The Corner

Terry McAuliffe, the Redskins, and the Big Lies of Liberalism

Some of you may recall this scornful column I wrote the other week mocking the myth that there’s anything socially libertarian about liberalism. If not, you might recall a couple dozen Corner posts on the same theme. It is easily one of my biggest peeves in politics. But there is something worse than lying about being a libertarian on social issues. It’s lying about being a libertarian on economic issues. 

I haven’t been following the Virginia gubernatorial race too closely, but I managed to catch the last few minutes of the debate last night. Chuck Todd asked the candidates whether they think the Redskins should keep their name. Terry McAuliffe responded: “I don’t think the governor ought to be telling private businesses what they should do about their business.” 

“Even if it’s offensive to people?” Todd interjected.

“I don’t think the governor should be telling private businesses . . .” McAuliffe repeated. Todd interrupted. Asking what his personal opinion was. McAuliffe stuck to his bogus answer: “As governor, I’m not going to tell Dan Snyder or anybody else what they should [do] with their business, and I want to congratulate the Redskins, because I went down to the training practice here in Richmond and it is spectacular.”

Now, in what way is this remotely true? Don’t get me wrong, I think McAuliffe’s answer is basically right. And for all I know he won’t pressure the Redskins to change their name. But is that because he’s the sort of guy who doesn’t tell businesses what they should do? Or is it because he’s the sort of guy who says what audiences want to hear about their beloved football franchise? If the question was about businesses that refuse to comply with Obamacare’s requirement to pay for birth control, would he still be the sort of guy who doesn’t think politicians should be telling businesses what to do? Is he for no environmental regulations? Against all zoning? Is he now against civil-rights laws that tell business who. they must serve, hire, etc.?

I support some of those laws and I’m dead-set against others, but I’m not the issue here and I’m not the guy running for governor promising to never tell “businesses” what to do. The man made millions off his connections to government, exploiting government’s ability to tell businesses what to do. At the heart of his various greentech boondoggles was the idea that he and his partners could get rich(er) off the opportunities created when government tells businesses what to do. Terry McAuliffe coming out as an opponent of politicians telling businesses what to do is like the pope coming out against priests forgiving sins and giving communion. 

Here he is on his own website pandering on the issue of equal pay for women. We can have an argument about the merits of those arguments and the often bogus statistics behind them another time, but let’s assume he’s sincere that he will do everything he can to “close the gap.” Uh, how does he intend to do that without telling businesses what they should do with their businesses? 

Oh, and since he up and made me visit his unctuous website, let me make one last related point to this whole liberals are libertarian thing. These are the first words on the issues page for “women” on his website: “I strongly believe that women should be able to make their own healthcare decisions without interference from Washington or Richmond.”

This is another peeve of mine as Obama constantly plays this deceitful, hypocritical game. “Healthcare decisions” means exactly one thing here: “reproductive rights.” And reproductive rights, as far as I can tell, means birth control and abortion. Now there are serious and legitimate debates about those issues. But they aren’t debates about women’s “healthcare decisions.” They are debates about birth control and, really, abortion. Contrary to myth, the idea that the GOP is out to get rid of birth control is ridiculous. Yes, there are many in the GOP who don’t want to force businesses to pay for it. But you want to know who thinks that’s fine? Terry “leave business alone” McAuliffe. 

He also thinks it’s fine for Obamacare to tell women what health insurance they have to buy. He thinks its fine for the government to tax medical-device makers. Not only are these businesses, but they make devices that help women. There’s a weird sexism inherent to the idea that all of women’s health choices boil down to the baby-making equipment. Do women never need new hips? Don’t they get cancer?  At least some women will have their health-care choices restricted or important decisions taken away from them by Obamacare, but Terry’s okay with that because according to the reigning euphemisms of liberalism women’s health-care decisions just means the baby-making gear. 

An honest Terry McAuliffe would say, “Look, I’m fine with telling businesses what to do, but the Redskins are very popular so I will not put any pressure on them to change their name until it is politically expedient for me to do so. As for women, I am fine with the state regulating women’s health-care choices, but I am in favor of aggressively enforced regulations that make birth control and abortions as readily available as possible.” That’s what he believes and there ain’t nothing libertarian about it. 



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