Virginia: When Identity Groups Collide

For decades, lacking a coherent and acceptable broad-based platform, the Democrats have cobbled together their victories by playing the identity politics game. Reaching out to different groups, playing on their sense of victimization and oppression, dissolving the very bonds of civic cohesion, and pretending to a savior role for each group. Of course, if people thought about it, no one is less oppressed than a modern-day American, and the special interests and pleadings of these disparate groups often collide and conflict, but that seemingly passes beyond their ken or notice. This week, in contrast to the unifying State of the Union address by the President which was coherent, consistent, and uplifting, the three top officials in Virginia -- all Democrats -- are engaged in a bloody battle which looks to disunite the Democratic women from the black voters of the state. It’s not helping the media either, especially not the Washington Post, owned by Jeff Bezos himself, embroiled in a marital scandal and fight with David Pecker, the owner of the National Enquirer. (Who can beat the NY Post’s front page on Friday “Bezos Exposes Pecker”?)

The imbroglio in Virginia has inspired lots of humorous digs on the right, not the least of which is the rewriting of the motto “Virginia is for Lovers” into “Virginia is for Losers” as indeed the party is now a laughingstock with no good way out of the dilemma.

A Little Background

(1) Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey-Ford

Events pass so quickly, pardon me for a quick review of recent history. 

Christine Blasey-Ford accused then-nominee for the Supreme Court Brett Kavanaugh of sexual harassment, which, she said, had occurred years before when they were both in high school. She was vague as to the date and place, and persons she identified as being in the house when the offensive behavior occurred did not confirm that he was even there when the claimed abuse occurred nor was there a shred of evidence that the two had ever even met. Yet for days, the Washington Post headlined her story. And Democrats, especially women Democrats, insisted that women accusers of sexual malfeasance must be believed. 

Hillary Clinton (oddly enough) was typical:

Every survivor of sexual assault deserves to be heard, believed, and supported.  

Additionally, that paper then reported on a number of preposterous, unverified, and even more outlandish allegations against the nominee, later withdrawn.

(2) Governor Ralph Northam, Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax, and Attorney General Mark Herring

The fiasco in Virginia began when a medical school yearbook in which on Northam’s page was a picture of a man in blackface standing next to a man in a KKK outfit surfaced. Northam first apologized, later denied he was in that picture but did admit he’d appeared in blackface at a dance while in college. His denials seemed unpersuasive, suggesting someone mixed up pictures and placed this one on his page without his knowledge.

Next up Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring admitted he, too, had had worn blackface in college. (This seems to be a peculiar Virginia tradition. No one in other states seems to remember this happening at that time.)

The blackface furor began with demands for Northam’s resignation, and then Herrings’.

Among those calling for Northam’s immediate resignation were the editors of the Washington Post, which cited “his shifting and credulity-shredding explanations for the racist photograph.”

Professor Glenn Reynolds (Instapundit) was having none of this:

Hey, WaPo editorial board -- remember how you pushed Northam as some sort of racial healer, while gleefully spreading the bullshit claims that longtime milquetoast GOP pol Ed Gillespie was some sort of Stormfront stalking horse? Maybe you should resign, too, hacks. Don’t try to pretend this is just about the rottenness of Virginia’s Democratic Party. You’re part of the rot yourselves.

It would, indeed, be hard to argue with a straight face that Virginia Democrats got into this box on their own. The Washington Post deserves a great deal of credit.

In any event, an online friend, Lynn Chu, probably best explains the hoopla about blackface and Northam:

All this weird, exaggerated shrieking about blackface etc. (and so many other leftist fetish behaviors) is some kind of psychological displacement behavior. With pathetic desperation they seem to seek to cover up for, or find scapegoats or substitutes for, what ought to be profound guilt and shame over all their other immoral behaviors. This the Left adamantly ignores except for its symbolic expiations in overkill involving boorish male sex predators, the worst being those who abuse power. Northam's bland assertion of a right to infanticide, and that jerk Cuomo's actual jubilant celebration of it (excommunicate him please, Pope, alas, a useless one) is a prime example. But there are more.

The calls for Northam’s resignation, which had to include Herrings’ for consistency’s sake, might have gotten somewhere but for two allegations involving Justin Fairfax. For then it occurred to not a few people that all three might have to resign leaving a Republican in the Governorship according to Virginia’s succession law.

(a) The Fairfax Allegations.

A Scripps College professor, Dr. Vanessa Tyson, asserts that at the 2004 Democratic Convention in Boston, Fairfax forced her to perform fellatio on him.  Friday Meredith Wilson who has corroborating contemporaneous corroborating emails, Facebook messages and statements from friends, accuses Fairfax of raping her when they were both students at Duke University.

Tyson’s allegations were made public sooner and we have more details about how they were handled than we do of Wilson’s. 

Tyson, a friend of Virginia democratic Congressman Bobby Scott, says she told him about the incident a year ago. His aides said that Tyson first reached out to Scott on October 20, 2017 indicating she was not “a fan” of Fairfax and that she followed up a month later indicating she wanted to explain to Scott why that was so, In December she texted him her issue with Fairfax was because of a “MeToo allegation” and about January of this year she disclosed that it was, she who had been Fairfax’s victim. 

The Washington Post received the information from Tyson over a year ago (prior to the Virginia election) and decided not to publish her allegations.  

As Becket Adams notes:

What’s the paper’s excuse for running multiple stories repeating totally uncorroborated allegations of sexual abuse aimed at Kavanaugh? When the Post got Ford on the record amid the fight over Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination, the paper didn’t seem to be so concerned by the fact that she couldn't provide a single piece of evidence to verify her claim that the judge tried to rape her when they were both in high school -- or even that they'd ever met. 

Note that, absent the leaks, her allegation could have been properly investigated by senators from both parties on the Senate Judiciary Committee without the resulting damage to privacy and reputation. But the Post, less worried in that case about the lack of evidence behind the allegation, plowed ahead. 

In fact, as the Hamilton Lincoln Law Institute’s Ted Frank noted Monday, there are fewer red flags in the Fairfax accuser's story then there were in Ford's. Unlike Ford, Fairfax’s accuser identifies the exact year and location of the alleged assault. Unlike Ford, Fairfax’s accuser belongs to the same political tribe, and therefore speaks against interest in at least one sense. 

There are other things that bother me about the Post’s uneven treatment of the Fairfax and Kavanaugh accusers. For example, the paper’s first original coverage of the allegation against the lieutenant governor came only after Fairfax had issued a statement defending himself. Kavanaugh was afforded no similar benefit. 

“Virginia Democrats haven’t had this hard of a time since the third day at Gettysburg” says my online friend “Captain Hate’ and with good reason.

Northam can’t be forced to resign even if black voters are furious. Neither can Herring. And it seems inconsistent to not treat both men equally for essentially the same offense. But if they resign for blackface pictures in college, how can Fairfax stay in office facing charges now from two women for far more egregious conduct? And if all three resign the Democratic Party in Virginia will be decimated. But if they don’t it will infuriate women voters or black voters, or both.

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