Look who is suddenly interested in policy

Picking up on Shaun’s post about Terry McAuliffe working the phones to get support behind the transportation bill…

McAuliffe came out swinging when Ken Cuccinelli announced his opposition to the bill, saying that Cuccinelli was out “…to undermine this mainstream proposal [and] reflects his unique unwillingness to compromise under any circumstances. Once again, Ken Cuccinelli has demonstrated that his ideological agenda is outside even the Republican mainstream.”
Putting aside notions that this bipartisan tax hike bears any resemblance to a body of water, it is interesting to see McAulliffe take such a sudden interest in policy matters.

Historically, policy has not been his strong suit, and McAuliffe admits as much in his book. Back in 1999, McAuliffe was quoted in a New York Times story as saying:

“Mr. McAuliffe says he uses his influence to get people together with Mr. Clinton or to recommend them for presidential appointments, but he never discusses substantive issues with the president or lobbies him. ‘I stay away from issues,’ he said.”

In other words, he was a fixer, not a wonk. But it gets even better. In a 1999 interview out of the Orlando Sentinel, we learn this about the man who is suddenly so keen on working the phones for tax increases:

“‘What could he do for me?’ McAuliffe asked in a recent interview about Clinton, suggesting he has everything he needs. He said he does not lobby the president and knows little about legislation. ‘I don’t know how to get a bill through Congress,’ he said. ‘I couldn’t name you 20 members.’”

Granted, this was a long time ago — long before Terry decided he wanted to run for Governor of Virginia (or was it Florida. Maybe it was New York?).

But we are somewhat pleased to see that Clinton’s old bag man has not lost his schmoozing skills and was able to put them to possibly their first-ever use on a bit of policy.

Regrettably it was for a huge tax hike.