Republican Ken Cuccinelli Gets Straight F’s on Secular Coalition for America’s Virginia Governor’s Race Scorecard

This November, Virginians will be electing a new governor, and the Secular Coalition for America has just released a scorecard on the candidates.

The candidates include Terry McAuliffe (Democrat), Ken Cuccinelli (Republican), and Robert Sarvis (Libertarian).

(Go ahead: Try predicting this one. I promise you’ll be 100% accurate.)

The full scorecard goes more in depth, but the final rankings are right here:

Straight F’s for Cuccinelli.

Ken Cuccinelli (via Politico)

And that’s *before* you even take into account that his running mate (albeit one he didn’t choose himself) is E.W. Jackson, a guy who thinks evolution is a lie and sin leads to birth defects.

McAuliffe is Catholic, in case you were wondering, but he appears to be a firm advocate for church/state separation. Think Progress notes of him: “You wouldn’t know from any of his current campaign materials that this strong faith has any bearing whatsoever on what he believes in politically.”

Edwina Rogers, executive director of the Secular Coalition for America and, notably, a Republican, states:

“From education, to science in the public sphere, Cuccinelli’s policy views exemplify everything that stands in the way of a religiously neutral government — he even attempts to insert his religious views into Virginians’ private bedrooms… The separation of religion and government affects all of us in a positive way — including protecting the religious from having another’s brand of religion imposed on them. Cuccinelli is a threat to that most basic American value.

According to Real Clear Politics, McAuliffe leads Cuccinelli in the polling 46%-38%.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Bitter Lizard

    Has anyone come up with a definition for “Cuccinelli” yet, Santorum-style? Like, for example, “gay male double anal penetration on burrito night”?

    Ernie and Bert hit the Taco Bell with a friend before engaging in a night of sweaty, hot cuccinelli.

    • Nomad

      Am I the only one that thinks that this is really not a good approach? I mean, I’m just not sure that “you’re as icky as gay sex” is a good message for gay positive people to be using.

      The Santorum smear was a brilliant example of guerilla Internet tactics, but I can’t help but feel that it had an awful lot of collateral damage and shouldn’t really become a general pattern.

      • Bitter Lizard

        For the record, Dan Savage’s intent was obviously not to define gay sex as “icky”. His whole article is about being as in-your-face with alternative sexualities as possible in order to normalize them. He really did a great job of turning Santorum into a punchline for years to come–a massive, and massively hilarous, success. What do you think was the collateral damage?

        • Amor DeCosmos

          ummm… maybe every single person on the planet with the last name Santorum who isn’t an asshole?

          • Bitter Lizard

            You could make this argument for every slang term that resembles any person’s name–I doubt this was his point.

        • Nomad

          The collateral damage was that the sum total of the impact of that campaign was based on “eww gay sex is icky”. Seriously, I mean come on, frothy mix of lube and feces? The point of it was the idea that a graphic description of gay sex was *supposed* to be repulsive. It was a more sophisticated way of, essentially, using “gay” as an insult.

          This isn’t the place to discuss this probably, and I really do largely support Dan Savage, but in terms of the Santorum Google poisoning I always felt that he didn’t think that one through and that it was cheap immediate enjoyment that was counter productive in the long term. He reinforced the idea that gay sex is icky and that to be associated with it was bad. As progressive society has been trying to establish that using “gay” as an insult is a very uncool thing to do, a major advocate of gay rights just told the world that yeah, it’s hilarious to call someone gay.

          The primitive part of me laughs at it, but I can’t get over the feeling that it was never a particularly good idea.

          • CanadianNihilist

            There is nothing inherently gay about Santorum. That frothy lube fecal mix can and does appear after heterosexual anal sex as well.

            • Bitter Lizard

              Yeah, 44 percent of straight men and 36 percent of straight women have done it, Google just reminded me.

          • Bitter Lizard

            I think this is as good a place as any to express your point of view, even if I don’t share it. My first point would be, I think, that you really presented no evidence for why this was harmful other than your own gut feeling that it was. Just saying it was “making gay an insult” again is an oversimplification at best, especially because that statement just strikes me as an easy way to load the semantic dice in your favor to infer that you’re being the “pro-gay” one when criticizing people who are mostly either gay or gay rights supporters.

            A few weeks ago, Hemant posted a woefully misspelled article where a Christian wanted Christians to post graphic descriptions of gay sex (“the penus goes in the anis”) with the reasoning that if more people really “thought about” it they’d be more anti-gay. You seem to share this reasoning to an extent. I don’t know if you’ve read much of Dan Savage’s advice column, “Savage Love”, but Dan Savage writes very explicitly about the details of not just gay sex, but also BDSM and fetishes and pretty much every quirk of sexuality you can think of. Santorum, the mix of lube of feces named for presidential hopeful Rick Santorum, is a real thing that happens in anal sex and Savage just gave us a useful word for it. I find some of what Dan writes about gross, but since I’m an adult I understand that this is a personal preference rather than a moral judgment.

            And I also think it is useful to observe the simple fact that many anti-gay activists are actually repressed gay people acting out of self-hatred and envy. It gets proven true over and over again, and it helps to show how petty their motivations really are.

            • Nomad

              Okay, first off I have to protest at that cheap shot of trying to call my commitment to gay rights into question because I disagreed with a popular public advocate for the same on one point. That smacks of tribalism, and was uncalled for.

              I don’t really feel that this discussion is going anywhere, but I might as well try once more. You accused me of playing semantic games, and that kind of baffles me. I’m talking about intent. I’m glad to hear that Savage is working on normalizing concepts associated with homosexuality, that’s a good thing, but the thing is, I don’t see how using concepts associated with homosexuality as a slur advances that goal.

              • Bitter Lizard

                First off, I wasn’t calling your commitment to gay rights into question, I was pointing out how you were positioning yourself as the gay rights supporter against people like Dan Savage in your particular dispute. This implies that the other camp is somehow less purely pro-gay than you, and that may not have been your intent, because it’s ridiculous on its face, but that’s based on how you decided to word your argument. It sounded like you were the one calling certain people’s commitment into question, which is what I was calling you out on. You might think this is an unfair characterization of your argument, but simplifying their tactic as “eww gay sex is icky” (you, verbatim) without nuance is obviously going to come across that way. Which means you’re basically attacking me for doing what you were doing, and only you were doing.

                The reason this argument is going nowhere is this: I originally asked in good faith what you perceived the collateral damage to be, and after your first response, I pointed out that my biggest issue with your argument is that you provided no evidence to back up your assertions other than your own gut feelings. Instead of offering further substantiation (or even trying to), you just repeated your assertions. I would call a theist out for doing this, so I hope you understand that it would be hypocritical on my part not to call you out as well.

                I really was initially curious about your objection and ready to be convinced, but you have essentially just been repeating your assertions instead of backing them up, and of course I’m not going to find that convincing. Do you really think I should?

                • Nomad

                  I’m really baffled here. I thought it was fairly accepted in the rights advocacy world that using a term associated with a minority as an insult is a bad thing and is certainly not a way to normalize a concept. Instead you’re asking for proof that that’s the case. I don’t really know what I can say.

                  Is the subtle difference that instead of a specific term being used as an insult, his name was redefined as the new term? Is it still bad to call someone a bitch because it’s female negative, but if I redefine his or her name to mean female dog, is it okay? Or is it the fact that the concept wasn’t yet being used as an insult, unlike, say, “butteffer” (you get my meaning, I’m not sure what kind of profanity filters are in effect here)? Would things have been different if the campaign had instead been to associate his name with the meaning of “one who engages in anal sex” since that’s being used as an insult already?

                • Bitter Lizard

                  Firstly, I think it’s important to specify the nature of our original, particular disagreement so we’re talking to each other instead of at each other. In my very first reply to you, I asked you to explain your opinion that Savage’s redefinition of “Santorum” caused “collateral damage”. You evidently don’t think it’s fair that you should have to support your assertion, and of course you don’t have to, but asking for someone to support assertions is not an unusual thing to do in a disagreement nor, in my opinion, is it particularly uncalled for. Generally, it is reasonable for someone to want evidence for a proposition before accepting it. That’s my position, and one you haven’t convinced me to reject.

                  Honestly, when I read your initial objection, I was thinking, “Maybe he has a point.” But I didn’t initially think collateral damage was caused by the prank, and wanted to hear about it if any was. Now, I think it’s pretty fair to say that if you had any evidence, you would have presented it by now. If I’m wrong about that, I’ve misread you and apologize in advance.

                  So the central part of our disagreement comes from different perspectives on the nature of accepting unsubstantiated claims, but there are peripheral points to what you’re saying that deserve to be addressed. Now, it’s pretty clear that you are framing the redefinition of “Santorum” as equal to using “gay” or “buttfucker” as an insult. I disagree. When somebody simply calls someone “gay” as an intended synonym for some kind of “bad”, the intended inference is that being gay is bad. When gay rights activists redefined “Santorum” to mean “the frothy mix of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex”, the intended inference was clearly not that being gay is bad. Could there hypothetically be someone who interpreted it that way? Sure, but if all satire was measured by how the stupidest person in the world would interpret it, all satire would be pretty inexcusable. I really haven’t seen anyone find the campaign objectionable other than Rick Santorum, his anti-gay allies and you.

                  The answers to your questions, just so it can’t be said I didn’t answer them, are: not really, generally speaking and it would depend on why someone would do such a thing (that was two answers to what was essentially two questions phrased as one), not really, and yes–when things are different they’re technically different because that’s what “different” means.

  • Holytape

    Isn’t there a grade lower than F? I mean ‘F’ is only number 70 in the ACSII table. He should be getting straight ¬’s.

  • rhodent

    For the record, E.W. Jackson is not Cuccinelli’s running mate. In Virginia the governor and lieutenant governor are elected separately.

    • abb3w

      Also note:
      1) The LtG breaks ties in the state senate, which is currently 50%R, 50%D, and not up for re-election until late 2015.
      2) Jackson makes Cuccinelli seem by comparison like a voice of moderation and sanity

  • the moother

    When people vote for morons it just proves democracy is very faulty indeed.

    • Matt D

      Nah, it just proves that “morons” can vote, not that Democracy is faulty for allowing it.

      • the moother

        Morons voting for morons… That’s democracy in a nutshell… Nothing good about it.

  • WoodwindsRock

    Personally, I’m much more shocked to see two candidates with straight A’s.

  • The Captain

    Well, the Secular Coalition for America fell for it again, Robert Sarvis score is highly misleading.

    Like most libertarians he’s playing a coy game of appearing to be against discrimination BUT only in the small context of a government jobs or services only. He’s perfectly fine with (and would support) any non-government entity practicing religious, sexual, or racial discrimination. A quick search found he even did an interview with a gay advocacy website where he gave the old libertarian argument that if someone is being discriminated against then the market will fix it (just like it did in the US south right????). He even answered a question about a McDonalds worker being harassed and called faggot at work as just needing to go public with it and something something invisible hand magic and all will be OK (contrary to all historical evidence!).

    So while the Secular Coalition for America gives him an A for religious freedoms, he would in fact allow any Virginian to be fired from their job because they are not christian, or because they are gay.

    • Anon

      Well, to be fair there is some truth (SOME) to the libertarian argument, in an increasingly liberal society any kind of workplace discrimination would be really bad PR and most companies can’t afford to get boycotted so they would take steps to avoid that. But yeah, you’ll always have the asshole who wont change it’s policy even if it means a huge popularity hit.

      • Holytape

        Depends on who is discriminated against. Just look a chic-fil-a.

      • The Captain

        Yea, but that’s based on the assumption of an increasingly liberal society that responds quickly. It sidesteps the huge problem of the opposite economic equation that exists, what if it’s profitable to be discriminatory.

        • smrnda

          In some areas it may be more profitable to be discriminatory. Just because (statistically) more American are more tolerant doesn’t mean that in some areas, tolerance is not seen as a virtue, and entrenched, privileged majorities are powerful and callous enough to inflict lots of damage on members of marginalized groups and where the market may punish being more tolerant.

  • flyb

    As a Virginian, I will not be voting for Cuccismelly. I still think Northern Virginia should be a separate state though.

    • sailor1031

      I can understand your desire for a separate state of Norn Bajinya BUT you would be leaving the rest of us completely at the mercy of wingnuts like Jackson and Cuccinelli. Please don’t go – we need you!!

  • Cattleya1

    I certainly hope the good people of Virginia put Cooch out to pasture. It would certainly be better than having to remove the windows from their bedrooms.

    • flyb

      I’ll certainly do my part.

      (To put him out to pasture.)

  • A3Kr0n

    If the Secular Coalition for America gave him all Fs, that means he thinks he’s doing an excellent job.

  • yorkyfan

    I urge all to contact the Secular Coalition for America and ask them to lower their grade for Robert Sarvis, the Libertarian candidate. He supports a “universal system of school vouchers and/or tax credits”. Since Virginia’s private are mostly religious, public tax dollars would likely support religious education. He supports the complete independence of home-schoolers; they are not accountable for education progress. He opposes government intervention in workplace discrimination against homosexuals, atheists, people of color, and people of different faiths! His argument is that market forces will fix the discrimination problems. Go out to Sarvis’ website and learn what he stands for. Then go to and complain!! He does not deserve an A like McAuliffe.