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R. Emmett Tyrrell
R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr.
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McAuliffe's Mischief


WASHINGTON — I see that my chum Terry McAuliffe will be in Virginia's June 9 Democratic primary competing for his party's gubernatorial nomination. He is up against two party stalwarts, Brian Moran and R. Creigh Deeds. Already his supporters are huffing and puffing about any unfavorable treatment he gets in the press. Just the other day, one of his indignados appeared in the correspondence page of The Washington Post complaining that the newspaper had printed a news story detailing the dubious methods by which my old pal amassed his fortune. The story also noted McAuliffe's propensity for exaggeration.

Frankly, there was nothing particularly surprising or controversial in the story. All the Post did was report well-known highlights of McAuliffe's celebrated career. For years, his friend Hillary Clinton has been chided for her "cattle futures deal," the one that saw her investment of $1,000 metastasize into nearly $100,000 in but 10 months. That is nothing compared with McAuliffe's magic touch.

As the Post reported, he entered into a deal with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers' pension fund in the early 1990s. The fund put in about $40 million. McAuliffe put in just $100. Several years later, he who would be governor of Virginia walked off with a profit of nearly $40 million, which was actually more than the union's profit. Good show, Terry! Then there is his famous investment in the now-defunct Global Crossing, which was run by his friend Gary Winnick. He who would be governor of Virginia invested $100,000 and walked off with a cool $8 million just before his friend's jerry-built conglomeration went belly up.

In its report, the Post chided McAuliffe for his tendency to exaggerate. It pointed to his claim that a construction company controlled by him constructed 1,300 homes, a claim that had to be scaled back to "closer to 800" homes after the newspaper apparently contacted the company. As for McAuliffe's boast that he started five businesses in Virginia, creating jobs for large numbers of Virginians, the Post reported, "It turned out that all five are investment partnerships, with no employees, registered to his home address in McLean," a posh Virginia suburb of Washington.

The only uncharitable reference to McAuliffe that I saw in the Post piece was its reference to him as a "huckster." Yet that is precisely what McAuliffe calls himself in his bizarre memoirs, "What a Party! My Life Among Democrats: Presidents, Candidates, Donors, Activists, Alligators, and Other Wild Animals." The Post merely was quoting him.

It is a surprising quote, but McAuliffe's identification of himself as a huckster is one of the book's rare accurate statements.

The book was the occasion for me to enter into a four-month correspondence with him back in 2007. I guess you would say that we became pen pals, hence my earlier mention of him as a "chum." The book abounds with false claims, false charges and errors, most of which are easily demonstrable. It is a perfect example of his penchant for exaggeration and, dare I say it, mendacity. Our correspondence displays his utter refusal to face fact. Are the Virginia Democrats going to put their money on him?

My favorite exaggeration is, as you will understand, his assertion on Page 58 that in The American Spectator, my editors and writers "cooked up the nonsense they put out against (President Bill) Clinton, alleging that he'd ordered the murder of political opponents." That is a serious charge, and I wrote him as soon as I was aware of it: "I have not been able to find such articles. Could you give me citations?" He failed to respond. Shortly thereafter, when I encountered him in the greenroom at MSNBC, he was evasive about my inquiry. Thus began our correspondence. Again I asked him to supply the citations for the articles wherein we claimed Clinton had ordered murders. He ducked. He weaved. He never came up with the evidence, which is not surprising. The American Spectator never published such charges. Yet he kept responding to my letters with his stubborn deceits — weird!

He never backed down. He never admitted to his calumny, though he could provide no evidence, and if there had been evidence, he easily could have proved that he had not lied to his readers. There are two items here that Virginia Democrats might consider. My friend Terry is brazen. To make up such a charge against a magazine is also reckless; that is the second item. Another example of his recklessness is his repeated correspondence with me. A prudent politician never would have responded. Terry did, and we published the whole correspondence in our "Current Wisdom," a section of the magazine reserved for nonsense from notables.

As with his patrons, the Clintons, McAuliffe gets into trouble for no particularly good reason. Do the Virginia Democrats really want to put up a candidate with a penchant for self-inflicted wounds? I leave it to them on June 9.

R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is the founder and editor-in-chief of The American Spectator and an adjunct scholar at the Hudson Institute. To find out more about R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at



1 Comments | Post Comment
Sir;...The government has no better purpose than to defend and support wealth...It would be nice if that wealth were in common, as in commonwealth, but better in private hands than in no hands...And while it seems as though you demean the wealth of this would be governor, you know this is wrong...In our society wealth is the equivalent of honor...There should be an easy economy between honor and wealth as with air speed and altitude, with people being able to trade one for the other as fits their desire...Before, Mr. McAliffe traded honor for wealth... Now he should be able to trade wealth for honor....And it may be argued that this is not a fair trade since where money is dear, honor is cheap; but it sometimes possible to find people who will not part with their honor for any price, even when they have it within their power to give honors to the rich man that he does not deserve...I am sure, that if one looked at the life of the man in question that we would find a person convinced of the total gullibility of the people; that seeing how we all put our noses on the trail of money, and some times step into every mess to have it, that we are retarded beyond redemption... If he were a spiritual man he could rightly conclude that for most of us, money is our God, and that for that God, and to shine in the glow of filthy lucre, we would burn for ever in hell...Those people are no problem to Mr. McAllife...They would sniff his shorts for the smell of money...Those few, proud, brave, and honorable who will never sell their honor, nor wink at dishonor made public before their eyes are a problem... Those people, and I; We have got to change our economy... We have to quit assuming some honor to wealth seeing that honor alone only means poverty... We have to take the wealth out of dishonor, and the poverty out of honor if we ever expect the wealth we defend to be the common wealth...Thanks...Sweeney
Comment: #1
Posted by: James A, Sweeney
Thu May 14, 2009 5:11 AM
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