O.K., we’ll admit it: With the benefit of hindsight, Virginia’s 2009 gubernatorial race was a complete and total snooze, despite our best efforts to make it seem exciting. Although there was some fun to be had during the primaries, once the field was winnowed down to Bob “Wonder Bread” McDonnell and the completely hapless Democratic candidate Creigh Deeds, the general election was about as gripping as Bob Dole’s handshake.
But even at this early stage, we can practically guarantee that the next race for governor will offer an embarrassment of riches, from the primaries straight through to election day. And the reason we can promise this is Virginia’s most politically ambitious egomaniac, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who has all but formally announced that he will be running for governor in 2013.
Why is this a big deal, you ask? Well, Old Dominion elephants are a pretty hidebound bunch, and the phrase “wait your turn” is basically branded on each and every Republican rear end. That was certainly the case with Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling, who made a deal to support McDonnell in 2009, as long as McDonnell agreed to return the favor next time around.
But now that the Cooch has jumped in line, all hell is sure to break loose. In fact, Bolling has already begun whining loudly to anyone who will listen, issuing a statement that claimed Cuccinelli was putting “his own personal ambition ahead of the best interests of the Commonwealth,” and insisting to the Richmond Times-Dispatch that his decision to forgo a run in 2009—and Cuccinelli’s failure to show him the same deference—“tells you something about us as people, and what we value.”
And then, of course, there’s the bigger picture. McDonnell might not actually care all that much about which Republican succeeds him, but a vicious dogfight for the nomination is definitely not in his best interest.
Backing Bolling in an uncontested primary was a win-win for both of them, since Bolling has been a very vocal supporter of presidential aspirant Mitt Romney, and McDonnell almost certainly hopes to fill out the Republican ticket. As a bonus, if McDonnell was elected as Romney’s vice president, Bolling would get to serve out the remainder of his term, putting him in a much stronger position to win the job outright in 2013.
Unfortunately, Romney is now trailing in almost every poll to Newt Gingrich, and it’s a near certainty that Bolling will soon find himself in the exact same position vis-à-vis Cuccinelli.
If Gingrich somehow manages to clinch the Republican nomination, then McDonnell’s vice presidential dreams are basically toast, since Gingrich has been a resident of the Commonwealth for nearly a decade now, and picking a fellow Virginian as VP would run afoul of the 12th amendment to the Constitution. (Of course, that didn’t stop George W. Bush from picking fellow Texan Dick Cheney as his running mate, but that’s a whole ’nother story, pard.)
You see what we’re saying here? For us bored political pundits, this stuff is pure gold! And we haven’t even begun to explore the possibilities of a statewide race between right-wing crackpot Cuccinelli and delirious Democratic doofus Terry McAuliffe.
But no—the God of Politics couldn’t possibly love us that much, could he?