him as soon as feasible.

Some Republicans in the state are already nervous. One state GOP insider e-mailed me, almost despondent. “This Jackson nomination illustrates something that a lot of commentators don’t appreciate — this assumption on the part of some on the hard right that blacks will automatically respond to a black Republican, even one whose views have no intrinsic appeal to blacks.” He continued, “But what a sad, corrosive day for the party, from the specter of 8000 people choosing a statewide candidate, to Cuccineto getlli not having the basic sense to block it. And what a hideous position it puts so many of us in.”

It is not however clear that Cuccinelli could have blocked Jackson, who brought his own grassroots supporters to the convention. However, it was Cuccinelli backers who insisted on a convention in the first place to give Cuccinelli a lock on the conservative base’s nod. That decision has now come back to bite him in the form of Jackson.

There are actually two dangers that face the Virginia GOP in the selection of Jackson as the No. 2 person on the ticket.

First, as Rubin and others have noted, there’s the possibility that Jackson’s extremism on social issues in the past will end up poisoning the ticket as a whole. Cuccinelli is already entering this race with a long record as a staunch social conservative, arguably stronger on that issue than Bob McDonnell brought to the table four years ago. In the month or so since he has started actively campaigning and advertising on television, the clear strategy of the Cuccinelli campaign has been to try to redefine their candidate in an manner that de-emphasizes his views on social issues and emphasizes economic issues. They’ve also worked to try to deal with the issues that Cuccinelli’s views on social issues may raise with suburban female voters with commercials featuring Cuccinelli’s wife. Nominating Jackson threatens to undo all of that. If the campaign ends up being about Jackson being attacked for his past statements about gay rights and other social issues, then it is likely to remind voters of Cuccinelli’s own views on social issues, thus making it harder for him to redefine himself for the campaign and raising huge potential problems in areas like voter-rich Northern Virginia.

Even if Cuccinelli manages to avoid Jackson being an albatross on his own campaign, his presence on the ticket could end up making it hard for a Governor Cuccinelli to get his agenda through the state legislature. In the eleven elections that have taken place since the beginning of what most Virginia political observers recognize as the “modern era” of statewide politics, meaning the era when the Republican Party started becoming competitive at the statewide level after a century long period in which the Democratic Party had a near monopoly, voters have chosen a Governor and Lt. Governor from different parties six times. The most recent time that happened was in 2005 when current Lt. Governor Bill Bolling was elected in the same year that Tim Kaine was elected Governor. The Virginia Lt. Governor’s primary power is to break ties in the State Senate and, currently, the State Senate is equally divided between Republicans and Democrats. More than once, Bolling’s tie breaking vote has been needed to push through a piece of legislation and, he’s been able to use that fact to have real influence on the direction of legislation in the Senate. This tie will stay in effect at least until the next legislature meets in 2016 after the 2015 mid-term elections, meaning that whoever wins the Lt. Governor’s office in November will be casting tie votes quite a lot over the next two years, if not more. If voters sour on Jackson but are still willing to give Cuccinelli a chance, then Virginia voters may go for the Democratic candidate (who will be picked in a primary next month.)

Of course, as Rubin notes, Virginia Republicans have nobody but themselves to blame for this. The party’s Central Committee chose a convention in part to give Cuccinelli an advantage over Lt. Governor Bolling, who subsequently dropped out of the race. If they had gone with a primary, it’s quite unlikely that Jackson would have won the nomination, especially given the fact that he got less than five percent of the vote when he ran for the GOP nomination for Senate in 2012. Indeed given how badly last weekend’s convention went, many are calling for an end to the practice. If this blows up in their face, then, Virginia Republicans will have nobody to blame but themselves.

FILED UNDER: 2013 Election, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Nikki says:

    “We are not going to be defending our running mates’ statements, now or in the future,”

    HAHAHAHA! As if he has a choice.

    Welcome to Richmond, Gov. McAuliffe.

  2. legion says:

    Looks like the VA-GOP played chicken with itself and lost. How anyone can image these people are capable or even fit to govern is simply beyond me.

  3. DC Loser says:

    Hey Doug and James, I look forward to your explanation why you will be voting for these loons this November.

  4. PJ says:

    His problem isn’t what he believes, that’s becoming mainstream GOP, his problem is that he’s saying it out loud.

    Well he would have gotten away with that too, if he hadn’t done it in a purple state.

  5. Moosebreath says:

    Todd Akin. Richard Mourdock. Christine O’Donnell. Sharron Angle.

    At some point, the Republicans will start realizing it’s not a problem with the candidates — it’s a problem with the people choosing the candidates. The full-out Kool-Aid drinkers can get elected in the solid red states, but not the purple ones.

  6. @DC Loser:

    If Bolling had run as an Independent I would have voted for him. Now I don’t know what I’ll do. Frankly, I don’t like either Cuccinelli or McAuliffe. The Libertarians are running a ticket this year, so that’s an option.

  7. Sam Malone says:

    This guy is completely in line with the Republicanist party.
    The only way he is a problem is if the Republicaists are pretending to be something they definitely are not.

  8. Gromitt Gunn says:

    And to add to the awesome, one of the GOP candidates to fill Cuccinelli’s current spot as VA Attorney General sponsored a bill a couple of years ago that could impose jail time on a woman who fails to notify her local Sheriff’s office within 24 hours of a miscarriage.

  9. Nikki says:

    Frankly, I don’t like either Cuccinelli or McAuliffe.

    I loathe McAuliffe and can’t imagine why the VA Dems chose him. Thank gawd I live in MD.

  10. stonetools says:

    Good analysis by Doug, as far as it goes. A problem here is that Doug wants to see the Republican Party as the GOP of the 1980s- an economically conservative and socially moderate party with an extremist fringe. Actually, its more like an extreme right wing party with a moderate fringe. This is how Virginia ended up with right wing ideologues running for the top three positions(Obenshain for Attorney General is another wingnut too). Independents would like to believe that Cuchinelli can remake himself into a business-friendly moderate. Actually , he is a “longtime crusader against abortion, climate-change science, and homosexuality”. Frankly, he is just Jackson with the volume turned down.
    Maculiffe’s problem is not his “failing business ventures”. That’s a sideshow, like Cuchinelli’s tax issues. His problem is that he has yet to fire up his base. Nobody really dislikes him, but nobody really likes him either. Liberals think of him as a triangulating Clintonian moderate, if they think of him at all. He’s started to define himself by coming out strongly for SSM.He needs to follow up by starting a relentless air campaign against the “extremist Jackson-Cuchinelli” ticket. The Reid and Obama campaigns showed how it’s done-lets see if Macauliffe has guts to do what’s necessary.

  11. NickTamere says:

    @Doug Mataconis: then don’t be surprised if a year from now you’re eating a shit sandwich because you didn’t want to choose stale bologna. I don’t care for McAulliffe (does anyone “like” him?) but he’s a faaaar better option than the immoral moralizer Cooch and his ilk. Hoping that a libertarian candidate gallops in on a white horse and rescues you from a difficult choice is not really a responsible option.

  12. Mikey says:

    Looks like the only reason I’ll go to my polling place this November will be to write in “Cthulhu…”

  13. anjin-san says:

    Why is this a problem? Jackson is representative of mainstream GOP thinking in the year 2013.

  14. stonetools says:


    I loathe McAuliffe and can’t imagine why the VA Dems chose him. Thank gawd I live in MD

    You see, I can’t understand this position. Why , exactly, do you dislike Macauliffe? (Full disclosure-I am volunteering for the Macauliffe campaign ). Sure, he comes across as blah to me-but loathe? That’s an emotion I reserve for the likes of Cuchiinelli and Jackson.

    I heard similar people talking the same about Claire Macaskill, but my feeling is that you go with the candidate you have, not the perfect liberal icon you wish you had. Also too,

    Your Mumia Sweatshirt Won’t Get You Into Heaven Anymore

  15. Woody says:

    Not a Virginian, but “problem” is a, er, problematic term here.

    Jackson’s views certainly might be a problem when it comes to the general election.

    His views are not a problem – in fact, they are indicative of the activist (and general) GOP electorate.

    BTW – these views are not only popular in deep red states – Bachmann (MN) and King (IA) by way of examples.

  16. ptfe says:

    What’s more shocking is that Cuccinelli’s been able to walk away from his ridiculous social conservatism so far — or at least to an extent that we aren’t going to talk about it until someone even worse shows up on his side. On his own, Ken is a regressive goon who’s tried to use the power of his office to pursue purely political avenues, from fighting Obamacare to the attempted seizure of university discussions related to climate change. Back in his state senator days he sponsored a bill to allow employers to fire employees for not speaking English all the time (and prevent them from collecting unemployment). He voted against a bill noting the fact that contraception is not the same as abortion. He pushed hard for the VA constitution to be amended to prevent same-sex marriage.

    Tell me again why Cuccinelli should be considered the odd man out? This is his red meat base! These are the people he appeals to, these are the policies he and his party espouse, these are the demonizations he and his party resort to in the name of Their God. The only difference seems to be that Cuccinelli tries to have his policies do the talking, rather than just come out and announce he’s a bigot. Oh, wait, he can do that too:

    “…[H]omosexual acts are wrong. … They’re intrinsically wrong. They don’t comport with natural law. … [I]t represents … behavior that is not healthy to an individual and in aggregate is not healthy to society.” [Cuccinelli]

    Peas in a pod. Birds of a feather. Tomatoes on the same vine. Foul-smelling shit in the same gas station toilet bowl.

  17. stonetools says:

    Hoping that a libertarian candidate gallops in on a white horse and rescues you from a difficult choice is not really a responsible option.

    Voting for libertarian candidates in a situation where a Republican win lets Cuchinelli sets policy and Jackson break ties in the Senate is tantamount to throwing gays under the bus. Its that simple.

    There’s just one way forward for gay rights in Virginia-electing Democrats. There is now no doubt about that.

  18. Franklin says:

    @Nikki: That quote is priceless.

    Although can they still be considered running mates if they can be elected separately?

    /Also, why does OTB keep forgetting who I am all of a sudden?

  19. Gromitt Gunn says:


    /Also, why does OTB keep forgetting who I am all of a sudden?

    It has been doing that to me since yesterday. Name & email are no longer saved, and the upvote/downvote buttons repopulate.

  20. Pinky says:

    The dynamics of the Virginia gubernatorial race are completely different from what this article indicates. Everyone talks about how Virginia is purple/red or purple/blue, or how the off-year governor’s race is an indicator of the mood of the nation approaching the midterm elections. Nonsense. Virginia is all about transportation. Northern Virginia is congested, the rest of Virginia is spread out and dependent on the highway system, and no one wants to pay more taxes, especially to solve someone else’s traffic problems. If your transportation plan sounds better than your opponent’s, you win. It’s that simple.

    The state’s politics are made worse by the one-term limit on the governor. Both parties are strong, but no individual candidate or official is strong, and everyone tries for the brass ring of the executive mansion. It’s an old system that was designed to give every Democrat a turn as governor, but has produced a string of poor governors in the modern era.

  21. Mikey says:

    @Franklin: @Gromitt Gunn: Probably something to do with how the site sets cookies. Your name and e-mail would be stored in a cookie.

  22. Caj says:

    You’ve got that right! The fact that he is a Repubilcan is problem number one. Secondly he is nutty as all the other fools they have in power right now. The crazy train just keeps on chugging down the tracks. Picking up more and more nut jobs along the way!

  23. Mikey says:


    What’s more shocking is that Cuccinelli’s been able to walk away from his ridiculous social conservatism so far — or at least to an extent that we aren’t going to talk about it until someone even worse shows up on his side.

    Which just happened.

    Cuccinelli has to be crapping bricks about now. Jackson is going to drag him down like cinderblock shoes.

  24. Pharoah Narim says:

    Doug Doug Doug,

    Sometimes the only way to stop a forest fire is to let it burn itself out. Sit back…relax…roast some popcorn and marshmallows over the flames. Enjoy the spectacle of creative destruction. 😎

  25. James Joyner says:

    @DC Loser: I can’t say I’ve paid much attention to the process this year, but this guy does seem like a nutcase. Cucinelli is a social conservative and arguably to the right even of Bob McDonnell. But I’m not exactly a fan of Terry McAuliffe, either, even aside from partisan and ideological reasons. I’ll pay attention at some point and make a call.

    Aside from the candidates themselves, though, I’m more distressed by the process. There ought to be primaries. And, frankly, Virginia should re-align its calendar so that gubernatorial elections happen in an even year rather than existing in a vacuum during a period when even us die-hards are burned out from the presidential cycle.

  26. James Joyner says:

    @Gromitt Gunn: Probably a result of some backend tinkering. I’ll alert my guy.

  27. anjin-san says:

    @ James

    this guy does seem like a nutcase

    Can you go into this thought in a bit more detail? Jackson seems like a fairly typical Republican in the year 2013. I mean, there are people I grew up with in Marin Country in the 70s with that tell me things like “Obama won’t let the troops have Jesus”…

  28. Grewgills says:

    “If you’re going to grow the party, it’s helpful to nominate candidates who are deeply conservative but inclusive of other people, as opposed to condemnatory,”

    How does one do that?

  29. DC Loser says:

    I agree there should be primaries. But then again, VA has open primaries that are open to all kinds of cross-party voting shenanigans that may or may not affect outcome. Who knows, the Dems can try to vote in all the crazy candidates in a GOP primary if they really wanted to.

  30. TheColourfield says:

    @James Joyner:

    I’d be shocked if you don’t stick to your team.

    Doug can play the silly Libertarian thing even though he voted for MacDonell, you would have to consciously switch teams.

    Whatever way you vote, it would be nice if you set out the reasons.

  31. gVOR08 says:

    @James Joyner: Now appears normal on Chrome at work. Thanks.

  32. Jr says:

    This is embarrassing as Virginian.

    Christ, if it wasn’t for the NOVA, we wouldn’t be that far off from South Carolina.

  33. Tim says:

    I was listening to an interview (on WTOP) about this topic with Larry Sabato from UVA. He said that in Virginia, the voting for Governor and Lt. Governor is split and not as a ticket. Therefore, somebody can vote for Cuccinelli but NOT vote for Jackson. He also said that, in Virginia, it has happened that way quite often in recent history, something like 9 of the past 11 elections?

    Also, it’s possible that Jackson will actually make Cuccinelli look more mainstream to the overall electorate and, thus, more electable.

  34. DC Loser says:

    Even a moron Dem strategist will be tying Edwards like a noose around Cooch’s neck in every commerical from now until election day. The issue isn’t GOP turnout, as we assume the crazies will be out in droves to avenge for Obama’s re-election. It’s now up to the Dems to get the same voters who turned out in 2012, especially in the Norfolk, Richmond, and NoVA areas, to bother to cast a ballot in this election. I’m sure the GOP will be up to its voter suppression tricks again this year.

  35. stonetools says:


    That’s a pretty good definition of Virginia politically -South Carolina with NOVA stuck on top.

  36. stonetools says:

    @DC Loser:

    It’s now up to the Dems to get the same voters who turned out in 2012, especially in the Norfolk, Richmond, and NoVA areas, to bother to cast a ballot in this election. I’m sure the GOP will be up to its voter suppression tricks again this year.

    The good thing is that a lot of the OFA guys have moved on over to the Macauliffe campaign so GOTV this year is going to be better than 2009. And the Clintons are going to campaign for him at some point – Mac is a big time FOB and was a major fundraiser for him. You might even see Obama jump in-Obama has at long last realized that he’s not above party and that he needs Democrats working for him at the state level for say, Obamacare to work.

  37. J-Dub says:

    Virginia should ask West Virginia if they would like to have everything west of Charlottesville.

  38. Virginia voter says:

    It wonder how much it costs Virginia taxpayers to run an extra election compared to running it in even year federal races. I assume the purpose of the timing is to discourage voting by minorities and other nuisances.

  39. It gets worse.

    In 1988, E. W. Jackson was part of a campaign to keep Boston from desegregating public housing:

  40. anjin-san says:

    I guess James and Doug have simply written this off as “bizarre” and “silly”

    They can face another day not dealing with the reality that they have chosen to align themselves with several million fruit loops…

  41. James Joyner says:

    @anjin-san: Honestly, I just don’t pay much attention to state and local politics. Partly, that’s a function of having moved so often that I don’t have local ties. Mostly, though, it’s a function of my interests and how I consume news. Having moved to the DC area eleven years ago, I don’t really have a local paper; the Washington Post mostly covers national and international news. And I haven’t actually read a paper regularly since I started the blog ten years ago. And I DVR my TV shows, so don’t even watch political commercials.

    The upshot is that Doug’s post is, so far as I can recall, the first time I’ve even heard of this guy. And I’m only vaguely familiar with Cuccinelli, who’s made some controversial statements over the last four years although none that stick in my head.

  42. Jenos Idanian says:

    Oh, goodie. Doug’s de facto endorsement of Terry McAuliffe. That’s McAuliffe who took a nine-figure profit out of Global Crossing before that company went bankrupt. McAuliffe, the guy who even the Atlantic says has “a woman problem.” McAuliffe, the guy who has his own mini-Solyndra mess.

    Go ahead and give your pro forma denial, Doug. But when you focus entirely on one side of a contest and bash that side, while remaining essentially silent about the flaws of the other side, you’re tacitly endorsing that side with your silence.

  43. anjin-san says:

    @James Joyner

    Therein lies a big part of the problem. While reasonable people such as yourself have been occupied elsewhere, the inmates have taken over the asylum. Yesterday I was behind a car with a “NoBama, NoHitler” bumper sticker on it. That’s pretty close to mainstream thought in today’s GOP.

  44. stonetools says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Man, do you read?

    Doug has made clear his dislike for McAuliffe in every post he’s made about the man, including this one. This post is about Doug’s angst about the woeful job the Republicans did in choosing candidates to oppose him and the Democrats.

    If you had bothered to read the Atlantic article you linked to, you would understand that the article concluded that MacAuliffe doesn’t have a woman’s problem. It notes MacAuliffe has a nine point lead among women, and ends :

    In the end, however, what may save McAuliffe is the same thing that saved Mark Sanford this week in the South Carolina special House election. Women—and men for that matter—didn’t like what Sanford did to his wife, his kids, or his state. But their conservative political principles prevailed, just as Virginia’s increasingly moderate-to-liberal tilt could help McAuliffe.

    McAuliffe, the guy who has his own mini-Solyndra mess.

    Shrug. I’ll see your mini-Solyandra and raise you one Cuccinelli tax scandal.
    Frankly, nobody is going to care about either of these “messes”.
    And for the record, Doug did cite McAuliffe’s business problems.
    I expect Doug will be quick to post on any mistakes the McAuliffe campaign will make.However, Doug to his credit has pointed out the Republicans have just committed major political malpractice. The Democrats haven’t done anything like that-yet. Give them time, though….The Democrats have their own record of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, and it wouldn’t surprise me if they did it again.

  45. James Joyner says:

    @anjin-san: It’s been a creeping problem for 25 years or more. Reagan got the social conservatives into the text but they’ve gradually taken over the grass roots of the party—school boards, county commissions, state legislature, and so forth. Since that’s the feeder system for the bigger offices, that’s a problem.

    Still, they’ve tended to get drowned out in the big races–Senate, Governor, President—where folks actually care. In this particular case, they fixed that problem by cutting out the voters entirely.

  46. Latino_in_Boston says:

    I don’t envy you the choice, Doug. These have to be the worst electoral choices in Virginia politics in the last forty years.

    But this perfectly encapsulates the GOP conundrum. The electoral threshold here is as low as it gets. Given the democratic candidate all you need is a reasonable sounding candidate with just the appearance of potential competence. That’s it. The person doesn’t even have to be all that moderate, certainly not like Scott Brown or Susan Collins (which is what goes for moderate in the year 2013 with the GOP). Instead, they picked people just to the left of Genghis Khan!

    Jackson praised the 3/5 compromise for God’s sake.

    This, of course, will accomplish two things: hurt the brand even more as people question all individuals with an R next to their name, and hurt their policy agenda. And it’s not like this very same thing has not happened in the last three electoral cycles, so it’s not like it’s unprecedented. So why did they pick these individuals? Because they do represent the base. This is what the GOP has become, and it has been helped by the unholy trinity of talk radio, Fox News and the GOP elite. They cannot run away from their own decisions until they recognize they were bad decisions.

  47. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @stonetools: Yeah, Doug’s all het up about McAuliffe. He’s so disgusted with him, he threw in a second-hand link in a quote from another story. One whole sentence to his disgust with McAuliffe.

    To repeat and clarify: a single mention of not liking one guy vs. paragraph after paragraph lambasting the other is pretty much a de facto endorsement.

    Here, I’ll go out on a limb: Doug will either boycott the election, or vote Libertarian. The possibility of him either endorsing the GOP or actually lambasting McAuliffe are about the same as me being offered posting privileges here.

  48. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Why “even the Atlantic”? I get the right-wingers’ delighted cry of “even the liberal New Republic” until it had been a conservative rag for so many decades even they couldn’t type that without laughing, but the Atlantic? The home of right wing morons like Megan McArdle? Yes, they publish some on the left, too, but that’s hardly reason to be shocked that you can find one of their writers pearl clutching over McAuliffe.

  49. mantis says:

    Maybe dumbass Jay Tea/Jenos can start his own blog where he constantly complains about what other bloggers choose to write about. I’m sure the traffic will be huge.

  50. Barry says:

    @Doug Mataconis: “Frankly, I don’t like either Cuccinelli or McAuliffe. The Libertarians are running a ticket this year, so that’s an option. ”

    As they said once in Louisiana, vote for the Lizard, not the Wizard.

  51. Barry says:

    @Mikey: “Looks like the only reason I’ll go to my polling place this November will be to write in “Cthulhu…” ”

    Read up on Cucinelli’s record – there already is a “Cthulhu…” running.

  52. Barry says:

    @stonetools: “Voting for libertarian candidates in a situation where a Republican win lets Cuchinelli sets policy and Jackson break ties in the Senate is tantamount to throwing gays under the bus. Its that simple. ”

    The libertarian party will not ride in on a white horse unless things are soooooooooooo close that 1% of Republican voters make the difference.

  53. Mikey says:

    @Barry: Cuccinelli only wishes…