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October 28, 2013 11:48 AM Cooch the Libertarian

By Ed Kilgore

In an odd sort of forlorn-hope column, the Washington Examiner’s Tim Carney looks unhappily at the ten-percent support Libertarian Robert Sarvis in pulling in at least one poll of the Virginia gubernatorial contest and tries to make the case Ken Cuccinelli should be getting most of those votes. After all, libertarians hate Obamacare, and no one hates Obamacare more than Cooch, right? Moreover, he doesn’t like corporate subsidies like some GOP pols. And he’s been endorsed by the Pauls, father and son.

But ah, there are those nettlesome “social issues.” And even there, Carney gives it the old college try, suggesting that if you think a fetus is a “person” then banning abortion is the libertarian thing to do, and that despite his snarling public image, Cooch was a moderating force behind the scenes during the Virginia GOP’s botched effort to require ultrasounds before abortions.

But many libertarians don’t care:

[T}his is where the identity politics comes in. Taxes, regulations, government spending, gun control and corporate welfare are mere policy matters. Abortion and gay marriage touch on personal matters.
Cuccinelli’s large family, homeschooling wife and religious devotion are also personal matters.
Politics often has less to do with policy and more to do with whether voters feel a candidate is “one of us.” Many libertarians have difficulty feeling that Cuccinelli is “one of them” — despite his voting record.

Cuccinelli, of course, has some other problems, like the government-shutdown-fed feeling of swing voters in Virginia that Cooch isn’t “one of them” despite his alleged opposition to the tactics of his conservative buddies across the Potomac. But as his defeat nears, more and more GOPers will beg Sarvis voters to save his bacon by arguing that he’s much more systematically anti-government than you’d think.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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