Of course, McAuliffe’s life story is not merely one of asking wealthy people for donations to political figures. It is also one of extensive business dealings with those wealthy people and those political figures. As he summarized it to the Washington Post in 2009, “I’ve done business with people I’ve met in politics, who I went to law school with, who I grew up with . . . Who do you do business with? People you meet in life.”
Just imagine how many business partners he could meet as governor! He might even be able to hire some people at those businesses. Last time he ran, McAuliffe boasted that he launched five businesses in Virginia, and some of his rivals had the audacity to complain that all five were investment partnerships, with no employees, registered to his home address in McLean.
Never mind the governorship; Terry McAuliffe is a man who knows the pressure of the presidency like few others: he’s gone golfing with Bill Clinton countless times. As he tells it, “Sometimes the Secret Service would help us out by parking all of their SUVs right next to the 18th, a par three, and shining their bright lights out towards the green so we would have a target to shoot toward.”
That other candidate, the state attorney general, might claim to be the better choice because of his familiarity with the law. Au contraire.
Has Ken Cuccinelli ever gone before a justice of the peace in Delaware at 3 a.m. to help a bar-owner buddy’s bouncer beat a disorderly-conduct charge? Has he ever dodged the issue of his lack of a law license in that state by bragging to the justice of the peace that he’s licensed to practice before the United States Supreme Court? (McAuliffe never argued before the Supreme Court, nor did he practice any type of criminal law at the time.) Has his rival ever won a case in the middle of the night after having had “more than a few” beers? Unlikely.
But this is no stuffy lawyer. This man knows the ways of Virginia’s sportsmen, having been boar hunting in Hungary with Prince Andrew, and wild-bird hunting with King Juan Carlos in Spain.
You may hear complaints that McAuliffe has no real connections to the state other than living in the Washington suburbs for 21 years, and four years ago, one of his Democratic-primary rivals inconveniently asserted, “Before the last six months, he’s had little — if any — involvement not only in Virginia politics but in Virginia governance.” Pish-posh!
We know McAuliffe is of Virginia, because as he tells us, “I’m not really of Washington.” And that’s precisely the philosophy he’s taken with him as the former finance chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, as former finance chairman for the Dick Gephardt for President 1988 campaign, as former national finance chairman and then national co-chairman of the Clinton-Gore campaign, and as former chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
Oh, and his work on the board of Federal City National Bank in Washington, D.C., in the 1980s.
He’s not really of Washington. As he puts it, he merely “spent more time with Al Gore than with my own wife in 1993” as chairman of the DNC’s Business Leadership Forum.
You see, my fellow Virginians, if there’s anything we need in the governor’s mansion starting in January 2014, it is self-awareness, someone who looks past the glitz and the glamour and the sizzle. A man who looks beyond the surface, and knows himself, and is honest about his strengths and weaknesses.
McAuliffe summarizes this philosophy well, declaring early in his autobiography, “I have always been oblivious to celebrity,” and it’s clear he kept that attitude throughout his career as he mentions and details his encounters with Paul Simon, Meat Loaf, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Robin Williams, John McEnroe, Donald Trump, Jack Nicholson, Quincy Jones, Will Smith, Sofia Loren, Slash from Guns N’ Roses, Lenny Kravitz, Stevie Wonder, LeAnn Rimes, Darius Rucker of Hootie and the Blowfish, the Black-Eyed Peas, Sheryl Crow, Lance Armstrong, Jon Bon Jovi, and Oscar de la Renta, and mentions his stay at Julio Iglesias’s “spectacular oceanfront estate.”
Virginians . . . look upon the life’s work of Terry McAuliffe, and ask yourself, “how could anyone be a better, more qualified, more experienced, more serious or thoughtful choice than this man?”
— Jim Geraghty writes the Campaign Spot at NRO.