( – promoted by lowkell)
Terry McAuliffe made his second trip to Blacksburg in less than a week, again visiting the campus of Virginia Tech, but this time with his close friend, President Bill Clinton. Students and area Democrats packed the Owens Hall venue. After welcoming remarks and “the ask” for votes from HoD 7th district candidate Michael Abraham (D) and HOD 12th District candidate James Harder (D), the main attractions hit the stage to enthusiastic cheering of Ter-ry, Ter-ry, Ter-ry!
As in last Thursday’s final debate, Terry McAuliffe called Ken Cuccinelli a dangerous ideologue. Virginia’s need for jobs, transportation, and education should not be partisan, McAuliffe said.
He appealed for investing in all levels of education, especially at the Pre-K level so that children aren’t sorted into winners and losers almost from birth; and, he expressed the need for continued financial underpinning of Virginia’s community colleges, the engines for upgrading our work force. As on his other stump speeches, McAuliffe emphasized his support for Medicaid expansion as a revenue stream; women rather than the state being responsible for their own health care decisions; LGBT rights and voter rights; and job growth as the primary need right now for the Commonwealth’s workers. In order to accomplish these visions, McAuliffe said that he was willing to work across the aisle in contrast to Cuccinelli who has said that Republicans cannot afford a more moderate Virginia Republican Party.
Bill Clinton, the Democratic president and the celebrity who most in the audience had come to see, did not disappoint. In contrast to the candidate who came to campaign to ‘Get Out The Vote,’ the President was quieter, serving almost as a guide, laying out for the audience why there should be no contest in who to vote for between the two would-be leaders of the Commonwealth. Continuing his focus on leadership, Mr. Clinton harkened back to the beginnings of the United States. In the state where there was such a historical contribution to the founding of the nation, Clinton’s remarks that the Constitution was written by real people who cared about the “art of the deal” were especially appropriate. He asked the audience to remember the difficulty in creating a new nation that was successful only because leaders who were very different and had different needs and wants came together to overcome extreme obstacles and solve problems because their goals made it too important to fail. We cannot accept failure for the people of Virginia today.
As he segued into the state’s political race, the former President stated that he had worked his entire adult life to create a country and world of shared opportunities and shared responsibilities. He argued that where our differences are interesting, our common humanity matters more. Since we are interdependent as residents of the world, the country, and the state, the President’s question was, “How do we deal with it?” We can either focus on the opportunities or the problems.
The Democrats are a party of creative cooperation, which allows them to see the opportunities to make things work while the Republicans are a party of constant conflict making them problem opportunists who play up the negatives and always think they are right. As creative cooperators, the Democrats believe that everyone should live by one set of rules, and it is obvious in how they deal with voting rights, women’s rights, health care coverage, etc. Republicans believe it is OK if there is not fairness for all as long as things are good for them.
The President went on to assert that we do not need a governor who holds such beliefs. We need a governor who will get up every day thinking about the economic possibilities of the state, support education at all levels, and get the show on the road. That’s who you will get in Terry McAuliffe, he stated, as he recounted their long friendship and his knowledge of how much the candidate cares about making things better for all Virginians, not just the few.
Almost in a counselor mode, Mr. Clinton reminded the audience that people are capable of becoming something wonderful, but we are prone to arrogance, selfishness, ignorance, and waste. And he maintained that people too often focus on the differences between us instead of what makes us the same. As a warning, he reiterated the kind of divisive leader he thought Ken Cuccinelli would be: When you are absolutely convinced you are right and live in a siege mentality, you scare people to the point where smoke is coming out of their ears instead of light bulbs going off in their heads. Unfortunately, they show up to vote based on unfounded fears, and that’s why those listening here today must come out to vote for the Democratic ticket, the problem solvers.
In a sad and unmistakably wistful voice, the President told the young people he looked out upon, “I’ve got more yesterdays than tomorrows. I wish I were your age. I’d like to hang around and see what happens.” But, a politician to the end, he told them to send a message that they want a different future and they want to live it together, and to start by voting for Democrats next Tuesday to begin that journey. With that, the crowd surged as both men shook hands, took pictures with fans, and signed posters.