Cuccinelli Defies McDonnell by Saying He Won’t Resign; Terry Plays it Perfectly

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    ( – promoted by lowkell)

    by Paul Goldman

    In stepping down, McDonnell is continuing a tradition observed by past Republican and Democratic Virginia attorneys general who have left office in the final year of their term to run for governor. The most recent example was Jerry Kilgore, who left office in 2005 to concentrate on his gubernatorial bid.

    “The office is a very difficult job. It demands a full-time attorney general to do the hard work that’s required,” McDonnell said.

    The above is part of a story in the Virginian Pilot from February 4, 2009.  McDonnell’s resignation was the honorable thing for him to do, and he was running unopposed for the GOP gubernatorial nomination. The last AG to face a gubernatorial primary resigned six months prior to primary date.

    In contrast – according to a story in today’s Richmond Times Dispatch – Mr. Cuccinelli, always trying to show he is different, says defiantly that he will not resign while running for Governor.

    This is the issue the Virginia Democratic Party SHOULD be focusing on, not the silly personal attack from Brian Moran in a statement yesterday (According to Brian: “Ken Cuccinelli’s impending gubernatorial announcement is further proof that his political career is about one thing and one thing only: Ken Cuccinelli”). How exactly does Brian think he has a record which allows him to question the ambition of someone else to be Governor, to say that person puts his own ambition above the state?

    Come on Brian: On this and so many other areas, you are not – to say the least – a credible attack dog. People will laugh at your claiming some moral high ground, as you are not in the least bit credible on that line of attack. To be fair, few are: one failed candidate for Governor attacking another as being too ambitious, whatever, is, well..laughable. It doesn’t hurt Cuccinelli, just you. Surely someone is enough of a friend to say that to your face. Stick to where you have credibility. Regardless, a McDonnell vs. Cuccinelli showdown is a lot more interesting than Moran vs. Cuccinelli.

    In stark contrast to Brian Moran’s comments, Terry McAuliffe’s statement was pitch perfect. McAuliffe spokesperson Levar Stoney had it just right, stay positive, and let the GOP rip each other apart on the personal stuff (note that Bolling has already started; what a dumb way for an LG with the backing of a popular Governor to react).

    Terry needs to stay focused on getting things done, INDEED HE NEED TO BE SEEN AS WORKING WITH REPUBLICANS TO GET THINGS DONE. Terry needs to show he can be Governor. This is a perfect set-up for Terry, and his statement was spot-on. He has no reason to mention the LG or AG at all.

    Democrats as a party need to stand up for the integrity of the AG’s office, since all our folks who ran for Governor from that spot – Miller, Baliles and Terry – did just what Governor McDonnell said was the right and honorable thing to do. So, we have cred on this perspective and McDonnell’s own record on the issue. What more do you want?

    Mr. Cuccinelli is paid a full-time salary to work full-time for the people. He can not justify taking all that money and running for Governor, as McDonnell pointed out in 2009. Mr. Cuccinelli therefore needs to resign at the right moment for the good of the Commonwealth.

    Cuccinelli says he is running for the good of the state? Fine, then prove it with deeds, not just with empty words.

    When should Cuccinelli resign? This is a fair question with no perfect answer, except that he must resign to protect the office at an appropriate date. Logically, he should do it sooner as opposed to later. Clearly, the best time is before his AG’s actions are potentially seen as tainted by his gubernatorial campaign.

    I would think, given the lay of the land in the GOP, their primary fight has basically been launched and Cuccinelli is going to be thinking 24/7 on how every action he takes might influence the outcome.

    Bottom line: The Republican Governor of the state has said the honorable thing to do was for an AG to resign – for the good of the office and the Commonwealth – no later than February 2013 in an uncontested nomination fight. He said that you couldn’t be a full time AG and a candidate in an uncontested nomination battle. Logically then, Mr. Cuccinelli needs to do the right thing – resign – sometime in 2012.

    Of course, Cuccinelli says he won’t do it, to hell with the Governor and with what’s right.

    That leaves Kenny and his Sunshine Band vulnerable to principled, reasoned discussion on why his decision to let the shadow of partisan politics hang over the AG’s office shows bad judgment, and a disdain for what is the right thing for Virginia.

    Forget all the personal attacks on the guy.

    Terry needs to stay on message and Democrats need to defend the integrity of the AG’s office. Indeed, we should use it to show that after five straight GOP wins for that job, it is time to elect a Democrat who will put the law, not politics, first.