Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Some More Context for Ken Cuccinelli's "Birther" Comments

During the last 24 hours the news has spread like wildfire that Ken Cuccinelli has once again proven that he deserves to be associated with the extreme right wing fringe. During an interview he gave between the time he was elected Virginia’s Attorney General in November and was sworn into office in January, Cuccinelli appears to have publicly admitted he’s a member of the “birther” movement by claiming it “doesn’t seem beyond the realm of possibility” that President Obama was born in Kenya. To top it off, the audio of the interview, which was posted by Ben Tribbett of NLS, also reveals that he passionately spoke about how he could potentially play a role in discrediting Obama’s presidency.
Q What can we do about Obama and the birth certificate thing?

Cuccinelli: It will get tested in my view when someone… when he signs a law, and someone is convicted of violating it and one of their defenses will be it is not a law because someone qualified to be President didn’t sign it.

Q: Is that something you can do as Attorney General? Can you do that or something?

Cuccinelli: Well only if there is a conflict where we are suing the federal government for a law they’ve passed. So it’s possible.
Now Cuccinelli has come out and said that he was simply answering “a hypothetical legal question” and that he doesn’t really believe Obama was born in Kenya. Due to Cuccinelli’s recent bouts of extremism, however, his credibility is shot and it’s extremely difficult to actually take him at his word on this issue. Ignoring the fact that he recently wrote a letter to colleges and universities in Virginia saying they can’t prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation, this isn’t even the first time that he’s proposed some sort of government conspiracy. As the folks over at Right Wing Watch remind us, for instance, Cuccinelli once claimed that he might not get his child a Social Security number because “it’s being used to track you.” In other words, our Attorney General is speculating about how he could prove that President Obama was born in Kenya and about how people shouldn’t have a social security number because it’s a way that big brother is conspiring against the public.

Now most progressive activists, especially those of us from Northern Virginia, knew that we should be worried about what Cuccinelli would do if he were elected Attorney General because we’ve been seeing his extremism first hand for years. I even had several Republican leaning acquaintances that he represented in the state Senate tell me that they were worried about what he’d do as AG. Despite many of us knowing the truth about Cuccinelli, the fact that he performed well on the campaign trail and came across as a good guy meant that a lot of voters simply didn’t see the extremism that he’d bring to the office. After only a few short months in office, however, it appears as though people are beginning to look past all the smoke and mirrors. The question we must now ask ourselves is “how can we prevent Cuccinelli’s extremism from damaging the great Commonwealth of Virginia?”

Although there is a lot of work that must be done to prevent Cuccinelli’s fringe beliefs from causing damage, the blogs on both the national and local level have joined forces with other grassroots activists to help prove how simply drawing attention to Cuccinelli’s actions can go a long way. After the public became extremely outraged over Cuccinelli’s letter to colleges promoting discrimination, for example, Gov. McDonnell desperately tried to distance himself from his fellow Republican and made it at least slightly harder for discrimination to take place (though there still needs to be a lot of work done on that issue). Plus, both McDonnell and Cuccinelli have lost a lot of credibility as it’s become apparent that they don’t plan on following through on their campaign promises to govern from the center.

As we move forward, I think the most obvious path at the moment is that bloggers and other activists must continuing making sure that Cuccinelli and the other right wing Republicans in office cannot get away with trying to move Virginia backwards. There are some rumblings of potential projects moving forward to make sure this happens, but whatever happens Cuccinelli’s recent actions suggest that we all have a lot of work ahead to make sure he’s held accountable for what he says and does while in the AG’s office.

1 comment:

  1. You still can't believe he got elected huh? Me neither, although I did warn not to take him lightly and I think a lot of people did thinking that Virginia wouldn't elect such an extremist. I guess this will all just be like a bad nightmare that'll end one day hopefully. Personally, I've followed the Cooch since I've been in Virginia and seen him work and personally don't think he'll ever be defeated in an electoral contest. I guess I don't have enough faith in voters, at least not for Attorney General. I don't believe most voters trust a Democrat on issues of criminal justice as much as they should.

    But you are correct, keep up the pressure on him and ensure that even though this has been done very early on in his stint as Attorney General that voters don't forget about it. I'm hoping that since he is so hell bent on suing the federal government that he using the citizenship issue in order to challenge a piece of legislation, although he's crazy, not stupid!