( – promoted by lowkell)
Slate has an interesting take on Ken Cuccinelli's time as AG so far (In Ken We Trust: Why do Ken Cuccinelli's legal opinions always match his personal ambitions?). It's really interesting to see the national take on all this since we're somewhat used to it in Virginia.
What Slate starts to get at (but I think ultimately misses) is that Cuccinelli isn't just using the law to push an agenda–he actually believes that his agenda and the law are not distinct things.
While it's not surprising that Cuccinelli is pushing issues and positions in his role as AG that he couldn't get through the General Assembly as a state senator, it is interesting that his base–which tends to advocate for democracy and protests that Democrats are doing any number of things to subvert the process or the Constitution–buys this sort of thing, presumably because they believe in it. Do they think that the General Assembly is just not important anymore, or do they think that Cuccinelli has a mandate to do this sort of thing outside of the legislative process? Or do they just not care about process when their positions come out on top? When I was canvassing in '09, I had quite a few people telling me that they weren't voting for Democrats because they “didn't want no kings here.” Apparently they don't care now.
Keep in mind that this is a man who talks to fake elephants:
The Slate post focuses quite a bit on Cuccinelli's legal opinion attempting to regulate facilities that provide abortions–the type of measure that Republicans have cleverly disguised for years to look like it's something helpful to women when really it makes it so difficult for centers to operate that they are forced to close down. Slate says:
Cuccinelli justifies treating abortion clinics differently from the many outpatient clinics that perform far more dangerous surgeries—from breast augmentations to nose jobs to colonoscopies—with the circular assertion that abortion can be regulated differently because it's different…His legal conclusions, while conceding that Roe v. Wade is still binding law, rest on a 4th Circuit decision from 2000 holding that “addressing medical and safety aspects of providing abortions, as well as the recordkeeping and administrative practices of abortion clinics, and which applied to all abortions including abortions performed during the first trimester, were valid,” and Virginia rules that were implemented in 1981 but withdrawn in 1984. This isn't lawyering, it's hardly even serious advocacy.
Day after day, week after week of Ken Cuccinelli's term as AG, we've been presented with something ridiculous that he's trying to do. We knew Cuccinelli would likely “govern” this way, and yet he's still Attorney General. That's one of the most frightening things (for Democrats) about him–we are too quick to write him off as crazy, and yet he's consistently been pretty popular in this state. A lot of Democrats, I think, wrote him off as crazy last year and look where he is now. If we don't want this man to have any likelihood of becoming Governor in 2013, we need to start now.