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What’s The Matter With Virginia?

I’ve been trying to get a line on the craziness in Virginia, but I just can’t. Now we have its Democratic governor and Democratic attorney general admitting to 1980s blackface incidents, and its (black) Democratic lieutenant governor, Justin Fairfax, accused of a 2004 sexual assault.  Here’s a link to the detailed statement by the accuser, Vanessa Tyson. [1]

It is at this point only an accusation — one that Fairfax disputes. He concedes that they had sex at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, but says it was consensual. Tyson says that the Washington Post investigated her story, and found no corroboration. This, of course, does not mean that she’s lying, but Tyson has about as much evidence against Fairfax as Christine Blasey Ford had against Brett Kavanaugh, who was excoriated by progressives who said that women should always be believed.

CNN analyst Chris Cillizza says that the Virginia Democratic Party “is collapsing on itself.” [2] Excerpt:

Nationally, Democrats have sought to adopt a zero-tolerance policy toward allegations of sexual assault and race amid the Trump presidency and the #MeToo movement. To have not one, not two, but three statewide elected officials in a swing state battling a variety of these charges — and with none currently signaling they will step aside — is a political nightmare for the party writ large.

There’s a tendency in politics — especially with Trump in the White House — to insist that nothing like this has ever happened before. In most cases, that’s a significant exaggeration.
The situation in Virginia is not one of those cases.

As a conservative, I can’t pretend that I’m not enjoying the Democrats’ distress. They’re the ones who created this zero tolerance ethic, and the believe-women-at-all-costs standard; it’s delightful to watch them suffer from it. Washington Post columnist Karen Tumulty writes: [3]

Fairfax’s accuser, like Kavanaugh’s, is an academic who lives in California [4]. Tyson is a tenured professor at Scripps College in Claremont, Calif., and is currently on a year-long fellowship at Stanford University, where she is involved in research on sexual violence against women and children. Like Ford, she cannot produce anyone who witnessed what she says she went through.

But, as with Ford, I keep coming back to the question: Why would she make this up?

change_me

I get that. I don’t see what Tyson has to gain here at all. But that does not make her allegation true, and if we conduct politics by the standard that a mere accusation of sexual misconduct is enough to sideline a career, who would take that risk? After all, a man might be completely innocent, but if we Believe The Women™ without any corroborating facts, we give extraordinary power to accusers. Nevertheless, this is the standard that a lot of progressives took when the accused was Brett Kavanaugh, so forgive me if I take a certain satisfaction at their distress today.

I do warn my fellow Kavanaugh-backing conservatives, though, not to be hypocrites here. Justin Fairfax may stand for things we oppose, but if we believed that Brett Kavanaugh should not be taken down on the basis of an uncorroborated accusation, we owe the same standard to Justin Fairfax.

I do wonder how sustainable all of this is in the long run. Look at Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who continues to be roasted over her past claim that she is descended from Native Americans (which was untrue). She claimed on her Texas state bar application that she was an American Indian: [5]

She claims now that she was always told by her family that they had Indian heritage. I can believe that. My mom passed the same story on to me, saying it was in her family. We didn’t find out that it was untrue until she took a DNA test a couple of years ago. She was honestly surprised. However, my mom is a shade darker than Elizabeth Warren, and never would have claimed that she is an American Indian. But then again, my mom was a school bus driver, and unlike Elizabeth Warren, was not part of a professional culture in which you could advance if you were a member of a racial minority.

Still, she apologized for it, and by now, that should be the end of it — unless as a presidential candidate, Warren gets wound up about identity politics. Which she probably won’t be able to avoid, given how consumed the Left is with identity politics. Read Democrat Stacey Abrams’s defense of identity politics [6] in response to Francis Fukuyama’s article claiming that identity politics are divisive and hurt the Left’s ability to achieve more progressive economic policies.

Anyway, this is where identity politics have gotten us. I’m on record here saying that blackface, even in the 1980s, is inexcusable — but I don’t believe that Ralph Northam should resign over it, provided that he has no record of mistreating black people as a physician and a politician. As far as I know, nobody has accused him of that. We have got to come up with a standard in which we give politicians — Democrats and Republicans both — grace when it comes to stupid and offensive things they said or did as younger adults.

Though sexual assault is an incomparably more serious matter than blackface, we also have to embrace a standard that protects a politician’s career from destruction on the basis of an unsupported accusation alone — even if it allows that politician to get away with a crime. What is the alternative?

What is the alternative in either case? Are politicians going to be vulnerable to having their careers destroyed over youthful mistakes, even egregious ones? This introduces radical instability into the system. And for what? If Ralph Northam and Mark Herring have been good public servants, should their racist stupidity as college students mean that none of that matters?

It is remarkable that the Democratic Party of Virginia is falling apart over these issues. But again: that’s what progressive identity politics have done to the party that has embraced them.

UPDATE: Reader Gracie adds some context:

Virginian here. Non-Virginians may not know this, but Ralph Northam’s campaign last year spent an awful lot of time trying to paint his opponent, Ed Gillespie, as a big bad racist, most notably in ads like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wVckRJvuBQY [7]

Non-Virginians may also be wondering if blackface is a thing we just do all the time? The answer is no. I’ve lived here my whole life and never heard of it done before this week, let alone seen it.

I’ve been waiting for a week to hear Fellow Virginian Matt’s take – where are you, brother? Is it possible Republican strategists finally started taking your advice??

Here’s the ad Gracie is talking about. Note that it was not paid for by Northam’s campaign directly, but by a PAC aligned with the Democrats. It’s hard to watch this as a conservative and not savor the comeuppance Northam is now getting:

UPDATE.2: Rich Lowry is right. [8]Donald Trump is one lucky SOB, that’s for sure. Excerpt:

Regardless, Virginia is an indication of an inflamed and unforgiving Democratic mood that will define the party’s battle for the 2020 presidential nomination.

Democrats are about to embark on the first woke primary, a gantlet of political correctness that will routinely wring abject apologies out of candidates and find fault in even the most sure-footed. The passage of time will be no defense. Nor the best of intentions. Nor anything else.

Any lapses will be interpreted through the most hostile lens, made all the more brutal by the competition of a large field of candidates vying for the approval of a radicalized base. The Democrat nomination battle might as well be fought on the campus of Oberlin College and officiated by the director of the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.

So, let’s see: if Trump wins re-election in 2020, unless Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg lives to be 94 and is still kicking on the bench, he will get to fill her SCOTUS seat. Justice Stephen Breyer would have to hold on till 86 to prevent Trump from filling his seat. Of course anything could happen to any justice, but actuarially speaking, a re-elected Trump could finish out his second term with seven of the nine SCOTUS justices as conservatives — all because the Democrats tore each other up trying to be Woker Than Thou, frightening the American people with their identity politics crackpottery.

O Fortuna!

UPDATE.3: This is getting more lit by the minute! From ABC News: [9]

Virginia Democratic Congressman Bobby Scott was made aware of allegations of sexual assault against now-Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax over a year ago by the alleged victim herself, ABC News has learned.

Scott learned of the allegations directly from Dr. Vanessa Tyson, who on Wednesday released a statement detailing the alleged 2004 assault, which took place at the Democratic National Convention in Boston.

Fairfax vehemently denies the assault claim.

In a statement given to ABC News on Wednesday, Scott wrote, “Allegations of sexual assault need to be taken seriously. I have known Professor Tyson for approximately a decade and she is a friend. She deserves the opportunity to have her story heard.”

Scott’s aides confirm that Tyson reached out to him last year about all this.

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100 Comments To "What’s The Matter With Virginia?"

#1 Comment By Ted On February 7, 2019 @ 8:58 am

Last night Tucker Carlson wondered if in Virginia blackface was the new business casual.

#2 Comment By MH – Guardian of 10^-21 Percent of the Galaxy On February 7, 2019 @ 9:29 am

@Gromaticus, I’ll see your Dan Aykroyd and raise you [10].

#3 Comment By Connecticut Farmer On February 7, 2019 @ 9:41 am

@Siarlys Jenkins

“Sic semper tyranni.”

A big “Amen!” And ya beat me to the punch.

The only question is: Who would serve as a worthy third-party candidate? I’ve always had a liking for former Navy Sec. (and VA senator) Jim Webb but have reached the point where I would even support his namesake of “MacArthur Park” and “Wichita Lineman” fame before I would support any of the clownish aspirants (including the current jester) who parade across the TV screen every night.

#4 Comment By John R. On February 7, 2019 @ 9:43 am

From a native son of Virginia… Pure speculation concerning Northam and Herring: Were they the product of private schools? If so, they were not a product of the inter-racial culture of public school / society and thus were immune to the obvious hypocrisy of racial discrimination.

As a child in an impoverished rural community I witnessed migrant laborers (all black) picking produce – and was unable to comprehend why this was so. As a teenager I delivered food and supplies to the migrant labor camps and saw first hand the inhuman living conditions, this was the beginning of my liberal years (in hindsight, I became a SJW). To ‘assist’ a poor single mother of four children living in a two room shack (with no electricity or running water), my father and I took the ducks and geese we ‘harvested’ when hunting to her to clean. We paid her the exorbitant amount of $1.50 per bird – and she kept the down for clothing, blankets, etc. I was in high school in 1970 and experienced desegregation first hand. My new classmates (overnight the school went from 0 to 70% black) were years behind me in education (separate and very unequal). Their future had been handicapped… Yet they taught me much, their humanity was apparent to all who had eyes to see. Only one ‘new’ friend went to college, the son of a doctor.

If Northam and Herring were not exposed to this environment, it is easy to understand how a cloistered upbringing resulted in the insensitivity of their blackface episodes. The ‘N’ word was commonly used as a pejorative out of ignorance (i.e. a ‘lack of exposure’ to the lives of blacks) – and was casually accepted. Blackface was simply a reinforced stereotype, accepted out of ignorance. Coon hunting was enjoyed as a comical farce and the subject of jokes due to the obvious connotations.

While I benefited from the ‘real world’ education of my youth, I am still saddened my the inhumanity of the black experience witnessed during my childhood – and the bigotry from otherwise ‘good people’. I left the home of my upbringing, never to return except for short visits. In part to escape the 19th Century racial moral code, but also to seek a greater purpose and true meaning in life. It took 25 years for my restless soul to find rest in Thee.

Question for Matt in VA: I thought you lived in Midlothian, an upscale suburb south of Richmond. Which is obviously not in Appalachia or the Piedmont.

#5 Comment By Another James On February 7, 2019 @ 9:49 am

There will have to be a Girardian scapegoat. My money is on Fairfax.

He’ll be sacrificed, and the problem will go away.

[NFR: Oh no, it will just change the nature of the problem. If a black man is the scapegoat, and two white men who did blackface in their youth survive … that’s going to be a problem. Never mind that what Fairfax is accused of is a serious crime, and what Northam and Herring are accused of is in extremely bad taste. The symbolism is too powerful. — RD]

#6 Comment By Daniel (not Larrison) On February 7, 2019 @ 9:53 am

Back in 1987, I was in a production of “Finian’s Rainbow”. If you’re familiar with it, it was written as a pretty strong statement against racism.

Two aspects about it: (1) we were (and still are) a fairly white community, but the play called for a lot of African-American parts. So you can guess what we did. (2) One of the key plot turns in the musical is (spoiler alert) a inveterate racist magically being turned black. Again, there was only one way to achieve this.

Fortunately for my future political aspirations (of which I have none), I did not have a blackface role. But that entire musical would probably be impossible today.

As far as Virginia, I shed no tears over a man who would support literal infanticide losing his reputation and his job. What makes me sad beyond words is that bad judgment in costumes is more damning to some than the killing of born alive infants. If that’s what the democratic party stands for, then quite literally to hell with them.

#7 Comment By Fred Bowman On February 7, 2019 @ 10:20 am

Personally I’m glad to see the “self-righteousness” of the Democrats “biting them in the ass”. Not that I see the Republican doing any better.

#8 Comment By Patrick Constantine On February 7, 2019 @ 10:59 am

A really good one rod. Thank you. I like you enjoy the schadenfreude, especially with the update about the racism-accusing negative ads ran in favor of Ralph northam, but like you I come down to: this is up to the voters, he should not resign.

Missouri gop last year had a governor greitens sex scandal that was so tawdry and distracting. The me too element as well. But greitens was kind of more hated by the Republicans than the Democrats,and waiting in the wings was a squeaky clean elderly lt. Governor who raises beef cattle and takes heart pills, so it was like nobody in the GOP even cared. This is different in Va. What a silly distraction. The Democrats can be counted on to do more stupid things between now and Nov. ’20.

#9 Comment By Noah172 On February 7, 2019 @ 11:03 am

JonF wrote:

Look at the 2018 midterm election. Did “wokeness” sabotage Democrats’ efforts then? Not so anyone could tell

The Democrats won a lot, but they also lost some, including with woke SJW candidates: Andrew Gillum, Stacey Abrams, arguably Beto (made a fuss about NFL kneeling), David Garcia (AZ governor election), and some House candidates here and there. Just like the Republicans won big in 2010, but lost some races due to scary-sounding or clumsy candidates.

#10 Comment By JonF On February 7, 2019 @ 11:14 am

BD, by the time the general election season of 2020 rolls around this will have receded from memory. The US political culture of the US may be parsecs wide, but it’s a micron deep and has the half life of an exotic subatomic particle. A whole gaggle other public outcries will have occurred by then.

#11 Comment By Lert345 On February 7, 2019 @ 11:20 am

About 25 years ago I had a coworker who told me about a friend he had in college. The friend planned a career in politics and would never allow himself to be photographed acting silly, or with a beer in his hand, or a girl sitting on his lap. At the time I thought it was paranoid but that kid was freakishly prescient …

#12 Comment By Alix T. On February 7, 2019 @ 11:24 am

I belong to a large group of women in academia, who all rose to the occasion to support Dr. Ford during the Kavanaugh situation. While I do have misgivings about the general trend of the #BelieveWomen campaign, I am happy to report that this same group of women is vigorously supporting Dr. Tyson, as many in the group know her personally and believe she has no personal motive for this. The discussion has been devoid of any disappointment in the political ramifications in Virginia, and I take heart in seeing that, at least for this group of women, they view the situation as being about the integrity of victims and not defending the integrity of a particular political party.

#13 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On February 7, 2019 @ 11:52 am

The only question is: Who would serve as a worthy third-party candidate?

Well, Connecticut Farmer, you want to make up a ticket? It would have no money, no connections, no staff, and darn little attention from the media… but maybe that’s just what we need. A midwestern socialist and a New England conservative. With luck, after we improbably triumph, our movement will split (as the American revolutionaries did following independence) into competing parties, rather than trying to sustain the euphoria of the revolution in a single all-powerful party “of the whole people.”

Which is a long-winded way of saying, no, definitely not Jim Webb.

One thing that’s wrong with Virginia is that the north is moving south. Even ten years ago the rot was still confined to the bedroom communities north of Fredericksburg, but now it’s spreading like an invasive species down I95.

Yeah. I’d rather those voters were back in Idaho, electing senators like Frank Church, or in Indiana, electing someone like Birch Bayh, or in Tennessee, electing people like the elder Gore. This is the flip side of Sarah Palin talking about “the real Virginia.” People are going to vote somewhere, and they’re going to vote where they live. Virginia might be more conservative, but other states might be more liberal.

Then I remember, I’d rather they all voted socialist.

And Amy Klobacher is monster to her staff!

She can fire them. She was elected. They weren’t. She has to stand for re-election. They don’t. They’re not civil service either.

I chose “Cherokee” at random, but you’re right, that is the tribe EVERYBODY claims, more or less, regardless of geographic origins. Why is that, anyway?

In my case, and my 12th cousin from North Carolina, its from having family roots in east Tennessee. Which was, you know, Cherokee territory. George Crum, claimed variously as the black man, or the Native American, who invented the potato chip, had Ojibwas ancestors, as well as his grandfather being a colored revolutionary war soldier, because, he didn’t live anywhere near where Cherokee lived. The Bustills, Paul Robeson’s maternal ancestors, were part Anglo Quaker, part Lene-Lenape, and of course part African. See? Its not always Cherokee. There was a flight leader at the Battle of Midway who was part Lakota.

#14 Comment By Matt in VA On February 7, 2019 @ 11:55 am

John R. says:
February 7, 2019 at 9:43 am

Question for Matt in VA: I thought you lived in Midlothian, an upscale suburb south of Richmond. Which is obviously not in Appalachia or the Piedmont.

Not sure what gave you that impression. I have mentioned in many different comments that I live in the Appalachian part of Virginia. I’m very interested in local American cultures and have thought a lot about my current surroundings in the 6 years I’ve been here. And I definitely think living in Appalachia has made me even more anti-“free market” conservatism than I would have been otherwise. Most particularly the way “free market” conservatives act as if there aren’t — obviously! — winners and losers to our economic regime, and pretend like cheap junk at WalMart means “everybody wins!”

#15 Comment By Steve_Yellowknife_Canada On February 7, 2019 @ 12:06 pm

I am a Canadian living in a Territory in the far north which is 50% First Nations and Inuit.

There are people in my country who claim some kind of vague or distant indigenous ancestry but maybe not as much in America, I don’t know. To say one is “Metis” is not uncommon.

Is it some kind of guilt alleviation that inspires one to do this? Is it an attempt to attach oneself to the “exotic”? I really don’t know. Even when there isn’t potential career/social advantage in it, a la Warren, someone might still have weird reasons for spurious claims. What is with this Grey Owl stuff?

Rule of thumb: Just don’t claim indigenous ancestry unless you really have it. Just don’t.

All you non-Canadians can just Google the name Joseph Boyden and find out.

#16 Comment By MM On February 7, 2019 @ 12:06 pm

JonF: “I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: Look at the 2018 midterm election.”

There’s is no strict defition of wave election, but I’ll accept that it was given the number of seats that flipped. But it was a fairly weak wave midterm, despite voter turnout being the highest in 100 years.

You can find all this on Wikipedia quite easily:

– In 2018 Trump lost 41 House seats and gained 2 Senate seats
– In 2014 Obama lost 13 House seats and 9 Senate seats
– In 2010 Obama lost 63 House seats and 7 Senate seats
– In 2006 Bush lost 31 House seats and 6 Senate seats
– In 1994 Clinton lost 54 House seats and 8 Senate seats
– In 1982 Reagan lost 26 House seats and 1 Senate seat
– In 1978 Carter lost 15 House seats and 3 Senate seats
– In 1974 Ford lost 49 House seats and 4 Senate seats
– In 1970 Nixon lost 12 House seats and gained 1 Senate seat
– In 1966 Johnson lost 47 House seats and 3 Senate seats
– In 1958 Eisenhower lost 49 House seats and 15 Senate seats
– In 1954 Eisenhower lost 19 House seats and 2 Senate seats
– In 1950 Truman lost 28 House seats and 5 Senate seats
– In 1946 Truman lost 55 House seats and 12 Senate seats
– In 1942 Roosevelt lost 47 House seats and 9 Senate seats
– In 1938 Roosevelt lost 81 House seats and 8 Senate seats
– In 1930 Hoover lost 52 House seats and 8 Senate seats
– In 1926 Coolidge lost 11 House seats and 7 Senate seats
– In 1922 Harding lost 76 House seats and 6 Senate seats
– In 1918 Wilson lost 24 House seats and 6 Senate seats
– In 1914 Wilson lost 62 House seats and gained 3 Senate seats
– In 1910 Taft lost 58 House seats and 7 Senate seats

In the six midterms I left out, number of seats that flipped were in the single digits.

Obama was clobbered much worse than Trump, especially if you combine the 2010 and 2014 midtersm together, but he still won reelection.

What’s your point?

#17 Comment By Patrick Constantine On February 7, 2019 @ 12:10 pm

Re Northam pic, and BD comment above reference to the KKK imagery, as an aggravating factor.

My comment/question/point is, when that med school yearbook photo was taken, it was mid 80s, right? blazing saddles was when, late 70s? So maybe 6-9 years before and very culturally relevant bc the movie was very popular, wacky, outrageous, hilarious, irreverent, etc. etc. one of the many edgy jokes from the movie was the “where are the white women at?” joke when gene wilder and the black actor steal the klan hoods to try to get into hedley Lamar’s gang of baddies.

So my convoluted point is, maybe the yearbook blackface pic isn’t *as bad* because it is riffing on this joke. It’s the juxtaposition of the klansman and the black guy that is the joke. Kind of a mitigating factor, the klan component of the costumed pair … maybe. I know me and my friends recite lines from the big Lebowski twenty years after the movie and think it is the most hilarious thing ever, so these med students in the 80s maybe doing a similar thing viz that scene from blazing saddles in a semi-contemporaneous setting?

#18 Comment By Rich On February 7, 2019 @ 12:30 pm

I guess this is what they meant by intersectional?

Not surprised that pro-abortion governor is a racist. Planned Parenthood was started by rich whites worried about an increase in “undesirable” races. It still has a disproportionate number of abortion mills in minority neighborhoods.

BTW, Herring says he was dressed as a rapper, but was rap a thing (particulary among whites) in 1980? Was he really ahead of his time, or is that just his excuse for the sure-to-come photo of him in blackface? Dressing as your favorite rapper sounds better than just dressing up in blackface to mock blacks.

#19 Comment By Kronsteen1963 On February 7, 2019 @ 1:04 pm

I’m sure this will offend secularists, but I truly believe this is divine judgement – the wrath of God. I don’t take pleasure in it but it does strengthen my faith.

#20 Comment By Rich On February 7, 2019 @ 1:30 pm

Kronsteen1963,
I agree fully. Big League Politics, which broke the Governor Blackface story, said they were tipped off by someone who was angered by the Governor’s radical support of abortion, so it really all goes back to abortion which has to be so offensive to God.
This series of revelations was so well orchestrated, that I’m starting to think it points to Intelligent Design ;-).

#21 Comment By Erdrick On February 7, 2019 @ 1:33 pm

Sam M says:
February 6, 2019 at 9:56 pm

I can only see Fairfax going because sex ranks higher than race right now. Dems would support a governor who puts on blackface NOW if it’d get them late term abortions.

I live in Virginia.

I think your scenario would create the perfect storm for a Democratic Party battle royale. The black democrats will be incensed if the two blackface wearing white men stay in office while the black man is forced to resign, while Democratic women will be incensed if people ignore Fairfax’s accuser. However, to go forward with no one resigning will make the Democratic Party look very hypocrtical.

I think that ultimately Northam and Fairfax will resign, while Herring will stay. Northam’s picture (with minstrel show type black face coupled with someone wearing Klan robes!), combined with his disastrous handling of the fall out, makes him more vulnerable. Plus the entire Democratic Party, including Herring, have already knifed Northam in the back. Fairfax’s accuser seems reasonably credible (more so that Dr. Ford), and his alleged reaction (F that B!) does not reflect well on him.

Herring’s transgression seems more mild, and it will prevent the Republicans from taking the governorship.

I’m enjoying the chaos, as Northam ran a particularly despicable campaign. It’s nice to see him flail.

#22 Comment By Ben H On February 7, 2019 @ 1:44 pm

“But, as with Ford, I keep coming back to the question: Why would she make this up?”

The accuser here has “hired” the same lawyers that that fraud Ford had. This suggests to us that these lawyers are from “team abortion” working on behalf of Doc KKK against his now-enemy Fairfax.

Doc KKK put himself out there for abortion, at risk of his precious career, so I guess they feel they have to stick by him.

#23 Comment By Ben H On February 7, 2019 @ 1:48 pm

” I believe but can’t prove that many politicians are controlled and owned by special interests or the party machinery itself who have dirt on them of one kind or another in a system not unlike that found in Scientology.”

It’s becoming more and more obvious that there is a blackmail network of some kind that keeps both parties in line. And probably more institutions than just politics.

#24 Comment By John R. On February 7, 2019 @ 1:55 pm

Matt in VA: One of your posts last year mentioned Midlothian – so I assumed you lived in this area. Obviously I assumed incorrectly… My apologies.

As to anti ‘free-market’ conservatism, it has taken 40 years, but I too have landed in this camp. The term needs to be re-phrased as it is an oxymoron – modern conservatives (i.e. the Republican Party) are linked at the hip with free market capitalism. Perhaps the start of a new political party, comprised initially of disaffected Yellow Vesters.

#25 Comment By Tobacco Co. On February 7, 2019 @ 2:01 pm

The Democrats ought to be ashamed of themselves for getting worked up about this, and Northam and Herring look ridiculous for freaking out over something obviously done in fun and as young people. Of all these “scandals” the one that is easily the most troubling is the sex abuse claim against Fairfax. These other guys ought to get a pass right off the bat.

But at least Northam, Fairfax, and Herring are “us”. No one’s brought it up, but I find it appalling that Virginians had no native born candidate in the 2016 senate race, both Stewart and Kaine being not just out-of-state but Yankee born, as was New York-born Terry McAuliffe, the Clinton crony and China-friendly governor who preceded Northam. Not a good sign when the children of a hostile culture start taking over political power in your state.

Virginia can do better. Better than Northam, Fairfax, and Herring, and a hell of a lot better than Kaine and Stewart.

#26 Comment By Sid Finster On February 7, 2019 @ 2:18 pm

@EngineerScotty: as an aside and getting way far afield, before he became George Wallace, George Wallace was considered moderate to liberal on race, at least by the benighted standards of Jim Crow era Alabama.

For instance, George Wallace was one of the few Alabama state court judges of that time to even make a pretense of fairness towards black litigants, or to black attorneys with any modicum of respect.

It was only after losing his first race for Governor of Alabama that the George Wallace we all knew and despised came out.

#27 Comment By John D. Thullen On February 7, 2019 @ 2:51 pm

“Donald Trump is one lucky SOB, that’s for sure.”

I don’t know, I hate the tyrant, but bringing his mother into this seems a little low-brow for this elite congregation at TAC.

After all, it is now rumored that Justin Fairfax referred to his accuser and alleged victim by the “b” word when confronted with the accusations, as in “F#*& that b-word”.

“Sic semper tyranni!”

Well, John Wilkes Booth, he of the southern strategy, had a way with the words.

Have fun with this, folks:

[11]

#28 Comment By BD On February 7, 2019 @ 3:06 pm

“BD, by the time the general election season of 2020 rolls around this will have receded from memory. The US political culture of the US may be parsecs wide, but it’s a micron deep and has the half life of an exotic subatomic particle. A whole gaggle other public outcries will have occurred by then.”

I agree this particular incident will be old news by next year, but the standards Democrats will set for themselves–mainly the idea that you can’t redeem yourselves after committing a wrong in the past–will likely trip up many of their candidates. It’s as good a time as any to ask “if you do something racially offensive, can you ever truly atone for it, and what would that require?”

“So my convoluted point is, maybe the yearbook blackface pic isn’t *as bad* because it is riffing on this joke. It’s the juxtaposition of the klansman and the black guy that is the joke. Kind of a mitigating factor, the klan component of the costumed pair … maybe. I know me and my friends recite lines from the big Lebowski twenty years after the movie and think it is the most hilarious thing ever, so these med students in the 80s maybe doing a similar thing viz that scene from blazing saddles in a semi-contemporaneous setting?”

It’s certainly possible, but (1) Northam never offered that up as his explanation (“it was a skit based on a classic movie that we were trying to do, it was in poor taste”) and (2) even at that time, you’d have to know to tread lightly with such depictions of KKK and blackface in a yearbook photo. At least you’d have to know it could be easily misinterpreted and a reader wouldn’t get the joke.

#29 Comment By JeffK On February 7, 2019 @ 3:06 pm

@John R. says:
February 7, 2019 at 9:43 am

Sir, clearly you are wallowing in White Privilege. Knock it off. Get your head straight.

For those that might not get it, that was sarcasm. I wonder what the world would be like if everybody had similar experiences as John.

#30 Comment By Ken Zaretzke On February 7, 2019 @ 4:11 pm

“Virginia is doing Black History Month all wrong.”

This funny one-liner tweet is from Matt Schwartz (retweeted by Ann Coulter, which is the only reason I know about it).

#31 Comment By Bryce’s X On February 7, 2019 @ 4:50 pm

@Tobacco Co. — “I find it appalling that Virginians had no native born candidate in the 2016 senate race, both Stewart and Kaine being not just out-of-state but Yankee born, as was New York-born Terry McAuliffe, the Clinton crony and China-friendly governor who preceded Northam. Not a good sign when the children of a hostile culture start taking over political power in your state.”

Interesting. Bob McDonnell was a Yankee too. And George Allen was a Californian. Looks like the best recent governor (Warner) was a Virginian, though. Corruption of the kind familiar to inhabitants of the northeast seems more prevalent with the transplants. It may have arrived with them.

#32 Comment By Augustine On February 7, 2019 @ 7:21 pm

On the other hand, Warren could identify herself as a man and they’d become a DC darling again. Heck, zee should be bold and identify themselves as an Indian man!

#33 Comment By Mark Krvavica On February 7, 2019 @ 8:30 pm

When I look at Ralph Northam and those other two Virginia Democrats, I say bring back Harry F. Byrd Jr. Byrd’s a Independent like me.

#34 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On February 7, 2019 @ 11:24 pm

Well, John Wilkes Booth, he of the southern strategy, had a way with the words.

Let’s see… John Wilkes Booth called Lincoln a tyrant, ergo, we must never, ever, ever, call anyone a tyrant again, much less try to end their tyrannical rule, because opposing tyranny makes you an ally of John Wilkes Booth. Got it.

It was only after losing his first race for Governor of Alabama that the George Wallace we all knew and despised came out.

More precisely, he told his inner circle “Boys, they outn******d me, and I ain’t never going to be outn******d again.” But its also true that when he wanted to run for governor again, and found one third of the electorate was black, he openly appealed for black votes, said his previous statements about segregation were crazy, and after taking a long look at his Republican opponent, black voters did come out for him.

Rule of thumb: Just don’t claim indigenous ancestry unless you really have it. Just don’t.

Nonsense. Most North Americans are mixed, and the least mixed are the most recent immigrants. Deal with it.

#35 Comment By MM On February 8, 2019 @ 12:39 am

Stop the presses: Former FBI Director James Comey has just weighed in over at the Washington Post.

He’s not demanding the Governor or AG resign for wearing blackface. Nor is he demanding the Lt. Governor resign after being accused of rape. After all, those resignations would elevate the Republican speaker to Governor, and principles have to take a back seat to real politik.

His message: Now is the time to bring down all the public Confederate monuments throughoout the state.

That’s where his priorities are these days…

#36 Comment By JonF On February 8, 2019 @ 12:21 pm

Time for me to go pedantic: It’s “Sic semper tyrannies” dative plural since it’s “TO tyrants” I assumed Siarlys had just made a typo previously, but lots of people are now repeating the same mistake.
And speaking of mistakes, auto correct tried to turn “tyrannis” into “trannies”. Hmm, does it know what blog I’m on?

#37 Comment By Daniel (not Larrison) On February 8, 2019 @ 1:16 pm

On a positive note, does this mean we can get Joy Behar off the air now? Please?

[12]

#38 Comment By Barry On February 8, 2019 @ 1:30 pm

Rod, IMHO what’s happening is that the Democratic Party has standards. Behavior which will (now) get one in trouble in the Democratic Party would get one elected in the GOP. How we (not you!) deal with it is being thrashed out. IMHO, if Northram had admitted and apologized, he’d be better off. Instead, he’s basically asking ‘whatcha gonna do ‘bout it?’.
Like just about every GOPper caught in this.

Some have pointed out that the GOP gubernatorial candidate didn’t find the obvious opposition research on Northam (e.g., sending an intern to check out yearbooks and college publications). They wondered if instead they found this behavior, and didn’t think that it was worth using.

#39 Comment By KevinS On February 8, 2019 @ 5:23 pm

“Not casting aspersions on you in the slightest, KevinS, but this is rather ironic given the picture from the UNC (1979, if I recall correctly) yearbook that’s now floating around.”

I went to school IN North Carolina, not at North Carolina!

#40 Comment By MM On February 8, 2019 @ 5:45 pm

Jenkins: “Most North Americans are mixed.”

In Senator Warren’s case, 0.01% to 1.6% American Indian is a very thin mix indeed.

If that passes for “person of color”, whatever that means, then who doesn’t qualify?

#41 Comment By The Corn Field On February 8, 2019 @ 6:28 pm

“His message: Now is the time to bring down all the public Confederate monuments throughoout the state.”

Right. I guess that’s how politics works these days. “The top Virginia Democrats all turn out to be sniveling little racists or date rapists, so let’s tear down statues of 19th century soldiers.”

#42 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On February 8, 2019 @ 10:17 pm

If that passes for “person of color”, whatever that means, then who doesn’t qualify?

MM, have you forgotten the One Drop Rule?

Racism requires a notion of unadulterated racial purity. And Americans don’t have it. Sure, southern “white” families have no more than “a spoonful of Negro blood” or “a touch of the tar brush,” but that small percentage is omnipresent. In the 17th century, nobody outside the most elite classes cared, and when it became important, those who were light enough to claim “whitness” did so. One of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings’s descendants served as a black member of the California legislature, and some others passed for “white” for several generations. One man of African descent in 17th century Plymouth makes the entire intermarried network of New England bluebloods “black,” including Winston Churchill’s mother.

Its true that a percent or so of ancestry doesn’t qualify one for Tribal Membership. But the fact that the minimum blood quantum is something like one fourth or maybe even one eighth says something about the degree of mixing. Tribal governments are not based on “race” but on continuity of political, social and cultural affinity — although present day tribal governments are not traditional Indian bodies either, they were devised by the United States Department of the Interior.

But if everyone qualifies as “person of color,” problem solved!

#43 Comment By MM On February 8, 2019 @ 11:00 pm

Jenkins: “But if everyone qualifies as ‘person of color,’ problem solved!”

We can all trace our origins back to equitorial Africa, what 2 million years ago, no matter what color we happen to have been born.

But today, even with every nation on the continent part of the African Union, there are still 15 ongoing armed conflicts within and between countries.

Forget pigmenation, what does that say about human nature?

American society doesn’t look too bad overall when you put things in that perspective.

#44 Comment By JonF On February 9, 2019 @ 9:37 am

Re: It’s “Sic semper tyrannies”

Ugh. Freaking autocorrect! “sic semper tyrannis”

#45 Comment By JonF On February 9, 2019 @ 9:44 am

Re: especially if you combine the 2010 and 2014 midtersm together

Why do that? They are two separate elections and since we are comparing single electoral results it would make no sense. I would not suggest combining GOP losses in 1982 and 1986 to make Reagan look worse either.
My point however is made firmer by your dataset: the American Electorate is fickle. The Democrats might well sweep the table in 2020, but the GOP could then come roaring back in 2022. Only some truly great calamity like the Civil War of the Depression would produce a lengthy period of one party rule.

#46 Comment By MM On February 9, 2019 @ 3:34 pm

JonF: “My point however is made firmer by your dataset: the American Electorate is fickle.”

That wasn’t your point at all. It was, the extremists in the Democratic Party didn’t prevent the party from flipping seats in moderate districts that Hillary won in 2016.

Given the sheer acrimony of Trump, the Kavanaugh fiasco, political violence on the Left, and the highest turnout for a midterm election in 100 years, the wave should’ve been much bigger. And the Democrats should have gained seats in the Senate, which they didn’t. The GOP actually flipped one seat in Pennsylvania, I believe. Ohio has turned red. Florida has a GOP governor and 2 GOP senators for the first time since the 19th Century, despite (or because of?) having the largest share of Hispanic voters in the country.

So you there was a big drag on your guys’ momentum, which you’ve failed to even acknowledge.

#47 Comment By Measure for Measure On February 9, 2019 @ 6:24 pm

Racism requires a notion of unadulterated racial purity.

No it doesn’t. It only requires that races exist and that they be differentiated in some way.

#48 Comment By Susan On February 9, 2019 @ 10:16 pm

Here’s the thing. They desecrated the schools, fired racist teachers, threw out racist textbooks. But, they did NOT remove the confederate statues from the town square! Those statues do teach evil which is why the Charlottesville conflagration was so frustrating. The town had voted to move the statue and the alt right came in and said the state law prevents that. And look it up, it’s true there’s a monument law which keeps being voted up by Republican legislators that prevents towns from moving statues. Mind you, these are democrat, confederate, Jim crow statues that the republicans are holding the bag for.

As it turns out, Northams Republican opponent, Gillespie, took an emphatic confedophile line on the statues, so there was a bit of justice in the confederate pickup truck video.

It’s almost like the gop is trying toss these elections. But there are real consequences. On Gillespie coattails, longstanding repub legislator Bob Marshall lost to a transgender. And this last November, with flaming confedophile (But Yankee born and bred) Republican Corey Stewart not only lost to abortocrat Kaine for Senator but also swept in a whole mob of lefties to the statehouse.

Which is why we are seeing late abortions rolling in and a whole lot else. Take a look at the brave new world ivf surrogacy fake parenting legislation they are cooking up.

Just one more thing.. trump likes to stir the pot on the confed issue… calls them beautiful statues. Read the cornerstone speech of the confederacy to see how beautiful that slave gulag regime was going to be. It’s almost as if Trump was trying to inflame.

#49 Comment By Susan On February 10, 2019 @ 7:08 am

Er, that should be “They desegregated the schools…*

#50 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On February 10, 2019 @ 10:36 pm

No it doesn’t. It only requires that races exist and that they be differentiated in some way.

That might be plausible, except that there is always miscegenation. M_Young several months ago proved this point for me, when he offered stats showing that in any generation, only a rather small minority of marriages crossed racial lines. Any non-zero number backs me up. Over time, there are going to be a lot of mixes, and either one race or the other is “tainted” by mixed genes, therefore part of the “other.” Two populations that can’t reproduce together are not races, they are well on the way to being species, granting grey areas like mules.

American society doesn’t look too bad overall when you put things in that perspective.

Nope. Despite British pretensions, the USA is the land where slavery actually became a controversial issue. In most of human history, it was routinely accepted and as for those who were enslaved “it is their fate.” We’re not doing too badly compared to a good deal of the rest of the world. But that’s a rather low bar.