To the Washington Post's Laura Vozzella, NARAL Pro-Choice America-endorsed liberal Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe is a politician making good on a promise to "free Virginia's abortion clinics from strict hospital-style building codes," set to take effect this June. It's a move which heartens the abortion industry fearful that regulations authorized by a bipartisan vote in the state legislature in 2011 and fleshed out by the state board of health last year "threaten to put them out of business."
Vozzella didn't get around to the objections of McAuliffe's critics until the ninth paragraph of her Tuesday, May 13 front-pager, "McAuliffe moves to lift clinic rules." What's more, she buried in the 23rd paragraph -- of a 30-paragraph story -- the fact that "McAuliffe, elected with help from abortion rights groups, [has] made no pretense of ignoring the litmus test [for his new appointees to the state Board of Health], stating flatly that his appointees reflected his views." What's more, it wasn't until paragraph 27 that Vozzella noticed that (emphasis mine):
there could be a political downside for McAuliffe, who takes the step as he seeks to get conservative Republicans on board with Medicaid expansion. Abortion opponents characterized McAuliffe’s move as yet another end run around the legislature.
Vozzella then turned one last time to a McAuliffe opponent before allowing the governor's spokesman Brian Coy to close out the article with a reassurance that the governor wasn't intent on power grabs in service of an ideological agenda:
“Whether the governor and the abortion industry like it or not, the law of Virginia requires that abortion centers have health and safety standards,” said Victoria Cobb, president of the Family Foundation of Virginia.
The governor’s office took pains to say that he was working within the law, merely on an expedited basis. Any regulation can be reviewed every four years after its adoption, Coy said.
“The governor is not a king, but he’s doing everything within his power,” Coy said.
Of course for its part, both in ostensibly objective news copy and in its editorial copy, the Washington Post all but promised readers that McAuliffe was "pragmatic" and focused on the art of deal-making with a Republican legislature, not with ardently pushing a left-wing agenda. From the October 2013 editorial endorsing McAuliffe:
IT’S NO secret that many Virginia voters have expressed disappointment with both major party candidates for governor on next month’s ballot. Little wonder: Given the doubts their own parties’ activists have voiced about Terry McAuliffe, the Democrat, and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II, the Republican, how are the rest of us supposed to feel?
Still, pining for different candidates is a waste of time, and staying home on Election Day is irresponsible. Whatever the candidates’ failings, they offer a stark and consequential choice that boils down to this: Will Virginia stick to its long tradition of moderate, pragmatic governance, or will it veer off into an ideological adventure at the behest of one of Richmond’s most polarizing and provocative public figures of the last decade?
We share Virginians’ misgivings about the candidates, but for us the decision is clear: Terry McAuliffe, his flaws notwithstanding, represents continuity in a state that has been well served by comity, compromise and political coexistence between the parties. Mr. Cuccinelli, the most partisan, truculent and doctrinaire attorney general in memory, represents an assault on those same customs. That’s why a number of prominent fellow Republicans, including Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, have refused to support him, in an astonishing display of intra-party dissent.
Mr. McAuliffe, who is nothing if not a deal-maker, holds out the credible promise that Virginia will remain open, tolerant and pragmatic, friendly to business and committed to job growth. That is critical in the face of sequestration and other austerity measures in a state whose economy is heavily dependent on federal spending.
Nonetheless, as a candidate for governor Mr. McAuliffe has taken sensible stands on key issues, and he has had the political savvy to stay mostly on message. Critically, he embraced the transportation funding bill enacted by a bipartisan majority of the General Assembly this year, a measure that will ensure that the state’s roads and rails keep pace with a 21st-century economy.
Sounds familiar? It's precisely the same sort of thing the Post promised readers with their endorsement of Mark Herring for attorney general. Yet now the Post cheers Herring's adoption of a left-wing agenda and his determination to stretch his powers (or fail to exercise his obligations of office as the case may be) in service of said agenda.
As the McAuliffe administration chugs along, expect the Washington Post's absurdly naive insistence that the Democrat was a pragmatic moderate to prove untrue. Also expect the Post to make its share of excuses for the partisan ideological crusades and arguable abuses of power which the Clinton acolyte pursues in service of the same, particularly in front of the 2016 presidential election.