For a man seriously asking Commonwealth voters to elect him their next chief executive, this is hardly the mark of a serious candidate. One of the Commonwealth’s major papers, the Richmond Times-Dispatch, agrees, writing in a September editorial, “[McAuliffe’s] troubling lack of mastery and odd flippancy combine to paint a portrait of a deeply unserious candidate.”
What’s worse is McAuliffe’s aversion to taking a position himself on the very issues on which he attacks Cuccinelli. A reporter from The Weekly Standard asked McAuliffe on camera about his support for taxpayer-funded late-term abortions.
“It’s a beautiful day out, huh?” was Terry’s response.
That’s the newly rebooted Candidate Terry talking; the Democrat Attack Dog Terry of old was loud and clear about social issues, freely articulating positions so extreme that he was uninvited from addressing his Catholic Alma mater.
How extreme, exactly? According to Susan B. Anthony President Marjorie Dannenfelser, “Terry McAuliffe supports a platform of abortion on-demand at any time, for any reason, paid for by Virginia taxpayers. That means he supports a platform of sex-selective abortion, late-term abortion, partial-birth abortion, and abortions on teenage girls without parental consent – all paid for by Virginia taxpayers. In sync with the extreme abortion lobby, he is utterly out of step with Virginia taxpayers.”
Rather than disavow his former extremism, a McAuliffe campaign spokesperson declined to affirm or deny the candidates’ position on late-term abortion.
To give credit where it is due, McAuliffe has made one policy proposal relating to recently passed state legislation requiring stricter regulation of abortion clinics. From the Richmond Times-Dispatch:
McAuliffe recently said he would “issue what's called a guidance opinion by mid-March. I can give a guidance opinion to the Board of Health to grandfather in those remaining clinics to keep them open. That's why this election is so important, and I will do that.”
Actually, he can’t. For one thing, the board already voted to apply the new rules to existing clinics. It did so to carry out a new state law, passed by the General Assembly and signed by the governor. Even if the governor could issue a “guidance opinion,” it’s not clear by what procedural mechanism the board could effect a unilateral reversal to carry it out.
But the governor cannot issue a “guidance opinion,” a creature that apparently exists only in McAuliffe’s vivid imagination.
Per usual, don’t confuse Terry or his supporters with the facts. After all, Planned Parenthood has shelled out a cool million in anti-Cuccinelli ads, and independent expenditure reports show NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia has topped six figures in helping him wage the most negative campaign in recent memory.
Keeping that outside cash flowing is obviously more important than openness about your positions or getting the facts right if you’re Terry McAuliffe, who’s spent a career putting political gamesmanship ahead of leadership.
As a candidate named Barack Obama said in 2008, “If you don’t have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from.”