Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe is trying to do what President Obama has repeatedly been criticized for failing to do: McAuliffe is socializing like crazy with Republicans.
... when Mr. McAuliffe was sworn in as governor of Virginia this year, he threw open the doors of the Executive Mansion, restocking the bar with craft beer and premium liquor and inviting lawmakers of both parties to 5 p.m. gatherings that were called the governor's happy hour.So how's that working out for McAuliffe?
But Mr. McAuliffe has had a hard comeuppance, as his gift for persuasion has met a conservative Republican majority in the House of Delegates unmoved by the charm offensive. The regular 60-day legislative session ended in stalemate two weeks ago without a state budget. As a special session begins on Monday with both sides raising the specter of a government shutdown, Republicans charge that the governor, serving in his first elected office, is all schmooze and little substance.But haven't we been told repeatedly that Washington isn't inherently gridlocked? Haven't we been told that the gridlock is all President Obama's fault, because he keeps to himself and doesn't schmooze?
"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," said Kirk Cox, the Virginia House majority leader. "I don't think that’s worked for him."
In some ways, Richmond has become more like Washington; Republicans and Democrats -- who once found a way to reach compromises -- are polarized, and gridlock is a looming threat.
Um, what's the specific problem in Virginia?
The sticking point forcing the special session is Mr. McAuliffe's desire to expand Medicaid to up to 400,000 of Virginia's poor and disabled under the Affordable Care Act. The proposal was a centerpiece of his campaign last year and his top priority in office....You mean they're sticking to their anti-Obamacare guns even after being plied with top-shelf hooch? That's not how all the smart insiders told me politics was supposed to work! Surely they couldn't be wrong, could they?
His opponents are just as dug in, noting that in the three weeks since Republicans defeated expansion in a test vote in the House, 67 to 32, there have been no defections on their side. "The governor really miscalculated," Mr. Cox said.