Ken Cuccinelli tries to thread a very tight needle


For a few moments, former attorney general was a contender for the Supreme Court of Virginia. File photo For a few moments, former attorney general was a contender for the Supreme Court of Virginia. File photo

In this week’s edition of the Odd Dominion, we’re actually going to cover two stories. The first involves our illustrious Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who is doing everything in his power to become Virginia’s next governor. Unfortunately for him, his campaign rollout has not been a model of discipline and efficiency.

The Cooch has basically stumbled from one crisis to the next, running the gamut from improper campaign contributions to a completely unhinged running mate (Republican Lieutenant Governor nominee E.W. Jackson, natch) to an ill-conceived push to reinstitute Virginia’s unconstitutional ban on consensual sodomy. In fact, every time Cuccinelli has tried to craft a positive campaign narrative, he or someone close to him has managed to step on his message like Godzilla flattening Tokyo.

The most recent example? Cuccinelli’s just-released education plan, which featured at its core a typically crackpot conservative idea (in this case, allowing a majority of parents to vote to close down a “failing” school) and was heavily promoted by his campaign, only to disappear completely seconds after it was unveiled. But nobody cared, because even as Cuccinelli desperately tries to get the media to pay attention to his policy initiatives (feeble as they are), the only thing that reporters are truly interested in is the attorney general’s ongoing war with his putative boss, Governor Bob McDonnell.

Cuccinelli’s current contretemps stems from one of his earlier scandals: the acceptance of over $18,000 in gifts from disgraced favor-buying businessman Jonnie Williams (which included a $3,000 vacation and a $1,500 Thanksgiving dinner at Williams’ home). Cuccinelli has been trying to tamp down the fallout with two strategies. The first involves ineffectual excuses (like telling reporters that he wouldn’t be returning Williams’ gifts because “there are some bells you can’t unring”) and transparently self-serving nonsense (as when he claimed on the Daily Caller website, “I’ve learned from my mistakes and believe they make me a more credible messenger in this much-needed debate”).

The second, and more high-risk, tactic involves calling for a special legislative session to address Richmond’s incredibly lax ethics laws. In other words, Cuccinelli is simultaneously refusing to correct his own ethical lapses while attempting to shine a spotlight on those of Governor McDonnell, who accepted a far higher amount of cash and gifts from Williams than Cuccinelli did.

Unfortunately for the Cooch, his calls for a special session have been roundly rejected by McDonnell, and basically ignored by everyone else. Which leaves him, in the end, looking both disloyal and completely ineffectual.

On a lighter note, we’d like to recount the story of Rhonney Jacobs, a Virginia man who was recently speeding through a Norfolk neighborhood when he was confronted by two men warning him to slow down. Enraged, Jacobs jumped out of his car, pulled out a .45 caliber pistol and promptly shot himself in the groin.

Not sure what that has to do with anything, but it just seemed too good not to share.