Running for governor of Virginia, the Democrat’s main business credential is fast turning into a crony-capitalist embarrassment.
Turn over any green-energy rock, and wiggling underneath will be the usual creepy mix of political favoritism and taxpayer-funded handouts. Add to this the Clintons, Mississippi and a murky visa program, and you’ve got a particularly ripe political embarrassment for Terry McAuliffe.
Everyone remember The Macker? Best Friend of Bill. Chairman of Hillary’s 2008 presidential campaign. Famed money-tree shaker. Former Democratic Party chief. Failed 2009 contender for the Virginia governorship but now back as the party’s nominee for that position in this fall’s election. Oh—and in Mr. McAuliffe’s words—”a Virginia businessman” intent on “creating jobs.”
Or at least that was the image Mr. McAuliffe sought to portray in 2009, when he became chairman of a car company called GreenTech Automotive, with plans to produce golf-cart sized electric vehicles. The former DNC chief is no stranger to moneymaking, having once used a friendly union pension fund to spin a $100 investment in a Florida land deal into $2.45 million. GreenTech, however, was designed to shed the moneyman image and to reposition Mr. McAuliffe as a (clean) job creator the way Mark Warner and Bob McDonnell used their pro-business credentials to win office in Virginia.
To this end, Mr. McAuliffe got out the political Rolodex and went on the money hunt. By October 2009, GreenTech announced it would build a plant in Tunica, Miss., after the state (under Republican then-Gov. Haley Barbour) promised at least $5 million in public loans and grants to aid the company moving in.
GreenTech bragged that in its first phase alone it would invest $1 billion, employ 1,500 and produce 150,000 cars annually. Mr. McAuliffe grandly unveiled his signature MyCar last July at a rock-star event attended by Messrs. Clinton and Barbour. Business creds in hand, he then announced his run for governor—and the problems began.
Here’s what I don’t get: where do you put the pizzas in the wonder-car? (Not to mention that the Dominos’s Pizza model is based on delivery personnel having their own cars and I doubt any franchise could be profitable if it had to have the capital expense of owning and maintaining its own delivery fleet.)