Let me refresh your memory: once upon a time (well, June) Virginia state Senator (and Democrat) Phillip Puckett suddenly resigned, which essentially handed control of the state Senate back to Republicans (the Senate was previously evenly divided, with the Democratic Lt. Governor breaking all ties). Turns out that said state Senator wanted a nice tobacco commission job for himself and a judgeship for his daughter – and lo! Such things then came to pass. Horrible, horrible corruption and attempts to evade Virginia nepotism laws, of course – and I had only this thing to say in its defense*:
Besides, the Democrats do it all the time.
Indeed they do. Indeed, they do. Via Hot Air comes this report that the Democrats, in fact, tried to do it here: “Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s chief of staff left a voice-mail message for a Democrat who was on the verge of quitting the General Assembly in June, saying that the senator’s daughter might get a top state job if he stayed to support the governor’s push to expand Medicaid, according to descriptions from three people who heard the recording.”
Hot Air covered the details of Democratic hypocrisy in this, and how this is going to complicate the McAuliffe administration’s day: basically, McAuliffe’s people originally denied that Chief of Staff Paul Reagan made that call in the first place, right up to the point where the reporter read them a transcript of the call. What I want to drill down on is the way that the Washington Post is trying to cover this. Or, more accurately, cover for this. It’s done pretty subtly, but it’s there.
First off, the Washington Post didn’t put the actual transcript in the article. I’ll admit that they linked to it, but once you read this…
“Hey Senator. This is Paul Reagan again. I just wanted to bounce one idea off you. I know there was a lot of frustration with your daughter, not, you know, getting a judgeship or something. if there’s something that we can do for her, I mean, you know, we have a couple of big agencies here that we still need agency heads. We could potentially, potentially, subject to approval of the governor and so forth, you know, the department of mines, minerals and energy could be available. So we would be very eager to accommodate her, if, if that would be helpful in keeping you in the senate. We, we would basically do anything. We just need you really, we need you for the rest of your term and beyond, but in the immediate future, we need you to help us get this Medicaid deal through and I think we’ve got a way to do it. So anyway, please let’s keep all this confidential. Call me 703-850—–. Thank you sir. Bye.”
…it is pretty much impossible to take the post title (“McAuliffe aide suggested job for senator’s daughter if he remained in his seat”) seriously. That’s not an offer made by an ‘aide.’ When somebody’s chief of staff calls you up the phone and starts saying things like ‘something that we can do’ and ‘we need you’ it is understood that the chief of staff is speaking for his or her principal. That is, as popular culture apparently now puts it, how both chiefs of staff and politicians do. The Washington Post, however, simply uncritically repeated – without annotation- the McAuliffe administration’s claim that Reagan was acting in his private capacity. Which leads to the next submitted without comment:
“The governor has full confidence in Paul Reagan,” Coy said.
In Beltway-speak that translates to Start the Doom Clock on this guy. Not that the Washington Post bothered to explain that, either. And yes, there is a story in the fact that a long-time Virginian Democratic operative** is very possibly not going to survive the week. If they needed space, the Washington Post could have always cut that truly extraneous bit about the McDonnells: because God forbid that the revelation that Terry McAuliffe did in private the very thing that he attacked in public be given without tacit justification. In fact, the fact that Govenror McAuliffe did do that is barely mentioned at all…
Moe Lane (crosspost)
PS: It is unlikely that this is actually illegal, or at least illegal enough to get Terry McAuliffe in real trouble. But it’s gonna be useful, none the less.
*Well, aside from the fact that it worked, didn’t it?
**Former Chief of Staff for Jim Moran, just in case you felt like feeling sorry for the man.