The Cuccinelli crusade continues

THE CUCCINELLI CRUSADE CONTINUES…. Virginia’s official state seal has a proud history. The image features the Roman goddess Virtus, sword and spear in her hands, standing triumphantly with her foot on the chest of a defeated Tyranny. It was adopted in 1776, and is the centerpiece of Virginia’s state flag.

As far as I can tell, the symbol has never been the subject of controversy. That is, until Virginia’s comically right-wing attorney general decided it’s offensive. (via John Cole)

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli apparently isn’t fond of wardrobe malfunctions, even when Virginia’s state seal is involved.

The seal depicts the Roman goddess Virtus, or virtue, wearing a blue tunic draped over one shoulder, her left breast exposed. But on the new lapel pins Cuccinelli recently handed out to his staff, Virtus’ bosom is covered by an armored breastplate.

When the new design came up at a staff meeting, workers in attendance said Cuccinelli joked that it converts a risque image into a PG one.

The joke might be on him, said University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato.

“When you ask to be ridiculed, it usually happens. And it will happen here, nationally,” he said. “This is classical art, for goodness’ sake.”

Cuccinelli’s spokesperson said the pins depicting the version preferred by the state AG were paid for by his political action committee, not taxpayers. That’s nice, I suppose, but it’s not really the point of what makes this interesting.

Let’s put it this way: if Virginia’s attorney general is offended by his own state’s flag and seal, because a drawn breast is too much for him to bear, perhaps he’s in the wrong job. In the wrong century. In the wrong country.

Indeed, I shudder to think what Cuccinelli would think of Delacroix’s Liberty Leading the Peopleboth breasts are visible.

If this seems strangely familiar, I should note that then-U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft (R) did something similar a few months after 9/11, when he covered up bare-breasted statues in the main hall at the Department of Justice with blue drapes.

It’s also worth remembering that Cuccinelli is solidifying his reputation as one of the nation’s more embarrassing far-right buffoons. Virginia’s AG has, after all, been palling around with radicals, recently considered a literacy test for some Virginians wishing to vote, questioned President Obama’s citizenship, rescinded legal protections for gays at Virginia universities, and argued publicly that it doesn’t cost the public any money when he and his office work on a frivolous lawsuit.

And he’s only been in office since January.