Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli led the fight against Obamacare in federal court, and he says he is bringing the same fidelity to the Constitution in his bid to become the next governor of the Commonwealth.
Cuccinelli is also author of the new book "The Last Line of Defense: The New Fight for American Liberty. He told WND a presidential administration striving for more power is typical in both parties, but he believes the Obama team has a special thirst for control.
"What makes this unique, frankly, is the brazenness and frequency of this administration's willingness to break the law and to trample the Constitution," Cuccinelli said. "Just last month they lost the constitutional case that came straight from the president about his supposed recess appointments. He claimed the right to essentially declare when the Senate was in recess, which is an egregious violation of the separation of powers, and the court found so unanimously and they threw out his appointment."
Cuccinelli said his own state is also the victim of federal overreach, a claim that was also validated in a recent federal court ruling involving the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA.
"We beat the EPA in Virginia, which I refer to as the Employment Prevention Agency because they're so good at that, with Fairfax County as our co-plaintiff," Cuiccinelli said. "It is a very partisan, Democrat board of supervisors, and yet they joined me as the co-plaintiff in that suit because they knew that the federal government had broken the law in how it was attempting to regulate water just like it would regulate a pollutant. It sounds crazy and it is, which is probably part of why we won so convincingly. That was worth over $300 million to the people of Virginia."
The Virginia Department of Transportation was the lead plaintiff in the successful lawsuit against the EPA, but Cuccinelli said that would not have been possible without Gov. Bob McDonnell giving his approval for the challenge. Cuccinelli said that's a prime example of why a staunch defender of the Constitution needs to be elected governor in Virginia this year.
"The governor is very important to carrying on this balancing act, and it's worth people remembering the Founding Fathers intended those of us in the states to push back on the federal government when it became a threat to liberty," Cuccinelli said.
Obamacare opponents won on three of four constitutional arguments before the Supreme Court, but the law stood once Chief Justice John Roberts and the Court's four liberal justices kept the individual mandate alive as a tax. Despite a verdict on the mandate with which he strongly disagrees, Cuccinelli said another part of the Court's ruling is a big win for states.
"Because we got the first-ever limits on the spending power of the federal government, that allowed us to even have the debate we're now having over whether or not to do the Medicaid expansion. That is the biggest, most out of control part of our state budget," Cuccinelli said. "It really wasn't a realistic option about whether or not we expanded Medicaid before we won on the spending argument because they'd take all our money away."
"Now we get to decide it, and it's going to be a centerpiece of the arguments of this race. My opponent (former Democratic Party Chairman Terry McAuliffe) is for the Medicaid expansion. I am against it. Even with all the federal bribery involved and how much of it they say they're willing to pay, we still are going to have to come up with hundreds of millions of dollars in the out years and there's no turning back. Once you're in, they have to give you permission to get out. That's an example of how one of these cases has actually opened up alternatives for us. We couldn't have even had a serious debate over this in the absence of making some headway in the health care case against the federal health care law," he said.
McDonnell, Cuccinelli and Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling were all resoundingly swept into office in 2009, but those results were sandwiched by Obama victories in 2008 and 2012. Cuccinelli said different people show up for different elections, and he vows to continue explaining to Virginia voters why they should choose candidates who will protect their freedoms.
There's been a great deal of soul-searching within the GOP, and plenty of Republicans have suggested a shift to the political center is the best path to political success. Cuccinelli is having none of that.
"I have heard that mantra for each of my four elections," he said. "I was elected in Fairfax County to the state senate three times without changing what I believe or my principles. Then I was elected statewide in the same way with all the same mantra going on. People were saying the same thing in 2009 about me, and I got more votes for attorney general than anyone in the history of the Commonwealth of Virginia."
"The key for someone like me is to offer a constructive vision for how to move Virginia forward, consistent with the principles I believe in, and to explain to people why that's going to make Virginia the best place it can be to live and grow up and run a business in and why we're going to be more competitive that way and we're going to have more freedom here than they will in other states."