Despite Negativity, Vote

I’ve been knocking on doors in support of McAuliffe, Northam and Herring. A few people who spoke with me told me they’re not voting because they’re fed up with all the negativity.

Well I’m sorry, but sometimes you have to go negative. Sometimes, remaining aloof doesn’t make you better and doesn’t make you right. It makes you lazy.

When one of the candidates for governor is a climate change denier who improperly used his office while he was attorney general to harass a university professor who’s views are more mainstream, it would be remiss not to mention that fact. It would stupid not mention E.W. Jackson’s crazy rants about homosexuality and equal rights, and it would be a failure not to point out that Mark Obenshain will likely follow in Ken Cuccinelli’s footsteps of pursuing a right-wing social agenda at the expense of properly fulfilling his duties.

In endorsing Mark Herring for Attorney General, the Lynchburg News and Advance necessarily goes negative on Ken Cuccinelli and Mark Obenshain:

Virginia’s current attorney general, Republican Ken Cuccinelli (who’s now running for governor), is perhaps the greatest example of the twisting of the office’s constitutional mission. From his quixotic pursuits of former University of Virginia climate scientist Michael Mann and the federal Affordable Care Act to his politicization of the regulatory process, as in drafting regulations for the state’s abortion providers, he’s injected partisan politics into the office to a degree not seen in modern Virginia history.

Obenshain, a state senator from Harrisonburg, presents a much more moderate image as opposed to Cuccinelli, but his past political stands suggest he would pursue the same issues and policies as Cuccinelli, though in a less confrontational style. From his votes on a myriad of hot-button social issues such as a legally questionable “personhood” bill to his “law-and-order” agenda, we have no reason to expect a return to the office’s original mission.

If you are choosing not to get involved this year because you’re tired of the negativity, then you are choosing to remain ignorant, and your choosing to abdicate your rights. You will be handing your responsibility over to right wing extremists who will come out this election, driven mostly by their hatred for the president and their desire to prevent his policies from helping millions of Virginians.

Polls suggest that more people support the Democrats running for Richmond this year, and while McAuliffe and Northam are polling very well, if supporters stay home then we may lose the much closer race for attorney general. And Mr. Cuccinelli has shown us the kind of damage an attorney general can do.

So please, deal with the negativity and vote Tuesday.

Negative Articles against Cuccinelli Not a Smear Campaign

Lorraine Yuriar of the Hampton Roads Tea Party posted, on the Suffolk Democratic Committee’s Facebook page, a link to her HRTP article about a smear campaign against Ken Cuccinelli. Her article was prompted by a Virginian Pilot article concerning possibly misleading information that Cuccinelli provided about his service in the United States Marines.

But while she gives the journalist a pass for digging up dirt, she uses search results from the Pilot’s website, hamptonroads.com, to theorize that the Pilot is biased against Ken Cuccinelli.

… in total, of the 8 stories on the first page of search results for Terry McAuliffe, half of the articles are favorable to Terry, and only 2 of the articles were old.

On the other hand a quick search for Ken Cuccinelli turns up 8 articles, but all of them are old! The latest article on the first page of the search is dated November 2012.

I found that very strange considering Ken Cuccinelli’s involvement in the Star Scientific affair. I figured the Pilot must have written about Ken Cuccinelli more recently than November.

It has. Unfortunately, HamptonRoads.com has a lousy search engine.

Although the first page of search results for McAuliffe does have more recent articles then the first page of search results about Cuccinelli, if you add the second page you’ll see that Cuccinelli brings up more recent results. I found that the first two pages of results on “Cuccinelli” contain nine articles in July, while the first two pages of results for “McAuliffe” contain only three for July.

Ms. Yuriar is right about the overall count of negative articles about Cuccinelli vs the count of negative articles about McAulliffe, but that is due to Cuccinelli’s involvement in Star Scientific.

Cuccinelli has been investigated for owning stock in Star Scientific and accepting gifts from Star Scientific executive Jonnie Williams, while defending the State of Virginia against a lawsuit filed by that company. News about Ken Cuccinelli’s involvement in Star Scientific is part of a larger scandal surrounding the company’s relationship with Virginia’s governor, Bob McDonnell.

As it turns out, news broke yesterday that Ken Cuccinelli has been cleared of ethics violations in that scandal. Not because he’s squeaky clean though. It still holds true that he only recused himself from the case after Cuccinelli’s relationship with Star Scientific became public. And he still broke the law by not reporting those gifts and his stock in a timely manner. So even if at the end of an investigation into whether or not Cuccinelli’s relationship with Star Scientific violated Virginia’s weak ethics laws, Cuccinelli’s relationship with Star Scientific was, and still is, news.

The Pilot has no obligation to ignore Cuccinelli’s inappropriate (even if not illegal) behavior just to look fair and balanced.

Update (same day as posting) I changed the title from: Negative Articles against Cuccinelli Not Necessarily a Smear Campaign.

McAuliffe has Already Agreed to Debates

Ken Cuccinelli has been trying very hard to generate the false rumor that Terry McAuliffe doesn’t want to debate. It is patently false, but Cuccinelli can’t be accused of patently lying because he can always say that by accusing McAuliffe of “Dodging Debates”, he’s only referring to unusual fifteen debate schedule that McAuliffe refuses to play along with, not the traditional five debate schedule that McAuliffe has already agreed to. Cuccinelli doesn’t mention those five debates when he accuses McAuliffe of dodging. Says Cuccinelli:

Since my opponent threatened to walk away from the only debate scheduled, and refuses to engage in other debates across the Commonwealth […]

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As the Louden Times well summarizes:

[..] the Cuccinelli camp has persistently charged that the Democrat McAuliffe refuses to accept these debates.

But the Republican campaign has avoided mentioning that in early April, more than a month before Cuccinelli officially became the GOP nominee, McAuliffe’s campaign announced the debates its candidate will be participating in.

While debates are in important way to confront candidates with tough questions and to give voters a chance to compare the contenders side-by-side, debates are also a way to emphasize one-liners and jabs rather than substance, and a way to slip in false or misleading statements in highly televised settings which will reach more low-information voters than the analytic articles which follow. Ken Cuccinelli seems to feel that his strength is in one-liners, jabs, and misleading statements.

Debates also take time away from other campaign functions, such as connecting with supporters. That’s less of a problem for a campaign which hopes to be funded by energy companies and Koch Industries, rather than Firefighters and Teachers.

Challenging McAuliffe to an intensive debate schedule, reminiscent of the comedy tour the Republican presidential primary candidates treated us to in 2011 and 2012, is a win-win for Cuccinelli. Either he prevents his opponent from reaching out to supporters and running a substantive campaign, or he accuses his opponent of being afraid to debate. Thoughtful voters should see through this dishonest tactic.