The issue of the day is…Virginia’s right to work law. It seems that because Terry McAuliffe would not sign a blood oath to defend the state’s long-standing labor law, that is all the GOP apparatus needs to smack him both as an opponent of said law and also as a tool of big labor.
Let’s look at this a bit.
The McAuliffe statement in question comes from this Washington Post piece and reads as follows:
“McAuliffe also declined to say whether he would protect the commonwealth’s status as a right-to-work state or search for ways to make the state more friendly toward organized labor. ‘I’m going to work with management. I’m going to work with labor. I’m going to work with everybody to move Virginia forward,’ McAuliffe said. ‘It’s not ‘either-or.’ We are a right-to-work state that has been here for many years, and it’s not going to change. But the focus has got to be not on trying to divide folks. [It] is, how do we work together to grow the Virginia economy to have the most diverse economy to bring in those 21st-century jobs?'”
I put the key statement in bold, so we can all see it.
McAuliffe, like Tim Kaine — arguably the most labor-friendly governor Virginia has had in a very long time — knows the votes aren’t there to overturn the right to work law. Democratic legislators can propose such a measure all they want. None of them will pass.
So why the big push to beat McAuliffe on right to work?
May as well. In his first gubernatorial run, McAuliffe was much more open about his union support, and even for his desire to see collective bargaining put in place for police and firemen:
That’s traditionally been a no-go in Virginia general election contests. So it is perfectly fair to hit McAuliffe for such statements — particularly if he has since changed his mind.
What of McAuliffe’s statement that the right to work law isn’t going anywhere? Again, he knows the math. It’s not going away, as much as some may wish otherwise.
A more realistic hit on this issue is that McAuliffe has said different things to different audiences, promising one that he will fight to make the state more union friendly, while before others, he hedges and says he just wants everyone to get along.
Which is it? And can he be trusted when he says either thing?
That’s a better hit that fits the larger narrative on McAuliffe’s sliding scale relationship with the truth.