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GOLDMAN: McAuliffe’s smart budget play big help to Democrats

Paul Goldman is a local lawyer who helped run Doug Wilder's historic campaign for governor of Virginia.

Paul Goldman is a local lawyer who helped run Doug Wilder's historic campaign for governor of Virginia.

RICHMOND, Va. – Yesterday, the Governor announced a new budget plan and a new Medicaid plan. What should we, the people, make of it?

First, don’t sweat the details, they don’t matter really.

Forget all the “yada, yada, yada,” coming from partisans, editorial writers and the usual suspects on the great “issue” debate between Democrats and Republicans on the state budget and all the key matters such as Medicaid, education, mental health, the AAA rating, you name it.

Wrong!

It is all about politics 24/7.

If you love the game, then this is like the NCAA, call it Capitol Square Madness. If you don’t, then it will be boring. I get that.

For those who love the game, it will be necessary to forget the “pass a clean budget now to avoid a government shutdown ” stuff from the Republicans. Forget the “save the poor, Republicans are heartless SOBS” from the Democrats. Most of all, forget the “we don’t want Washington gridlock in Virginia” from the editorial writers, along with the alleged top political writers.

Double wrong! The details will only make it confusing.

Instead, all you need to know is this:

The three-ring circus – between His Excellency the Governor, the Democratically-controlled State Senate and the GOP-dominated House of Delegates – is all about politics.

There will be no shutdown of state government – meaning there will be a state budget by June 30 – unless the Governor wants to see his approval rating drop below that of Congress, assuming such a thing is possible.

The Republicans will find a way to make sure the 40,000 needy Virginians at the heart of the Medicaid debate are not left in limbo unless the House of GOP wants to become a bigger joke than Sarah Palin, assuming that is possible.

Democrats in the State Senate have to do what the Governor wants them to do.

Bottom line

The budget/Medicaid/yada, yada, yada is all about THE CHESS GAME RIGHT NOW.

As I wrote weeks ago from the Washington Post, the GOP “Just Say No” strategy can only work if Democrats play like the Denver Broncos.

Yesterday, the Democrats finally benched Peyton Manning and suited up Terry McAuliffe. He dusted off a new game plan with a new budget and a new Medicaid strategy.

Do I understand all the details? No. But that’s good because otherwise I might get confused.

All I, YOU AND WE NEED TO KNOW IS THIS:

McAuliffe understood the chess game and needed to seize the initiative.

Truth is, there is a very easy and elegant solution to the Medicaid battle at the heart of everything, again laid-out in the Washington Post article written by Norm Leahy and myself. It gives everyone a win.

Both sides know they will have to eventually come to an understanding, but they need to play the Chess Game first, to show folks they played hard.

Until yesterday, the GOP had better moves. But now Governor McAuliffe got into the game and made some moves Democrats needed for him to make.

The Governor is trying to solve a real problem facing real people. This helps Democrats greatly.

These 400,000 Virginians can’t be legislated out of existence. McAuliffe won the election. Medicaid is his highest priority.

Right now, most Virginians find it mostly politics as usual. They are a lot smarter than most of the pundits.

Paul Goldman is in no way affiliated with WTVR. His comments are his own, and do not reflect the views of WTVR or any related entity. Neither WTVR nor any of its employees or agents participated in any way with the preparation of Mr. Goldman’s comments.

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