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Posted at 3:20 PM ET, 05/ 4/2010

It's okay, Cuccinelli. Starbucks is into modesty, too

By Paige Winfield Cunningham


Doesn't Ken Cuccinelli know that it's never, ever okay to joke when you hold public office?

Alas, no. A jest he made last week snowballed into a frantic blitz by bloggers and pundits accusing the attorney general of changing Virginia's state seal to mesh with his socially conservative views.

Like King David, it all started for Cuccinelli with a glance. A glance at an antique flag in the state Capitol, that is.

The flag bore Virginia's state symbol, the goddess "Virtus" clutching a sword and spear. The modern and most popular version has Virtus wearing a blue tunic that exposes her left breast. But the flag Cuccinelli spotted displayed an older version of the symbol, in which Virtus's entire chest is covered with armor.

Cuccinelli chose that older image for some lapel pins he handed out to his staffers. And too bad for him. "Boobgate!" one blogger cried. After the Virginia blogosphere exploded, Cuccinelli announced he would abandon the pins.

I say Virtus comes out the winner. She escaped being a candidate for "What Not to Wear."

As for you, Mr. Cuccinelli, you were on the chopping block the moment that unfortunate joke popped into your mind. Just own it. Tell Virginians that, yes, this is an effort to banish obscenity from the public square.

After all, you'd only be copying Starbucks. The long tresses of the Greek siren stamped onto our favorite white and green coffee cups weren't always so strategically placed. The original image, taken from a 16th-century Nordic woodcut, showed the siren with bare breasts and a split tail.

So Starbucks gave her two modesty makeovers. In 1987, she got long wavy hair. In 1992, she was cropped to exclude her navel and most of her tails.

Maybe Virtus is envious.

Paige Winfield Cunningham is an investigative reporter and managing editor at Old Dominion Watchdog . The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.

By Paige Winfield Cunningham  | May 4, 2010; 3:20 PM ET
Categories:  HotTopic, Local blog network, Va. Politics  
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Next: Bridging a 138-year-old divide suits L'Enfant's spirit


Sweetie, let's get right on this "investigative reporting" we're supposed to do. The core issue here is not about what not to wear; it's about retro governance that is insulting in the same way that Ashcroft's covering a statue is insulting.

We don't need Big Daddy helping us in the art world and we don't need Big Daddy looking over our shoulder and deciding what's moral or appropriate.

With Coochie it's not about joking. His humor stops at the level of the Birch Society or the Ann Coulter smirk; Ken would drag us back to the Victorian Age and its moralizing.

Try investigating Cooch from another perspective, and see what you find.

If one is female, one might should look carefully at the AG's preoccupation; his persona doesn't work these days, and, humor is not the issue.

Posted by: suzeq | May 4, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

The problem is that Cuccinelli, in many of his actions as AG, appears to be appealing primarily to The Base ( Al Qaida in Arabic ). I think Larry Sabato said it best in comparing Cuccinelli's actions to similar actions taken by former AG Ashcroft during the G W Bush administration. "Ashcroft had one excuse: it hadn’t been done before and he wasn’t prepared for the critical onslaught that he faced," Sabato told the Virginian-Pilot "Cuccinelli has no excuse at all. He knows what’s coming because of what happened to Ashcroft. You can only conclude that he enjoys being the center of pointless controversy."

Posted by: janders2A | May 4, 2010 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Cucinnelli wants to take Virginia back to the 18th century. This man is dangerously delusional.

Posted by: jckdoors | May 5, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

out of touch right wing conservative does tries to play morality police and is shown to be extremely petty. The response? "It was a joke - everybody just over-reacted". Yawn... nobody falls for it except the gullible and the apologists.

Paige - you really need to get out more. Next you're going to earnestly explain to us that those people who resign their big high-level jobs "to spend more time with their family" actually do just that. Sigh. A mind is such a terrible thing to waste. But of course will always get real estate in the WaPo.

Posted by: hohandy1 | May 5, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Seriously, this is all you have to write about? Is this what passes as Journalism in 2010?

Let's review a few points here:
1. Someone who is a serious history buff would be inclined to go towards an older and more obscure symbol. The older more obscure would be more interesting than a more modern version. This is why people buy antiques instead of new things.
2. AG Cuccinelli has the right to express himself as he sees fit. If he were a democrat and wore dresses you'd be fine with it but he's a Republican who wants to wear an older version of a lapel pin.
3. Honestly, if this is all people have to write about they should just stop writing. This should be just to banal for a newspaper organization that used to have credibility and respectability.

Lastly, where did he get these lapel pins, I'd like to get one?

Posted by: brucelaporte | May 6, 2010 7:13 AM | Report abuse

β~} Clever, well-balance, Cunningham made me grin. These days that is a precious contribution. β~}

Posted by: Russell_P_Davis | May 9, 2010 11:50 PM | Report abuse

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