McCauliffe vs the House of Delegates, So far, he has lost.

"In a state that was cautious about expanding Medicaid long before President Obama’s 2010 health-care law offered billions of dollars in new enticements, the Republican-controlled House of Delegates and Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe are locked in a dispute over what government is for. The value judgments embedded in Virginia’s current Medicaid system about who deserves coverage and who doesn’t — pregnant women do, childless adults don’t, for example — would be replaced by a standard set in Washington. That is seen as an unwanted intrusion by some and a welcome reform by others, leaving both camps claiming not to understand where the other is coming from. While shifting demographics helped Democrats sweep all statewide races in November and the state twice voted for Obama, Virginia is experiencing a homegrown version of the divided government that has stymied Washington."  Washpost


I started reading the Washington Post when I was 18 and a college freshman in the Commonwealth.  I have read it ever since.  In all that time what I have seen in the pages of the Post is an unrelenting attack against everything in Virginia that the Post dislikes.  The only things the Post seems to like in Virginia are minority populations and the Democratic Party of Virginia.

I should say that I am not particularly opposed to Medicaid expansion in Virginia.  I have written that several times, but that fact is irrelevant.  The struggle between this governor and the House of Delegates is not about my opinion.

The General Assembly has adjourned without passing a budget.  The governor says he will recall them for a special session to further consider the budget.  McCauliffe tried hard to apply his "sophisticate" "House of Cards"  methods in the adjourned session.  He found that the "unenlightened," as Senator Patsy Ticer used to call the oh, so polite, and well dressed gentlemen and ladies on the GOP sida of the General Assembly, were unmoved by better liquor in the governor's mansion and persistent arm twisting and threats by McCauliffe and company.  In fact, as native Virginians have observed on SST, such tactics probably made victory less likely for McCauliffe and his bully boys.

Now we will have a special session.  Why McCauliffe thinks he will have better success is unclear to me.  He, as governor, has to run the state government.  For that he needs a budget.  The two thirds of the House of Delegates who are Republicans come from secure seats in the vast swath across Virginia inhabited by people who would never vote for anyone like McCauliffe.  These people will not be deprived of their representation and all the nonsense about demographic change will not change that.

I wrote here that McCauliffe would "break his teeth" over Medicaid expansion.  I continue to believe that to be true.  IMO the fiscal provisions of the expansion after the first few years are just an excuse for "country party" resistance.  This is a political and cultural matter.  pl 

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9 Responses to McCauliffe vs the House of Delegates, So far, he has lost.

  1. nick b says:

    Your assessments have proven correct (mine, not so much). I still think, (in light of my predictive record maybe hope is the better word), that this issue will come together in some way that is acceptable to all. I too will be curious to see what this special session will bring.
    It did not occur to me until this post that there was a difference between ‘cutting one’s teeth’ and ‘breaking one’s teeth’. I like the idiom better now.

  2. Tyler says:

    We see the same thing in Arizona, with the presence of a few liberal enclaves “proof” that AZ. Is turning blue. Meanwhile McAmnesty and Flake are tied for least popular senator because they gambled and lost on amnesty getting pushed through.

  3. patrick lang says:

    nick b
    A lot of people in Richmond, Fauquier County. Loudoun County and Winchester, etc. are laughing behind closed doors. pl

  4. nick b says:

    I did not know until recently that 50 or so of the seats in the House of Delegates held by Republicans run unopposed in the general election. I guess for them it makes sense to cater to their base as the primary election is everything. That’s going to be a very tough obstacle for the Governor to overcome. Thoughts?
    I hope McAuliffe has a good DDS.

  5. turcopolier says:

    nick b
    I DID know that. The mystery for me is why the governor thought he could just roll over these people. pl

  6. nick b says:

    Does Virginia have ‘member items’ in their budget? They’re like the state level equivalent of ‘ear marks’.
    Hypothetically, if you were advising Gov. McAulliffe, how do you think he should proceed?

  7. turcopolier says:

    nick b
    I don’t know if that exists but knowing them IMO they will try to outplay him on that. Resignation would be my recommendation. pl

  8. nick b says:

    Resignation? lol! I guess I should have seen that coming.
    OK, hypothetically let’s say I was advising him. I too would’ve have started with the ‘cajole’. It never hurts to try and be nice and make friends, even if it seems unlikely to work. When that turned into a dead end, then ‘threats’ would’ve been my next move too: ‘I tried playing nice, now I’m not’. Clearly that got nowhere too. So my next thought would be ‘let’s make a deal’ (hence my question about member items). Surely there must be something that he could offer enough members to vote his way. It could even be a totally lopsided deal in favor of the Delegates, depending on how badly McAulliffe enjoys his teeth, I mean wants this expansion. But if that didn’t work, or the Gov. really doesn’t have enough to offer, what next? I guess he could give up, but that seems unlikely. He could shut down the government, but I think that might actually please the Republican primary voters and ultimately prove self defeating. He could try and burn them down, just a relentless negative campaign against the HoD,(he’s got experience here). McAulliffe can’t be re-elected, so doesn’t really have to worry about that. You’ve said in the past that you thought he was angling for a higher office or position in an administration. Waging a bloody fight against the Republicans over Medicaid would only increase his stature with Democrats. I’m not sure what other options he might have. That’s my cold blooded hypothetical advice. Now, please, tear it down. I’m sure, as a self admitted misunderstander of Virginia (among other things), that I’m giving the Governor poor advice. What’s the right advice? How can he solve this problem? (Besides the resignation thing). Thanks for your indulgence.
    Quick aside: ‘McAulliffe’ spell corrects to ‘cauliflower’ on my pc.

  9. Eliot says:

    I don’t think this is the spring board he thought it was. He faces four years of determined and continued opposition. If he enacts any legislation it’s with the sufferance of the house.
    “The mystery for me is why the governor thought he could just roll over these people.”
    Hubris, I suppose. He’s succeeded at everything else in his life. Why would Richmond be any different from Washington? Why wouldn’t all the old lessons apply? He doesn’t strike me as much of listener which makes the problem even worse.
    – Eliot

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