Friday, March 13, 2009

Where was Terry McAuliffe in 2008?

On February 12, 2008, Virginia held its presidential primary election. In the Democratic Primary the results could not have been clearer: Barack Obama won the Virginia Democratic primary by an astonishing 63.66% to 35.46% for Hillary Clinton.

By mid-May 2008, the math was clear: Hillary Clinton would not be the Democratic candidate for president. But Clinton did not concede; she fought on, as was her right, until June 3, 2008. On that day Barack Obama secured enough delegates and super delegates to ensure that he would receive the Democratic nomination for the presidency. On that day what the Democratic Party needed was a gesture of unity.

So where was Terry McAuliffe on June 3, 2008, nearly four months after Virginia Democrats voted nearly two to one for Barack Obama?

Ask Jon Stewart . . .

Some questions for McAuliffe supporters . . .

1. Do you believe that Terry McAuliffe behaved in a responsible fashion on June 3, 2008?

2. Do you believe that Terry McAuliffe was in- or out-of-step with Virginia Democrats on June 3, 2008?

3. Do you believe that Terry McAuliffe's behavior on June 3, 2008 hurt the Democratic Party or helped it?

For the record I will support Terry McAuliffe if he wins my party's nomination for the Virginia governor's race on June 9th, 2009, but I do not believe that he is our party's best choice.


aznew said...

Are you kidding me? I don't support McAuliffe, but I saw a guy havin g a great time, his tongue planted firmly in cheek. If anything, he spent some time on the Daily Show poking fun at no one but himself.

In or out of step with Virginia Democrats? Is it your contention that only supporters of Barack Obama in the primary have the right to run for statewide office on the Democratic ticket?

Eileen Levandoski said...

What strikes me as disturbing is that while T-Mac is dreaming about Cabinet appointments, Deeds and Moran are working hard in Virginia and focusing on taking the next step forward in becoming its next Governor.

aznew said...

I agree with that, Eileen, although I don't find it dusturbing so much as a fair question to raise in evaluating McAuliffe's candidacy. Do you think that's what this post was getting at? I didn't see it that way -- I thought it was a slam on McAuliffe's continued support for Hillary, even it was somewhat self-deprecating, and that is more what my comment was addressing.

The Richmond Democrat said...

Your question is a silly one Aznew; it borders on setting up a straw man argument, and is more than a little insulting. "Is it your contention that only supporters of Barack Obama in the primary have the right to run for statewide office on the Democratic ticket?" Are you kidding me? You are reaching, and I think you know that.

My point was this and only this: on June 3rd, 2008 Barack Obama locked up the Democratic nomination, yet Terry McAuliffe chose to introduce Hillary Clinton as the next President of the United States. It's hard for me to imagine a more divisive and irresponsible thing to do at such an important moment in our nation's history.

Now, months after Obama's victory, we take it for granted that Obama would win. It was by no means so certain back in June of last year. Mr. McAuliffe's actions, along with those of Harold Ickes and others I could name, were irresponsible, to say the very least. I am quite certain that there are those who will accuse me of holding a grudge, but it has been less than a year since Mr. McAuliffe indulged in his objectionable behavior and I'm not yet prepared to let it go just yet.

Some people took the bait offered by McAuliffe and Ickes and drank the Kool-Aid. Terry McAuliffe helped give birth to the PUMA movement when he acted the way he did on June 3rd, 2008. McAuliffe himself abandoned the people he misled into not supporting Obama when he realized it would interfere with is own ambitions.

I have nothing but respect for people who supported Hillary Clinton through the primary, but then helped unify the Democratic Party in the days immediately after June 3rd, 2008, but Terry McAuliffe was several months late in doing the right thing. He was too late, in my view.

So let me make myself clear, if I have not already done so: I am not sold on Terry McAuliffe. What you describe as "self deprecation," I see as immaturity. I think he lacks gravitas. I don't think he approaches the prospect of leading Virginia and the Democratic Party of Virginia with sufficient commitment. I do not take him seriously . . . yet: he has not earned that from me. I'm not sure he will.

I do not place Terry McAuliffe in the same company as Mark Warner, Tim Kaine and Jim Webb. He has yet to show me that he belongs in the same company as those leaders of our party.

I cannot be bullied into respecting Terry McAuliffe, though I might still be persuaded. I am still waiting to for someone to convince me. I can promise you that nothing in your comments to this post have enhanced Mr. McAuliffe's chances of persuding me; quite the opposite.

aznew said...

I am not trying to convince you or anyone else to support of respect McAuliffe. In fact, I have been a long-time supporter of Creigh Deeds and I happen to agree with much of what you say about McAuliffe vis-a-vis the Gubernatorial election. I think you make some great arguments against his candidacy, gravitas (I hate that word, but it is useful) and the nature of his connection to Virginia.

I think it is fair to challenge him as unqualified to be governor, and perhaps even an opportunist.

But it was pretty clear from the Daily Show clip that McAuliffe knew it was over at that point and was having some fun at his own expense. I suppose one can quibble with whether that is appropriate or not under the circumstances -- perhaps the occassion called for some more sobering reflection -- but your characterization of the incident bespeaks to the anti-McAuliffe bias you bring to it, IMHO. Indeed, nowhere does this come out more than in the connection you draw between McAuliffe and the PUMAs. I mean, do you have some more direct evidence of that than a silly clip from The Daily Show clearly meant as entertainment, not serious political analysis. The PUMAs were a nutty, tiny, albeit vocal minority who, in my opinion, were generally motivated by something other than being pro-Hillary. So, when you tie McAuliffe to them, in my book, it's pretty bad.

And that's not meant as a knock on you, RD -- I'm not judging you, only trying to understand.

For me, when it comes to Democrats, I always try to give them the benefit of the doubt until they prove otherwise. In fact, I do that with Republicans also, the difference being that as a group they tend to prove otherwise about 15 seconds after they open their mouths.

As for my "silly" question, and whether I knew I was reaching, I wasn't. I think that was a fair implication of your post, although you have explained it a bit differently in your comment. In my defense, I'll only paraphrase P.T. Barnum and assure you that no one ever went broke under-estimating my intelligence. :)