Steven Ginsberg is the national political editor at The Washington Post. He is from Virginia’s Eastern Shore and has covered politics in the state.
Ken Cuccinelli, Virginia’s attorney general, Republican candidate for governor and tea party hero, is a man under siege — and that’s just the way he likes it.
He has become a target of ridicule from pundits on the right; in February, for instance, Joe Scarborough called him “certifiable when it comes to mainstream political thought.” He is being challenged in his own state, where a pair of Northern Virginia business leaders recently berated him as out of touch. Things have gotten so bad that Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling has refused to endorse Cuccinelli, even though he decided not to launch an independent bid against him.
A good bit of Cuccinelli’s predicament comes from the release of his book, “The Last Line of Defense,” an extended attack on what he sees as the criminal overreach of the Obama administration — a group he unsubtly describes in the title of Chapter 1 as “The Biggest Set of Lawbreakers in America.” Moderate Republicans worry that “The Last Line of Defense” places Cuccinelli out of the mainstream while handing Democrats endless fodder to use against him. It’s never a good sign when your opponents hold a news conference, as Democrats in Richmond did, to take turns reading aloud from your book.