More blus­ter from the bag man

Terry McAuliffe boasts of his ve­toes, but his days in Rich­mond are num­bered

The Washington Times Daily - - EDITORIAL -

If Hil­lary Clin­ton had won, Gov. Terry McAuliffe of Vir­ginia might now be in Pres­i­dent Clin­ton’s Cab­i­net. But there is no Pres­i­dent Clin­ton, and there is no Sec­re­tary McAuliffe, and the na­tion’s gain is Vir­ginia’s loss. His days in Rich­mond are num­bered, but the Old Do­min­ion must en­dure 10 more months of blus­ter from Bill and Hil­lary’s long­time bag man.

But re­lief is in sight. Mr. McAuliffe is in­el­i­gi­ble to run for re-elec­tion this year be­cause the state con­sti­tu­tion bars gov­er­nors serv­ing more than one term con­sec­u­tively. His le­gacy (gov­er­nors leave them, too) is likely to be the du­bi­ous dis­tinc­tion of break­ing the Vir­ginia record for most gu­ber­na­to­rial ve­toes. The veto is a wise pre­rog­a­tive of any gover­nor, but Mr. McAuliffe has used his pen as a blun­der­buss, shoot­ing at wor­thy tar­gets that most Vir­gini­ans ap­pear to like. “I’ve ve­toed 111,” he boasted Thurs­day. “If it dis­crim­i­nates, if it hurts our en­vi­ron­ment, if it al­lows more guns on the street, I’m go­ing to veto it.”

The gover­nor likes the sound of his blus­ter mis­char­ac­ter­iz­ing leg­is­la­tion he hasn’t liked.

“Want­ing to sell ma­chine guns out of stores, or leg­is­la­tion like [North Carolina’s “bath­room bill”], or say­ing you need a photo ID to get an ab­sen­tee bal­lot, what a joke. Looney-tune leg­is­la­tion should have no place here.” But why would he veto a tax credit for ail­ing coal-mine oper­a­tors, who pro­vide jobs for thou­sands of Vir­gini­ans, or leg­is­la­tion that would have en­abled home-schooled chil­dren to com­pete in games with stu­dents from pub­lic schools? Whose looney tune is he singing?

“He is less con­cerned about the wel­fare of Vir­ginia and its cit­i­zens than he is about his own po­lit­i­cal ca­reer,” Corey Ste­wart, the Prince Wil­liam County su­per­vi­sor who is one of three Repub­li­can gu­ber­na­to­rial can­di­dates, tells The Washington Post.

Mr. McAuliffe has also blocked leg­isla­tive cuts in sup­port of Planned Par­ent­hood and its thriv­ing busi­ness in the body parts of ba­bies aborted in Planned Par­ent­hood clin­ics, or com­mon-sense at­tempts to curb voter fraud, and he re­fuses to take “no” for an an­swer about his fis­cally risky pro­posal to ex­pand Med­i­caid in Vir­ginia un­der Oba­macare. His ten­ure in Rich­mond is an ac­cu­rate re­flec­tion of the in­creas­ingly bit­ter par­ti­san ten­sion in na­tional pol­i­tics.

Mr. McAuliffe is a bit of an ac­ci­dent of Vir­ginia’s frac­tured pol­i­tics. Robert Sarvis, a Repub­li­can-turned Lib­er­tar­ian, was a third-party can­di­date for gover­nor in 2013 who won 145,762 votes when Mr. McAuliffe de­feated Ken Cuc­cinelli, the Repub­li­can can­di­date, by 55,220 votes. This year the third-party spoiler may be a Demo­crat. Tom Per­riello, a for­mer Demo­cratic con­gress­man, has threat­ened what Democrats thought would be a coronation of Ralph Northam, the lieu­tenant gover­nor, and Mr. Per­riello, a fierce lib­eral, has forced Mr. Northam to veer sharply to the left.

The Lib­er­tar­i­ans do not ex­pect to field a can­di­date this year. This sharply im­proves Repub­li­can prospects for re­plac­ing blus­ter and looney tunes with bon­homie in Rich­mond.

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