Glenn Reynolds sagely notes that if “the voters of Virginia thought that electing Terry McAuliffe [as governor] was going to bring them less sleaze, then they deserve what’s coming.” What I find most interesting about the story to which he links, though, is that Washington Post columnist Robert McCartney doesn’t present Democrat political hack McAuliffe’s political sleaze as Democrat political hack McAuliffe’s political sleaze.
Rather, McCartney tells his readers that this is just “politics today”:
If you ever doubted that money outweighs principles in contemporary politics, then the case of Richmond campaign consultant Boyd Marcus should permanently erase such ambiguity in your mind.
If you’re interested in Virginia politics or the partisan battle read the article for the details. For my purposes, the key detail is the one that shows McCartney’s thesis to be (at best) overstated:
… 16 days before announcing he was backing McAuliffe, Marcus had offered to work for Cuccinelli if the Republican [gubernatorial candidate] agreed to pay him “something in the range of $75,000 -$100,000.”
At least by the measure under consideration, money did not outweigh principle when it came to Marcus’s overtures to Ken Cuccinelli. The Republican declined to win support in that way; Democrat McAuliffe, it appears, did not.
To the extent that money does trump principle — inasmuch as McAuliffe won the election — it might have something to do with who doesn’t get credit for character and who does have their transgressions excused as just the way things are.