by Kerry Dougherty
No one who knows my political leanings would expect me to watch a debate between Glenn Youngkin and Terry McAuliffe and declare the Democrat the winner.
And I’m not going to do that.
But I was worried before the cameras rolled. I met McAuliffe. I saw him working in a room. The guy Larry Sabato once disdainfully called “a Clintons sackman” can be quite charming.
That Terry McAuliffe wasn’t on stage last night.
In his place was a positively Nixonian man: angry, austere and rude. He cursed – repeatedly calling Youngkin “reckless” – and yelped endlessly about Trump.
Youngkin was ready for Trump’s tedious tropes.
“You made some people in Las Vegas very happy tonight,” Youngkin joked after McAuliffe mentioned Trump’s name several times in a long rant. “There’s an over and under tonight on how many times you’re going to say ‘Donald Trump’ and it was 10. You just walked through it.”
âLet’s have Terry McAuliffe against Glenn Youngkin and let the voters of Virginia decide who they want the next governor to be,â Youngkin suggested.
McAuliffe disabled the spell last night and activated the attack. He did his best to make Youngkin look like a far-right âtin foil hatâ candidate, but it didn’t work. Where McAuliffe was angry and emotional, Youngkin was composed, reasonable and, most importantly, well prepared.
But that was a question about schools where McAuliffe – who rakes money from teachers‘ unions – blurted out something that will no doubt show up in Youngkin’s ads before the end of the week.
In response to a question about schools, Youngkin said, âI think parents should be in charge of their children’s education.
McAuliffe retorted, âI don’t think parents should tell schools what to teach.
Great sound sample.
Flash info, McAuliffe: School boards, like other government entities, are elected by the people. (In most Virginia jurisdictions, anyway.) By definition, they respond to voters. Parents have an interest in what is taught in schools and school boards have a duty to listen to them. Even though teachers’ unions might prefer school boards to function as untouchable star chambers, they are not.
Oh, and as the Youngkin campaign was quick to point out after the debate, McAuliffe should really be familiar with the Virginia 1: 240.1 Code:
âA parent has the fundamental right to make decisions about the upbringing, education and care of their child. “
All over Virginia, from Virginia Beach to Loudoun County, parents are being excluded from school board decisions and they are not happy with them.
These people vote.
As expected with Chuck Todd as moderator, the questions were meant to trip Youngkin.
Case in point: Youngkin was asked if Trump was the Republican presidential candidate in 2024, would he support him. Answer, yes.
Oddly, Todd didn’t ask McAuliffe if he would back Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez if she was the Democrats’ choice.
(It’s a miracle that a Republican ever accepts a debate. One of the panelists, an associate professor at George Mason University, withdrew from the debate panel after it was revealed he had called Republicans racists on social media.)
At the end of the hour-long debate, each candidate was given one minute to conclude.
Youngkin was optimistic, almost Reaganesque, as he summoned Washington, Madison, Jefferson and Mason and asked voters to help him rebuild Virginia together.
Then it was McAuliffe’s turn. He continued with the stories, attacking Youngkin as an aspiring Trump and falsely accused him of wanting to ban abortion and same-sex marriage.
That’s when it hit me. There was a candidate on stage exhibiting the exact type of brutal behavior that ultimately condemned Donald Trump.
And it wasn’t Youngkin.
This column has been republished with permission from Kerry: unemployed and unedited.