Bill Clinton crony Terry McAuliffe barely pulled a win out of his hat in last year’s Virginia Governor’s race, but so far the new Governor seems to be an expert at partying but not so great at governing.
In last November’s election, Democrat McAuliffe took a sparse 48 percent to Virginia’s Republican State Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s 45 percent. McAuliffe wildly outspent his Republican opponent by $15 million in a state that Obama easily won in 2012.
But after sweeping into office, McAuliffe seems to have imagined that his party boy reputation would help him schmooze the state legislature to his way, after all, like President Obama, he won. Yet, according to The New York Times, reality has come calling with a legislature in deadlock and McAuliffe’s agenda stalled.
“I think he was under the impression you just come down here, slap everybody on the back, have a few cocktail parties and we’d pass things where we have real differences in philosophy,” Kirk Cox, the Virginia House majority leader, said to the Times. “I don’t think that’s worked for him.”
McAuliffe, as the paper wrote, has “had a hard comeuppance” and found that the Delegates in Richmond have not succumbed to his “charm offensive.”
And what a “charm offensive” it was. As soon as he took office, McAuliffe opened up the Governor’s mansion for sixty parties in sixty days, a veritable Bacchanalia of schmooze. The newly minted Governor even stocked the mansion with craft beers, wines, and spirits to celebrate his ascension.
But his first major push was still born when he tried to pass a series of extensive new Colorado-like gun restrictions on the state. Republicans torpedoed McAuliffe’s push. The schmooze was a lose.
That failure is attributable to McAuliffe’s Obama-like assumption that all he has to do us be and he’ll prevail. But Virginia Speaker of the House William J. Howell wasn’t so high on McAuliffe’s being anything but engrossed in the process–which the Governor is not.
“I’ve never seen, Republican or Democrat, anybody come in with so little an agenda and so little attention to the process,” Howell said.