BY JIM NOLAN
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has been somewhat fearless when it comes to waging war against the federal government on health care and greenhouse gas regulations.
He charged hard in his litigation pursuing climate change emails from the University of Virginia, and did not flinch over the outcry that followed his advice to the state’s public colleges and universities that the law does not allow them to include sexual orientation in their anti-discrimination hiring policies.
Cuccinelli also currently sits atop the polls with a sizable lead in his bid for the GOP nomination for governor in 2013.
So why is he playing the victim?
A recent fundraising letter penned by Cuccinelli appears to go beyond the usual “Us against Them” rhetoric designed to milk campaign money from the base.
The letter starts out with Cuccinelli saying that his challenge to President Barack Obama’s health care legislation – currently under review by the U.S. Supreme Court —
has made him “the number one target of the White House and their powerful allies on the left.”
The letter goes on to explain how “The Left” did its best to defeat him as attorney general and will hold nothing back to stop him from becoming governor. All pretty standard stuff.
But then the letter goes a step farther than what we’re accustomed to seeing, especially from an elected official as outwardly confident and routinely attacked as Cuccinelli.
“In fact, they want to do more than defeat me,” his letter states. “They intend to destroy me.”
“Obviously the line you’re referencing is political hyperbole; but the point we’re trying to get across is absolutely accurate,” said Cuccinelli political director Noah Wall. “The left has been trying to destroy Ken politically for many years.”
Cuccinelli goes on in the letter to say: “I’ve been called “crazy,” “lunatic,” and other names because I have stood up for the citizens of Virginia and the US Constitution.”
And then later:
“There’s no doubt about it. The billion dollar Obama political machine wants to defeat and destroy me. That’s why I’m hoping you will help me today.”
According to the Virginia Public Access Project, a non-partisan tracker of money in politics, the attorney general had $732,527 cash on hand at the end of 2011. Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, by comparison, had $983,239 as of the end of 2011.
Fundraising letters are well-known for hyperbole, and the perhaps the bold type at the bottom of the first page of Cuccinelli’s four-page letter provides an indication of the target audience.
“The Tea Party Hero who is ObamaCare’s most Formidable Foe,” it reads.
But the pitch is clearly more about left and right, not right and right.
None of the comments in the letter reference Cuccinelli’s upcoming battle with Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling for the GOP nomination in 2013. That fight will be more in-house, the first round of which may commence with next week’s gathering of the Republican party of Virginia’s State Central Committee.
Grassroots supporters, emboldened by gains during committee elections last month, are pushing for a change in the nominating process from a primary to a convention – a move that most feel would benefit Cuccinelli. Bolling is pushing for the process to remain a primary and has suggested his team would explore legal options if the change is made.
The winner of the GOP nomination is likely to face Democrat Terry McAuliffe, a longtime Fairfax resident and former Democratic National Committee chairman-turned green energy entrepreneur.