Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, about seven months before he hopes to be elected governor, has suddenly become a little shy. The far-right candidate has traditionally been rather bold in sharing his views, but as the Washington Post editorial page discovered, the Republican nevertheless decided to give his campaign website “a little airbrushing.”
As recently as November, Mr. Cuccinelli’s campaign Web site boasted of his uncompromising positions on illegal immigration, including opposing tuition subsidies for undocumented students (even if they grew up in Virginia), firing state contractors who employ illegal immigrants and stepping up deportations and employment verification.
But clicking Tuesday on a link to the campaign site’s immigration policy page brought up the following: “This is somewhat embarrassing, isn’t it? It seems we can’t find what you’re looking for.”
Somewhat embarrassing, indeed.
Of course, the candidate’s record can’t be scrubbed quite that easily. Cuccinelli is on record supporting an end to birthright citizenship, defending Arizona’s scandalous “papers please” law, denying unemployment benefits to those who don’t speak English, and allowing law enforcement to investigate and punish crowded boardinghouses, which he called “one of the most common side effects of illegal immigration.” Before it was deleted, Cuccinelli bragged he “voted consistently against in-state tuition for illegal aliens.”
A friend to the immigrant community he isn’t.
But perhaps the more important takeaway here is that Cuccinelli felt the need to scrub his page in the first place. It wasn’t long ago that Republicans seeking key offices would boast about their extremist, anti-immigrant stances. Now, in Virginia, traditionally a “red” state, the Republican gubernatorial candidate no longer considers this wise.
It’s a reminder that the politics of immigration are changing quickly, so much so that some in the GOP – Cuccinelli, Jeb Bush, et al – are struggling to keep up.