Blogs > Cliopatria > Elections Have Consequences

Apr 6, 2010 4:12 pm

Elections Have Consequences

Between 2001 and 2008, few states trended as heavily Democratic as Virginia. The state replaced two Republican senators with two Democratic ones, elected two straight Democratic governors, and the Democrats picked up three House seats. Barack Obama became the first Democrat since LBJ to carry it in a presidential election; and even the hapless John Kerry received a higher percentage of the state's votes than had Al Gore in 2000.

In 2009, of course, Republicans made a strong comeback. Bob McDonnell (a graduate of Regent Law School) crushed Creigh Deeds in the governor's race; and the even more conservative Ken Cuccinelli was elected Attorney General.

The result has been some odd moves in a state with a checkered past. Since taking office, Cuccinelli has attracted the most attention for his lawsuit against the federal government over the health care bill. Unlike the more general lawsuit by Republican attorneys general, the Virginia lawsuit is based on something resembling nullification doctrine, with Cuccinelli arguing that a health care mandate should be disallowed in Virginia because the state legislature passed a law making it illegal. Not exactly the strongest legal argument.

McDonnell, meanwhile, has just recognized April as Confederate History Month in the state. In a tone-deaf announcement, the governor proclaimed,"It is important for all Virginians to reflect upon our commonwealth’s shared history, to understand the sacrifices of the Confederate leaders, soldiers and citizens during the period of the Civil War, and to recognize how our history has led to our present."

McDonnell's announcement contains no mention of the fate of Virginia's non-citizens from the Confederacy period. Apparently their"sacrifices" don't get included.

This proclamation comes after a March proclamation celebrating Christian Heritage Week, in which the governor asserted, in an unusual interpretation of history, that the founders"were statesmen of the highest caliber and integrity who did not hesitate to express their religious convictions, principles and faith."

All that said: McDonnell and Cuccinelli didn't exactly hide their opinions during their time in public life. Virginians knew exactly what they were getting when they went to the polls last November.

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