Heads Up Deniers: Cuccinelli Only the First

November 6, 2013

Above, coverage of the League of  Conservation Voters aggressive and successful ad campaign against climate denial. Following the results of yesterday’s election in Virginia, look for this to be a template.
LIke racism, climate denial still sells in some parts of the country. Like homophobia, science denial will probably always be with us. But also like racism and homophobia, it is gradually becoming more of a liability to Republican candidates who have flaunted it in the past.

A little history. The video below is an interview with infamous Reagan strategist Lee Atwater, who describes ways in which he advised his clients, republican politicians, to use racism without sounding overtly racist.

Similarly, homophobia was deliberately manipulated as a strategy to bring out a certain segment of voters. Former GOP chairman, Ken Mehlmann finally apologized for that, ironically, after coming out himself as a gay man.

These strategies worked for a couple decades, but are now starting to bite back at those who deployed them.  Likewise, as the planet speaks ever more clearly about what is happening, climate denial is becoming an unwelcome drag on the anti-science right wing.

National Journal:

A myriad of factors combined to doom Ken Cuccinelli’s gubernatorial bid, but environmental groups certainly played a role, reports The Hill. And Team Green has a warning for the other politicians who are unwilling to address climate change: You’re next.

Terry McAuliffe’s No. 2 cash donor? The League of Conservation Voters. The Sierra Club pitched in six figures as well. And total spending by green groups has exceeded that of fossil-fuel companies. “I think we have helped draw a clear contrast for voters in the race by prioritizing climate-change issues,” said LCV spokesman Jeff Gohringer.

The Sierra Club is calling the race the start of a trend. “The Sierra Club is looking to do this in the next cycle,” said Melissa Williams, the group’s political director. “We want climate to be an issue that candidates are forced to take a side on. We won’t be in every state in 2014, but we will look to evaluate places where the Sierra Club can be decisive and where we can move the climate conversation.”

ThinkProgress details how Cuccinelli checked all the crazy boxes

He turned his climate change denial into an illegal witch hunt.

Cuccinelli’s denial of climate science was extreme enough — frequently asking his audiences to exhale carbon dioxide together in unison just to “annoy the EPA.” But as Virginia Attorney General, he took it a step further, launching anillegal fishing expedition against former University of Virginia climate scientistDr. Michael Mann. State courts rejected as unfounded his theory that Mann committed fraud in seeking government funding for climate change research.

His office improperly aided fossil fuel companies.

Much of Cuccinelli’s fundraising came from dirty energy companies. But a six-figure donation from Pennsylvania-based CONSOL Energy came under heavy scrutiny after his office was accused of improperly aiding Consol and others in a class-action lawsuit brought by southwest Virginians over coalbed methane extraction rights. The state judge in the case called the behavior of Cuccinelli’s senior assistant attorney general shocking and referred the matter to the Virginia’s inspector general — who found she had acted “inappropriately.”

He took thousands in gifts from the a controversial tobacco executive.

Though Cuccinelli initially failed to disclose them, he received more than $18,000 in gifts from controversial Star Scientific CEO Jonnie R. Williams Sr. Williams provided the attorney general with free lodging at his homes, $6,711 worth of supplements, transportation to New York City and Kentucky, and an elaborate $1,500 Thanksgiving dinner. Though as of 2012, Star Scientific has reported annual losses for a decade, just one Virginia elected official or candidate invested upwards of $10,000 in the company: Cuccinelli. According to the Virginia Public Access Project, Star Scientific is the only significant holding he has reported since his first filing in 2003. Cuccinelli, whose position makes him the Commonwealth of Virginia’s lawyer, did not follow state disclosure law and disclose this investment in a timely manner. After the controversy became public, he sold off the stock and grudgingly donated the estimated value of the gifts he received to charity.

2 Responses to “Heads Up Deniers: Cuccinelli Only the First”

  1. dumboldguy Says:

    Living in Northern Virginia, we were inundated with advertising during the gubernatorial campaign—hundreds of TV ads, hundreds of emails, well over a hundred pieces of mail, many dozens of phone calls, and a half dozen knocks on the door by campaign workers.

    Because KookyNelly was and is TOO EXTREME FOR VIRGINIA (as so many groups enjoyed saying), the various ads and mailers from the many groups like Planned Parenthood, womens’ groups, gun control groups, the teachers, the veterans, the Sierra Club, the League of Conservation Voters and others didn’t have to do much but lay out what Kooky has said or done in the past—his record says it all.

    Among the most effective pieces were those put out by the League of Conservation Voters—similar to the ad featured in the Rachel Maddow clip, they were very well done and evoked a “Yes!” and a “Right on!” from me (although I am admittedly biased on the topic of AGW). I haven’t surveyed friends and neighbors, but I imagine they had a positive impact on all who saw them.

    I hope the LCV steps up this campaign in those districts where it will have the most impact—I for one intend to increase my contribution level to help support them.

  2. […] for Republicans in congress. How many more important electoral issues do you want to be on the losing side […]

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