Virginia’s New Governor and the Democrats’ Faustian Bargain

Having grown up in the Commonwealth of Virginia at a time when the choice was between the segregationist theocrat and the de facto Republican (aka ‘the Democrat’), I am well accustomed to choosing the lesser of two evils. More recently, the formulation has been: vote for the ‘business-friendly’ (and worker unfriendly) Democrat and we’ll ‘give you’ the social issues–pro-choice, doesn’t hate gay people, and isn’t a closet racist. In other words, let us reward our corporate sponsors (sorry, I meant campaign contributors) and we will support you on stuff that doesn’t cost them any money.

Well, Virginia’s shiny new governor, Terry MacAuliffe went and done broke this tacit agreement (boldface mine):

When Terry McAuliffe was declared the governor-elect of Virginia on Nov. 5, abortion rights advocates breathed a deep sigh of relief. Vehement anti-choice GOP candidate Ken Cuccinelli had been vanquished, and reproductive rights organizations like Planned Parenthood Federation of America heralded McAuliffe’s win as a “victory for women.”

Hazel, an orthopedic surgeon, is no friend to women’s rights. He was criticized for his handling of the adoption of a law that mandates an ultrasound be performed on a pregnant person seeking an abortion, regardless of medical necessity, and forces the patient to pay for it. As the Richmond Times-Dispatch has reported, he oversaw the health and human resources department at a time when draconian new abortion clinic regulations were promulgated. Hazel also spoke at Liberty University in opposition to the Affordable Care Act, an ultra-conservative university whose own code of conduct includes a $500 fine and 30 hours of disciplinary community service for students who have an abortion.

Yet, McAuliffe ran in a purple state as a pro-choice Democrat, one who openly championed his endorsements by reproductive rights organizations like NARAL Pro-Choice America and Planned Parenthood, an organization that spent $1 million on ads criticizing Cuccinelli alone.

Supposedly, MacAuliffe is doing this to gain Republican support for some Medicare expansion legislation, but guess what? Republicans are already saying ‘thanks for appointing our guy, but we’re still not budging.’ This, no doubt, is utterly shocking to the governor, but, to most rank-and-file Democrats, par for the course.

It’s worth noting that MacAuliffe ran hard–very hard–as a pro-choice candidate. Now he stabs the women who swept him to victory in the back.

It’s also worth noting that I can think of very few economically liberal politicians who behave like this–when you get someone who isn’t a total shit on economic issues, that politician is usually pretty good on women’s issues as well. Just saying.

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