There are some fairly different assessments of last night’s debate between Virginia gubernatorial candidates Ken Cuccinelli and Terry McAuliffe floating around, with the consensus being that neither candidate delivered any major knockout punches, but here are some of the highlights for you; first, a pretty typical exchange with Cuccinelli attacking McAuliffe as the shady, backroom-dealmaking “businessman” and McAuliffe predictably going straight for the social-issues “extremism” tack on his opponent:
CUCCINELLI: You know, the comparison here is someone who has told the New York Times, you know, “You help me, I help you. That’s politics,” talking about a case where he was an unindicted coconspirator in a teamsters election money laundering case. I mean, if– if Terry’s elected governor. We’re gonna have to change the state motto from “Sic Semper Tyrannis” to “Quid Pro Quo.” And just today in the Washington Post, they have an article– they have an article about how his higher ed policy changed on a dime when he got certain support. …
MCAULIFFE: My opponent’s been the attorney general. He’s run on jobs and transportation when he runs for office. He gets into office. And he runs on and serves with an ideological agenda. Let it be women’s health centers, where he bullied the Board of Health to shut him down. He sponsored personhood legislation that would outlaw most forms of contraception, would make the pill illegal.
I thought Cuccinelli, however, had a pretty good answer for the social-extremists attacks he knew would be coming for him, emphases mine:
I think that one of the best responses to this is the broad array of support that we’re getting from Democrats, Independents, and bipartisan groups like the Northern Virginia Technology Council’s Tech PAC up here in Northern Virginia, the small businesses across Virginia, and the National Federation of Independent Businesses, the Farm Bureau, the police. We’re getting a broad array of support across Virginia, because I’ve put forward well-thought-out plans that start with an understanding of how Virginia government works. And that we can use those plans forward, because people can look at my record and see that what I campaign on is what I pursue. And as attorney general, right here in Fairfax County, fighting back against overreaching regulations on a bipartisan basis with the Fairfax Board, we saved Fairfax County taxpayers and Virginia taxpayers about $250 million. Look, I believe– I have some basic beliefs that are fundamental to me. But overwhelming proportion of my time as attorney general has been spent moving Virginia forward economically and protecting liberty and our constitution.
I.e., he’s not running with goals of changing nor adding a bunch of social-related laws to Virginia’s books, as much as McAuliffe wants Virginians to believe otherwise, and unlike McAuliffe, Cuccinelli actually knows and understands the economic issues facing Virginia with detailed precision while McAuliffe has repeatedly demonstrated himself to be flippant and poorly informed.
As I mentioned the other day, McAuliffe is a believer in more gun control for Virginia, including magazine capacity limits, background checks on private firearms sales, and (bizarrely) returning to Virginia’s obsolete one-handgun-purchase-per-month rule — and in that same vein in last night’s debate, he obliquely confirmed that he is a proponent of an outright “assault”-weapons ban.
And perhaps one of McAuliffe’s most infuriating lines of the night came near the end, when Chuck Todd asked the candidates whether or not they think the Redskins should have to change their name:
Wait — so you’re not the type of candidate who thinks “the governor ought to be telling private businesses what they should do about their business”? …Read Jonah Goldberg’s piece on that little doozy at National Review, ’cause that is rich.