The Line of Succession for the Governorship of Virginia: Lieutenant Governor Fairfax Comes Under Fire

Even as Governor Northam huddles with his cabinet as an attempt to maintain his governorship of Virginian, the same fine folks that thought Breitbart was too liberal have decided to direct fire against Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax.

From 13NewsNow:

Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax denies 2004 sexual assault allegation

The allegation involves an unsubstantiated claim of sexual assault against Fairfax during the Democratic National Convention in 2004.

The full details of the allegation are on Big League Politics.

This allegation was previously investigated by both local Virginia news outlets and The Washington Post last year and they could not substantiate it. That doesn’t mean it isn’t true, or parts of it aren’t, but that the allegations couldn’t be corroborated and/or substantiated.

Here’s Lieutenant Governor Fairfax’s statement:

Longtime Republican campaign strategist and strategic communication professional Rick Wilson thinks something here stinks in regards to how the allegations against Lieutenant Governor Fairfax came to light just after a “concerned citizen” discovered Governor Northam’s yearbook page.

The problem here is that it doesn’t really make a lot of political sense to do all of this so far from the Virginia state elections that are coming up later this year. If either and/or both of these stories play out, with Northam ultimately resigning or being forced out by the Democrats in Virginia – and there is a process to do that – and Fairfax also having to step aside, it isn’t going to make the Democrats look like they didn’t take either and/or both of these problems seriously. Nor would it hand the governorship to a Republican as the next in the line of succession is Mark Herring, who is Virginia’s Attorney General and a Democrat. (emphasis mine below)

In the case of the removal of the Governor from office or in the case of his disqualification, death, or resignation, the Lieutenant Governor shall become Governor.

If a vacancy exists in the office of Lieutenant Governor when the Lieutenant Governor is to succeed to the office of Governor or to serve as Acting Governor, the Attorney General, if he is eligible to serve as Governor, shall succeed to the office of Governor for the unexpired term or serve as Acting Governor. If the Attorney General is ineligible to serve as Governor, the Speaker of the House of Delegates, if he is eligible to serve as Governor, shall succeed to the office of Governor for the unexpired term or serve as Acting Governor. If a vacancy exists in the office of the Speaker of the House of Delegates or if the Speaker of the House of Delegates is ineligible to serve as Governor, the House of Delegates shall convene and fill the vacancy.

If this is an attempt to place the Virginia governorship in Republican hands, sort of a coup by scandal, it won’t work unless there’s a scandalous story involving Virginia Attorney General Herring teed up and ready to be deployed because the only Republican in the line of succession is the Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates is Republican William J. Howell.

What is unclear right now is what, in the larger political sense, specifically of partisan political warfare, is actually going on. If this is a coordinated attempt to remove the Democratic leadership of Virginia’s executive branch through selected news reports of opposition research that was either overlooked or never previously released because it couldn’t be verified, then expect Big League Politics or some other similar outlet to drop a story on Virginia Attorney General Herring in the next few days, especially if other news outlets give the allegations against Lieutenant Governor Fairfax serious coverage and the pressure builds on him to resign as well.

This much coincidence, long buried inappropriate behavior by Virginia’s Democratic governor and lieutenant governor that one would have expected to have been put forward as oppo research much earlier in their political careers, takes a lot of work. That it doesn’t seem to really be a coincidence doesn’t excuse Governor Northam’s admission he dressed in blackface to go to a theme party as Michael Jackson, even as he disputes that he is either the person in blackface or the person in the Klan costume pictured on his yearbook page. Nor would it excuse Lieutenant Governor Fairfax if the allegations that have surfaced regarding sexual assault are substantiated. That it would all surface right now seems much too convenient.

Once is chance, twice is coincidence, the third time is enemy action.

Lieutenant Governor Fairfax is giving a press conference right now where he is both addressing the issues around Governor Northam and the resurfaced allegations against himself. I can’t find a live stream. If I do, I’ll update the post.

Open thread!

250 replies
  1. 1
    The Moar You Know says:

    They’ll just keep going down the line until they find someone in the line of succession who is Republican. Then they will stop. Watch.

    Northam should not resign. No Dem should. Dems need to stop resigning over shit that Republicans don’t care about. We’ve already lost one of the best senators elected in my lifetime that way. Just stop with the fucking circular firing squad already.

    If this is an attempt to place the Virginia governorship in Republican hands, sort of a coup by scandal, it won’t work unless there’s a scandalous story involving Virginia Attorney General Herring teed up and ready to be deployed because the only Republican in the line of succession is the Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates is Republican William J. Howell.

    I will bet you money that story is ready to go and Howell is already having the office measured for his furniture. Because that “coup by scandal” is what you are watching, right now, in real time.

  2. 2
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @The Moar You Know: This much coincidence takes a lot of work.

  3. 3
    Yutsano says:

    @Adam L Silverman: And, in the immortal words of Sherlock, the universe is rarely that lazy.

  4. 4
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Yutsano:

  5. 5
    The Moar You Know says:

    This much coincidence takes a lot of work.

    @Adam L Silverman: Have they not shown themselves, over the course of our lifetimes, to be capable and willing to do said work? This, and much more besides.

    The beauty of this strategy is that the Dems kill themselves. No GOP hands even need to get dirty. They just throw out a picture of someone doing something stupid and let the Democrats virtuously do the dirty work for them. And we fall for it, every single time.

    I’m under no illusions that we won’t do the same thing again, because we will. I just wish we, collectively, as a party, weren’t so fucking stupid and easily manipulated.

  6. 6
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Yutsano: Did you get my email the other day?

  7. 7
    Brachiator says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    They’ll just keep going down the line until they find someone in the line of succession who is Republican. Then they will stop. Watch.

    I was just about the post the same thing. You beat me to it.

    Northam should not resign. No Dem should. Dems need to stop resigning over shit that Republicans don’t care about. We’ve already lost one of the best senators elected in my lifetime that way. Just stop with the fucking circular firing squad already.

    Yep. It’s not that what Northam did was not bad. But Democrats need to reject this knee-jerk zero tolerance bullshit. And they need to stop letting right wing tricksters jerk their chains.

    Also, I agree with you about Al Franken. It always seemed to me that he was more easily ejected because he was not part of the club, someone who had risen through traditional political channels.

    @Adam L Silverman:

    This much coincidence takes a lot of work

    “Mr Bond, they have a saying in Chicago: ‘Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it’s enemy action’.”
    ― Ian Fleming, Goldfinger

  8. 8
    jl says:

    Well, OK then. I am in favor of Northam resigning now because Fairfax sounds like he can make a definitive denial, and politically knows how to handle situations like this when the allegations are false. Fairfax looks like he’ll be a better governor than Northam.

    I heard on the news this morning that the allegations against Fairfax came from same source as those against Northam. So, coincidence my ass, the GOP is waging a dirty tricks political hit operation. That is obvious. The reactionary rump GOP we have now is going to go down hard and ugly, and they don’t care what they destroy in the process.

    We need to be skeptical of ALL scandal allegations against Democratic candidates and office holders. It is foolish to wait for the second or third instance to start getting right mindedly carnsarned about maybe a political hit job going on. We are being played. We can’t prevent the GOP trying to play us, but we don’t need to jump into being a sucker.

    We should not jump into rash and knee jerk reactions to any scandal allegation against any Democratic candidate or elected office holder. Period. Doesn’t make any difference who it is or what sensitive issue the allegation concerns. Doesn’t make any different how clear the initial evidence seems to be.

    Wait until the true situation is clear and the evidence examined, wait for the accused to respond, wait for his or her associates and those who have to govern with the accused have to say.

    Very especially, avoid rash and knee jerk demands that the accused resign. I think far more careful rules should apply to Democratic candidates and office holders than for rich and famous show biz, media, and business celebs.

  9. 9
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @The Moar You Know: Northam should step down. But that should be the end of stepping down. Unless these sexual harassment claims can be verified, no action needs to be taken.

  10. 10
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    Have they not shown themselves, over the course of our lifetimes, to be capable and willing to do said work? This, and much more besides.

    They have.

  11. 11
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @jl: Yes, there should be no demands for Fairfax to step down under these circumstances. This is sabotage.

  12. 12
    Mohagan says:

    Nice use of the Ian Fleming quote from Goldfinger :-)

  13. 13
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Brachiator: I know where the quote comes from.

  14. 14
    Yutsano says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I did thank you. I suppose I should stop being rubbish about answering those things.

  15. 15
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @jl:

    I heard on the news this morning that the allegations against Fairfax came from same source as those against Northam.

    I did mention this in the post.

  16. 16

    Well, I was gonna say that this just might be related to the anti-choicers obsessions, and then I read Rick Wilson’s tweets, so I’ll just note my agreement with him.

  17. 17
    Matt McIrvin says:

    The goal isn’t to knock out people until they get a Republican. The goal is to convince Northam to become a Republican, because the Republicans wil defend him and Dems won’t. Then they’ll have Virginia without taking anyone down at all.

    This latest thing is to help turn Northam against Fairfax, to make it more attractive to flip.

    Watch, there’s maybe a 40% chance Northam decides he hates abortion rights after all.

  18. 18
    jl says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Wasn’t an implication you missed it, though I may have missed in when reading thepost. Just wanted to make my argument in full in the comment.

    Edit: yeesh.. the touchy peeps on this blog sometimes….

  19. 19
    Ceci n est pas mon nym says:

    Amateurs. Vladimir’s social media shop would have first created a Twitter account from the accuser to create a paper trail, and then maybe a couple dozen “friends” of the imaginary accuser who “remember” the incident.

    Not trying to give anyone ideas, just hoping to help immunize us all against this sort of thing.

  20. 20

    Maybe this one is becoming sufficiently obvious that the Democrats can just say no, enough already.

    I’ve been leaning toward Northam’s needing to resign, but I’m having second thoughts.

  21. 21
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Yutsano: My two real bits of OCD are responding to email as quickly as is possible and keeping my professional equipment – martial arts gear, kit for work should I deploy, etc – in good working order. Vacuuming not so much…

  22. 22
    Mike in NC says:

    Netflix now has a documentary streaming called “Alt Right” which prominently features white supremacist Richard Spencer and allied dirtbags. If you choose to watch it, be prepared for an extra long, hot shower afterwards.

  23. 23
    Raoul says:

    Is this Roger Stone unloading all his tainted wares before he’s in the slammer?

    F**kery is indeed afoot, even if he is not personally involved.

  24. 24
    raven says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Our buddy is on a rampage about Northam and his abortion stance.

    “Northam is an opportunist. He rode scholarships given by the US Army to his bachelor’s degree, a medical degree, a residency in pediatrics of all things and minimal army service to satisfy his contract with the army. Now, he endorses the murder of children for the purpose of riding the Democratic Party’s race to the left and advancing his national political ambitions. He must go:”

  25. 25
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:

    Yeah. This is definitely ratfucking. I don’t know what these knobs think to gain by doing this now, either. Didn’t they think that these scandals, breaking so close together, from the same source, would look awfully suspicious?

    Northam should still resign, but Fairfax should not at this time. Ultimately, this is for the people of Virginia and their elected officials to resolve

  26. 26
    jl says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Northam made an ambiguous situation worse by his horrible response, that showed he doesn’t understand what the issues are, and is some ways a crappy politician. I’m not going to contribute in any way to any further efforts to try to force Northam resign. I figure, it is obvious now that the GOP is waging a dirty tricks campaign against the elected government of Virginia. So, it’s for the people of Virginia and Virginia Democratic party and its stakeholders to decide how to handle it.

  27. 27

    OT: Because I didn’t change my email at enough places when I moved (god help me), my blog about writing has been unavailable to anyone, including me, for several days. All fixed now. If you missed it, I blogged about finding and using writing groups. A valued commenter left one at the blog that I just answered because I now can.

  28. 28
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:

    @Mike in NC:
    I’ve said before that the only saving grace of the Alt-Right is that they’re extremely prone to infighting. They only agree that white people are awesome and seldom little else.

  29. 29
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: I think there’s overlap. I think whomever dug up the dirt on Northam, that was not uncovered by his own oppo researchers and those of all of his opponents over the years including both Tom Periello and Ed Gillespie, had it and were waiting to deploy it. The late term abortion stuff provided them with what they thought was an opening. They did the same thing with the Fairfax stuff, using the Northam opening to take a shot at him. The question is whether we see something directed at Herring.

  30. 30

    @jl: Someone is trying to take up the mantle of Roger Stone because he (goddess be blessed) is going to jail.

    ETA: Raoul at #23 is on the same thoughtwave.

  31. 31
    Betty Cracker says:

    Northam putting on “black face” in 1984 isn’t merely “stupid” — it’s racist as fuck. Don’t want Democrats brought down by bombshell revelations like that? Then our party needs to do a better job of vetting so we elect better Democrats. Same goes for sexual harassment scandals.

    Christ, it sounds like some of y’all are saying women, POC, and others who are the actual victims in these incidents should shut up and take one for the team. Fuck that.

    Yes, the Republicans and/or others behind this are scum. We aren’t them. That’s why there are consequences when allegations are substantiated, even if the source is an odious troll with a agenda.

  32. 32
    eemom says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Please don’t perpetuate that off-label use of OCD. I know it’s common but OCD is a serious illness, not an eccentricity. It’s like saying “my two real bits of cancer are….”

  33. 33
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @jl: Don’t make me start assigning homework and giving quizzes!//

  34. 34
    germy says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    Yes, the Republicans and/or others behind this are scum. We aren’t them.

    And we confuse them.

    They were all set with their “Libs refuse to disown Northam!” hot takes, and then we immediately did. And now they’re panicking because we’re pointing out their own racism (like Turtle with the confederate flag, etc.)

  35. 35
    Gravenstone says:

    @Matt McIrvin: Aside from this possible motive, what exactly is the motivation for this level of rat fuckery? Is VA intended to be a test case, with other Democratically controlled states to follow until some magical threshold is crossed?

  36. 36
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Ceci n est pas mon nym: If you go to Big League Politics, the accuser put it on her Facebook page and set it to private. Then someone who had access to the private feed brought it to the media’s attention.

  37. 37
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @The Moar You Know: Yep. Ratfucking Democrats is still such a profitable endeavor.

  38. 38
    LeeM says:

    Since the ratf’r play works so well, why would they ever stop? Dems need to play by the new rules, not the purity “spirit of the game”, or there won’t be many good Dems left. Doing something stupid/ignorant in their youth shouldn’t preclude a good politician from serving. How many Republican governors or senators have resigned over dumb actions? Kavanaugh got confirmed despite his actions in prep school. Apologize, repent and move on.

  39. 39
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Raoul: No. Roger Stone has been claiming credit for, and been credited with, a lot of stuff he has had nothing to do with it. Much of Roger Stone’s reputation of being the most effective and dirtiest of dirty tricksters is the result of Roger Stone making things up. The mythology he has created for himself has allowed him to become quite wealthy by grifting off of the reputation.

  40. 40
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    The question is whether we see something directed at Herring.

    Wouldn’t they care about the optics of that?

    As you said:

    Once is chance, twice is coincidence, the third time is enemy action.

    People would know it’s an intentional campaign at that point. Then again, my impression is that these leakers at Big League Politics aren’t strategic thinkers.

  41. 41
    Elizabelle says:

    This is why I was not part of the feeding frenzy here. Which disgusted me.

    Northam is a decent guy NOW. He was a jerk in medical school, when he posted that photo, but you have to look at a lifetime.

    His judgment was terrible when younger, and when he neglected to let people know about that yearbook and any other incidents. I think that if he had brought it out earlier, he could have still had a career in politics. Particularly if it is obvious that does not reflect who he is now.

    People can change and grow and be redeemed.

    I don’t know how this will play out; maybe Northam will still resign. But I hate this politics of destroying someone who is very much an ally in many important facets that goes on here. It fucking sickens me.

    PS: This looks like a terrible smear of Justin Fairfax. He sounds like a really good guy.

  42. 42
    germy says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    . Roger Stone has been claiming credit for, and been credited with, a lot of stuff he has had nothing to do with it.

    I think he might finally be regretting that.

    He never really had to grow up. He’s been doing this since he was a teenager. There’s something missing developmentally in him. I wonder what’s going through his mind now with all these investigations. Maybe an alarm bell has gone off in his tiny head.

  43. 43
    MagdaInBlack says:

    @Betty Cracker:
    Thank You

  44. 44
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Oh god. MSNBC reporting Biden is leaning toward getting into the primary. I fear that will not go well for him, or us.

  45. 45
    jl says:

    @Betty Cracker: I am not saying that at all. At this point, I think it would be best for Northam to resign. He messed up bad with his response.

    I do not think waiting a few days before better information about the true nature of the situation is in before calling for a resignation says anything about whether people of color, women, minors, whoever, should feel safe and secure to make good faith accusations of bad behavior or not. Of course they should.

    My point is that the GOP is depraved and will plant false stories and evidence. I personally think that the evidence that Northam is really in that infamous yearbook pic or not is ambiguous at this point. There is much clearer evidence that Norhtam did that shit a lot in the past, and even clearer evidence that he doesn’t understand the importance of the issue, and definitive evidence that in some ways he is unfit to respond adequately when confronted with the issue.

    I don’t think holding back from immediate calls for resignation in the midst of breaking news says anything about the right of victims to make good faith accusations. Of course they should, and they should be protected while doing so.

  46. 46
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Betty Cracker: Christ, it sounds like some of y’all are saying women, POC, and others who are the actual victims in these incidents should shut up and take one for the team. Fuck that.

    Hear, hear.

  47. 47
    Elizabelle says:

    @Betty Cracker: I look at what people have done since 1984 too. Ralph Northam is not George Allen.

    And I agree: 1984 is way too late to have been in blackface. 1974 too. It seems it may have been more common (and no less mean spirited) in the 1950s and 1960s and before. You will recall Virginia went for Massive Resistance (no school integration) and is the location of Loving vs. Virginia (Supreme Court decision that struck down interracial marriage bans).

    Virginia has a lot to atone for. Ralph Northam has a lot to atone for.

  48. 48
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @raven: VMI graduate on VMI graduate violence. This has nothing to do with Northam and everything to do with the fact that it is going to make people ask: “what the hell goes on at VMI?”.

  49. 49
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @raven: Also, last time the topic came up, he wasn’t necessarily anti-abortion.

  50. 50

    @Adam L Silverman: Yeah. I can’t figure out any way to absolve Northam of the yearbook thing.

    And he may have flubbed how he talked about late-term abortions, although I haven’t dug back to see what he actually said. What I will say is that the people presenting this as being the killing of live, healthy babies are worse than despicable. Brave women are offering up their experiences. Wrenching is not a strong enough word for having the fetus die in your womb, or learning that if born, the baby will suffer for a few days and then die because they have a fluid-filled void where their brain should be.

  51. 51
    jl says:

    @Adam L Silverman: ” Don’t make me start assigning homework and giving quizzes!// ”

    My dog ate it.
    It blew away in the wind on the way to school.
    I had a very important social event last night. (the frat and sorority excuse I heard most often as a grad student)

  52. 52
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    I’m with you.

  53. 53
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:

    @jl:
    This. 👍

  54. 54
    Gravenstone says:

    @Adam L Silverman: The fact the blackface/Klan pic was in his med school yearbook makes me wonder what sort of environment that particular school supported, as well.

  55. 55
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Matt McIrvin: Ugh, would you fucking stop with your doom-mongering. Whatever Northam may or may not be, whatever he may or may not have done, he is a neo-natal doctor and he has demonstrated professional and political standards on this issue. Indeed, if he hadn’t, it’s a lead-pipe cinch that he wouldn’t be facing the shitstorm he is facing right now. To suggest that he would be that easily bought off is an insult to a guy who’s injured, and done enough injury, enough already.

    If all you’re ever going to do is come around and spout half-assed reasons for why Democrats are all DOOOOOMED, tell me, why do you bother? On second thought, don’t tell me. Just stop.

  56. 56
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷: The don’t care about the optics.

  57. 57
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @Elizabelle: Agreed. There are too many things coming up of critical importance to be constantly be overreacting to ratfuckery.

    Focus on the present. Here there be monsters.

  58. 58
    NotMax says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor

    Not that you’ll be moving again in the near future, but why not just get a gmail (or other 3rd party service) address that you won’t need to change regardless?

  59. 59
    Woodrow/Asim says:

    @germy:

    now they’re panicking because we’re pointing out their own racism (like Turtle with the confederate flag, etc.)

    Hell, yes. And these calls to circle the wagon only aid the ratfuckers, in the long run. They would ADORE Democrats abandoning our ethics.

    Why? Because we’re the only thing holding the entire damn American political system from becoming the morality-free free-for-all that would make Putin real damn happy. They want kneejerk defensive reactions steeped in “political calculus”, and speedy resolutions that dump any sense of propriety. Things that feel great in the moment, but long-term destroy people’s trust.

    Want to stop this crap? Kick Northam. Let Fairfax be investigated. Show that we’re about more than winning at any cost, and that we bring those ethics to the political “game”.

  60. 60
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: He won’t be in long. The GOP and conservative political operatives have every picture of him, where he can be accused of being handy or a groper or of being too much of a hugger all teed up and ready to go.

  61. 61
    Sasha says:

    @Betty Cracker:
    Well I am a woman and a poc and a resident of VA to boot, and I am totally willing to take one for the team. I like Ralph Northam and have been appalled by this pile-on that has so obviously been orchestrated by the republicans. 1984 was 35 years ago. I knew people who would have thought black-face was no big deal. I don’t need a yearbook photo to tell me who Ralph Northam is; I know him by his accomplishments; I know him by the fact that 400,000 people will have access to medical care because of his efforts.

  62. 62
    RAVEN says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I’d never seen it but he’s raging repeatedly and the choir is with him.

  63. 63
    RAVEN says:

    @Sasha: Well no one here who is not a POC can say anything to that effect.

  64. 64
    NotMax says:

    @Elizabelle

    Above the Mason-Dixon line minstrel shows were still a thing through the 50s (eyewitness to that) and into the very earliest 60s, although with ever decreasing scope and frequency.

  65. 65
    satby says:

    @Elizabelle: also all the reasons why why I never commented.

  66. 66
    The Moar You Know says:

    Also, last time the topic came up, he wasn’t necessarily anti-abortion.

    @Adam L Silverman: He’s been a walking embodiment of Cleek’s Law since Trayvon. I was trying to remember exactly when I saw him go over the edge, and that incident was the one that turned him into a psycho. Stopped commenting there right about then. Damn shame what that man has turned into.

  67. 67
    eemom says:

    @Elizabelle:

    I initially agreed with you, but the bottom line is it’s not for white people to decide whether Northam should be “forgiven” or not. Every Black person I know was of the opinion that not only is what he did NOT forgivable, it likely is not the only racist thing he’s ever done.

    What if he wore a Nazi uniform back then and said it’s not who he is now?

  68. 68
    tobie says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: This is a little off topic but thanks for bringing up what an impossible position most women are in who have to decide about a late term abortion. The only good thing Andrew Sullivan ever did on his blog was post the accounts of women who had written about why they had a late-term abortion. Every letter was so painful to read. These are impossible situations. You dream of family and then you learn that the fetus you’re carrying will be born with an external spinal cord (or some other excruciating disability) and will likely survive no more than ten days in constant pain. Every story was so harrowing it left an indelible trace in my brain.

  69. 69
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Elizabelle:

    Northam needs to resign because the African-American voters who rallied behind him and got him elected don’t trust him anymore. Period. He’s not going to be able to function now. It was all over as soon as he issued an apology on Friday, which he shouldn’t have done if he really didn’t think it was him. He shot himself in the foot with that move.

    I’m suspicious of the Fairfax accusations and am willing to wait for more information.

  70. 70
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Adam L Silverman: and Intercept will let slip the Pekinese of Purity on his actual record as a Senator, as opposed to the Uncle Joe of the Obama years. For his own sake, I hope somebody can reach him before it’s too late, cause I do like him, and I think he can be effective as Uncle Joe. Once he declares, I fear he’ll become irrevocably damaged as a surrogate/advocate/spokesman.

  71. 71
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: He was explaining, in almost clinical terms, the palliative care, the bioethical considerations, and the medical decisions that have to be made by the mother and the physician when a nonviable fetus is carried to term and delivered alive, but is not expected to live long, live healthily, or live pain free. This got cropped, removed from context, and then weaponized.

  72. 72
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:

    @RAVEN:

    If I know if you’re talking about, he pied me a while back. Can’t say I’m too broken up about it.

  73. 73
    Elizabelle says:

    @Sasha: Thank you, Sasha. I have adored the people here who assumes that photo says everything there is to know about Ralph Northam.

    I would never presume to say that about someone from another state if I knew nothing of the backstory.

    And Matt McIrvin’s saying Northam would put a finger to wind over abortion rights, when women’s health (hint, way more than just abortion) has been a signature issue of Dr. Northam’s. Go look it up.

    Can you imagine the stuff he saw as a pediatric neurologist? And his Tidewater area is full of underserved people and military folks, who often come from more deprived circumstances.

  74. 74
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Betty Cracker: No arguments here.

  75. 75
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Gravenstone: Virginia in the early 1980s was a whole different world. The context doesn’t excuse anything, but it does help us make sense of it.

  76. 76
  77. 77
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    A lot of us sensed rat bothering with the first accusations.

  78. 78
    Martin says:

    @Elizabelle: I will reiterate as a white male with all the privilege boxes checked. If you want to end this cycle of white, patriarchal privilege, then you have to hold people accountable at all times. Northam could be an awesome guy now, but he got where he was by having that 1984 incident and his 1984 view of the world either swept under the rug or excused. Same as with Kavanaugh. You have to look at your life as a series of assets and liabilities. At some point you have to pay off your liabilities. You can do it early, when it’s cheap, or you can do it later when it’s probably going to be expensive.

    Privilege is a matter of creating competing path dependencies. Would Northam have gotten the same opportunities had that photo come out sooner, or been taken more seriously at the university? I can’t imagine he would have, but Northam availed himself of opportunities that should have been extended to others. If we care about the people shut out of opportunities, and we want a society where everyone has a fair shot, then you have to take these situations and no matter how good the individual is, force them to pay for their liabilities along with all the interest accrued. Otherwise you’re just rewarding the individual and using their current state as justification for the privilege, which only perpetuates the problem. If Northam really cared about this, he’d recognize that he personally benefitted from an unjust system and would seek to correct that. He would also recognize that he is not Virginia’s political Mary Sue, welcome the Lt. Gov into the position and vow to help him by giving his energy to addressing this problem more broadly. He’s not doing that either.

  79. 79
    Elizabelle says:

    @Mnemosyne: Really? I think that is true for some, and not true for others.

  80. 80
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @RAVEN: He’s almost 80. He’s had some health issues. He is who he has both become and made himself into.

  81. 81
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:

    @Mnemosyne:
    Also this 👍.

    I don’t see the problem with letting Fairfax be investigated over the accusation. The WaPo sat on this for several months and couldn’t substantiate any of it (which doesn’t mean it didn’t happen).

    He’s not going to be able to function now.

    Unless he decides to go full metal asshole and become a Republican. That would fuck over Virgina.

  82. 82
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @eemom: Ever listen to David Bowie? Have you disowned his music because he went through a Nazi phase?

  83. 83
    Gravenstone says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷: They’re not referring to anyone who posts here.

  84. 84
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: No, I was actually all in for his answers about abortion, because — and I was saying this to Kay the afternoon before the yearbook photo story dropped — he actually knows about gravely sick babies and he was answering from the perspective of someone who has been there. That wasn’t a bad answer at all. It was edited for outrage, and I think he would have won the battle for public opinion over it, too.

    The yearbook photo he’s botched, although I have to think why he keeps screwing up is that he’s so sure he’s a good non-racist guy who just made a few jokes for goofy wholesome fun, and he’s not getting that if you don’t know him as Mr. Aw-shucks Decency Northam you’re not going to give him the benefit of the doubt that, say, the collaborative blackface-Klan costume was some sort of inside joke that made more sense then than now. He can’t salvage it; I’m not defending it; but this is why he’s being so weird about it, I think. It’s because he is very sure he’s decent and fun-loving and that he didn’t mean it like that and anyone who knows him would know.

  85. 85
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Elizabelle:

    IIRC, the Black caucus of the Virginia House of Delegates has called for Northam’s resignation. If he doesn’t resign, how cooperative are they going to be with his agenda?

    If he didn’t think it was him, he shouldn’t have apologized on Friday. Once he did that, he boxed himself into a corner.

  86. 86
    eemom says:

    @RAVEN:

    WHO are you talking about??

  87. 87
    Martin says:

    @Brachiator:

    Also, I agree with you about Al Franken. It always seemed to me that he was more easily ejected because he was not part of the club, someone who had risen through traditional political channels.

    Al Franken was easy because he recognized the damage being done and decided to not perpetuate it, unlike Northam. It’s why we should invite Franken back into service. He paid his dues.

  88. 88
    Brachiator says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    I know where the quote comes from.

    Yep. The quote is so much fun, I wanted to make sure I gave credit where credit is due for the benefit of others who read it.

    And I really enjoyed your original statement, which quickly brought the Bond quote to mind as a response.

    Virginian in the early 1980s was a whole different world.

    I wonder. Are people going through other yearbooks, looking for offensive photos and antics?

  89. 89
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @The Moar You Know: He and I had a long talk about Martin. About how poorly written the statute was. How Baxley, the state legislator whose name is on it, even though it was actually written by Marion Hammer, constantly misrepresents the statute in interviews with the news media because he 1) doesn’t actually understand what he put his name on and 2) is dumb as a box of rocks and that’s insensitive and insulting to boxes, rocks, and the word “of”. I explained that the news reporting on this was a mess, that you could actually watch reporters adjust reporting as they got pounded by 2nd amendment absolutists. I explained that Zimmerman’s dad was a local elite and notable. I explained that he had a history of being a long time loser with really bad judgement and anger issues. And I explained that this wouldn’t even be a stand your ground case, which it wasn’t. And I finally explained that opening comments up to Facebook had turned them into a sewer.

    The conversation was difficult. I thought I’d gotten through, And for a while I did. Ultimately I had to walk away.

  90. 90
    ruemara says:

    1. Blackface is a hallowed tradition that will keep popping up every damned year, so stop saying it was horrible that it happened in the modern age of 1984. Time to accept that enough white people want to do it. Like they’d die if they couldn’t do it. I can’t take hearing how OMG it was 1984 for shame when we can look at 2017’s news timeline and find people still doing it. Shit, we have fricking blackfishing for pete’s sake.

    2. Northam needs to go, not because of this idiotic action, but because his current actions have been tone deaf/bizarre/demoralizing to the entire coalition that got him into office. He couldn’t have screwed the pooch any worse. Although I’m hearing his PAC might also be talking up this report of harassment, so he might be going for a record.

    3. Didn’t I say that someone is doing the work to get “scandals” out into the air?

    Frankly, the fact that this is supposed to occupy my time is angering me. We have a government that is now arguing that the children they stole & gave to good honest white christian families to raise as whitewashed tokens pets, would be traumatizing to the children. They certainly didn’t fucking care about that when they did child separations, did they? There’s a fucking prison full of people in NYC run by the Feds that has no heat and hasn’t had any heat in a week. That’s a damned crisis. Puerto Rico is well into year 2 with no aid and everyone has forgotten the US Virgin Islands completely. I do not fucking care about the antics of benign racist Northam & his bullshit. I will cut my losses with the options on the table for retaining control because this administration is more than willing to kill in the hundreds by simply not lifting a finger.

  91. 91
    raven says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I’m sorry, the only reason I brought it up is the comment upstairs about the pro-life connection.

  92. 92
    Elizabelle says:

    @Martin: I will agree that Northam was elected under false pretenses, as voters did not know that photo (and who knows what else?) was out there. He needed to deal with that years ago, and did not. Had he brought that up as something he was ashamed of, and that he had worked hard to atone, it might have been a different story. Maybe he would have run for governor, maybe not.

    I don’t like these cable news cycles, and the superjacked up keyboard commandoes.

  93. 93
    Sasha says:

    @RAVEN: And this is part of the problem. Can white people really feel comfortable saying that maybe in the lexicon of sins black face, 35 years ago, isn’t the same as black-face today and isn’t the worst thing someone can have done? If I had a friend who had put on black-face 35 years ago I would not drop that friend unless it reflected his current values. If I had a friend who put on black-face today, I would drop him/her. Things change and so do people.

    Who know, maybe that makes me a race-traitor or a partisan hack but it amazes me that we have let republicans be our puppet-masters.

  94. 94
    randy khan says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    I do not understand the theory that Northam would switch to save himself. He has almost nothing in common with the Republican Party in Virginia – he supports gun control (maybe not as much as I would support, but way more than any Republican would support), abortion rights, and Medicaid expansion, took on the Charlottesville mob, etc., etc. He does not have a history of being an opportunist; to the contrary, he turned down at least one opportunity to switch years ago when it would have been beneficial to him (at least reputedly he did – I’ve never seen any confirmation that he actually was approached).

  95. 95
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @Brachiator:

    Yep. It’s not that what Northam did was not bad. But Democrats need to reject this knee-jerk zero tolerance bullshit And they need to stop letting right wing tricksters jerk their chains.

    The GOP getting as an advantage is not the problem,

    * A complete lack of mercy and no due process isn’t justice. And that offends the voters too.

    * The demands for utter purity is why the GOP is filled with loons and conman.

    Saints are the exception, not the rule with humans.

  96. 96
    raven says:

    @eemom: Sic Semper Tyrannis. He actually used to be on the blog roll here and I waged jihad to get him expelled for years (I have no Ideas if that had anything to do with it) but he ‘s been gone for quite some time.

  97. 97
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @eemom:

    What if he wore a Nazi uniform back then and said it’s not who he is now?

    Bibi Netanyahu would probably hold a press conference with him declaring him a friend of Israel. And I wish I could put sarc tags on that.

  98. 98
    eemom says:

    @A Ghost To Most:

    Judging someone’s art by an ugliness in their life is a personal choice. That’s not the situation here. We’re talking about the accountability of an elected leader.

  99. 99
    Woodrow/Asim says:

    @Sasha:

    1984 was 35 years ago. I knew people who would have thought black-face was no big deal.

    Hi. I’m African-American, in the American South. I disagree; people knew.

    My “friends” who decided, on an overnight field trip, to “play KKK” in a pillow fight against me, as the only African-American in the room? They knew. And that was a bunch of HS kids!

    This isn’t about “politics”. It’s about fuckin’ moral decency, as well. Both play into why the VAST majority of the Democratic leadership has called for him to step down, including many African-American members of the VA legse — people who, like me, lived thru the 80s and know what the boundaries of acceptable behavior were, because we were surrounded by casual racism, growing up, and had to learn to navigate it, to decide what to keep with us, and what to let go of.

    I’m certain he’s been a very good Governor. It’s never fun to have your side smacked for stuff you accuse the other side of being steeped in.

    But some things should be beyond the pale (no pun intended). And yes, I assert this incident — be it the pic or cosplaying MJ — is one.

  100. 100
    Ceci7 says:

    @Betty Cracker: Yes. And black voters in particular have been taking one for the team for generations, and then showing up and doing the right thing for whatever Dem candidates end up on the ballot. Maybe Northam should have paid more attention to the post-2016 election conversation about voting and race. There are very good resources available to help white people educate themselves about racism in its internalized and structural forms. I’m glad some Democratic folks are brave enough to call out the racism and insist we address it.

  101. 101
    raven says:

    @Sasha: Beats me, I stayed out of it the other day because there was NO room for any conversation.

  102. 102
    Miss Bianca says:

    @tobie: @Cheryl Rofer: Seconded or thirded.

    I am not excusing Northam’s racist cosplay, but I am sickened and infuriated that the apparent trigger for the right-wing to decide to weaponize the evidence is the late-term abortion bill.

    I have mentioned here before that I worked for Planned Parenthood back in the day, and that before I worked there I was a volunteer abortion advocate. Which doesn’t I mean I was advocating for women to get abortions – it means that when they were there to get one, that I was there to listen to them, hold their hands (literally), and watch after them in the recovery room. The stories I heard were always wrenching – no woman in the world gets pregnant just to have an abortion for the hell of it.

    And the worst was having to counsel women who were too far along for us to handle at our clinic. Because either they had wanted to get one earlier, but couldn’t afford it, and had to raise more and more money as they got farther and father along, or it was because they had found out something was seriously wrong with the fetus.

    God damn the god-botherers, do-gooders, and asshole forced-birthers, men and women alike, who make a hard decision even harder by sticking their noses into what is NONE OF THEIR GODDAMNED BUSINESS.

    And whatever else Northam has done or failed to do, bless him for standing up for women’s health and reproductive rights.

  103. 103
    Sasha says:

    @eemom: How do we make this determination? Should we have an election in which only black people can vote? Because I’m black and I don’t want him to resign over this.

  104. 104
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Without a doubt. Good, bad, or otherwise, his time to do this has passed. He can do other important things like acting as a surrogate on behalf of whomever the nominee is. I think the same is true for Senator Sanders.

  105. 105
    Sasha says:

    @Mnemosyne: If they share the same agenda, I would expect the to cooperate fully. Would you expect them to sabotage their own interests just to pay him back?

  106. 106
    rikyrah says:

    Fairfax has had this investigated by several media outposts. They couldn’t/wouldn’t run with it.

  107. 107
    Mandalay says:

    @jl:

    he doesn’t understand the importance of the issue

    For me this is the biggest reason (among several) he has to go.

    Put aside whether he was actually in the photo in the year book. Put aside his Michael Jackson routine. Put aside that he has deliberately kept quiet about his past behavior for 35 years, while pontificating on the evils of racism. Put aside some dubious actions in his recent past relating to race. Put aside his complete flip flop on being in the photo. Put aside the source of the leak about the year book ( which doesn’t matter anyway). Put aside the harm is doing to the Democratic Party.

    How can any person of color in Virginia have any trust in him after his behavior over the weekend? He truly doesn’t understand the seriousness of the issue, so he’s unfit for office.

  108. 108
    Citizen Alan says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    I’d asked on an earlier thread how that picture could have possibly made it past the yearbook editorial board. Turns out that pre-2013, this prestigious medical school maintained less oversight over an official student publication than the average middle school does over a student annual put out by twelve-year-olds. Amazing.

  109. 109

    @NotMax: I wish I’d done that years ago. My two current addresses are a gmail address and a yahoo one. The Yahoo one was screwed up because it has my domain name attached and the company that is responsible for that has to verify annually. I changed my email at Yahoo but not at this other place.

    In the same vein, I just got tax info from one of my publishers. I know I changed my physical address with them because they’ve sent me a royalty check since then. But their tax info part didn’t get the message and it went to my Iowa address. There’s no indication on the form of how to change my address now.

    Just irritants in the grand scheme of Trump’s USA, but they are irritating.

  110. 110
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques:

    Interestingly, the right wing initially coordinated their attack as Look at the hypocritical libs giving a free pass for blackface to one of their own guys! and then immediately had to backpedal as soon as Democrats started calling for Northam’s resignation. You can still find it on Erick Erickson’s Twitter timeline.

    They actually expected us to defend Northam. Why do you want us to play into their hands rather than standing up for what we think is right?

  111. 111
    trollhattan says:

    @Raoul:
    It wouldn’t surprise me. He’s the Pandora’s box of Republican shenanigans.

    I also find the similarities between what the Republicans do to destabilize their rivals and what the Russians do, disturbingly strong.

  112. 112
    The Moar You Know says:

    It’s why we should invite Franken back into service. He paid his dues.

    @Martin: If I were Franken, and I’m not (he’d be a lot more polite) I’d say “fuck your service”. I really would. We didn’t have his back last time and he surely knows we won’t the next time. Why the fuck would anyone run as a Dem when you know that sooner or later you’ll get thrown out of the helicopter as soon as a Republican publishes some bullshit story about you? And that’s not “if” but “when”.

    You won’t even get a hearing. Remember Franken’s hearing? Yeah, me neither. He was supposed to get one. We didn’t even give him that.

    I am fucking revolted, enraged, and appalled at what we’re doing to our own party right now.

  113. 113
    rikyrah says:

    I know that we are in the era of #Metoo…but, I’ll say it again…
    I’ve always been skeptical of ‘believe every woman’, because the pages of history of THIS country are littered with the blood of Black men at the end of FALSE accusations against them.

  114. 114
    eemom says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Well, Bibi is just a tad different from what I’d call a model of responsible leadership.

  115. 115
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷: @eemom: Not someone who comments here. He’s referring to one of the people who trained me to do what I do professionally, who was one of my long time mentors, and who I have been estranged from for a number of years now because I couldn’t follow where he was leading.

  116. 116
    Immanentize says:

    @raven: Who is saying this? Isn’t Trump supposed to be complaining about abortion tonight in the SOTU? Is that one of the links?

  117. 117
    Elizabelle says:

    @Martin:

    he is not Virginia’s political Mary Sue,

    What does that phrase mean?

    FWIW, we had a Democratic candidate for governor, in 1993 against George (“Macaca!”) Allen. Mary Sue Terry. Had been the Attorney General.

    Wiki summarizes well:

    She was Attorney General of Virginia from 1986 until 1993, when she resigned to run for Governor of Virginia against Republican George Allen. Allen won the November 1993 election despite Terry’s early and significant lead. Her unpopular gun-control stance alienated her rural base voters. Her campaign was “lacklustre”, and the religious right was a factor even though Michael Farris lost his bid to be Lieutenant Governor of Virginia. Her opponents also pointed out that she was unmarried, and perhaps less empathetic on family issues.

    I remember that campaign well. Although it was actually during her successful (!) campaign for attorney-general that some good ol boy GOP state legislator named Buster was whingeing about her “five ringless fingers.”

    Actually, ten. But, details.

  118. 118
    eemom says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor:

    You know, we get that you’re a successful published writer. You don’t need to keep reminding us every 10 minutes.

  119. 119
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @eemom: Northam, like Bowie, grew beyond an ugly past.

    Time only moves forward. Past demons are past. You are ignoring current demons (ratfuckers and their GOP benefactors) to joust at past demons. Just as the ratfuckers intended.

  120. 120

    Making Northam resign for his lack of judgment and poor taste 35 years ago, while a Russian agent sits in the WH is akin to self immolation in strategic terms.

  121. 121
    Betty Cracker says:

    @jl:

    I am not saying that at all.

    Then you weren’t included in the “some of y’all” to whom I was referring. There are folks in this thread who DID say that.

    @Sasha: Obviously I can’t speak to how every black person in America would have perceived that yearbook photo in 1984, so I’ll take your word for it that “black face” was “no big deal” to some people. But I was a college freshman at an SEC school back then, and I’m pretty confident that approximately 100% of my fellow white college classmates would have understood that dressing in such a get-up was aggressively racist.

    I hear what you’re saying about the good Northam has done since then. From what I know of the man from a distance, I don’t think that photo defines his entire life. I understand the reluctance to “pile on” — allegations must be substantiated. I admire the generous impulse to allow for personal growth, etc.

    But holding our own to strict standards about racism, sexism, homophobia, etc., is core to our identity as Democrats. I was in favor of Florida’s GOP Secretary of State being forced to resign a couple of weeks back for wearing “black face.” It would be hypocritical and wrong to bend that standard for a Democrat, IMO.

    It’s not just about a political “win” or “loss” in a specific situation. It’s about changing the status quo.

  122. 122
    Miss Bianca says:

    @ruemara: Just wanted to say “I agree” to everything you just said here.

  123. 123
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:

    @The Moar You Know:
    Somebody already explained to you why an ethics hearing would have dragged on for months. Besides, when accusations by a Democratic congressional aide surfaced, that was the last straw and Franken was tossed out.

  124. 124
    raven says:

    @The Moar You Know: He banned me for the crime of “hiding out in Korea” even thought I also went to the Nam”. I also posted the well known

    “x“We, the unwilling, led by the unknowing, are doing the impossible for the ungrateful. We have done so much, for so long, with so little, we are now qualified to do anything with nothing.”“We, the unwilling, led by the unknowing, are doing the impossible for the ungrateful. We have done so much, for so long, with so little, we are now qualified to do anything with nothing.”

    And he went into a white hot rage and claimed he never heard it even thought it was on 10,000 fucking Zippos!

  125. 125
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Sasha:

    Last year, Northam swooped in to push through a controversial natural gas line through a historic Black neighborhood. Who should the Black caucus side with, Northam or the neighborhood’s residents?

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/virginia-politics/ugly-episode-northam-allies-slam-his-decision-to-alter-board-before-dominion-vote/2018/11/27/4e895c7c-f263-11e8-80d0-f7e1948d55f4_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.16be188c1468

  126. 126
    Immanentize says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Likely will be the same result as every other time Biden ran for President.

  127. 127
    Citizen Alan says:

    @NotMax:

    Hell, I’ve had discussions about racism in late-70’s Doctor Who that ended when I pointed out that The Black & White Minstrel show was on until 1978 and was still extremely popular when it was taken off the air.

  128. 128
    randy khan says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    You won’t even get a hearing. Remember Franken’s hearing? Yeah, me neither. He was supposed to get one. We didn’t even give him that.

    That would have been literally the stupidest political choice possible. It was fine for him to say the Ethics Committee should look at the initial report, but once you’re up to 7 or 8 (and counting, at that point), there’s no good that’s going to come of it.

    I’m all for standing on principle when it makes sense, but by the time he resigned it was only the possible choice. I’m sorry that’s true, but I find myself kind of bewildered when people act like there was some kind of due process violation – there’s no due process for political careers, and there never has been.

  129. 129
    The Moar You Know says:

    The conversation was difficult. I thought I’d gotten through, And for a while I did. Ultimately I had to walk away.

    @Adam L Silverman: I don’t have the personal connection you guys did, but as a formerly avid reader of his blog I just found his slide into…whatever the hell his deal is now, to be utterly tragic. He knew better, probably still does, but he chose to go there anyway. Chooses to stay there. Is getting really nothing but angry and bitter. I suspect he’s miserable, probably physically but that’s really not my business.

    And in the end, when people do this, and sometimes they do, you just gotta walk.

  130. 130
    eemom says:

    @raven:

    Ah. I do remember your jihad but I don’t remember the guy’s name.

  131. 131
    Immanentize says:

    @Betty Cracker: Same for me.

  132. 132
    Sasha says:

    @Woodrow/Asim: People can disagree. What makes me crazy are the people assume that all black people think one way (not you). Someone on twitter, responding to my tweet, said that medicaid expansion does not erase what he did. I said his actions don’t erase the past but they illuminate it and I think that’s true. I think he’s been a good public servant and I am willing to give him a pass.

  133. 133
    Miss Bianca says:

    @eemom: Oh, fuck off. Seriously, just fuck off.

  134. 134
    Elizabelle says:

    I believe in mercy. I really do.

    I would be absolutely fine if Northam got a few months of a “listening and atoning” tour in, and then resigned before the elections in 2019 (unless he was unusually successful with the tour).

    I hate the baby with the bathwater shit. I am feeling less and less like a jackal these days.

  135. 135
    Brachiator says:

    @Martin:

    Also, I agree with you about Al Franken. It always seemed to me that he was more easily ejected because he was not part of the club, someone who had risen through traditional political channels.

    Al Franken was easy because he recognized the damage being done and decided to not perpetuate it, unlike Northam.

    Northam may have doomed himself by the weird stupidity of his response to the offending photo, but the initial reaction was stupid and self-defeating, as was some of the reaction to Franken. I still wonder whether opportunists within the party saw a way to kick Franken out of the club.

    It’s why we should invite Franken back into service. He paid his dues.

    Or as the song goes,

    I’ve paid my dues
    Time after time
    I’ve done my sentence
    But committed no crime

  136. 136
    Mary G says:

    I am sure Virginia Republicans are enraged and frightened that so many of their seats flipped in 2017 that they retained control of the state legislature only by winning a coin toss, and are pulling out all of the stops and dirty tricks old and new because their internal polling looks even worse this year. I thought and said many times that Al Franken should have insisted on his ethics investigations being finished before resigning.

    But Northam’s whole yearbook page screamed entitled rich Southern white boy to me with the Corvette and the GWB pose in the cowboy hat and he needed to go even before his disastrous handling of all this.

    Blackface isn’t something from the bad old days. The Covington kids are doing it now. Their blithe denial of any racist motives – “it’s just blackout day!” is white male privilege at its toxic finest.

    Fairfax is another story. They are stretching the limits of credulity with this weak tea of one incident 14 years ago with a woman who won’t come forward.

    Republicans are reaping what they’ve sown. I am sure their internal polling looks terrible for this year’s elections after the shutdown struck their economy and their voter suppression only goes so far. I stand behind Fairfax.

  137. 137
    tobie says:

    @Miss Bianca: Thanks for your work at Planned Parenthood and for fighting for choice. You walked the walk and helped far more women than you will ever know.

  138. 138
    Mnemosyne says:

    @eemom:

    Did you mean to come across as petty and jealous? Because you totally did.

  139. 139
    Martin says:

    @Sasha: Friendship is different. Northam has profited from this, unfairly. And by fighting this, he’s now doing additional harm, as ruemara so regularly reminds us.

    Its infuriating that we expect Dems to fight for personal benefit because the timing of the airing of their sins was unfortunate for them even when doing harm to the very principles they claim to be fighting so hard for, and using that claim to justify staying in office. Doing good often requires sacrifice. I see POC and women sacrificing for the greater good all the damn time. Northam resigning is a small sacrifice. He can’t be re-elected. He sure as fuck isn’t going to be elected to a higher office after this. He has a Dem Lt Gov. Every principle he claims to care about can be satisfied by stepping down, only by staying in office does he violate them.

  140. 140
    jl says:

    @Betty Cracker: OK thanks. I think that immediate extreme reactions to scandalous charges against current candidates and elected office holders (like calls for resignation) in the midst of breaking news are very bad in general, so on that topic I am one of the touchy peeps on this blog today, and probably beating the point into the ground.

  141. 141
    Sasha says:

    @rikyrah: YES, YES, YES.

  142. 142
    Immanentize says:

    @Miss Bianca: You have an excellent ability to state what I think.

  143. 143
    The Moar You Know says:

    He banned me for the crime of “hiding out in Korea” even thought I also went to the Nam”.

    Jesus. That’s not OK. At all.

    I also posted the well known “x“ We, the unwilling, led by the unknowing, are doing the impossible for the ungrateful. We have done so much, for so long, with so little, we are now qualified to do anything with nothing.”“We, the unwilling, led by the unknowing, are doing the impossible for the ungrateful. We have done so much, for so long, with so little, we are now qualified to do anything with nothing.”

    And he went into a white hot rage and claimed he never heard it even thought it was on 10,000 fucking Zippos!

    @raven: Of course he heard that before. Damn. Just damn. You got “done raw”.

    He tossed me for objecting to his posting of IS decapitation videos, I having made some smartass remarks that they were doing the work of the jihadists for them. I was OK with that, that’s a good reason to get banhammered. I also noticed he stopped posting them shortly after. Churlish fucker.

  144. 144
    Sasha says:

    @eemom: In our house it is always, ‘fvcking Bibi”. When I think of him getting re-elected, I think, “is there really no-one else, Israel?”.

  145. 145
    Elizabelle says:

    @rikyrah: Absolutely.

    I have a friend who is a dear friend of Justin Fairfax. He is the real deal.

  146. 146
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    Oh.

  147. 147
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Brachiator: I would expect so.

  148. 148
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @raven: No worries.

  149. 149
    Miss Bianca says:

    @rikyrah: Impossible to argue with that point.

  150. 150
    Brachiator says:

    @eemom:

    What if he wore a Nazi uniform back then and said it’s not who he is now?

    You mean like Prince Harry once did?

    Is wearing a Nazi uniform at a party in the 1980s as bad as belonging to the actual Nazi party today?

    Should there be a distinction?

  151. 151
    gvg says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: There are very few false accusations. However, when we don’t even know anything about the accusation beyond “it’s alleged” I don’t see how we can take it that seriously yet. If there ever is a time when a false allegation might be made, it’s over politics right now and over abortion rights where some of the partisans are looney tunes …it might happen. I need to hear the accusation to even begin to consider it.
    After Northram blew up his job by handling the accusation so badly, how Fairfax handles this may be telling too. Some people don’t handle pressure well, or really know they are guilty. We will see.
    If the accusations end op looking false, it’s going to have implications to the public going forward.

  152. 152
    RinaX says:

    @Sasha:

    I’m black as well, and my immediate response upon seeing the picture was to question what he’s done in the 35 years since. My mother, who used to walk home and have a truck full of racist rednecks yell horrible things to her every day (until they were killed in a car crash — really!) and other crap is shrugging it off and saying he should stay in office, who cares about old stuff. Same with my father and my aunts and uncles of that generation. Others may have relatives of that same age range who feel differently. There’s definitely more indifference than anger about the incident in my circle. *Shrug*

  153. 153
    CaseyL says:

    @ruemara: YES!

    Some past incidents can’t be atoned for, but most can be. I was reluctant to condemn Northam on the basis of a non-criminal incident 35 years ago, particularly since his political life has seemed to be a positive one.

    With the Fairfax accusations, the whole thing now looks like a coordinated ratfuck.

    And I am tired of having to lose good, effective Democratic politicians in the name of purity.

  154. 154
    Sasha says:

    @Betty Cracker: I didn’t mean that I knew black people who would have thought it was no big deal but that I had conversations with white people I liked, not specifically about black-face but other racially charged matters, and I couldn’t convince them that whatever we were talking about was wrong. They just thought I was ‘thin skinned”. I keep coming back to the fact that it was published in the yearbook; a lot of people must not have thought it was beyond the pale.

    I thought this other incident was much more recent and tbh, I was surprised he resigned but I don’t see this as being the same at all. Ralph Northam has spent the time since that photo making a positive difference in the lives of many people, your guy has spent the time being a republican hack; working against the interests of black people. This is what I mean when I say his actions illuminate the event.

  155. 155
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @eemom: This is true.

  156. 156
    Raven says:

    @The Moar You Know: Last month he said he was on the review board for the “Green Beret murder case” and he also says he never heard of Major Budge Williams ( a snake eating eagle scout from Athens Ga who is now in prison for child porn and selling automatic weapons) who was one of the Green Beeines in the case.

  157. 157
    Brachiator says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Virginia in the early 1980s was a whole different world. The context doesn’t excuse anything, but it does help us make sense of it.

    And now, thanks to the link provided by Cheryl, we are learning that this medical school was a different world until 2013, when they hired a VP for diversity.

  158. 158
    Martin says:

    @Elizabelle:

    he is not Virginia’s political Mary Sue,

    What does that phrase mean?

    A Mary Sue is a character, usually in fan fiction, that is unrealistically gifted. The phrase gets extended to other areas. For example, in certain video game genres you typically play a protagonist who is a commoner who has some unique gift such that only you can save the world.

    I see no reason why any give Dem can’t advance liberal values in Virginia. Northam does not possess such political gifts that he, and he alone, can rescue the Commonwealth. So it comes down to whether he cares about those things being achieved, or him being the one to achieve them.

    I get that people are mad about possible ratfuckery, but this page has been confirmed as real. Northam did apologize for it, walked it back a bit while admitting he only did blackface of Michael Jackson, as if that’s some special racist carve-out. By all means be mad about actual misrepresentations of acts, but if this is just a case of a political operative releasing something at an inopportune time, then tough shit. That just means that Northam was in a (perhaps unknown) pact of convenience with the ratfucker – allowing him to advance his political career until such time that the ratfucker chooses to tear it down.

    That’s why Obama admitted to his drug use in his book before his candidacy. It breaks that pact. It comes out on his terms, with his explanation. He’s still judged by those actions, but doesn’t have the additional liability of having hid it from the public. Northam could have outed himself, and even benefitted politically had he done it the right way, but he handed that power to someone like a Roger Stone.

  159. 159
    Woodrow/Asim says:

    @Sasha:

    I think he’s been a good public servant and I am willing to give him a pass.

    so, here’s my scale. Folks like Byrd and Justice Black — they were in the KKK. In the former case, he didn’t hide it; in the latter, when it came out he acknowledged it.

    In both cases, they didn’t minimize their “youthful transgressions.” Rather, those situations were handed, from jump, with awareness and thoughtfulness about how it would be seen in the communities they served, as Senator and Supreme Court Justice.

    I’ve…been in something like a hot-seat like this. And I’ve strived to be honest about the “lesser angels” of my past, and show not just that I changed, but define how my sins of the past have changed me.

    If Northam wanted the trust this announcement put at risk to be repaired, he could have spoken as to how he’s learned to change. How he opened his heart from the casual racism of his youth into the supporter of many groups of people at risk today, including African-Americans. That he can never take back whatever actual racist crap he’s done, but he’s willing to fight for the trust of All Virginians.

    Instead: the best “defense” I’ve read of him is this article from The Root, where someone who knows and likes him points out the very things the soon-to-be ex-Gov could have brought to the table — and what he needed to understand most of us folks were seeing, when this popped and he said “yep, that’s me in the spotlight!”

    Instead: we got him having to get talked out of moonwalking at the damned press conference!

    I just…I don’t have TIME to coddle this guy’s ego, Sasha. We don’t have time, as a country, anymore.

    To reference what @Elizabelle says, this isn’t about mercy. It’s about justice. It’s about living in a time where the scales change, and things that were hidden will be brought to light, as we have to actually deal with them, deal with the so-called “America’s Original Sin” of Racism.

    I contend that Mere Mercy is not the approach that must be taken, at this point in time. We must have strong standards, and be willing to articulate them, apply them, and take the hits from them — least we defend anyone we “like” when they do something like this, AND leave it as an unexploded bomb in their political background.

    And I’ll close with this quote from that article, on why I say all this:

    Today, as everyone indicts the governor for his racism and everyone professes to stew in anger at how he has let down his constituents, I am most disturbed by the ways that we allow folks to construct progressive public personas that are allowed to mask a problematic past even as the country endorses the past and the masking. WE have allowed people to use buzzwords like equity and social justice to mask their racism. WE have allowed sitting next to the right people or hanging the right painting to erase things they have done that cause pain. WE have failed to allow folks to face their history and the part they play in what they profess to fight against. It is easy to advocate for something without acknowledging that you are part of what caused it. It is easy for the governor to denounce the hatred in Charlottesville without acknowledging that he is a branch of the tree that the hate there grew from.

  160. 160
    banditqueen says:

    @schrodingers_cat: I agree, sadly, I agree. The complex issues raised by this situation highlight yet again how the racism that’s inherent in the founding of the US must be addressed and acknowledged–it cannot be glossed over. So it is important at this point to look for a way to say ‘I was a horrible person and I know that there are things I won’t be able to do because of my earlier failures’, but also allow some forward movement–eg Northam must initiate a talk and listen tour whether or not he stays on as gov. There are significant issues with a “truth and reconciliation” approach to US history & politics. Nonetheless, the goal is more and better democrats.

  161. 161
    Martin says:

    @CaseyL:

    Some past incidents can’t be atoned for, but most can be.

    I agree. However, atonement requires admission and taking responsibility. He’s had plenty of time to admit to this and take responsibility. Typically that is done by using yourself as an example – by drawing attention to it in order to make amends. Northam has done none of that.

  162. 162
    Sasha says:

    @Mnemosyne: Well, I think the residents. I don’t mean to suggest that I think he is perfect and the pipeline is a terrible idea. I don’t live far from Chesapeake and I am aware of the issue. But my point wasn’t that they should support him when they disagree with his positions but that they should support him when they do. And that as democrats, most of the time they are in agreement.

  163. 163
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Sasha: Okay, sorry I misunderstood your point about who didn’t think it was a big deal. You’re right that the FL SecState’s “black face” incident was more recent. The irony is that we’re likely to get someone far worse to replace him from the shitty GOP governor in charge of that appointment; the guy who resigned is definitely a Republican hack but actually had a fairly decent record at the county level on voting rights.

    Still, I’m glad he resigned. The issue is larger than any one individual and temporary political gains and losses for our party and theirs, IMO. I felt the same way about the Franken case (and still get dragged for it here and elsewhere from time to time).

  164. 164
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Brachiator: The Old Dominion is going to Old Dominion.

  165. 165
    Sasha says:

    @Martin: I don’t think the issue is necessarily what Northam deserves it’s more a question of what I deserve (I and my fellow Virginians). My assessment of him and Justin Fairfax is that he is the better one to be governor, although I am starting to feel that Northam is too damaged at this point. Fairfax is young and he has been bold in standing against the confederacy veneration that the republicans engage in. They would delight in destroying him and making sure that he has no accomplishments. In a few years, with democrats in control of at least one chamber, I’d be delighted to vote for him as governor. But now, as things stand, I think it would be a catastrophe and one that could potentially derail his political prospects.

  166. 166
    tobie says:

    @Elizabelle: Don’t say that! I always value your comments. Things have gotten testy on BJ these days. Two years of Trump, continuous ratf’ing by the Republicans, and an administration that lies with impunity and for which there seem to be no restraints takes its toll. I haven’t commented about Northam much because I felt like I ought to think about how other countries have dealt with their politicians and their hideous pasts. I’m thinking of Germany in the last half of the twentieth century and South Africa. None of these situations is exactly comparable, and in Northam’s case I feel like what pushed me over the edge was his press conference in which he didn’t seem to have any awareness that what he did as medical student was wrong. He should step down IMO. But we need to prepare ourselves for what’s going to be a relentless smear campaign against any Democrat of note. Various forces are working together–the GOP, Russian intelligence, cable and digital outfits, digital giants like Facebook–and figuring how to account for past wrongdoings without falling on our sword each and every time is going to take real effort.

  167. 167
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Martin:

    That’s why Obama admitted to his drug use in his book before his candidacy. It breaks that pact. It comes out on his terms, with his explanation. He’s still judged by those actions, but doesn’t have the additional liability of having hid it from the public.

    Oh, boy, does this mean I should be publishing my memoirs *before* running for county commissioner?//

  168. 168
    Mandalay says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    You won’t even get a hearing. Remember Franken’s hearing? Yeah, me neither. He was supposed to get one. We didn’t even give him that.

    Al Franken was fully entitled to an Ethics Committee hearing, but chose to resign instead. Now plenty of Democratic senators were certainly pressuring him to leave ASAP, but it is inaccurate to suggest that Franken was denied a hearing.

  169. 169
    eemom says:

    @Miss Bianca:

    Back atcha sweetie. As always. And while you’re at it, mind your own business.

    @Mnemosyne:

    I don’t give a shit. Not sure what I’d be jealous of since I’m not in that business, and I make plenty at the one I am in.

  170. 170
    Sasha says:

    @RinaX: Well I am 56; maybe it’s a generational thing.

  171. 171

    Is this in any way comparable to Obama “evolving” on same sex marriage? I never held that against him and other didn’t seem to either.

    Northam seems worse both because the original incident was aggressively (if obliviously) racist, and because that press conference didn’t suggest he realized the extent of his offense. Obama never did anything actively anti-LGBTQ and he was much better at considering and revealing his moral stance.

    I guess what I hold against Northam is that he seems clueless both in the past and the present.

  172. 172
    Mandalay says:

    @Brachiator:

    initial reaction was stupid and self-defeating

    The initial reaction last Friday was in response to Northam twice admitting that he was in that year book photo.

    If Northam had denied it immediately you might have a point, but when Northam admitted to being in the photo in a prepared video, why on earth would anyone think he was lying about that?

  173. 173
    Elizabelle says:

    And, while some here are screaming for Northam’s head on a pike:

    WaPost: Trump to nominate David Bernhardt, a former lobbyist, as the next Interior secretary

    If confirmed, Bernhardt would be well-positioned to roll back more of the Obama-era conservation policies he has worked to unravel since joining Interior a year and a half ago.

  174. 174
    Elizabelle says:

    I do not like that our scale for Democratic politicians seems to be:

    Electable …. expendable …. exterminated …. eviscerated.

    Expendable, expendable, expendable. You there: you put yourself and your family through all the ugliness and exhaustion and hard, hard work for months and years.

    We won’t have your back! Particularly not if there’s another Democrat waiting in the wings.

  175. 175
    Mnemosyne says:

    @tobie:

    If Northam had started his speech on Saturday along the lines of, I have never wanted to have to discuss that picture, because I am ashamed of it and ashamed of myself for having done it we would probably be talking about what an amazing statesman Northam is and how he saved the whole situation.

    Unfortunately, he screwed it up, so now we have to deal with what we have in front of us and not what we wish he had said or done.

  176. 176
    Brachiator says:

    @Mandalay:

    initial reaction was stupid and self-defeating

    The initial reaction last Friday was in response to Northam twice admitting that he was in that year book photo.

    People were calling for him to resign before he responded to anything.

    I noted in earlier comments that I deferred to the judgement of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus, who spoke with him and took his weird response into consideration.

  177. 177
    eemom says:

    @Sasha:

    I didn’t mean to imply that all Black folks feel the same about Northam….just that I think we white folks have no right to say whether a former act of racism is or is not disqualifying in a public servant.

    Like I said, I personally would have been on the side of “look at his record,” but my RL Black friends don’t see it that way at all. Similar to what someone, I think ruemara, said here, their first thought was to wonder how he’s treated his patients who were POC.

  178. 178
    ET says:

    I love the meme of the cat. This is an old photo The Smart Set and the text just makes it that much funnier. I still think Brunnhilde needs her own meme.

  179. 179
    Ksmiami says:

    @Martin: except that’s what you purity trolls don’t get- we are fighting an asymmetrical war for the soul and future of this country so committing suicide leaves us worse off and less powerful even for the momentary glibness see we’re better – Al Franken isn’t going back to public life and we all lose. Do I wish Northam could respond with a more self aware apology- yes, I’m still not sure he should step down but I’m even more firm that the charges against the lieutenant governor are lies and innuendo and we should just be firm that there is only one party that gives a fuck about Americans and it isn’t the traitorous, scum sucking GOP.

  180. 180
    Mnemosyne says:

    @eemom:

    If you don’t give a shit, why did you even say anything? Complaining that someone talks too much about being a successful writer when she mentions it once a week at most makes it look like you’re jealous of her success.

    If you want to write, then write. Half the romance writers I know are lawyers. If you don’t want to write, then don’t. But don’t be a jackass to people who are doing what you wish you could do out of jealousy.

  181. 181
    Mandalay says:

    @Brachiator:

    People were calling for him to resign before he responded to anything.

    Ok, fair enough. I didn’t know that – the story evolved quickly.

    That said, once Northam had made it very clear that he was in the photo, I certainly don’t think it was stupid or self-defeating for people to call on him to resign, and his subsequent denial that he was in the photo only made things worse for him – he lost all credibility.

  182. 182
    eemom says:

    @Elizabelle:

    We won’t have your back! Particularly not if there’s another Democrat waiting in the wings.

    Yeah, it’s kind of interesting how some on this thread started rethinking their fervent “Northam’s gotta go” from two days ago when it began to seem like Fairfax might be threatened.

    I don’t know. This whole business makes me sick. Especially, as you say, given that it so clearly WAS the work of ratfuckers, and that they so spectacularly succeeded in turning every head in the Democratic party away from the daily abominations of the criminal in chief these last few days.

  183. 183
    Miss Bianca says:

    @eemom: Take your own damned advice, lady, unless you really think that being snotty to DAW was “minding your own business”. And if you do, then you really have a fucking problem.

  184. 184
    jl says:

    @Brachiator: Good point. But I still think calls for resignation in the midst of breaking news is a bad idea. If even the second breaking news was Northam saying he was in it.

    I used ‘saying’ instead of ‘admitting’ since I think by clear now that Northam has his head up his ass, and no telling why he said that now. My suspicion is that he did it so often, the ass just assumed it was probably him. Anyway, his reaction showed to me that he is not all that different a person now, and in some ways really stinks as a politician.

    But, since it is clear now the elected government of Virginia is under attack from a GOP dirty tricks campaign, I’ll leave it to the good people of that state to sort it out.

  185. 185
    Sasha says:

    @eemom: It’s a hard path to tread, to be sure but there are a lot of white people in Virginia and they have a right to weigh in on who should be governor and to make an assessment of Ralph Northam without being afraid of being called or thought to racists. In fact they, along with Virginians of other races are the only people who should have a say. We all have opinions but only those people who live here, vote here, pay taxes here etc… should get to decide what happens.

  186. 186
    eemom says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Oh, piss off, and don’t analyze me. You’ve never gotten it right yet.

    There is just nothing particularly subtle about coming on a thread like this and talking about changes of address and royalty checks, but what the fuck EVER. Have at it, whatzername.

  187. 187
    Aleta says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Peer influence *at his school* and his school traditions may have been one-sided. But in VA in the early 80s, racism and the Klan were being called out regularly in public.

    In the early 80s, DC and local media was covering the the growth of the klan (in the area and nationally) and the increased local violence against blacks (pretty much daily reports). There was local organizing and teaching against racism by people his age. The ’82 DC anti-klan march and its violence were well publicized. Nationally there were murders of blacks and interracial couples.

    If he read newspapers or listened to TV he was aware. It was a big deal when the klan said they identified w/ Reagan’s ideas in 1980.

    He may have fit in with his school society. But saying the 80s were a different time in VA doesn’t work. There was awareness of racism, political opposition to it, civil rights veterans were active in the DC area, and many 20-30 year old people were involved.

    That’s the context as far as VA.

  188. 188
    banditqueen says:

    @Elizabelle: Sadly true. More and better democrats in office cannot happen if there are more and vile republicans are in office as dems are thrown out–they’re already after Fairfax. Northam is deeply flawed and will likely go on to be prez of a university or foundation whether he completes his term or not–but a big future in politics won’t be happening for him–and regardless, he should do a listen and learn tour ASAP. The history of the US is too awash in racism at this point–let’s force those, like Northam, who are good in some areas, also be better in others, because *today’s* Nazi is in the White House and he can’t be forced to do anything he doesn’t want to do.

  189. 189
    Sasha says:

    @eemom: I didn’t mean to imply that you did.

  190. 190
    eemom says:

    @Miss Bianca:

    Get over yourself.

  191. 191
    Emma says:

    @rikyrah: Sit by me. My approach has always been: take every accusation seriously, investigate it thoroughly, and take action on the results. In the Northam case, I was willing to wait for proper information but once he gave that verrückten press conference, I realized that it wasn’t the actual crime as the complete misunderstanding of the awfulness of his actions.

  192. 192
    tobie says:

    @Mnemosyne: Yeah, if he had said what you wrote, we’d be in a different place right now. An acknowledgment of past wrongdoings and remorse would have made a world of difference.

  193. 193
    Elizabelle says:

    @eemom: It’s all so sad.

    I think the photos were awful. And 1984 was way too late for pulling anything like that. Might say more about the bubble Northam lived in. People can grow and change, and do.

    I don’t like the immediate resort to termination. These things are media maelstroms, and greatly entertaining to some, but they ruin very real lives.

    WRT Northam: it was hardly a given that a Democrat would win the governorship. It ended out being a blowout, but was scarily close for a long, long time. Northam was particularly reassuring with his military and medical background.

    And we still have Republicans in charge of the legislature. By one seat. And they’re going to redraw the districts for the 2019 elections, aren’t they? I’d heard that was one reason the GOP was pulling its hair out over the Infanticide!! charges (which are lies).

    I am not interested in being in the purity pony party. It’s not that easy, folks. Virginia is not California.

  194. 194
    eemom says:

    @Sasha:

    Thanks. I didn’t mean to imply that I thought you were implying that. 😜 But I thought you did make a valid point about the fact that some people do assume that all Black folks have the same reaction, which of course is racist AF in itself.

  195. 195
    Elizabelle says:

    @tobie: Agree with you and mnemosyne there. Completely. I also think Northam is ashamed and fearful about this, which is why he did not address it earlier, when he should have.

    It strikes me that he has a military background, and dealt with very tough medical cases. Both of which would prepare you to wait and see and not do knee jerk stuff. Look for the situation to improve before making a hard decision.

    Not the cable TV 24/7 outrage cycle.

  196. 196
    Aleta says:

    @Matt McIrvin: I think the goal is to discourage turnout among black voters. They need to reduce the energy and numbers of the blue wave overall, because it’s lethal to them if it keeps going.

  197. 197

    The Virginia black caucus said they gave Northam a chance to explain himself, he flubbed it, and he has to go. They were plain and forceful about it. That’s the closest to a consensus of the victims I can imagine us getting, so I side with them.

    Fairfax has been investigated and no evidence found. Democrats are going to brush this off as a random political hit job, as we’ve done several others that we immediately forget about, unless something more substantial is presented.

  198. 198
    catclub says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor:

    my blog about writing has been unavailable to anyone, including me, for several days.

    was it secured by blockchain and you lost the key? That seems to be a thing these days. A $190M thing.

  199. 199
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Elizabelle: If we’re going to analyze the situation strictly from the perspective of likely consequences — which as a Purity Troll, I do not advocate — isn’t it possible that giving Northam a pass will depress Democratic turnout later this year?

  200. 200
    catclub says:

    @Aleta:

    I think the goal is to discourage turn out among black voters.

    I am not sure that replacing a white governor with a black one is the best way to go about this.

  201. 201
    Emma says:

    @Brachiator: Prince Harry had his arse raked over the coals and he apologized profusely. He never tried to make believe that he didn’t understand how awfully stupid he had been. I’m sure his grandmother the lady who drove jeeps during WWII sat him down and read him chapter and verse of the family history. He took his lumps and accepted the fact that he was “on probation” and has spent years redeeming himself. Northam’s problem, for me, was not the blackface per se (yes I know it was a horrible thing to do) but the way he tried to deal with it. That press conference was a trainwreck and it seems to me he isn’t able to get past his (white, southern) upbringing.

  202. 202
    Elizabelle says:

    @Betty Cracker: I honestly don’t know. That is months away.

    Per wiki:

    The 2019 Virginia elections will take place on November 5, 2019. All 40 seats of the Senate of Virginia and 100 seats in the Virginia House of Delegates are up for re-election, as are many local offices.

    I sense that Democrats had tasted victory in 2017 and 2018, and will turn out this year too, albeit it’s an off year election. A lot of good candidates.

  203. 203

    @catclub: Good lord. No. It’s a Yahoo Small Business site and the domain provider apparently has to confirm my email annually. I didn’t change it there where I moved.

  204. 204
    Nelle says:

    @rikyrah: Someone said to me, there are eight, eight!!! accusations against Franken. It wasn’t nothing. So I went and looked at the list and it was one unidentified woman after another. The one that really frosted me was a woman who asked to have a photo with him and he put his arm around her for the photo and squeezed her waist! For that, we lost a senator who asked the questions that made Sessions recuse himself and brought Mueller to the table. Now, the Judiciary committee has some fine questioning from Harris and Klobuchar, so we aren’t absolutely bereft. But Franken’s background as a comedian gave him a fine nose for hypocrisy and he is missed. Without a hearing. I’m not saying we rally behind all people, no matter what. But this rush to condemn without a hearing makes us so easy to manipulate. Of course, tricksters wanted to get rid of Franken. And the anti-abortionists want to get rid of Northam. I’m not pleased with Northam’s response, true. But watching Republicans get Democrats to bray for the heads of other Democrats without working through things carefully? I dislike that.

  205. 205
    Emma says:

    @eemom: For God’s sake. You are articulate and interesting. And you give the impression of subsisting on a diet of ground flaming glass to fuel a neverending rage.

  206. 206
    Aleta says:

    @catclub: Hoping to discourage the large number of black voters who turned out to support that white governor (whether he steps down or not). I’ve read their support put him in office.

  207. 207
    Elizabelle says:

    @Nelle: Yup.

  208. 208
    Elizabelle says:

    @Aleta: Because the Republicans are doing so much for them? Give our voters more credit.

    We do have a big problem with sporadic voters. Have to do our best; local/state elections may not bring them out.

  209. 209
    Brachiator says:

    @Emma: Prince Harry had his arse raked over the coals and he apologized profusely. He never tried to make believe that he didn’t understand how awfully stupid he had been.

    Yep. And he had actual Nazi sympathizers among his past family members.

    Northam’s problem, for me, was not the blackface per se (yes I know it was a horrible thing to do) but the way he tried to deal with it. That press conference was a trainwreck and it seems to me he isn’t able to get past his (white, southern) upbringing.

    Agreed that Northam’s attempts to “explain” things made everything worse.

    @Betty Cracker:

    If we’re going to analyze the situation strictly from the perspective of likely consequences — which as a Purity Troll, I do not advocate — isn’t it possible that giving Northam a pass will depress Democratic turnout later this year?

    I don’t think it was a matter of “giving Northam a pass.” This still implies that he is absolutely guilty of … something. But the impact of his past on Democratic turnout would possibly be affected by his response to the photo, and that response has been horrid and insufficient. So, in some ways, the conservatives who engineered the release of the photo accomplished what they wanted.

  210. 210
    Honus says:

    @Elizabelle: Also Buck v Bell. Carrie Buck was a Charlottesville girl.

    Then there’s Robert Byrd. He once said he would have go to his grave knowing that his obituary would say he was once in the KKK. And in fact he first won his senate seat running against republican Chap Revercomb as an avowed segregationist. But he learned better. Unlike Mitch McConnell, he had enough sense to be ashamed of his past.

  211. 211
    NotMax says:

    @Emma

    That family history included Prince Charles Edward, among others.

  212. 212
    Aleta says:

    @Elizabelle: I was talking about what I think is their goal–to lower turn out. Not about what I think will happen. I’m not worried that voters won’t turn out or will switch sides.

  213. 213
    stinger says:

    @eemom: What the hell?

    Joke, or jealousy? We have a lot of published writers on this blog, and I love hearing about their successes (and get leads on good books to read). I like hearing about the successes of people in other fields, too. And they and you are free to reference their and your professional work to make some other point in a blog comment.

  214. 214
    Elizabelle says:

    @Honus: Buck v. Bell. Whoa. And it has never been overturned. Although there are other laws that restrict involuntary sterilizations.

    Apparently there was an October 2018 American Experience (PBS) on eugenics. Will have to view that.

  215. 215
    Mandalay says:

    Several folks here (including me) have pointed out that Northam had 35 years to voluntarily bring up the issue about his past racist behavior, and he chose not to do so.

    Well Liam Neeson has just come forward, and while I admire his honesty, and he seems truly repentant, it’s pretty horrific:

    Liam Neeson confesses he roamed streets looking for random black man to kill after loved one’s rape

  216. 216
    Emma says:

    @Brachiator: So how many of us have a clean slate of ancestors? ‘Cause I know I don’t. His family has been around, give or take, a thousand years, in positions of power. He has all sorts, from psychopaths to saints. I don’t do the “you pay for your ancestors’ crap”. It isn’t fair to anyone, even a prince.

    (added) btw, his great-grandmother was once called by Hitler “the most dangerous woman in Europe.” Not bad!

    Which is an aside from the actual discussion of how to handle a screwup.

  217. 217
    NotMax says:

    @Emma

    it’s not that he should pay for his ancestors doings, it’s that he apparently learned nothing from them.

  218. 218
    A Ghost To Most says:

    The ratfuckers work is done.

    They’re undoubtedly laughing their asses off at the result.

    Focus.

  219. 219
    Emma says:

    @NotMax: He handled it better than Northam. As far as I’m concerned, that was the point. He owned up to his own stupidity and grew up.

  220. 220
    burnspbesq says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    I’m pretty confident that approximately 100% of my fellow white college classmates would have understood that dressing in such a get-up was aggressively racist.

    Probably so—but a good chunk of them would have gone ahead and done it. Racism is omnipresent.

    I graduated from one of “those” small northeastern liberal arts schools in the late 1970s. There was a guy in my microeconomics class who missed the final because he went home to Charlestown to throw rocks at school buses bringing kids from Roxbury.

  221. 221
    Brachiator says:

    @Emma:

    So how many of us have a clean slate of ancestors? ‘Cause I know I don’t. His family has been around, give or take, a thousand years, in positions of power. He has all sorts, from psychopaths to saints. I don’t do the “you pay for your ancestors’ crap”. It isn’t fair to anyone, even a prince.

    Again, I was just trying to make the point that dressing up like a Nazi is not the same thing as actually being a Nazi or actually supporting them during WW II. And Prince Harry had actual Nazis as relatives, and a few fools who hoped to prosper from any successful German invasion of Great Britain. We don’t have to consider all of Harry’s ancestors or any of their dirty deeds.

    I apologize for any sloppiness in my original post.

  222. 222
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @burnspbesq:
    It was common when I was in college in PA 79-82. Not in my crowd, but in the frats.

    Cross burnings on the heights overlooking Fredneck, MD were a scheduled occurrence.

    It’s like discovering that gambling occurred at Rick’s.

  223. 223
    chopper says:

    @raven:

    Northam is an opportunist. He rode scholarships given by the US Army to his bachelor’s degree, a medical degree, a residency in pediatrics of all things and minimal army service to satisfy his contract with the army.

    that’s hilarious. so now going to college on the GI bill is “opportunism”. lang is a fucking buffoon.

  224. 224
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @chopper:
    Dang. Who is this “Lang” asshole? I bet there’s a bunch of vets who would like a word.

  225. 225
    Emma says:

    @Brachiator: Oh. Gotcha. Neeeeever mind.

  226. 226
    Brachiator says:

    @Mandalay:

    Well Liam Neeson has just come forward, and while I admire his honesty, and he seems truly repentant, it’s pretty horrific:

    Liam Neeson confesses he roamed streets looking for random black man to kill after loved one’s rape

    I used to cut Liam Neeson a lot of slack, and especially for some of the bad movie jobs he accepted, because of the tragedy he went through on the death of his wife, Natasha Richardson.

    He’s used up all his good guy points with this bullshit.

  227. 227
    Emma says:

    @Mandalay: It’s pretty human. He managed to snap out of it, thank the God of his choice, or thank his own innate sense of decency. Thinking of doing a thing isn’t doing a thing.

  228. 228
    Ceci7 says:

    @Emma: feeling angry when a loved one is hurt, wanting revenge, sure – common reactions. Prowling around with a weapon and hoping to attack a *random* black man? No. Nope. That’s not “pretty human.”

  229. 229
    tam1MI says:

    @The Moar You Know: Reason #1,644,484 I will not under any circumstances whatsoever vote for Kirstin Gillibrand.

  230. 230
    chopper says:

    @A Ghost To Most:

    pat lang at sic semper tyrannis. what a fucking schmuck.

    he’s all pissed over late term abortion in VA, and someone pointed out that in VA there’s been all of two since 2000 and he’s all INFANTICIDE!

  231. 231
    Emma says:

    @Ceci7: he grew up in an eye-for-an-eye culture. I was acquainted with a Irish protestant who once told me it was a common thing that if a Catholic killed a Protestant the Protestants would go looking for a Catholic to kill. And viceversa. They didn’t have to know them, just their religion. I am not saying it was something we should approve of. I am saying he snapped out of it and did not do it.

  232. 232
    Socrates says:

    “Unless these sexual harassment claims can be verified, no action needs to be taken.”

    Huh? Did you miss the whole Kavanaugh thing?

  233. 233
    TomatoQueen says:

    @Brachiator: We can also acknowledge the range of any large family, big enough to include the stupidest man in Europe (in his time), as well as Righteous Among the Nations: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Princess_Alice_of_Battenberg.

    I said it was a ratfck, and it’s still a ratfck, and I live in Alexandria. I want Virginia to move forward, woteva that means. Can we do so in these circumstances? Somehow we must.

  234. 234
    J R in WV says:

    I wonder if anyone has rounded up more of the Eastern VA Medical School yearbooks from 1984?

    Like a dozen, mostly in the hands of certified Democratic people… I notice that black students at that school with Northam tell us that he wasn’t a flaming racist at the time, as far as they could tell. In other words, they got along with him as well as they got along with anyone.

    I also wonder if anyone has looked at these “photos” with a micrloscope, and compared them with other photos less — politically charged photos on other pages. What about the “kerning” of the text on that page? In other words, is there a subset of yearbooks not like the other yearbooks?

    Ratfuckery knows no bounds within the fascist republican party, so I ask these questions as an interested observer, curious about how the one yearbook’s information in a library in the Tidewater area of VA was “validated” by actual news reporters. Surely there’s a list of students in that one yearbook, all of whom might be expected to have their own copy in the attic, or a box in the garage, or somewhere like that.

    Was a photographic analyst hired to validate those photos as having been reproduced as others were, and in keeping with the technology of 1984? I would bet money none of that happened, even though there is a history of documents in political controversy having been forged in our recent history.

    Too slow, too expensive, and if there are questions about the authenticity, that’s not really a big story, just money spent to destroy the Big Story about racism, and unanswered questions about the new story, like who did it.

  235. 235
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @chopper: Thanks. I hadn’t thought about that asshole for a decade.

    I get pissed enough without reading that crap. If I need a dose, I could always call my brother. That’s been a decade as well.

  236. 236
    Ceci7 says:

    @Emma: Agreed that thinking a thing is not doing a thing. It is exhausting, and infuriating, and heartbreaking that our cultural narratives prioritize the Neesons so much of the time. His emotional state is broken but he’s not the person who survived the actual assault; his initial reaction inappropriate; we stand ready to praise him for not responding with more physical violence. I honestly don’t know what to make of his choice to tell the story, given how public reaction plays out in the digital age. His vengeful impulse didn’t help anything, and I can’t help but think of assault survivors left to process trauma and legal systems and all the rest of it, with a tiny fraction of the support Neeson can tap into.

  237. 237
    burnspbesq says:

    @tam1MI:

    So you’re for Trump? Good to know.

  238. 238
    Emma says:

    @Ceci7: now there I agree with you. The cult of celebrity puts way too much emphasid on the famous and our social media/clickbait online news gives them too much of a hearing. And my god, resources! The lack of resources for trauma survivors is shameful.

    Sometimes this half-atheist thinks we would be better off if most ouf our sins remained in the confessional.

  239. 239
    Mandalay says:

    @Emma:

    Thinking of doing a thing isn’t doing a thing.

    That’s certainly true, but he went way past merely thinking about it – he went out looking for trouble:

    I went up and down areas with a cosh, hoping I’d be approached by somebody – I’m ashamed to say that – and I did it for maybe a week, hoping some ‘black bastard’ would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something, you know? So that I could…kill him,”

    He was actively looking for an excuse to kill someone. It’s just chance that it didn’t happen. The Troubles surely had a huge impact on him, and perhaps he is at a stage in his life where unburdening himself of what he did matters to him infinitely more than his career or public opinion. If so, good for him.

    It’s a hell of a contrast with the way Northam is not “taking responsibility” for his racism.

  240. 240
    J R in WV says:

    @Emma:

    @eemom: For God’s sake. You are articulate and interesting. And you give the impression of subsisting on a diet of ground flaming glass to fuel a neverending rage.

    This. So well said, thank you. I’ve typed comments and rewritten them, and never posted them because I wasn’t happy with them.

    Her rage against people here who seem to be thoughtful and compassionate is unending and unreasoned.

  241. 241
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @burnspbesq: That’s a helluva stretch.

  242. 242
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @J R in WV:

    And you give the impression of subsisting on a diet of ground flaming glass [anthrax and tire rims] to fuel a neverending rage.

    In keeping with blog history.

  243. 243
    J R in WV says:

    @chopper:

    I went to college in 1980 on the GI bill… the VA made me see a counselor, PhD Psychologist, who convinced me to try a BS in Computer Science degree, in which I had no interest upon deciding to enroll.

    That advice led to a successful and enjoyable career doing meaningful and complicated work. I described it as professional puzzle solving to a large extent. And now I’m successfully retired.

  244. 244
    NotMax says:

    @J R in WV

    Irascible scold is some people’s factory setting.

    ;)

  245. 245
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @J R in WV: Same for me, but I already working in computers in the Air Force, so it was an obvious choice. Now retired a year. It would be nice to actually enjoy it without Shit Hitler.

  246. 246
    Bill Arnold says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    They don’t care about the optics.

    Three times would make that Ian Fleming quote mainstream, which is good. (Most people are lousy at recognizing and being duly suspicious of improbable events/combinations.)
    The other concern is that it would further normalize political ratfucking, in a time where OR is considerably easier that it used to be. I’m not sure the Republican party would survive if e.g. a well-funded opposition research operation focused on all Republicans. Would do serious damage to the political system though and there would be an arms race. (Do we really want politics dominated by people who have been squeaky clean from birth? Mormons are over-represented (I’m told) in the national security establishment for this reason among others. And withing a couple of years, ubiquitous deep-fake video ratfuckery will be a serious problem.)

    Related, anyone else remember that Bloomberg piece (2018-10-04) about “Citizen Strong”? The website now displays nothing. (My signup probe returned nothing.) I assume that Bloomberg was rolled, motive unclear, either that or they (Bloomberg) made the story up, again motive unclear.

  247. 247
    Another Scott says:

    @Bill Arnold: I remember, and it did sound interesting.

    Burton has a LinkedIn page, but I have no idea what’s on it (I’m not on LinkedIn, either).

    The only thing I see at CitizenStrong is this page of rogues which is just links to their web pages (and seems weird to me).

    If they’re actually doing something useful, they don’t seem to think they need a web designer to tell the rest of us about it.

    Dunno.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  248. 248
    Shane says:

    @jl:

    So remember the kavanaugh confirmation hearings?
    These accusations were brought to the wp attention and never acted upon.
    What happens now is for the investigators to find out.
    Let us wait…. hopefully it will be less time than the muellers investigations.

  249. 249
    LAC says:

    @Betty Cracker: everything you have said. This Sasha person is giving me hearburn as i do not know a black person, myself included, who is looking at the picture and tone desf, shifty and shitty response by Northam with anything but a side eye. Sorry, but i do not consider my repulsed reaction to this a manipulation by wingnuts. And i am not taking one for the “team” when it comprised of enablers and indifferent shruggers.

  250. 250
    haswell says:

    Uh huh…
    “Virginia AG Mark Herring admits wearing blackface at 1980 college party”
    https://www.foxnews.com/politics/virginia-ag-mark-herring-admits-wearing-blackface-at-1980-college-party

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