Ken Cuccinelli Says the Shutdown Is “Holding One Part of Government Hostage”

One of the most conservative Republicans is breaking with the Tea Party.

Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

Three days into the shutdown crisis, Virginia gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli has come out with a coherent position. He’s for a “clean CR.” He’s split, for the first time I can think of, with the Tea Party movement writ large. Cuccinelli did this after one of the “Obamacare roundtables” he’s holding in Virginia, intended to raise ire and awareness of problems with the law.

Cuccinelli told reporters after a Thursday-morning event that shuttering the government is not the right way for opponents of the 2010 Affordable Care Act to gain leverage to defeat the law he wants to see repealed. “Strangling government to do this is not an appropriate course to go,” said Cuccinelli, the state’s attorney general… “Holding one part of government hostage to another part, I don’t think is a proper way to govern.”

There you go: One of the most conservative Republicans running for statewide office has embraced the “hostage” metaphor to describe Republicans. Democrats are delighted.

“You think this is a successful strategy?” asks Rep. Gerry Connolly, a Democrat who represents the D.C. suburbs in Virginia’s Fairfax County and environs. “A majority of the Virginia delegation is for a clean CR. Four Republicans are breaking ranks with Eric Cantor, who, last time I checked, is from Virginia. The governor has said cut it out and reopen the government. Now, belatedly, Ken Cuccinelli is saying it. When Cuccinelli realizes it’s a problem, only a few weeks out from one of only two statewide elections this year, that tells you something about the success of the strategy.”