Terry McAuliffe, that old friend of Bill and Hill who now occupies the governor’s mansion in Virginia, has a problem with the state constitution. The problem appears to be that it provides for a General Assembly — Virginia’s version of the Florida Legislature — that McAuliffe finds uncooperative.
McAuliffe, a Democrat, wants to expand Medicaid under Obamacare to about 400,000 poor Virginians. The Republican-majority General Assembly does not. Inspired by President Obama’s vow to get things accomplished with his pen and his phone, McAuliffe has vowed to get around his constitutional opposition one way or the other.
He said he’s ordered Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. William A. Hazel Jr. to present a plan no later than Sept. 1 on “how we move forward with health care in the face of the demagoguery, the lies, the fear and the cowardice that have gripped this debate for far too long.”
McAuliffe said he believes there are number of ways he can legally expand Medicaid without the General Assembly’s approval. But leaders of the GOP-controlled House responded Friday that McAuliffe does not have that power and they are prepared to fight.
This is not the first time in recent memory Virginia’s constitutional officers have decided they can do things not provided for by law. Over the course of recent months, attorney general Mark Herring did not simply refuse to defend the state’s ban on same-sex marriages, he filed a brief on behalf of the couples suing Virginia.
Now comes McAuliffe who mistakes his election with a coronation.
Governing is hard because the Founders — many of whom hailed from Virginia — wanted it to be that way. And while foot-stomping and name-calling have their place in politics, there’s more to persuasion than that. It seems King Terrance I will have to find out the hard way.