- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 19, 2021

“If you like what Joe Biden is doing to America, you’ll love what Terry McAuliffe will do to Virginia.”

With just two weeks until the off-off-year gubernatorial election in Virginia on Nov. 2, that’s the message Republican nominee Glenn Youngkin should be hammering home in every stump speech and interview and on every TV and radio commercial throughout the state in the final fortnight of the campaign.

Turnabout, after all, is fair play: Mr. McAuliffe, the once and wannabe future Virginia governor, continues to try to yoke Mr. Youngkin to former President Donald Trump—who lost Virginia to Mr. Biden by ten percentage points in 2020—at every turn. Yet Mr. McAuliffe admitted on a videoconference call with supporters early this month that Mr. Biden, a fellow Democrat, is “unpopular today, unfortunately, here in Virginia,” and he’s trying to distance himself from a president with 38% job approval.

Mr. Biden’s abysmal job-approval rating in the Quinnipiac Poll is richly deserved—from his disastrous military pullout from Afghanistan and open-border policies that have drawn a human tsunami of illegal immigration to the southern border to his anti-energy policies that have sent gas prices soaring by well over $1 a gallon since he took office and a proposed jaw-dropping invasion of privacy in the form of a requirement that banks notify the IRS of every transaction of more than $600.

All that has happened on Mr. Biden’s watch, not Mr. Trump’s, but if you didn’t know better, you’d think Mr. McAuliffe was running against the former president rather than against Mr. Youngkin. Mr. McAuliffe’s campaign has been running commercials that make little or no mention of his stands on the issues but rather are devoted almost entirely to attempting to create some nebulous guilt-by-association between Mr. Youngkin and Mr. Trump.

Mr. Youngkin, an impressive first-time candidate, should turn the tables on Mr. McAuliffe and wrap Mr. Biden’s failing presidency and catastrophic policies around his neck like the Ancient Mariner’s infamous albatross.

While it’s not surprising that Mr. McAuliffe is keeping Mr. Biden — the party’s nominal leader — at arm’s length, he has brought in as campaign surrogates failed Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacy Abrams and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, both of whom stumped for him on Sunday. Former President Barack Obama will do likewise on Oct. 23.

That they are all ultraliberals suggests a lack of enthusiasm for the McAuliffe campaign among the dominant “progressive” wing of the party. But that shouldn’t mislead anyone into thinking that Mr. McAuliffe is one of those nearly extinct moderate Democrats. He isn’t.

That was made abundantly clear when he committed (likely unintended) candor in a Sept. 28 candidates’ debate on parental rights vis-à-vis their children’s public school education. “I’m not going to let parents come into schools and actually take books out and make their own decisions,” said Mr. McAuliffe (who sent his own five children to private schools), adding: “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”

Mr. Youngkin has rightly made those quotes central to his attack ads.

That Mr. McAuliffe’s campaign surrogates are all Black suggests his campaign might also be experiencing an enthusiasm deficit among the most loyal segment of the Democratic base. That could represent lingering resentment following the June party primary, in which he defeated three black Democrats who had also sought the party’s gubernatorial nod.

Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., said on Oct. 15 on MSNBC that Mr. Trump is “a unifier and a motivator for Virginia Democrats.” The apparent lack of enthusiasm for Mr. McAuliffe, however, suggests otherwise. And Mr. Biden’s abysmal job performance isn’t helping.

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