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The newly inaugurated governor of Virginia aims to please both Republicans and Democrats in coming years
Terry McAuliffe was officially inaugurated as Virginia’s 72nd governor Saturday, Jan. 11. In his speech, he outlined a few divisive policies that he would like to modify during his time in office.
According to an article by Jim Nolan on McAuliffe’s website, the new governor desires to make changes that will appeal to both Democrats and Republicans. At least, that was the platform on which he ran during the election season.
“Common ground doesn’t move toward us,” McAuliffe said during his inauguration speech, according to an Associated Press article published on Fox News. “We move toward it.”
His bipartisan agenda certainly sounds good in speech, but his specific goals barely hint at compromise.
First, he wants to expand Medicaid even further, using President Barack Obama’s new health care law as the vehicle for that change. According to Fox News, the expansion would result in coverage for an approximate 400,000 additional Virginians.
Unfortunately, many well-meaning individuals — seeing that thousands more people will receive government assistance — support such policies. But this is a gut reaction, and it pays no mind to the possibility of future problems.
I believe that some government assistance is acceptable, but only with the strictest guidelines. Addressing difficult issues such as government debt and spending will save the country a whole lot more pain in the future.
There has not been a whiff of compromise from the decidedly obstinate Obama administration, especially regarding his cherished health care plan. And obviously his supporters like McAuliffe have no intention of backing down either.
Compromise? I think not. Cooperation is not when one party gets all and the other is sent away empty-handed.
According to Fox News, the governor also spoke out in support of gay and abortion rights.
“McAuliffe specifically referenced some of the ongoing fights in the commonwealth that pertain to (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) rights, promising that his administration would ensure economic, educational and social opportunities ‘for all Virginia’s children,’” John Riley wrote in his article for Metro Weekly, which is a Washington D.C. gay news magazine.
The same article discusses the possibility of granting gay couples legal recognition through the repeal of Virginia’s current ban on those relationships. However, I doubt there will be any movement toward that end, at least initially. McAuliffe has mainly demonstrated support through trying to remove discriminatory policies in public occupations.
In the event that he does attempt to repeal the ban, I would say that it is within his power to do so — despite the fact that I disagree with his position. I do not think that allowing gay marriage would be beneficial to the state, but instead, it would further contribute to this country’s moral decay.
Also, according to a Washington Post article by Laura Vozzella, “McAuliffe has promised to be a ‘brick wall’ against new limits on the procedure (abortions).”
Here, I must entirely part ways with the governor. He is confusing what he considers free choice for women with the sanctity of life of a child. Sure, “sanctity of life” may sound hackneyed and outdated, but it is a concept that has been lost on society. Its significance must be rediscovered if there is to be truly effective change in this country.
If McAuliffe turns his “brick wall” statement into policy, Virginia will have made a wrong turn down a dangerous road. Resistance to McAuliffe’s potential changes will be strong, however.
According to the Fox News article, “Republicans have firm control of the House of Delegates … and skeptics are predicting partisan gridlock.”
Yes, it seems that most Americans are tired of hearing about gridlock, which is why McAuliffe’s talk of bipartisanship is so appealing. But gridlock works both ways. The governor might not be able to enact some of his ideas, but neither would his opponents be able to instate their own.
Virginians can expect McAuliffe to attempt to follow through with his policy changes. Whether or not he will succeed remains to be seen.