WASHINGTON -- Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who is running for the Republican nomination for governor in that state, thinks that entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare were created by politicians to increase their power, according to a copy of his forthcoming book, The Last Line of Defense: The New Fight for American Liberty, obtained by The Huffington Post.
"Sometimes bad politicians set out to grow government in order to increase their own power and influence," he writes. "The amazing thing is that they often grow government without protest from citizens, and sometimes they even get buy-in from citizens -- at least from the ones getting the goodies."
"One of their favorite ways to increase their power is by creating programs that dispense subsidized government benefits, such as Medicare, Social Security and outright welfare (Medicaid, food stamps, subsidized housing and the like). These programs make people dependent on government. And once people are dependent, they feel they can't afford to have the programs taken away, no matter how inefficient, poorly run, or costly to the rest of society."
While his comments echo Mitt Romney's infamous remarks about 47 percent of Americans being "dependent on government," he goes a step further in suggesting that politicians created every single government benefit to win votes, rather than in the interest of the public good, such as, for example, trying to guarantee a basic standard of living for the elderly in the case of Social Security.
Cuccinelli goes further with his argument, saying that President George W. Bush enacted the Medicare Part D prescription drug plan to buy votes for reelection.
"While there may have been some good intentions involved, this was George W. Bush using taxpayer dollars to buy seniors' votes for his 2004 reelection campaign, pure and simple," he writes. The allegation is similar to another infamous Romney remark, made after the election, when he suggested that Obama bought reelection with "gifts" to Hispanics, blacks and young people.
Cuccinelli says that Republicans "grew the government" with the No Child Left Behind Program for education and the Troubled Asset Relief Program signed by George W. Bush, and that he is "embarrassed" by these votes. He does not specify in the book how he would have addressed the 2008 financial crisis.
The book comes out on Feb. 12.
The remarks in the book are likely to become an issue in Virginia's governor's race, in which Cuccinelli is running even with likely Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe. Lt. Gov Bill Bolling, who ran for reelection as lieutenant governor in 2009 rather than seek the gubernatorial nomination, has withdrawn from the GOP race and has refused to endorse Cuccinelli. He has not ruled out running as an independent.