Yesterday, the people of Virginia faced the Sophie's Choice of elections — only in this case, the voter (played by the incomparable Meryl Streep) wasn't forced to decide which of two good people was going to die. They were forced to decide which of two crappy candidates — Ken Cuccinelli (R) and Terry McAuliffe (D) — was going to LIVE. Or, more specifically, live in the Virginia Governor's Mansion and govern the state for the next 4 years.
The voters ended up choosing the lesser of two evils, electing McAuliffe as the state's next governor. While the Democrat has a history of seedy business dealings, his level of corruption ended up being far preferable over the maddening, far-right positions of his extremist opponent, the pro-life/Tea Party Darling Ken Cuccinelli.
But it wasn't just Left versus Right. Tea Party versus Basic Human Intelligence (though there was that, too.) There was one other major reason that Cuccinelli — the state's current Attorney General — lost the election: Women.
Women — particularly women who are African American, Latina and not married — favored McAuliffe by a margin of 51-42 (which is five points larger a margin than it was during the last VA gubernatorial race in 2009) and ended up toppling a very close election in the Democrats' favor. Anyone surprised by this only needs to glance at Cuccinelli's history of attacking reproductive rights to see why. Ol' Ken has been putting restrictions on women's access to safe and legal abortions (as well as general access to healthcare) since entered political office in 2002.
His absolutely-fucking-insane stances on reproductive rights weren't the only reasons he failed to emerge victorious in last night's election, however. There were pleeeeeenty of other reasons the people of Virginia cast their votes to keep him out of office. Here, let's go over a few of them — and then thank our lucky stars that he didn't win.
He's wildly homophobic.
During the Attorney General election in 2009, Cuccinelli refused to support a nondiscrimination policy that would help protect gay people, saying:
“My view is that homosexual acts, not homosexuality, but homosexual acts are wrong. They’re intrinsically wrong. And I think in a natural law based country it’s appropriate to have policies that reflect that. ... They don’t comport with natural law. I happen to think that it represents (to put it politely; I need my thesaurus to be polite) behavior that is not healthy to an individual and in aggregate is not healthy to society.”
Go fuck yourself, Cooch. (I didn't need a thesaurus for that.)
He's also fought long and hard to reenact old timey anti-sodomy legislation that would outlaw oral and anal sex between consenting adults. Good luck with that, dude. Also, I feel sorry for your wife.
For such a vocal Christian, Cuccinelli sure is good at forgetting about that whole "You shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand to your poor brother" thing.
During a 2012 speech at the Cherish Life Ministries Christian Life Summit, Cuccinelli attacked the Catholic Church for its efforts in fighting poverty.
From the transcript:
"They’ve helped create a culture of dependency on government, not God. And rarely do you see the two – once churches get out of the business of serving the poor, or not get out of the business but hand over and argue that they shouldn’t be the primary institution in a society that is responsible for service to the poor."
Born in the U.S. but have parents who are illegal immigrants? Sorry. Cuccinelli wants you to GTFO already.
While serving in the Senate, Cuccinelli introduced a bill that would change the Fourteenth Amendment to allow the revocation of citizenship of children born in the United States to illegal immigrant parents. In other words, you could have lived your entire life in Illinois and still be deported back to Mexico if your folks weren't born in the States.
Whoops! Your parents aren't even Mexican? Too bad. The non-U.S.A is all pretty much Mexico to Ken.
He's a global warming skeptic.
And he goes out of his way to harass the climatologists who actually know what they're talking about. As U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D - Rhode Island) called out in a Senate floor speech:
“In 2010, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli used his powers of office to harass former University of Virginia climatologist Michael Mann and 39 other climate scientists and staff. As a U-Va. grad, I am proud that the university fought back against this political attack on science and on academic freedom.”
And now, going back to the beginning, WOMEN'S ISSUES.
Not only is Cuccinelli fervently against Social Security and Medicare (for everyone, not just women), but he's also compared abortion to slavery, opposes abortion even in the case of rape, incest, and risk to the woman's health and has sponsored several anti-abortion bills, including a personhood bill that declared “life begins at the moment of fertilization," which, according to Cuccunelli, is "a scientific reality."
He is also anti Planned Parenthood, having once said:
Finally, let’s dispense with the outrageous notion that Planned Parenthood is reducing teenage pregnancy on some mythical altruistic basis. Planned Parenthood reduces teen pregnancy by providing abortions, which both makes Planned Parenthood a lot of money and ends a pregnancy…Planned Parenthood’s sex-ed programs in our schools are what a marketing executive might call a ‘loss leader,’ used to introduce their organization and all it has to offer, e.g., abortion on demand, to our children.
Speaking of sex-ed, Cuccinelli opposes it entirely, instead supporting abstinence-only education aaaaaaalways perfectly. Except when it doesn't. And it never does.
Perhaps most puzzling of all of Cuccinelli's opinions on women's issues is his stance on birth control. Earlier this year, the Cooch, in the words of our own Katie J.M. Baker, "said people who oppose the federal mandate for contraception coverage should be willing to go to jail to show their opposition." He's also referred to the contraception coverage mandate in the Affordable Care Act as the "sterilization mandate," proving that he might not actually know how birth control works these days.
You have to hand it to Ken — he has a dramatic flair that puts even the most annoying theater kids to shame. We'd laugh except for the fact that he is not just some high school junior playing one of the princes in his school's production of Into the Woods (beating out all of the seniors for the role and everything!) — he's an elected official with very real and scary political power. Though not as much as he could have, mostly due to the female voters of Virginia who came out in droves to the polls yesterday and cast their ballots to ensure that he didn't become the state's next governor.
Thank you, ladies, for proving that Virginia is still for lovers — just not lovers of extremist, anti-women, anti-gay, anti-environment, anti-poor people, right-wing wack jobs.
Image via Getty.