APPARENTLY VIRGINIANS PICKED A WINNER
Terry McAuliffe Shows How It’s Done
As the Republicans attack Obama for doing nothing/for doing something over everything, Terry McAuliffe, newly elected Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, apparently has some magic formula (or is he practicing voodoo?) for expanding Virginia’s business opportunities and luring jobs to the state. After all, McAuliffe, while a well known Democratic Party operative and a personal friend of the Clintons, has to work with a hostile legislature (both houses of the state’s legislature are Republican dominated) but apparently he has decided to abandon the last administration’s focus on limiting abortions, demeaning gays, defining sexual intercourse, and thwarting health care, for a more practical agenda.
A Washington Post article a few days ago (http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/virginia-politics/gov-terry-mcauliffes-connections-can-pay-off-for-business-in-virginia/2014/07/12/653f9770-fd84-11e3-8176-f2c941cf35f1_story.html) describes what McAuliffe has been up to in the business/jobs arena since his election. Yes, the article is all about his political connections – many and deep – and his massive Rolodex filled with Hollywood stars and heads of state that he calls up at the flick of a smart phone to get things done for Virginians. Whatever the genesis, I find it impressive.
I was not all that enthusiastic about McAuliffe’s election holding the view that he would be a political hack with not much depth but loads of style and rhetoric. So far, looks like I was wrong. For someone who has never held political office in his life, the man certainly seems to know what he’s doing and, more importantly, knows how to get things done. His major non-accomplishment so far occurred when budget funds he included for the expansion of Obamacare (Virginia’s last governor, Robert McDonnell, refused to set up a state exchange in a slap at Obama and the Commonwealth’s poor folks) put the state's entire budget at risk with the sudden resignation of a Democratic State legislator to accept a different job. (The circumstances are under investigation.) Rather than force a state government shutdown over the issue, McAuliffe wisely let it go to fight another day.
The article points out that in his six months as Governor, McAuliffe has been able to get China to lift a seven year old ban on the importation of Virginia’s poultry, lured a Chinese paper company to build a plant in his state, met with the foreign minister of Qatar to discuss investments in Virginia’s infrastructure, called actress Meg Ryan and convinced her to film her directorial debut in Richmond, got Carnival Cruise lines to restore cruise ship service to Norfolk, and met with Bo Derek to discuss shooting a new TV series in Virginia.
All right. Not exactly luring the headquarters of the United Nations to Arlington, but, hey, the man certainly has used his “rolodex” to the benefit of Virginians. Quite a switch from the last Administration’s focus on restricting access to abortions, suing their own state university over climate change research, blathering on and on about how same sex marriage would destroy Virginia, restricting voting rights, bashing unions and denying health care to the Commonwealth's poor folks.
As noted, I was not enthusiastic about McAuliffe’s run for the Governorship. I thought, at best, he would be mediocre, prone to flash and short on results. But could I be very wrong in my predictions? I hope so. Virginians deserve so much better than what Ken Cuccinnelli was offering. Looks like they’ve lucked out. And maybe other Republican Governors around the country steeped in ideological purity could use McAuliffe as a role model to understand what real and practical governance looks like.