Kirk Cox’s First Challenge In His Campaign To Be Virginia’s Governor
There were a couple of big developments in Virginia politics this week. Both show the challenges facing the new GOP gubernatorial front-runner.
First, the big, unsurprising announcement from former Virginia House Speaker Kirk Cox. He’s officially a candidate for the Republican gubernatorial nomination. Not only wasn’t it a surprise — Cox telegraphed the move for months — but it also was an enormous relief for Republicans, whose only other declared gubernatorial candidate is self-described “Trump in heels” state Sen. Amanda F. Chase (Chesterfield).
While Cox immediately takes the spotlight, his announcement raises questions about what sort of campaign he intends to run.
Cox said he’s running a revanchist campaign seeking to take back a Virginia he believes is slipping away. The culprit? Democrats, who are somehow attacking the “timeless principles” of representative democracy through “unchecked, one-party … control in Richmond.”
This is rich. Presumably the longtime legislator had no such fears about unchecked, one-party Republican rule in Richmond, which ended in 2013 (though the GOP held sway in the General Assembly until 2019).
Cox did quite well for himself during those years, rising from mere delegate to House speaker. But perhaps he’s hoping voters’ memories are very, very short. He continued:
“We have to fight back against the cancel culture and the elitism, against misguided collectivist policies, and against a worldview that puts the government in charge of every facet of our lives.
Given such a list of horribles, one might think Virginians are barely removed from a police state. All that’s missing are the MS-13 hordes 2017 gubernatorial nominee Ed Gillespie’s campaign said would infiltrate the commonwealth because of then-Democratic gubernatorial nominee Ralph Northam, who won the election.
But Cox did manage to pull himself together and tell us what he’s for: essentially, good jobs and good wages (thank you, Michael Dukakis) and, in a whiplash-inducing volte face, a return to civility “where problems are solved through dialogue and communication.”
Though plenty of people will disagree with the resentment in Cox’s opening lines, his closing platitudes are things everyone can agree on — especially the idea that “people in government do what they say they’re going to do.”
Once upon a time, Republicans were a party of ideas. They led with ideas, not grievances. And they did so with a degree of optimism that is now taken as a sign of weakness. If Cox wants to fight for something, he should fight the gloom that permeates GOP thinking.
He should also fight to make sure Republicans lead the way on the week’s other big news: Gov. Northam said he will support legalizing the recreational use of marijuana.
This is very encouraging news — not just because of the dollars and cents of legalization, which can be substantial. It’s much bigger than mere money.
Continue reading at The Washington Post.