If you like him he is a wonderful guy, if you don’t, he is ultra-right. I have heard both descriptions of Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. The truth lies not between these extremes, but may be attributed to his being a staunch constitutionalist who decided to skip the lesson on social liberalism. He believes in free market capitalism and that we are better off with less government intrusion in our lives and in our pockets.
He is member of the Republican trio that swept into leadership in Virginia 15 months ago. They were billed as the “dream team,” and indeed have quietly set out to take care of the business of governing. Our prospects in Virginia are good and the economic situation, while not ideal, seems hopeful. Cuccinelli is an integral, and perhaps the most outspoken, member of that trio in promoting a more conservative agenda. The message has been well-received and there seems to be a growing trend toward, and appreciation of, that viewpoint in Northern Virginia. A recent campaign season kick-off he headlined at a PJ Skiddoos in Fairfax was filled to the rafters.
His concise, no-nonsense, what you see is what you get approach could put some people off. Admirers think that persona is what helps make him perfect for his job as Attorney General, and as a leader and communicator of the conservative message. Someone I know says that “when it comes to matters of law I do not apologize for trending conservative. I like Cuccinelli.” A Richmond Times-Dispatch interview a few months ago quoted Cuccinelli as declaring that he plays to win, and enters the fray hoping to do so. Yet, if he loses, he is willing to walk away and get on with his life. That shows balance and a healthy perspective.
The AG was one of the first to oppose the individual mandate in ObamaCare. The outcome of that action is pending and seems headed to the Supreme Court for a final decision. He has taken heat for his opposition to some EPA mandates, and his attempt to review UVA climate change research data. He has stated that his efforts are not personal but an attempt to defend the rights of Virginia’s citizens. While there is definitely climate change, whether man is responsible or man can fix it has yet to be proven. Until that is established, and even then, the cost and extent of regulation has to be weighed against effectiveness, its effect on jobs, on the poor, and on the economy.
He seconded this view during a recent address to a gathering of the Environmental Council of the States held in Alexandria, VA. He estimates “that an EPA decision to regulate and treat as a pollutant carbon dioxide, which we breathe out by just being alive, will cost each American household an extra $3,000 per year. Virginia could lose 50,000 jobs over the next 10 years.” Cuccinelli does not want to be seen as anti-environment and reminded the audience that he has cooperated with the EPA on some initiatives. He stated that he has a vested interest in a clean environment because he wants his family to enjoy that environment in the future.
Mr. Cuccinelli recently apologized to an inmate cleared by DNA evidence yet was incarcerated. It takes a big man to apologize and displays both humility and humanity. My take? He’s a good guy who is under-appreciated. He is never petty, never frivolous, nor is he afraid to take on the issues. He’s exactly the kind of public official we need.