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Virginia ’13: the Obama/McAuliffe game plan of attack politics

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 6:45 pm - November 5, 2013.
Filed under: Mean-spirited leftists,Virginia Politics

In a few hours, we will likely learn that prolific Democratic fundraiser Terry McAuliffe has been elected Governor of Virginia.

And much as we can predict that result, we can alos predict the reactions.  The Democrats (and their allies in the mainstream media) will depict it as a repudiation of conservatism, a rejection of the ideas espoused by the Tea Party.  Certain Tea Party conservatives will fault the GOP establishment for not adequately supporting Republican gubernatorial nominee Ken Cuccinelli.  And some establishment Republican will contend that McAuliffe’s victory proves that Tea Party conservatives cannot win in swing states.

And that will all be wrong.  Should Cuccinelli as expected, lose, there will be a number of reasons for his defeat, with standing out.  First, he was a lousy candidate who ran a lousy campaign, never really putting forward a positive message.   And, second (somewhat related to the first), McAuliffe is a prolific fundraiser, able to raise millions of dollars to run a nasty campaign against the Republican.  In other words, he basically followed the Obama ’12 game plan.  He out-raised and outspent the Republican, going early to the airwaves to smear his opponent.

It’s all the Democrats have left–demonizing the Republicans.

And Cuccinellli made an easy target.  Sean Trende explains:

Cuccinelli’s problem in a nutshell is this: The Old Dominion would probably vote for a candidate who had sued a professor at the University of Virginia over his climate science research. It would probably vote for a candidate who referred to homosexuality as unnatural. It would probably vote for a candidate who tried to limit no-fault divorce. It would probably vote for a candidate who covered up an exposed breast on the state seal. It would probably vote for a candidate who wasn’t sure if the president was born in the United States. It would probably vote for a candidate who told colleges and universities to strip protections for gays and lesbians.

What it won’t typically do is vote for a candidate who holds all of these positions, and is unapologetic in them. Truth be told, Virginia hasn’t been particularly fond of strident social conservatives for quite some time; Oliver North, Michael Farris, Mark Earley, and a host of other similar Republicans have met similar fates.

Read the whole thing.

Now, it could happen that opposition to Obamacare helps the Republican secure a come-from-behind victory.  And that would be significant.

Whatever the results, Virginia voters have had a lousy choice this year.  Cuccinelli, to be sure, did show an understanding of state government that the Democrat did not.  Indeed, McAuliffe, while being very much up to campaigning, stumbled in the debates on issues related to the state government, indicating that he is not much up to governing.  (Sound familiar?)

As the campaign grinds to a close, Cuccinelli has been seizing on the Obamacare issue.  And sleazy attempts to tie the GOP nominee to the unpopular law notwithstanding, he has long opposed it.  Yet, he has not offered much of a positive agenda.  (Alas, the sad choice Virginians have today; I’m glad I no longer live in the commonwealth.)

What can Republicans learn from Virginia?  That you need nominate a candidate who can appeal to both the Tea Party and establishment wings of the party.  That the candidate needs to have a positive message.  And that he needs as well to be swift in countering Democratic attacks.  Just as Romney allowed Obama to define him in 2012, Cuccinelli allowed McAuliffe do define him.  (Without piles of campaign cash where would Democrats be in the era of Obama?)

The attacks worked for Mr. Obama in 2012 — as they did for a number of Democratic Senators elected that year (and for at least three reelected in 2010).  Democrats are going to try this again in 2014 (it’s all they have).  And Republicans need be prepared.

RELATED: How Ken Cuccinelli blew his advantage in the Virginia governor’s race

Cuccinelli’s got problems

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39 Comments

  1. While I don’t think social conservatism is dead, I think social conservatives need to be very careful about how they argue for their positions. A lot of social conservative candidates talk as if no one under the age of 50 gets to vote. It’s great to be unapologetic about one’s beliefs, but it’s another thing to be disconnected from culture. The way some social conservatives talk is really quite reckless, almost like they’re hoping to become the next head of the Family Research Council rather than an elected officeholder
    from a purple state or district.

    I would suggest three things for Republicans to consider:

    1) You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you—unfairly—in the court of public opinion. So, unless you’re really worried that socially conservative voters won’t know your positions, there’s no need to say much about them. It often seems that fairly socially conservative candidates don’t struggle much with those issues when they focus on other issues, e.g., Paul Ryan in his district. Heck, Chris Christie is more socially conservative than I am, and no one even seems to hold that against him much in New Jersey.

    2) Abortion and same-sex marriage are two issues on two very different paths. It isn’t 2004 anymore, and opposing SSM is much more likely to bring out armies of young people against you than it is likely to bring out armies of middle-aged and elderly people for you. I don’t see what Republicans really think they will accomplish politically or substantively by opposing SSM at this point. On the other hand, the pro-life issue, helped by modern technology, does just fine, at least as long as the pro-life candidate doesn’t Akin it. The pro-life cause is not an albatross in purple areas as long as the candidate is deft in stating his or her position.

    3) Make your case based on secular arguments. I’m Christian, but it frustrates me when candidates make arguments that only Christians would embrace. Not only are more young people irreligious than in past generations, but many Christian young people are wary of forcing their beliefs on someone else. I don’t think it helps either Christianity or conservatism when Christian conservatives imply (or say) that you can’t be a Christian if you’re not conservative.

    Comment by chad — November 5, 2013 @ 7:24 pm - November 5, 2013

  2. […] By GayPatriot […]

    Pingback by Virginia ’13: the Obama/McAuliffe game plan of attack politics - Citizens News — November 5, 2013 @ 8:48 pm - November 5, 2013

  3. Not so fast, 73% of the votes in, Cuccinelli leads by 2.5 points.

    Comment by Richard Bell — November 5, 2013 @ 9:01 pm - November 5, 2013

  4. LOL…they should rename this sight gay patriot fantasyland “McAuliffe is a prolific fundraiser, able to raise millions of dollars to run a nasty campaign against the Republican. In other words, he basically followed the Obama ’12 game plan.”

    Really? Perhaps i wasn’t because Romney (and the entire pack of wannabe candidates) was a big fool who had no problem putting down the american public?

    Comment by Kevin — November 6, 2013 @ 12:23 am - November 6, 2013

  5. McAuliffe is a prick. Can’t believe he won. I met him many years ago and I found him to be full of himself with a huge ego. The fact that such a horrible candidate can win in an off year election, tells me VA is on the fringe of no longer being a swing state and might be permanently in the D corner. Republicans need to make OH and PA more competitive!

    But, I do think that a fantastic candidate like Christie would’ve blown him McAuliffe of the water. And I think Christie could win or almost win OH and PA.

    This election makes it a certainty that Christie runs in 2016!
    Go big C!

    Comment by mike — November 6, 2013 @ 1:48 am - November 6, 2013

  6. It seems that a Democrat “bundler” financed the Libertarian Candidate in Verginia. A “Third Party” will always pull votes from the conservative so the question is why do they do it? Ans: So the Democrat can win.

    Comment by mike — November 6, 2013 @ 5:23 am - November 6, 2013

  7. Yeah, Christie’s pro-gun control stances will go over great in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

    Comment by V the K — November 6, 2013 @ 5:52 am - November 6, 2013

  8. ” A “Third Party” will always pull votes from the conservative”

    Al Gore says hi

    Comment by mike — November 6, 2013 @ 6:42 am - November 6, 2013

  9. Also… and prefer to work on my NaNoWriMo project than get into this silly debate… but I don’t see why Cuccinelli should have been “apologetic” about any of his positions.

    It’s the people who support partial-birth abortion, crony corporatism, and gun confiscation that should be apologetic.

    Comment by V the K — November 6, 2013 @ 7:43 am - November 6, 2013

  10. We seem to have dueling mikes :-)

    mike of #6 – Hi! Sent you an email.

    mike of #5, #8 – just curious: When the time came, between Christie and the Democrat, would you really vote for Christie?

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — November 6, 2013 @ 9:12 am - November 6, 2013

  11. ILC, whatever he answers, will you believe him?

    Comment by V the K — November 6, 2013 @ 9:43 am - November 6, 2013

  12. mike of #5, #8 – just curious: When the time came, between Christie and the Democrat, would you really vote for Christie?

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — November 6, 2013 @ 9:12 am – November 6, 2013

    No.

    Because in 2007, littlewhoremike was saying the same thing about McCain, and in 2011, littlewhoremike was saying the same thing about Romney.

    And then Obama promised littlewhoremike more welfare to be paid for by taking money from “the rich” and told him that Romney wanted to ban tampons and put black people back in chains, and littlewhoremike’s liberal “pals” told him he was “Ayn Rand” and “Tony Perkins” if he didn’t do what they said.

    In order for littlewhoremike to actually vote for Christie, he would have to repudiate his own Obama Party’s rhetoric and admit his Obama is telling lies about Christie. And it will never happen. Littlewhoremike is an Obama Party cultist who is neck-deep in rationalizations rather than being honest and admitting that he endorses and supports the utter corrupt welfare-state failure that the Obama Party represents.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — November 6, 2013 @ 9:59 am - November 6, 2013

  13. Chad @ #1 makes excellent points about those branded as social conservatives.

    A candidate with views that can be demonized as extreme by the other side, had best learn how to mitigate the onslaught.

    We are living in perilous times and not one thing that confronts us is a choice between social conservatism or being libertine.

    Cuccinelli did not frame his issues and stick to them.

    McAuliffe just demagogued the “extremist” Cuccinelli and did typical boilerplate leftist tap-dancing about his own agenda.

    However, Virginia is more than view from afar. MacAuliffe carried precious little of the Virginia territory. In only a smattering of areas could he have been elected to the state government as a local representative. Most of the areas he won have a disproportionately large black population or are government bedroom communities around Washington, D. C.

    The MacAuliffe “win” was razor thin and it is extremely hard to predict what the shift would have been if the MacAuliffe people hadn’t engineered and financed the phony-baloney Sarvis campaign.

    Furthermore, the RNC treated Virginia like so much rotting meat. The Establishment Republicans are out to crush the TEA Party in the mistaken belief that the TEA Party members and social conservatives are one in the same.

    Right now, the establishment Republicans are unable to twirl around in their pews and shake hands and mutter “peace” if a low-class Republican is present. The establishment Republicans own the professional politician meeting house and they are bolting the door against anyone who will not abide by their rules, customs and geriatric whims. In this respect, they are precisely like Obama and his concept of what constitutes “compromise.”

    Many in the TEA Party have come to the conclusion that the Republican Party must be taken over and the establishment Republicans set loose to Bob Dole their way around D.C. as they ossify.

    Comment by heliotrope — November 6, 2013 @ 10:14 am - November 6, 2013

  14. Chris Barron of GOPROUD tweeted that he voted for Terry McAuliffe for Governor.

    GOProud has become as phony as LCR.

    Comment by V the K — November 6, 2013 @ 10:39 am - November 6, 2013

  15. Jonah Goldberg nails it at The Corner:

    For all the talk about how the base needs to cooperate with the establishment more, it’s worth remembering that the base almost always does its part on Election Day. Its the establishment that is less reliable in returning the favor.

    Comment by heliotrope — November 6, 2013 @ 11:56 am - November 6, 2013

  16. Cuccinelli won “independents” 47% to 38%.

    Are we supposed to use “moderate” and “independent” interchangeably?

    MacAuliffe outspent Cuccinelli by $15 million. The unions outspent the RNC in Virginia.

    Thanks, moderates and establishment Republicans for delivering MacAuliffe to Virginia. Oh, yeah, and thanks to Eric Cantors former chief of staff for going over to MacAuliffe and working for his campaign.

    I would be fascinated to read a blow by blow set of charges which the establish Republicans and moderates have against the TEA Party. Facts and references would be highly welcomed. But, I fully expect that all they have is innuendo diarrhea.

    Comment by heliotrope — November 6, 2013 @ 12:18 pm - November 6, 2013

  17. Rush Limbaugh:

    I’m telling you, such is the animus toward the Tea Party in the Republican Party establishment that they are perfectly comfortable with a Christie win and a Cuccinelli loss, because to them that’s a Tea Party loss.

    Comment by heliotrope — November 6, 2013 @ 12:43 pm - November 6, 2013

  18. The Republican Establishment is content to be permanently in the minority, and content to incrementally advance the Social-Democrat agenda (yes, even Obamacare) so long as they preserve their personally positions of prestige and wealth.

    Comment by V the K — November 6, 2013 @ 1:08 pm - November 6, 2013

  19. Obama lied. He continues to lie. He is a narcissistic liar who will take blame for nothing that goes wrong in his administration. Apparently, no one has enough integrity to resign in Obama’s administration and tell the story about the blatant deception that was used to sell Obamacare to the country. As Obamacare is implemented watch as those who voted for it, especially those who are in Red states, run for cover making absurd excuses.

    Comment by SC.Swampfox — November 6, 2013 @ 1:24 pm - November 6, 2013

  20. The Republican Establishment is content to be permanently in the minority, and content to incrementally advance the Social-Democrat agenda (yes, even Obamacare) so long as they preserve their personally positions of prestige and wealth. – Comment by V the K — November 6, 2013 @ 1:08 pm – November 6, 2013

    They all love power. And, the more power we allow them to have, the less freedom we have.

    Comment by SC.Swampfox — November 6, 2013 @ 1:32 pm - November 6, 2013

  21. I haven’t noticed much difference in the Republicans when they’re in the minority or when they’re in the majority.

    I don’t notice much difference in the Democrats when they’re in the minority or when they’re in the majority.

    The difference is the Republicans seem to assume the submissive position, no matter what, while the Democrats are always alpha, no matter what.

    On the one hand, the Dems have the media in their pocket, giving them cover for whatever they do. On the other hand, so what; learn to carefully craft your message, Republicans! We win on facts, they win on emotion (and complete lies). Are we suffering from “the soft bigotry of low expectations,” so that we accept that 47% (or more) of the voters just can’t understand logic?

    Comment by Polly — November 6, 2013 @ 4:04 pm - November 6, 2013

  22. #10 – of course. I have voted republican and would do again

    Comment by mike — November 6, 2013 @ 5:00 pm - November 6, 2013

  23. That’s not a yes/no answer to my actual question. I asked about Christie in 2016.

    When the time came, between Christie and a Democrat (like say Biden or Hillary – or Obama, if it were somehow possible for him to run a third time), would you really cast a specific vote for Christie?

    Asking in light of your having voted for Obama twice, etc. And perhaps you should picture first that the media will have trashed their GOP supposed-darling (Christie) in the few months before the election, just as they trashed their GOP “maverick, moderate” darling McCain in ’08 – feeding you a lot of negative info about Christie, that maybe you don’t have now.

    But let’s keep it simpler. Given the Christie you know right now – and the Hillary/Biden/Obama you know right now – would you vote for him, over one of them? Yes/no.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — November 6, 2013 @ 5:12 pm - November 6, 2013

  24. ILC, littleletterminnesotamike likes Christie for two reasons. 1.) Christie is not a conservative. 2.) Christie will lose to Hillary.

    That’s the same reason all the lefties love Christie.

    Comment by V the K — November 6, 2013 @ 5:20 pm - November 6, 2013

  25. Maybe your (1) already covers my (3) Even if Christie won over Hillary, it wouldn’t matter too much because he would cave in to much of the Left’s Big Government agenda.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — November 6, 2013 @ 5:25 pm - November 6, 2013

  26. I don’t see any real difference in Hillary and Christie as far as policies go, so if it gets down to the two of them, it won’t matter who wins. What do I care if the Big Government statist in the Oval Office is a Republicrat or a Demonican?

    Comment by V the K — November 6, 2013 @ 6:24 pm - November 6, 2013

  27. Christie is infinitely preferable to Mrs. Bill Clinton and I would proudly vote for him were I given such a choice. And I would have proudly voted for Cuccinelli, even though he’s such a “lousy candidate”. ::rolleyes::

    Comment by Ignatius — November 6, 2013 @ 8:32 pm - November 6, 2013

  28. ILC – to my understanding of the English language, “of course” seems to be pretty much of affirmation. But to play your “what if” game:
    Biden vs Christie – Christie
    HRC vs Christie – Probably Christie ,
    Big O vs Christie – 2008 – Big O, 2012 – Probably Christie, Big O 2016 – Probably Christie

    V – I think Christie would beat HRC in a landslide. If he is the nominee, there is virtually no way he loses unless gaffs, some macro event or he can’t separate himself from the Tea Party who are National Election Losers.

    Comment by mike — November 6, 2013 @ 9:23 pm - November 6, 2013

  29. Cuccinelli lost because he and the GOP Lt Gov nominee sound like they’re crazy (and Jackson May we’ll be crazy).

    McAuliffe is a sleaze (according to Mother Jones, no less) but voters just aren’t into candidates with a fixation on sodomy. What we conservatives need to do is nominate candidates who can imagine what they look like through the media lens and avoid Todd Akin moments.

    Back in the day, I voted for Kathleen Sebelius for KS governor because her GOP opponent hit me as a loon. Fortunately, she’s gone from Kansas; although the rest of the country hit hosed in the deal.

    http://m.motherjones.com/politics/2013/11/terry-mcauliffe-governor-virginia
    http://m.motherjones.com/mojo/2013/11/ken-cuccinelli-jackson-virginia-election

    Comment by KCRob (SoCalRobert) — November 6, 2013 @ 9:27 pm - November 6, 2013

  30. Sorry mike, but your #22 hit my eyes as “Of course I have voted Republican [before]“, a statement of the past. Evidently I misread it but, in my defense, you will note that its punctuation/structure are not too sound. Thanks for going on to give a more precise answer.

    HRC vs Christie – Probably Christie ,
    Big O vs Christie – 2008 – Big O, 2012 – Probably Christie, Big O 2016 – Probably Christie

    A “Big O” and 3 “probably”…when faced with a liar on the one hand, and on the other hand the kind of Republican you’ve supposedly been wanting…That isn’t “of course”; and it is telling.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — November 6, 2013 @ 9:44 pm - November 6, 2013

  31. Where is the evidence that GOP candidates are obsessed with sodomy? Is it possible that GOP candidates don’t really care that much, but the Democrat Media are obsessed with asking them questions about it?

    And as for those six child molesters Cuccinelli prosecuted under Virgnia’s sodomy statue, would you prefer they were still free?

    Comment by V the K — November 6, 2013 @ 9:58 pm - November 6, 2013

  32. Hillary will run on the usual Democrat “Free Sh-t from the Government” and “Vote with your vajayjays” platform and smear Chris Christie as the reincarnation of Ariel Castro. Christie will run on the “I supported gun control and federal pork spending when I was governor but now that I’m running for president I don’t anymore and besides I like to yell at people” and he will get his fat butt kicked.

    And it won’t matter because there is no difference between them.

    Comment by V the K — November 6, 2013 @ 10:37 pm - November 6, 2013

  33. Not to mention Christie’s baggage as a lobbyist for Bernie Madoff, his brother’s security fraud, and his own history of steering Government contracts to political cronies.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2486737/Mitt-Romney-team-compiled-secret-dossier-showed-Pufferfish-Chris-Christie-disaster-presidential-campaign.html

    No wonder Democrats want this guy to be the nominee in 2016.

    Comment by V the K — November 6, 2013 @ 11:06 pm - November 6, 2013

  34. “Good Evening, I’m Scott Pelley/Brain Williams/Diane Sawyer/Wolf Blitzer. Our top story tonight, Republican Presidential Candidate Chris Christie continues to face harsh questioning over his work as a lobbyist for Ponzi Schemer Bernie Madoff, who was convicted of bilking thousands of clients out of billions of dollar and is now in prison. Christie says he was never directly involved with Mr. Madoff, but voters remain skeptical.” [Video: Angry Chris Christie seemingly trying to get away from reporters as they shout out, "Did you know Bernie Madoff was a crook when you were lobbying for him?]

    “Also, today, Democratic Candidate Hillary Clinton visited a pre-school in Minnesota where she touted her ‘Smart and Healthy’ Initiative to ensure all children in the United States are smart and healthy.” [Video: Smiling Hillary Clinton hugging an adorable black child.]

    Comment by V the K — November 7, 2013 @ 9:50 am - November 7, 2013

  35. “I’m telling you, such is the animus toward the Tea Party in the Republican Party establishment that they are perfectly comfortable with a Christie win and a Cuccinelli loss, because to them that’s a Tea Party loss.”
    I agree with Heliotrope and Limbaugh on that one. I wonder if the different internal factions will sort it all out before 2014 or 2016?

    Comment by Passing By — November 7, 2013 @ 12:31 pm - November 7, 2013

  36. […] Virginia ’13: the Obama/McAuliffe game plan of attack politics […]

    Pingback by GayPatriot » Democrats in the Obama Era: Looking for Mr. Goldstein — November 7, 2013 @ 1:30 pm - November 7, 2013

  37. VtK – here’s an example:

    http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2013/07/cuccinelli-website-anti-sodomy-law-virginia

    Again, conservative candidates have to remember that they media projects them through a funhouse mirror-like lens. It’s not right and it’s not fair but it is what it is.

    Comment by KCRob (SoCalRobert) — November 7, 2013 @ 5:31 pm - November 7, 2013

  38. I agree with Heliotrope and Limbaugh on that one. I wonder if the different internal factions will sort it all out before 2014 or 2016?

    In 12 months, we will have the 2014 elections and we are in for 12 months of the ObamaCare follies.

    The TEA Party is a concept, not an organization. The establishment Republicans are engaged in fighting an idea whose time has come. In doing so, they have become demonizers, since they can not figure out how to disagree with the basic tenets of the Tea Party:

    •Reduce Government Spending

    •Reduce Excessive Levels of Government Taxation

    •Reduce the Size, Scope and Reach of Government

    •Reducing and Eventually Eliminate the Federal Budget Deficit

    •Reducing and Eventually Eliminate the U.S. National Debt

    •Ensure Government Adheres to the U.S. Constitution

    Each area throughout the country which puts up a Tea Party “style” candidate will field a winner, a contender or a loser. That is no different from what each established party faces nation wide. The difference is that establishment Democrat and Republican politicians in bed with crony capitalism are scared to death of moral, ethical adherents to the assumptions of the founders of our representative democracy.

    The fact is that the professional politicians inside of the beltway are a two party trust which is dedicated to the preservation and prosperity of the ruling political class.

    The MSM is incapable of leaving the bedroom of the Democrat Party, although at some point some of the MSM will protest as a pretense that a bit of respectability is at stake. The MSM is there to support Democrat statism, frustrate Republicans in general and belittle anything smacking of the Tea Party. The MSM has a confirmed seat at the ruling political class table and they are not about to let acts of journalism screw up their meal ticket.

    So, the Tea Party candidate has to fight uphill against the demonizingrats, the demonizing establishment Republicans, and the MSM. When such a candidate wins, he has to stick to his guns, because every Tea Party adherent is watching him for evidence of lapsing into “Washington ways.”

    The Republican Party has a civil war on its hands. McCain and Romney are examples of how the establishment Republicans handle fielding candidates. Christie is an example of a unique charisma in a unique environment who can win by a landslide against a numbskull opponent while having no effect whatsoever on building party in local and state races. Cuccinelli is an example of how far grit and tenacity can take a solid candidate even when the cards are staked against him and his own national party kisses him off.

    2014 is a major intersection in the course of the road which America will follow in the long term. The Tea Party is not interested in the internecine squabbles within the mob that runs things. The Tea Party is intent on running the mob, Democrat and Republican, out of the government.

    Comment by heliotrope — November 7, 2013 @ 7:28 pm - November 7, 2013

  39. • Reduce Government Spending

    • Reduce Excessive Levels of Government Taxation

    • Reduce the Size, Scope and Reach of Government

    • Reducing and Eventually Eliminate the Federal Budget Deficit

    • Reducing and Eventually Eliminate the U.S. National Debt

    • Ensure Government Adheres to the U.S. Constitution

    i.e. What some call “Radical Fringe Extremism”

    Comment by V the K — November 7, 2013 @ 9:27 pm - November 7, 2013

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