The RTD’s Jeff Schapiro uses his video commentary to make a guess that Bill Bolling will not make an independent run for governor, having already drawn all the blood he needs from Ken Cuccinelli’s hide to make his point (and in the process, deny Cuccinelli a win in November over Terry McAuliffe).
As with most things Jeff does, the plausible points are shrouded in a cloud of malice. Cuccinelli cares not a whit for the wide, indecisive middle in Virginia, has been successfully painted as the guy you would never allow in your home and such and such. These are Bolling’s talking points. That Jeff would parrot them is not entirely surprising as they make for stunningly good copy.
But a throw-away line in here about Cuccinelli’s “controversial” new book is what got me.
For those who’ve read, or are currently reading,”Last Line of Defense,” what you’ve discovered is that it is rather tame. Yes, there is a lot of talk about principles, the founders and the need to stand up for what’s right regardless of the personal cost. These are things Bolling would appear to have ducked throughout his long career, choosing only now, after that career washed up on the beach, to truly speak his mind.
Cuccinelli’s book takes us through the legal fights with the Obama administration over the health insurance law, his tussles with the EPA, FCC and other federal agencies. None of what is recounted here will be news to anyone who followed these cases over the years. If anything, I found the written accounts far less compelling than the radio interviews we’ve done with Cuccinelli on the same topics. In short, this book wasn’t written for political junkies. It certainly wasn’t written for those who’ve covered the AG’s fights with the federal government. It was written for a general audience (meaning national) who has only seen the AG on Fox News or CNN.
That said, what makes it controversial? It makes a strong case for liberty, federalism, small government, and against the overweening power of the state. Cuccinelli even dares to use the word “statist” to describe those who, like the President, his party and not a few Republicans, advance the interests of government at the expense of the people.
This critique is often branded libertarian, which is somewhat true. It’s also where the controversy gets started. If Mr. Cuccinelli is one of those wild-eyed libertarians, then he means to toss widows and orphans under the bus while letting the dopers and hookers run the place.
It’s a caricature. And in the case of “Last Line of Defense,” it’s one drawn by those who haven’t read it and probably never will. There are no gotchas in Cucicnelli’s book, unless one considers quotes from legal briefs his office filed in the Obamacare suit as the stuff of illicit thrills. There are plenty of quotes from Patrick Henry, James Madison and Thomas Jefferson — all noted Virginia trouble makers. There are even snippets of Cuccinelli’s own life before politics — too few to fully reveal what made him the man he is today, but just enough to show why he has gotten so far.
It’s always been there, for those who have been paying even the slightest bit of attention. Cuccinelli will tell you to your face, repeatedly, what he is going to do and why. And then he does it — without regard to how it will affect his political career. That simple formula is behind every page of “Last Line of Defense.”
In the eyes of the trimming, scheming and surprisingly lazy political class, this is controversial.
The rest of the world calls it honesty.