Run­ning on the pill

The Washington Times Weekly - - Editorials -

Terry McAuliffe is noth­ing if not pre­dictable. He’s a ca­reer po­lit­i­cal op­er­a­tive whose for­ays into the busi­ness world have been marked by crony­ism, cor­rup­tion and bank­ruptcy. With­out a record to speak of — and he wants no one to speak of it — Mr. McAuliffe has built his cam­paign on reck­less at­tacks on his Repub­li­can op­po­nent, state At­tor­ney Gen­eral Ken Cuc­cinelli.

The McAuliffe strat­egy is so trans­par­ent that Mr. Cuc­cinelli cor­rectly pre­viewed Mr. McAuliffe’s next round of at­tacks at a Sept. 29 cam­paign event in An­nan­dale. “We saw them in 2012,” said Mr. Cuc­cinelli of the Demo­cratic at­tacks in that pres­i­den­tial cam­paign. “They’re ba­si­cally us­ing the 2012 cook­iecut­ter.” He was re­cy­cling Pres­i­dent Obama’s cam­paign theme of the myth­i­cal “war on women.”

“The next thing com­ing is,” Mr. Cuc­cinelli told the gath­er­ing, “They’re go­ing to start talk­ing about con­tra­cep­tion.” Two days later, the McAuliffe cam­paign put up a cam­paign com­mer­cial open­ing with a shot of birth-con­trol pills, with a nar­ra­tor in­ton­ing omi­nously that if Mr. Cuc­cinelli had had his way as a state se­na­tor, he would have made “com­mon forms of birth con­trol il­le­gal, in­clud­ing the pill.” Then the Planned Par­ent­hood Votes or­ga­ni­za­tion raised the ante, buy­ing $1 mil­lion in ra­dio and TV time to ac­cuse Mr. Cuc­cinelli of plan­ning to in­ter­fere “with ac­cess to birth con­trol.”

To de­clare war on women would re­quire Mr. Cuc­cinelli to be a very brave man, in­deed. He mar­ried his high school sweet­heart, and he’s the fa­ther of five daugh­ters (and two sons), and if he were of a mind to de­clare war on women, he would be fool­ish in­deed go­ing to war out­num­bered 2 to 1 in his own house­hold.

Try­ing to make ac­cess to con­tra­cep­tives an is­sue is equally spe­cious. Mr. Cuc­cinelli couldn’t make birth-con­trol de­vices against the law even if he wanted to. The Supreme Court took the is­sue away from the states nearly 50 years ago with its 7-2 rul­ing in Gris­wold v. Con­necti­cut, over­turn­ing a state law pro­hibit­ing the use of con­tra­cep­tives.

Mr. Cuc­cinelli says the gov­ern­ment’s only role in reg­u­lat­ing birth con­trol is pre­vent­ing adults from dis­pens­ing it to mi­nors with­out their par­ents’ knowl­edge. “I just don’t think gov­ern­ment has any­thing to do with [con­tra­cep­tives],” he said, “ex­cept mak­ing sure par­ents have … pri­macy with their own chil­dren.”

Vir­ginia vot­ers saw through the phony “war on women” rhetoric hurled at Bob McDon­nell in 2009. Democrats thought they had the keys to the gov­er­nor’s man­sion in hand when The Wash­ing­ton Post dis­cov­ered Mr. McDon­nell’s grad­u­ateschool the­sis at Re­gent Univer­sity, writ­ten 20 years ear­lier, ad­vo­cat­ing among other things op­po­si­tion to abor­tion and sup­port for tax pol­icy fa­vor­ing het­ero­sex­ual fam­i­lies. The the­sis, more than 90 pages long, also sharply crit­i­cized the Gris­wold de­ci­sion. The Post tried to make the grad­u­ate-school the­sis the only sub­stan­tive is­sue in the cam­paign. Mr. McDon­nell nev­er­the­less won with 58.6 per­cent of the vote. Mr. Cuc­cinelli was elected at­tor­ney gen­eral in a sim­i­lar walk, with 57.5 per­cent.

In his time as Vir­ginia’s top law en­force­ment of­fi­cer, Mr. Cuc­cinelli demon­strated that he would fol­lows the law, not his per­sonal opin­ion of what the law should be. He wrote an opin­ion up­hold­ing the use of rev­enue cam­eras, for ex­am­ple, even though he had op­posed them as a de­ceit­ful way of rais­ing rev­enue, and promised to elim­i­nate them.

Hon­esty, char­ac­ter and in­tegrity set Ken Cuc­cinelli apart from Terry McAuliffe. Mr. McAuliffe tries to get what he wants with back­room po­lit­i­cal deal­ing and pub­lic ped­dling of smarm and avarice. Vir­gini­ans can see through the de­cep­tion, mak­ing his can­di­dacy a tough pill to swal­low.

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